Words and Pictures: Adrian Hextall \ MindHex Media
Sometimes the stars align and a great bill is pulled together by someone who gets it, like ‘really’ gets it. Such an alignment, seen once in four generations, took place in London on a wet and dark Wednesday in November. Thankfully the weather mattered not one jot and instead the opportunity to watch for the first time in a while, the man who formed Dog’s D’Amour followed by the Finnish King of Rock ‘n Roll who brought his ‘One Man Gang’ show to town.
First up we had Electric Eel Shock who, strangely have a drummer who wears a sock on his cock, much like the Chili Peppers famously did many moons ago. It’s not a sight you want to see on a school night but the band went down well with their garage rock sound that warmed everyone up for a ‘very’ ‘very’ on form Tyla J Pallas and his ‘refurbished’ line up that gives a new sound to the old music.
Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour
There are three songs I insist on hearing (because of course the band will always listen to me) during a Dogs’ set. Billy Two Rivers, How Come It Never Rains and Errol Flynn. During the short, main support slot to Mr Monroe, we were treated to the holy trio and more in a set that proved there was plenty of life in the old dog(s) yet and a headline show is a definite requirement in the not too distant future.
Tyla looked well. A state that he’s struggled to maintain over the years. Heck, I recall a show at Wembley Arena in the early 90’s where he turned up with his torso covered in bandages after an ‘incident’ with a broken wine bottle causing compere Krusher Joule to wish that “the lad just looked after himself”. It’s an image that’s stuck we me for decades and yet, against the odds, Tyla has persevered and with many many albums under his belt, the poet and troubadour feels as sharp and energised as he ever has. Hopefully he and the band in their current guise can continue to produce new material in the same vein as In Vino Veritas that just proved Tyla has it, in spades!
As can often be the case at the Academy in Islington, excessive use of RED lighting can ruin some great moments. However, the beauty of digital cameras is that washed out RED can be converted to moody black and white so please enjoy some B&W shots of the band and a handful of colour pics as well.
Michael Monroe’s One Man Gang Show
11 solo albums into an already fascinating career, Michael Monroe returned to London with his One Man Gang show, taking in some 17 dates across the UK to pretty much packed houses. Cleverly picking venues that are just a little bit too small for the man with the sax and his excellent band, it guarantees pretty much sold out events and a packed sweaty crowd that’s there for only one thing, a party!
The new album contains a few corkers and Monroe, always one to believe in his own material, wasn’t afraid to open with some of the new stuff on the first date of the tour. As such we got the title track and also the latest single, the video for which can be seen below. Monroe has quite an affiliation with Japan and the video, song and even the opening act of the night feel like the perfect fit for the Finn.
He is aided in no small part by the tightest band. Seasoned pros, with some like bassist Sami Yaffa having been there with Monroe since the early days of Hanoi Rocks. The rest, guitarist Rich Jones, Karl Rockfist on drums and former New York Doll Steve Conte on guitar on the other side of the stage, ensure that the show is flawless. For a style of music that is supposed to be loose, trashy, raw and edgy, the fact that the band can deliver all of the yet do it with the upmost professionalism is testament to the talent on stage.
Personal favourite ’78 got an excellent reaction from the crowd, coming from the album written with a certain Ginger Wildheart. Slotted in as well were tracks from Hanoi Rocks and Demolition 13 which is not in the least surprising given the place that tracks from the former hold in the annals of rock music history.
In amongst all of this, Monroe spends as much time on the barrier (literally standing on the bar, supported by eager fans) as he does on the stage. It reaffirms the connection he has to his audiences and explains the packed houses as much as the quality of the music on offer. The smiles from the assembled masses are as wide as the splits that the 57 year old performs on multiple occasions during the set. How difficult can it be then? I thought to myself… so I tried when I got home. One call to 999 later and the body cast (once the hips have healed) will be removed in a few weeks time. Note to self, never try and imitate your heroes and more importantly, never try and do the splits like Michael Monroe!
A great show, a consummate showman, the tightest of bands and a main support act to die for. We’ll call that a win I think.