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MARK TAYLOR'S BIG CITY NIGHTS
BRIXTON ACADEMY, LONDON
In the same week that Van Halen aired their new single 'Tattoo' to the world, former members Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony proved there is no love lost and showed there is nothing to worry about when they have moved forward in such a big step with the supergroup that is Chickenfoot, a band that tonight didn't have to rely on past glories by only playing tracks from their two eponymous albums 'I' & 'III' and holding the audiences attention throughout.
Guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani let loose and explored more of a wild fashion than he does on the studio albums. Drummer Chad Smith was away busy in his day job with the Red Hot Chili Peppers so it was down to Kenny Aronoff to provide the beef stroganoff to cook up a stew of meaty pounding heavy rhythms that shook the Brixton Academy.
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Sammy Hagar still has the top notch voice he had when the world first heard him in Montrose back in '73 and now at 64 years old, he has the energy of a man the third of his age, jumping around and even at times air guitaring. Hagar even declared his love of British ales. Two nights before in Manchester he was swigging from a bottle of Hogwarts. Tonight the drink of choice was Spitfire.
This was Chickenfoot's third UK appearance, the first being back in June 2009 with a roof blowing show at the Shepherds Bush Empire, a night when Hagar almost got decapitated from the throwing of Chad Smith's cymbals (strangely the same night as Michael Jackson lost his life). However Hagar was taking no chances tonight, jokingly telling Brixton that the drum kit is firmly nailed down.
The unmistakable backing vocals of Michael Anthony are pristinely audible whilst staying tight and heavy on the bass. Smokin' Joe Satriani really let rip into a world of wizzardry especially on songs that were drawn out into a new direction such as 'Down The Drain' and 'Turnin' Left'. He left many with jaws hitting the floor, dishing out licks as if he is spreading out chickenfeed.
'Three And A Half Letters' brought a sensible serious edge to the gig with the lyrics focusing on returning army personnel finding no work in civilian life. The encore of the next single 'Different Devil' eased the pace and showed the band can write commercial hits that hit the right note.
A frenzied cover of Jimi Hendrix's 'Foxy Lady' ended a set that flew by all too quickly. The chemistry of this band is there for all to see. It seems as if the band have known each other all their lives and are the best of buddies away on a field adventure.
Afterwards in the pub my friend said that Chickenfoot are like the characters from Top Cat for which I had to laugh and agree. TC, Choo Choo, Benny The Ball and Brain (I'll let you, the reader, work out which one is which), but this was a tip top... Top Cat performance.
Sexy Little Thing
Soap On A Rope
My Kinda Girl
Down The Drain
Three And A Half Letters
Something Going Wrong
Future In The Past