Gig review: GUN – Electric Ballroom, London, 9 December 2017

GUN - Electric Ballroom, London, 9 December 2017

2017 has been arguably the biggest year for Gun in the near decade since the Scots reformed, with a critically acclaimed new album, ‘Favourite Pleasures’, radio airplay, prestigious festival slots such as Stone Free, and finally this winter tour.

The London leg saw them play the Electric Ballroom, several times the capacity of favoured recent venues such as the Underworld and the Borderline, making this perhaps their biggest show in the Capital since their original days.

However this was achieved in the unlikely circumstances of a double headliner with InMe. Now rather out of the spotlight after a series of well received albums and singles early in the 2000’s, their alternative, rather grungey sounds shared little in common with Gun, with a lack of memorable hooks, with the notable exception of ‘Firefly’. They were certainly talented musicians but, personally speaking, I found it hard to get past mainman Dave McPherson’s rather harsh and unmelodic vocals.

 The two bands were playing to entirely different audiences, and as a series of generally younger fans filed out after their set and Gun fans moved in from the bars, it struck me that this was perhaps the most mismatched pairing since Shed Seven somehow supported Aerosmith in the heyday of Britpop.

InMe- Electric Ballroom, London, 9 December 2017

The other disadvantage of a double headline, especially on a night when the punters were kicked out early for the club crowd, was a set of just an hour, but Gun wasted no time and also showed their confidence in their new material by opening with ‘She Knows’ with an almost Cult-esue riff, and and ‘Here’s Where I Am’, the latter showing that they are unafraid to keep it contemporary with a beat that called to mind the Black Keys or Goldfrapp.

Gun - Electric Ballroom, London, 9 December 2017

Impressive the new material may have been, but  it was familiar tunes the majority had turned out for and they were soon rewarded as fists punched to ‘Don’t Say It’s Over’ before a surprisingly early ‘Word Up’.  However, even the old songs have taken on a new freshness with blonde guitarist Tommy Gentry being a real find – his sharper, more aggressive soloing, not to mention a lively stage presence – very effectively complementing the chunky riffs and solos of mainstay Jools Gizzi.

Brother Dante meantime looks ever more at ease in the frontman’s role since converting from bass and even the old songs lose little from not being delivered by  original singer Mark Rankin.

Gun - Electric Ballroom, London, 9 December 2017

Alongside the evergreen first hit in the rousing ‘Better Days’, new material featured prominently and a few chances were taken – a piano-led ballad ‘The Boy Who Fooled The World’, was a lyrical and musical revelation while ‘Favourite Pleasures’ itself combined a ‘Trampled Underfoot’-inspired funky beat with an accessible pop chorus. Even the more ordinary ‘Black Heart’ was enlivened by a fine guitar solo.

Gun - Electric Ballroom, London, 9 December 2017

The set rocked ever harder to an all-too-rapid close with ‘Inside Out’, then on perhaps my favourite Gun song, ‘Steal Your Fire’, Dante duetted with guest Lauren Harris who used to cover it during her solo career, before the crowd were jumping to traditional closer ‘Shame on You’ with Dante even taking off to the staircase to the left of the Ballroom’s dance floor.

With time at a premium, I felt a cover of ‘Fight For Your Right To Party’ was rather needless, especially with the likes of ‘Money’ not making the cut, but the raucous atmosphere suggested I was in a minority.

Gun - Electric Ballroom, London, 9 December 2017

No longer just a band to be looked on nostalgically for being one of the few rockers with the commercial nous to trouble the singles chart in the first half of the nineties, this all too short set confirmed Gun’s renaissance into a relevant contemporary act.

Review and Photos by Andy Nathan

Josh Taerk’s latest Sunday Session was streamed on Sunday 22 May.

Next session: Sunday 17 July.

Check out previous videos here:

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 GMT, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 19 June 2022.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 GMT 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 21 June 2022.

How to Listen Live?

Click the programming image at the top of the page (top right of page if using desktop)

Listen via Windows Media Player. Click or tap here and “open file”
Listen via other media player (eg. VLC) Click or tap here and “open file”

Get Ready to ROCK! Radio is also in iTunes under Internet Radio/Classic Rock
Listen in via the Tunein app and search for “Get Ready to ROCK!” and save as favourite.

More information and links at our radio website where you can listen again to shows via the presenter pages:

Power Plays w/c 27 June 2022 (Mon-Fri)
REVIVAL BLACK Broken Home (TMR Records)
FLOYA Epiphany (indie)
TWISTER Own Worst Enemy (indie)
MODERN MIMES Down And Dead (Curtain Call Records)
TUNGSTEN Northern Lights (Arising Empire)
THE GREAT LESLIE Feel Alive (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 27 June (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 GRACE Hope (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CLASSLESS ACT Welcome To the Show (Better Noise Music)
14:00-16:00 TIMOTHY B. SCHMIT Day By Day (indie)

Popular (last 30 days)

This entry was posted in ALL POSTS, GIG REVIEWS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply