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Sunday, 1 December 2013

Michael Monroe - Glasgow Cathouse - 29/11/13

The lead up to the Michael Monroe show in the Cathouse in Glasgow was rather low key with word of mouth from the fans being the main promotional push.
So it was heart warming to see so many people turn out for it, and I can only imagine what size of venue would be required if there was a real splash of the cash to promote it.
The opportunity to see them in a small venue is not one to be sniffed at though.
It is in this sort of environment that you can feel that they energy that they generate can barely be contained.
It's very doubtful that collectively there is a band right now anywhere on this planet that put so much into a show.
I've said similar often, but there's no other way to frame it.
Right now they are the act who are setting the benchmark that others need to aspire to.

As is usual now the band take to the stage individually and exude a relaxed approach that when Michael joins them is given just one second to serve as a watershed before they all explode into action.
It's akin to a starting pistol going off with the whole band racing for the finish line.
Nothing holds them back.
Got Blood isn't the opening, and is left to midway through the set, but the lyric 'GOT BLOOD IF YOU WANT IT. YOU GOT IT, I'LL BLEED IT FOR YOU EVERY NIGHT. I'LL SPILL IT OUT IN BLACK AND WHITE, BLACK AND WHITE' sums the performance up.
Like the Stones here's a band who will give you everything and spill it all out on the stage.
It's relentless.
The stereotypically named high octane show writ large in neon.
With a mixture of Hanoi Rocks fans bolstered by New York Dolls ones who are drawn to the show due to Sami and Steve participating, and added to again by a fair amount of Lemmy Kilminster fans who were seduced by Michael when they opened for Motorhead, it was certainly a broad church of rock fans in attendance, but all shared an equally high level of appreciation with songs from across Monroes whole career - and some punk covers - hitting the spot and drawing out lustily delivered responses from everyone.

Prior to the gig I had heard some grumblings about Dregens no show as he is promoting his own solo release, but Rich Jones doesn't simply hold the position as a hired gun.
Instead he's the perfect fit.
The replacement cog that slips into the machine and and refuses to let the performance slip from the grasp of the band.
Similar to when Dregen stepped in to cover the departure of Ginger you can't find one criticism to level at the guy.
He's standing shoulder to shoulder with the rest of them and delivering knock out punches in every song.
I could say the same for everyone involved.
Karl and Sami are unflagging.
Steve Contes guitar flourishes and backing vocals provide a dimension that is often missing with other bands, and his song writing contribution on the latest album provides a solid framework for the set to hang on.
As for Michael Monroe. He is the whirlwind holding court. The storm bringer casting a spell over the audience.
As limber as ever he covers every inch of the stage, the space in front of it and the barrier separating the fans from him.
He's Iggy Pop and Mick Jagger all rolled into one, and still he holds tightly to that androgynous sex appeal long after any man has any right to.

Did I say this was the best band in the world just now?
Okay. I did, but it's worth repeating.

During the set - as mentioned - pretty much every part of Michaels career is hit with the exception of his stint as Jerusalem Slim (Don't write them off and seek out the demos of the album).
Hanoi Rocks is of course well represented, but Demolition 23s take on punk rock that was such a welcome blast so many years ago is also all present and correct.
Dead, Jail or Rock and Roll from his sophomore solo release was dusted off and sounds better now than it ever done before, while the material that we could call the Michael Monroe Bands songs featured comfortably with Horns and Halos getting a solid outing.
The covers were of course sublime. A bit of The Damned and Eddie and the Hot Rods is always welcome.

As the performance ended I had two thoughts.
The first was I wonder when we can do all this again, and the other was that it would be pretty cool if they all organized a rock and roll circus tour with the supports being made up from all the members other projects, as Steve Contes new album is stunning, Sami's Mad Juana would work well, Dregen has his own thing and Rich and Karl sprinkle magic over everything they do.

Now I'd pay top dollar for that.

Looking forward to Dregen now.


  1. Thats sounds just about as good as he was in York. Great review.

  2. I reckon that every night will be equally as fantastic.
    Glasgow had a couple of songs cut off the set list die to a curfew kicking in.
    Still it was great as it was.