Chris Holmes @ The Cathouse, Glasgow Jun28


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Chris Holmes @ The Cathouse, Glasgow


Well its been about a year since I last saw Chris Holmes and my hearing was just about getting back to normal. I decided I was not going to go tonight so unprepared so I sought out a motorway work crew, lay down next to the pneumatic drill for an hour and now I am ready!!!

Before I got to the decibel busting man himself we had two cracking support bands, the first of which were local guys Manifold. After a bit of a lay off the boys have been back at it and after a cracking support slot for L.A. Guns I was looking forward to catching them live again.

The band were in fine form with tracks like “White hot”, “False Lovin” and “killer Touch” you can guarantee some fun and plenty of Rocking…even if Bass Player J.B. Storm looked as if he was running on fumes due to travelling back from London and the Guns N Roses gig. Maybe a good choice to hide in the dark corner of the stage then eh?

Although it was early and not everyone had arrived the guys gave it their all and as usual their version of “ Whole Lotta Rosie” got everyone singing along and right in the mood for some old school rock. Always a great set and always a good laugh.

Next up and full tour support was Alexa De Strange. Well this bunch definitely do what it says on the tin. I had never caught this band before and to be fair only one person in the audience had(well done Campbell). I really did not know what to expect but as they got underway I was suitably impressed, one with the operatic vocals, two, a bass player who might as well be Jimmy Bain in his prime( with a fair amount of sparkles about him) and three, with some awesome songs.

I can see how the band might be a bit devisive musically and to be 100% honest they were a (might as well say it) strange choice for the headliner but that did not deter me or most of the crowd tonight. As the band happily state they are as tight as a nun’s chuff and as loose as as a vindaloo lovers bowels.

The songs are solid, the guitar was immense and this was a brilliant introduction to the band, they even got an extended set due to some issues I will describe below. Ones to watch for sure.

Just after Manifold had finished their set we found out that Chris Holmes and Mean Man had broken down in Grimsby of all places. They had still not arrived when Alexa De Strange were well into their set. This was going to be a challenge for sure but the band eventually ran in through the doors, wasted no time and got on with setting up their kit. There was no time for a sound check but hey…it is Chris Holmes people.

As the band were getting their shit together on stage Chris’s lovely wife and manager Cathy came out on stage to pass time by giving the punters t-shirts a thumbs up or down, luckily no Blackie t-shirts or there could have been trouble.

One of the best moments as the band were checking levels with the sound guy was when Thomas Cesario was asked how high they wanted it and with a puzzled look he replied all the way, yes, the ears were in for a beating again.

With all these technical issues resolved Chris picked up his battered guitar and opened with a lovely ballad…yeah right, lets go for “Shitting Bricks” and so the scene was set for a loud and seriously enjoyable night.

As we sped through “Get On With It” and “ Let It Roar” the sound was a bit off, a bit raw but with this band that does not matter one little fuck. Nobody is here for delicate ballads, precision sound and clarity, no, we are here to get rocked out and Mean Man does that in style.

Obviously with the lack of time left there is very little banter from Chris but on the intro to “Love Machine” he does apologise for Blackie lawless not being here…or on any of his festival slots(he pulled out). Blackie is always good for a dig and the W.A.S.P songs are always received with pleasure by the crowd.

We head into a barrage of them now with “ Sleeping in The Fire”, TFMF”, “On your Knees” and a brilliant surprise in “ Headless Children”, which if I remember correctly this was the last tour I saw Chris in W.A.S.P. For some reason that album put me off the band a bit, the whole WTF are W.A.S.P going political for but looking back it is an amazing album, not as raw as the earlier stuff but right up there in my top 5.

Guitarist Thomas does these tunes proud. He may look like the 70’s just took a huge dump on him but with his voice, his gear and his double neck this man personifies cool.

As we near the end of the set there is a lot of side stage chatter and it is becoming obvious that time is scarce but the band stick to the set list and the crowd seriously get into “Born, Work, Die”. Quickly followed by “ Wild Child” and the punters ( now full of deaf mutes) was going crazy but that was short lived as the song finished, the power went off and a large number of profanities came forth from that stage.

The band had ran out of time and the one song that people know they can always hear at a Chris Holmes gig was not to be played. Yes, “Animal Fuck Like A Beast” was sorely missed. Everyone knows Blackie no longer plays this song but we can all bank on Chris giving a big middle finger to that and play it so yes, Glasgow felt a bit robbed tonight but we still had a great show. The band made all efforts to make sure they were here for the fans and that was what mattered. Can we just make sure it is first on the set list next time Chris, hell, play it twice for us.

Images and review Ritchie Birnie

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