Goodbye is sometimes too final a word. This is probably why this sentiment was never wholeheartedly expressed by the trio of Stand Alone this ordinary Friday night in Bradford. Several months earlier, the band had made the difficult announcement that no band wishes to make: that this chapter of Stand Alone was coming to a close. After six years, countless gigs across the country and two exceptional EPs, the Stand Alone journey has come to an end as we know it. This very night was to be the last show from the boys for what sounds like a good long while, and if that’s not an excuse to go all out, then I don’t know what is.
The duo in Colt 48 provided a stellar supporting set, filled with blazing and heavy tracks to get the crowd moving. Their catchy, angsty riffs and anthemic choruses proved exceedingly popular, they made a rather remarkable noise for just the two of them.
As the trio in Stand Alone graced the stage, there was a real sense of occasion that fell across the room, as if their greatest friends in the world had all turned out to wish them well and give one last hurrah. The intimacy was exhilarating and proved to be the most perfect venue for the evening. Guitarist and lead vocalist Gavin Stevenson, drummer Tom Durrans and stand in bassist for the last few shows Mark Lewalski took their places, crashing into life with classic track ‘False Beginnings’. The room erupted into life, proving a sensational way to kick of their last show in style.
Every song from every corner of their back catalogue was aired for one last time, from the caverns of debut EP ‘Nothing is Forgotten’, to the impressively polished Stand Alone present and surprisingly, even beyond. Every corner of their world was explored in true rock and roll fashion. Both Gavin and Tom took a special moment to thank their stand-in bass player Mark, who had ‘kept the band alive’ for the past few months, and the crowd were in full agreement, for he had done an amazing job.
War cries and gritty riffs came from rock anthem ‘Repose En Paix’, before we were truly surprised by something new from Gavin and Tom, the ballsy track: ‘Watch You Burn’. This night might have been marking the end of one journey, but it’s clear that the creative fire is still ablaze within these two. Picking up an acoustic guitar, Gavin took a moment to play a gentler track from deep within his past: ‘It’s Hard to Be a Gentleman’. And the subtly genius of twisting an old Stand Alone track – ‘This is Ours’ with a cheeky riff from Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody was a stroke of genius. Let’s face it, when does Queen not make a situation better.
Throughout the night, we were delighted by Tom’s thunderous and gut punching efforts on the drums, but that would be far too easy to stop there. Taking impressive to a whole new level, he decided to seamlessly hammer out the entirety of the Finale of Rossini’s fantastic overture to ‘William Tell’ on the drums, proving himself the sweatiest man alive for his valiant efforts. This easily drew the loudest roar of the evening, and quite rightly so.
‘Never Stand Alone’, ‘616’ and emotional finale ‘Easier Said Than Done’ drew the show to a close, with the crowd chanting for one last time the most poignant of lyrics for the occasion: ‘You live your life, but nothing is forgotten’. As the trio left the stage, in true, traditional fashion the crowd demanded: ‘One more song’. Popping their heads back onstage, they confessed: ‘We don’t have any more songs’ and settled to cover an absolute belter instead: Black Sabbath’s Paranoid.
No one can ever really be sure of what the future may bring, but a wise man once said: “The best way to predict your future is to create it”. So perhaps if Stand Alone are still creating music in some way, and the situation and the timing is right, this may not be the last we hear from these exceptionally talented lads. And by God we hope it isn’t.