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  • Chris Farlie

Long Road Festival: The Front Porch Stage - Gasoline & Matches

Having been in the news far too much for their tenuous links to the burnt out "Crooked House" pub, The Long Road represented a chance for Gasoline & Matches to make headlines for what they do best. As it turned out the Front Porch Stage was something of it's own crooked house with the roof not quite clearing the stage leaving it covered in water after one substantial downpour - fortunately the hard working staff managed to keep the water away from the electrics allowing things to continue to schedule.

This was a #TEAMw21 tip of who to see and Gasoline & Matches were not in the mood to let us down as they took to the stage for "I'm Not Into Country", Sally Rea particularly resplendent in her gold trousers that captured the light perfectly. The sound on the Front Porch seemed a lot clearer than that of the Interstate which was ideal for the G&M sound. An extended drum intro fed into the perfect pop country that is "If You Wanna Stay", it gave Stephen on guitar a chance to throw some early shapes at the front of stage as he played.! The key change towards the end giving the song those extra pop credentials.

The latest single from Gasoline & Matches, "Patient Wolves" was preceded by Stephen crying out "Let me hear you howl!" - as it comes from a male perspective this is the song where Stephen's vocals are more prominent. With the final chorus delivered almost a capella - highlighting their harmonies this was a nice little bit of stagecraft.

The overall sound would then change with the arrival of saxophonist Chris Procter - who immediately gave them a sound that would be unique across the whole weekend - it would see three of the band all move to front of stage - the drummer James Randle visibly smiling at the antics playing out ahead of him. The sax really added another dimension to the song. Their Jenn Bostic co write "Smiling Vipers" saw Stephen provide some impressive guitar riffing to match the power drumming from the rear of the stage.

One of the groups earlier singles "Fool's Gold" was once again given an extra boost by the addition of the saxophone. It really gave extra oomph to the chorus where it accompanied Stephen and Sally Rea already powering out the vocals. The tour de force that is "Never Have I Ever" brought huge smiles to the crowd while the closing song, "Glory Hunter" saw the band move from being at the front of the stage to actually immersing themselves in the crowd, surrounded by an array of mobile phones pointing at them - it was a bit chaotic but it gave the crowd a first day festival memory like no other.

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