IT'S THE RIGHT TIME FOR MITCH MALLOY TO LEAVE HIS VAN HALEN SHADOW BEHIND IN EDINBURGH
Mitch Malloy, Bannermans, Edinburgh, Wednesday 14th September 2016
American hard rocker Mitch Malloy doesn't play in the Uk very often so there is an expectant crowd in Edinburgh's cosy Bannermans venue. The set up in the venue requires him to make his way through that audience on his way to join his band on the stage but it makes for quite a good entrance in the end.
Opening with the uptempo 'Rock N Roll' from latest album 'Making Noise', it's apparent from the off that Mr Malloy has aged very well indeed. Looking amazingly slim and youthful for a man in his fifties he has lost none of the energy and most importantly the voice he is famous for.
His initial approach to the gig is to play it as if he's playing a stadium with all the appropriate moves and words and he underlines how stadium rock almost became his thing with his next song.
In 1996 Malloy was seemingly accepted by Van Halen as their next lead singer following the departure of Sammy Hagar and recorded some demos including a song he co-wrote with Eddie called 'It's The Right Time'. The song definitely has a Hagar era VH vibe to it and sounds different to anything else in the set tonight.
The tour has been advertised with the tag line 'Van Halen's Lost Boy', obviously in an attempt to sell more tickets, and I think it is a shame that we only get told the first half of the story as a song intro and not how the band's dalliance with David Lee Roth on MTV put paid to the collaboration in the end.
Despite the advertising most of the audience (including me) are here to hear tunes from the man's impressive back catalogue and I think things really pick up with nice performances of the smooth AOR of 'Mission Of Love' and the tight, impressive band really shine on the heavy blues stylings of 'Over The Water'. There are seemingly a few sound issues on stage but Mitch and his band are in their groove now pushed on by an enthusiastic crowd and his approach becomes much more relaxed and chatty as the gig goes on.
'Love Song' from 'II' (which he admits is a confusing title for his eighth album) is a little too full on saccharin for me but goes down well while the unusual narrative AOR tale of 'The Cowboy And The Ballerina' is nestled nicely in a bed of quality song writing, good playing and once again a strong melodic vocal which is right on point. The vocals shine again when things are taken down a notch with 'Our Love Will Never Die' and on the rockier 'Forever'.
Then it's time for the big finish with the classic big chorus hard rock of top 20 US hit 'Anything At All' which gets everyone singing and clapping along.
There were some technical issues tonight and the heat in the little cave like venue (it's a tunnel under a bridge basically) seemed to be taking its' toll on the the star man by the end of the short set of under an hour. However this was still a satisfying performance which pleased the hardcore following here.
I am sure Mr Malloy is simply saving those immaculate vocal chords and I hope he keeps his promise to return next year as he has the vocal chops and selection of songs to satisfy any audience interested in old school quality hard rock.