THE EAST SIDE GAMBLERS – The Big Machine (2018)
“The Big Machine” is the fresh release by THE EAST SIDE GAMBLERS, the group created by Cinderella’s Tom Keifer solo band lead guitarist Tony Higbee.
You never know what you’re going to get when a band member from a famous artist’s solo band branches out with its own group.
Well, let me tell you that Higbee and his guys rocks greatly.
Sure, it’s a good marketing ploy or timing for Higbee and The East Side Gamblers capitalize the affiliation with Keifer to get some publicity right off the bat and get their foot in the door so to speak. After all, any band member affiliated with Cinderella frontman Tom Keifer will at the very least get a listening “audition” from us simply out of interest for all things Keifer.
So I was quite interested to hear what Higbee‘s band would sound like.
I’ve got to say that I didn’t expect such a hard rockin’ album from The East Side Gamblers. There’s definitely a story behind that name that I hope to find out sooner rather than later.
I also didn’t expect such a raspy and down n’ dirty voice from Higbee. Wow! What a great voice the man possesses!
Finally, I didn’t expect to be sucked in right away from the first note that I heard from The East Side Gamblers.
As soon as the opening guitar riff from first track ‘Welcome to the Big Machine’ starts, these guys had my attention all the way through.
Mixing some debut album era Kingdom Come groove with some classic rock, the music played by The East Side Gamblers is simply stupendous.
The whole group consisting of Higbee and Josh Dutoit sharing lead guitar duties, bassist Cody Higbee (presumably Tony Higbee‘s brother based on the last name and resemblance looks wise) and drummer Chris Brewer sounds really tight.
I particularly like the guitar harmonies that pop up from time to time which give a cool ’80s feel to the more modern classic guitar sound that is prevalent throughout most of the album.
The first two tracks “Welcome To The Big Machine” and “The Getaway” have a lot of similarities with Higbee‘s vocals singled out during the verses with mesmerizing guitar riffs in between.
Although you might think that the two songs have that one dimensional but cool feel that Kingdom Come‘s sublime track ‘Get It On’ possesses, both songs and particularly “Welcome To The Big Machine” has quite a few different tempos to it including the aforementioned guitar harmonies towards the end.
“High Time” is just another terrific bluesy hard rocker, with a very catchy chorus and a fantastic guitar solo thet reminds me of classic Ace Frehley.
There’s a lot of swagger in “I Ain’t A Ghost Yet” with some Aerosmith on it, then “Eye for an Eye” provides balance at the album’s midpoint with its midtempo pace and groove.
If you love broken riff rockers then “Whatever Gets You Through the Night” is a pure delight. Love the valvular-amp hot solo!
“Bigger, Better, Faster, More” makes justice to its title, a devastating hard rocker ready for the arenas, the main riff and raspy vocals of ‘Sweet Love’ has some Cinderella similarity indeed, while on ‘Tear It Down’ The East Side Gamblers add acoustics to the mix, but the song rocks hard in the vein of Inglorious, or even a bit like Great White.
The East Side Gamblers are one of the surprises of the year for me, and while they have been together for several years – doing shows and composing / recording songs between their busy schedule working for others – this band deserves major exposure.
Conjuring the traditional hard rock groove of all times with really good songwriting, performances and a bright production, “The Big Machine” is a HIGHLY recommended collection of killer songs.
You’ve seen it first here, at 0dayrox
01 – Welcome to the Big Machine
02 – The Getaway
03 – High Time
04 – I Ain’t a Ghost Yet
05 – Eye for an Eye
06 – Whatever Gets You Through the Night
07 – Let It All Bleed Out
08 – Tear It Down
09 – Bigger, Better, Faster, More
10 – Sweet Love
11 – So Many Ways You Can Lie
Tony Higbee – lead vocals, guitar
Josh Dutoit – guitar
Cody Higbee – bass
Chris Brewer – drums
BUY IT !