Venrez – Crazy Girls, Hollywood, California, USA, Monday 28th March, 2016
Set List: Karma/Intellectual Drool/Children Of The Drones/Salvation/Reflection/ Devil's Due/Yesterday Has Gone/Sell The Lie/Hang The Predator.
The second visit to Crazy Girls sees us back to see a more recent coming band. Let’s hear it for Venrez who only recently were here on my home turf in the UK support The Michael Schenker Group and went down an absolute storm wherever they played. It must be kind of strange performing on this small stage but they make the absolute best of playing in a way more intimate atmosphere down on La Brea, Hollywood. Low and behold the sets of both bands are being filmed tonight so extra lights are put in place that are needed 100% of the time in here.
Frontman, Venrez has a big presence on stage with a booming baritone kind of voice that makes a big impact while done with his motionless stance, whilst singing the lyrics in a very poignant, expressive manner. He has this Jim Morrison kind of aura about him and an ability to hypnotise you on the spot. Drummer, Ed Davis is one hell of an amazing percussionist too and alongside outstanding guitarist, Jason Womack there’s something real special happening there and form an amazing, racing groove and riff package.
Bassist, Cynthia Gillet cranks out some killer deep riffs, not to mention, being full of life and doing plenty of acrobatic, physically challenging dancing throughout – she mesmerises you with those moves of hers. She just happens to be a former kickboxing champion of France so no wonder! Then there is her awesome tattoos and striking hair to consider as well. What an amazing visual impact this lady is and extremely memorable.We get a nice mix of material from the ‘Sell The Lie’ & ‘Children Of The Drones’ albums with highlights including ‘Children Of The Drones’ itself with it’s Hugh-Lloyd Langton Hawkwind era feel; the racing ‘Devil’s Due’; the opening ballad that is ‘Karma’ and the closing sinister and melodic ‘Hang The Predator’.
The songs go over well with the crowd in here as well and they get a warm reception. A fantastic performance!
By Glenn Milligan
Voice Of Dissent/Circle Of Violence –
Skinny’s Lounge, North Hollywood, California, USA, Wednesday, March 22nd, 2016
Set List: Paradise In flames/Whores/Serpents/Wolves/The Descent/The Cleansing.
And it’s down to NoHo for the Skum Love run Rock-A-Holic RAHK Live Band Karaoke Night that starts up loud with two original live local bands. Up first were a bunch of thrashers called ‘Circle Of Violence’ who fired up some cookie monster ferociousness from a vocal point of view.
They heat up the people in here really well and it's little wonder when their influences include the likes of Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Slayer, Lamb of God, As I Lay Dying & Deicide. Musical that's not exactly for the light-hearted right? Highlights of the set included the opener ‘Paradise In Flames’ & closer ‘The Cleansing’.
These boys are as tight as tight and proving that good ole grindcore styles are alive and kicking.
Set List: Freedom (From The Barrel Of A Gun/Hellbent/Devour/Rapid Fire (Judas Priest Cover)/Brotherhood Of The Snake/Bloodletting.
Now the headline band I have been waiting to see for around two years, fronted by Rodney McGlothlin who doubles up his talents by also playing a beautiful black Schecter bass that has an astounding tone. He explains what the band name means ‘to publicly disagree with an official opinion or decision’, which makes a change because more often than not, most leaving you guessing…
It was a real joy to witness VOD’s new live Guitarist, Masaki Murashita, who hails from Japan who was a supreme talent in his own right, cranking out some stellar riffery like he’d been their since the beginning. Songwise they were aggressive and rabid with healthy lashings of 80’s thrash metal and even threw in a nice cover of the lesser heard Judas Priest number, ‘Rapid Fire’ that was a joy to behold.
Original highlights played included the rollicking ‘Hellbent’ and ‘Brotherhood Of The Snake’ with its backing to lead vocal song structure. Voice of Dissent were an enjoyable outfit and I look forward to seeing them again!
By Glenn Milligan
Steve Vai with Model Citisin –
The Buddha Bar & Nightclub, Fort Myers, Florida, USA, Friday 2nd October, 2015
Well who would have ever put their money on this happening, a legendary rock guitar virtuoso turning up in Fort Myers – but that is exactly what went down on the first Friday of October. Onstage as planned were local hero’s, Model Citisin when no other than the former axe slinger of Whitesnake, David Lee Roth & Frank Zappa, Steve Vai came down especially to celebrate the birthday of Joe Jem Despagni, a resident here in Fort Myers.
Steve was up there on the Buddha stage singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Joe and made some comments about the guitar that Mr. D built for him as well as how he has known Joe for many years. This was followed by playing an instrumental song of his with a partial back up band of Model Citisin that completely blew away everyone in the venue.
He then announced the next song as one he did that was written by Frank Zappa that’s lovingly titled, ‘My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama’ which he sang as well. There was a local guest guitarist with him on stage too, with all three playing guitars made by Joe Jem Despagni.
The 3-song set was completed by performing the old Steppenwolf classic ‘Born To Be Wild’ with Model Citisin after which he then went off to the back corner, signed autographs and had photos with fans.
One night at the Buddha that many people are kicking themselves over for not being present. I certainly was and will go down as one the most memorable ‘Myers nights.
Review By Mike Grossi
Photos by Malia Gragg, Jim Kelly & Mike Grossi
DANNY VAUGHN/Craig McDonald/The Kamen - Corporation, Sheffield, Thursday 5th April 2012
Danny Vaughn’s back in town…two Sheffield dates within four months. His first acoustic set in Steel city in a decade does however bring a partly electric bill.
Apologies however are due to Brit newcomers, The Kamen who due to an anus- up with the schedules I miss all but the last of their songs. Their Hardline-meets-Mitch Malloy style appears to have blended well, their vocalist a striking a resemblance to the ‘Anything at All’ man himself. The other opener, whom I do however catch in full is Gibraltan song maestro Craig McDonald. A similar style to the headliner gets peoples attention with manners rather than a couple of polite claps amidst beer clasping hands. Strong melodies and a bright up-beat theme of optimism and striving in his Christian-oriented lyrical components set the pace without sounding stupid for it, with choruses that deserve to be remembered. Impressive and its not over yet tonight for this gent, as we will find later.
Danny’s latest set has to hit the record for the least Tyketto numbers in a night - four only - wrapped either end of his many solo greats, and yes they still are great. ‘Walk On Fire’ gets us warmed up as only a Tykes tune can to begin then its business of his other popular line. Either acoustic or electric., a song written by this man means a lot to those that listen , very bit as they do to him. Third Vaughn album ‘Traveller’ and the ‘From The Inside’ project which jointly contribute a third to this evening’s list showed Dan the man lyrical at the peak of his personal inspiration, and still with a tale to introduce every tune he hardly actually needs to tell everyone how passionate he is about songwriting.
’That’s What She Says’, my favourite form his third solo disc is stronger on acoustic than it could ever try to be, wired with the smile never escaping Danny’s chops for a solitary moment. ‘Shadowland’ from the first Vaughn disc still gets the punters up almost twelve years on from its first airing at Z2000 - being a song originally written during the early Tykes days does have that to its credit. Wasyted’s ‘Heaven Tonight’ is always going to go down almost a treat as ‘Forever Young’ , said British outfit having been Danny’s introduction to the big time and the story of how his performance was assessed by predecessor Finn Muir precedes as always - (Scottish accent impressive by the way, Dan.). ’Touch Of Your Hand’ and ’Haunted’ are the sing-along show stealers until that song arrives later and always the strongest of his solo workings. ’Wanna get to Know Your Dog’ is a comical acoustic /vocal number intended for an apparent future outtakes release and has everyone in stitches, the Billy Conolly-like lyric age a large departure for Danny by far.
Moving on, we get ‘Deep Water’, ‘Find a Way’, ‘Blessing In Disguise’ and ‘Million Miles Of Road’ from all over his last decades back catalogue, complete with his passionate rich vocals still giving it above plenty at 50. ‘End of The Sumer Days’ reintroduces the Tyketto element of the evening after an hour without a sausage of their stuff - how did the crowd manage? - before Craig McDonald reappears alongside him for a three-part brace that brings the start of a solid gold end to this most special of Mr Vaughn’s shows.
Standing in as a drummer with his guitar acting as bongos, Danny lets his friend and support act take the lead for another of his compositions before the pair proceed to duet on the theme from a recent Muppets film. Interesting but true, the two final numbers are and always be what three quarters of the room come to watch Danny Play. ‘Wings’ almost seems wasted musically on acoustic strings when a packed out room join in the signing, drowning out all but the artist’s vocals themselves.
As Danny returns to cap off with his career cornerstone, we are treated at last to the story of how ‘Forever Young’ came to being, at least on the lyrical front. The importance of enjoying and doing what we love most in life once over fifty, as DV himself recently turned is almost up there alongside enjoying the legendary Tyketto anthem tonight as it now takes on a whole new value.Danny Vaughn’s music comes too high to put a price on as proven once again this evening. Astounding stuff from a gentleman already promising a return UK visit in October.
Somehow, I doubt we can wait that long, Dan, old chap.
By Dave Attrill
Vain/Stala & So/Velvet Star - Corporation, Sheffield Friday 16th March 2012
It's a turning coldish friday night here in Sheffield but that didn't seem to both the locals at all. Little wonder as they all know they are in for an absolute treat with rock sounds from Helsinki, Finland and San Fransisco, USA.
I sadly missed the openers, Velvet Star, a killer rock n roll band with a punky edge so I am told that have ex-members of Silverjet and Spill Sixteen (if I got that right - kick me up the *ss if I am wrong -hahaha). When I arrive it's a healthy packed amount of folk on the floor who are eager for what is in store - some excellent rock that is perfect mix melodica, poppinnes and raucious roll as well. Their frontman, Stala is one hell of a brilliant frontman and full off personality and has no problem in getting them in his healm who seem to get louder and louder as the set goes on - it's a pretty long one too, giving them amble time to feature songs from both of the bands albums.
They each have a great presence and use the small stage to full capabilites with ease - they must be used to this by the looks of it. "Is There Anyone Called Pamela In The Audience as this one is for you", Stala asks us and a guy shouts 'Yeah' to the answer who has been shouting 'Rock N Roll' on numerous occasions - there's always one isn't there - lol before they go into the 2011 Eurovsion Entry. that utterly shakes the house down or the uniquely starting 'Everything For Money' that starts up on a Zooka - I thought only Bonzo Dog did that - obviously wrong.
Then there was the 80's hard melodics of 'Shout' with the opening wailing scream (that you many remember the sounds of when he did the high vocals when he was in Lordi (alongside the bassist too) or the fast paced 'Woman'. Stala & So could not put a foot wrong in here and I dearly hope people take note around the UK, Europe and beyond as they could have a bright musical future ahead of them.
After the main support me and my buddy Steve Froggatt turn around with Mr. F exclaiming, "Where have all these people come from?" as the place is now packed for the headliners - it looks like word has gone around really well and the city has taken note, expecting a very fruitious 80 minute set of Hard Rock from Vain - who were last here two or three years ago. The fans go mental when four members take to the stage and it goes skyrocket in here when Davy Vain himself makes his appearance.
The set consists mainly of songs from the debut album 'No Respect' and current release 'Enough Rope' that blend so well together as though they were all written in the same period. I notice immediately just how tight and together the band are as opposed to being a week bit raggy around the edges as I've seen them in the past -the sound is absolutely spot on as well with every single instrument clearly standing out and vocals on top of the mix too as opposed to being lost in there somewhere - I take it they must have done a throught soundcheck this afternoon?
Mr. V is an old hand at keeping the fans on their tip toes and taunts them that they are too quiet and will go back to San Fransisco if they don't get a bit louder - they do though which pleases him loads. Now it's always good to hear 'Who's Watchin' You?' - you can never get tired of that glammin' sleaze classic which is performed so, so good or the colder but hot as hell 'Icy' if that makes any sense.
We are treated to some excellent new songs throughout the set that include 'Greener' that actually opens up the new album 'Enough Rope' (also played); the thorough'y rockin' Stray Kitten Burns'; the full-on hard-hitter, 'Cindy' & 'Triple X' about living with a hot porn star girl which is literally a true story of Davy's.
Talking of Davy, he has this cool stage move which sees him keep mostly centre stage and move backwards and forwards a lot of the time time. He does come and pose on their side as well but there ain't a lot of space due to the high speakers and low ceiling but doesn't crack his head once which many have fallen culprit to in pure excitement. There's so much rapport in the room and he introduces 'No Respect' with a long chat about nearly spending the night with a hot young chick before getting naked with nurse - which happens to most people when they go to the local one in Sheffield - 'Do It' - nice!
Of course we all have a good idea what we are gonna get for the encore number and the boys don't let us down, giving us a piping performance of 'Beat The Bullet' that Davy gets us to sing on our own for a while which he is impressed with a lot as we are with him and the band as a whole. Man this was one hell of an excellent show that really tugged in a good draw of punters It was a purely faultless performance all round that I am chuffed I saw in Sheffield as gigs don't get much better than this, nevermind close and intimate as well.
By Glenn Milligan
Van Halen - Madison Square Garden, New York, USA, 1st March, 2012
I have got to be honest before I start I’m a big Sammy Hagar fan, but when I got the chance to see Van Halen on tour with Diamond Dave Lee Roth I couldn’t say no! So tonight we head on over to Madison Square Garden in New York to see Dave, Eddie, Alex and Eddies son Wolfgang back together in a long time. This time round the band are promoting the brand new album “Different Kind of Truth” so I expect a couple of songs from this stunning album tonight. It’s a sold out show and the second of 2 nights where VH have taken over this huge stadium.
“Unchained” announces that we are
off and the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Dave slides onto
the stage and the crowd go wild. But I felt a little let down when Dave
started singing, he seemed to struggle his way through the song missing
out sections and talking. He was out of key for most of it and those
hairs on my neck were a distant memory. I started to dread the rest
of the set!
I was expecting Roth to chat and strut around the stage in between songs but they didn’t stop for breath. Getting together with Eddie and Wolfie, Dave declared, “We are back baby!” In a rare shout out, the clown prince of rock & roll directed the spotlight to our side of the stage where he announced that a fan was celebrating his 400th Van Halen show. Then the band went into another new song “Tattoo” which sounded awesome.
“Alex take us on an exposition far, far away,” said Roth in a safari hat as drummer Alex Van Halen pounded his tribal skins for the intro to “Everybody Wants Some.” I have seen VH several times but tonight Eddie wore a permanent smile on his face, he was having a ball. The song saw Dave and Eddie singing in total unison on the chorus like Mick Jagger and Keith Richards used to back in the day.
“Somebody Get Me a Doctor” came next with Dave wearing yet another prop!! He went through hats, coats and sunglasses like they were going out of fashion!! But it’s Diamond Dave so you let him off!! By now the Garden was really rocking and the band launched into new track “Chinatown” which is a great song with Dave announcing that he had forgotten the words to the verse! Eddie just laughed and played while Dave danced around till the chorus. Then we go straight into “Hear About It Later” where Roth used a mic stand and performed a James Brown split as if he was a limber 22 year-old!
We then get covers of “Pretty Woman” and “You Really Got Me” before Alex launched into his Latin-flavored drum solo. Now I have found drum solos can go on for far to long, but tonight Alex got it just right. By now New York was witnessing something that many of us thought we would never see again, the obvious camaraderie between Dave & Ed. They played off each other all night and really looked like they were the best of friends again.
The band give us yet another new track with the fantastic “The Trouble With Never” followed by yet more classics in the shape of “Dance the Night Away” and “I’ll Wait.” But then we get to what is probably my favorite track and was voted in Guitar Magazine as the best Van Halen song of all time “Hot For Teacher”.
“There’s gonna be some changes around here,” Roth announced as he began tossing out handfuls of chocolates to the lucky fans in the first few rows. “Chocolate for breakfast,” he declared before turning to a hottie nearby saying, “Hey baby, how ‘bout some candy from a stranger?” But as the final drums pounded in the song Roth laid praise on the brothers stating “Are those endings not some of the best endings you’ve heard in rock & roll? They are biblical and we always perform it best in New York City,” he said. Obviously we went wild! Then it’s on with more classics “Women in Love” “Outta Love Again” (making its grand return to the set list) and the Van Halen II gem “Beautiful Girls.”
Behind the band is a huge screen playing images of the show to the back of the arena, some great camera work here all filmed on a wonderful sepia tone. So as Roth picked up an acoustic guitar we were treated to a film of Dave’s dogs herding sheep and cattle, it was all very one man and his dog!! The clips led him to say, “When I put on those assless chaps I never thought I’d actually need them one day.” Then he launched into “Ice Cream Man,” which just proved that Eddie was back on form burning up the fret board under a strobe light. Then we get to “Panama” which sounded as good tonight as the first time I heard it!
For me it was time for the highlight of the night, the rest of the band left the stage and Eddie launched into his solo. We all knew what was coming but tonight it just seemed really special. Running through “Eruption” to “Cathedral” Eddie was the master of all he played. Those hairs on my neck were on overtime as we all watched a pioneer at work. Unlike Alex’s solo I didn’t want this to end, but it did and we moved into the home straight.
Closing the set with “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” and a confetti-filled encore of “Jump,” which saw Dave waving a giant racing flag. This was a night where we all rediscovered our heroes and our heroes rediscovered the love in what they do. Madison Square Garden erupted when Dave & Eddie stood center stage and gave each other a big hug proving that whatever had happened was forgotten and that they were back. As this tour rolls on through America it will be interesting to watch this “Bromance” blossom!
Volbeat/The Damned Things/Hourcast -
House Of Blues, Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, CA. 6th April, 2011
Well I missed The Damned Things when they came to Sheffield, but did get Clare Simmons to cover it - that gig sounded so good that I had to check it all out for myself with Volbeat in headline position. So what better way than in LA at the old HOB - my second visit of the week to it. Seems that the bands have quite a following over here in California as the place is pretty damn packed to say the least - much to my surprise as they played the smaller room in Sheffield - bizarre how one area of the world can differ so much when it comes to crowd draw - or is it just that yorkies and deeda's are tight when it comes to shelling out a few quid for a good gig???
Set list: God Failed/Sakkara/Little Miss/Clockwork/Hell Or Hollywood/Zombie/Attraction.
So up on the decently sized stage was Hourcast - a name I am not over familiar with, although they've been pro since about 2006, who have old school and new school industrial elements to their sound and style who made their big break by having a song in The Saw III movie. The song in question is 'Sakkara' and is played as part of the set tonight - a quiet to loud haunting monster of a number. Their lead frontman, Patrick McBride, has a really powerful voice in tow for the 'cast band and I must say that these guys appeared totally in touch with the audience in here through their impressive duration on the LA HOB stage.
Their seven song set works well and they are one hell of a tight unit with highlights of the set including the opener 'God Failed'; the nasty, slow and brutal, downtuned 'Zombie' and the closing Nine Inch Nail like 'Attraction' about cheating on your partner. They dedicated 'Clockwork' to us - thanks for that one lads and even gave away free shirts at the merchandise stall as well - now not many would do that would they?
The Damned Things
Set list: Ironiclast/Friday Night (Going Down In Flames)/Handbook For The Recently Deceased/Reckoning/Bad Blood/Black Heart/Little Darling/Blues/Grave Robber/We've Got A Situation Here.
Gotta admit that I've never actually heard this band before and went purely because I was intrigued what Scott Ian's other band sounded like - I was pleasantly impressed actually and they weren't too much like Anthrax - what would be the point of that anyway - ok - there was some thrashing hardcore rifferey at times but this was far more classic heavy metal soudings than early 80's New York Soundings.
The Damned Things are a f*ck*n' killer quintet for certain that prove that Mr. Ian can be as proud of this outfit as is as his main one - the 'thrax. Highlights of the show included the boistrous album title track 'Ironiclast' that opened the set that got everyone revved immediately; the moderately fastish and bopping 'Friday Night (Going Down In Flames)'; the rather exellent and very fresh 'Little Darling' and the closing basting at ya stonerish like riffed 'We've Got A Situation Here'. They made a massive impact here in Los Angeles and hard not to see why.
Set List: The Human Instrument/Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood/Heaven Noor Hell/Moment/Goat/Radio/Mirror And The Ripper/Sad Mans Tongue/Mary Ann's Place/16 Dollars/Mr. & Mrs. Ness/We/Still Counting/Who They Are/Fallen/Pool Of Booze/BOA/I Only Wanna Be With You.
It's headline time with a band from Sweden who appear to have got massive all of a sudden and come on to the instrujmental that is used as the theme to 'The Apprentice'. I missed them in my hometown but am please to say that I caught them right here on Sunset Strip. May I present to you the rather impressive Volbeat who have such an incredibly strong following on both sides of the pond (as in the one between the USA and the UK - lol). Their frontman has a lot of personality - you need to it grab this full hollywood crowd as they get hundreds of bands flowing through each week and don't take on prisoners. It's real long set and they have a style that comes across to me as a melting pot of The Wildhearts, Therapy?, Pantera, Metallica and Slayer.
Highlights of the night included the Johnny Cash inspired country metalapunkarama of 'Sad Man's Tongue'; the reggae to full-on thrashed out 'Still Counting'; the stoner and rocking at ya 'Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood' the therapy like beautifully rhythmic 'Fallen'; the deep and dark latter-day Metallica-esque 'Pool Of Booze' and earlier old schoolish almost Kill 'em All' like at times 'BOA' (with snippets of what sounds lie Faith No More's 'Woodpecker from Mars) and their upbeat cover of Dusty Springfield's 'I Only Wanna Be With You' that officially ends the set. Was great to see them invite a load of female fans onto the stage to rock out with them as well - something that you only usually associate with Steel Pather - who I saw 2 nights previous. They have us sticking devil horns in the air and enjoying ourselves thoroughly - a band who come across extremely humble and real and very professional at the same time - they are definately a fans band for certain.
By Glenn Milligan
Vains Of Jenna/Nothing Sacred -
The Whiskey A Go-Go, Sunset Strip, West Hollywood, California, USA Friday, April 1st, 2011
it's good to be back at the Whiskey again - a venue I took a real
liking to the last time I was here. This was a packed house tonight
ans the audience were in a loud partying mood for certain. It was
one of those classic night with a ton of bands in the line-up but
chose to see the main two on the list that were closinng the proceedings.
Everyone looked forward to the headliners, Vains Of Jenna - especially
since tonight at the Whiskey was their album release party. Watching
the guys put up there large banner was kick ass - it's a wonder they
didn't fall over while balancing on top of those speakers to get it
up there. Before the band officially hot the stage, their drummer
and guitarist came down to check all was good before the show and
of course peeps went f*ck*n' mental in the audince - hahaha - not
seen an LA house so wild in a small area before.
Vain/New Generation Superstars/Hollywood Tease -
Corporation, Sheffield, Sunday 29th November, 2009
Those who encounterd their show at the Boardwalk three years back mostly left, less than impressed afterwards, not least because of their tinny sound on the night in question so Vain have a lot to live up to on their return. That said, the celebration of their 20th anniversary….and that of their legendary ’no Respect’ album being their reason to romp the earth’s stages this year, one would not be surprised if they do indeed provide us with something a degree more memorable tonight. Keeping the arrived public keen while waiting this time are Stoke glammies Hollywood Tease, who Glenn has the honour of talking about.
Yeah, Cheers Dave! First up were a young band from Stoke on Trent (as Dave just said said), who share their name with a classic LA Guns number- it's on the self titled debut.. They walked and talked rock 'n' roll and had a killer look on the small boards with brilliant bouffant hairdos - are these guys trying to make the ozone layer bigger or what or did they use CFC free hairspray ?? - hahaha - only kiddin'.
Silverjet Drummer, Jon Hardcastle informed me that they are aged between 19 and 23 with a deal already with Mark Alger's Z Records who I didn't even realise were still going. They took you back to the 80's big style with songs having raw Def Leppard and Motley Crue tinge to them.
Their dynamism and freshness was impeccable and the peeps in 'ere tonight were astounded from what they were hearing and seeing - then there was their cool party piece which took the attention to a higher level - one guitarist got on the shoulders of the frontman with the bassist getting on the shoulders of the other guitarist! They played away as if it was just the norm' to do with perfect notation and balance alike.
It was a pity that they were opening act as I would love to see them on stage for a lot longer - I predict big things for these dudes who were loved by every single member of the audience - they got the chops to match the big boys and the good looks to keep the women entranced as well.
By Glenn Milligan
Occasionally we get treated to a song with a half-commendable hookline but they appear few and far between and for most of the way-too-long ride seem like a third rate Wildhearts, with the loud applause mostly emanating from their friends, other halves and those who actually found something in them last time.
Sadly I can’t say I do this time as I’ve clearly been through a reality check sometime between November 2006 and now and struggle, as does Glenn to find much major attraction with these chaps. Renders it a pity that them and Hollywood Tease had not been allocated each others spaces on the set schedule for the night.
By Dave Attrill
Time to wake myself up with a fix of Coke (the liquid version) before Vain finally relieve us of our wait and boy do they make it worth it. Kickstarting the motor with ‘Secrets’- and yes we think we do know theirs, (narf, narf) - Davy and the boys send everyone’s fists airward and its clear we are free of disappointment tonight, ladies and gents. Even the pair of latterday tracks that follows comes with loyal lip-synching, rightly so too as they still maintain the classic Vain sound that got the million-plus copies of their classic debut shifted which is remarkable considering the hiatus between 1989 and 2007.
Not so much warming as heating the punters up for the quadruple brace that follows, the noise as more ‘NR’ material is ignited is not too far off deafening - the making of the set list obviously having been spied on sometime throughout the day as they cheer like they know which song’s next along. ‘Down For the Third Time’, ‘Icy’, and ‘Watching You’ stun with their accuracy while at the same time the lads keep a loose approach and happily change the odd one or two notes for raunch-oriented effect, and ‘Smoke and Shadows’ mesmerises successfully with the aid of the hazy pale blue lighting simmering across the stage throughout the tune.
‘So Free Now’ is the one toher newie we get tonight and not a bd tune itself but will be crushed by the remaining bunch of classic to come. Davy Vain is no dullard on stage either, with plentiful quantities in banter between all tunes, including a near-decent mockery of the English accent at one interval though one habit I meanwhile do not recommended trying is treading the boards barefooted all night.
Those holding up the spectator side are in for a pounding now though as ‘1, 000 Degrees’ and ‘…Respect’ itself let rip but little can match that of the tune to follow, as immortal band anthem ‘Beat The Bullet’ causes a virtual moshpit to explode at the front.
As the San Frannies exit centre stage, NGS guitarist takes to the mike and persuades all and sundry to make sure their departure wont be for good. It surely isn’t and still they, and certainly we, are ‘Ready’ for a little bit more yet (That‘s right, Dave, give it away, why don’t you) with the album’s punky closing cut getting everyone activated one last time. .
A favourable reappearance from one of hair rock’s greatest names, the lacklustre nature of their previous Steel City performance certainly fails to cast its ghost over proceedings this time and the commutative pretence of this particular tour leaves no need to really care, just simply party all night longYearning fruitlessly for a second encore that never happens, I am still amongst ninety-nine point nine percent of the crowd who later set foot out of the Corporation door satisfied.
By Dave Attrill
Oh, and was Glenn one of them? We wonder….. –
Dave – was a great gig!!- Glenn
DANNY VAUGHN + VIOLENT STORM +
Crimes Of Passion + In The Name Of -
Corporation, Sheffield Sat, 2nd June, 2007
Like I’ve said before, you know how much you’ve been missed in Sheffield when not one, or two but three bands are lined up to support you on your return to Steel City stages. And that welcome couldn’t get warmer than for Tyketto legend Danny Vaughn. Last seen at the Corp with the original line-up for that phenomenal Don’t Come Easy reunion in late 04, it’s been over three years now since we were last able to enjoy the delights of his solo material.
Three other interesting new bands have come to being since then. The first of which are In The Name Of, a local act who have graced many a support slot in recent months and despite not playing the two numbers that impressed me the most first time round, we are still left with a palatable variety of material, including ‘Point Of View’ and ‘Devil’s Pact’, growers on me already by this time.
One of their guitarists has jumped ship, with their then bass player Russell now filling his shoes wielding a suspiciously Mustaine-like silver Jackson V, and leaving the vacant spot to be filled by Dave from singer Steve Baranovich’s previous act Cruel Device (whose one and only gig I had the honour of reviewing). In The Name of really are a damn fine band and Russell (my old mate Dooze with the V) can't half play a bit - well they all can.
Steve's vocals are a lot stronger than I remember all those moons ago and he has such a strong 'n' friendly personality on stage that makes people warm to him immediately - in fact, he's the same off-stage too - a real rock 'n' roller of a gentleman. I am extremely looking forward to witnessing these guys again as they get the night off to a really fine start - good old Mutley for putting them on ! Quite honoured to review them actually.
By Dave Attrill
Were it not for the cancellation of the White Lion and Talisman UK treks, this would not have been the first time I’d caught Crimes of Passion live in the last seven months. Having been out on tour with Mike Tramp and the lads on the mainland, their global reputation has reached levels they sadly didn’t in their previous incarnation, Deadline but they needn’t look back now as a hall by this time filled with a good 200 roar to their arrival.
A bit of touching-up to their set-list has clearly been undergone since I saw them open for Toby Jepson last September, or the excellent Harem Scarem-esque cruncher ‘Exit Wound’ would be a highly unlikely choice of opening number.
Still an idiot with titles at this stage, they do play plenty that I recognise, including ‘Dream Of Me’ and graces us with two or three newbies and they have to be good to fill a hole left in their set by the sadly un-included ‘Pretty In Blood’, a high octane rocker from their 3-track EP that odes quite well both to Deadline’s ‘Out Of Reach’ and classic White Lion fave ‘Hungry’.
The cover of Warrant’s ‘Mr Rainmaker’ fails to make the list either but that’s enough minor gripes for one gig. Dale Radcliffe’s unmistakable tonsils’ have taken some revitalisation since I last heard him perform, and contribute towards another fine evening for one of South Yorkshires shiniest hard rock lights of present.
Any headlining shows coming up soon lads- I’ve missed you.
By Dave Attrill
Just heading off for a break now, it’s Glenn’s turn
WOW – Violent Storm at the Corporation – how damn good is that. I raved like hell about the album ‘Storm Warning’ a few months ago. They feature a God on bass who goes by the name of Mick Cervino (who is also a member of Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s ‘Rising Force’ – the ultimate in guitar players by far!).
I last met Mick in 2003 at The Mean Fiddler, London at Yngwie’s gig, so it was brilliant to see him up there on stage in his own right.
On the album Mick takes care of all the guitars, a bit like what Mr. Malmsteen does, so on Guitar for the live legwork – well, fretwork in this case, is a maestro in his own right – Martin – who was also a member of Gary Barden’s Stormtrooper.
I named him ‘Mini Malmsteen’ – the guy really is that good! – even performing an outstanding instrumental that’s full of Miami Magic !
On drums is an absolute power driver too called Mike Sorrentino who has worked with Ritchie Blackmore & classic rock band Zebra. The vocalist for live purposes is Denny Blake (ex-Helix) – different vocalist to that on the album but that’s rock ‘n’ roll ain’t it! He’s even done stints on Broadway, but much prefers these types of stages.
They deliver a crackin’ set of numbers from already mentioned debut album and they please quite a few in the audience – which is rather hard to do in Sheffield – especially to a bunch of commercial melodic rock fans – a la Vaughn fans – nuff said – but hey, there’s some Forceful enthusiasts that totally lick up the Stormin’ Metal presented from these guys tonight.
Now if more people knew the songs – then maybe they’d be singing along with Denny tonight too – a bit like myself who just could resist wailing along to thunderous future classics such as ‘Fire Down Below’ & ‘Deciever’; ‘You Don’t Care’ or the beautiful ‘Storm’ that closes the album.
Every member of the band was give the time to shine in their own right – which is only fair when you have got talent of this magnitude on one single stage!!
Big things will definitely happen for these guys if it ain’t already. Go and buy the album now !! log onto http://www.violentstorm.net to find out how.
By Glen Milligan
Right, back to Dave -
As it is of Danny Vaughn to return to Sheffield after probably his longest hiatus between shows here in years. For anyone who missed his tour with Firehouse three years or so ago, he has now dispensed with the services of Messrs Zitarosa, Arbeeny, et al and now leads an-all British ensemble behind him, and relatively star-studded it is too.
Pride/Contagious guitarist Tony Marshall and former Ten bassist Steve McKenna plus the other resident axeman (forgot who he is) are around from the 04 line-up but fellow Tennie Greg Morgan has since vacated the stool to be replaced by of all people, ex Paradise Lost tub-thwacker Lee Morris (how’s that for diversity).
The fact that these guys have probably (sans Morris, obviously) shared a Z-rock or Gods bill with Danny over past years means that getting practice in with his established belters hasn’t been quite the obstacle course it could be, but the two songs from his newest album give us a good taste of the joint chemistry mixed by the talent Vaughn’s sought on this side of the pond.
Already a hit by the quantity of lyp-synching at the front, it looks set to eclipse the incredible ‘From The Inside’ CD but it is not long before the more familiar chords are struck and an as usual respectable collection from his backlog ensues.
Their is surprisingly quite little from ‘Soldiers and Sailors’ and ‘Fearless’ on show, though in compensation the measly quantity yields ‘Shadowland’, ‘It That All There Is’ and ‘Was There A Time’. We all know why though don’t we.... (got something to do with TYKETTO songs by any chance, Dave?).
Inevitably the bias is on ‘D.C.E.’ – era cornerstones but ‘Strength In Numbers’ favourite ‘Meet Me In The Night’ remains a timeless crowd pleaser itself and fires up the pogoing punters the same that ‘Burning Down Inside’ and ‘Seasons’ seem to, almost robotically while immortal Tykers ballad ‘Standing Alone’ could probably make the flames of countless fag lighters flicker virtually in time nowadays.
Playing straight on without an encore, the 90 minute set climaxes first with - against all expectations - overlooked Lizzy classic ‘Cold Sweat’ , and just watch the crowd go for it with this one, in fact running out of energy for the one remaining number left of the day. And given what we all know Danny Vaughn saves til last,.... all together now....”FOR-EV-ER YOUNG .... TIME ON MY SIDE ... WE GOT TOMORR....” - (okay Dave, you’re going to start me off too in a sec). Something music of this quality makes us stay. Danny does it again, like he did before.
While very few other melodic rock acts of this bloke’s immense calibre have the privilege of performing on UK boards, apart from the festivals Mee and co set up, the Corp and the Boardwalk do the best in trying to get as many over as possible, and we must as normal thank both them, (Cheers Mutley, by the way, mate) and people like Danny Vaughn himself for answering the call.
This scene needs you as much as it does him and after another stunning hour and a half like this, need I say less. Dan, you still ze man. Till next year. (We hope).
by Dave Attrill
Vain / Red Star Rebels / New Generation Superstars –
The Boardwalk, Sheffield, UK, 25th November 2006
Not been to the Boardwalk for a while but I return to check out a triple slicing of Glam – 2 from UK and the other from the US of A. Could have been fuller but there ya go – maybe some have heard how good the headliner was – or not – more on that later !!
First up were a band goin’ by the name of ‘New Generation Superstars’ (who are Leicester/Nottingham based) and came over very up for it in a rock n roll way of thinkin’ – one of their songs was even entitled ‘Rocker’ and they played like they definitely meant it too.
Seemed a really friendly bunch with their frontman even apologising about the feedback at the beginning of their 1st song – even jokin’ that he was deaf from it as well.
Decent players and ok in the vocal department too. They played for a nearly what seemed to be an hour as well and even knocked out a cover by a Canadian Glam band – wonder if it was by Crystal Pistol or something as it sounded very much like NGS had penned it themselves.
Was glad I got the chance to see London’s ‘Red Star Rebels’ as they had sent me the CD/DVD ep, reviewed a few months a go and even got a feature in a famous UK Rock Magazine.
God that frontman thinks he a real rock star, storming seriously and prancing around the stage with his shades on as though it was his own house or something and coming across rather arrogantly – I’m sure it was all part of the show though – but what was throwing down the mike in aid of – do it the world of good that - not to mention bashing it with the palm of his hand to geer on the audience to show their appreciation – lol.
That aside they were a solid band who were very together, playing songs from their ‘Too young to Care’ E.P. that were very much highlights in the set such as the early in the set title track itself and the Knockin’ or the Heavens Door like ballad ‘The Fast Die Young & Pretty’ and then some.
The folks in here loved ‘em with their LA ‘F*ck U’ attitude and ultimate desire to be the best in Sleaze N Roll – these guys are getting’ there for sure. Some of the band members even went out of their way to get new fans on the mailing list and credit to ‘em for it too – taking the music to the people and then talking to them after is the best way forward – credit to ‘em – like to see these guy again some time.
And then we wait, we wait, we wait, we wait, we wait, we wait and after an hour US Gam Rockers, Vain eventually walk into the venue like it’s normal to keep the audience listening to a CD over the PA twice over.
By all accounts they came out with some lame arse excuse that they had been caught up in traffic – the words bull and sh*t come to mind since they’d been in Sheffield all day so I was led to be told – they were late for their show the previous night as well I am led to believe as well.
Then 4 members come onstage with some weird irritating intro tape and it seems forever before Davy Vain can be bothered to come out of the dressing room.
What makes it worse is that he doesn’t even apologise for them being late – maybe it’s the norm to do this in his hometown, but over here we call it simply bad punctuality and bad manners and there’s no excuse for it.
When they start playing it must be the worst sound I have ever heard from a headliner in this venue – the drums sound like boxes, the guitar are too high ended and when you could hear Davy Vain there was the most annoying echo on his voice which put the icing on the cake for the wrong reason.
The majority of their set was extremely forgettable as well apart from songs from their ‘No Respect’ debut album which were great – that included ‘Watchin’ You’; ‘Beat the Bullet’ and the closing title-track ‘No Respect’ that went down brilliantly – mores the pity that rest of the songs on the list didn’t match up to them.
Since they got to the venue late they weren’t allowed to do an encore number as it was curfew time but Davy said he would do an accapella for us at The Corporation – so did it happen? because I personally didn’t even see him in the rock club later that night – answers in the usual e-mail form to the site.
After such a shabby performance, it’s little wonder why many fans felt cheated by what they saw – guess not many of these here tonight will be going to a Vain gig in the foreseeable future.
‘No Respect’ – quite fitting really, don’t ya think?
By Glenn Milligan
Danny Vaughn -
The Boardwalk, Sheffield, Wednesday 4th June, 2003
A bit like a four-legged friend - Danny never lets you down. As support to Bob Catley, Mr. Vaughn led us through an hour long set of material equipped with nothing but an acoustic guitar.
Now Sheffield audiences can be a funny old thing and it struck me that many were more interested in seeing Bob, since some were rude enough to talk through Danny's spot - unforgivable is that!! Because Danny is a true professional he didn't it bother him at all and delivered a brilliant bunch of numbers that only his voice is capable of. The man soared through a an immense selection of powerful rockers and ballads and managed to win a lot of the Catley crowd over - I mean, with songs like the catchy 'n' bluesy 'Gandy Dancer'; the sounds a bit like 'Sweet Home Alabama' ditty called 'The Voice'; the beautifully boppin' 'Take these hands' (well done that man for requesting it) and the poppy 'Is that all there is?' it leaves little wonder why.
Full-on Tyketto fans (well let's be honest, all Danny Vaughn fans are hardcore fans of Tyketto) were rewarded with the classic rhythmic 'Lay your body down' and of course, leaving the best to last - the only way to close the performance a tremendous take of the Rock Club firm staple 'Forever Young' - well we all know that one - awesome!!
It takes highly spirited, well-structured, interesting, beautifully crafted, top-notch written songs to pull off an acoustic performance with ease and Danny Vaughn is certainly a master craftsmen at the job. He'll be back again, maybe next time the full band will be on that stage as well.
By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS
VAUGHN - Nottingham Rock City, Saturday, August 3rd 2002
The man just can't keep away from England, can he?! Not that we'd want him to, of course. Coincidentally, it's almost one year exactly, since the last time he graced the Rock City boards and now Danny Vaughn does it again. As promised on his stunning solo acoustic ventures earlier this year, he's brought the full band over, albeit minus a couple of faces. Gone is bassist Jamie Scott, his shoes being filled by youngster Paul Mucci - the lad may be togged up like he's from some nu-metal combo but he's found his place in the Vaughn ranks. Keyboardsman Kyle Cummins is also nowhere to be seen and although they haven't got any new blood on the ivory bashing duties, purple-bobbed babe Carla Buffa joins D.V. on backing vox.
Scandalously, no support act turns up tonight, contrary to what the print on those lying tickets stated, so we are left standing around like lemons for about one and a half hours. What doesn't make it that much more comfortable is that we're in the small downstairs room, next to The Rig, this year, cue Danny's jibe later during the set about "how many guys can you squeeze into one phone box?"
Finally, they're on - well the band are on the stage anyway - and after a couple more minutes of final technical fumblings, they ARE on, as 'Fearless' kicks off an hour and forty of some of the rawest American guitar rock on earth. Second song into the set is about as long most can wait to hear Tyketto material and their wish is Dan's command and the result is rollicking blasts through 'Meet Me In The Night' and 'Wings'.
The remainder of the set is a finely woven fabric consisting of classics from both their past and present illustrious careers. 'Million Miles Of Road', 'Burning Down Inside', 'Is That All There Is', 'Shadowland', 'Last Sunset' and the always much demanded 'Standing Alone' make most mouths water. Eyes start to well too when 'Forever Young' kicks off in its acoustic form. Erm, Danny, I think we've come down to hear the electric version tonight, old chap, if you don't mind . - the swine, it turns out he was having us on as the first chorus and onwards sees them hit the full decibels and the crowd practically provide noise to match from hereon in.
Bluesy fave 'Gandy Dancer' is practically a standard in a Vaughn set by now and the triple attack of 'Haunted', 'Was There A Moment' and 'Just Like That', all from the 'Fearless' album are a surge through the man's soul - it can be all heard in the way he sings 'em. And finally, 'Healing Hands' and 'Fly Away', originally intended as the encores but in the end tacked onto the main set, close the night as only Danny Vaughn could.
We do get a preview during the show, of the next batch of goodies they will be bringing out later this year, or early next, with 'That's What She Said', a tune that carries on in the current material's vein which is obviously a good thing rather than a bad one. My mate - and sometime Metalliville scribe - Steve Windle tells Danny down in the rig later, how inspirational he's found this show. You think you're the only one, Steve?
By Dave Attrill
VAUGHN - The Boardwalk, SHEFFIELD, 25th March 2002
It has to be said Vaughn (nee Tyketto) have spoilt us Brits rotten of late. This time, two years ago, I was about to see them for the first time ever in my whole goddamn life. Tonight I'm about to see them for a third time, or him actually as Dan the Man walks it alone this time round, and unplugged at that. Fellow Tykes veteran, drummer Michael Clayton is also in attendance tonight - manning the souvenir stand whose items include a tour-exclusive acoustic EP - as well as to throw in for a few with D. V. too.
Then enter the master himself. Give him a stool and an acoustic guitar any day and Danny Vaughn can be trusted to entertain. A two-hour trip through the best that the New Yorker has been a part of over the last sixteen years ensues, and I don't think it could be shorter without committing any criminal omissions. What we learn during the show is that Danny had actually written the Vaughn songs and a lot of Tyketto's stuff too on an acoustic guitar which makes playing them in this form a piece of cake for the guy.
The set is predictably a balanced blend of the best material from both acts plus one or two previously unheard bits and bobs. Studio leftovers 'House Of Cards' and 'Deep Water' should have been included on the albums as they are amongst the best I've heard from him, 'Heaven Tonight' from Waysted, the Eighties outfit he was once in with UFO's Pete Way, and 'Jenny Doesn't Live here Anymore' from the more blues-leaning Flesh n' Blood album he recorded with Mark Mangold a few years back.
'Shooting Star' is a request by a fan and although I forget the originator of this vaguely familiar track, it is a choice I can't really fault. One lucky lad even gets handed the mike for 'Paradise Ain't Home' before then telling Danny how they've regarded their loyal followers 'like gold dust' over the years.
Sole encore 'Forever Young' - what else ?!?- is the quintessential end to this magic evening in a small venue on a Sheffield street corner, made even more special by the fact that the full band will be returning in the summer. And in the meantime, for those who didn't turn up tonight, here's what you complete heathens missed out on.
SET LIST: IS THAT ALL THERE IS / WALK ON FIRE / HEALING HANDS / HAUNTED/ HANDFUL OF RAIN/ HOUSE OF CARDS/ CATCH MY FALL/ SHADOWLAND/ JENNY DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE/ WINGS/ DEEP WATER/ WRITE YOUR NAME IN THE SKY/ STANDING ALONE/ HEAVEN TONIGHT/ END OF SUMMER DAYS/ LAST SUNSET/ SHOOTING STAR/ FLY AWAY/ PARADISE AIN'T HOME/ MILLION MILES OF ROAD/ FOREVER YOUNG
By Dave Attrill
VAUGHN - Nottingham Rock City, 18th August 2001
Onto Dan and the men. The intro to 'Bad Water' crept in with a spooky ultra-blue light glowing down on guitarist PJ Zitarosa, and keyboardist Kyle Cummins before the remaining trio take stage centre, left . and sort of near the back, in Michael Clayton's case. The opening track off the 'Soldiers & Sailors' CD is still as majestic as ever with Danny Vaughn's tonsils, obviously polished daily, playing away but never up. The Tyketto catalogue contingent of the set is introduced swiftly again, with 'Rescue Me' coming straight after.
Time, of course then, on the eve of its release and all, for stuff off the 'Fearless' album. I didn't know any of the titles before then, for obvious reasons and only caught a couple of names from the five or six played but 'Was There A Time' and 'Fearless' itself are my choice cuts. 'Catch My Fall', 'Burning Down Inside', 'Standing Alone' and an absolutely superb acoustic run of 'Walk On Fire' almost complete the celebration's of the outfits past life, but haven't we forgotten a song somewhere lads. "Let's now play something you might know" is how Danny introduces legendary Tykes dancefloor anthem 'Forever Young" erm yep, I think we do know that number from somewhere before, old chap.
What I am quite slow to realise this time is the full presence of the guitars through the amp output, the lack of which completely ruined the tune for us at the Z show last year. I am at least grateful for the absence of Jamie Scott's hideous Hetfield moustache that he'd sported that day at Wigan. Coming a week after the Melodica show here, and given the impressively-sized turn-out tonight, things are looking distinctively less pear-shaped for hard rock than they were a few years back.
By Dave Attrill