Review: Toseland


Toseland - Credit: Archant

Superbike champion James Toseland is the obvious focal point, but Toseland is greater than the sum of the parts, even if sound problems made this gig a disappointment.


Waterfront, Norwich

James Toseland was a star long before venturing into the world of music, and his experience as a former superbike champion means he's no stranger to fame. Accordingly, he takes to the limelight like a duck takes to water, and his stage confidence complements the music perfectly.

But as well as being a very different line-up from the one that emerged on the scene a few years ago, there's also the feeling it's a more-rounded band these days. Sure, Toseland the man is still the obvious focal point of Toseland the band, but the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and it's more than just a singer with a backing band.

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That said, the ace in the hole for this outfit is James Toseland's voice, and on previous visits to this neck of the woods – in Cambridge and Great Yarmouth as well as Norwich – his vocals had cut through the venue with stunning effect.

Which is why tonight's show is so disappointing. The band may have developed into a tight unit, and they may have a leader with genuine rock-star charisma, but the mix leaves a lot to be desired and too often he is drowned out by the drums and the bass. As for his cameos on the keyboard, he might as well not have bothered.

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Other acts have coped with the Waterfront's acoustics much more satisfactorily, and it's a shame that things aren't better tonight. It's a decent enough show, for sure, but these sound issues prevent it from being even better.

As far as the songs are concerned, new record Cradle the Rage is represented heavily, but the highlights are cuts from the debut album. It's easy to understand why radio stations such as Planet Rock have played Life is Beautiful and Renegade in heavy rotation.

They were also given a helping hand during their early days by Toby Jepson, the erstwhile Little Angels singer, and his influence is clear. The set is stuffed full with singalong choruses, reminiscent of Jepson's own output, and Toseland look to have a bright future within the world of mainstream rock.

A little more time getting the sound mix right, though, will help realise the bags of potential there clearly is here.

Adam Aiken

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