Audio isn’t the biggest venue in the world but on this particular Friday night had you been passing you would have been given to think that it was TARDIS like and contained thousands such was the volume of the crowd. The reason for the extreme decibel outpourings was one of many mass singalongs led by Messers Ricky Warwick and Damon Johnson.
The pair were in town on their Acoustic Attack tour, two men on a bare stage armed only with acoustic guitars should not be this entertaining, but for two hours and twenty minutes they held a capacity crowd spellbound with a mixture of tracks from all points of their collective careers to date.
However, more on the dynamic duo in a moment. Opening the night was Gill Montgomery, front woman of The Amorettes, ably abetted by Sam Wood from Wayward Sons. As I arrived the pair were in full flight and making a great noise. Unfortunately I only caught the last three songs of the set which included two Amorettes numbers, ‘Let The Neighbours Call The Cops’ and ‘Everything I Learned, I Learned From Rock N Roll’, the latter being co written by Ricky Warwick. The pair went down well with the crowd and left the stage to loud cheers.
Suitably warmed up, the anticipation of the packed crowd grew as the stage was set for Ricky and Damon, which to be fair only involved tuning two guitars and testing a couple of microphones (yup, one/two, one/two…) The pair took to the stage and kicked off aptly with the Thin Lizzy classic ‘Are You Ready’ quickly followed by the Black Star Riders song ‘The Killer Instinct’.
This was a homecoming gig of sorts for Ricky Warwick who spent his younger years in Glasgow and has a strong affinity with the city. As such the between song banter was a two way street with many an amusing heckle from the crowd including a chorus of ‘Agadoo’ at one point which Ricky described as ‘30 seconds of his life he will never get back!’.
Damon stepped up to the mic for a blast through of ‘Eighteen’ from his Alice Cooper days which was followed by a cover of the Johnny Thunders track ‘Born To Lose’. The set highlights were many and varied from the Damon penned ‘Pontiac’ through ‘Finest Hour’ and ‘Free And Easy’ from Ricky’s days in The Almighty.
Another highlight was the guest appearance of Gun guitarist, Jools Gizzi, who joined the duo for a brilliant version of ‘Jailbreak’ which went down a storm. The pace was then slowed down for what Damon claimed to be his favourite song the pair had written. The track was ‘Blindsided’ and it contained some of the best guitar work of the evening with Damon producing an excellent solo mid song.
During the set Damon also regaled us with a version of a song he had been asked to record by comic DJ Bob Rivers. His version of ‘Hey There Chlamydia’ went down a storm with the Glasgow crowd and had Ricky laughing in the wings.
From there on it was hit after hit with ‘Kingdom Of The Lost’ and ‘Bound For Glory’ rubbing shoulders with a full on cover of ‘Ace Of Spades’ and the Lizzy classic ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’.
Damon then took the mic once more for ‘his national anthem’, a cover of ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ complete with a 300 strong backing choir. The guys were then joined on stage again by Jools Gizzi for the only song that could close proceedings, ‘Whisky In The Jar’. The three guitarists loved every minute as did the crowd who sang along with every word.
With Damon’s recent announcement that he would be leaving Black Star Riders at the turn of the year many were asking if this current tour would be the last we see of Warwick Johnson. Damon though assured the crowd that they plan to carry on doing these shows until they are old and grey (or older and greyer as Ricky chipped in).
On this form it would be a travesty if we were denied more nights like this. The guys keep it simple but have distilled the essence of pure rock, as I said earlier, two guys with two guitars shouldn’t be this entertaining!
Review and Photos by Dave Wilson
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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)
BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)
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09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)
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