The Dead Daisies/ The Answer @ The Classic Grand, Glasgow
The Dead Daisies/ The Answer @ The Classic Grand, Glasgow
You really cannot beat a good co headline tour and they don’t get much better than this. Both bands have no need to do a tour like this as they can and have drawn big crowds in this city before, it was only last year I saw both bands do headline sets and with both bands recently releasing new material lets just see who comes out on top.
Before we get to the bands I am going to have a good old British moan and discuss what is becoming the biggest bane of the gig goers life at present, that dreaded word curfew. I know venues these days are out to make as much money as possible and put on club nights straight after a live gig but recently it has been getting ridiculous and tonight just takes the biscuit. At 4.45 PM a little message was thrown onto social media that doors would be opening at 5PM…yes, 15 minutes from that message. Does the venue think people do not work, that they live in a one mile radius?
Even though I changed my plans, dropped what I was doing and left as early as I could I still missed the opening act Lynne Jackaman. Luckily she would grace the stage later with both bands but for young or new bands the main way they make money is by selling merchandise and getting their name out there…that cannot happen when they are playing to an empty venue.
OK, Moan over it is time to get down to the music and first up tonight is The Dead Daisies. I have been looking forward to this the moment I heard the new album “ Make Some Noise”. It is easily in my top 10 of 2016 and it I felt it really cemented Their place in the rock world. I was also interested to see how the personnel changes would shape up live. With the massive Guns N Roses reunion tour taking their toll on this band you could have quite rightly have thought it was going to be a backward step and a time to rebuild once again but this band have came through plenty of changes in the past so they know what they are doing. When I read that Doug Aldrich was joining the ranks my first reaction was no…but that was purely as I had seen him perform out of his skin with Glen Hughes. The man is a living legend and I had no hesitation that he could pull off a job with The Daisies but he fitted so well with Glen, I also yearned for him to find a home, somewhere everyone can just watch his ability, appreciate his class but also know he was finally in a band that was solid and going places…and I will come onto that later.
The venue was sold out tonight and it was packed for the opening riffs of this band’s intro of whole lotta Sabbath. There was no doubt that a massive part of this crowd were here to see this band as the barrier was full and the crush started as did the screaming as soon as that intro kicked in. The frenzy built even more as the band strolled on stage one by one until last to the stage, one of the best decisions The Dead Daisies ever made(and for me the reason this band became very special), John Corabi. I will go off on a little tangent now as I cannot tell you how many times tonight I heard the words ”That was the best album Crue Ever made” and I have to agree. I was shot down at the time when I said I loved that album but it was brilliant and if I can put a little side request in…please bring the American tour of the whole album to the UK.
OK, back on track, the band stood in awe at the response from the crowd then knuckled down to play “Long Way To Go” and the wall shuddering ”Mexico”. It was at this point that Doug Aldrich realised just how special this band is and more importantly how fucking loud Glasgow were. I have seen Doug in many bands and on many stages in this city in the past but you could tell he was genuinely shocked as he turned to the rest of the band and just pointed to the crowd.
After those two songs we had a little break to talk about the album and introduce a very aptly titled “Make Some Noise”. There was no introduction required and there was no need for that song title as the place was ripping itself apart. I was in the photo pit for the whole set but I spent as much time looking behind me into the crowd as the volume was phenomenal. It was also at this point that a bitter sweet thought popped into my head…I am not going to see these boys play in venues like this much longer. Within just three songs Doug had cemented himself in this band and to me it was like watching someone pop that last jigsaw piece in place. Over the years I have seen many bands on a small stage and you just knew they are destined for bigger things. Last year I knew The Dead Daisies were special, tonight I know without one ounce of uncertainty they are an arena band. Each member of this band has graced the biggest stages in the world and it will not be long before they are back there. The small, sweaty venues with the band only feet from your face is all but gone so I intended to enjoy this moment to its fullest, maybe this was why the audience were so crazy tonight, they could feel it also.
Another worry from myself and a few others here tonight was would they still do the covers. The band has three albums behind them now with no lack of quality songs to chose from but the covers do have a special place in the crowds hearts and as soon as Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” comes blaring out we knew everything was going to be OK.
The band tore through a set that comprised of blistering versions of “Lock’N’Load”, “Last Time I Saw The Sun” and The Who’s “Join Together” and with each passing song I recognise just how special this evening is. Each band member plays out of their skin and with so many showmen you really do not know where to look. John has the audience in the palm of his hand, Doug is basically giving a lesson in guitar playing like no other. Brian Tichy is playing all manner of games from his double drumsticks, water on the snare drum and drumstick acrobatics…you can be transfixed by this man alone. You then have the bare chested god of thunder and four string athlete in Marco Mendoza, The man with the cheekiest grin, loveliest tan and such rich and silky chest hair. We even got to see him dry hump his bass tech as they taped additional plectrums onto his bass. Even the quietest member on stage David Lowrey pulled away from his corner and got in on the action.
With all this said you could easily think this band would be big headed and full of themselves but the band and everything around them is humble and just a different class. Even the crew welcomed the photographers, shook hands and wished us as well. They also handed out water to the crowd and plectrums to some of the very familiar faces in there. This is another reason the band set themselves apart from others.
They finished the set with another two covers in “Midnight Moses” and an incredible version of “Helter Skelter”. At the end I was done in, I was still at the front of the stage and the heat from behind as well as in front was exhausting but as I went outside for a breath of fresh air I was on a complete high. As I walked through the crowd all I heard was “Wow”, “Amazing” and “That Was the best I have ever seen them”. Tonight was a new dawn for The Dead Daisies without a doubt and I hope and pray this line up is solidified on the tour and we have a new era of an unchanging set up as if it is the world has no boundaries for them.
Tonight was a tale of two bands and I have struggled to come up with what to say about The Answer’s set. I have eventually settled on telling is as I saw it but before anyone jumps on my words and fires abuse please note that although I may not have been at the start of this bands career I have followed them closely for six years now. I have always caught them live in this city and I did not miss them when they played Download and Hellfest. They were always entertaining, always uplifting and never failed to put on a show.
Their problems have been covered by many magazines recently and I found it sad to read that they were close to splitting after the last tour. I also find it hard to fathom how they did not see the rise through the ranks that they were expecting and I understand why they took a completely new direction on recent release “Solas”. With that said I was personally disappointed in the album. I was desperate to like it, I gave it plenty of opportunity but it just did not sit well with me. It was just too different a sound from the one I have come to love and embrace but like the album I was willing to give the new material a chance in the live environment and I did not have to wait long as they opened the show with the title track from “Solas”. Everything was set to encompass the moody atmosphere, the lights were dulled, the sound was set lower but it just didn’t work. As I always do I like to scan the crowd to see the reaction and it was as dull as the lighting.
I can accept that an audience may be slow to get new material live but this felt different somehow, as if nobody knew what to think. If you have attended an Answer show before you know it is a celebration, the crowd is part of the show but tonight they fell silent, only the die hard fans were pumping fists and this continued for the next four songs or so.
It was a big shock to me but when we got into about the halfway mark everything started to click again, we got the older songs and the guys seemed to slip into a groove. I have met the guys before and I know they truly do love this city and its people. We even got a few stories and Cormac told us this is the city that most resembles back home. This was the band I know so well, full of brilliant songs and a good craic.
As the show slipped along things become more familiar and the start was slipping from my memory. We had Cormac in the crowd(As always) and getting hands on involved. This got the crowd going and when we got to the likes of “Spectacular” I was back in my safe space, rocking out and watching a band that won me over all those years ago.
The set did finish a bit unusually as they played “Battlecry” Cormac came out with some snazzy, double cowbells(you can never have too much cow bell), he once again took to the floor and meandered through banging away before the band closed everything down and he walked off. A bizarre ending which kind of reflected the whole set.
I really hope Solas does exactly what the band hoped for as I do not want to imagine not seeing these guys again but for me it doesn’t work. Hopefully it is a learning curve, a fork in the road that can be travelled back to. Something that is full of lessons and makes the whole band stronger as the rock world needs The Answer.
Images and review Ritchie Birnie