@Sunderland The Point, December 7 2015


Flower power might be back in fashion but The Dead Daisies could easily have wilted in the face of supercharged support band Colour Of Noise.

It’s always a gamble giving up your stage to the new kids on the block with a point to prove.

And the heat was on the star-studded headliners as soon as British blues rock’s best kept secret found their groove.

It took CON a while but those who stuck with former Little Angel Bruce Dickinson and his buddies were handsomely rewarded.

A dire mix rendered the first half of their set utterly incoherent. Former Furyon frontman Matt Mitchell might as well have been doing a muffled impression of Micky Mouse for the first three songs: slowly but surely his fusion of Chris Cornell and Axl Rose defeated the digital demons and CON’s full potential was clear for all to see (and hear).

Dickinson retains an ear for an ultra-catchy riff and there’s a burning authenticity underpinning the bombastic Hit Rock Bottom and groovesome Can’t Take It With You. CON artists? More like the real thing.

And so The Dead Daisies were under serious pressure to freshen things up. A who’s who of hard rock heroes – plus the bloke who bankrolls the whole shebang – swaggered onto stage determined to do just that.

Of course this set was originally due to take place inside Newcastle Academy’s main room 48 hours later. Then the reality sunk in as the band’s management realised they’d gone up against Def Leppard and Whitesnake at the Metro Radio Arena on the same night. The Dead Daisies were hastily rebooked to play the Academy 2 before ditching the Toon altogether and reappearing on new posters weeks later with a date at Sunderland’s fast-rising venue The Point.

It’s a cracking stop for rock. And The Dead Daisies were soon right at home.

One-time Motley Crue main man John Corabi has never seemed so comfortable – the hair metal hobo look just perfect for his band’s celebratory brand of shamelessly stereotypical American hard rock.

With two albums and a raft of experience there’s no pressing need to squeeze in so many covers and the decision to run through a soulless version of The Beatles’ Helter Skelter was one reinterpretation so far. And Corabi is no Paul Rodgers: thankfully the imperious Richard Fortus saved a potentially fatal misstep on All Right Now.

Otherwise this was about as good as it gets. Rhythm section Marco Mendoza and Brian Tichy are like the Beardsley and Lineker of rock: a peerless partnership combining sheer class with intuitive flair. Spellbinding.

Fortus was on fire and ex-Gunner Dizzy Reed (looking remarkably like Eddie Izzard) skimmed the keys with consummate ease and compelling passion. In fact only rhythm guitarist David Lowy looked uncomfortable in the company of so many household names. And who can blame him?

The Slash-fuelled Lock N Load, funky Mexico and pounding Face I Love proved The Dead Daisies boast more than enough bona fide anthems in their locker. Limit the covers and the band’s revolving doors line-up will bed down just fine.