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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

DOWN 'N' OUTZ and VEGA:THE ACADEMY DUBLIN DECEMBER 18TH.

If I could recommend one band to catch in 2015, it would undoubtedly be British melodic rockers Vega.  Their slick brand of AOR went down a storm with the sparse festive audience.  Vocalist, Nick Workmans' impeccable range, and high octane energy, on songs such as White Knuckle Ride and the Joe Elliot penned 10 X Bigger Than Love absolutely cooked.  If your Christmas music vouchers are burning a hole in your pocket, I would thoroughly endorse their new album Stereo Messiah.                                                                          

Down 'n' Outz brought new meaning to the words super group tonight.  Containing members of Def Leppard, The Quireboys and Vixen, most of the band were suffering from a nasty bout of bronchitis.  But you're dealing with old school pros here, these guys know the show must go on regardless of the sniffles.  Plus this is Dublin, Joe Elliot's adopted hometown for the best part of 30 years, he had absolutely no intention of letting his people down.                                                                                                          

All the same, Joe is a lucky old sod, not content with fronting one of the biggest selling rock bands in history, in his spare time he gets to belt out tunes of his first love, Mott The Hoople.  Elliot has long been Mott's cultural ambassador, and for many years has voiced his annoyance at their continued snubbing.  Now, having followed up 2010's My ReGeneration with The Further Adventures Of...., his crusade continues.  

Opening with Elton John's Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding, Elliot displayed some highly impressive ivory tickling, before donning a Gibson for One More Chance To Run.  Quireboys guitar duo Paul Guerin and Guy Griffin looked well in their element on Rock n Roll Queen.  The ultra cool swagger of their playing was sublime all night.
Share Ross of Down 'n' Outz
After toughing his way through some vocally challenging songs like Drivin Sister, Whizz Kid and Overnight Angels, the Leps frontman's stripped raw throat was starting to feel the strain.  But to tell you the truth, I don't think anybody really cared.  By the time One Of The Boys was played, the video of which was filmed just a few hundred yards from the venue, their was a real 70's nostalgic party mood.  But without doubt, the highlight of the evening had to be the moving Sea Diver.  Looking around I saw a couple of misty eyes, and frankly I'm not surprised, it was delivered with a heart wrenching intensity.    

Not hogging the limelight all for himself, Elliot paid tribute to his exceptional rhythm section.  The still beautiful Share Ross on bass and sticks man Phil Martini.  A robust encore starting with England Rocks, changed on the night to Dublin Rocks, brought the house down.  Then closing the night in style with the Vanda/Young written Good Times.
Paul Guerin
Down 'n' Outz made sure that anybody who wasn't familiar with the work of Mott The Hopple, bar All The Young Dudes, got a first class crash course tonight.  And such was the brilliance of their performance, I completely forgot for the night the lead singer of Def Leppard was up on stage.  This was ElliotGuerin, Griffin, Ross,Weir and Martini of Down 'n' Outz.  I look forward to their further adventures.