@Newcastle Think Tank?, June 29 2015

If Kobra And The Lotus ultimately fail to crack the UK’s congested rock market then music fans nationwide will inevitably talk of rank injustice and rotten luck. Yet those same gig-goers will only have themselves to blame for failing to fully support one of the finest hard rock bands on the planet just when it mattered most. 

That time is now. Kobra Paige and her well-drilled band – KATL are much, much more than their charismatic singer – have been treading the boards in tiny British clubs for five years now. That’s far too long for a band this talented. In 2010 they took on the Trillians faithful and won but half a decade down the line and that looks like little more than a frustratingly pyrrhic victory.

Catch Paige up close and personal – as the modest Think Tank? crowd were lucky enough to do – and it’s clear the cocksure Canadian really does have it all. The perfect fusion of a compelling stage presence and a strong vocal range has done wonders for Lzzy Hale, Sharon den Adel and Elin Larsson since the turn of the decade and Paige boasts both. So how come she continues to trail in the wake of her commercially successful and critically acclaimed peers?

Is it the music? In the past, perhaps. But increasingly KATL have complemented their fiery frontwoman with some seriously hot tunes. Latest album High Priestess is rammed full of hard rock anthems and Newcastle bore witness to the very best as Paige belted out stirring versions of the title track, Hold On and I Am, I Am. Barely pausing for breath, it mattered little to the singer that fewer than 100 fans had chosen a manic Monday ahead of a night in front of the telly. Sure this wasn’t an arena show with Def Leppard and Kiss but it was a gig that meant just as much to Calgary’s finest.

The songs, the looks, the work ethic and the passion: what more can Paige offer in her quest for mainstream success? Of course hers is hardly an unfamiliar tale and rock’s story is peppered with depressing footnotes describing unfulfilled potential. Paige, bullish and brazen, isn’t finished yet. But the pressure is on the gig-going public to put this pint-sized tyro where she belongs – before it’s too late.

Just starting out on their journey – but equally exciting – are Cumbrian quartet Heartbreak Remedy. In half an hour frontman Matty Penn made the compact stage his own and by the time party anthem Girl At The Bar persuaded Paige to peep her head through the backstage curtain it was game on for the grooving Brits. Marrying classic rock and roll with Sunset Strip-inspired swagger, the Heartbreakers boast a heady mix of retro and modern. It’s a mix we love.

Simon Rushworth