Live Review: Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators / Mammoth WVH – O2 City Hall, Newcastle 31.03.2024

Craig Young

It may seem like Slash is everywhere these days, whether its getting back to his original role in Guns N Roses or even performing with Ryan Gosling at the Academy Awards, there is a new blues cover album on the way and along with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators there is the world tour ongoing supporting their recent album ‘C’est La Vie’. However, Slash was alive and well tonight, indicated by the athletic jumps and hero guitar poses pulled throughout the gig in Newcastle to wow fans old and young. He last played in a venue in 1987, hoping “no one was old enough to remember that”.

Before we were treated to Slash’s guitar prowess, Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang warmed the crowd up with a rather short yet blistering 6 song set. They delivered a three-guitar heavy rock aural assault. One of the guitar players, Frank Sidoris, was borrowed from Slash’s band and synced into the band’s energy perfectly. They took to the stage and grabbed the crowd by the scruff of the neck taking us on a riot of southern tinged heavy rock n roll a perfect start to a night of rock.

Whilst Wolfgang was nothing short of magnificent on the fretboard, obvious with his pedigree, it was the band drummer who stole the show, heaping a ton of abuse to his cymbals and looking like he had completed a whole 2-hour show at the end rather than the 6 songs the band played. It was a shame that their set was so short, as the enthusiastic roar from the crowd indicated how much the band were loved, and they got a proper Geordie send-off when they took a bow at the end. Hopefully, Mammoth WVH will return on a headline show themselves.

A quick shift about of the stage and a huge cheer went up as the backdrop was revealed whilst a rousing sing along to Whisky In The Jar that was played over the hall’s speakers was struck up. Fuelled by 2-pint cups of lager, the crowd was ready to have their eardrums blown. The band took to the stage with Slash jumping, belaying his age, jumping on the drum riser, and looking every inch the man who played back in 1987. Whether it’s the trademark top hat or the lion’s mane of curly black hair, the man does not seem to age. Certainly, his fingers still have their magic.

Within Myles Kennedy, Slash found another singer who matched his brand of bluesy rock, and we saw Kennedy deliver a powerhouse performance that commanded the stage and audience. Bassist Todd Kerns also took to the lead vocals on a cover of Gun’s N Roses ‘Don’t Damn Me’ as well as a cover of Kenny Kravitz’s ‘Always On The Run’, both of which Slash had a hand in writing. Apart from those two tracks, tonight’s set covered the breadth of Slash’s solo career from the gorgeous rendition of ‘Starlight’ and a furious performance of the punk ‘Dr Albi’ with Kerns taking on Lemmy’s vocals. Kerns does a cracking job tonight, with his voice suiting the tracks better than Kennedy would have.

‘Wicked Stone’ featured a 10-minute extended guitar solo, during which Slash stepped out of the band formation to give what the crowd wanted. This band has big names, but the crowd wanted to see Slash, which is a testament to the man’s legacy and neverending talent. Kennedy’s star was not to be dimmed, and he still had the audience in his palms, too, deploying his rock god vocals with a call-and-response during ‘World On Fire’.

With the shouts for more, an encore was always going to happen, but it was delivered with a twist that saw a crowd-pleasing rendition of Elton John’s Rocketman, complete with Slash on Pedal Steel and drummer Brent Fitz taking to the keyboard. Kennedy shone on this track, giving an intimate feeling as the crowd sang along with him. The final track of the night was the fantastic ‘Anastasia’ with Slash taking the spotlight for the scorching intro. ‘Anastasia’ bridges Slash’s career, sounding like Paradise City for a new age, and was a fitting track to end on.

Tonight, Slash, Myles, and the Conspirators delivered a set of mostly fresh material that serves as another chapter in Slash’s career. Whatever this man does, his fans will follow, buy, see, experience, and enjoy. It’s magic that has been going on for decades now and will no doubt carry on for a long time to come, as there appears to be no slowing down from the man in the top hat. He had them dancing in the balconies.

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