Review: THE DEAD DAISIES - Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, Sunday 23rd February 2014

The Oxford Art Factory in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs was packed on Sunday night, when The Dead Daisies played their first headlining Sydney gig. I was lucky enough to be at their debut gig last March, supporting ZZ Top at The Metro and was very impressed with what I saw and heard back then so I was anxious to see how much things had changed since that first gig. Well, the line-up has changed, several times, since those early days. But the current line-up still has Jon Stevens on vocals and David Lowy on guitar. (The band was their 'baby' to begin with) and the amazing guitar virtuoso Richard Fortus (Guns 'n' Roses) on lead guitar but playing to the beat of a different drummer, John Tempesta (The Cult) with Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy) on bass and the Gunners' Dizzy Reed on keys. The band, obviously, is tighter than they were back then. They've been working pretty steadily overseas in the last twelve months and with such an impressive pedigree of musicians brought together in one place they were, as you'd expect, a force to be reckoned with.

From my first Dead Daisies experience, I immediately began making comparisons to bands like Free and Bad Company. I guess partly because they do a pretty cool version of Free's 'All Right Now' that actually didn't have me making my usual comment of 'How dare they murder that song?!' (Let it be said here that Paul Rodgers is something of a Rock God in my eyes so I can be a tad critical when it comes to anyone covering his songs). Anyway, maybe that is what initially sold me on their music. But the band has definitely grown since then and found their own direction, with some rather awesome material of their own. I'm still glad they have decided to leave the Free classic in their set, however.

The Daisies played tracks from their current self-titled CD, including the first three singles, 'It's Gonna Take Time', 'Washington' and 'Lock 'n' Load' and most of the crowd seemed to know the words, which is a very good sign. There were also some new tracks thrown in which will, I suspect, be on the upcoming album which the band is currently working on.

It was good to see that the audience was a mixture of both young and … well... older music fans. It's reassuring to know that good old fashioned, gutsy rock is still in fashion. Makes me feel that maybe there is hope for this planet after all. And gutsy rock was definitely on the menu on Sunday night – and lots of it. From start to finish, The Dead Daisies rocked – and rocked hard. And the capacity crowd at the Oxford Art Factory lapped up every bit of it.

For the encore, the band did a cover of The Faces'  'Stay With Me' and a medley of The Beatles' 'Helter Skelter' and Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love' and by the time it was all over, we were left in no doubt as to why The Daisies have been labelled a 'Supergroup' and with Jon Stevens as a frontman, how could they lose? He had the crowd in the palm of his hand. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday night, even if I did miss the last bus home. Let's just hope we don't have to wait so long next time to see more of The Dead Daisies in town. Great rock 'n' roll the way it's meant to be played – nice and loud!

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by Sharyn Hamey

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