Danny Vaughn - The Cluny, Newcastle (UK) - 3rd April 2012
Tyketto frontman Danny Vaughn's bi-annual acoustic whistle-stop jaunt around the UK usually takes place just before Christmas. This time however, he opted to embrace the warm glowing sun of a fledgling English springtime. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell the weather meaning that this show very nearly didn't take place as driving blizzards delayed Vaughn's flight from Spain. Now that in itself would be enough to put most folk off yet his guitars only arrived literally minutes before he was due on stage due to further flight delays (yes, Danny Vaughn's guitars do indeed have their own private jet !!) leading to stressed expressions on the faces of musicians and promoters alike. Fortunately when the road manager and guitar babysitter arrived he was greeted like a long lost relative.
Before Vaughn arrived on stage, The Cluny was treated to a short set from Craig McDonald, a friend of Vaughn's from Gibraltar, where a chance meeting in Morrison`s supermarket of all places, lead to a lifelong friendship based on the love of music. Blessed with a strong Soulful voice with a Bluesy edge, reminiscent a little of Porcupine Tree`s touring guitarist John Wesley, McDonald delivered an impressive collection of classy acoustic numbers mainly taken from his recently released Songs from Life and Love album including “Dance With Me Slow” and “The Beautiful Flame”.
Danny Vaughn is no stranger to the acoustic set up having done the one man show and full band acoustic show, which was recently captured on the Road Less Travelled live album, recorded at this very venue, many times over the years. This time it was just Vaughn and his guitar, the type of show that he proclaimed scared him to death compared to doing larger venues, yet if the nerves where there he concealed them well.
For nigh on an hour and a half Vaughn performed a selection of songs from right across his career chosen mainly by fans voting on his website together with some surprises he picked himself. Songs like Tyketto`s ‘End of the Summer Days’ and ‘Walk on Fire’ featured alongside Waysted`s ‘Heaven Tonight’ while material from his ‘From The Inside’ project (‘Blessing in Disguise’) stood proudly alongside the pick of his own solo material (‘Haunted’ and ‘Shadowland’) and even his contribution as Lancelot on Gary Hughes’ Once and Future King received a rare outing. The thought of such a long acoustic performance may stretch the patience of many yet Vaughn's engaging manner and golden voice prevent any lulls in the show.
Perhaps the high point of the night came with ‘Bad Water’, an ultra-rare airing of a never recorded tune that has only been performed once which begged the question as to why such a strong song with an inspired melody telling a tale of murder and intrigue could have remained in the Vaughn Vaults for so long. Perhaps the titillating promise of new material for his "little orphans", those songs he's written that had no obvious home, could result in this little beauty getting a release at last.
Performing acoustically stands or falls on the strength of the songs and Vaughn knows how to pen a quality tune or two. When songs of the calibre of ‘Burning Down Inside’, featuring a guest appearance and some incredible close harmonies from McDonald and the evergreen ‘Forever Young’ sound fabulous with just a guitar and THAT voice, you know you're onto a winner.
With this current run of solo shows together with an extended trek across the UK with The Ultimate Eagles, not to mention a new Tyketto album ‘Dig In Deep’ and a headlining slot at headlining in October, it certainly looks like being a landmark year for Danny Vaughn and there are few who deserve it more than Vaughn himself.