I have just came off of a near two hour bus trip home. It is 2 am, I have a nice cold bottle of Irn Bru, a half melted Whispa Gold and a hearing problem that could only be caused by one thing, live rock ‘n’ roll. Man, what I would do for a bacon sandwich right now.
Tonight I was with my fellow rock fans at The Lemon Tree in Aberdeen. A cracking little venue that puts on very little in the way of good concerts these days. Well unless you want to see some folk music or attend a comedy night. It was nice being in my old stomping ground and having the chance to rock out (as best as I could) to some well played, loud rock music.
To my surprise, the show tonight featured a hefty turn out for this little venue. A lot of people that came to see either The Answer or The Dead Daisies. It seemed to be one or the other and not like my case which was both. There was a fine queue outside the venue full of people from many different age groups, even some folks that could of been my grand parents. Everyone for the most part was in very good spirits and mingled in the crowd very well. I had the pleasure of having met some good company in the queue. We talked for a good hour on our contrasting opinions on live shows and how we love certain albums from bands like Iron Maiden. It was a great time waster and I hope you got home safe and well my friend.
The shows opening act, Lynne Jackaman took to the stage not more then ten minutes after the door opened. Her set whilst short and acoustic was fun, well played and quite charming. Jackaman has a fine raspy singing voice, one that you could compare to Amy Whinehouse had she been sober, not on drugs and not a complete and utter waste of space. It is a shame that the venue was only just starting to fill up when she came on. The style of song was mellow, bluesy with a touch of soul. It actually felt a little out of place with what followed but as far as opening bands go, this one was good and was greatly enjoyed by those in the venue at the time.
After that charming little set, the equipment was quickly thrown off to make way for The Answer. These guys didn’t hang about at the side long before they got on stage and cranked up the title track for their new album, Solas. It is an odd choice to have a slow plodding song as your opening number. I was just thankful that it was one of the very few songs I enjoy from the bands new album. The band played a fine selection of songs ranging from up beat rockers to the slower heavier stompers. To let our ears cool off, the group treated us to a couple of newer tracks which took the set in a completely different direction.
As musicians The Answer put on a great show. They are clearly very good at their instruments and have a lot of chemistry as they play off one another. You could see the band enjoying themselves. They put a lot of heart into their music which showed through the energy, the gorgeous guitar tone and the stunning vocal performance from the band’s front man Cormac Neeson. I don’t think this fellow stopped bopping about the whole time he was on stage. He has a great look that reminded me of the posters of early ’70s Robert Plant that I idolised as a kid. He did a great job of making the band look good and sang beautifully. He even took the time to leap off the stage landing with his crotch alarmingly close to the handle of my walking stick and my face (sausage party?!). If that aid connected with your Johnson, I do apologise. He also gets the honour of joining the likes of Dee Snider and Michael Monroe, vocalists who leapt from the stage and managed to land on top of me. Oh, why is it always a tall sweaty man and not some lovely blonde lass?!
I was surprised at how confident the group were whilst playing their new songs. I know that I would have been a little hesitant after the albums mixed reviews. But I applaud them for having the balls to do it and to do it well. The new tracks sound a lot better live then they do in the studio, even if they did stick out like a sore thumb nailed to the wall. I have missed The Answer many times in Aberdeen for a variety of reasons, so I am glad that I have finally had the chance to see them live. I most certainly will not hesitate to see them again in the future. Smashing live band.
Despite being equally as impressive, it is clear who the real professionals were as soon as The Dead Daisies hit the stage. Not to take anything away from The Answer but there was a certain rock star aura that lit up the venue when this group of ageing rock stars took to the stage. The band kicked off their set playing songs from their new album, Make Some Noise. This is an album that I am favouring in my list of this years favourites. They play the likes of Song And A Prayer, Make Some Noise, Mainline and their excellent cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Fortunate Son. Each one came across fantastic live. The band have a suitably heavy sound whilst maintaining the fantastic melodies that keep the songs from being standard stock hard rock.
As an over all unit or team, these guys were absolutely spot on. Each musician played off one another perfectly, each given plenty of space to play off their strengths. The guitars had a satisfying oomph with the lead playing from Doug Aldrich in particular being as impressive as I remember. I have seen him play with Whitesnake and Dio many years ago. It is my first time seeing him play in a few years and It was a pleasure to see him play within arms reach. Rock veteran Marco Mendoza had a great commanding stage presence. He kept the crowd on their feet, clapping and fist pumping to every song whilst playing some mean bass guitar. His style of playing went very well with the bands Brian Tichy’s heavy handed but extremely solid drumming. John Corabi as a front man was absolutely superb. I have admired this guy since I was a teenager and it was great to hear him sing live. He put on a great show with his Mick Jagger stage moves, groovy long bangs and a surprisingly powerful voice. I have heard a lot of raspy singers over the years and very few of them are as up front as Corabi was last night.
With that said, I would have preferred if the bands played without the opening act. I mean that with absolutely no offence intended towards, Lynne Jackaman. She is a talented and entertaining singer but the fact that two bands were playing short eighty minute sets was a little disappointing, especially considering both groups have so much to offer. I know that we got a fine bargain for what we paid for our tickets, but it certainly felt that each group could have added three or four more songs and would of left us wanting less by the end of the night… or maybe I’m just a greedy concert goer.
The added confusion about the start and finishing times also had a few people annoyed. The venue was telling people one thing whilst the bands were saying another. To make matters worse, the show went thirty five minutes over the estimated finishing time. This meant that those people (including myself) had to either rush out the venue as soon as the last song was done or miss out completely just to make their way home. It is a bit of a shame for things to end in a rush as all the musicians were signing autographs and so on leaving some folk to unfortunately miss out.
With those negatives out of the way, I had an absolute blast last night and I am pretty confident in saying that those in attendance also had a great time. There were a lot of folks caught off guard by Doug and Marco disappearing off stage only to turn up in the middle of the audience halfway through a song. Others were simply mesmerised by the bands obvious professionalism and top musicianship. For how little we paid for our tickets, we got a seriously good deal and I would most definitely see The Dead Daisies again in a heart beat. Though, I can’t imagine that they will come back to Aberdeen. Maybe when pigs fly or when our local promoters get their heads out their backsides.