Toseland – The Key Club, Leeds: 24th March 2016


I felt like I was reliving my youth as I headed towards The Merrion Centre in Leeds to The Key Club, although Leeds has changed a lot since those twenty odd years ago and I’d never known of the existence of The Key Club, which turned out to be a dark, basement venue, a mere stones throw from my regular haunt back then Le Phonographique. The Key Club was the venue for a return to the home county gig for Yorkshire lad James Toseland, who was born in Doncaster, South Yorkshire around thirty miles south of Leeds. Toseland and his band of the same name were out touring in support of Cradle the Rage, their second album (reviewed here). With today’s gig being on Maundy Thursday, and tomorrow a Bank Holiday for many office workers, there was a good turnout for Toseland.

Colour of Noise (Photo by Alex English)

Colour of Noise, a five piece classic rock band from Brighton were the support band on this tour and the venue was already filling up nicely when they took to the stage. Formed in January 2015 they have a few seasoned performers in their ranks, including guitarist Bruce John Dickinson probably best known for Little Angels and singer Matt Mitchell from Furyon. They released debut album Colour of Noise in December 2015 when they joined The Dead Daisies on tour and I chatted to Matt and Bruce ahead of their gig in Manchester (here). The colours were quite noisy tonight with Bruce in an embroidered jacket and Dan in a paisley print shirt, Matt in the middle going for a more subdued khaki t-shirt.  They started in glorious technicoloured noise with You Only Call Me followed by Medicine Man.  The sound was  good but the stage was quite narrow and with five colourful and noisy characters up there it didn’t give them much room to manoeuvre. Bass man Ben Daniel, who reminded me of Massive Wagons bass player Bowz kept more in the background blocking my view of drummer Randy, but Bruce and Dan were up front playing to the appreciative crowd who were cheering and clapping throughout.

Dan Electro – Colour of Noise (Photo by R O C K Photography)

Matt said ‘Let me see some hands in the air tonight’ and both the audience and Bruce obliged holding his guitar up. Can You Hear Me? their latest single came next then Matt asked ‘Leeds how are we doing tonight? Alright?’ which elicited some loud whoops to which Matt replied ‘It’s fucking good to be here tonight!’ before Head On with Matt expressive and pointing his finger at his head like a gun in places. Matt gave a shout out to Planet Rock as he said they keep making their playlist again and again. Then came Can’t Take It With You with a Kashmir by Led Zeppelin vibe. Then Matt informed us ‘It’s been a long time since Bruce has been in Leeds’ and asked ‘Do you wanna hear something brand, brand new? We’ve been playing something new for this tour, Lucky Number Seven‘  with some powerful riffage. A Cult-ish start came next for Hit Rock Bottom, a song which then merged into something like a cross between The Cult’s Wildflower and The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You by Bryan Adams. After a high jump Matt thanked everyone for coming out so early to see them before asking ‘Who in the house has got our album?’ and a few arms shot up, including mine! Matt said the next one was about driving and doing things you shouldn’t Drive It Like You Stole It, one with a great driving beat which reminded me of Golden Earring’s Radar Love. Matt gave Bruce a quick hug then said ‘Thank you for coming. You guys have been real good. Heavy!’ and he didn’t mean we were a  hefty audience.  Heavy was the last song and I finally got a glimpse of sticks man Randy who had been hidden from view behind Ben all night (from where I was stood on the left anyway!) Bruce was playing to the crowd holding his guitar up  and after a drum roll end we got a final ‘Thank you very much’ from Matt. A heavy round of applause to match that last song title followed. A good performance from the Southern Colour of Noise boys got the audience nicely warmed up for the Northern lad James Toseland but there isn’t any North/South divide in music!

Colour of Noise – (Photo by R O C K Photography)

Set List:

You Only Call Me
Medicine Man
Can You Hear Me?
Head On
Can’t Take It With You
Lucky Number Seven
Hit Rock Bottom
Drive It Like You Stole It

Band Members: 

Ben Daniel – Bass Guitar
Bruce John Dickinson -Guitars
Dan Electro – Guitars
Matt Mitchell – Vocals
Randy Nixon – Drums





Joe Yoshida – Toseland (Photo by R O C K Photography)

After a short intro the band appeared and took their places on the stage, and I recognised all but the drummer Joe Yoshida, who has joined since the last time I saw them in September 2014 (see here). Then James Toseland appeared to cheers and an ‘Are you ready guys?’ before launching into the hard hitting Living In a Moment which reminded me of Take This City Alive by Fahran, fronted by fellow Yorkshireman Matt Black. James in a white t-shirt and black wrist bands then said ‘Something about Yorkshire! Fuck Me Life Is Beautiful‘  with a powerful bass start and a Faith No More vibe. The tour was to promote Toseland’s second album Cradle The Rage and there didn’t seem to be much room on stage to cradle the rage of Toseland and his band. They then played the hard rocking Stranger Things, with some Van Halen-esque riffage from the new album. After that stranger things have happened than a Yorkshire lad getting a chant of ‘Yorkshire! Yorkshire! Yorkshire!’ going and he announced ‘It’s the first time I’ve not had to polish my accent all tour. Thank you for coming out. Only got two left!’ and I thought ‘well that’s a bit of a short set then!’ Until he went on to say after this Glasgow and Newcastle and I realised he was actually referring to the number of shows left on this tour. Then came Crash Landing which had me thinking of Led Zeppelin’s Rock And Roll, and this was a hard rocking song which had people clapping along, and Ed at the front of the stage pulling some great guitar faces and holding his guitar upright.

Toseland (Photo by R O C K Photography)

James admitted that he was allowed to swear, as his mother wasn’t there and told us ‘That was off Renegade‘ (the first album reviewed here) before going on to say ‘We’re going to play a couple of new ones. Thanks for putting us in the Top 40.’  The next track was from Cradle The Rage Nothin’ You Can Do About It’ with some good riffage and ‘Hey, Hey, Hey’s’ which the audience joined in with. A girl asked James if he could do a song for Lisa, he asked ‘Which one?’ I couldn’t hear exactly what was said but I don’t think she knew which one Lisa actually wanted as James quipped ‘She doesn’t even know, so Lisa the next one is for you!  It was Livin’ A Lie’ with some dualling guitar riffs. Then came Good Eye Blind with a strong bass line which went down well and received lots of cheers and James said ‘Roger Davis on bass! Thank you. That was from first album Renegade. Want a new one?’ which, of course, we did.  ‘It’s a personal song, off Cradle The Rage, it’s about someone close, it’s called Never Love Another. You’ll get it. It goes like this,’ and the band launched into the song which had more of the Van Halen-esque riffs and some powerful vocals, especially on the ‘you’s.’  Then came a ballad in Just No Way which reminded me of Guns N’ Roses‘ November Rain and had people singing along and James on keys. Another ballad followed with Fingers Burned with a Lynyrd Skynyrd/Free vibe and James still on keys. Too Close to Call a bit of a funky one, with some great riffs, went out to Gemma.


‘I haven’t a clue what’s coming next’ announced James before asking ‘anyone got the EP Hearts & Bones? It never got much credit but we love playing this one live.  It’s called Hearts and Bones.’  It proved to be a fast one which had Roger at the front giving us his bass guitar faces to rival Ed’s! After some applause James asked ‘How are we Leeds? Not bad for a school night?’ Although with the next day being a Bank Holiday it probably wasn’t for many. He added ‘I live in London now but I am back in Yorkshire! It’s great to be up here, it’s going far too fast. Are you guys having a good time?’ and cheers indicated that we were. James asked us to ‘Give a shout out to Colour of Noise‘ who got more cheers. He then said ‘You may know Bruce from Little Angels. Toby is also here with two out of three of his beautiful daughters!’ (For anyone who doesn’t know he was referring to Toby Jepson, also from Little Angels, who produced Cradle The Rage). James asked ‘Anyone been listening to Planet Rock? You heard Puppet On A Chain?’ and told us that it was about the music industry and how it would just drop people. Another hard hitting song after which he said ‘Thank you for coming out. We’ve got to that part where we have to leave you. I know you’ve got jobs to go to. I haven’t!’ and asked ‘Anyone fancy being a Singer in a Band‘ another one with a Led Zeppelin vibe which saw people clapping and James stood at the front of the stage, holding on to a pipe, which was handily running along the ceiling, and had Roger and Ed singing along. Then with a ‘Thank you very much Leeds for having us’ they left the stage.

Ed Bramford – Toseland (Photo by R O C K Photography)

After shouts for more Toseland came back on stage with James saying ‘Thank you very much. I’m staying in a Travelodge ten miles away. I’m in no rush to get there.  Cradle the Ragethe title track of the album, was the first of three encore songs.  Someone shouted something which I didn’t catch but James said ‘I don’t mind banter. Sophistication, I’ve been to Leeds. No place better than Leeds. I hope no-one from Sheffield is here or I’ll be banned from going home! I’m going to take you back to the start, the first album was called Renegade so let’s play it’ and told us ‘It’s about growing up in a Northern town, so we have something in common.’ During this one he introduced us to the band ‘On bass from Wolverhampton Roger Davis.  From Chicago drummer Joe Yoshida.  My brother in law please give it up for Mr Zurab Melua.’ and ‘Last, but not least from Leicester, but please don’t hold it against him. Ed Bramford’ with each one giving us a little showcase of their musicianship as they were introduced. James said ‘The boys have pulled it out of the bag’ and they finished the song  before a ‘Thank you Yorkshire’ from James ‘Thank you very much. Thank you for not disappointing me and being the best crowd yet! Going to leave you with this one off Cradle The Rage, We’ll Stop at Nothing’ a mellower song which had James on keys and Ed at the front holding his guitar aloft and after that all that was left to say was ‘Thank you very much. Good night. Thank you for coming out, I’ll see you at the merchandise stall in five.’ A good mix of songs from his albums old and new and one from the EP. The third time I’ve seen them, the first time in both James’ and my own home county, there must be something in the water in Yorkshire as it was definitely the best gig yet. They will be playing a few festivals over the coming months, have bagged a suppport slot with Deep Purple on their Italian tour in July and are planning an autumn tour. See the links below for more information.

Toseland (Photo by R O C K Photography)

Set List:

Living In a Moment
Life Is Beautiful
Stranger Things
Crash Landing
Nothin’ You Can Do About It
Livin’ a Lie
Good Eye Blind
Never Love Another
Just No Way
Fingers Burned
Too Close to Call
Hearts and Bones
Puppet on a Chain
Singer in a Band


Cradle the Rage
We’ll Stop at Nothing

Band Members:

James Toseland- Vocals/Keyboard
Ed Bramford – Guitar
Zurab Melua – Guitar
Roger Davis – Bass Guitar
Joe Yoshida – Drums


Note – Some of the photos used to illustrate this review were taken by R O C K Photography at The Globe, Cardiff on 14th March.


About Louise Swift

I first went to a gig in 1981, Gillan at Leeds University. I've been a regular gig goer ever since. I haven't kept count of how many gigs I've been to over the intervening years, but it's a lot! My favourite bands are AC/DC then, in no particular order, Anti-Nowhere League, Slaughter and the Dogs, Towers of London and Dirt Box Disco. I tend to like Glam/Punk and rude offensive lyrics, not sure what that says about me but as Animal would say 'So What!' The question was recently put to me - did I write for any online publications? My reply - No, but I'd like to! Planetmosh was suggested and I found myself offering to review Aces High Festival. Easy peasy I thought! Well not quite, if a jobs worth doing it's worth doing well! I had sixteen bands to research. I found I actually enjoyed that and it kept me too busy to be making lunatic comments on Facebook! ;) Then I felt a bit inadequately qualified. I mean, who am I to comment on others, when my musical expertise extends to being able to play a mean Greensleeves on the recorder and a passable Annie's song on the flute! Haven't picked up either instrument for years! What I do have, however, is over 30 years of experience as a gig goer, so I can comment on what I like and what I don't! It's only my opinion and, if I don't like a band it doesn't mean they are bad, just not to my own liking. I admire anyone who has the guts to get up on that stage and have a go!