Well, it’s a sunny but cold day and already fans have started to gather around 4:00 pm for the early acoustic set that The Dead Daisies have been treating fans to on the Daisyland winter tour.
It promises to be a great night by the choice of support band Massive Wagons, who are a local band from near Lancaster. They seem to be gathering quite a bit of attention on the rock music scene with a mixed audience of fans here to support both the bands. Massive Wagons take to the stage to the intro of Slades’ “Rock and Roll Preacher” to get the fans pumped up and the mood raised with a heavy rock sound. The band pays tribute to the late and great Rick Parfitt from Status Quo with “Back to the Stack”. Lead singer Baz Mills, complete with Bowler hat and skeleton body suit, resembles a cross between Clockwork Orange/ Voodoo Preacher. The accomplished guitar playing of Adam Thistlewaite and Stevie Holl soars over the songs in a variety of styles. A great start to the night and they are just on the opening song! However, each and every one that followed was greeted with the same response and applause. By the end of the set, the audience is in universal agreement that Wagons were fantastic and I know that even people who had witnessed them for their debut viewing had all become converts.
As 9 o’clock approached and the headliners were due on stage, I had a thought that The Dead Daisies never seem to be off the road. They are relentless with their touring and indeed the band has not stopped since they first arrived in April to promote the “Burn It Down” album. After 9 months, most flowers are starting to wilt and fade away but not these Daisies. In fact, they look like they are full of life and energy from the moment they take the stage. As any fan of rock music knows, smaller low ceiling venues tend to be harsh on loud rock music, but it’s not the case with the Liverpool Academy. It’s a great little homely venue that suited the band with a setlist that pleased everyone and also paid tribute to the legendary British Rock bands with songs that included, “Let It Be” by The Beatles, followed by “Join Together” from The Who. Later on in the set Deep Purple’s “Speed King” was also played in the true classic style of a band that knows they are going from strength to strength. Personally, however, I feel that in this stage of their career with several albums of their own released, that they should drop the cover songs from their setlist.
The band’s interaction with the large audience is universal, from John Corabi teasing the audience and involving them with his storytelling, to Marco Mendoza taking every chance to whip the fans into a frenzy. Guitarist Doug Aldrich had a pretty laid-back style yet skillfully played and showing every trick that he’s learned from an often overlooked career. Behind on the drums the newest addition to the band, Dean Castronovo, showing he’s more than just the drummer with some great vocal work on anything from a Rod Stewart “Maggie May” to a Kiss classic tune in “Hard Luck Woman”
I also noticed that I missed mentioning David Lowrey, who stays so far back in the background that he often gets overlooked, but is no less an important part of the band – from his great rhythm and shared lead guitar playing to the shy reserved style that shows just how good the guy is.
The Dead Daisies’ star shows no sign of waning, their relentless touring and attempts to create a fan-based community through events like free acoustic sets pre-show and free meet and greets will ensure that this particular rock n roll flavoured flower will continue to grow and flourish for quite some time to come.
Review by Steve Johnson | Photos by Christopher James Ryan