THE HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES / THE DARKNESS / THE DAMNED - THE GENTING ARENA, BIRMINGHAM - 16.06.18

CHARLEY FARLEY

(PHOTO CREDITS: MORAG FARLEY PHOTOGRAPHY)

 

The term ‘Supergroup’ is used a little too often these days, but the pedigree of the musicians on show in The Hollywood Vampires is probably as close as you’ll get. It was two years ago that Alice Cooper had hinted to us that he was trying to get his side project to the UK, and finally, here it was. As we arrived at the venue, the excitement was building for the night ahead, which was the first date on The Hollywood Vampires first ever UK tour. With two other bands supporting them, we were looking forward to a great night of music in the Genting Arena, Birmingham.

 

It isn’t often that just about all the audience have taken their seats before the first support band strikes a note, but the lack of empty seats was a clue that this was going to be a gig that will be talked about for a long time. As the lights dimmed and the backing track changed, the cheer went up for the first band, it was noticeable that the stage was packed with gear for all three bands.

 

First on stage is the familiar red beret of Captain Sensible who introduces the band with “Hi I’m Captain Sensible. We are The Damned and this is what we do”. And they did it! They gave us a mix of hard driving tracks, and it is no wonder that they were instrumental in the early punk movement of the ‘70s. Songs I thought I’d forgotten suddenly reappeared in my head and they gave the enraptured audience a set that justified the packed auditorium.

 

‘Eloise’ is probably The Damned’s most famous track, and this was the first time I had seen them perform it live. As the entire audience assisted on backing vocals, the band themselves relished the reactions they received.

 

As Monty Oxy Moron stepped out from behind his keyboards for ‘New Rose’ we were taken to new heights of enjoyment as the crowd stamped and cheered. It was an emotion inducing 40 minute set that got everyone in the mood for more. They finally left the stage to thunderous applause and cheers that continued long after the crew started their work of shifting gear.

 

Set List:
Street of Dreams
Neat Neat Neat
Wait For The Blackout
Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow
Ignite
Love Song
Eloise
New Rose
Smash It Up

 

The Damned are:
Dave Vanian - Vocals
Captain Sensible - Guitar
Monty Oxy Moron - Keyboards
Paul Gray - Bass
Pinch  - Drums

 

http://www.officialdamned.com/
https://www.facebook.com/OfficialDamned/
https://twitter.com/damnedtwits
 

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The second support on this star studded bill were The Darkness. With absolutely no messing about, they appeared on stage with their usual grand entrance and opened their set with ‘Solid Gold’. The catchy song, with its tongue in cheek lyrics got the crowd on their feet from the beginning singing and cheering along.

 

Ploughing through hit song after hit song their infectious modern day Glam rock is an incredible fun show. The familiar sound of Justin Hawkins falsetto voice is captivating and the crowd - by now all standing in the all seated arena - join in with the well know songs.

 

Justin is known as a flamboyant front man, with his sense of humour, his general mickey taking of audience members, and tonight was no different. Egging the crowd to beg for souvenir plectrums, and telling jokes, he entertains the crowd to distract from a problem Rufus develops with his kit. Frankie puts down his bass and takes up the cowbell as he teases the crowd to strike up ‘One Way Ticket’, which, unsurprisingly, they manage to, once again, provide perfect backing vocals.

 

From the moment they stepped on stage this was a crowd singalong which was brought to new heights when Justin sings the chorus the ‘Barbarian’. The entire Genting Arena joins in and howls along with the band.

 

No Darkness set is complete without audience participation, and by the time they get to ‘Get Your Hands Off My Woman’ Justin Hawkins attempts to teach the crowd the vocal gymnastics required during the chorus. It is just too much for the crowd to learn, and unsurprisingly, it fails drastically with comedic effect.

 

As their set draws to a close, they finish with ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’ and one more time has the audience jumping, singing and cheering. All warmed up and ready to go for the main act of the evening.

 

Set List:
Solid Gold
Growing on Me
Love is Only a Feeling
Japanese Prisoner of Love
One Way Ticket
Barbarian
Buccaneers of Hispaniola
Get Your Hands Off My Woman
I Believe in a Thing Called Love

 

The Darkness are:
Justin Hawkins - Guitar/Vocals
Dan Hawking - Guitar
Frankie Poullain - Bass
Rufus Taylor - Drums

 

http://www.thedarknesslive.com
https://www.facebook.com/thedarknessofficial
http://www.twitter.com/thedarkness

 

PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA. PLEASE DIRECT ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO LINDSAY@DOWNTHEFRONTMEDIA.COM

As the time drew near for Alice Cooper to lead The Hollywood Vampires onto the stage, the anticipation and excitement was palpable in the arena. There were no empty seats. The two previous bands had raised the temperature of the Genting arena and as they appeared, one by one, on the stage, the crowd went wild as the seven ‘Vampires’ appeared, one by one.

 

From the outset, the band stated their intention of creating a special night and with the quality of the musicianship on show, and as they opened with some of the tracks off their 2015 debut album, they were as good as their word.

 

With a good mix of covers and originals, we were kept on edge as the show went to new heights with each song. The premise of The Hollywood Vampires was a drinking club based in the 1970s in Los Angeles, several members of which have fallen victim to the excesses that accompanied the rock music scene of that era. Using the backdrop to illustrate, they dedicated some tracks to lost friends. As the tributes continue, Malcolm Young is the next to adorn the stage backdrop the crowd cheering in respect as the band cover ‘The Jack’. This is immediately followed by the unmistakable opening notes of ‘Ace of Spades’ as a huge picture of Lemmy causes the crowd to cheer even louder, when we didn’t think it was possible.

 

Moving on, the band cover The Who track ‘Baba O’Riley’ in tribute to Keith Moon, which included an incredible Glen Sobel drum solo as the other ‘Vampires’ briefly left the stage. Showing his talents are varied, Johnny Depp takes over vocals for the next two songs. The first, ‘As Bad as I Am’, was written by Johnny Depp about his father. As the crowd pauses to catch a breath, we are treated to ‘Boogieman Surprise’, with its catchy chorus which managed to get the entire audience singing “You ain’t ready for the boogieman surprise”.

 

As they continue with the tributes Alice Cooper dedicates the next song to the Vampire who did not die and that was himself with ‘I’m Eighteen’ - one of his own 1970’s tracks. Johnny Depp’s vocals suited the Jim Carroll band cover of ‘People Who Died’ the punk edged fast pace track seemed to echo the tributes of the night perfectly.

One of the personal highlights of the evening was the ‘Sweet Emotion’ by Aerosmith, with Alice Cooper resuming vocal duties with the entire band (as well as the audience) on backing vocals.


As we regain our composure, Johnny Depp steps up to the mic as a huge image of David Bowie appeared on the rear screen as they started ‘Heroes’, the entire crowd join in with what seems to be one of the most emotive tracks of the evening.

 

Alice Cooper returns to the stage and introduces Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople. They cover ‘All the Young Dudes’ ably assisted by the crowd. His reception by the crowd was a good one, and it is a good warm up for him as he and the rest of his band prepare for their headline show at Ramblin’ Man fair at the end of June.

 

As time ticks by, the band round up the main section of the concert with ‘Train Kept A-Rolling’ with Alice Cooper taking over harmonica duties as well as vocals. He is one of the most versatile rock stars of his era, which has lasted over 45 years. The Vampires leave the stage to a standing ovation, cheering that would drown out the noise of jet planes flying overhead, until, finally, they return for the final song of the night ‘Schools Out’ mixed with ‘Another Brick in the Wall’. Bringing a party atmosphere to the show, the band and stage crew throwing huge confetti filled balloons out into the crowd.

 

Each member of the band is introduced one by one, with each one receiving rapturous applause and cheers from the audience. The roof on the Genting Arena has well and truly been blown off by one of the best shows I have seen. The band are working well together, and they obviously enjoy showing their talents and giving the audience a night to remember.

 

Alice Cooper is a showman, he has a rare talent in putting shows together that work and give people incredible entertainment and enjoyment. All three bands were phenomenal and gelled in a way that made the evening live up to the expected brilliance. I would go and see any or all of the bands again in a heartbeat, and I urge you to do the same.

 

Set List:
I Want My Now
Raised the Dead
I Got a Line on You
7 and 7 is
My Dead Drunk Friends
Five to One/ Break On Through (to the Other Side)
The Jack
Ace of Spades
Baba O’Riley
As Bad As I Am
The Boogieman Suprise
I’m Eighteen
Stop Messin’ Around
People Who Died
Sweet Emotion
Bushwhackers
Heroes
All the Young Dudes
Train Kept A-Rollin’
School’s Out/Another Brick in the Wall

 

The Hollywood Vampires are:
Alice Cooper - Vocals
Joe Perry - Guitars
Johnny Depp - Guitars/Vocals
Tommy Henriksen - Guitars
Glen Sobel - Drums
Buck Johnson - Keyboards
Chris Wyse - Bass

 

https://www.hollywoodvampires.com/
https://www.facebook.com/hollywoodvampires/
https://twitter.com/hollywoodvamps
 

PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA. PLEASE DIRECT ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO LINDSAY@DOWNTHEFRONTMEDIA.COM

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