Live review and picture credit : Adrian Hextall (writer \ reviewer \ photographer Myglobalmind Magazine)
With a new album about to be recorded through Frontiers, personnel changes with Blake Sakamoto leaving the band for personal reasons, a lot is going on in the world of DRN at the moment. The album will be their first new studio output in over 20 years and Rob Daiker is doing a fine job as Blake’s replacement. A long time friend and collaborator of Dan Reed’s appearing on much of his solo work, Rob is a natural fit in the band and has helped ensure the tour is going ahead as planned.
Support comes from Scotland’s ‘The King Lot’ (I see what they’ve done there…!) and Sweden’s ‘Electric Boys’.
The King Lot
The King Lot is a Hard Rock trio from Scotland. Having played over the last year or so with notable acts (The Answer, Beasto Blanco, The Last Vegas, Vain, H.E.A.T., Supercharger, Thundermother), they’ve garnered some quality reviews for their energetic live show and début single, ‘Until My Dying Day’. If the guitarist was the drummer and the drummer was on lead guitar, the band would resemble a youthful ZZ Top. Michael Fairbain (guitar) is pretty much hair free and CK Gillon is to all intents and purposes a ringer for Dusty and Billy.
Their set, naturally short as the opening act, is extremely energised and the get the crowd moving very nicely. Jason Sweeney on bass and lead vocals throws everything into his performance and the tight three piece rightly keep the crowd moving as they rattle through tracks from their début album. Highlights include Addicted and Burn and finishing with a track called Bang! is nothing less than inspired as that’s exactly what they went out with.
The album (10 tracks produced, mixed and mastered by Martin Merenyi) has been out since March of this year and is well worth checking out. If you’re interested it can be picked up via www.thekinglot.bigcartel.com.
Let’s Get Together / Addicted / Telegram / Dying Day / Burn / One of These Days / Bang!
The late 80s \ early 90s saw a surge in bands playing ‘funk rock’ music. DRN and Electric Boys were by far two of the best on the scene back in the day and it’s great to finally see them both together on the same bill. Celebrating 25 (and a bit) years since the band’s debut ‘Funk O Metal Carpet Ride’ was released, we get a set tonight that is every fans’ dream.
Opening with ‘Psychedelic Eyes’, Conny Bloom and co. hit the ground running and don’t stop for the next 50 minutes. Electric Boys are one of those ageless bands and the last 20+ years seem to just slide away. Tracks like ‘Electrified’ and ‘Mary In The Mystery World’ are as energised and impactful now as they were back then and it leaves a slightly bitter taste in the mouth as the realisation of how big this band should have been at the time really hits home.
How and why Electric Boys and DRN never hit the heady heights of fame and fortune that we all expected is unclear. Certainly rock fans, the fickle bunch that they are, struggled to place both acts into either Glam, Thrash, NWOBHM, Classic etc.. and as such pop fans often saw them as too rock and rock fans saw them as too poppy which is a real shame as what the bands deliver is class, plain and simple.
Conny Bloom looks every inch the rock star, and as they finish with the stunning trio of ‘Rags to Riches’, ‘Captain of my Soul’ and the electric [sic] ‘Al Lips N’ Hips’, it’s clear that there’s an appettite for more music from the band. Even a Silver Ginger 5 reunion wouldn’t;t go amiss – just saying !!
Psychedelic Eyes / Into the Ditch / The Change / Electrified / Freaky Funksters / Mary in the Mystery World / Knee Deep in You / Rags to Riches / Captain of My Soul / All Lips N’ Hips
Dan Reed Network
Every time I go to see the Dan Reed Network, the sense of anticipation is tremendous. This is a band that simply does not know how to put on a bad show. For an act that have spent 20 years apart from each other, their reunion in 2013 has brought them back stronger and tighter than ever before. The enjoyment of playing on stage together is palpable and Dan is a whirlwind of stored energy as he mixes dance moves, Kung Fu and Tai Chi into his routine. At times the shapes he throws are so reminiscent of the Karate Kid you almost expect Ralph Macchio to appear for the big finale.
Like Electric Boys, Dan Reed Network have a treasure trove of tunes to call upon from their all too brief 3 studio album (and one E.P.) career. At the height of their popularity, with a sell out show at the Forum (Town and Country Club as it was back then) the world was their’s for the taking but a change of heart, mind and soul saw Dan and Co. split up with the (then shaven headed) lead singer eventually finding his way to India to contemplate what mattered most to him. Nowadays he and the band know exactly what works for them and Dan even introduces the crowd to his young son before the show starts. It’s a real family affair and immediately creates that bond between crowd and band.
Thankfully, what mattered most was the music and an amazing Portland NYE reunion show convinced them to give it another go and the sold out Academy reaffirms that it was the right thing to do. Even the tracks that no longer sit comfortably with Dan (due to the nature of the lyrical content and that they are no longer young guys chasing the girls) are played because the fans have clamoured for it for years. As such we do get ‘Tiger In a Dress’ and a vocal crowd proves that it was definitely the right thing to include. As Dan confirms in an interview (to be published here soon) he has to prepare himself to sing it but he knows the fans want to hear it live.
Particularly impressive is the rendition of Stronger than Steel with Soheila Clifford, the jam session-esque Get To You, when Electric Boys and The King Lot return to the stage and the groove led World Has A Heart Too.
It goes without saying that the band deliver. Melvin Brannon’s bass work is the key to the funk rock sound that the band present and his playing is something else. Brion James wrings lick after lick out of his guitar and Dan Pred, tucked away in the corner spends the evening grinning away as he batters his drum kit. Rob Daiker, “the new guy” seems comfortable and can certainly play. Having seen him make a guitar talk, the multi talented musician seems able to play pretty much anything he touches.
With the Frontiers release due early next year, things are once again looking up for DRN. I for one am very very glad they are back!
Resurrect / Under My Skin / Forgot to Make Her Mine / Make It Easy / Baby Now I / Rainbow Child / Come Back Baby / Divided / Stronger Than Steel (with Soheila Clifford) / Chill Out / Cruise Together / Baby Don’t Fade / Ritual / Get to You (with Electric Boys/The King Lot)
Tiger in a Dress / World Has a Heart Too / Seven Sisters Road