Posts Tagged ‘Angels’

Fans of genuine Aussie rock (Angels, Tatts, AC/DC)  take note. BITZER are for you. Forget about Airbourne for one second and the carbon copied style of oz rock they play. They are good at what they do, they nod approvingly to the past, but they lack the legitimacy, the authenticity, that a band like BITZER have to offer. This is Oz rock the way it should be played. It’s fun, it’s loud, proud, and kicks ass.  Bitzer is a new group featuring many familiar faces.  Experienced troupers from the halcyon days of OZ rock, we should be thankful that they are still treading the boards in 2013. Their collective experience includes stints in  Rose Tattoo, Dragon, Ted Mulry Gang, Kevin Borich, Billy Thorpe, The Pete Wells Band, Black Label and the Damn Fine Band to name a few. Bitzer are Steve Edmonds, Lucy Desoto, Steve Mulry, Steve King, Mick O’Shea and Mick Arnold – and they have just released their debut, self titled six track EP that pays tribute to some of this country’s finest hard rock bands and the glory days of Oz pub rock.  The EP opens with a supremely bitchin’, full tilt cover of AC/DC’s classic ‘Riff Raff’, with Steve Edmonds not only shredding on guitar, but belting out a vocal that would bring a smile to Bon’s face.  Edmonds is a great player, and deserves greater recognition. Go check out the Steve Edmonds Band if you get a chance. Next up, Lucy De Soto gives ‘Bad Boy For Love’ the sultry, low down jazz treatment.  I’ve seen Lucy enough times over the years to know that as a jazz/blues singer, she can compete with the best of ‘em, and on ‘Bad Boy’ her vocal is lush and deeply rich, highlighting the stripped back arrangement that gives a fresh, diverse appeal to Ian Rilen’s classic. Speaking of Rilen, Lucy again takes lead vocal on a menacing cover of his tune, ‘401’, originally from the Hell To Pay album ‘Steal It’. I like this a lot.  I also like Black Label a lot – with Steve Mulry out front. Black Label are the best band in Australia – fact (search through this blog for reviews of their recent albums) and in Mulry, they have a front man with a distinctive, strong and appealing voice that reeks of authenticity. Mulry tackles a cover of the Angels ‘Marseilles’ that is as every bit as raw and rockin’ as the original. If you want evidence of his vocal versatility and ability, listen to his super strong delivery on ‘No Times For Games’. The Midnight Oil classic never sounded this good! Listening to this killer tune reminds me that Pete should return to rock ‘n’ roll. MP stands for microphone please! Steve Edmonds again takes lead vocal on a tasty cover of Kevin Borich’s ‘Gonna See My Baby Tonight’ that is catchy with a capital C.  If you wanna taste of the glory days of Oz rock in 2013 –  Bitzer deliver the goods in no uncertain terms. 10 out of 10. At only 9 bucks, you have no excuse for not buying a copy of Oz Rock Six Pack. Buy it here.

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What: Angels – Promotional Press Photo
Winning Bid: $  AUS
Starting Bids: $15 AUS
Sale Date: 5 May 2013

This is a great find – and a photo taken very early in the Angels career. Is this around 76 ? Already, Doc’s front-man stance oozes tons of attitude – whilst Rick – (who looks like he coulda been sending Captain Sensible a fashion idea) has his well-known head-tilt/guitar pose on display. Cool shot of the recently departed Chris Bailey too. Nice item. The early band logo looks a little too close to the Aerosmith’s – dontcha reckon ? In case you are interested – The Sphere Organization still operate from outta Sydney – and although they’ve gone with the current musical climate and look after mostly tribute bands – they also have Kev Borich, the Rads, Swanee and the Mentals on their books.

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Laurie Marlow caught in the Rockbrat lens

Who: Angels/Black Label
Where: Vikings, Erindale A.C.T
When: Fri 8 March 2013

What’s that lyric in the Crue’s Kick Start My Heart ? ‘Some Years Gone By I’d Say We’ve Kicked Some Ass’ ?…. uh-huh. I was reminded of that when I recently spent an evening at the feet of the no-nonsense Angel – Rick Brewster – who shredded his way through hit after Angels hit – with a bunch of killer new tunes thrown in to the set as well. You see I was tempted to go see the once mighty Crue, in town supporting Kiss – but chose the Dave Gleeson-fronted Angels instead. Smart move Mr Rockbrat – smart move. You see whilst Motley continue to ply the ‘bad-ass-junkie’ card to remain vital – they have in fact – not kicked any ‘ass’ in donkey’s years – ahem. Unlike the mighty Angel City –  led by the black-clad Brewster brothers who are every inch – the real rock n roll deal. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Tonight’s gig sees western Sydney hard rock warriors Black Label open up proceedings. No posing. No pouting. Just loud, authentic no bullshit rock n roll – performed by guys who always deliver the goods. Formed 25 years back – Black Label have big, loud riffs, mean hooks and killer tunes to boot. Heavily influenced by Angus and Malcolm, the Rosie Tatts (and this evening’s headliners) their set is well received by the early arriving punters. Bassist Laurie Marlow and singer Steve Mulry have been playing the sweaty pub rock circuit for years – are held in high regard with the Rockbrat staff…and it was a pleasure to chat with them after the show. Bands like this are the real deal – and are in essence the very life blood of true Australian rock n roll. Black Label make current day Guns n Roses look like the Osmonds…..and you can quote me on that !

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Rick Brewster: black- clad and ice cool as always

The headline act are a part of me – I mean, who doesn’t dig the Angels – right ? I was, at first, skeptical about Dave Gleeson stepping into Doc’s shoes – but you know what ? The live-wire Screaming Jet looks right at home in this iconic Australian outfit – a band whom I consider just as important as AC/DC in the history of Australian music. Replacing a singer is often doomed to fail (INXS with Jon Stevens, Suze DeMarchi, Terence Trent D’Arby (insert random name here), Queen with Paul Rogers, The Faces with that fat idiot from Simply Red (Noel Gallagher’s description not mine!) etc etc. Where these outfits have failed – the Angels have succeeded. One song in and the evidence is there for all to see.

Gleeson has always had a great rock voice and in my opinion – has earned the right to sing these iconic tunes. His zany-ocker stage presence blends in well with the no-nonsense Brewsters and he is the perfect guy to take this band forward. My brain is still buzzing from the volume of Rick Brewster’s amp, but I can recall tunes like Shadow Boxer, Take A Long Line, Marseilles, No Exit, Face The Day, Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again, Devil’s Gate, Straight Jacket, Mr Damage and I Aint The One being belted out. This was indeed a night to cherish and I will be taking in more Angels gigs soon. Closing thoughts ? Wth Gleeson on board, a new album ‘Take It to the Streets’ in tow – and a set comprised of an astounding back-catalogue (with some new tunes thrown in too) there is plenty of life in the mighty Angels yet… Be sure to make an effort to see them when they play your town ! With no apologies to Nikki Sixx – if anyone has kicked ass in years gone by – it is this lot – yet they still can – and then some ! [Official Angels SiteBlack Label Australia]

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photos: courtesy Bob King

Not too many photos of Tyrone (or The Bombers in fact) exist. Shame really, cos back in the day they were a phenomenal live unit, with a rock solid line up of Alan Lancaster (Status Quo) and John Brewster (The Angels), and Tyrone on vocals out front. This photo was taken by Bob King. The date was May 11, 1990 and the were supporting Skid Row at Sydney’s Hordern Pavillion at Moore Park.

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surely Lita is deserving of larger venues than these !

Tell you what, you could blow some serious money at the moment on the live rock circuit here in Australia. I cannot recall a time when there are so many bands announcing tours – a far cry from those days in the mid-8o’s when we had only the likes of Purple, or Queen, or Dio etc to cater for the rock hordes…..not that I mean ‘only’, I mean sheesh, I would give my right arm to see Queen or Dio nowadays, but the touring rock and metal acts who visited the Oceania region, were few and far between. It seemed like there was only one big show every few months…that’s my point….. But now ? Is the super-strong Australian dollar the reason behind so much touring activity ? I mean, I cannot remember a year where so many acts are touring downunder……here are some of the names locked in:

Deep Purple, Journey, Status Quo, Lita Ford, Joan Jett, The Darkness, Van Halen, Guns n Roses, Kiss, Thin Lizzy, Deniz Tek, Motley Crue, Ringo Starr, Aerosmith, Robert Plant, Slayer, Anthrax, Santana, Blue Oyster Cult, Flamin Groovies, Buzzcocks, Steve Miller, Neil Young, Iggy and The Stooges, Black Sabbath, ZZ Top, Rose Tattoo, Angels, Bryan Adams, Steve Stevens, Bruce Springsteen and the great Wilco.

If money is no object – you could see some great shows…..

Is there really an audience still out there for GnR ? You be the judge, but having the bearded Texans on the bill, along with the might Rosie Tatts could make me think not….me thinks Axl and his cut-outs are in danger of being wiped off the stage. Another visit from Iggy ? Sheesh, go see Deniz Tek instead….better yet, just have Tek in the Stooges !  Surely this must be the last time Kiss will be here…please – make it the last time. Take your unsold ice-blocks back with you and leave us with our 70’s memories.

Damn shame that Aerosmith are playing a large venue in Sydney like the Olympic Stadium….oh and shit like Grinspoon should bless their lucky stars they are opening the bill for legends.  My only advice is to arrive after the opening acts have done their ahem ‘thing’ and just see Boston’s finest. Joe Perry back in Australia – it will be great to have him back…..

image (c) RockbratOne week before summer and after months of organising, event organisers are expecting a big turnout to the Tuggeranong Festival in South Canberra, and to top it all off, they have nabbed Doc Neeson, the iconic ex – frontman of The Angels to close festivities. One problem – Canberra has decided to turn on its famed schizophrenic weather. As a result, it rained all day and didn’t let up for Doc’s appearance.  It blew a gale, and the temperature plummeted to around 12 degrees. Punters voted with their feet, with the inclement weather keeping the hordes away. As such, by the time The Doc Neeson Band hit the stage at 7.45, there would only have been about 200 people in attendance. Pathetic. Doc deserves better than that. Along with AC/DC and Rose Tattoo, the Angels are considered legendary in Australian rock n roll – and when The Angels front man is playing a free gig – it’s a no brainer.  Go read Murray Englehardt’s book, ‘Blood Sweat and Beers’ if you want the whole story. Doc turns 65 in January, and from what I’ve heard, he has to keep performing to pay the rent. I’ll reserve judgement on that, for as far as I’m concerned, I’m just grateful for the opportunity to see Doc again. His voice sounded great, distinctive and strong – and he may also have lost a couple of kilos since I last saw him. His band are all young guns, they play all the licks note for note, but they are non descript. As hard as I try, in my mind Doc will always be surrounded by the Brewsters on stage. Anyway, at 7.45 pm, with the rain belting down on the tiny stage, the band hurry on and open with ‘After The Rain’. What a killer tune. Bands like  Great White and Guns’ n’ Roses idolised The Angels, and neither of those bands wrote a song that came close to this. The band played for an hour, with some new Doc solo material (all good) as well as some Angels classics thrown in. Only 3rd song in, the punters at the front with their mullet haircuts, goatees and cans of VB are calling out for ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again’. I think their boyfriends were asking for the same tune. Not surprisingly, I see one guy in a hi-vis singlet, and someone else waving an Angels LP above their head. Odd. Then the unthinkable happens – Doc slings a guitar over his shoulder. Yes thankyou Mr. Purist I know he used to play bass in the mid 70s, but he’s one front man I never thought I’d see playing acoustic guitar. It’s like when Jagger does it, totally unnecessary. Anyway, ‘Take A Long Line’, ‘I Ain’t The One’, ‘No Secrets’ and ‘Shadow Boxer’ all sound great, and I was hoping for ‘Face The Day’, but that didn’t happen. I did get ‘Marseille’ though, my favourite Angels tune, so no complaints. ‘With Or Without You’ from the Angels ‘Skin & Bone’ sounded great, before  predictably, the set closes with ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again’, a tune which for Doc, is his ‘Satisfaction’, it puts bread on the table, though personally, I can do without it. Some of the younguns did not know the ‘No Way, Get f—cked Fu—off chorus, but Micko, Thommo and Robbo sure do and they sing it with gusto. The fireworks finished proceedings – and the rain cleared. Thanks for coming Doc! You can watch a video of ‘I Ain’t the One’ from the show below.

...hey Slash - you seen my copy of Face To face ?

Once upon a time – back in the late 70’s – a lanky teen from Indiana was feeding himself a steady diet of Aussie blooze and rock by way of the Angels and Rosie Tatts.   He ends up jumping a greyhound to LA and fronting a band powerful enough to take on the world (never did match the power of the aforementioned bands and someone like Motorhead in my opinion) and cut some great tunes. Things started to go pear-shaped in the early 90’s when you surround yourself with ‘yes men’ and your ego grows out of control. You successfully manage to alienate most of your band mates and your millions of devotees by acting like a prat. Your major label gets tired of you fast and release a covers album ‘Spaghetti Incident’ and a shoddy live album. You take two decades (count em) to release an album which sinks faster than the Hindenburg and you tour the world in support of it. You fail to see that the folks buying tickets are either over forty and just want to hear tunes from ‘Appetite’ or are youngsters who missed out first time round and want to say they’ve seen you live. You also continue to piss punters off by appearing on stage very late, and by having on-stage tantrums. So where to from here ? Well, kick your monogrammed basketball boots off, and lay on Dr Rockbrat’s sofa – as I’m gonna tell you what many of the world’s rock fans are pleading for – but only you cannot hear – Mr Rose.

It’s called a re-union my friend. Stradlin, Slash, Duff, you and Adler. Those names are Guns n Roses. Not you. The lightweight line-up you tour the world with currently is name only. Much like the Beach Boys (maybe you and the evil Mike Love should form a band – is he your Dad ?). Go meet in a studio and jam. No hangers-on – this means you Sorum, Seb Bach, assorted minders and ‘yes men’. Drink some fine beer – give Rose Tattoo’s first album a loud airing. Remember why it is you got into cool rock n roll in the first place. Go do a show unannounced – and I mean unannounced – like Kiss did at the Grammy’s in 1996. No talk, no nothing – just a set of blazing covers and cool rock n roll tunage. Leave all in the club awestruck. Fly to the Big Apple and do a group interview with Ed Trunk and announce the re-union tour. Why not release a tour EP ? Something you can cut live to tape as well. Not painstakingly pour over for years and years. Quick and easy. Go play the big festivals and show em how powerful you once were. No carry-on – no onstage rants – no arriving late on stage. Screw that. Just five guys blasting cool, loud rock n roll with a minimum of fuss. Kiss finally got the message and did the 77 tour. For you it’s 1987 or nothing – comprehende ? Way you go now…