A very rare appearance from former Dokken guitar maestro George Lynch – and the first with his band Lynch Mob in the capital since 1990 – should have been the hottest ticket in London town. It was therefore something of a surprise that 2 for 1 ticket offers were circulating just before the gig to fill out the crowd.
However it was a show I was eagerly awaiting after my appetite was whetted by his cameo appearance in an all star band at the recent Hair Metal Heaven festival.
There was a value for money three band bill, with two home grown supports, starting with Wycombe’s The Wild Lies. Opening with ‘Save Your Breath’, a short set prominently featuring brand new album ‘Prisoner of Sins’ was both more musically impressive, and had a darker and more alternative theme than I remembered from last seeing the band three or four years ago.
Singer Matt Polley has a striking haircut, a good stage presence and a strong, melodic voice. Yet as they ended with ‘Can’t Carry On’ I wondered if they have the clarity of musical direction that is going to set them apart from the ever increasing number of other young hopefuls.
After what seemed an interminable delay, Rock Goddess were given a significantly shorter slot than when I had seen them play a similar support slot to Lita Ford here earlier in the year. Interestingly, after reforming, their musical and lyrical style has barely evolved or matured since they sprung onto the scene as teenagers and Kerrang! Ladykillers favourites some 35 years ago.
Jody Turner has a no-nonsense approach, pulling faces, snarling out her lyrics and apologising for her constant swearing. Whether old favourites like ‘Satisfied then Crucified’ and ‘God Be with You’ or newer numbers including ‘Back Off’ which reminded me of Motley Crue’s ‘Too Fast for Love’, their musical approach remains stripped to the basics of a feisty attitude and simple but effective riffs.
Yet it hard not to enjoy their show with plenty of on stage movement, and even a singalong to new number ‘Its More than Rock n Roll’, though to follow it with set closer ‘Heavy Metal Rock n Roll’ confirmed they are unlikely to win a Pulitzer prize any time soon. Nevertheless their sense of hard graft and entertainment could not be faulted in a too short set.
Lynch Mob opened with a trio of songs from their debut ‘Wicked Sensation’. Prodigal original singer Oni Logan – despite struggling with a virus and constantly wiping his face with a red kerchief – had a strong voice, somewhere between Ronnie James Dio and Jeff Scott Soto. They all had a bluesy feel and though ‘Street Fighting Man’ and ‘She ‘s Evil But She’s Mine’ were rather dry , ‘River of Love’ had a more satisfyingly faster tempo.
George’s guitar work was relatively restrained through technically immaculate, but he was hardly charismatic to watch, face face hidden under a baseball cap and moving rather jerkily. While ‘Believers Of The Day’ impressed and ’Main Offender’ was just a solitary cut from new album ‘The Brotherhood’, Oni’s rather laid back presence contributed to the fact that the atmosphere felt somewhat subdued and flat.
The elephant in the room was that the majority of the crowd were dying to hear Dokken songs and mid set they got their wish. ‘When Heaven Comes Down’ was followed by ‘Into The Fire’, with a few fists punching and, bantering with George over his days as a Dokken fanboy, Oni handled them with ease and a greater range than dear old Don Dokken can muster these days.
When George finally started to let rip, shredding his way through the solo on the classic ‘The Hunter’, the gig was coming to the boil nicely, but after the seventies inspired jamming of ‘Testify’, the call went out for a stage technician.
It turned out George had blown his vintage amp and with no replacement available, he delivered a speech with good grace and humour but ended the show, depriving us of what would surely have been the best third of the gig with ‘Wicked Sensation’ itself and more Dokken classics on the setlist.
There seemed to be a token attempt to fix the amp, but when drummer Jimmy D’Anda started dismantling his entire kit and handing it out to a disbelieving crowd, only those who walked off with one of his cymbals left without a sense of bizarre anti-climax.
Review and Photos by Andy Nathan
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 30 August 2020.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 8 September 2020.
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