After a faltering, low key reunion when the Gizzi brothers, Dante and Jools, assembled a new line up in about 2008, Gun’s second coming is finally gaining momentum. After a successful Spring tour and well received new album ‘Frantic’, the house full signs were out at a return London visit, this time to the Borderline.
Dragged from watching Celtic’s European game in their dressing room by Planet Rock DJ Paul Anthony, they opened with a new song in the instantly catchy ‘Let It Shine’ before ’Don’t Say Its Over’ which featured some fierce drumming from Paul McManus and Dante allowing the crowd to conduct a mid-song singalong, and their breakthrough single ‘Better Days’ naturally went down a storm.
Yet the new material was equally impressive with a storming ‘One Wrong Turn’ which reminded me of Big Country in their rockiest ‘Buffalo Skinners’ period. Indeed the likes of ‘Labour Of Life’ and ‘Hold Your Head Up’ in particular nestled comfortably alongside classic early singles like ‘Money (Everybody Loves Her’) for their groove ridden hooks.
As ever a highlight was the anthemic ‘Taking On The World’ with some memorable guitar work from Jools, who is not necessarily the most technically gifted but who puts heart and passion into his playing. He also works well together with second guitarist Johnny McGlynn who took the occasional solo himself and had a speedier and slightly shriller sound.
Brother Dante seems remarkably at home as lead singer considering he spent Gun’s original incarnation with a bass guitar strapped to him and is all the better as a frontman for toning down his dancing and just letting his laid back charm show through.
With each of a classic trio of ‘Inside Out’, segueing into a snatch of the Police’s ‘So Lonely’ (Sue Lawley?), ‘Word Up’. and a storming ‘Steal Your Fire’ the atmosphere reached fever pitch, especially the way the middle sections were taken down to let the crowd take over the singing in a way that seems to have become a Gun hallmark.
‘Welcome To The Real World’ opened the encores when I was beginning to think it might be omitted, but then they dragged Paul Anthony back on stage for a cover of Hot Chocolate’s ‘Everyone’s A Winner’. It was a light hearted romp but with a serious message as it is being released as a single to benefit cancer charities, and also a perfect choice in that it showed their ability to marry pop hooks with rock guitar. Then it was back to a traditional closer in ‘Shame On You’, coming over like a supercharged U2 and with a few of the mainly forty something crowd risking a hernia by pogoing up and down.
The set list was very similar to the spring London show at the Underworld, but the sound and lighting at this better appointed venue made it a so much more enjoyable all-round experience.
Other than a slightly short hour and 20 minute set length it was hard to fault this gig. As the Gun revival gathers pace they can be added to the list of bands who in their second shot at fame have come back just as good as, if not better than, the first time.
Review and Photos by Andy Nathan
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