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Danny Vaughn @ The Robin, Bilston, Wolverhampton (8/4/13)

posted 21 Apr 2013, 08:25 by Paul Woodward

Review By Woody
Photo By Rob Stanley

I have been boring everyone I know to death with how excited I have been about this gig since it got announced, not only has it been a long time since Vaughn entered the Black Country for a gig but he is also playing my favourite venue The Robin! I had worried that with Danny playing the HRH AOR Festival just a few days prior would have a negative impact on turnout tonight especially with it been a Monday! So it was great to see a decent crowd gather for one of the best voices in melodic rock tonight!

The support act tonight is Brummies Lovebite who are riding high on lots of critical acclaim for their album Locked & Loaded and it is popular with certain members of the Midlands Rocks team. I have seen the band before and thought they were OK; I wasn’t impressed with the vocals though but was keen to give the band another listen! On paper I should love these guys; they play glam rock which veer’s more towards straight forward melodic rock rather than the rawer sleaze edge that their image implies.

They just didn’t grab me tonight, the songs just didn’t stick with me and the band’s performances fail’s to move me. I really want to like these guys as they are a young band who are full of piss and vinegar and rock star swagger and attitude, but they really need to write some killer tunes to match.

They do have a lot of potential to improve with guitarist Tryx in particular impressing with his guitar skills and I’ll be keen to see how the band progresses. But again tonight I’m finding it hard to warm to Johnny’s vocal style. Good to see a genre appropriate band supporting tonight regardless!

I’ve seen Danny Vaughn live more times than I have had hot dinners and he never fails to entertain – bad nights just aren’t his thing! Vaughn has always managed to keep an active live presence going whether it be solo or with Tyketto and this has made him extremely popular with fans of live melodic rock! His hard work and stunning performances have gathered him a lot of respect and he has made his gigs un-missable to the melodic rock faithful!

I went to this gig thinking this has the potential to be the greatest gig I’ve ever seen at The Robin, knowing what a great performer Vaughn is as well as the great sound that will be at his disposal tonight! I was right! Danny brought his A game with another awesome performance even though he was tired from a long weekend at HRH AOR – hats off to the man for still putting his all in, when 5 minutes before hitting the stage he was probably wishing he was in bed! The sound was spot on and in some ways this was probably the best I’ve ever heard Danny!

Danny has assembled a new band around him for this solo tour, which Vaughn informs us is to support the re-release of his first two solo records which he has packed onto a dual disc set called Reprise.

Joining Danny is Ged Rylands on Keyboards and Guitars. Ged is probably best known for his work with British melodic rockers TEN, but he is currently working with Tyketto on their live dates and with Danny in his own band Rage Of Angels. Ged went from keys to guitar flawlessly and added some great backing to Danny’s performance, a very talented musician and it’s great to have him back in the melodic rock scene!

On bass is Danny’s Ultimate Eagles band mate Chris Childs, you may know him from a little band called Thunder! Chris is one of the most reliable musicians in the biz and whilst he’s not an overly engaging performer preferring to allow others to take the limelight he is a flawless backbone to the band. On Drums was the impressive young scot Dave McLusky, whom I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of in the future.

Guitarist Jon Sudbury who I have to admit is a new name to me was really impressive. It’s clear to hear why he was brought into the band as he does real justice to all of these songs, knowing when to go for the crunch or to hold back depending on the flavour of every song that was played. I hope we hear more from him, he was faithful to the originals and wasn’t forceful in putting his own stamp on the songs, and was an extremely impressive guitar player.

Vaughn is probably one of the greatest front men I’ve ever witnessed and he keeps that feeling up tonight. I always like how naturally he can flick between been a strong hair tossing mic stand wielding rocker and been just at ease with his acoustic guitar which he frequently picks up throughout the show. One thing I like about Danny’s music is a lot of it is acoustic based and it lends a flavour to his music which makes him different from a lot of the bands I enjoy.

Danny is an extremely passionate performer; he has an honest and genuine feel to him, which gives the songs more meaning, intensity and emotion. Danny’s music on the whole is quite thoughtful and deep and whilst I love throw away feel good tunes it’s like eating fast food you’ve forgotten it minutes later and are still hungry, but Danny’s music is more like a Sunday roast filling and satisfying.

I also like the way Danny connects with his fans, he embraces them as friends and has very familiar attitude to people which really endears people to him and makes his shows quite intimate. His appreciation of his fans comes across as very genuine and heartfelt and his desire for his music to move people and to be enjoyed makes you like him even more, he wants you to feel and connect to his songs and this comes across in his songs even more with his powerful and emotive stage presence!

I was shocked Danny didn’t play melodic rock anthem ‘Forever Young’ in his encore, I can’t remember the last time he’s omitted it, but one of the great things about a Vaughn set list is you never know what you’re going to get! We did get a few Tyke’s tune though, my favourite Tyke’s track ‘Meet Me in The Night’ was played early in the set and was one of my favourite moments of the evening, ‘Battlelines’ from the latest Tyke album ‘Dig In Deep’ which got a great crowd reaction! As well as ‘Seasons’ and the sing along inducing ‘Wings’ which was part of the encore and the crowd were almost singing louder than Danny himself!

We were also treated to ‘Bad Water’, ‘Badlands Rain’, ‘Restless Blood’, ‘Fly Away’ and ‘The Voice’. There was some really cool uplifting moments like ‘Just Like That’ and ‘Lifted’, but most smile inducing of the lot was ‘Always’ from Danny’s pure AOR project From the Inside, which was smooth and beautiful.

As said be the man himself he went from something nice and fluffy to something a little more nasty with ‘Was There A Moment’ which is one of my favourite Vaughn solo tracks. There’s a really drive and emotion in this song that never fails to grip me live and Sudbury does a spot on job with those crunching guitar riffs!

One of the best crowd reactions of the evening actually came for ‘The Warrior’s Way’ which was a song written for the live arena and it’s easy to hear why this song is so well loved. Danny has always been a songwriter who tries to think outside the box and throw a few songs in the mix which may seem a little odd or perhaps not fit in with the other album tracks; one of these songs is ‘Carry Me Home’. He introduces the song as a personal favourite and although it’s a song he’s never had a fan say they love or connect with it’s still a song he’s most proud of. I think the song is more popular than he thinks and I hope the response from the crowd tonight made him realise that!

One of the most moving moments of the evening was ‘This is how we say Goodbye’ a song that has deep personal meaning for Danny, and he quickly states he hopes he keeps it together through the song. His performance was really stirring and visibly emotional for Danny, I don’t know about him keeping it together, I almost lost my shit a couple of times during the song. The song came across extremely well and I’m sure even the hardest heart was sporting a wee tear during Vaughn’s heartfelt performance.

Vaughn closes the set with a bang and probably one of his most popular solo sing along’s ‘Is That All There Is’. He introduces it with a wry smile and tells us the origins of the song and how many of his fans connect with it and states we must have all have had some fooked up relationships! Yeah tell me it about it! Whilst lyrically quite a dark song it does finish the night on a high with a chorus of fans singing every word back at Danny!

I came out of the Robin thinking ‘BEST GIG EVER’! And I fooking love that feeling! Hopefully Danny will be back again in the future and maybe with Tyketto too! Now he knows how awesome we are....

Literally an hour after Showtime Danny Vaughn posted this on Facebook – and before the cynical amongst say ‘yeah, yeah I bet he did this after every gig’ he didn’t and not like this.....

Sometimes, your hard work pays off and something special happens. Monday night in Bilston, Robin 2 sounded a lot like Saturday night to me. The band played our best gig yet, the spirit of the fans moved me to push beyond the hoarseness, The guys were note perfect and I have rarely felt quite as powerful or emotional on stage. Thank you, each and every one. – Danny Vaughn