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Given her star status as a former member of the very first all-girl Rock band ever, The Runaways, Cherie Currie is running a tour with a very nice vibe.

London: Camden Underworld – 27 March 2023

Openers Loz Campbell were a four piece tonight, as opposed to the three piece I saw at HRH Spring Break when Alice (who used to be in the Black Bullets) took up bass. Tonight she’s on her usual instrument of guitar and her easy stage manner, clearly the result of treading the boards for years and her usual run around the audience to say hello to everyone, is a beacon of exactly how to do it. With her dazzling smile and her ability to throw her guitar around while playing, including back breaking backwards curls, she draws the eye no doubt. The music is Classic Rock crossed with an alternative influence like Hole. I am not sure on the strength of the songs, as none have really stuck with me after seeing the band twice, but there’s some hi-energy going on, including an acrobatic human pyramid which looks pretty impressive (if it was a bit uncomfortable for Alice on the bottom layer where her Blackie Lawless style teeth exposing open mouth grimace looked a little bit real). There clearly a band in development overall so will be interesting to see where they go.

Blue Ruin are a Punk Pop April Lavigne style band. They all look in their twenties and are super hi-energy. Unsurprisingly, for their age, there are clearly influences from Rap artists in the stance of their singer, as she moves around the stage with hand and animated arm movements designed to increase her stage presence. She is from New Zealand, as is the drummer (who is the wife of Alexx Michael playing bass for the main act and also from Shameless) and this makes for an easy Antipodean style banter between songs. They are young enough still to be playing songs that they wrote when they are teenagers and there’s evidence of some political activism and feminism in their song lyrics and comments. If they got a super catchy song it’s the sort of things that could even chart.

Given her star status as a former member of the very first all-girl Rock band ever, The Runaways, Cherie Currie is running a tour with a very nice vibe. You would never guess her age unless you knew, and even though she was suffering from a bit of a cold tonight she still made being the shining star of the show effortless without making anyone in her band or the support bands on tour with her feel “less than”. She has obviously made a point of having support bands with a considerable number of females around and she is friendly and inclusive with everyone. I witnessed this first hand, being welcomed into her dressing room for an interview post soundcheck, but before the show. If I hadn’t found out before the show that she had a cold I would never have known. This lady is from the kind of old school that the show must go on and, not only will you be devastatingly beautiful while classy, you will make the audience feel that you are the only person in the room without trying.

Which is exactly what she does. The set is a nice balance of classic Runaways songs and new material from her solo album ‘Blvds Of Splendor’. Even though the latter album will only be put on general release worldwide later this month and has only been released as a vinyl and a limited digital download previously, the audience were singing along to the songs (which on the recording had involvement from stars such as Slash and Matt Sorum from Guns N’ Roses).
Kicking off with ‘Queens Of Noise’ and ‘California Paradise’ she got the audience to sing the choruses into the mike and is a master of crowd engagement. She has an amazing group of musicians behind her, including Dennis Post from City Kids and Warrior Soul, known for his blistering solos and, while it is certainly not always the case at this venue, the sound was amazing, loud and lush and the versions of these classic Runaways songs are better than ever.

I had not particularly noticed till I wrote the review, but there was then a block of songs from her new album. It is testament from the quality of the material that there was no dip in energy as there can be for new material, and that is pretty amazing given that the album is not yet on general release.

She was literally wearing her influences tonight with her Aladdin Sane T shirt, and was joined by a member of Blue Ruin on keyboards for an excellently sung version of Bowie’s ‘Life On Mars’. Like a trooper, she continued with the tour after her brother passed unexpectedly recently and she dedicated the song to him, shedding a tear by the end as the song clearly evoked many memories.

On the intro to ‘Midnight Music’ she mentioned how Lita Ford had not liked this song that she had written, presumably due to its mellower quality. (Half joking she mentioned that Lita may have an axe, but now in her career as a carver she has a chainsaw and she’s not afraid of Lita anymore. A Runaways reunion is definitely not on the cards since Blackheart records did not endear themselves by not fully releasing ‘Blvds Of Splendor’ which will now be released on a different record label.) The acapella start exposes that even with a cold she still has an amazing voice.

The night finished with a block of excellently done Runaways songs and the band got an appreciative introduction from the main lady herself: they do indeed deserve it, they sounded really great. ‘Heartbeat’. ‘American Night’ and ‘Cmon’ make way for ‘Cherry Bomb’ when support band members and Hollywood friend Gretchen Bonaduce were invited on stage for a gang vocal version of the only song that could properly finish the night.

It’s testament of the condition Rock music is in that an act of such stature is playing the Underworld: she is not alone with many legends gracing the stage of this venue these days. It would be great to see her with a good position at a festival or in a bigger London venue next time. She actually makes a lot of money as a chainsaw carver these days, but music will always be an important part of her life and it was fantastic to get a chance to see her shine as she did tonight.

Dawn Osborne

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