Stockholm retro rockers Siena Root have actually been in existence in one form or another for eighteen years now, first forming in 1997. In that time they’ve released five studio albums, a live album, a DVD and a handful of singles and EPs and are a familiar fixture on the stoner/prog/retro rock circuit across Europe. Given all that it’s surprising that it’s taken them this long to visit the UK and tonight sees them play their first ever show in London. It also marks a new era for the band, with new vocalist Samuel Björö at the helm.
Considering this is the band’s first London show, and currently Siena Root don’t have the same UK profile as many of their Swedish ‘retro rock’ contemporaries, you could be forgiven for thinking that this gig may not necessarily be that well attended. That was certainly not the case, and it’s clear this band have a strong UK following already, as the gig is actually sold out and the band are welcomed like conquering rock gods by many here tonight.
It’s not difficult to see why either. From the scintillating opener ‘Between The Lines’, Siena Root deliver over an hour’s worth of their potent mixture of ‘70s flavoured heavy rock, prog and psychedelic rock to a delighted audience, picking tracks from most of their previous releases with some brand new material too. Reference points along the way include Wishbone Ash, Santana, Allman Brothers and Uriah Heep, although the most obvious influence on the band’s sound remains Deep Purple to my ears, aided by the fantastic rumbling organ of Erik Pettersson. In fact at one point during the set they manage to shift effortlessly from sounding like prime Gillan-era Deep Purple on a brand new track to prime Coverdale-era for the next track, with drummer Love Forsberg adding some tasty Ian Paice-esque licks. On this evidence, the next album promises to be a belter.
Siena Root may be Stockholm’s best kept secret on these shores at the moment, but all that may be about to change. On the evidence of tonight’s superb performance, I would suggest Siena Root have the goods to not only give their more ‘name’ fellow Swede retro rock contemporaries a run for their money, but actually blow them all away.
Reviewed by Jim Rowland for Über Rock