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Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators / California Breed / Twenty Two Hundred http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/c1/4e/45/slash-conspirators-glasgow-live-thumb-9-1417993688.jpg Hot

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Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators / California Breed / Twenty Two Hundred - SSE Hydro, Glasgow (UK) - 4 December 2014

If lead singer Tony Cardenas-Montana said his band’s name once, then he said it Twenty Two Hundred times! And yet, he needn’t have bothered, for this Blues based Hard Rock outfit, with a strong eye for an 80s hook and guitar line, made such an impression that the healthy (although in the enormodome that is Glasgow’s Hydro, it felt sparse) early turnout were all talking about them in glowing terms. ‘7XDown’ set the tone for some explosive guitar, thrumming bass lines and a classy howl, while ‘Crises’ proved there was no such thing! Add in the considered ‘Why Can’t You Love Me’, the fiery ‘No Rescue’ and the hammer strike of ‘Shot Down’, and guitarist Marcus Kain, bassist Mark Wells and drummer Drew Alig knew it was job done. With only two releases in four years, this band may not be overloading us with content, but it sure is quality over quantity…now what was their name again…?


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The well documented implosion of Black Country Communion has left Glenn Hughes focusing all his efforts on his new California Breed, a three piece rounded out by, after the BCC lineage cutting departure of Jason Bonham, powerhouse drummer Joey Castillo (Queens Of The Stone Age) and young guitarist Andrew Watt. Bravely plundering  their one and only release for the full set, opening pair ‘The Grey’ and ‘Chemical Rain’ were surprising in that “The Voice Of Rock” struggled to find his vocal groove. Yes, the high pitched wails were still in evidence and as powerful as ever, but actually hitting their desired mark wasn’t quite such a given. However not only did Watt’s six-string work prove impressive, but his smooth vocals a revelation; this is one supremely talented young man. ‘Sweet Tea’ found Hughes settling down vocally, although it was noticeable that he wasn’t quite as preening and strutting as he was during the BCC years (although the shock of purple dyed into the ends of his hair is still in evidence unfortunately), however he’s hardly a shrinking violet when it comes to egging on the crowd. The closing trio of ‘Strong’, ‘The Way’ and especially ‘Midnight Oil’ proved the class of what this band can create - and the precise strength of Castillo behind the kit - although the omission of the Hughes signature song ‘Burn’ at the close of the set did leave something of a surprising anti-climax - although not for long. Hat’s off to Hughes for not relying on his past at all with this set, but in truth forty-five minutes felt a little too long for a band with only a handful of songs to choose from and a tendency to kick out the jams once too often. Still, California Breed made a mark and many new friends.


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Love them or loathe them, you can’t deny that there was a day when Guns n’ Roses were one of the biggest bands on the planet and from the moment Slash hit the stage you knew that you were in the presence of a guitarist who had been there and done it. The confident swagger, the irresistible grooves and the classy solos confirmed it and yet to his credit, why this post- Gn’R outfit are so good is that the top-hatted wonder has surrounded himself with an ultra talented band. The amount of youngsters in attendance confirmed that Alter Bridge frontman Myles Kennedy’s charms have transcended his main outfit, while seasoned veterans Todd “Damnit” Kearns, drummer Brent Fitz and second guitarist Frank Sidoris are the rock which keeps Slash, Myles and The Conspirators steady.  Impressively the early solo trio of ‘You’re A Lie’, ‘Avalon’ and ‘Halo’ were greeted with as much fervour as Gn’R favourite ‘Nightrain’, although the utterly awesome ‘You Could Be Mine’ certainly raised the excitement levels to fever pitch in a now rammed Hydro. Kennedy is an unassuming frontman, ever so slightly self conscious without the guitar he wields in Alter Bridge and yet his easy manner and obvious delight at every cheer and thunder of applause from the crowd immediately won everyone over. Kearns gave Kennedy a rest, taking - amazingly well - the mic for early Slash number ‘Doctor Alibi’ and the Guns staple ‘You’re Crazy’ before ‘Too Far Gone’, ‘Beneath The Savage Sun’ and ‘Mr Brownstone’ took the already full-on momentum and ramped it upped even further.  The Gn’R classic ‘Rocket Queen’ was then rolled out to a regal ovation and yet the near fifteen minute solo from Slash did - even in this solo setting - suck the impetus out of proceedings somewhat, although only momentarily; for from there the dash for the line served up the magnificence of ‘World On Fire’ and ‘Anastasia’. Then the true power of having a stone-cold classic at your disposal was illustrated by the shimmering ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’, that killer guitar line and those drums breaks still as potent as ever, before the Velvet Revolver (oh Slash was in them too wasn’t he?!) calling card ‘Slither’ brought the main set to a close in simply scintillating style. And then the absence of ‘Burn’ from California Breed’s earlier set became clear, Glen Hughes and Adam Watt joining Slash, Myles and the lads for one of those occasions that will live long in the memory, the Deep Purple classic finding Hughes and Kennedy trading vocal lines and adlibs as Slash and Watt traded solos and licks - a truly momentous song delivered in truly momentous fashion. And then..! The power of having TWO stone-cold classics was illustrated, as ‘Paradise City’ topped the lot!!


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A certain hip-shimmying singer may well still be treading the boards under the guise of Slash’s first band. However proving he’s moved on, yet still willing to pay breathtaking respect to his past, what Slash, Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators serve up is where it’s at. One word… Amazing!

Steven Reid

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