I love Danko Jones. That’s just a fact. So when TINAS asked me to head into The Big Smoke for their first UK show in literally years I couldn’t get there quick enough.
I must just say I had never been to Oslo in Hackney before (or heard of it) but I found it to be a brilliant venue, with a decent bar downstairs in which you can hear very little noise from the live room a couple of floors up, which resembles Islington Academy’s little brother, so if you hear of any gigs there, go check it out.
I believe this is drummer Rich Knox’s first UK gig with the band and he rises to the challenge phenomenally as the band take to the stage and rip straight into a medley of “Wild Woman”, “The Twisting Knife”, The Misfits’ “Die Die My Darling”, and “Samuel Sin”.
As the fans try to regain composure from the shit eating grins they have just been exhibiting Danko addresses the crowd encouraging them to boo for taking so long to come back and play, before more than making up for the absence with a set list comprising of 21 songs, from big singles (‘First Date‘) to newer material (‘Legs‘) via lesser played tracks (‘Play the Blues‘) the Canadian trio move through banger after banger, but it’s ‘Do You Wanna Rock’ that raises the game as Rich makes his cowbell his bitch and shows he is the man to take the stool in that band.
Co-founder and bassist John Calabrese is also having a great gig, singing along to the crowd and smiling from start to finish, especially during that bass intro to ‘Lovercall’. It’s at this point though that I realise the strange audience. The venue is packed and the band isn’t quite successful enough over here to be one of those acts you just go check out unless you really know them, yet the vast majority seem to be just standing and politely nodding, while the guys they’re watching pour blood and sweat into the rock and roll oozing out of the speakers – no, not oozing out – FIRING out, but I guess that doesn’t matter when they’re at the gig and applauding at the appropriate times.
Danko introduces ‘She’s Drugs’ with a rant about how a good rock and roll show shouldn’t be perfect and no self-respecting rock and roll band should ever get 10/10 and that the next song is going to be “a 4/10 performance…and you’re gonna fucking love it!”.
Closing the main set with strange choice ‘Gonna Be A Fight Tonight’, from WWE’s Royal Rumble, the encore is made up of old song ‘Best Good Looking Girl in Town’ from recent demo album “Garage Rock”, the brilliant ‘Cadillac’ and standard finisher “Mountain”.
As we file out of the venue there is no denying that we just witnessed one of the greatest rock and roll gigs of the year and I sincerely hope they don’t leave it as long next time.