Armed And Ready – Kerrang! 1982- Nick Kemp
WHAT WOULD you do if your band gets 15 gigs in a year, goes down like a forest fire when someone finally realises you’ve got potential, is offered the chance to support Angelwitch only to find your singer has decided that this is the day to get involved in a car crash. Give up?
Many probably would, but south London based Ore have turned these minor mishaps, and many more, to their advantage. Admittedly the gig situation hasn’t improved, but when they do hit the boards it’s liked watching a fully steamed up Flying Scotsman tearing out after a week’s solitary confinement. An apt comparison in view of the stature of lead vocalist Gordon MacArthur. Built like a train, he has the remarkable ability to entertain an audience both with tremendous singing (somewhere between Joe Cocker and Nicky Moore) and a ridiculous booze-inspired wit, bred in the hunting grounds of Glasgow bars, where you have to have a big mouth or a big fist (and usually both).
But this large bundle of talent almost didn’t make the band as Dave Boyce, bass guitarist explains.
“We were looking for a good hard rock singer, but there had to be something else there – personality and an ability to do a little more than just scream. We’d auditioned quite a lot of singers but we weren’t really happy with any of them. By this time there were only a few left to listen to. Gordon being one of them. But being the totally reliable person we’ve all come to know he didn’t show up. So we relunctantly chose one of the others and thought no more about it.
“Then the follwing week Gordon rang up and asked if the job was stoll open. Having nothing to lose, we said yes he even showed up almost on time. It was incredible. Not only was he the kind of singer we dreamed we’d get, but he had us all in fits of laughter within a few seconds of walking through the door.”
Ore play regularly now at the White Swan in Greenwich, a HM bastion that deserves a column all to itself, but they’re looking for gigs in the centre of London.
DEAN HOWARD – LEAD GUITAR
DAVE BOYCE – BASS
ANDY ELTHICK – DRUMS
GORDON MacARTHUR – VOCALS
ORE Marquee, London, May 1982 (review by Nick Kemp)
FOR a regular Marquee support band, there’s a helluva lot of fuss being made about this lot. Not that I’m the slightest bit surprised as they’re simply one of the tightest rock bands I’ve seen in ages – headliners or support.
You may recall the “Armed and Ready” piece I wrote about them some months back, and at that time they were ruefully wondering where the next gig was coming from.
Happily that situation has now been rectified to a degree and the band have recently opened for Girl, Marillion, Tytan and Tank, the latter two gigs being more than just technical blow offs! As ever, vocalist Gordon Arthur is the key factor. The day before, when Ore came on as support to Marillion, he’d questioned the audience on their academic qualifications, mouthed off in almost unintelligable Glaswegian and let fly with half an hour of high pitched laughter. But if tonights crowd thought they were in for a clowning session, they were only half right. Gordon may still be in the pub when he’s supposed to be on stage, and he may also take the piss out of everyone present (including the band). But that doesn’t change the fact that he’s one of the finest singers currently on the circuit.
His combination of ten pints before and three gallons of water during the set seems to pay off in a big way. But Ore aren’t just a charismatic singer; they are a tight, powerful foursome, with guitarist Dean Howard another key figure. His neat work on the fretboard boosts the already confirmed appeal of songs such as “She’s So Permanent”, the perfect single, and “Yellow Fever”, which is quiute the finest set closer I’ve heard in years. After all, how many support acts have you seen that always get demanded back for an after hours session? They’re on at Reading ’82 and who’s to say the success achieved by Slade last year can’t be repeated by Ore. I certainly know who my money’s on (and it aint the Three Degrees!).
Single Review Kerrang! October 1982 (by Neil Jeffries) Ore; “Your Time Will Come” (Bandit) This’ll have ’em decimating cardboard Stratocasters in the aisles. Bludgeon rock’n’roll that streams along with all the power and subtlety of a rogue juggernaut. But will it sell? Well the Metal discos will buy it, the die-hard headbangers too. But the general public and Simon Bates will remain totally indifferent. Sod ’em. Side two has some tasteful gravelly vocals in a song about jaundice or something. Pretty nifty lads. When’s the next one?
Reading Review Kerrang! October 1982( by Chris Welch)
“Ore,” said festival organiser Jack Barrie, “are the best band I’ve seen at the Marquee since AC/DC.” A bold claim, though Jack has certainly been right many a time. Certainly the band’s lead singer, a large bearded gent who swigged from a huge can of nameless fluid, presented an impressive sight, but I was not overstruck on performances like “Hot On Your Tour” and “Yellow Fever”. Dull, but maybe they sound better in a club.
ORE Marquee, London, 1983 (by Mick Wall)
Ore are a four-peice monolith of Metal-minded madnes who don’t waste words or riffs. They just deliver harder than a club-iron to the back of the knees. So let’s meet the boys in the band…they’ve got real friendly faces.
On lead guitar and playing like he means it is Dean Howard, on bass and vocal harmonies so full and sweet is John Jay Hennessey, on drums is Andy Elthick…and on big, beefy, jerky lead vocals there is Gordon MacArthur. Gordon, on stage at least, comes on as the sort of broad shouldered, bombed out frontman delicate KERRANG! type hacks don’t want to mess with. He has the creative constitution of a lion, and a talent that staggers beneath the weight of its own electric personality. He leaps, he spins, and he challenges to listen to his music. He’s no Michael Jackson when it comes to dancing, but he has a Celtic aggression to his gait that is quite poetic in its animal grace
The songs are all charged up and candy-fat, full of sweet rock melody. On ‘Alternatives’ Ore could be a British ZZ Top, while sometimes, as on ‘Natural Reaction’, they reminded ne of all those early 70’s blues-rock bands like Free and the Faces, and it was just so convincing you couldn’t fail to praise the band’s vitality.
Ore have got the muscle, and they badly want to go for it, and go for it now, which makes for great entertainment. But in terms of improving their act, well, they’re new and they’ve got plenty of time to smooth out the rough spots, refine the musical dramatics and polish up the guitars and vocal harmonies. Straight-forward work is all that’s needed.