Words & Pics: Adrian Hextall \ MindHex Media
A sold out 100 Club in the heart of London’s West End is testament to the enduring popularity of the headliners since reforming to play a ‘one off’ New Years Eve show in their hometown of Portland, Oregon. Fast forward and the first major U.K. tour since the release of the new album ‘Fight Another Day’ sees them playing some 11 dates including the one in London. With support from Brit favourites Vega a good night was all but guaranteed;
Nick Workman, Vega’s front-man has the most apt name in music. He and the rest of the band are nothing but grafters. They put the effort into every show they do and it simply pays off for them in spades. Even when it goes wrong, and it does when his wireless mic fails during the opening number, the band rally round covering the opening lines ably before Nick gets all his ducks lined up and BOOM , the voice of Vega bursts through the P.A. with the sort of authority that could easily convince you that building a wall between the US and Mexico IS a good idea!
Put simply, Vega nail it. A sizeable chunk of the sold out crowd are here to see Vega as much as Dan Reed Network and, as such, the reception they get as they charge through Stereo Messiah and personal favourite What The Hell is immense. During What The Hell, Nick rallies the crowd with some emphatic chanting, not that the crowd needed much cajoling as they joined in and sang along to almost every word during the reasonable 45 minute set.
It’s not clear what Vega need to or can do next to move up to the next level. The albums have improved progressively with each release and if the trend continues with album number 5 when it comes out then there should be no stopping the band. In Workman they have a perfect front man, the band gel together perfectly and in the case of the 100 Club, left the room in a sweaty heap as they left the stage.
Dan Reed Network
If you spend enough time covering events at the 100 Club, a few regulars turn up and one such person is often the lead singer of Inglorious, Nathan James. Present when Dan Reed Network played the club for the album launch of ‘Fight Another Day’, Nathan returned in the hope perhaps that he’d be able to duet with Dan & Co this time around.
Having opened the show with Get To You, the single that first got the band noticed and one of the best tracks off the new album ‘Champion’, Dan then welcomed Nathan on stage for a special guest slot.
Interestingly, as our short photo montage below suggests, the indication from Dan that Nathan would join them for two songs clearly caught Nathan by surprise who made a point of indicating to the audience that he would only be doing the one. See what you think but it would seem that the signals are clear!
Despite Dan’s attempts to keep Nathan James on stage after they performed a great cover of KISS’s ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll All Nite’, the voice of Inglorious departed to a great reception leaving the band to jam their way through one of the most entertaining sets you’re likely to see this year.
It’s worth noting the use of the word JAM. This felt less like a clinically rehearsed gig and more like a group comprising friends and family gathering to see what would happen. There were references to the album launch show where Melvin’s bass amp caused some excitement before shutting down at one point. Similar noise and feedback during the set resulted in all fingers being pointed to poor old Melvin who, rightly so, denied any responsibility before the problem was identified somewhere near Rob Daiker’s kit. Smiles all round and the band played on as they continued to do so when Dan forgot the words on one song, Dan Pred messed up the drum intro on another and Brion James started some impromptu playing of a Steely Dan number during which Dan Reed offered to ‘eat my shirt’ if Brion nailed it. He did and the resulting shirt-feast was clearly tough on the palette for Dan!
It was all done with great humour and a knowing nod to the audience who were either singing along joyfully or laughing along being made to feel like they were all part of one wonderful in joke.
Deliberate gaffes, accidental amp feedback, confusion over the setlist which resulted in Dan screwing it up at one point with a ‘let’s see how this goes approach’ just made the night more and more entertaining. The loose, fluid, almost made up on a whim, medley of classic rock and pop tracks from the 70s, 80s and 90s showed just how versatile this band can be when they want to. It also served to paint the widest of grins on the faces of most of the people present.
Latest addition to the band, Rob Daiker has a constant slightly startled look on his face as if he’s unsure as to where the band might go next. It keeps him on his toes and when he did smile, it was often in relief that the show was once more heading in the direction he had anticipated. A clear highlight for him as well was the chance to perform a wonderful number, All For A Kiss, from his latest solo album, ‘Binary Numbers’
With Brion singing Save The World, the encores of Cruise Together and an a Capella version of Long Way To Go sealed the night perfectly.
It doesn’t get better than this for a night of pure entertainment.
Get To You
Rock N’Roll All Nite (KISS cover w/ Nathan James)
Forgot To Make Her Mine
Seven Sisters Road
Baby Now I (Medley incl’ Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Relax, Kiss’ I Was made For Lovin’ You, Jimi Hendrix’ Purple Haze, Metallica’s Enter Sandman and Earth Wind And Fire’s Let’s Groove)
Stronger Than Steel
Steely Dan’s Rikki Don’t Lose That Number w/ Brion James vocal & Dan Reed shirt-feast
Under My Skin
All For A Kiss (Rob Daiker solo song)
Save The World (w/ Brion James on vocals)
Long Way To Go(acapella)