If you’re going to turn up late for an Enuff Z’Nuff show then make sure you’re not that late. As long as you hear the band blast out Fly High Michelle and New Thing then you’re still granted a window on a world of vintage hair metal.
Of course turning up late is something Donnie Vie and Chip Z’Nuff can relate to. Their band broke onto the MTV-led spandex-heavy scene just as trends were changing and their time at the top was all too brief. Although the glammed up fourpiece continued to release decent albums for a decade, none matched their sparkling self-titled debut. And while it would be unfair to label Enuff Z’Nuff as one album wonders this is one band who will always suffer as a result of the sheer brilliance of that 1989 classic.
Twenty-one years on and it’s clear that tracks like Fly High Michelle still stand out – not only within an Enuff Z’Nuff set but within the hair metal genre as a whole. Vocalist Donnie Vie made a rather mocking reference to an era of MTV saturation and make-up but without either there’s no way his band would be back on the gig trail.
The same can be said for the fantastically flamboyant funsters Faster Pussycat. Almost too perfect for an age when unflattering leather and laughable hair extensions ruled, these garish, girly glamsters lived every moment of their time in the spotlight to the full. And in the case of frontman Taime Down it shows.
The past two decades have not been kind on an individual who looks like a cross between Marilyn Manson and Jo Brand but behind the shades lurks a set of pipes in prime condition to play packed UK clubs and beyond. Still the ultimate showman, Down commanded a compact stage which struggles to contain more than three musos and a drum kit at any one time.
Three songs in and the fans were merrily singing about the best whore house in town – even maintaining their energy throughout 2006’s Number One With A Bullet. Things moved on at a fast and furious pace once anthemic ballad House Of Pain had afforded Taime Down a welcome sit down.
Name-checking Newcastle Brown Ale (not Newquay Brown, please), Spike and the Quireboys in that order is always a guaranteed winner when playing in front of a rowdy Tyneside rock and roll crowd. Down pulled that particular rabbit out of the hat at the exact moment his set was waning and from there on in it was unbridled hair metal joy.
Where There’s A Whip There’s A Way, Sex, Drugs & Rock N Roll, Don’t Change That Song – the bona fide glamtastic hits just kept on coming until every last ounce of energy had been sapped from a crowd immersed in retro heaven. Just don’t ever wake me when this revival is over.