Concert Reviews

Duff McKagan / Shooter Jennings Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 11, 2019    
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Duff McKagan / Shooter Jennings - O2 Academy Islington, London (UK) - 29 August 2019

Shooter Jennings did double duty tonight, backing Duff McKagan for the main show and also taking the support slot. The audience were quickly immersed into Americana/heavy Blues/Country territory and, although I was unfamiliar with his material it was heavily guitar based and extremely enjoyable, my Heavy Rock-familiar ear channeling Southern Rock when the set was at its heaviest. Jennings sat down at the keyboards for the first few tracks before taking his place with a guitar at the front. I especially enjoyed the use of the fiddle or electric violin as a searing siren adding a different dimension and, at times, a sense of baleful melancholy, enhanced by dedication of a track to a recently departed friend and a passionate rendition of Bowie's 'Rock 'n' Roll Suicide'. The Country stomps were perhaps a little less me, but in small doses I entered into the spirit of things, encouraged by the other material more up my street. There was a bit of fifties style Rock 'n' Roll too, with honky-tonk piano to which I am quite partial: even some grand piano falls like the iconic intro to 'I Don't Like Mondays'. All in all, full of fast paced bangers and a great entrée.

Shooter Jennings - Live

Inevitably the crowd was full of Guns N'Roses fans, some of which may not be aware that McKagan's latest album was not Hard Rock, with influences from Bowie and Elton John as much, if not more than, the Stones. Although opening with a GN'R track, the lesser known and countrified 'You Ain't The First', and including an acoustic version of 'Dead Horse' towards the end, this may have gone over the head of the more casual fan as this gig was a 'Sweet Child O' Mine'-free zone, concentrating on the material from the latest solo album 'Tenderness' with early appearances of the title track and the single 'Chip Away'. I knew exactly what to expect having reviewed the solo album, and 'Parkland' about the phenomena of gun massacres in America was a highlight for me to see live.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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There was a cover or three; 'River Of Deceit' (Mad Season), 'Clampdown' (The Clash) and Mark Lanagan's 'Deepest Shade', but there's no doubt that the most familiar GN'R and rockier song 'Dust N' Bones' got the biggest groundswell reaction from the crowd. Also extremely popular was the bringing out of leggy blonde wife Susan for a slow dance, the obvious affection and electricity between them obvious to all, which added a real and personal touch and a memorable moment to proceedings. Informing the crowd there was no encore, McKagan told them the band simply do all the songs they know.

Duff McKagan - Live

I guess it's the flip side to success that when you have a career full of iconic songs people want to hear them every time they see you, but McKagan managed to overcome any such prejudice with his charm and obvious passion for his solo material. Rolling with shouts like 'Let's Get Wasted' at inappropriate parts of the show by showing amusement and adding lyrics about loving London since he played the Marquee, McKagan came across as a laid-back, down to earth human and not a diva Rock star tonight and the crowd loved him for it.

Review and photos by Dawn Osborne

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