Aerosmith @ Marley Park, Dublin. 26/06/2007

Aerosmith regarded as America’s Greatest Rock & Roll Band brought their high energy, high voltage, high decibel, riff driven classic rock performance to Ireland on Tuesday night and put on a spectacular show to the capacity crowd. The bad boys from Boston going strong since the early seventies are the best selling American Rock Band of all time having sold over 150 million albums to date as well as the record for more gold, platinum and multi platinum records than any other American group.

Aerosmith were one of the archetypal road bands putting in a punishing touring schedule to build their fan base rather than depend on airplay and record sales and broke into the vast American market state by state with their no frills rock and heavy duty boogie.The band would often set up on the grounds of Boston University and play a free show if they had no paying gigs lined up in the local clubs and bars.They have a loyal following around the world referred to as the blue army many of them visibly in attendance around us having travelled from England and Europe to Marley Park on a cloudy but thankfully dry night.

The support acts The Feeling and Chris Cornell had picked up many new fans with two fine performances warming up the crowd ahead of the rapturous reception that greeted Aerosmith arriving on stage like ancient Gladiators. Steven Tyler on Vocals, Joe Perry and Brad Whitford on Guitars, Tom Hamilton on Bass and Joe Kramer on Drums have been together now for 37 years except for a brief split in the camp in the early 80’s. The radio friendly powerful mix of classic rock guitar driven hits came one after the other and the response from the audience was swift and ecstatic.

Love In An Elevator, Same Old Song and Dance, Sweet Emotion, Dream On, Eat The Rich, Living On The Edge, Crying, Jaded and Walk This Way with a scorching version of Baby Please Don’t Go and a slick blues spot by Joe Perry demonstrating some highlights from their Blooze Rock album Honkin With BoBo. Steven “The Demon Of Screaming” Tyler, was festooned with multi coloured scarves which he parted with as the show progressed working the entire stage and wings area of the stage like the seasoned front man pro that knows not only how to rock but how to roll as well. One of the most enduring and influential Rock Bands of all time with a set full of timeless rock anthems in a well organised outdoor concert in Marley Park made this a truly spectacular evening of superstar entertainment.

This Aerosmith performance captivated the capacity audience with one show stopper after another for the 90 minute set delivered with confidence and received enthusiastically.

The Aerosmith sound is a surprisingly agile but muscular rhythm section fronted by twin guitars howling and snapping like whips around Steven Tyler’s melodic vocal lines and remarkably memorable tunes. The sound was fantastic from my position perched up at the railings in front of the mixing desk with the sound pendulum swinging from the characteristic tough sound paired down to the bone one minute to a full throttle roar off the stage with unparallel venom showcasing the classic rock configuration.

Joe Perry’s astonishingly fleet fingered riffs and solo’s were played on a rotating number of fabulous guitars including a double neck 12 string and 6 string using his fingers pick and bottleneck with Brad Whitford nailing down the rhythm passages and alternative leads with seamless cohesion. It was a fine night of wrinkle free entertainment with ample doses of classic rock, boogie and blues for the assembled masses. Aerosmith are an exemplary rock band demonstrating their utter mastery of the larger rock event, flamboyant front man with a forceful personality and a band behind him that put on a splendid show, well paced, visual and thoroughly professional.

Thirty seven years of constant touring has honed Aerosmith’s live act to a razor sharp edge with Steven Tyler’s tireless pyrotechnics strengthened by the sparks flying off Joe Perry’s fretboard with the same dynamic chemistry that exists between Mick Jagger and Keith Richard’s, and my own favourite duo Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend. With my own heroes The Who the absolute masters of the ultimate live rock performance arriving to play the same stage in Marley Park on Friday night and moving on to Cork’s Marquee on Saturday night, its been an absolute magic week for live music in Ireland.

Blues Up Front @ Madison Bar, Dublin.16/06/2007

Have you ever walked by posters in your city for years with the intention of hooking up with a bands performance and between one thing and another, time passes by, anti social work shifts prevail and then when you do get to finally see the band years later its like, wow what have I been missing here.

Promoter Pat Cannon had sent me a text alerts earlier that he had a night of no nonsense rhythm & blues in store in Rathmines and so it was when I walked into the Madison Bar and felt the insinuating groove of Blues Up Front reverberating around the venue. With Pat’s typical customer care and professional approach we had a table and chairs set up within seconds of arriving that gave us a premium view of the musicians on stage.On Stage Joe O Keeffe on vocals, Pat Kilty with a vintage red Stratocastor guitar through a Session amp, Peter Cleary on Bass, Dave Gorman on Drum and all around us in the Madison a joyous and upbeat crowd with a 40th birthday party dynamic off to one side contributing to the ambiance.

Pat Kilty has incorporated his influences well into a hot, fluid and inventive style and tone of his own with the great King Trilogy, Albert, BB and Freddie mapped down to perfection seamlessly within, the kind of player who knows how to put a smile on your face.Blues Up Front play electric Chicago urban blues with a tinge of Southern fried soul and they deliver a blow out bar room rhythm & blues performance that had the shapely punters singing, dancing and indulging in aerobatic air guitar histrionics on the dance floor in front of the stage from the get go.

Blues Up Front have the timeless essential blueprint for rocking rhythm & blues, pumping bass lines, thumping drum rhythms and guitar riffs and bottleneck phrases flying off Pat Kilty’s fretboard like sparks while Joe O Keeffe’s explosively dirty canned heat vocal soars on top with authority while he prances around the stage like a Hell’s Angel doing gatekeeper in a boozy barroom roadhouse off Highway 61.These are Muddy Waters musical grandchildren and they nail down the old favourites with respect and enthusiasm with tunes like, Hot Spot, High Cost Of Love, Hoochie Coochie Man, Southern Man, Blues Before Sunrise, Shake Your Money Maker, Goin Down, Love Me With A Feeling all demonstrating a passion for the roots of the blues tradition and determined to leave the audience satisfied.

Joe O Keeffe has a warm and winning vocal presence on stage with a blue heart and a rock solid soul, and can lift the roof when the occasion demands with a towering raging vocal and a full throttle delivery on one of my classic rock favourites Wishing Well and a commanding collaboration with the audience on Looking Back.

“I was looking back to see
If she was looking back
To see if I was looking back at her”

Blues Up Front have only recently reassembled for a few gigs and after a holiday break in July will review their future live performance schedules. Blues Up Front also featured another notable musician, Thin Lizzy’s Brian Downey on Drums for many years and Pat informed me afterwards that Brian is touring with Gary Moore at the moment. I wasn’t long after a delightful Indian meal of lamb and coconut spices next door in the Monsoon so I was thirsty when I arrived and when the barman misheard my request for an orange juice and supplied me with a cool pint of Coors it complemented the hot rhythms coming from within and the powerhouse rhythms without.

Blues Up Front have got a rhythm section in Peter Cleary and Dave Gorman, that takes possession of the ball confidently allowing Pat Kilty to run with it and deliver big time with his well informed scorching technique on the fret board that’s well paced, full of muscle, sounding as vintage as BB King’s Live At The Regal and as fresh as tomorrow morning.