Review by Gary Spiller for MPM
Every now and then unlikely worlds collide and produce prodigious results, seemingly made for one another in the most unexpected way. Welcome to the wild and oft-whacky world of Ted Poley and, wait for it, Sonic The Hedgehog!
On the face of it two seemingly polarised characters; one a seasoned denizen of the world of hard rock and the other a spiky video game character renown in virtually every corner of the planet. A ‘partnership’ that has yielded a good number of tracks across the Sonic franchise; from Sonic Adventure to Sonic Generations via Sonic Rivals 2, have a peek I dare ya!
Once you’ve witnessed the wondrously concentrated chaotic maelstrom that is Ted Poley live you can understand the compatibility. Silver sequined shoes, crazy vivid trousers and an even crazier on-stage persona Mr Danger Danger is the real life hard-rocking personification of the anthropomorphic Sonic in so, so many ways!
Pre-show and there’s much chatter and anticipation; talk of memories of when Danger Danger opened for fellow Statesiders Kiss in the National Ice Rink in Cardiff back on 1992’s ‘Revenge’ tour reverberates. Expectations levels, like the river in flood, run high.
Hailing from the very heart of Wales opening outfit Raider are rapidly gaining a reputation for bringing the very essence of the 80s to the new century. Formed back in 2017 with their debut EP and album under their collaborative belt this six-piece have recently released an acoustic EP – ‘Stripped Back’ – to further showcase what they’re all about.
With raw, sparkling acoustic six-strings to the fore, from the starting gun, Raider is clearly determined to live up to the title of their latest offering. With a chilled ambience and an easy-going attitude, they’re quickly into their furrow. The classy slick AOR of opening number ‘Tokyo’ goes down well with a nicely packed Patriot. Singer Mike Platt, a battle-rounder of The Voice in 2019, demonstrates his wide-ranging vocals, all tassels and cool shades.
A loud cheer erupts, it’s all the 80s but minus the makeup and big hair. Clearly the faithful love it! Track wise, attention turns from their debut EP to their nascent long-player with ‘Dusk To Dawn’ winding down the soft-top for a cruise along the West coast, capturing the likes of Toto in all their glory.
With shimmering keys ‘Runaway’ melds the greats such as Journey and Boston with an additional dash of Fleetwood Mac. The composed, laid-back atmosphere is infectious as we’re swept along with the current.
‘We Had Tonight’ touches the heart whilst the gleaming chrome of Changes’, their first single, despatches a freeway vibrancy. “Normally this is where we slow it down” jokes Mike as he introduces the next song.
Enthralled, if a pin were to drop it would have been heard, The Patriot, including Chez Kaine and Tyketto guitarist Harry Elliot, is stunned to the core as Heart’s classic ‘Alone’ chills all to the very bone and raises the hairs on the back of the neck simultaneously.
Suitably warmed up the crowd rapturously sing the five titular words of final track ‘Give It All You Got’ as the party level is raised along with the venue’s roof as the gathering produce a spine-tingling roar.
Listing Danger Danger, alongside Kiss and Poison, as one of his favourite bands it’s most befitting that Rob Wylde is special guest for the entirety of this tour. Alone, on stage, but for his acoustic guitar, the Midnite City frontman gathers his thoughts before enquiring “Is Crumlin ready to rock?”
In a delightful blast of midnight Springsteen dives into his back catalogue for ‘Can’t Wait for the Nights’ to kickstart proceedings. Encapsulating the epitome of hair metal Rob cracks on with his one selection from his time with Welsh glam-metal outfit Tigertailz. It’s all eyeliner and bleach blonde hair with ‘All The Girls In The World’ craned in from 2016’s ‘Blast.’
Looking out to the crowd Rob exclaims “Fucking hell, you’re a lively lot!” It’s a tough task following on from Raider’s performance, but Rob is up for the challenge and works hard to engage and entertain.
With its catchy chorus ‘I Don’t Need Another Heartache’, even stripped right back to its bare bones, demonstrates why Midnite City are right up there amongst the best on the current hair metal scene.
Dedicated to “Glammy Paul” ‘Heaven’s Falling’ is an emotional tribute. Its Poison meets Guns n’ Roses crossover is most warmly received. Wrapping up a quickfire half hour set Rob turns the spotlight on to Midnite City’s 2017 eponymous long-player with the hook of ‘One Step Away’ and the atmospheric ‘Summer Of Our Lives’ with its touches of primetime Bryan Adams.
Rob’s calm composure and eye for the melody have proven an astute tour selection; the ideal foil for the mayhem that is about to ensue. With a new Midnite City album ‘In At The Deep End’ being released in June with a tour to boot there’s much to look forward to.
There are few individuals, if any, who could truly rock the multi-hued trousers and spiky shiny slip-ons like tonight’s headliner Ted Poley can! Best known for fronting New Yorkers Danger Danger, rising to mainstream fame cresting the late 80s glam metal wave, Ted is an unstoppable force. Last night Edinburgh, tomorrow night Blackpool! Even the touring schedule is appropriately manic!
As fast-paced and equally havoc-inducing as that blue hedgehog Ted, partnered by the mind-reading powers of Declan McKerr, ensures there’s much aping from the off with the foot-stomping, headbanging ‘Monkey Business’ leading the way. Lifting his guitar aloft Ted – aka the Acoustic Destroyer – takes the crowd’s adoration before offering his appreciation of both of the evening’s acts. “Big hand to Rob, my buddy, and that first band my god! Singer made me cry!” he offers.
As well as taking choice cuts, like the expressive ‘Feels Like Love’ and hard-rocking Aerosmith-fringed ‘Horny S.O.B.’, from the Danger Danger arsenal Ted slips in a track apiece from Tokyo Motor Fist and The Bone Machine. The sing-along charms of ‘Love’ and ‘Life And Times’, respectively, given a 21st Century Ted re-working.
Declan’s fret-picking skills are second to none but he’s kept on his toes with Ted veering here, there and everywhere life a highly caffeinated gremlin who’s just fed post-midnight! Ted’s last-second changes to the running order – wriggling in a country-tinged ‘Don’t Walk Away’ – and his prowess in breaking strings don’t phase this affable guitarist. A swift string replacement during ‘Fuck You $’, courtesy of his compatriot, and Ted’s off once more. This time with an unexpected slowed down rendition of Prince’s ‘The Most Beautiful Girl In The World.’ It’s that sort of a night, expect the unpredictable!
The super-slick ‘Bang, Bang’ does precisely what it says on the exterior of the tin as Ted further enhances his irrepressible character. Partial to a shot Ted gives a massive thumbs up as a sizeable glass makes its way to him from the bar.
Declan adeptly despatches a blues rocking output, alloying elements of Kiss and Aerosmith, during a furious ‘Everybody Wants Some.’ “An X-rated lover working overtime” Ted roars suggestively. This is one very content individual “It could have been 10% of this and I would have been happy. I’m a 1000% happy, thank you from the bottom of my heart!” he notes.
The Eagles-infused ‘I Still Think About You’ slides readily into the acoustic realm ahead of the dial being racked right up with the anthemic ‘Naughty, Naughty.’ Rob Wylde is invited up on stage, for the former, to take on the six-string duties alongside Declan as Ted, dropping into the pit, gets up close and personal with the barrier crowd.
Whimsically noting “I tend to destroy guitars!” Ted cradles his mic before getting right into the crowd, hugging one and all, for the highly appropriate set-ending ‘Hysteria.’ It’s breathlessly captivated and entertained throughout. Born in the year of the Dragon Ted has certainly exhibited his lively, excitable intellect alongside his fiery eccentricity. It’s been that sort of a night!
Photography by Kelly Spiller for MPM