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Knightshade - Single Review: 'U Say'

17 Sep 2017 // A review by Shade

When we think of Kiwi Hard Rock bands that have shaped our musical landscape over the past 3 decades, survived devastating real life storms, re-united us with graphic memories of the same shaky ground we’ve all stood on before, and been there since the dawn of 1980’s Kiwi Hard Rock… one name does not escape. Knightshade.

Right from the start, U Say opens with a gentle movie setting ambience & atmosphere, as the rich strings from Kingsley Smith slowly draw you in, melting together with serene peaceful enticing guitar lines. In no time at all, you are introduced to Wayne Elliot’s spell casting vocals. As the rich harmonious chorus effortlessly drops, Neil Mcdonald’s texture filled bass lines along with Scott Williams expressive drumming style ignite to set the scene. You are smoothly transported into a past world we have all lived in. Confusion. Distrust. Pain. Heartbreak. The perfectly crafted lyrics of U Say subconsciously tap your emotions.

It is also here when those powerful, polished and tight classic Knightshade shred rhythms start to drive this track, and you, somewhere else. Continuing to tell a true story we can all relate to, it’s not long before Rik Bernard and Craig Pollock’s precision dual octave guitar lead break and dreamy bridge leave you recalling your past. That ‘stuff’ you tried to forget comes flooding back once again as the song winds up into harmonic overdrive. Superbly well crafted rock, U Say takes you right back to that soul-stirring journey. The one you thought you had survived.

Such seasoned songwriting ability to capture and connect people as one, on a single emotion,  is desperately missing from many modern productions these days. However, Knightshade show once again, real storytelling is still very much alive in 2017. Telling a message millions can relate to. The strong stamp of ‘New Zealandness’ within this piece of artwork leaves a lingering taste that will last long after you’ve finished your tomato sauce!

Call me Bogan if you will, but I can already imagine myself rumbling down the highway in a V8, on a hot Summer’s day, windows open with this track cranking! It delivers punchy summer hard rock hit sound, with distinctive Kiwi infusion.

I reckon U Say will cut real with NZ music fans, and deserves FM Radio traction! Check it out!



Review provided to muzic.net.nz and written by Carwyn Henigan
 

About Knightshade

Knightshade is a New Zealand rock/hardrock group. They formed in Te Puke in 1982. The band based themselves in Hamilton in the mid-1980s when the line-up changed. The line-up then consisted of Wayne Elliott (vocals), Alan Grady (drums), Rik Bernards (guitar), Jon Bell (bass), Paul Martin (guitar). Paul left the band and Gavin Lind rejoined. This was the lineup that performed and recorded the majority of their work. Craig Pollock replaced Gavin Lind on guitar in 1991. They have had several top 20 singles and have supported major touring acts including Deep Purple, ZZ Top, Bon Jovi, Jimmy Barnes, The Angels, Iggy Pop and Guns 'N' Roses. They have also released several EPs, a live album and a ‘best of’ studio album in 1995. Knightshade are still based in Hamilton.

The band went their separate ways in 1997, but after a 14-year hiatus they reunited in 2010 and released a new single, Rough at the Top, a year later. On June 6, 2014, the band finally returned to the public stage and gave a long-anticipated gig in Hamilton at the Altitude, with several further gigs the same year. 2015 saw the band grow and plant their feet more firmly on the ground, with the help from their latest line-up, including; Scott Williams on drums, Neil McDonald on bass, and Kingsley Smith on Keyboards. Wayne, Rik, and Craig remained the core original members of the band as the KS machine gathered momentum from its Hamilton home base. Knightshade were invited to perform as part of the bill for the infamous Gemini party, hosted by Paul Martin, May 31, 2015. The headlining act was Devilskin with Medusa Glare also appearing on the same bill. The rest of 2015 saw the band working on new material and honing the new line-up. On November 6, 2015, they performed at the Mount, at the newly opened Totara Street venue. This was their first gig in the Bay area in almost 20 years. It was a kind of 'coming home' gig for Wayne and Rik, who originally came from the Bay of Plenty area. (Wayne from Te Puke and Rik from Whakatane). The gig was a great success and marked a new era for Knightshade with a tight new line-up.

Recording sessions started for the new material towards the end of 2015 and into 2016, but were stalled after Wayne returned for more chemo treatment. After 3 or 4 months of this, Wayne’s health temporarily returned and the band decided to announce one final gig, scheduled for 6th of August 2016. The band rehearsed for nearly 3 months, with Gael Ludlow joining them to add her legendary vocals for the song Out for the Count. By the time of the gig, the Altitude venue in Hamilton had sold out, with people coming from all over New Zealand for their last chance to experience the band live. Some fans even flew across the Tasman Sea to see the gig. It was a very special night with the band performing for over 2 hours. A camera crew filmed the concert and have been slowly editing the footage for a full length Live DVD. (hopefully due out at the end of 2017). At the same time, the band have been polishing their new single, U Say, due out 29th of October 2017. This is the first of 4 new songs to be released by Knightshade over the next few months.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Knightshade

Releases

Knightshade
Year: 1995
Type: Album
You Don't Need Me
Year: 1988
Type: EP
Out For The Night (live)
Year: 1987
Type: Album
The Physical You
Year: 1987
Type: EP
Out For The Count
Year: 1986
Type: EP

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