Alice Cooper + Ugly Kid Joe + Duff McKagan’s Loaded @ Wolverhampton Civic Hall – 25 October 2012


Review by Paul Davis and Photos by Russ Tierney

It was an early start at the Civic, with an assortment of ghouls, zombies … and Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World arriving for Alice Cooper’s Halloween Night of Fear.  Joining in the festivities were a returning Ugly Kid Joe and Guns n’ Roses legend Duff McKagan with his band Loaded.

Loaded were first to take to the stage and it took a little while for the crowd to warm to Duff and his band. McKagan made his name playing bass with Guns ‘n Roses but with Loaded he is the frontman and plays rhythm guitar. ‘We Win’ from their latest album The Taking is perhaps their most recognized song tonight and it’s no surprise that this huge anthem has been adopted by sports teams in the U.S.  Duff was the man that brought the punk influence to GnR and it’s also apparent in Loaded, especially on ‘Seattlehead’ towards the end of the set. Loaded close their set with a cover of ‘Attitude’ by The Misfits and of course the Appetite For Destruction classic ‘It’s So Easy’ sends the Civic wild.

For Ugly Kid Joe, there is no problem getting the crowd warmed up as Whitfield Crane produces a master class in working the audience. He gets up close and personal, a real livewire, even climbing up to the balcony at one point during ‘Panhandlin’ Prince’.  At the end of ‘Cats In The Cradle’ he thanks an audience member for getting the ‘wave’ going, even enjoying a little conversation and introducing ‘Pete’ to the rest of the crowd. Despite having a new EP out, their set leans heavily on their old material such as ‘Neighbor’ and of course they end with a big sing-along ‘Everything About You’ Prior to that they do dip into the new EP Stairway To Hell with ‘I’m Alright’ which at times has a kind of early AC/DC feel to it.

Before Alice Cooper arrives on stage, the fans with the best costumes are paraded on stage and a winner chosen.  A short while later, the lights go down and the curtain drops to  reveal Alice and his band, these days consisting of Chuck Garric on bass, Glen Sobel on drums and the triple guitar attack of Orianthi, Tommy Henriksen and Ryan Roxie. Tonight’s crowd is served up a set list full of hits from Alice’s forty years in the business. There are only a couple of songs from last year’s Welcome 2 My Nightmare but ‘I’ll Bite Your Face Off’ is met with the same reaction as many of his more well known songs, with Alice directing the lyrics at Orianthi as she is stalked across the stage.

As well as the songs, the fans are also here for the spectacle of Alice’s live show and he doesn’t disappoint. Alice showers the crowd with money during ‘Billion Dollar Babies’ and is put in a straitjacket for ‘Welcome To My Nightmare’.  ‘Feed My Frankenstein’ sees a giant Frankenstein’s Monster roaming the stage.  ‘He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask)’ is a welcome addition that hasn’t been in the live set for a while and we soon hear Alice’s voice from the shadows telling us that it’s time to ‘raise the dead’. His band then pay tribute to the fallen stars that Alice has ‘hung with and drunk with’, Morrison, Lennon, Hendrix and Moon. Some may have preferred a few more Alice classics rather than the covers but it was an entertaining part of the show nonetheless.

Returning to his own material with ‘I’m Eighteen’, his choice of prop this time being a blood stained crutch, he finishes the set with ‘Under My Wheels’ and his huge hit from the Trash album ‘Poison’. Returning to the stage for ‘School’s Out’ in gold jacket and top hat, when Alice declares ‘it’s party time’, confetti, streamers and balloons rain down on the crowd, bringing to an end a wonderful evening’s entertainment with one of the original ‘shock rockers’, still showing the young pretenders how it’s done.

And you can see more shots from the show here: