Live Photos and Gig Review Credit: Adrian Hextall (Photographer/Live Gig reporter Myglobalmind Webzine
It’s 6:30pm at The Underworld and the venue is filling up very quickly to see a band who have never performed in the UK before and who have only just released their debut album. On another night, such a situation could limit the crowd to a handful of random people and the odd “I found them first” fan. However when your band membership comprises current members of Guns ‘n’ Roses, ex members of Noiseworks/INXS and The Cult to name a few, it is hardly surprising tonight’s show is sold out (tickets for a mere £7.50 also do no harm in ensuring a capacity crowd).
Tonight’s opening band ‘The Graveltones’ had been recommended to me by several people so I made sure of a good spot at the front to watch the two-piece Aussie ex-pats kick off proceedings. The cheer that greets them explains why they were nominated for Best New Band at this year’s Classic Rock Awards. Clearly a solid following and from the first chord, it’s easy to see why. When a two piece (drum and guitar combo) take to the stage immediate thoughts will compare them to the White Stripes but The Graveltones are an altogether different band. The energy Mikey Sorbello puts into his drum work during the set is stunning. It’s a miracle the kit survives to the last song as the bass drum is regularly rocked back and forth as he provides the backdrop to Jimmy O’s wonderful blues fueled guitar work.
Describing themselves as Blues \ Rock ‘n’ Roll \ Garage it certainly sums up the level of energy and flair they bring to the stage with first song ‘Bang Bang’. Ramshackle, fuzzy, distorted and awesome. Trying to pogo across the photopit is not going to make for good pictures to accompany this review so I have to calm down and focus on the job in hand. Three songs in (Blamin’ it on you and Right off the Shelf) and we are free to soak up the music the twosome are playing.
‘Forget about the Trouble’ , ‘Lightening Bolt’ and ‘You’re No Good’ follow and again use the distortion pedal to great effect. Shades of Hendrix pop up from time to time but the great love is clearly old school blues and the set eventually closes off with classic John Lee Hooker number ‘Boom Boom’. Great band, great start to the night:
Blamin’ It On You
Right off the Shelf
Forget About the Trouble
You’re No Good
Catch Me on the Fly
Boom Boom (John Lee Hooker cover)
If the current fashion trend of beards and classic 70’s rock vibe is anything to go by then The Graveltones will do well. As will fellow beard wearers Leogun.
Playing few numbers than the previous band but clocking in a similar set time, Leogun are also playing tonight in support of debut album ‘By the Reins’.
If fortune favours the brave then Tommy Smith must be up there with the best of them. Sheer grit and determination saw him talk his way backstage at a London gig, impress the promoters and get introduced to Rocket Music Management founded by non-other than Elton John. A record deal soon followed and the album saw light of day in 2013.
Most songs tonight feature on the debut except, interestingly, opener ‘My Motor’. Mixing equal parts gritty rock and groove led blues, the thing that sets this band out from the others is the stunning voice of Smith and his ability to bring an element of soul to the sound as well. Haunting is the right word for the ‘extra’ and it is shown live tonight on set closer ‘Everyday’. Check out the live video from the gig for this song at the bottom of the review. That soulful sound is extended on the album as well and mention must go to the track ‘Another Lost Soul’ surely one for future live shows with longer set times.
The remainder of the set is complemented by powerhouse drummer Michael Lloyd and bassist Matt Johnson who’s on stage presence resembles a whirlwind of hair and energy.
The threesome get rapturous applause as ‘Everyday’s epic 8 minutes comes to a close and they leave the stage ready to welcome The Dead Daisies.
Piggy in the Middle
THE DEAD DAISIES
The boards are cleared, the backdrops are hung, and the stage is set for The Dead Daisies. From their Facebook profile, The Dead Daisies nucleus was formed when singer-songwriter Jon Stevens got together with guitarist David Lowy.
The Dead Daisies sound is influenced by late ‘70s and early ‘80s hard rock, in that soulful Bad Company meets Foreigner via The Faces kind of vibe – big choruses, powerful melodies and strong hooks. Based on that… how can they fail?
The debut album from the band has been out for around 3 weeks now in the UK, courtesy of a free cover mount on Classic Rock magazine. As such, the tracks have a strong air of familiarity to them as album and set opener ‘It’s Gonna Take Time’ proves. Evil and Washington follow before we are presented with the first new track of the night ‘Your Karma’ which gets its’ live global premiere.
Jon Stevens is a solid front man, working the crowd and the stage well and they manage to make the small stage at the Underworld look ten times bigger than it usually is. This does mean that rhythm section Charley Drayton (drums) and Darryl Jones (Bass) suffer at the back of the stage in the gloom somewhat, leaving Jon, Richard Fortus and David Lowy to share the spotlight. Poor old Dizzy Reed (yes he of G’N’R fame) is relegated to the side of the stage behind the railings but overall the layout works and the band look every bit the collection of professionals their respective CVs would suggest.
The set contains a wonderful mix of hard rockers, classic rock and soulful moments marred only by the volume being on 12 (unlike the previous 2 bands) for the entire set. As such, those unfamiliar with the songs may have struggled to hear clearly what Jon was trying to say but it’s a minor niggle in an otherwise great set. Other live premieres include “Angel in your Eyes” and “Face I love” before the first single off the album Lock n Load is aired. Richard Fortus nails Slash’s guitar track (as he guested on the album) and the band then finish the main set with a raucous version of Helter Skelter..
A brief departure sees them soon back on stage to the delight of the crowd. The stunning ‘Writing on the Wall’ just slows things down a little bit and highlights the range of Stevens’ voice. A cover of The Faces ‘Stay with Me’ then results in a sing along with the crowd and ends a great night and a great live debut for the band.
They now go off on tour with Black Star Riders. Catch them across the UK if you can.
It’s Gonna’ Take Time
Your Karma (Live Premiere)
Fly (Jon Stevens solo song)
Miles In Front of Me
Angel In Your Eyes (Live Premiere)
Face I Love (Live Premiere)
Lock ‘n’ Load
Helter Skelter (Beatles cover)
Writing on the Wall
Stay With Me (Faces Cover)
The Dead Daisies on Tour UK 2013
Monday 25th Nov O2 Academy, Bristol
Tuesday 26th Nov Junction, Cambridge
Wednesday 27th Nov UEA, Norwich
Saturday 30th Nov Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton
Sunday 1st Dec Solus/University, Cardiff
Monday 2nd Dec O2 Academy, Oxford
Tuesday 3rd Dec O2 Academy, Liverpool
Thursday 5th Dec Ironworks, Inverness
Friday 6th Dec Picturehouse, Edinburgh
Saturday 7th Dec O2 Academy, Newcastle
Sunday 8th Dec O2 Academy, Leeds
Tuesday 10th Dec The Assembly Rooms, Leamington Spa
Thursday 12th Dec Rock City, Nottingham
Friday 13th Dec Ritz, Manchester
Saturday 14th Dec Academy, Dublin, EIRE
Sunday 15th Dec Limelight, Belfast