SLASH

Whilst the Tory party conference is causing chaos around the ICC and Symphony Hall, just over the bridge, at the NIA, a rock guitar hero is planning to take to the stage. Slash is an icon whose career has spanned three decades, launched by his role in one of the biggest bands in the world, Guns’n’Roses. After an early set by Ginger Wildheart, which appeared to get the crowd suitably prepared, Slash and his band took to the stage on time.

SLASH
SLASH

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators (the full title of the collaboration) mean business from the start with Halo, taken from his new album Apocalyptic Love. Slash, clad in top hat, mirrored shades and leather trousers, struts around the stage whilst Kennedy tends to stay in the centre making use of a low podium. Unfortunately the structure of the NIA struggles with acoustics and there is a distinct overload of treble during the first couple of tracks, however as the volume increases the mix tends to even out. Nightrain is the first of tonight’s offerings from the multi-million bestseller Appetite for Destruction, which wins the crowd over instantly and reiterates the brilliance of the album as the songs have not aged at all. Again, if you happen to be in the seated parts of the venue, the solo is scuppered by the arena’s acoustics, yet Kennedy does an admirable job on Axl Rose’s unique vocal line. Myles competently woos the crowd by encouraging hand clapping during the introduction of Ghost, a track that stands out amongst Slash’s recent works with its arpeggio style riff, however Kennedy seems to struggle with the lower register, that Ian Astbury provides on record, at the start of the song but as the man is lead vocalist in two successful outfits it is not surprising that there have been rumours that his throat has been suffering. As the set proceeds this becomes more apparent with Kennedy handing the vocals over to bassist Todd Kerns, whose raucous vocal style rampages through four numbers including Guns’ covers You’re Crazy and Out Ta Get Me, changing the dynamics of the band giving it a rough, punkier vibe which appeals to me far more than Kennedy’s polished performance.

SLASH
SLASH

After minimal verbal interaction with the audience, Slash takes to the microphone to introduce local guitarist Chris Buck with whom he embarks on a blues number and thoroughly seems to enjoy the experience as noted in his twitter feed after the event. As the concert goes on, it becomes more apparent for the need for screens for those of us who are further back, as you are unable to fully appreciate the visual elements of Slash’s fretwork particularly during the extended solos. Despite playing an arena, there are no fancy effects, just a backdrop illustration taken from the new album cover which means that all focus is kept on the band, noticeably though it is Slash and Kennedy who are the only two in the spotlight – but then again they are the known factors of this outfit. Even though, Slash’s recent work seems to be fairly well-received by the audience, it is the Guns’n’Roses and Velvet Revolver tracks that receive the warmest reception, especially as the concert is drawing to a close. Sweet Child O’Mine’s classic opening riff emphasises Slash’s ability for creating pieces of classic rock guitar greatness, followed by Slither and you realise that Appetite was not a fluke and he has produced more recent memorable refrains. The band leave to enthusiastic applause for a fleeting period to return with Velvet Revolver’s popular rock ballad Fall to Pieces and luckily for the ladies a topless Slash, who appears to have been working out of late!

SLASH
SLASH

They complete the set with the obvious but fully welcomed, Paradise City. Needless to say, this has everyone clapping, singing and dancing whilst cannons unleash ticker tape over the standing crowd and Slash takes centre stage for the final guitar solo of the evening. As I leave the arena, having had an enjoyable couple of hours of pure unadulterated rock, I can’t help wondering if Slash’s solo work will ever reach the greatness of his previous bands and I am inclined to say no, as he can write a fantastic riff but the songs are missing a certain something.

Gig Review by Toni Woodward
Gig Photos by Bianca Barrett

One Response to “Slash featuring Myles Kennedy @ The NIA, Birmingham, UK – 9th October 2012”

  1. Dave McCluskey Says:

    Was at the gig; the blues jam was one of several (brilliant) highlights; a very gracious act by an on-form Slash to let an aspiring guitarist onto his patch, but Chris Buck proved more than worthy of the gesture and played with superb control and feel. With any luck we’ll hear a lot more of this guy; Britain should be proud – the thread from Green and Clapton goes on…

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