Having wanted to establish my classic metal column with a focus on drummers, my luck was in this week when Adler's Appetite rolled into town. Here was an opportunity to see both a true rock legend and hear 'Appetite for Destruction' as it was meant to be... raw, dirty and rough.
It's easy to mock Steven Adler's appetite for drugs and destruction, as told via his shameless biography, and sneer at the fact he's still clinging to the GnR dream. And with a makeshift band, and a tiny venue, it's tragic to see how far he's fallen from the limos and stadiums of his erstwhile bandmates. But there's no sense of failure in the Camden Underworld - just an excited, genuine crowd - and a real buzz in the air that we're seeing one of the original members of GnR!
The show was a late-starter and we came in to hear Knock Out Kaine belting out a cover of Queen's 'We Will Rock You'. Resisting the urge to head back to the bar we persevered and it was fantastic. Dressed like a reject from Motley Crue and with pipes of steel like a young Bruce Dickinson, vocalist Dean Foxx tore up the room, nailing the late 80s rock feel of the night.
Highlights were his hairy-assed power ballad, complete with cheesy acoustic guitar, and his views on Paris Hilton! Hopefully we'll see them again soon. They'll be at Download if you're going.
Adler's Appetite hit the tiny stage shortly after 21.45….... the late hour giving us a true GnR feel. The band is made up of Steven Adler, Chip Z'Nuff on bass, Michael Thomas (Faster Pussycat) on lead, talented young vocalist Rick Stitch and – tonight – a seemingly random rhythm guitarist called Robo.
Clearly giddy with excitement, poodle-haired Adler definitely has a touch of the drug-addled Ozzy Osbourne about him, but his enthusiasm and excitement was infectious and they rattled off a one-two of 'Out Ta Get Me' and 'Nightrain'. Fresh-faced vocalist Rick 'The Rig' doing a pretty good job although some of Axl's snake-hip moves and dismissive arrogance were clearly missing. The sound was great though - the drums thumped and the lead guitars were clear.
Then just as we settled in for a run-of-the-mill classic rock show it went nuts. Duff McKagan appeared to do two tracks - 'My Michelle' and 'It's So Easy' – sharing vocals on 'It's So Easy' and just looking so effortlessly cool.
It rocked hard, with Adler like an overexcited puppy - chest-beating for a full band reunion!! The show didn't dip post Duff either - we got a monumental version of 'Civil War', three new tracks that sounded pretty cool and suited the band - and the rest of 'Appetite', including the loudest 'Paradise City' I've ever heard.
'Sweet Child Of Mine' soon followed and the band nailed most of the key moments – the drums definitely sounding more 'rock' than Axl's current journeyman GnR lineup. But the best was saved til last.
'Welcome To The Jungle'... raw, loud, dangerous and full-on. It just sounded and felt fantastic. Credit to my two mates who came along. One's now permanently deaf and the other came straight from work wearing a tank-top and chinos, which was suicidal, but luckily it was dark.
What a great night then. Two-fifths of a classic GnR re-union, Adler's brilliant 80s hair-do and enthusiasm shining through via a surprisingly talented band. And with Duff to add a touch of stardust and a crowd going f*cking nuts, it was perfect.