Review by Pete Finn for MPM
It’s back to familiar ground after last weeks ‘Road Trip’, tonight it’s Rock City in Nottingham, we’re in the Main Hall to see The Dead Daisies on their ‘Like No Other UK Tour’ supported by one of my long-time favorites, The Quireboys.
The Dead Daisies are on an eight-date blast around England and Wales, promoting their January 2021 release and fifth studio album ‘Holy Ground’.
It’s the first time since 2018 that they’ve played here, and in that time, there’s been a few changes to the personnel. Formed in 2012 by guitarist David Lowy, with the idea of a ‘Rotating’ line-up using a fabulous pool of musicians, from the likes of Guns ‘n’ Roses, Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, Motley Crüe, The Cult, and Alice Cooper. In fact, there has been 19 members to date. There are definitely no ‘last picks’ in this game.
Last time out on the road, they graced our venues with a line-up of David Lowy (guitar), Doug Aldrich (guitar), Marco Mendoza (bass), Deen Castronovo (drums) and John Corabi (vocals). The latter three have now been replaced with Tommy Clufetos (drums) and Glenn Hughes (vocals and bass), it’s a real ‘A-Lister’ project.
The Quireboys, fronted by the ever youthful, swaggering Spike have been part of Rock Music for over 37 years. This support slot is a prelude to their own tour, celebrating 30 years of the legendary album ‘A Bit of What You Fancy’ which straddles 2021 and 2022, and includes a headline show at The Rockin’ The Bowl Festival in September 2022.
Tonight, has all the ingredients needed to make a high quality, very potent Rock ‘n’ Roll cocktail and I’m ready for a glass or two….
It’s good to see that the Main Hall is pretty much full already, a great show of respect for The Quireboys from the Rock City faithful.
With Guy Griffin (guitar), Paul Guerin (guitar), Keith Weir (keyboard/piano), Pip Mailing (Drums) and Nick Mailing (bass) having positioned themselves on stage. Spike saunters onto the stage, pint in hand, resplendent in a white dinner jacket and his customary bandana, dressed somewhat like James Bond and a gypsy fortune teller. It’s about 30 minutes past 7 O’clock, and we’re all ready for a party.
‘I Love This Dirty Town’ from ‘Homewreckers and Heartbreakers’ is a very apt start to the set, sleazy blues rock at its best, with a good portion of harmonica thrown in. We’re straight into ‘Misled’ a perfect example of how ‘Bar room Boogie’ should be played, with Keith Weir’s piano the backbone of the track. Spike is throwing and twirling his microphone and stand like a majorette in a marching band.
‘Man on the Loose’ has Spike swaying and posturing as he walks from one side of the stage to the other, like a caged tiger, encouraging the crowd to wave their arms.
Slowing down slightly for the almost ballad like ‘Mona Lisa Smiled’ a song that Spike can’t remember which album it’s from (‘Homewreckers and Heartbreakers’), we get to hear some of Paul Guerin’s fine guitar work. With control and purpose, the tempo is slowed down further for the atmospheric ‘Whippin’ Boy’, although this doesn’t stop Spike terrifying the spotlights above with his mic stand…
We’re back into party mode with the iconic ‘Hey You’ which gave the band their highest chart single in the UK when it reached number 14, the crowd is conducted as it joins in with chorus. The hits and favourites keep coming, ‘There She Goes Again’, once more the onlooking fans share the lead vocals.
The UK, we’re told, is home to pure Rock ‘n’ Roll bands as the intro to ‘Long Time Comin’’ starts, a track with a real Rock ‘n’ Roll feel and Keith Weir hitting the keys like Jerry Lee Lewis does during ‘Great Balls of Fire’. Paul Guerin’s slide guitar announces, ‘This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll’, “Rock City are you ready for some Rock ‘n’ Roll?” Hell Yeah, is the unanimous reply.
Spike thanks his right-hand man guitarist Guy ‘Griff’ Griffin, for putting up with him for so long, then we’re off into The Quireboys classic ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’ and it’s another chance for the Rock City Choir to lead the vocals, with all the band members grinning and encouraging them along. The next track is dedicated to The Dead Daisies’ Doug Aldrich, a country style song to remind him of his homeland, it’s ‘Sweet Mary Ann’ a slow start that entices the listener in, just before it punches you on the nose, Spike asks us to give a few ‘Yee-Haw’s’ for real authenticity.
‘7 O’clock’ starts, the crowd throws what’s left of their beer into the air and start bouncing, Spike, harmonica in hand orchestrates the bounce. It certainly has been a party, and everyone has had a great time.
The impromptu (not on the bands setlist) ‘Sex Party’ closes this brilliant set from The Quireboys, everyone here has sung, cheered, rocked and rolled, and we all look forward to joining them, to do it again soon. ‘A Bit of What You Fancy’ is well worth celebrating.
Setlist: I love This Dirty Town; Misled; Man on the Loose; Mona Lisa Smiled; Whippin’ Boy; Hey You; There She Goes Again; Long Time Comin’; This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll; I Don’t Love You Anymore; Sweet Mary Ann; 7 O’clock; Sex Party
The stage is now cleared, the lights are off, and The Rolling Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter’ comes though the speakers…
It will be interesting to see how the stage dynamic has changed, with the ‘In Your Face’ presence of John Corabi and Marco Mendoza, morphing into the calmer and more purposeful pose of Glenn Hughes, whose enthusiasm gives no indication that he celebrated his 70th Birthday this summer.
They open with ‘Unspoken’ from their new album, thumping drums from the offset, it’s a fast-slow number with Hughes’ penetrating vocal joining the changes together, we have a short bass riff before Doug Aldrich announces his arrival with a squealing lead break, what a way to start the show.
‘Rise Up’, a protest song about everything that is wrong in the world today, has an undercurrent mix of growling bass and rumbling drums that push this track right down your throat, there is no hiding the fact that we are at a rock show. The marching, foot stomping, ground shaking ‘Dead and Gone’ from ‘Burn It Down’ is next, this was also featured in their horror series, ‘Welcome to Daisyland’.
Glenn Hughes is grinning, his teeth blinding the front three rows, he’s enjoying this. Flicking his hair back, he tells the Rock City masses it’s great to be back home as the band charge into ‘Chosen and Justified’. Hughes leans over to David Lowy and asks him to take us all South, we know where, it’s ‘Mexico’, now this track emphasizes the different vocal sounds between Corabi and Hughes, I prefer the former for this song, but it’s a close call, and seeing the reaction from the crowd they have no complaints at all. Doug Aldrich leaning back, tears through his solo, his fingers a blur.
‘Bustle and Flow’ another track from ‘Holy Ground’ is next, and they move effortlessly into ‘Lock ‘n’ Load’ on which Slash played guitar for the studio recording, what are the chances of a guest appearance on stage? These thoughts are quickly banished, as Aldrich takes over and demonstrates why he is one of the most respected guitarists around.
The timeline is wound back to 1969 for the cover of ‘Fortunate Son’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival. A fantastic original gets a wonderful tribute from The Daisies. Looking at the body language on stage, you can see they enjoy it too. Another cover follows in the form of ‘Midnight Moses’ released in 1972 by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. This track gets the biggest cheer of the night so far, the crowd still have their singing voices as they shout ‘Hey, Hey, Hey’ when the microphone is pointed at them.
I’m not a big fan of Drum Solo’s, but when you watch one performed by a drummer who has played with Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne, you give the man respect. Tommy Clufetos has my respect, he hit the drums with such power, speed and control, it was like he was trying to open up the Rock City floor with a jackhammer.
Now we delve into Glenn Hughes’ past, and his time with Deep Purple, for ‘Mistreated’, the original had a blues/funk sound something of a change for Purple. I’ve always preferred the David Coverdale/Whitesnake version, especially the one on ‘Live…in the Heart of the City’. Hughes has played this during his solo shows that I have seen. From the moment Aldrich starts the intro, until Hughes’ final scream the audience is hypnotized and transfixed, they love it, for me the Coverdale/Whitesnake one still wins…but only just.
‘My Fate’ a bass driven, earthquake inducing track, that you feel through your boots. It reminded me of the Jurassic Park scene as the Tyrannosaurus Rex approaches, and the water in the cup vibrates. This indicates a change in the set, to a very heavy sound. We move into ‘Leave Me Alone’ a more punk style track, with pounding beat and short punching riffs.
We have a pause for a few moments to gather our senses, almost a boxer’s ‘count to eight’, Tommy Clufetos has smashed his snare drum and it requires replacing, actually, I’m surprised that it’s the only one that has failed his onslaught.
‘Saving Grace’ from ‘Holy Ground’ has been added to the setlist as a result of Planet Rock giving it justified airtime. Another track that has thumping drums driving it forward like a Viking long boat heading into battle, no prisoners are going to be taken. ‘Like No Other (Bassline)’ continues the battle, and this one includes a Glenn Hughes bass solo, there is no doubt about the product matching the description on the box.
‘Holy Ground (Shake the Memory)’ the title track from the album, closes the set. A fabulous set that has shaken more than the memory, it’s shaken everything.
After a brief departure from the stage, The Daisies return for a well-deserved encore and start with ‘Long Way to Go’ is a track with a real 80’s metal vibe, a good indication of where the band learnt their trade, short punchy riffs, tempo changes, and strong vocals. This track’s sound takes me back to my youth, happy times.
Glenn Hughes is in his Deep Purple back catalogue again for another classic, (well to be honest, with Deep Purple they’re all classics) this time it’s the high speed 1974 anthem ‘Burn’, some would argue this was the finest opening track on any Deep Purple album. Instantly recognizable guitar riffs and vocal harmonies, The Daisies covered in flame like red and orange stage lighting, race through this one, just as Emerson Fittipaldi did in his McLaren-Ford winning the 1974 Formula 1 Title.
On tonight’s performance, The Dead Daisies are a Championship winning team too. What a way to end the show.
Setlist: Unspoken; Rise Up; Dead and Gone; Chosen and Justified; Mexico; Bustle and Flow; Lock ‘n’ Load; Fortunate Son; Midnight Moses; Mistreated; My Fate; Leave Me Alone; Saving Grace; Like No Other (Bassline); Holy Ground (Shake the Memory); Long Way to Go; Burn
Photography by Manny Manson for MPM