The Dead Daisies were our highlight of Rockstock in December 2015 and we were delighted when they were announced to appear at Steelhouse. We knew that we would be in for a great set, even though they weren’t headlining. Their appearance on the mountain was part of their european tour to launch their third album ‘Make Some Noise’
We looked at the dates they were appearing in the UK and Ireland as part of their European tour. They fell two dates before (Dublin and Belfast) and two dates after (Wolverhampton and Bingley). Even better - at all four of those gigs, they were to be supported by another one of our favourite bands - Inglorious. We had not decided on a summer holiday, so decided to blow our budget and go to as many of them as we could. Which happened to be all four.
Flights from Cardiff to Dublin meant an early start, and what turned out to be a very long day. We were lucky in that the hotel allowed us to drop our bags there while we went to explore the city. No rock fan should go to Dublin without visiting Phil Lynott’s statue. We persuaded a random stranger to take our picture with one of our heroes.
Part of our early exploration was making sure we knew where the venue was - neither of us had been to the Academy Green Room before, and we were pleased to find it very close to our hotel. As we walked past the entrance, three members of Inglorious were walking the other way. We stopped for a chat, then left them to find their van and do a sound check. After an early dinner, we joined the queue outside the venue as our excitement grew.
As we had joined the queue quite early, we managed to get a spot at the barrier on the right hand side. The Merch stall was explored, and a few euros went on a selection of t-shirts from both bands were crammed into the bag. Although there was a reasonable size audience, the room was by no means full. After what seemed like ages, the lights dimmed and the familiar entrance music started and Inglorious took to the stage. They performed a set of 8 songs, including a cover of ‘I Surrender’ as a tribute to their ‘Deep Purple’ influences. As always, Nathan’s powerful and versatile voice had the crowd spellbound. He is a unique performer, and when we hear or see this band perform, we know that ‘The Voice’s loss is the rock worlds gain. Inglorious not only relies on Nathans voice, but musically, each band member brings their own talent. Phil Beaver on drums is so enthusiastic his hair does its own dance with each energetic beat. Colin’s Warwick has such a rich tone that comes through flawlessly. Will and Andreas carry the guitar responsibilities will passion and energy. Each of them perform so well, it is difficult to believe that it is only 7 months since their first proper set. The tracks they select for a support gig include several from their debut eponymous album and include the current single ‘Holy Water’. Andreas dominates this track with his riff and is only eclipsed by the haunting vocal performance. All too soon, the set was completed, and they left the stage.
The crews worked hard and fast to transform the stage and prepare it for the headline act. The set lists were taped to the stage. Although we were at the front, it was not easy to see what was in store for us. We knew there would be some songs from the new, as yet unreleased album but we expected some of the old favourites and one or two traditional covers. The venue, by now, was jam packed. As a compilation of Led Zep and Black Sabbath powered through the speakers it became interspersed with live chords. Brian Tichy came on stage and took his position behind his kit a rare grin appearing. Doug Aldrich, Marco Mendoza and David Lowy were welcomed onto stage with cheers, claps and whistles and took their places followed by John Corabi. With well practised coordination, they erupted into ‘Midnight Moses’, the appreciative audience joining in. As we sang along, clapped and cheered, we enjoyed a 75 minute set including classics such as ‘Something I Said’, ‘Long Way to go’ and ‘Make Some Noise’. As Corabi persuades the crowd to sing, Mendoza gets flirty and is one of the most generous bass guitarists - using his picks briefly before launching them out to the adoring fans. Doug Aldrich (‘the new guy’) can only be described as a brilliant and passionate guitarist and together with David Lowy, they entertain, not only with their musical skills, but also their interactions with each other.
Being Welsh, we had taken a flag with us. John noticed it, took it on stage, but it did not receive the welcome we had hoped. Indeed - John said ‘ you are off my christmas card list’! It was all light hearted, musically brilliant and hugely entertaining.
The Dead Daisies seem to like meeting people. After the show, with just a few minutes to vaguely freshen up, the sat patiently whilst just about every member of the audience stood in line for autographs, photographs and hugs. Pockets were emptied as people went away with picks, stickers and posters.
We trooped back to our hotel, singing (badly) and chatting about what we had seen and enjoyed we began to plan for the following night, in Belfast.
The following morning, we took the train to Belfast. Once we had checked into the hotel, we went to find the venue - Limelight. It was a 5 minute walk from our hotel, and we joked about how cool it would be if the Daisies were also staying there.
We had a drink or two in Katy’s Bar, which sits between Limelight 1 and Limelight 2. After meeting up with a couple of friends, we decided that an early dinner in the hotel would be our best bet. As we returned, we were pleasantly surprised to find Marco and Doug in the hotel. We told them how much we’d enjoyed the previous night and left them to finish their lunch before they headed out to a radio interview.
As it was a sunny evening, we decided to have a drink outside Katy’s and found ourselves at the front of the queue. Again, we managed to secure a spot at the barrier - this time it just left of centre, so we had a slightly different view. Once again, Inglorious were brilliant, but due to strict curfew times, they had a shorter set, cutting ‘Unaware’ from the set they had performed the previous night. This meant they finished on ‘Girl Got a Gun’, which is, perhaps, one of their lesser known tracks.
The Dead Daisies set was also shorter, and although most of the songs were the same, they were in a slightly different order. ‘Fortunate Son’, which had been one of the encore songs the night before appeared mid way through the set. Brian’s drum solo was brilliant again. He is one of the most talented drummers we have seen, using each part of his complex kit with well practised ease. When he has finished with his drumsticks, his bare hands take over keeping the beat and the audience mesmerised by his skill.
Again, the Daisies had set up a signing desk. The band members welcoming the throng of people queuing up to meet them. With some of the band and crew keen to have a ‘post gig beer’ we continued the party back in the hotel bar. They were relaxed, chatty and friendly, seemingly surprised that we planned to see them at Steelhouse and the two gigs in England as well.
The next morning, we left the hotel to catch our flight back to Cardiff, and from there, home to load up the camper van to head to Ebbw Vale for the Steelhouse Festival. All day Saturday, and on Sunday morning, we were planning how to get to the barrier to get a good view of their performance. Somehow, we managed it. They only had an hour to show their stuff, and for many people, they were the ‘band of the weekend’. The interaction of the band and the fans was electric. They gave us a fantastic performance with only Brian Tichy not coming out onto the front of the stage. With Doug and Marco working the fans John entertained us with his humour and the whole band joined in banter. The enormous crowd welcomed the chance to join in with their catchy lines and well known covers.
With a couple of days rest behind us, we headed up to Wolverhampton to catch the next show on the tour. Again, we managed to get to the venue early enough to be at the beginning of the queue, and to our delight, both Doug and Marco came out to say hello to the growing line of people. We were fortunate to get to the front again, and were rewarded by another excellent evening.
It was Nathan's birthday, and he promised that the band would be hanging around after the show to meet people and drink beer. The crowd and the rest of Inglorious sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him which he seemed to relish.
The Dead Daisies took to the stage again, and entertained the packed Slade Rooms for hot and sweaty 90 minute set which had the crowd bouncing from the first chord of ‘Midnight Moses’ to the last note of ‘Hush’ at the end of their well deserved encore. We were lucky - during this set, Brian wore out some of his drumsticks. When he chucked one in our direction, and signed it for us afterwards.
As we headed north for the final gig, we had some mixed emotions. There was excitement about seeing both bands again, and a tinge of sadness that this would be the last time we would be able to watch the band for a while. 118 days, to be precise. We were delighted to see some friends had managed to acquire tickets and enjoyed a pre-gig drink with them. Once again, we were lucky to see Marco come in for an interview, and John stopped by for a chat outside the venue. We told him how much we’d enjoyed sharing their tour, talked about the previous gigs and how much we were looking forward to the new album.
The Arts Centre in Bingley is different to any other venue we had seen them in. The stage - often used for other shows such as plays and dance - is deeper. This meant that, for the first time, we were greeted with the Inglorious backdrop as we took our now familiar spot at the barrier. For the last time, we watched as they drew the crowd in to their now familiar set. The gut wrenching lyrics and heart stopping riffs once again getting the gathered throng cheering and singing along until they finished ‘Girl Got a Gun’ for the last time.
The crew worked their usual magic and within a few minutes, the familiar entrance music heralded the bands entry. As they worked their way through the set the gig goers sang and clapped in appreciation of the pure old fashioned rock that they were watching. All too soon, the encore was began with Brian entering the stage with a somersault, followed by the rest of the Daisies - very much alive.
As a collection of musicians coming together with different bands they draw on those different backgrounds and are proving that Rock is still a musical genre to be reckoned with. Their third album ‘Make Some Noise’ has just been released and it brings together a collection of new and old. Some tracks are covers from bands who have influenced generations of rock fans. They are loud, cleverly put together and engaging.
Gig Pigs had an absolute blast during the eight days we followed The Dead Daisies on their tour of the UK and Ireland. We can’t wait to see them again when they are back in the UK in the winter.
20 July 2016 - Academy Green Room, Dublin
21 July 2016 - Limelight, Belfast
24 July 2016 - Steelhouse, Ebbw Vale
26 July 2016 Slade Rooms Wolverhampton
27 July 2016 - Arts Centre, Bingley
The Dead Daisies Uk and Ireland Tour
Gig Pigs Wales