wed 22/05/2024

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, OVO Hydro, Glasgow review - guitar heroics against a low-key backdrop | reviews, news & interviews

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, OVO Hydro, Glasgow review - guitar heroics against a low-key backdrop

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, OVO Hydro, Glasgow review - guitar heroics against a low-key backdrop

The rock icon's playing was sublime, but not all of his set suited the venue

Slash and his cohorts delivered a night of rowdy rock

The theme tune to John Carpenter’s horror classic The Thing rang out as Slash and his crew of collaborators took to the stage. Unlike that film’s famous climax though, there was no ambiguity here, for these were experienced stalwarts of rock music putting on a traditional, no frills show with a minimum of fuss.

Customary top hat and shades on, and adorned in a Scorpions T-shirt, the evening’s main draw was greeted with a cry from one fan of “mon Slash!”, followed seconds later by another yell of “mon Myles too!”. The night’s pecking order was thus confirmed, but if the Guns n’ Roses guitarist is the top name for this project, musically it remains an even affair. As Alterbridge’s singer Myles Kennedy is an experienced frontman, and a figure at ease playing big venues, even ones with black tarp covering a chunk of seats. It wasn’t long before he was running through the typical proclamations and movements of the arena rocker, whether demanding the lights go up to see the crowd or encouraging arms going up in the air.

Yet if both Kennedy and Slash are adept at large-scale rock music it was surprising, and to an extent disappointing, just how little was offered in terms of stagecraft. There were simply two large screens flanking the stage and nothing else in terms of pyro or creative design. That proved to be the gig’s main difficulty, for there were moments in both stage dynamics and material that felt like they’d been planned for more intimate surroundings, then catapulted upwards. It was an issue particularly problematic early on, where something like the blues-tinged rumble of “Too Far Gone” got lost in the size of the building. It felt like music to sweat to in a club, not peer at from a distance, no matter the scope of Kennedy’s reliably commanding voice.

Luckily, over two and a bit hours there was plenty of more effective tunes. Slash and Kennedy have now piled up four albums together, but some of the most effective tunes came from outside those records, from a stomping take on Lenny Kravitz’s “Always on the Run” (co-written by Slash) to a rattling version of obscure Guns N’ Roses tune “Don't Damn Me”, the only track lifted from Slash’s other job. A cover of “Rocket Man” to start the encore was more perfunctory, albeit with some enjoyable pedal steel work from Slash.

Still, pedal steel guitar was not what the majority of the audience were thirsting for. They wanted guitar histrionics, and plenty were provided. It could be thrilling, as on a lengthy “Wicked Stone” that married a sprightly rhythm with outrageously flashy playing, the livewire urgency of “Avalon” or the rowdy good time swagger of “Doctor Alibi”. Vocals on the latter came from bassist Toad Kerns, a lively presence all night, and also a man who combined his playing with facial contortions that suggested he had stood on Lego while barefoot.

It could also slip into tedium, no matter the technical quality of the players. The chugging “Actions Speak Louder Than Words” dragged on loudly, and the regular set closing “World on Fire” missed the peak and jammed on too long. However complaining about overly long guitar work at a Slash concert is perhaps futile. Much better was the swelling ballad “Starlight”, which arrived mid set and generated a clutch of phones being waved and wielded. On that one at least, the music alone really was enough to satisfy.

The audience wanted guitar histrionics, and plenty were provided


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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