Review by Andrew Manning, photos by Rich Ward
The sold out sign has been up for weeks and there was a real sense of anticipation at The Robin 2 tonight for the debut appearance at the venue by The Dead Daisies. This was the second date on the world tour to promote the excellent new album ‘Burn It Down’ which was released at the end of last week. As far as groups go they have serious rock credentials and the current members have featured in some of the highest profile rock bands in the world including Dio, Journey, Motley Crue, Thin Lizzy and Whitesnake. It is somewhat surprising then that the group was actually formed in Sydney Australia by rhythm guitarist David Lowy who has no notable musical background outside his homeland. However even there he is probably better known as a businessman and aviator who regularly performs at air shows flying a WWll Spitfire. Sounds like some serious competition for Bruce Dickinson!!
The Amorettes have been building a steady following since their formation in 2009 with some good old fashioned gigging around the circuit. Opening the show with ‘Born To Break’, the title track off their new album, these three young ladies from Scotland had the crowd on their side from the start. They delivered a raw and really energetic set with music the band describe as “hard, fast rock ‘n’ roll”. Fronted by Gill Montgomery on lead vocals and guitar they quickly slipped into their stride with their youthful exuberance providing a breath of fresh air on ‘Stealing Thunder’, ‘Let The Neighbours Call The Cops’ and ‘White Russian Roulette’. Sisters Heather (bass) and Hannah McKay (drums) with their smouldering spirit cranked up the attitude producing a heavy and powerful performance.
The standout track was current single ‘Everything I Learned I Learned from Rock ‘n’ Roll’ which was co-written with Ricky Warwick (The Almighty/Thin Lizzy). This has an underlying type of AC/DC riff and was performed with great tightness and some fast guitar playing by Montgomery. A great song and it would be well worth checking out the new video to this on You Tube which clearly shows a step up to the next level in terms of professional production. ‘Hot And Heavy’ was a perfect number to finish on with its catchy chorus allowing full audience participation. It was great to see how determined they were to have a good time tonight and this was visible in the fun they were clearing having on stage. It is a fair bet that they would have relished performing back in the early eighties alongside the likes of Girlschool and Rock Goddess but on this showing they are keeping the flag flying for the current rock generation and they are certainly ones to watch for the future.
Entering the stage to Rose Tattoo’s ‘Rock And roll Outlaw’ with the room packed to bursting point The Dead Daisies launched straight into ‘Rise Up’ and ‘Resurrected’ from the new album. Doug Aldrich (lead guitar) showed immediately what a great showman he is and wasted little time in taking the opportunity to impress as he brought out a twin neck guitar for the second number. Tonight was all about good old fashioned retro soaked raw rock music with the crowd singing in full voice on the title track of their third album ‘Make Some Noise’. It was clear this was going to be an unforgettable evening for everyone present. Next up was a masterfully executed performance of audience favourite ‘Song And a Prayer’ with John Corabi (vocals) commanding the stage showing what a great frontman he is. His vocals standing up well to the power of sound behind him. In between songs he took the opportunity to show his appreciation that every UK show on this tour was a sell out. The sight of arms punching the air from the start was a good indicator of how well they were going down and the band seemed really invigorated and on top of their game. Marco Mendoza (bass) was animated throughout making good use of his likeable extrovert personality and continually throwing plectrums out from the stage. He certainly took plenty of plaudits on the night with his technically proficient performance.
The obligatory drum solo formally introduced new Dead Daisies member Deen Castronovo and it was good to see him back on stage after some personal challenges in his life. He really walloped the skins all night long sitting behind a double bass drum kit that almost took over the small stage. The volume he produced was almost set to stun at times and he performed with power, precision and confidence. ‘Burn It Down’ is a real quality number with its restrained dynamics showing how equally at home Corabi is singing a southern blues rock inspired melodic number alongside the other full heavy metal offerings. This was segued midway with a short rendition of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and this was followed by ‘Bitch’ a Rolling Stones cover off the new album.
The thunder from down under and band founder Lowy provided the rhythm guitar groove throughout to ensure Aldrich was able to crank it up and let it rip with some fine fret work. He was endearingly described by Corabi as “the man with the golden fingers”. A highly polished ‘Long Way To Go’ with another sing-along chorus was dished out with aplomb with everyone on stage making it look all so easy. It was then time for band introductions and this was done with brief segments of some all time classics in ‘Smoke On The Water/Rock & Roll All Nite/Highway To Hell/The Boys Are Back In Town/Heaven & Hell’. A great way for the Bilston faithful to lift the roof off with their singing.
‘Devil Out Of Time’ apparently about one of Corabi’s ex-wives lead into the infectious groove of ‘Mexico’ as everyone was transported from the cold and wet climate to some sun, sand and tequila. A real cool number with a killer chorus kept the energy levels at maximum peak. With a tumultuous ovation ringing in their ears they left the stage after performing the Alex Harvey Band classic ‘Midnight Moses’. Another number full of hard riffing, powerful vocals and crowd singing. Favourites had jostled alongside numbers from the new album throughout the gig and the first encore was another new track ‘Judgement Day’. Sadly after 90 minutes it was time to wrap things up in style with ‘Fortunate Son’.
This was a spine tingling performance of good old fashioned hard rock from start to finish. They certainly reaffirmed their pedigree showing an innate ability to deliver timeless songs inspired by the 70’s and 80’s. The Dead Daisies would certainly be welcomed back to The Robin but it is a sure-fire bet that a bigger venue will beckon next time which would be a shame.
Make Some Noise
Song And A Prayer
Dead And Gone
What Goes Around
Last Time I Saw the Sun
All The Same
Burn It Down
Bitch (The Rolling Stones cover)
With You And I
Long Way To Go
Smoke On The Water/Rock & Roll All Nite/Highway To Hell/The Boys Are Back In Town/Heaven & Hell (Band introductions)
Devil Out Of Time
Midnight Moses (The Sensational Alex Harvey Band cover)
Fortunate Son (Creedence Clearwater Revival cover)
The Dead Daisies are back in the UK at the end of July for dates at The Rock & Blues Custom Show in Derby and Steelhouse Festival in Ebbw Vale