34 min read

Review & Photography by Manny Manson for MPM

So having spent a busy day at Casa Manny, I’m now on my way back to Rock City, this time for the Super group formed by Australian Dave Lowy, The Dead Daisies.

Despite reinventing itself numerous times over the years, The Dead Daisies still captivate with its unique style of rock and roll. With the addition of Glenn Hughes and, drummer Brian Tichy back on the throne, A new chapter of hard-hitting heavy rock has proven the way forward.

As I park up and head for the venue, My phone is pinging from fellow togs asking about my whereabouts, ooh to be popular. I get to the box office and my pass is handed straight to me without my needing to ask, ooh am I getting to be that regular!

Inside there is already a reasonable crowd assembled. This is great as the first band is on at 10 past 6, yes, it’s an early doors again. The stage is set up with a nice, gleaming white sparkle drum kit front and centre, a wedge monitor in front of it is stopping it stage diving into the pit. Spacious it is not!

The Graham Bonnet Band are first up tonight. The band squeeze on stage, enthusiastically, almost as if they were being chased by someone with a broom. Graham is eager to go and is chatting away over their ‘Ring Walk’ tape. Without wasting any time, the band are into the first of the Rainbow covers on the set list. ‘Eyes of the World’.

1979’s Down to Earth is an iconic album, one of which Graham and the band have played in its entirety at the Steelhouse festival earlier this summer. ‘All Night Long’ follows, and the band are nailing it, Graham’s voice is excellent despite his years, as he powers through with the gusto of someone half his age. He still sports his Aviator sunglasses and that cheeky smile.

Squeezing past the drum kit he goes over to stand with guitarist Conrado Pesinato who is rattling out the solo much copied by teenage ‘noodlers’ in their bedrooms, and hiding away, keyboard player, Danny Mattin, (Rising from The Deep). Kyle Hughes is sat smiling hard as he belts out the iconic drum licks first laid down by Cozy Powell, his blonde curls swooshing as he provides BVs to these opening iconic songs. In fact, the crowd are singing along as we are in the pit. You’ve gotta love this era of British rock.

Next up we are treated to a superb rendition of ‘Nightgames’, from the 1981 Line Up album which included Cozy Powell od Drums, Jon Lord on Keys, Micky Moody on guitar, joined on the album by Parfitt and Rossi of Quo fame.

This is probably the best-known song from Grahams solo career, and judging by the way the crowd are behind him singing along it’s still a firm favourite.

He smiles as he soaks up the love towards him from the early doors crowd, the numbers have swelled hugely so is the man’s popularity. Another well done to the Rock City crowd for getting here early.

During his career he spent time fronting other bands, The Michael Schenker Group being one of them. With that we get ‘Desert Song’ from the 1982, Assault Attack album. Conrado, whilst not being Schenker puts in a stunning display on his battered Fender Strat.

He is definitely no slouch on the guitar neck. ‘Since You Been Gone’ takes us back to 1979 and the Rainbow years. The Down To Earth album is full of iconic bangers. I remember watching Top of The Pops back in the day when a youthful Graham Bonnet belted this cracker out on the TV. Wearing a Pink jacket, I think the sleeves were rolled up, and a white tee shirt underneath, the Aviators and a slick haircut whilst the band around him worn long hair and denims, he made sure he was noticed! A great song at school disco’s it get the boy’s up head banging.

We’ve had ‘Desert Song’ from Assault Attack so it’s only right that we get the very title song. This is another banger of a tune and allows Graham to let his hair down and give it large, not that he hasn’t done so all set. He finishes the night by returning to 1979 and the stunning ‘Lost in Hollywood’. The crowd, once again help out with the vocals not that its needed, but you can’t help singing out loud to this banger of a tune.

Beth-Ami Heavenstone on bass is having a great time bouncing along as Conrado rips out a blistering solo, with some nice additional touches that enhance Blackmores original riff. The fists are there as this one comes to a screaming finish. The crowd show their appreciation as the band say their goodbyes and exit.

Early doors mean it’s another swift changeover done by the Rock City crew. Up next, we have another band that have stood the test of time, I first saw them support Bon Jovi, on their ‘Slippery When Wet’ tour back in 1985 or was it 86? I think they’d just released their first album, Indiscreet so it must have been Nov 1986, they visited previously with Magnum in the October, a gig I missed through working shifts.

Oh, the band, the mighty FM of course

The band come onto the stage to great cheers. This band has lost non-of its popularity. Steve Overland’s voice is crisp as he sings through a smile, Jem Davis on keys is partly hidden by the smoke, his Van Halen inspired keyboard is anything but. His keyboard prowess up front as ‘Synchronised’ from the 2020 album of the same name starts their set of only six songs.

For the next song we go back to 1989 and the Tough It Out album. The guitars of Overland and Kirkpatrick riff out as the bouncing bass of fellow original, Merv Goldsworthy ties in with Pete Jupp’s thumping bass, he smiles as he dishes out the pain to his kit. Jim Kirkpatrick’s solo is superb, as he pulls the guitar faces in the dark corner of the stage.

‘Killed By Love’ continues things. Steve Overland is pointing and smiling at the crowd whilst delivering the next track, ‘Killed by Love’. He drags his mic stand across the front of the stage to sing along with Merv. This is a newer song from the Atomic Generation album from 2018. The matureness in the song writing is evident as the bouncing crowd continue to knock this one out of the park.

Tough it Out’ takes us back to the 80’s once again. With its typical 80’s keyboard intro and Woah’s this one slams out. Steve Overland’s voice has become silk! he clutches the mic stand like the consummate professional and croons to the hungry crowd.

The tune swirls around him as this one has the crowd singing back hard. We have another partisan crowd in tonight. Kirkpatrick’s riffs are cutting through the smoke as Overland joins him for a singalong. This is classic FM and a great choice for the set.

The almost Bon Jovi-esque ‘I Belong to The Night’ is next. Another great choice from the debut album Indiscrete. The chorus has the crowd singing out loud. The twin guitars and the keys of Jem are up front for this one, helping to bring back the memories from ’86. Happy days. I remember leaving the show and being happy that my Z1000 was where I’d left it. It got a hammering on the way home.

The night finishes with ‘Turn This Car Around’ from the appropriately named album, 13. It being the thirteenth studio album. Jem’s keys are swirling as Overland opens up with Yeah yeahhhh. The steady riffing and power drumming of Pete Jupp hurl this one down the road.

The harmonised vocals are great. The crowd are bouncing along to this, the final track of the set. The crowd don’t want them to leave the stage at its conclusion, but leave they must as the headliners, The Dead Daisies on are at 10 past 8.

Once again, the Rock City crew clear the decks, this means almost everything, Glenn and the boys are going to have a lot more room to move about in.

Almost bang on time the lights dim and The Dead Daisies come on stage to Sweet Emotion’. Doug has his back to us playing into a spotlight as the first song, the almost Antipodean sounding intro has the heads nodding and the feet tapping as ‘Long Way to Go’ rips the night apart.

Glenn Hughes is up front and centre smiling broadly in his bright red paisley and black swirls jacket and trousers, his nails nicely painted as he smashes out the bass rumble, singing along spectacularly. This, the only track from the album ‘Make Some Noise’ released in 2016, makes way for the slower ‘Unspoken’ from 2021’s Holy Ground, the fifth studio album and the first that features Glenn Hughes on Bass and Vocals.

The powerful bassline and strong lyric indicating what sort of an influence he has had on the band; however, it still sounds like The Dead Daisies. The twin guitars of Aldrich and Lowy leaving their mark as they scream and soar alongside Hughes’s powerful lyric. The breakdown is classic rock, delivering scorching guitar by the bucketful. A great addition to the set list.

2018’s album Burn it Up features next with the banger ‘Rise Up’. The dirty guitars and huge cymbal crashes bring this song to life. Hughes waits as he pumps out a thudding bass line. Tichy is animated on the kit the wall of sound pulverising your chest. This isn’t his first rodeo so he has settled in quickly as he throws his weight into the tune.

The steady lyric from Hughes allows Aldrich to riff along whilst Lowy fills in the gaps on his great white SG. It seems that Australians have an infinity with the SG shape. The dirty solo coming from Aldrich’s Gibson is stunning, he hits the shapes for the togs to fill their boots, they at his feet like Bee’s round a honey pot. What a player, and what a tone he’s getting, Ooosh!

‘Dead and Gone’ a favourite from previous years is given the Hughes treatment after being a Corabi staple. It works all be it coming across as a tad heavier.

Hughes vocal is a match for any song thrown at it and this is no exception. I like the Corabi/Mendoza years but we’ve moved on and so far, the new four piece hasn’t disappointed, with two albums already under their belt, there’s no denying the hunger the band seem to now poses.

We now get the first song from the new album, The title track ‘Radiance’. This has a dirty chugging riff as Hughes spins his vocal around it. The single was released back in May prior to the tour, the first in over three years. The single had a music video featuring an animated version of the band.

They now kick into a simple two chord hook with ‘Face Your Fear’ again from the new album, this is another slap in your face piece of driving rock. The dual guitar and Aldrich’s solo work sit well with Tichy’s monstrous beats. Another future classic maybe. ‘Bustle and Flow’s, another classic from The Dead Daisies’ back catalogue, cut and thrusts as the huge wall of sound continues to rattle the confetti from the rafters overhead.

Fortunate Son’ the Creedence cover is still in the set and that’s fine by me, it’s a great song. The rolling drums and iconic guitar sound get this song off to a flyer. The crowd join in with the claps as this one rips along. Lowy shows us that he’s more than capable of playing a mean lick as he takes the lead and runs with it.

Hughes adds his scream to the song as it’s brought down and taken over by Brian Tichy’s thundering drum solo. Although not everyone’s cup of tea it certainly is musical and rhythmical, full of thundering tom work and dynamic cymbal crashes. I love a good drum solo with a start, middle and an end, this didn’t disappoint at all.

With Glenn Hughes in the band, it would be unspeakable not to have a few covers from the mighty Deep Purple. I would have loved to have seen the ‘Come Taste the Band’ line up, but sadly that’s not to be. This is a bluesy number, started off with a screaming guitar moment from Doug, playing with the crowd. The steady kick drum slams in and Hughes starts off with the steady vocal that is ‘Mistreated’.

The guitars have moved back as this one powers along, the crowd helping out. Hughes never misses a chance to scream and he’s on them with this classic track from the album ‘Burn’, released in 1974, when I was a mere 10yrs old.

The next track was released as a single, apparently inspired by Dave Lowy’s love of flying. He’s an accomplished aerobatic pilot don’t you know. ‘Born to Fly’ starts with the drums slamming hard and the guitars riff along-side it, this is a no-frills rock song. Its muscular with just a little bit of blues, the quiet passage allows the song to catch its breath, needed after pulling high ‘G’ manoeuvres. A simple tune but greater for it, we get screaming guitars and a screaming Hughes so what’s not to like.

We jump back to 2018 again for ‘Burn it Down’ yet another thundering anthem, does this band not do a really slow ballad without it being of seismic proportions. Aldrich brings it in with a dirty riff on his Gold Top. The drums rumble hard as the twin guitars lock in; Hughes is asking how we feel as they build into this one. He loves coming back to the UK and judging by the amount of response he gets from the crowd, they’re happy he’s here.

As this one pulses along, we get the screaming fingers of Aldrich as he again soars with his stunning fret work, Lowy, over on the other side is digging in, his curly locks flying as he does so. With barely a breath we’re into ‘Hypnotize Yourself’ another one from the latest offering. Lowy kicks this one off, but it very quickly drops into a dirty twin guitar riff until Hughes starts to sing, it lifts momentum for a bar or two before kicking off again. Another stomping riff runs through the song, as Hughes vocals share the duties with Aldrich’s soloing guitar.

The guy, once again makes that Gold Top cry out in delight. The song finishes with another cymbal flurry and a ‘cats in Dagenham’ drum fill. Always like to hear a cat’s fill.

‘My Fate’ is up next. This banger is from Holy Ground, Glenn’s first album with the band is full of slamming drums and more soaring guitar riffs that bring this song into a dark and brooding place. Aldrich is pulling shapes as this one thunders along. The slow vocal delivery belies the nasty guitars riffing out of sight. The breakdown sees them up front as Hughes screams along. He’s one of only a hand full that can carry off a good scream.

It’s nice to see Dave Lowy has his white V out and slung low for this one.

‘Shine On’ brings the set to a close. Another from the new album and one that was also released as the second single, in time for the European tour. ‘Hypnotize Yourself’ was the third single released in August and in September ‘Face your Fear’ was released.

The Encore sees one of my favourites played. Originally, by the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, The Daisies have gone on to make it their own. Their trademark thundering drums and scorching guitar fit this song perfectly. It’s ‘ard n ‘eavy, but instantly recognisable. Guys either side of me are singing along, it would be rude not to join in, so as tone deaf as I am I give it my best Alex Harvey.

Back on stage, Doug and Dave are swapping sides as they riff out, until the the solo kicks in and we have classic Aldrich killing it. It’s great to see that Hughes is restrained on this one, oh too late he’s just let loose a scream that would stop dogs in their tracks, and its bloody awesome, timed right before Aldrich’s brief screaming outro.

The last song of the night goes to Glenn and Deep Purple, it can only be ‘Burn! And it kicks in with all the gusto of the original band itself. Thundering bass locked in tight with the drums. Hughes voice soars around as Aldrich and Lowy kill the guitar.

We have a great crowd in who sing along when told to by Hughes. It’s nice to see the security’s heads nodding along to this classic tune also. The scream before the solo is noteworthy, after all that’s been sung before it’s still powerful and on the money.

Aldrich has a hand in the air as he hammer on’s the end of the solo. The conclusion to this nearly eight-minute song builds, loud and heavy, Rock City is changing post codes the way the place is bouncing around. As it finishes the crowd erupt full of cheers and applause, pics are passed out as the band pose for the post show photo.

Making my way back to the car folk are talking about how good the whole night has been.

I’d loved to have seen Graham Bonnet do ‘Hiroshima Mon Amor’ but maybe next time.

Steve Overland and the FM boys pulled it out of the bag and played a blinder, being road worn has obviously paid dividends as they were tight and fun. The Thirteen Tour has been good for them, obviously.

The Dead Daisies came, saw and conquered. The opening night on their Winter Tour 2022 was nothing short of exceptional. We all have favourites and would swap songs in and out, but for an opening night it was pretty damn near perfect. My ears will be ringing for a few days I know that much, and I had earplugs in.

If you get to see the band on this tour, you’re in for a stunning night, trust me

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