Gig review by Zak Edwards with photography by Bianca Barrett

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators

The music journalist in me has always wanted to do a Slash gig. It’s not that I’m a massive fan – admittedly he’s a decent axe man and I do like the whole cigarette and top hat thing he’s got going on – but I do find his guitar playing a wee bit ‘twiddly’ at times. Or as my fellow muso Miss Toni Woodward refers to it ‘noodley’. Anyway, I digress. The main reason why I’ve always wanted to see the curly haired rocker from Stoke perform is to use a headline based around the 80’s film icon whom happened to waltz around in skin tight shorts, whilst playing the nemesis of Ming the Merciless. Yes people…

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators

‘Slash! Ahhhhhhhhhhh – he played for every one of us!’

I thank you.

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators

Security at the NEC/LG/Genting or whatever it is called this week was akin to that of an airport – with metal detectors, guard dogs and full strip searches in full operation.

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators

I missed the first two acts, partly due to the looooooong wait in the cold waiting to go through gig customs, so I arrived just as Slash, Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators made their way onto the stage to the musical backdrop of fairground music. Very carnival.

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators

Proceedings kicked off with ‘You’re a Lie’ and then it was straight into the Guns N’ Roses classic ‘Nightrain’ – the crowd going crazy from the first moments the cowbell kicked in alongside the catchy riff.

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators

With ‘Hard Rock’ not really being my thing a number of things became apparent during the first few songs. Firstly, they belt through the numbers – no time for faff. Then there’s the clichés. Long hair is very much the order of the day for the performers (obvs) as is duelling guitars and it seems to be obligatory for the singer to parade his mic stand in a ‘Freddie Mercury’ esq manner whenever feasibly possible. Good stuff!

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators

Following more upbeat numbers from his impressive back catalogue, Slash finally took to the mic to introduce local rock legend of Deep Purple and one time Sabbath fame, none other than Glenn Hughes together with the not too shabby Motörhead guitarist Phil Campell. ‘Going Back to Birmingham’ and then an excellent rendition of ‘Ace of Spades’ quickly followed. Splendid.

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators

It would be remiss of me to write a review of a Slash gig and not talk about the guitar solos. Yes there were one or two. I’m not saying they are long, but during one particularly epic episode, I had time to nip to the khazi, buy a beer, consume the aforementioned beer, belch and still catch a good five minutes twiddling/noodling. This seemed to matter not a jot to the crowd however, all of whom seemed to be lapping up every flick of the man’s plectrum.

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators

Vocally excellent, I actually felt a wee bit sorry for Kennedy. Not only was he technically second on the bill, but moreover every time the ‘headliner’ played yet another guitar solo, Myles had to make himself scarce as Slash took to centre stage. Swings and roundabouts I guess though – at least he gets to play massive venues to stacks of adoring fans.

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators

Rumours started spreading round the venue that a certain Mr Iommi was side of stage (well OK my mate texted me) but whatever the source, it certainly got me and BB excited. Was he going to make an appearance? We waited with baited breath. Well actually it was fajita breath – prawn if you’re interested and very nice too – but that’s not really important. As Slash weighed through a Spanish guitar inspired solo on his two-headed weapon of choice for this particular ditty, I hoped, nay day dreamed, that the finest guitarist ever to hail from Handsworth would make his way onto the stage.

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators

Alas it wasn’t to be, but Slash and his buddies did treat us to a glorious rendition of ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ an excellent cover of Bad Companies ‘Feel Like Making Love’ and then confetti laden encore of ‘Paradise City’.

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators

Playing for over 2 hours, it was a great value gig and as we made our way to the exit (in which I did my good deed of the day help an elderly lady push her companion’s wheel chair up the seemingly never ending hill) I couldn’t help but smile. Maybe I’m turning into a rocker…

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators

Setlist: You’re a Lie / Nightrain / Halo / Avalon / Back from Cali / Wicked Stone / You Could Be Mine / Ghost / Going back to Birmingham (with Glenn Hughes and Phil Campbell) / Ace of Spades (with Phil Campbell and Todd Kerns on vocals) / Shadow Life / Beneath the Savage Sun / Mr. Brownstone / Rocket Queen / Bent to Fly / World on Fire / Anastasia / Sweet Child O’ Mine / Slither (Velvet Revolver cover) Encore: Paradise City

Leave a Reply