AS FAR as I can see, in the case of most UK hard rock outfits practice makes perfect. The majority of new acts which emerged during the halcyon days of 79 were desperately over-rated and under-experienced. Yet the likes of Samson, the Tygers and to a lesser extent Maiden and Saxon have all come up with excellent material of late. New acts which offer something immediatley, however, are as scarce as pennies in a poor journalist’s pocket, which is why Presence are the subject of this piece.
To support a bunch of ageing cronies such as The Glitter Band without any form of sound-check is hardly the most pleasant way to debut on the London circuit, and while that lack of preparation certainly showed in an abysmal sound which drowned guitarist Gavin Lewis right out of affairs, Presence’s material is tremendously strong and versatile. It leans towards Journey-esque pop/rock though remains heavily pure rock based thanks to the tight rhythm of bassist Mark Parkin and outstanding drummer Ian Robert Stacey. Star of the show, though, is without doubt young Gavin, who has plenty of tricks up his guittaring sleeve, making use of a sensitive, tasteful style akin to Neal Schon’s cultured play.
‘Listen To My Heart and ‘Once Bitten, Twice Shy’ are two excellent examples of Presence’s sound and direction and given the correct studio treatment could be big airplay hits. My one reservation is that vocalist Jon Dunmore could’ve done more! While he’s excellently enthusiastic, he really doesn’t cut it vocally or visually, his movements being forced and rather shambolic. Problems can probably be ironed out with more experience, however, so keep an eye out for ’em.