Last night (01/07/23) Def Leppard took to the stage at Wembley Stadium, this was a bucket-list gig for me having wanted to see them since 2009! They shared the stage with Mötley Crüe, which is enough to get any rock fan excited. I’ve been brought up in a family where music is special, and sharing experiences with those within our family means a lot – from this gig, it’s evident that it’s not just us, but a trait of the rock community. I was surrounded by people that crossed generations and a mini rocker singing along to hysteria brought so much joy to me. 

After arriving at Wembley, the sight of the relatively empty stadium was a reminder of the extortionate cost of these tickets and challenging times we live in. From those I spoke to, there was a general sense of confusion as to why such a large venue was chosen for this show as it was unlikely to be a sell-out. Although the absence of a packed stadium was a disheartening backdrop, Def Leppard’s ability to fill the stadium with their music and create such a powerful experience speaks to the talent that they have.  

Def Leppard’s setlist of 17 songs was a collection of greatest hits, pretty much guaranteeing every fan’s favourite was given the spotlight. The setlist included: ‘Let’s Get Rocked’, ‘Rocket’, ‘Hysteria’, ‘Rock of Ages’ and ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’. One of the standouts for me was their performance of ‘Bringin’ on the Heartbreak’ – the ability to seamlessly blend rock energy with heartfelt emotion was something special. Throughout the setlist, the band blessed us with their exceptional musicianship, seamlessly weaving in guitar solos, bass lines, and thunderous drumbeats. To me, they’re withstanding the test of time, and continue to deliver top-tier performances.

Def Leppard surpassed all of my expectations. Joe Elliot’s vocals felt age-defying? Generally, we expect (and accept) that over time vocal abilities diminish but the power behind his voice was phenomenal. Rick Allen’s ability to create such a powerful and dynamic rhythm given the complication of his accident is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Collen and Campbell create a duo that is complimentary and layer songs so well. Savage’s depth and groove undoubtedly contribute to the distinctive rock sound we all love and expect from the band.

Having seen Mötley Crüe the previous night at the Underworld, I knew this wouldn’t quite be the same. Having read the reviews of previous dates, I was apprehensive of how their sound would carry through such a large venue. For the opening songs, the sound just wasn’t right. This improved as they moved through the setlist and ultimately, they delivered a solid, high-energy performance. The 16-song setlist included hits such as ‘Live Wire’, ‘Girls Girls Girls’, and ‘Kickstart My Heart’. The band completed a compilation of ‘Rock and Roll, Part 2’ / ‘Smokin’ in the Boys Room’ / ‘Helter Skelter’ / ‘Anarchy in the U.K.’ / ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ / ‘(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)’, and as you can imagine, it went down well. 

During what was an overall impressive performance from Mötley Crüe for me it was dampened by Tommy Lees request for females in the crowd to “get their titties out” and subsequently pressuring these females. There was something quite infantile about this, and for it to be coming from a 60-year-old man felt quite uncomfortable. Now, I don’t doubt that for some, seeing a few boobs added to the experience. However, for me, in the context of 2023, where there is a growing emphasis on creating safe and inclusive spaces for all concert attendees (including children), Tommy’s remarks and subsequent pressures were out of touch and inappropriate. Nowadays, the use of cameras, phones, and large screens could be really damaging to the individuals that willingly participated in this. Concerts should be an opportunity for people to come together, enjoy music, and feel a sense of community, and safety, it should be free from derogatory and objectifying comments.

Author: Evie Brooks

Arizona-based, all-female punk band The Venomous Pinks are sharing their new song and music video “We Must Prevail,” made in collaboration with Eternal Film Productions and directors Nikki Carmela and Alexander Thomas. The video is a protest against the abortion bans

New York City guitarist, singer & songwriter Steve Conte has released a video for his new single, co-written with Andy Partridge (XTC) titled “Fourth of July.”

The song & video serve as a follow-up to his 2021 acclaimed solo album Bronx Cheer, and offers an early preview of his upcoming new LP due out in 2024 via Steven Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool Records.

Steve says:

“Fourth of July” was written with one of my favorite songwriters of all time, from one of my fave bands – Andy Partridge of XTC. I feel blessed to be writing with one of my heroes…and to be recording for Little Steven Van Zandt’s label, Wicked Cool Records,” says Conte.

“With a title like “Fourth of July” I knew I didn’t want to make this song lyric at all patriotic American or about Independence Day – I wanted it to be about the sparks that fly, the fireworks that go off in a relationship. One with intense chemistry…love, fulfillment …bombs bursting in air, ya know? Explosions, yes – but no stars & stripes.

The chorus of the song is one that I’ve had kicking around since the 90s. I wrote the hook while getting ready to leave my NYC apartment for some July 4th event – I just started singing about what was happening that day. The hook was all there; chords, melody, the title lyric, the phrasing – complete with that odd timing. I thought it could be something special because I never forgot it.”

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I was one of the lucky ones that bagged myself a ticket after taking a calculated risk that  DÖGS OF WAR, would in fact, be Mötley Crüe so here we go… my first review.

Let’s start at the beginning, I was introduced to Mötley Crüe by age 8 (mum would say bad parenting, dad would say FUCK YEAH!). For the last 17 years, crüe have taken me through the highs and lows of my teenage years and young adulthood, seeing them in such a small venue was a dream come true.

The Underworld is known for its intimate setting and raw energy, and was the perfect venue to host this special performance by DÖGS OF WAR. Despite the passage of time (and a lot of doubters), these aging rockers proved once again that their fire still burns bright, as they unleashed a small yet mighty gig that will undoubtedly be etched into my memory and of all those fortunate enough to be in attendance.

With the dim lights and the distinct scent of pints, hairspray and excitement permeating the air, the atmosphere was reminiscent of the gritty rock clubs of the past, creating an electric ambiance that set the stage for something incredible. I’ve often said I grew up in the wrong generation, and after attendance of this gig I’m envious of all the old rockers out there (like my dad) that got to experience this insane atmosphere at almost every gig.

Kicking off the night with an explosive opener, the band set the tone with “Wild Side”. DÖGS OF WAR continued to deliver hit after hit. Songs like “Dr. Feelgood”, “Girls Girls Girls” and “Shout at the Devil” kept the energy high. In total, the band played 11 songs, including some of my all-time favourites, ‘too fast for Love’ and ‘Smokin’ in the Boys Room’. What didn’t I expect at this gig? A cover of the Beastie Boys ‘Fight For Your Right’ and Ramones ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’. Every song resonated with the crowd, within my view not one person stood still. The crowd passionately sang along and gave thunderous applause at every opportunity.

For me, a special shoutout to Vince is needed, it’s well known that his voice is not what it was, but unlike some he, and us fans have accepted that (take note Axl). Despite this, with the aid of some well-timed backing, and the crowd’s help he captivated us all. My jaw dropped when he actually hit (and well) one of his higher notes in ‘Wild Side’. His stage presence was felt all night, he kept the energy up. The proximity between him and the crowd created an electric connection, and I’m sure this played a part in his energy and determination to make it a night to remember.

I have to name it, it’s heart-breaking to see the band without Mick, but John 5 seamlessly slipped into his new role, delivering solos and showcasing his own unique style. His performance, coupled with the band’s chemistry ensured that the essence of Mötley Crüe was preserved, even with the absence of Mars. I for one am excited about the next chapter following the conclusion of this world tour!

Authr: Evie Brooks

Having avidly followed those Manx rockers Mad Daddy, and as I live in France, it was a no brainer for me to purchase this ear-rattling compilation album from French label Pigmé Records. This is the second volume of garage rock goodness, and while it includes Mad Daddy’s most recent single, ‘Road Racer’, they are in good company from all over the world.

I was only previously aware of  Swiss rockers The Jackets, whose inclusion of ‘Queen Of Pill’ gives The Fuzztones a run for their money. I see they are playing Paris in September with The Darts (USA), who feature here with ‘Intersex’, and that is a tempting double bill, as they really suit each other. French rockers La Flingue offer ‘Selbsmodell’, while Belgium is ably presented by ‘I Ain’t Dead’ by Chiff Chaffs and their swelling organ (ooer).

‘Strange Baby’ by The Go Go Killers (USA) sounds like it’s sung in an unknown language, but is a pleasing clout to the head, while ‘It’s A Girl’ by Strange Attractor (Canada) will get you up and dancing. ‘Stab Me’ by Slocks (Italy) is altogether darker, as you’d imagine, and Mad Daddy rev things up with the aforementioned ‘Road Racer’. I’m determined to see them one day!

Side two kicks off with ‘Confusion’ by The Cogs (Italy), proving that three chords and a lot of energy still works well, and ‘See That Girl’ by The Mocks (Netherlands) is very groovy, baby. They are definitely worth researching further. Sinister Six (USA) obviously have an extensive Cramps collection, if ‘Pretending To Be High Class’ is anything to go by, very nice.

‘Veneno Barato’ by Nestter Donuts (Spain) pounds along, probably with a sore throat by now. Short and snappy. The Fadeaways (Japan) provide the addictive ‘She’s A Rat Trap’, another top tune, and Davilla 666 (Argentina) provide the grungy ‘Chloe Sevigny’.

For once, I could afford the vinyl! As it didn’t include the crippling customs tax, not coming from the UK, but you can possibly pick up a copy via Mad Daddy’s Bandcamp page. Get on it!

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Author: Martin Chamarette