After last Saturday’s trip to London to see the recently reformed Wolfsbane, Tuesday saw me back in my adoptive home city of Sheffield for an evening in the Corporation in the presence another of the musical heroes from my (much) younger days.
Michael Monroe has been around for quite a while, but after a few years in the musical wilderness he has recently enjoyed a storming return to form in his eponymous Rock’n’Roll supergroup alongside Wildhearts frontman Ginger and ex-New York Doll Steve Conte on guitar, Monroe’s former Hanoi Rocks cohort Sam Yaffa on bass and drummer Karl “Rockfist” Rosqvist.
After a lacklustre performance by the first band on, main support Voodoo Six were a completely different beast, proper guitar driven hard rock that it is difficult to fault. This was the first time I had seen these guys, as far as I can remember, but they’re certainly worth keeping an eye out for.
Michael Monroe bounded on stage and proceeded to show that, for all the years that may have passed, he has certainly not lost any of his bounce. Tonight we were treated to a musical journey through his considerable back catalogue with tracks from Hanoi Rocks, Demolition 23 and “classic” solo stuff mixed in with a generous helping of newer material. By the time we got to Motorvatin’ three songs in Corporation was well and truly bouncing along and Michael had the (predominantly, erm, more mature) audience eating out the palm of his hand.
I last saw him when he headlined the third stage at Download last year and was blown away by the performance, but tonight in the more intimate, and sweaty, confines Sheffield’s best live venue things were at a whole other level.
Seriously, this guy has it all. Young pretenders take note….
One of the best things about this line-up is the chance to see Wildhearts’ head honcho Ginger freed from his fronting-the-band duties and able to kick in full guitar god mode throwing the requisite shapes, while on the other side of the stage Steve Conte just exuded old-school cool.
Seriously, what a fucking band.
As well as Monroe’s “own” tracks the band also showed off their punk rock roots with a brilliant cover version of The Damned’s Love Song and Machine Gun Etiquette, which saw the frontman swinging out over the audience from the ceiling beams. Honestly you get tired just watching him 🙂
Although the new stuff went over extremely well, it was the classics that got the best reception of the evening with the aforementioned Motorvatin’, Back To Mystery City and Not Fakin’ it in particular going down an absolute storm.
Dead, Jail or Rock’n’Roll brought the main set to a close but of course there was more to come. The band came back on for Johnny Thunders’ I Wanna Be Loved which they dedicated to the late guitarist as the 20th anniversary of his death approaches, and also to Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle.
As the band drew things to a close with Life Gets You Dirty it was clear to me that Mike Monroe has still got all the elements that made him an iconic figure in the first place, and the intervening years have not blunted that at all. Like Blaze Bayley the other night here is a natural performer who isn’t afraid to get up close with the audience, and this is clearly where he is at his best.
No Up Around The Bend though, bloody love that track. But if Michael was to play everything that the fans wanted he’d be up there all night 🙂
I’m not sure if the current renaissance of “proper” rock music is a reaction against the X-Factor generation, or just that there is an audience for these bands in the mid life crisis generation but I for one hope it continues and Corporation sees many more nights like this…