Black Star Riders/Michael Monroe/Phil Campbell The Bastard Sons -
LCR UEA, Norwich, Wednesday, February 15th, 2023
This three-band line-up promised to be a night of ROCK to remember! So how did it turn out?
Set List: We’re The Bastards/Bite My Tongue/Big Mouth/High Rule/Born To Raise Hell/Get On Your Knees/ Freak Show/Dark Days/Ace Of Spades.
Phil Campbell and The Bastard Sons took to the stage at around 7pm and powered through their setlist. Opener, 'We’re The Bastards', exploded off the stage as Frontman, Joel Peters proved his credentials with a voice and an incredible mane of hair that screamed ROCK!
Phil himself was somewhat static, but that didn’t matter as his sons, Tyla, Dane and Todd provided more than enough intensity and action to keep you occupied. Throughout Joel propelled each song along with energy as he provided the perfect focal point.
We got a couple of Motorhead covers in the shape of 'Born To Raise Hell' and 'Ace Of Spades' but it all came to an end of me far too quickly after Ace, in what proved to be a hair raising, hell raising start to the night.
My immediate thoughts were the acts to follow are really going to have to be on their metal toes to follow this. As these Bastards had raised hell!
Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons - Photograph 13
Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons - Photograph 12
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Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons - Photograph 1
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Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons - Photograph 2
Set List: One Man Gang/I Live Too Fast To Die Young/Last Train To Tokyo/Murder The Summer Of Luv/Tricks Of The Wrist/’78/Ballad Of The Lower East Side/ Nothin’s Alright/Malibu Beach/Up Around The Bend/Dead Jail Or Rock ‘N Roll.
I was never a big Hanoi Rocks fan, neither have I been impressed by Michael's preening, posing, primadonna antics at previous shows. However, I have to give him credit tonight at the LCR.
He was a constant swirling, posing, commanding frontman, even if he was almost certainly pissed as he constantly forgot the name of the venue he was playing at. He even said, “Hello Ipswich”. In Norwich that is unforgivable!
There were flags, a plethora of scarves and plenty of make-up on show as Monroe did truly entertain the crowd. He was like a turbo charged ninja as he climbed the speaker stack and constantly moved. There was also some songs, which seemed to blend and crash into each other without being memorable.
'One Man Gang' kicked things off, the title telling you all you need to know. Monroe clearly loves the spotlight and for a man of his age he has irrepressible energy, I guess Red Bull or something else gives you wings.
A highlight for me had to be Hanoi’s, 'Up Around The Bend' (the old CCR gem), but each song was delivered with energy and verve. Monroe is a photographers dream as he is constantly making shapes for the camera. The audience seemed to enjoy his delivery and he certainly put a smile on their faces, oh I almost forgot the saxophone, which provided another great photo opportunity.
All in all it is a show of glam punk rock, which doesn’t always glitter, but then again all that glitters isn’t gold. The set was fun and he definitely had a dynamic that enhanced this evenings three band bill.
Michael Monroe - Photograph 11
Michael Monroe - Photograph 9
Michael Monroe - Photograph 10
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Michael Monroe - Photograph 2
Michael Monroe - Photograph 1
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Set List: Paydirt/Another State Of Grace/Better Than Saturday Night/When The Night Comes In/Riding Out The Storm/Wrong Side Of Paradise/Crazy Horses/All Hell Breaks Loose/Bloodshot/Soldier Town/Don’t Believe A Word/Blindsided/The Killer Instinct/Before The War/Testify Or Say Goodbye/Tonight The Moonlight/ Kingdom Of The Lost/Bound For Glory/Jail Break/Finest Hour.
On to the headliners. I am a huge Almighty fan. I, like everybody else on the ROCK planet, am a massive admirer of Thin Lizzy and Phil Lynott. Tonight, is my first experience of Black Star Riders and my expectations are high.
I am intrigued to see how the band has developed and how B.S.R have become a group in their own right and not just a Thin Lizzy act. Lynott was largely a poet & Warwick an angry young man. Just how this would blend into the overall sound and image I would find out soon enough.
'Paydirt' got things off with an almighty roar with Ricky Warwick immediately centre stage and the focal point. that would change about mid-way through the set. 'Another State Of Grace' and 'Better Than Saturday Night', set the tone for a set of songs that ROCK, but where is the panache, the poetry?
Warwick swamps the songs with fire and attitude, but too often the melody of the band that the are kind of derived from is forgotten. Maybe I was expecting it to be more Lizzyish sound and style-wise. Where Lynott would smile, Warwick grimaces.
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Black Star Riders - Photograph 1
Okay, no more direct comparisons, you can do that on a web site. B.S.R give us a night of solid Rock in support of their new album, 'Wrong Side Of Paradise'. It had everything! Great guitars, especially when Scott Gorham took to the stage. He provided a feel, a texture, a layer of magic, the connection with where it all began. He played brilliantly, though he did look a bit frail.
'Crazy Horses', the Osmond’s classic, got everyone singing and was the first highlight, the others would be sprinkled carefully throughout the night and would come in the shape of 'Don’t Believe A Word' and 'Jailbreak'. I guess I have unintentionally compared again.
The show as a whole was excellent, but not quite what I was expecting. It was pounding and the current tour represents the tenth anniversary of B.S.R, but with so many comings and goings within the group it lacked cohesion for me.
The Almighty are currently planning a small reunion tour. Hopefully it will be extended, that will be 'Wild & Wonderful' and full of so much 'Power' you will be 'Destroyed', 'Do You Understand?'.
On this occasion, the Bastards were the winners!
Review By Paul 'Rhino' Mace
Photographs By Paul 'Animal' Hampson