Colin Fenn, DJ/Freelance Journalist
Glad All Over. You would be hard pushed to find a better ‘covers’ band than Gladragz. This five-piece Essex-based outfit seem to enjoy playing as much as the audience love listening. And what a refreshing change to hear a rock band who achieve the perfect sound balance — the vocals clearly audible and not drowned out by the instruments. Gladragz are extremely experienced (having previously worked under the name of Archive) and that experience shines through in their shows. This is a real family affair with brothers Graham (lead guitar, backing vocals), Kevin (bass guitar) and Nigel (drums) providing backing for their cousin Jeff who has great stage presence handling the main vocals adding some nifty acoustic guitar. The only non-family member is Hob who seems to mastermind things behind the scenes playing keyboards, doing backing vocals and handling the sound system. Gladragz pump out the hits from the sixties and seventies and they have a penchant for the songs of David Bowie and Rod Stewart, whose material was heavily featured in their gig at the music-loving Hop Poles. The Jean Genie, Life On Mars, Ziggy Stardust and Moonage Daydream were all given great workouts in the first set. The songs of Rod and the Faces were well represented too. And it wasn’t the predictable Rodney songs either — the Faces’ Ooh La La; Ronnie Lane’s little-known Debris and the moody In A Broken Dream were all given new arrangements. Punters at the Hop Poles love their rock music and the place was packed for this performance. Gladragz lapped up the attention performing a wide variety of material in the second half. The songs included a splendid rendition of ELO’s complex rock number Mr Blue Sky; Mott the Hoople’s jaunty Roll Away The Stone; the Zombies’ sixties’ classic She’s Not There and Deep Purple’s heavy rocker Black Night. The band also get my award for performing (to perfection) the most unusual song choice by a pub band — Genesis’ weird and wonderful I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe). The enthusiastic audience didn’t want Gladragz to stop and I’m sure they would have stayed into the early hours if there were no licensing laws. Do try to see this family outfit if you get the chance. They present a fantastic night of entertainment.