As the winter sets in and the nights become colder and longer, so too does the average misery of people with no festival to look forward to for over half a year. Thank Christ then for touring packages such as this, with Western Sand, The Dead Daisies and Black Star Riders hitting the road for a UK jaunt that takes in most of the major and medium sized cities this country has to offer and reminding people how fun and uplifting music really can be.
7.30pm is not the ideal time for a band to kickstart a gig like this, with doors barely having been open long enough to fill the room, never mind get a drink (And with many revellers not planning to arrive until the headliners). However, Western Sand manage the seemingly impossible as they kick off their first set of their first major tour in their hometown of Bournemouth and treat those lucky enough to be in attendance to 30 odd minutes of pure Southern styled quality rock whilst clearly showing both their pride and how much they have learnt playing those toilet venues that so many others have started out in.
As the audience is slowly won over more heads start to nod and more feet start to tap, frontman Tyler Hains keeps the audience engaged, whilst drummer Nathan Kay is a whirl of hair and drumsticks. By the time the EP highlight ‘Broken Bones’ is ending midway through the set the band are well and truly in the zone and it is easy to forget that they are not the headliners.
The Dead Daisies are possibly the most secret supergroup ever assembled, tonight’s line up including Guns N Roses alumni Bumblefoot and Dizzy Reed all fronted by the ever charismatic Jon Stevens, probably best known for his job as Michael Hutchence’s replacement in INXS. The admittedly slightly more mature crowd soak up every note this blues-rock band play and go wild when they drop a covers of Stay With Me and Helter Skelter, the latter of which kicking even more arse than Motley Crue managed to do with it. TDD also aired a previously unreleased song entitled Your Karma, proving that they are more than a one album wonder and will no doubt be seen again around summertime and probably before too.
By the time the main event take to the stage the crowd have filled out and are ready to rock and/or roll to a set that perfectly balances the new material recently released by this recently rechristened band and the classic Thin Lizzy songs we all rediscovered a summer ago.
Ricky Warwick leads the band through a storming opening selection of ‘All Hell Breaks Loose’, ‘Are You Ready?’, ‘Bloodshot’ and ‘Bad Reputation’, before perhaps getting a little too carried away and informing those who don’t have a copy of the album (also called “All Hell Breaks Loose”) that it will change their life.
Not to be dissuaded from such outrageous claims the assembled throng continue to cheer and sing their way through what, for most of these guys, is probably the first new material they’ve written in God knows how long and a testament to the unit these 5 individuals have become.
Obviously, the classic Thin Lizzy songs garner a much louder response and who can argue with hits like ‘The Cowboy Song’, ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’ and the double encore of ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ and Bob Seger cover ‘Rosalie’. As the lights go up, the plectrums are thrown out and the punters once again wrap up against the cold, one thing is clear, tonight was a great start to what is going to be an almighty tour (no pun intended) and proof that no matter what new genres and sub-genres are in vogue, “Classic Rock” will always be there.