Wayward Sons - Manchester Apollo 24th January 2018

Photo credit: Gary Gilmurray
Photo credit: Gary Gilmurray

Wayward Sons, the first of two support acts to American comedic rockers Steel Panther (Inglorious being the other), hit the stage as the last few bars of Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues fade away. 


Strangely, given the early hour of the evening, the auditorium is chock-a-block with punters - some in costumes and wigs - but many like rabbits caught in the headlights. They’re uncertain about this new act. Others brazenly adorn Wayward Sons t-shirts, clearly on to a good thing long ago, waiting to hear live versions of tracks from the band’s magnificent 2017 debut album Ghosts Of Yet To Come.


Straightaway we get Alive, a monster of a song that’s unfamiliar to most present - but that’s OK, they perhaps primarily came to see the headliners, not this lot. A few fingers move and some feet tap the floor, evidence that some seem to be enjoying it thus far. Ghost is next, a rocker that gets a few more nodding and clapping. The band cavorts and struts its stuff, breathing new life into each and every song. A rippling effect appears to be happening, and more and more people are getting drawn in. "I knew you were out there somewhere!" Toby Jepson jokingly quips at the end of the song.

Photo credit: Gary Gilmurray

He certainly knows a thing or two about getting the crowd on his side. Although in a new band, Toby’s a veteran of over 30 years’ standing: frontman with Little Angels, later GUN and Fastway, as well as touring and recording under his own moniker. Plus lots more besides...


By the time the band play energised versions of Killing Time and Crush, nearly the whole audience are on their side, and all around are heads a-nodding, arms a-waving and people a-dancing. When Toby issues a rallying cry to handclap during a brief halt in a frantic Small Talk, he tells the assembled mass "I ain’t starting again ‘til you get ‘em up!", and it was difficult to find anyone not obliging. 


Something Wrong was dedicated to the memory of Motorhead’s ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke, a close friend of Toby’s and co-musician in Fastway, before the all-too-short set was brought to a close with a rousing Until The End. 


"It’s a venue that holds a lot of great memories for me and I love it." Toby informs me post-gig. "It’s always a thrill seeing people who don’t know us or our material getting into it." Safe to say it was job done. Definitely a band destined for greater things...


Enjoy the photos from the Manchester show below and watch out for news of a headlining tour coming in April 2018. 


Coming very soon to Rock Today, a full and in depth interview with Toby where he gives us the full story on how the band came together and the journey to creating their debut album Ghosts Of Yet To Come.


Gary Gilmurray 

Photo credit: Gary Gilmurray
Photo credit: Gary Gilmurray
Photo credit: Gary Gilmurray
Photo credit: Gary Gilmurray
Photo credit: Gary Gilmurray
Photo credit: Gary Gilmurray