The unexpected announcement of Guns N’ Roses’ Not In This Lifetime tour almost three years ago did mean some disappointing news for avid fans of Slash‘s most recent project, Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators – the every-couple-of-years tour schedule they’d become used to would have to take a back seat for a little while. Luckily for them, the wait is now over following the release of their latest album Living The Dream, and we were one of the first stops for this album cycle. With New Zealand’s biggest rock export of recent years, Devilskin, filling in the support slot for the second time it was sure to be a great show, so as fans of both bands we just had to head down to check it out.
Devilskin have well and truly cemented their place in the rock scene back home and have recently started making waves internationally – and rightly so. With two albums under their belts and a third on the way, the fearsome foursome have plenty of material to chose from for their live sets. Tonight’s show was filled with a solid mix of all of the sounds they’ve become known for, so naturally their set wouldn’t be complete without some of their biggest tracks such as ‘Pray’, ‘Little Pills’, ‘Elvis Presley Circle Pit’ and ‘Start A Revolution.’ It’s clear that these guys feel like they are under no pressure to put on a note-for-note perfect show, but are there to have fun – and that they do. Watching vocalist Jennie Skulander twirling and cartwheeling across the stage to fill The Evil Twins (guitarist Nail Vincent and bassist Paul Martin)’s solos creates for a light-hearted and fun show – as if watching people’s jaws drop when they hear her more than impressive growls for the first time wasn’t entertaining enough! Remember that upcoming third album I mentioned? We are also treated to lead single ‘Endo’ as well as the soon-to-be-released next single ‘All Fall Down’ to round off the set.
Next up is guitar icon Slash with bandmates Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators (bassist Todd ‘Dammit’ Kerns, guitarist Frank Sidoris and drummer Brent Fitz) in tow. Slash is no stranger to long sets and tonight is no exception with a whopping 23 song setlist! In what came as a refreshing change for fans who have seen these guys before, the setlist was much less Guns N’ Roses and much more Slash. Yes, you read that correctly. No ‘Welcome To The Jungle’, no ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ and no more ‘Paradise City.’ In fact, only one Gunners song made the cut this time round – the ever-popular-live ‘Nightrain’ mid-set. With now having four full-length albums under his belt since going solo (three with Kennedy and The Conspirators), Slash is certainly not short on choice for tracks to play live. Keeping the classics in the set such as ‘Halo’, ‘Back From Cali’, ‘Anastasia’, ‘Starlight’ and ‘World On Fire,’ much to the delight of fans who have followed his solo journey from the beginning, the remainder of the set is rounded out with a good mix of songs spanning his solo career.
For someone who has played literally thousands of live shows in their career, it’s clear that the man of the hour still loves what he does, and that’s to play live. Slash is not the kind of person who locks himself into a script, so to say, which doesn’t mean the remainder of the set was assumingly over-filled with tracks off the latest record. In fact, what came as a real treat was the number of tracks off Slash’s very first solo record they played. From his very first single ‘By The Sword’ played in Sydney for the first time – fittingly as he got his start as a solo artist down here – to Kerns stepping in for vocal duty for ‘We’re All Gonna Die’ and a tribute of ‘Doctor Alibi’ – the original vocals of which were performed by the late Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead – the range of songs this time around has greatly increased and really allows Kennedy to showcase his impressive vocal range and ability to cover such a wide range of styles.
Stepping back the Guns N’ Roses came as a welcome change, stripping back the predictable big confetti finish we’ve all come to expect, and replacing it with a fresh revamped setlist, toning down the entire show to showcase the music above all else and allowing his work with Kennedy and The Conspirators to stand on it’s own two feet instead of under Guns’ shadow. It almost felt as if they’d reached a new level of confidence as a band to play almost solely their own songs live, whilst still performing to the same standard and energy level of the tight-knit live band they’ve always been.
Tickets are still available for the remaining shows – they’re playing Brisbane on Wednesday, Melbourne on Friday, and Perth on Sunday. This is a show you don’t want to miss as these bands are both upping their live game with every tour they do. You can get your tickets HERE!