Chris Holmes @ The Cathouse, Glasgow
Chris Holmes @ The Cathouse, Glasgow
The mean man returns to Glasgow and there have been a lot of changes since he last set foot in this city but the biggest change of all has to be with Chris himself. I think we can drop the title of mean man for a start as I as well as many others got a chance to catch up with him and he could not have been nicer.
I have always said he was a very underrated guitarist and I suspect this was partly down to his image and him not taking himself very seriously but you just need to listen to the solo work or see him on a stage to know a lot of praise was left unsaid during the years. I have to take a bit of that blame as well as even before I got here tonight I was not expecting much. I had words with myself and decided I would not let nostalgia and my love of W.A.S.P. for all these years get in the way. I decided I would be honest and say it exactly as I saw and heard it on the night.
But before we get to this there is no little matter of the support Last Alibi to discuss. I know I am in the right venue but I could very well be in the wrong city and decade with these up and coming Scottish rockers. They could quite easily have slotted onto the bill in The Cathouse in Hollywood during the late 80s, early 90s.
The band infuse the sound of The Quireboys, The Wildhearts, LA Guns and even a little slice of The Cult for a little twist. They brought the sleaze and Glasgow brought the action. Although they only had a short set and were on pretty early they managed to entertain and warm the crowd up well for the main event.
As well as some solid sounding songs like” Angel Instincts”, “Vice City” and “Burning Out” it was a cracking version of “Honky Tonk Woman” that got everyone singing. Shock City Promotions really did book a cracking band for the start of the evening but it was not to be the last we would see of Jamie Ramage and the boys tonight…
Once more the lights dim and the PA goes quiet and out walks The Mean band and I can assure you they are. With a real old school driving force you have Pascal Bei on bass and Folkert Beukes on drums. You also had the surprise of the evening for me in Thomas Antione Cesario, as he strolled across the stage with his double neck guitar, his flares, silky Jimi Hendrix top this was a man harking back to some serious cool guitarists and years.
Not only was this man a wizard on the frets he picked up vocal duties on the majority of the W.A.S.P. tracks which was a touch of genius as I did wonder how Chris was going to approach this. This idea also gave Chris time to let rip on guitar and show us just what he was made of with a guitar.
The set opener was “Shitting Bricks” and followed with two more Holmes solo tracks before the first W.A.S.P. track was aired in “L.O.V.E Machine” and suddenly the decades backtracked and I was in heaven. There is no shame in admitting most people here tonight were here to see a slice of rock history and see a legend in a smaller venue once again and I can assure you nobody was disappointed.
I said I was not going to pull any punches but there is no need to and going in with low expectations just made the night even more memorable…This band are really tight, they are a beast live and seriously loud. I still have ringing in my ears and this gig was two days ago…this hasn’t happened to me since Motorhead back in the 80s.
All my favourites were on display tonight, from “Sleeping(In The Fire)”, “Wild Child” and the one song I prayed for since Blackie has stopped doing it live, “ Animal(Fuck Like A Beast)”. This one made my night especially when Chris informed us Blackie emailed him prior to the tour and asked him not to play it…and Chris’s fuck you, nobody tells me what to play response.
My night would have been complete right there but it was not to end as we got a barnstorming, completely rocked up version of “Rockin’ In The Free World” and a very impromptu finale of “Highway To Hell” which saw Last Alibi take the stage again as well as Shock City promoter and Edens Curse bassist “Paul logue”. He looked very happy apart from the bass he had to work with.
This was a fantastic night from start to finish. It was a real pleasure to meet the man face to face after all these years following his career. Just to get a quick chat and to see him rock out in style in a much more intense and sweatier atmosphere. I don’t even mind that I cannot hear a fucking thing anyone says to me at present. If I went deaf tonight I would be able to take a phenomenal performance with me.
Images and Review Ritchie Birnie