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Sunday, 17 April 2011

Michael Monroe - Rock Radio Secret Acoustic Session (15/4/11)

It's all a bit of a last minute scramble.
Phone calls, text messages, a bit of a hike and then a jump on the tube to get to the secret (or not so secret if you actually live in Glasgow) location for the Rock Radio acoustic session that Michael Monroe is doing with his band.
My heart is in my mouth with excitement, but there's a bit of a surreal ambience about the proceedings.
I'm used to seeing Michael Monroe playing to adoring fans in sweaty clubs with everything cranked up to eleven, but this session is in an old church in front of a smattering of excited fans, competition winners and industry insiders out for an afternoons free entertainment.
The latter unfortunately seem to outnumber the former about three to one.
I suspect that they would turn up to the opening of an envelope if there was a drink in it and the chance to get their photograph taken with a celebrity.
Thankfully Michael, Sami, Steve, Ginger, Karl, and the fans who do get in carry enough attitude with them to create the sort of buzz that is normally associated with a rock and roll gig.
There's a cool introduction from Tom Russell to kick it all off.
For those who don't know he's Scotland's master of ceremonies when it comes to rock music.
Our answer to Tommy Vance or the US's Rodney Bingenheimer.
The epitome of grizzled rock and roll cool.
The band themselves are of course the main attraction and soon take to their stools and with a very short chat eased into Lightning Bar Blues, and it's a very fine rendition of the Arlo Guthrie tune.
Done acoustically it sounds far closer to the original version that's on Hobo's Lullaby than the Hanoi take of it.
A perfect start in fact, and I honestly can't think of another song that they could have played that would have set the tone so clearly for the concept of playing an acoustic slot like this.
Superpowered Superfly fits like a glove as a follow up to.
The influence of Ginger is stamped throughout the song. If it was a stick of Blackpool rock and you broke it in half it would say Ginger inside it.
The Wildhearts fans who were there would not be disappointed with the twist that Michael gives it with his unique vocal approach either. Within the space of two songs it is very apparent that the newer material is just as strong as anything that anyone would claim to be a classic from Michaels illustrious back catalogue.
The Demolition 23 song “You Crucified Me” gets a timely brushing off next and serves to link the present to the past as Sensory Overdrive is an album that reeks of Michael and Sami's previous band.
The understated drumming from Karl underpins everything and adds another dimension to how the songs can be presented.
He seems to be a bit of an unsung hero in the band, but without him I sincerely believe they may not sound like they do.
All hail Karl.
78 from the new album also works well as an acoustic workout. As impressive as it was I was even more impressed in hindsight when Tom Russell told everyone that it was a last minute addition to the set that had never been tried up until that afternoon.
Blitzkrieg Bop, with its countrified feel, is a joy to behold being played, and by the end of it I'm sure that many of the liggers there who didn't know who the band were would have been starting to consider how they were going to get into the Garage for the full electric experience later on.
Hopefully the band can see the worth in this sort of take on the material and the next official release we see from them is an acoustic ep.
Hell. They could do a whole album. They have enough material between them all to pick from
That would be something to treasure and I'd certainly put my cash down for a copy.

Footage of the whole show is below in yesterdays post.
Photograph is from the Garage show later in the evening.

Big thank you to Tara and CJ for all their help on the day. Mucho stars.

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