The Rocket, Crawley 1985 DAVE DICKSON
IMAGINE how you’d feel if you wandered into a pub one night and discovered that the Alice Cooper band were playing there!
High Risk are an eight-piece outfit from Selsey near Chichester on the South Coast and, yes, the Alice Cooper reference is quite sound. Fronted by the effervescent Steve Gibbs, who is a dead-ringer for Alice, this band have taken Mr. Cooper’s ideal of ‘theatre rock’ and developed it into a form of splendid entertainment. Then why has no one ever heard of them? Well, I’d like to know that too, and the up-coming feature should provide the answers. But for the time being let’s get back to the show.
Just as Alice has been accused of crudity, sexism and exploitation so too will High Risk. Alongside the standard vocals / guitar / bass / drums / keyboards line-up they also boast three girl dancers / backing vocalists who come on attired variously as schoolgirls, nurses, cheerleaders and body-builders. But, just like Alice, this is only theatre and the whole thing is delivered with such verve and panache and is so obviously tongue–in-cheek that such criticisms become largely invalid. What we have here is a highly professional band (belying their moniker) presenting carefully structured, superbly crafted scenarios brilliantly mastered by Gibbs and penned, for the most part, by guitarist Malcolm MacDonald (no relation).
MacDonald, although distinctly thinning thatch-wise (unlike some name guitarists he can’t afford the stitching) is nonetheless an eminently capable guitar player. This is Heavy Rock like it should be played, with style and flair, and MacDonald has plenty of both.
High Risk have been knocking around in one form or another for a couple of years now and they have yet to receive any recognition for their efforts. But this lot deserves all the attention they can possibly reap because, quite simply, at this level they are easily the most exciting act I have seen for many a moon. So just remember where you read the name first, OK!!