Review by Andy Boden and photos by Mark Lloyd
In case you hadn’t heard, Little Angels are back! One of the most heralded comebacks in recent years (apart from STEPS, obviously) (Ed: stop it! We’ll have none of that here, thank you…), Little Angels launched on a nine-date tour of Britain with their long-time compadres SKIN, starting in Nottingham on the Friday. Saturday is where it’s at, here in the rock’n’roll capital of the UK (or Wolverhampton as we know it).
SKIN are an enigma. Ever popular, their strength is undoubtedly in their live performances and they have built a considerable following based on exactly that. Nev McDonald has an amazing set of pipes which, although not the purest, has an amazing range, and it is fully put through its paces throughout the set. All of the SKIN songs you would expect to hear in a forty-five minute support slot are given an outing, including ‘Tower Of Strength’, ‘Perfect Day’ and ‘Look But Don’t Touch’. Mightily enjoyable as always, no-one leaves a SKIN performance without a smile!
It’s been a long rocky road for Little Angels. Undoubtedly one of Britain’s premier song-writing talents, the band drew a line under their career in 1994 after being dropped by Polydor. Whilst much water flowed under many a bridge in the intervening years, it took the tragic passing of original drummer Michael Lee in 2008 to bring the remaining original members together again and rekindle old friendships.
Fast forward four years and Little Angels are back in town, striding out to a packed Wulfrun Hall to the ever popular strains of ‘She’s A Little Angel’. Wolverhampton was treated to what was essentially a greatest hits set consisting of many songs that most of us of a certain vintage grew up with. Where Little Angels scored massively is in their versatility; Bruce John Dickinson has an amazing array of guitars that change the tone, depth and atmosphere of a track on demand, whilst Toby plays acoustic guitar on some songs, electric on others and just sings on the rest. Add to the mix a backdrop of The Big Bad Horns and Jimmy Dickinson on keys and you have a fabulous blend of textures and flavours that make the Little Angels sound quite unique.
Little Angels played an important role – along with Thunder, Ozzy, SKIN and The Quireboys to name but a few – in establishing the UK as a major musical force throughout the late eighties and early nineties. Whilst the world is a different place to what it was, last night was a pleasurable trip down memory lane that reminds us of how good it all was back then. It’s fair to say that Little Angels may only have a limited shelf life in living off past glories, but for now, let’s just enjoy what we have. Catch them on the rest of the tour while you can, you will have a blast.
Setlist: She’s A Little Angel, Kickin’ Up Dust, Boneyard, Radical Your Lover, The Way That I Live, Back Door Man, That’s My Kinda Life, Don’t Pray For Me, Soapbox, Womankind, I Was Not Wrong, Too Much Too young, Young Gods
Encore: I Aint Gonna Cry, Kids Wanna Rock (Bryan Adams cover)
And you can see more shots from the show here: