It was both a stroke of genius and luck the very moment guitarist David Lowy and Singer-Songwriter Jon Stevens decided to meet up, a couple of guitars in tow, for a brief six hour encounter, with the intention to thrash around some fresh ideas to reignite their passion for artistic stimulation. Simple enough exercise right? Well astonishingly, 12 songs were penned in that short span of time. A true testament to the undeniable creative chemistry these two artists share.
And just like that, the creation of a little something magical called “ The Dead Daisies”, came to be - the love child, of this abundantly talented union.
And those very 12 songs would seal the foundation of an impressive future self-titled album.
And so it just happens that on Sunday 7th of December 2014, I attended a party, The Dead Daisies’ Party at The Oxford Art Factory in Sydney. They say live music is a dying culture, well all was very much alive and well at the final leg of The Angel In Your Eyes Tour.
The band has enjoyed a remarkably notable rotation of members from the moment they officially formed in 2012 to date. And the most current line up is absolutely no exception.
How’s this for a stellar configuration:
Jon Stevens, Lead Vocals (Noiseworks/Inxs)
Richard Fortus, Lead Guitarist (Guns n Roses/ Psychedelic Furs)
David Lowy, Rhythm Guitar (Red Phoenix/ Mink/The Angels)
Dizzy Reed, Keyboards (Guns n Roses)
Marco Mendoza, Bassist (Thin Lizzy/Whitesnake)
Brian Tichy, Drummer (Ozzy Osbourne/Billy Idol)
…What did I tell you?
Ok now, so on with the party... Real instruments, real vocals, real music, real performance and REAL BLOODY ROCK! Credit where credit’s due. When you’re left craving more, you know it’s the real deal.
This awe-inspiring authoritative collaborative musical ensemble have arrived at a distinctively ‘70s and early ‘80s soulful hard rock influenced sound, typified by a particular emphasis on extremely loud guitars. Just the way I like it.
They deliver on stage, flawlessly, that which their devoted following have come to appreciate and love so much – the choruses that dominate, the power house melodies and those hooks, those almighty hooks – solid and enduring! All combined, just so right.
When you see these guys on stage, you basically witness one massive celebration in motion. You truly sense the band partying hard, all the while seamlessly engaging and interacting with the crowd before them. Somehow managing to actually personalize against the heavy backdrop of heavenly screaming guitars, earth shattering vocals and heart thumping drum beats. Such finesse can only be arrived at by such a combined wealth of live experience.
And without so much as a heartbeat’s notice, the familiarity of the first track off the album, It’s Gonna Take Time, thundered and pelted down. Instantly captivated, everyone hungrily drenched themselves, communally soaked in a blissful state of pure rock escapism. And as divine as Stevens may be (time really has stood still for him), I could not for the life of me, take my eyes off Fortus. And in that very instant, if you were not compelled to make a sudden desperate move for your air guitar, I really don’t know what else could possibly do it for you.
The whole set itself focused on material from the debut self titled album (2013), but elegantly interspersed with roughly half a dozen quality crowd pleasers (covers) – whilst clearly playing homage to their own time honoured heroes in the process. You could just tell.
… I mean, when Stevens broke into the first verse of Helter Skelter in ballsy soaring true Stevens style – armed with a confident range so powerful and spine tingling emotive all at the same time, I honestly thought I just might pass out and spill my Bourbon and Coke in the process – BUT as a general personal challenge, I make it my business to NEVER drip a drop of booze, my mother taught me well. (By the way, thanks Ada). So I managed to somehow refrain, but just. And the crowd went wild. Just the way I like it.
So you should know that Slash co-wrote and played guitar on track two off the album… Not bad. Securing a creatively motivated joint endeavor of this enviable standard wouldn’t have transpired had the band, on a whole, not been powered by such a united common degree of credibility. I’m just gonna say it, true rock gods, each in their own right.
And although Slash himself wasn’t present on stage during Lock ‘N’ Load, given the exceptional guitar work by Fortus (along side the majestic efforts of both Mendoza and Lowy), you could well have closed your eyes and have believed Slash himself was indeed up on stage too. (Though I didn’t attempt this clever little game myself. As I mentioned earlier, I’m really not prepared to sacrifice no booze, not even for an image of Slash).
And in my humble opinion, not only were they rockin’ well enough without Slash, in terms of stage magnetism itself, they totally owned it. The band commanded its audience from start to finish. Smooth. Professional. No glitches. And the cherry on top of your can of Bourbon and Coke is that, in a way, you gain more than just one front man with The Dead Daisies. As superbly talented, charismatic and passionate a performer as Stevens may be, Mendoza and Fortus in particular really demonstrated their both infectious and impeccable showman qualities throughout as well. I did feel a little spoilt. And I guess that’s what happens when your expectations are exceeded.
At the tail end of Stevens’ authentic rendition of Alright Now, he literally chomped a chunk right out of A Whole Lotta Love to a pulsating Zeppelin rhythm. It did appear somewhat of an intended throw back chant in a humble gesture of reciprocation to the audience for the love he clearly felt from them. Nice touch. Class act. And you’re welcome Jon.
On Sunday 7th December 2014, I attended a party, The Dead Daisies’ Party at Oxford Art Factory, Sydney. Wish you’d been there. I’m just so glad I was invited. Any regrets? Not having seen them sooner.
Ordinarily, my reviews are short and sweet. Unless an act leaves an unmistakable imprint that simply lingers…
All I have now is the sweet and agonizing anticipation of their next party.
Mary ‘Mazza’ Di Matteo
Editor In Chief
Photos from the gig