To start off my journey through the Burton/Midlands music scene, I need a really striking, hard-hitting and talented act to get the ball rolling and demonstrate what talent a small town can produce. I have decided to go with not only one of the most talented guitarists in Burton but also one of the best female guitarists I’ve seen, Roz Bruce.
A big music fan from a young age, Roz had aspirations of becoming a great guitarist in the same vein as Jimi Hendrix (naturally). But she had also been into writing poetry since her teenage years which spurred her to become a songwriter as well as a musician.
Having been doing gigs since her teens and having transitioned from creating illusions of a band behind her using a Loopstation (a particular favourite musical tool of mine) to actually having a bassist and drummer to back her up, she has always been finding ways to develop as an artist and experiment with her songs music styles and song subject matter.
Despite having a very cheerful and friendly attitude in person (I should know being a fan and friend of hers, biased I know but it’s my blog so there!), her lyrical content is dark and morbid with topics such as prostitution (Lady), depression (Days Entwine), social uneasiness (Social Freak) and alcoholism (13 Hours).
Of course all of those subject matters have been done many, many times before, but as Frank Carson always said: “You’ve heard ‘em all before, it’s the way oi tell ‘em!” The unique way she presents these subject matters to us through the loud, psychedelic roar of her music is what sets her apart from a lot of acts in the scene.
Speaking of her music, it ranges from previously mentioned psychedelic waves to intense alternative wails to create a truly mental yet controlled atmosphere which she uses to create a lot of trippy imagery through the songs she performs. Her main strength lies in her guitar work and my God can she play! From power chords to blues riffs to playing the damn thing with her teeth, she can prove why I called her one of the best female guitarists I’ve seen at the start of this article. Her vocal work is also of note, that can be soft rasps one moment to primal screams (See what I did there Roz? *wink*) the next. It’s not the best voice in the world but like her idol Hendrix, the focus in on her key strength (guitar playing) whilst using her vocals as a way to present the message in her songs. Who cared whether Hendrix was a good singer or not? I didn’t because I was too busy being blown away by his charisma! Sometimes, being interesting is better than being skilled, even though Roz has skill too as I have been going on about for the past few lines.
However, it’s not just Roz’s show in the Infusion despite her being smack bang in the band name (she’s earned the ego if you ask me!). Gaf Evans provides intricate and well-paced basslines which just as much as Roz’s guitar work gives each song a unique flavour. He is also one of the two original members (along with Roz, of course) in the band and when performing, you can see that this is musicianship that has developed over a long period of time and has become what it is today. Drummer Dominic Dillon finishes off the trio whose blistering drum work brings a wealth of experience to the Infusion having been the drummer in another Burton band The Telescopes who made it big in the late 80s to early 90s (big enough to have their own Wikipedia page and a single in the UK Top 100). These are a band I might come back to one day, but for now, back to the Infusion.
Roz’s highlights and accolades over her years of performing her music include performing alongside world famous psychedelic acts such as cult favourites Gong (where her love of teapots no doubt originated), Nik Turner (ex Hawkwind), Space Ritual and San Francisco Space Rockers Moon Duo. She even had a Danish Internet reviewer sing ‘Days Entwine’ at a gig in Birmingham! Can’t knock her for versatility! Said reviewer went on to say Roz is “awesome” by the way.
A new album has been in the works since 2012 after the release of her EP Lost and Found back in 2011. But for now, Miss Bruce has her gigs, her nationwide audience and her blistering skills on her Strat to make it all worth the wait.
As Roz herself would say: “Peace out tea-spouts!” This has been Brewtown Music giving you a fine brew of Midlands tunes.
Some of Roz’s stuff!