Marco Mendoza – Real Time Live, Chesterfield, Wednesday 8th May, 2018
And yes, it's Happy Hump Day, so what better way to spend the night of it with bass extraordinaire, Marco Mendoza and party it up with some 'Viva La Rock'.
It's only just over three months since I saw the four string legend play at Anaheim with his El Trio where he opened up the Ultimate Namm Jam, but this time he's back in the other groove alongside that Geordie born stickmeister, Kyle Hughes and new guitarist, Tommy C. Gentry (from the band, Gun) who blends in and compliments so well with crucial guitar work and some flashy solos too. Marco himself actually steps onto the stage after walking through the venue as opposed to coming fom the back. Michael Kissane exclaimed that he “was watching the other guys and out of nowhere Marco is standing next to me playing bass!” How cool is that?
They crank into 'Sweetest Emotions' from 'Viva La Rock' with smiles and love all round the venue, managing to engulf the entire gathering into one big embryo of passion that lasts the entire show. Kisses all round too as well from Mr. Mendoza with front row friends such as Gaynor, Nettie and Nic all getting some warm lip attention much to their pleasure and surprise in Mr. Rudd's case hahaha – he loved it.
The bluesy funk of 'Hole In My Pocket' makes it's forever welcomed appearance early on too that has a bit of John Lennon's 'Give Peace A Chance' thrown in for good measures and to quality audience vocals too. I am absolutely amazed how they all manage to keep going on such a full-on tour and keep such boundless energy intact. Maybe Marco gets plenty of sleep and they all inclusively burn on fumes and pure adrenaline. The energy and stamina throughout the show is utterly faultless – now that's pure professionalism right there. I actually thought it was the best show I had seen him do solo-wise and I have seen the great man several times over the past few years.
We were asked who had heard of The Dead Daisies and were fans of the band (his day job of course) with the entire venue sticking their hands up funnily enough, marking the fist time I had seen him perform their top-dollar rocker 'Mexico' outside of the double d's. So did Chesterfield make some noise during the number? They certainly did! With a few Dead Daisies shirts being sported in here tonight by the fans including my good self for a change. It was it's first time on too and looked great if I say so myself – lol.
This was the penultimate show of the UK Tour (the last one in London) – and I read later the best show so far by an account on Facebook was this one in Chesterfield – so chuffed to have witnessed it to say the least. Whitney Alyson Ribbons was the Tour Manager, Merchandise Seller and Driver for the UK leg who got a thankful shout-out from the double M who had been working her ass off while the band were over here in ole blighty – she looked tired out but kept it going for the love of it all – massive credit to her – she never seems to stop.
A major thing I did notice was that there was no set list around so they must either no what was coming next in the proceedings or simply improvised throughout the night and placed a number in when the vibe felt right, with each member telepathically at times knowing what song it was or recognised the first couple of notes from Marco's bass or what he said prior to the song – anyway, it worked and it was a magical seamless wonder where you couldn't spot a join anywhere at all.
We heard plenty of our favourites and Marco also played his personal fave in 'God Bless The Child' by Billie Holiday where he had us clicking in time to it, with Kyle keeping up in check while he was sat up on his kit – accapella brilliance indeed. I was impressed to see that Marco has made material from his 'Casa Mendoza' and 'Live For Tomorrow' albums available again as a nice disc going by the name of 'Casa Collection' that is an exclusive limited edition. He informed us that his daughter back in Los Angeles, California is now 16 and he was introducing her and her friends to the music too – giving one copy away to a fan as well as a 'Viva La Rock' CD as well to another!
It turns out that 'Viva La Rock' is now a year old which was duly celebrated wit the excellent title track itself towards the end of the show plus many other cuts from it like the Ted Nugent old school 50's like groove of 'Hey Baby' that's a major hightlight for many including Mr. Kissane and Miss. Parker. Talking of the Nuge, Marco even slipped in a bit of 'Klstrphunky' at the end of Thin Lizzy's 'Chinatown' much to the joy of Nic Rudd – who loves the album, 'Craveman' that it's featured on.
Everyone in here was so in to it and a good healthy enough capacity and other highlights of the gig included the ballsy rocking 'Rocket Man', a cover of Stevie Wonder's 'Higher Ground' with the Woodstock-like chanting section' as well as Marco coming into the crowd too, playing away while Mr. Hughes and Mr. Gentry grooved and vibed away on stage. Marco had mixed the set up a bit since last time I had seen him – no doubt to keep everyone on their toes – it worked anyway.
Tonight was killer sound and lighting overall with the unit so tight and on form in every way possible. Marco had a bit of sound trouble which Jackie reminded me about which had Mr. G. swapping the leads around while he carried on playing. It was nice to see Kyle is still vocally shining through on Thin Lizzy's 'Jailbreak' that he makes his own while keeping the beat going on that marvellous Pearl kit with the Paiste, Stagg & Ziljian Cymbals. Tommy's licks and riffs are as sweet as they get on that guitar while Marco completes with his remarkable rumble and delicate deepness and taps on his LTD/ESP bass.
This was a show that seemed to last a small matter of minutes since there wasn't a low point in sight throughout. After a one track encore in the title track itself, Marco pointed us down to the merch table which immediately guaranteed a long line of fans who were looking forward to hanging with him for a wee while. Mr. Mendoza is so extremely passionate and personable with his fans and friends, chatting away with them, signing anything they wanted and posing for pictures with them too. Kyle and Tommy came out later to mingle as well which was really cool. What a fun crew they all are.
Every member in turn had done themselves and us proud and I am personally buzzing for their return some time to the venue as are many who were in attendance. I also look forward to a new album from Marco some time specially if it's as good as 'Viva La Rock'. In the meantime, crank up some VVR and reminisce about an amazing night and the sounds of this second to none trio!
Utterly fantastic. In fact, the tour has been so well attended that they had virtually sold out of all the shirts and hoodies – I'd call that a definite success. Well done to all!
By Glenn Milligan