Tuesday, August 16, 2005

STYX gig review

STYX + DOUBLE CROSS Hammersmith Apollo, June 18th 2005

Well the UK has only waited a mere 24 years for Styx to return and this is something the band keep mentioning tonight, referring to dealing with the problem i.e. original keyboard/vocalist Dennis de Young is no longer in the band (thankfully this means no `Babe' – one of the worst ballads ever). For me Styx, along with Kansas, REO Speedwagon, Journey, Night Ranger and Survivor were the soundtrack of my 80's (along with prog rock, folk and metal of course!) and I longed to see these bands play live. Well last week I finally got to see Kansas and now it's the turn of Styx – two down only four to go.
But before the main event we have UK melodic rockers Double Cross who received favourable reviews of their debut album. They play melodic hard rock that would appeal to fans of classic 80's Brit melodic rock like Shy, FM, Tobruk, Walk On Fire and even Magnum in parts. Not a bad set although I couldn't hear the keys much and a couple of songs lacked that vital hook so vital to this style of rock music. They went down well with the crowd and thank goodness we didn't get subjected to the manufactured poseur rock of the Hurricane Party who were rumoured to be the support act.
Styx were in a word awesome. They rocked big time from opener `Blue Collar Man' until the closing strains of `Renegade'.
Only guitarist James Young remains from the original line-up, although fellow guitarist Tommy Shaw has been in the line-up since the mid-70's. Drummer Todd Sucherman has been with the band since the 90's with Lawrence Gowan (a successful solo artist in his own right especially in Canada) replacing Dennis de Young and recent recruit Ricky Phillips (ex-Bad English) on bass/vocals. The whole band played and sang their hearts out (the harmonies were spot on especially on `Best Of Times' and `Lorelei'), with Lawrence Gowan like a man possessed jumping on his rotating keyboard, playing it with his back to the keyboards and taking photos of the band and audience. He is a great showman – a far cry from his predecessor Dennis De Young! There were songs from their new covers set `Big Bang Theory' including Lovin' Spoonful's `Summer In The City', the Beatles' `I am The Walrus' and Blind Faith's `Can't Find My Way Home'.
The band cunningly got round the fact they had so many tunes to play by doing an 18 – yes 18 – song medley that included `Great White Hope', `Heavy Metal Poisoning' and `Mr Roboto'. Original bassist Chuck Panozzo made an appearance for `Foolin' Yourself' – great to see him playing with the band and a nice touch to the evening (he was back for the encore as well). A storming `Come Sail Away' closed the set with encores of `I Don't Need No Doctor' (originally Humble Pie and of course WASP did a decent version as well). Great gig, one of the best I have seen in many a year and hope they come back soon.
This band are on fire and rock big time!



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