2018 has been a good year for the Dead Daisies and for UK fans of the band. Their fourth studio album, Burn It Down, was released back in April to critical acclaim and proved to be their highest charting album to date, peaking at 28 in the UK album charts. To capitalise on this they undertook a six date April UK tour before heading back for a few festivals in the summer. A more extensive winter tour now brings the year to a close for the Dead Daisies with a further 10 dates nestled between another two festival appearances.
The current ‘Winterland Tour’ sees them pairing supports with regionally selected NWOBHM bands, so for the Birmingham date it’s good to see Diamond Head returning to the city after six years and the first time with Rasmus Bom Andersen fronting the band. Coming off the back of their own lengthy European trek, the band are tight and the sound down the front is crisp and clear. Unlike many of their contemporaries, Diamond Head have retained an energy and vibrancy to their shows. This is in part due to the aforementioned athletic frontman, but as a whole the band play with a vigour that makes their near 40 year old classics such as ‘Helpless’ and ‘Heat Of The Night’ sound as fresh and current as newer gems ‘Diamonds’ and ‘Bones’.
With a new album already in the can, the band refrain from playing any new numbers ensuring that fans won’t hear new material first from poor sounding shaky mobile phone videos. It also means that playing a reduced support slot they keep it punchy and familiar. They go down well with the audience – a little too well at times for some it seems as a bra is thrown, and expertly caught by Ras who then proceeds to read out the message written on it; “I want to give you diamond head”. The set ends as only it could with ‘Am I Evil?’ which allows Tatler to take centre stage to deal out those most glorious of riffs and blistering solos.
Before Diamond Head’s slot, the doors were opened early to the first 50 fans queuing for a special ‘Daisyland’ acoustic set; a six song set of covers and Daisy originals played up close and personal for the most dedicated fans willing to get there early enough, and provided a taster of what was to come later.
The Dead Daisies take on The Sensational Alex Harvey Band’s ‘Midnight Moses’ is a terrific cover and as a set opener it is even more intense and sets up the proceedings for what will be a two hour tour de force of good old fashioned classic Rock ‘N’ Roll. The fluid nature of the band has seen many quality musicians pass through the ranks. Indeed, guitarist David Lowy is the only member still present from the initial line up that we saw 5 years ago, but Corabi, Aldrich and Mendoza have been here for a while and the addition of Deen Castronova on drums has cemented what seems to be the strongest line up of the band to date.
They power through some of their heavier catalogue of songs; ‘Evil’ and ‘Rise Up’ make early appearances and ‘Dead And Gone’ kicks serious gluteus maximus channeling early Aerosmith at their very best. The band cover every inch of the stage, unfettered with guitar leads and, in the case of Mendoza, mic stands. In a moment of spontaneity, Aldrich at one point gambols with guitar to sit on the front of the stage, while Corabi is, as ever, the engaging frontman.
Mid set, an acoustic interlude allows them to take the foot off the pedal with a chilled out take of ‘Set Me Free’ complete with lush harmony vocals. This is followed with Castronova taking lead vocals on Rod Stewart’s ‘Maggie May’, which proves to be one of the highlights of the evening. A further cover of ‘Let It Be’ sees the audience responding to Corabi’s request to raise their mobiles with lights on creating a wonderful atmosphere.
With the acoustic interlude over it’s back down to business with the heavier songs, and ‘Burn It Down’ and ‘All The Same’ are just the ticket to get the crowd rocking again. A raucous take on the Stone’s ‘Bitch’ ensues. There are a number of covers throughout the set, which I would normally baulk at with a band that now has so many of their original songs, but with the Dead Daisies it seems to work. Aside from being a kiss ass rock n roll band, the Daises are huge classic rock fans and Corabi says as much himself towards the end of the night – they’re adding in covers not to fill out the gig or because their own song don’t cut it. It’s because they love the songs and playing them gives them just as much enjoyment as it does the fans.
‘Long Way To Go’ is another highlight before they close their set with ‘Helter Skelter’ which even throws in a bit Zep’s ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine’. A hugely entertaining evening is rounded off with an encore of ‘Mexico’ and a rousing finale of ‘Highway Star’. A truly superb evening of exceptional entertainment and value for money.
Dead and Gone
Something I Said
Lock ‘n’ Load
Stay With Me
Get a Haircut
Let It Be
Make Some Noise
Dead and Gone
What Goes Around
Last Time I Saw the Sun
Set Me Free (Acoustic)
Maggie May (Acoustic)
Let It Be (Acoustic)
Burn It Down
All the Same
With You and I
Leave Me Alone
Song and a Prayer
Long Way to Go
Read our interview with Doug Aldrich here