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Damon Johnson / Miguel Montalban & Southern Vultures / Eddie Monroe Band Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     September 11, 2019    
 
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Damon Johnson / Miguel Montalban & Southern Vultures / Eddie Monroe Band - O2 Academy Islinton, London (UK) - 06 August 2019

First openers Eddie Monroe band were obviously heavily influenced by Led Zeppelin from the off, but unlike Greta Van Fleet they were putting their own original spark into proceedings too with the result being a vibe rather than an imitation. Some may think that the donning of cock rock tight leopard pants when you have the figure of a well-built builder unwise, and the undercut to his Robert Plant style curly blonde locks a shame, but he is unabashed. Such confidence may be well placed given his great high screech and vibrato, if a little overdone at times, definitely worth undivided attention.

Whereas Eddie Monroe was mainly about the vocals, Miguel Montanan, the main support, was mainly about vintage feel guitar tones and Prog-length songs so it seemed that the first three songs for photographers went on the longest ever. There were lots of fast fingering and endless guitar solos with head craned back, although this was not metal, more Blues. My only comment would be perhaps they would benefit from a specialist vocalist to bring the balance back a little. They have a female drummer who kicked ass and looked cute in her large sound mufflers.

Damon Johnson was good value, with a set balanced between solo, Brother Cane, Black Star Riders and Thin Lizzy numbers. It was also an opportunity for him to tell stories à la the Warwick Johnson dates, such as the time he met Philomena in Dublin in the pub near to Phil Lynott's statue, a delight for Lizzy fans. He was super excited to be doing his first electric solo show and shared his feelings with the audience in such an endearing way that it was impossible not to be with him. All his equipment with Thin Lizzy was in America and he had borrowed equipment from "Charlie" who got a name check and a crowd chant of his name, and Damon was playing a beautiful eye-catching snake green guitar as a result.

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The audience was full of super keen die-hards and Damon said he recognised many. He was very gracious, name checking his band several times, including Jack Taylor from Tax The Heat who was in fine stick twirling form. There were a few surprises like 'Johnny The Fox' that were enthusiastically received. Damon did 'Borderline' acoustically, recording in a modest fashion that this was the track that Philomena thought did the best out of anyone. It seemed tonight the crowd agreed.

Damon admitted that he left BSR because they want to play everything loud and his musical tastes are more diverse. Indeed, although there were rockers like 'Eighteen' from the Alice Cooper days with full blistering solos, which were my favourite tonight, there were plenty of funky influences and Southern Rock too. Damon periodically kicked like he knew he was kicking ass and the night was a big success. We were towards the end of the set and Jack was positively beaming to be playing 'Boys Are Back In Town'. Damon's voice sounded rich and full. As he reached the Brother Cane Number 'Got No Shame' it was wild and raucous with lots of cowbell and I loved his voice on this number as he really let rip. He went mad on the guitar too, jumping around until the final flourish.

A much more up close and personal experience than a huge BSR show and a different deal, this was a highly enjoyable evening delivered by a very likeable guy.

Review and photo by Dawn Osborne


Damon Johnson Live

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