live reviews‎ > ‎

Thin Lizzy @ Civic Hall, Wolverhampton (14/1/11)

posted 25 Jul 2011, 15:20 by Paul Woodward
Words by Woody
Photos by Rich Ward

So I’m back at the Wolvo Civic to catch another iconic rock band in Thin Lizzy, first up though are the Supersuckers and they kick off the evening’s entertainment with a bang! I’ve heard of the band and I’m pretty sure they have been around for a long while but I couldn’t tell you anything about the band or even what they sounded like prior to tonight. They come out to a surprisingly small crowd, although by the time Thin Lizzy hit the stage I’d say it was a near sell out. I’m not sure what their intro tape was but it sounded like a Sergio Leone / Ennio Morriconne spaghetti western inspired musical piece, I definitely liked it whatever it was.

This American band definitely had a few hardcore fans amongst the audience, as I could pick out a few fan boys finding it hard at times not to lose their shit when their favourite sucker song was served up. So there was a small but noisy reaction for the band with those fans singing every word with their fists raised high, and some rather entertaining “they must be ratted” type dancing! All in all though I think the band went down well, and they really did open the show up with an almighty bitch slap that definitely woke you up.

Their rambunctious, loud, bar room brawl style of punk edged rock n roll was a welcome start to the night and definitely an inspired choice as support to get the crowd in the mood for a full on rock show. Amongst their set list was – “Whisper”, “Something About You”, “Pretty Fucked Up” & “Coat Tail Riders”.

I really want to like The Union as it is Luke Morley’s (Thunder) new band, but based on a few songs I’ve heard they had failed to capture my attention and I felt they would be too bluesy for me. But having spoken to a few people about the band they felt I would enjoy them as there are strong elements of Thunder in the mix. So I recently got the debut album to give the band a chance, unfortunately the album didn’t really change my mind. The Thunder elements are really subtle and the band is far more laid back and softer than Thunder to my ears.

The songs definitely pack more of a punch live with “Easy Street” in particular catching my attention, but on the whole the band fail to set me on fire. The band did seem to go down well with the audience in the most part, but I think after the rip snorting opening salvo from the Suckers I think the more laid back approach of these guys may have lost some and definitely lost some of the energy of the atmosphere created by the openers, but The Union did kick it up a gear for the last couple of songs. I have to say I like Pete Shoulder’s voice, not sure about the trilby he was sporting tonight though, ha ha!

It wasn’t a long set but amongst others we heard – “Black Monday”, “Saviour”, “Step Up To The Plate” & set closer “Watch the River Flow”.

Ever since the death of Thin Lizzy’s legendary front man Phil Lynott there has been a lot of controversy about the continuation of the band and the band has seen many line-up changes. I know a lot of people say the band should call it a day as Lizzy without Phil is just pointless, but judging by tonight’s capacity crowd a lot of people still want to hear Lizzy regardless. I’ve never seen the band before, so what inspired me this time? The revamped line-up that’s what! The band has Lizzy members in the form of guitarist Scott Gorham and returning drummer Brian Downey,  was back behind the kit, which delighted the crowd! Darren Wharton was part of the latter day Thin Lizzy line-up on keyboards; his inclusion has pleased a lot of people as he is seen as a proper member of the band. Why do I care? Because keyboard legend “Dazza” went on to form the mighty British AOR-sters DARE! Rounding up the team were also a bunch of musicians whom I’m a fan of Marco Mendoza on bass who I’ve seen with Whitesnake, Northern Irish lads Vivian Campbell of Def Leppard on guitar and Ricky Warwick of The Almighty on vocals and guitar.

I think the hardest position to fill tonight was obviously the front man’s and how do you fill those massive shoes left by Lynott? If Ricky was feeling any pressure he sure as hell didn’t show it tonight. I know a lot of people didn’t feel Ricky had the chops to do the Lizzy songs justice but if you’ve heard any of Ricky’s solo work you can hear why he’d be a good choice for the role. Considering Phil’s vocal style I think Ricky has a similar tone so it was definitely an inspired choice, I was also glad that Ricky didn’t go all karaoke on us and sang in the songs in his own voice without pandering to imitation which I think would have killed the show. Ricky definitely impressed me tonight, his vocals were strong and he did throw himself into the front man role.

Vivian Campbell played with effortless precision at times, in fact the entire band put in strong performances and the songs came across with a lot of energy and excitement. The band definitely wooed the crowd, and I think this line-up will have fewer fans finding something to complain or be disappointed about. The audience tonight were very vocal, singing and raising their hands in all the right places and generally being a bunch of noisy rock n rollers! Well what would you expect when you’re in Wolvo?

Its fair to say that the vast majority of this crowd have seen better years as have their hair lines and many would have witnessed the band with Phil upfront. But with an iconic band like Thin Lizzy there’s bound to be a fair few younger faces dotted about, dying to hear all those rock classics belted out live, and where better than here at one of the best venues in the Midlands!

They open aptly with “Are You Ready” which promptly gained everyone’s attention so they then fired hit after hit at us with “Waiting For An Alibi”, “Jailbreak” & “Dancing in The Moonlight”. Early on in the set I really enjoyed “Do Anything You Want” & “Don’t Believe A Word” which Ricky excelled on, in fact the set list tonight was well constructed and managed to keep the atmosphere on a high throughout. The band did manage to throw in a few rare live songs into the mix including “Massacre” & “Angel Of The Death” which the Lizzy die hard’s soaked up with relish!

For the next song we are introduced to Dazza aka Darren Wharton on keyboards, who joins Ricky on vocals for the band’s classic ballad “Still In Love With You”.  They follow that up with my personal highlight of the evening “Whiskey In The Jar”, it must be the Irish in me, and the Wolverhampton drunken vocal choir duly sang along!

Before “Emerald”, Ricky informs us that Scott Gorham has just told him his first ever gig for Thin Lizzy was right here in Wolverhampton; cue a passionate roar from the crowd! Continuing with “Wild One” & “Sha La La” we then get a drum solo from Brain Downey, who is greeted like a returning hero. I’m not one for drum solos but Downey keeps it’s short and sweet making it all the more poignant to the hardcore fans here tonight.

Finishing off the set with the wonderful “The Cowboy Song” and everyone’s favourite ‘getting ready to go out song’ - “The Boys Are Back In Town” – I think everyone knows this song! When they return for the encore of “Rosalie” Ricky dedicates the song to Phil and asks the crowd to sing along for him which obviously is met with rapturous applause. Ricky then states I know you’ve got a “Bad Reputation” Wolverhampton – which made me chuckle, being a Black Country scumbag isn’t easy but seriously would you want to live anywhere else?!

As the band comes back for a second encore, Ricky thanks the crowd stating that we were amazing and the crowd in Wolverhampton never misses the point! Ricky then tells us to raise their voices for the last song “Black Rose” ‘cause this show is been recorded! I think that live recording is going to come out great as the crowd were suitably noisy and interactive and the band’s performance was top notch!

I was disappointed the band didn’t do “The Rocker” as I would have loved to hear Ricky do that one because I think he would have pulled it off fantastically. Of course with the wealth of material Thin Lizzy has in its back catalogue it’s hard to get them all in and there are obviously some songs that HAVE to be played.

Another fantastic rock gig here in Wolvo, with the band winning the crowd’s affection and belting out those classics to a wonderful response. This line-up is obviously well rehearsed and firing on all cylinders and I’ll be the first in line to see the band when they come back to the Civic - as they promised they will!