As a founding member of the most dangerous band in the world it’s little wonder ex-Gunner Duff McKagan fears his mates are about to suggest he’s gone soft.

When rushonrock told the Velvet Revolver hero that his side project – Loaded – had been booked to play Gateshead’s Sage next month the bass player was understandably baffled.

“You mean that arty place on the other side of the river,” he said. We explained that was The Baltic but that Loaded were playing just across the way. “Oh yeah, the big silver glass thing,” added Duff. “We were staying at the Malmaison last time we were in Newcastle and the place looks cool.”

It certainly looks cool, Duff, but I can count the number of cool rock bands who have played the Sage on one finger. Hey, the last time I was there I took my old dad to watch Irish folksters Clannad.

Booking punk noiseniks Loaded is a brave new direction for Sage bosses who have always shied away from the loud stuff. Perhaps it’s due to the credit crunch or perhaps they’ve finally seen the light. Either way they won’t have heard anything like Loaded come September.

* Duff McKagan’s Loaded plays Hall Two, The Sage Gateshead, on September 21. For tickets call (0191) 443-4661 or visit