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Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators - 'Live At The Roxy 25.9.14' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/7b/45/22/Slash-Myles-Kennedy-Conspirators-Live-At-The-Roxy-72-1453407735.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 21, 2016    
 
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Quite spectacular, especially on the CD.

You can't help but think that if the most famous top-hat in music had realised his touring band for the 'Slash' record was going to become a permanent feature, he'd have called them something a little less unwieldy than Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators. Unbelievably, what has gone on to become a genuine band that celebrated their fifth anniversary on the 25th of September last year and to mark the occasion they returned to the scene of their first show, The Roxy in Hollywood.

Fittingly for such a small venue, the sound is kept true and claustrophobic on this double CD set, Kennedy's voice not touched up and the guitars pleasingly gritty, while the small crowd are loud in the mix, but not obtrusive. As you'd expect with this no nonsense superstar, the need for big intros is dispensed with, the chiming guitar line of 'Ghost' kicking in the second you hit play. It's a great track and one which finds the band in full flow, Alter Bridge front-man Kennedy authoritative from the off, while the rhythm section of Todd "Dammit" Kerns on bass and Brent Fitz on drums provide a mighty rumble of power from which the likes of 'Stone Blind' and 'You're A Lie' positively thrive.

Performed as much because he enjoys playing them than because the fans demand them, the Guns 'N' Roses classics are also in strong evidence, Kennedy bringing his own personality to 'Nightrain' and 'You Could Be Mine', while Kerns shows his singing skills on 'You're Crazy', as he does Slash's 'Doctor Alibi'; his Punky delivery perfect on both. However Slash is the man and, backed by on stage rhythm guitarist Frank Sidoris, he takes the opportunity to show his flicks, tricks and licks throughout, really letting loose with a lengthy solo during 'Rocket Queen'. Although with the song stretched out to over seventeen minutes, the dazzling effect does wear off after the first couple of spins.

After that workout, the classy mid-paced numbers 'Bent To Fly' and 'Starlight' reset the focus, although it's the rush for home of the Slash cuts 'World On Fire' and 'Anastasia', Velvet Revolver highlight 'Slither' and GNR pair of 'Sweet Child O' Mine' and 'Paradise City' which truly remind us of just how pivotal Slash has been to the Rock world over the past couple of decades.

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Unusually and a little disappointingly, the separately available single DVD release of this anniversary show features two less tracks than the audio edition; the pair omitted being the excellent 'Halo' and 'Doctor Alibi'. With Kerns and not Kennedy handling live vocal duties for the latter of those two, it possibly explains for continuity reasons, why we have a "bonus" section where his version of '...Crazy' can be found. Although why '...Blind', 'Wicked Stone' and '30 Years To Life' couldn't be simply slotted into their correct positions in the set, I've no idea. As before, the gritty sound retains an honest and true feel which adds hugely to the "wish you were there" factor.

Never the most natural of front-men, Kennedy makes up for it through a stunning vocal display and his obvious passion for the songs he sings, while Slash himself proves (as if he needed to) yet again, what a fantastic guitarist he is (even if my lack of excitement at his extended solo during '...Queen' stands for the DVD, as it does the CD). However the crowd don't seem as manic as they should at having the opportunity to witness five genuine Rock stars in intimate surrounds and when added to the shot happy direction from Derek Manning and Bart Peters, it can be hard at times to truly engage with the performances on the DVD version.

One of the most celebrated musician Hard Rock has ever produced, Slash has earned that tag by writing and performing songs that have gone on to shape the music we all listen to. Gather them together and perform them with a band on top form and 'Live At The Roxy 25.9.14' is the result. Quite spectacular it is too, especially on the CD.

Steven Reid

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