It’s an early start at KK’s Steel Mill and with the usual weather and traffic complications at this time of year FM take the stage to a relatively small but enthusiastic crowd. Not that Steve Overland & co have any problem getting everyone warmed up as they delivered a compact but energetic set, fully making the most of their allotted thirty-odd minutes. Having run up a fair few miles on the clock in 2022 in support of Thirteen, FM are a well-oiled live band, offering up a few choice selections from their harmony enriched back catalogue with ‘Bad Luck’ and ‘Tough it Out’ sounding terrific as always. With the nostalgia box ticked off they also found time for some songs from their more recent albums, which have all proven consistently strong. Up tempo, feel good anthem ‘Killed by Love’ was a highlight of 2018’s Atomic Generation and ‘Turn This Car Around’ (from Thirteen) is yet another fine example of FM’s continued ability to write classy melodic rockers.
It was a quick return to KK’s for the Graham Bonnet Band who were here back in the summer for a headline show as a warm up to their Steelhouse festival slot. Tonight’s truncated performance saw them stick to Graham’s time with Rainbow and MSG, kicking off as always with the dramatic ‘Eyes of the World’ that was followed by Conrado Pesinato taking us into the familiar riff of ‘All Night Long’. Not that you would have noticed, as he sounded in good form, but Graham was struggling with the ill effects of a heavy cold and so ‘Night Games’ was skipped in favour of the band jamming through ‘Lazy’, allowing the vocalist the chance to slip off stage for a breather. He soon returned and had everyone singing along to ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ that led into the powerful ‘Assault Attack’, from the much underrated album of the same name. Closing out with ‘Lost in Hollywood’ Graham shows no signs of slowing down; pretty impressive for someone just a couple of weeks shy of his 75th birthday.
The strains of ‘Sweet Emotion’ across the PA let everyone know that is was time for the Dead Daisies debut Wolverhampton gig with local boy Glenn Hughes front and centre. Across the past decade the Daisies have seen a fair few members pass through the ranks but surely the current line-up of Hughes, drummer Brian Tichy and twin guitarists Doug Aldrich and David Lowy is the strongest yet. They opened with ‘Long Way to Go’, a muscular and uncompromising hard rocker driven along by a rumbling bass sound that set the tone for pretty much all that was to follow over the next ninety minutes.
The two studio Daisies albums to date that feature Glenn, Holy Ground and Radiance, formed the backbone of the set, albeit they occasionally dipped into the John Corabi era. The infectious groove of ‘Radiance’ and arena rock anthem ‘Face Your Fear’ provided stand out moments across a show that was big on choruses, even bigger on riffs and at times was seemingly loud enough to be heard all the way back in Glenn’s home town of Cannock. A cover of CCR’s ‘Fortunate Son’, a staple of Daisies gigs that has often been used as the set closer, led into a lengthy drum solo that was followed by ‘Mistreated’. Glenn’s voice soared around the venue on the Deep Purple classic albeit the combination of the twin guitars and no keyboards ensure it was a long way removed from the blues rock of the original. ‘Born to Fly’ and ‘Burn it Down’ took them into the home straight before SAHB cover ‘Midnight Moses’ and, naturally, ‘Burn’ ensured an explosive finale.
All three bands were on good form and the Dead Daisies went down a storm with the crowd, they are clearly pushing all of the right buttons with their brand of contemporary hard rock. As we have come to expect in 2022 this was yet another top quality night of rock music at one of the very best venues around.
Long Way to Go
Dead and Gone
Face Your Fear
Bustle and Flow
Born to Fly
Burn It Down