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Michael Monroe, The Dome, London

dave bonney
Words: Dave Bonney, Pictures: Eric Duvet
21st December 2017

michael monroe

When his latest run of UK dates were announced, Michael Monroe told MetalTalk "I'm super excited to be playing the good ol' UK again, we haven't played there enough in the past few years, and I hope we'll be touring there a lot more in the future".

He also said "This band is only getting better and stronger as time goes by, so get ready for some serious Rock 'n' Roll and fun times. Be there or be very sorry."

So with those words ringing in my shell-likes, and without wishing to run the risk of being very sorry, I took the former Hanoi Rocks frontman at his word and made my way over the Thames to North London, Tufnell Park to be exact and the splendid venue that is The Dome.

Criminally overlooked by many promoters and bands alike, though I'm not quite sure why, it's one of my favourite gig settings in the capital, offering a huge stage giving excellent views from wherever you stand and excellent acoustics, unlike some other well-established venues.

michael monroe

Kicking off with the punk rock sound of Demolition 23, 'Nothin's Alright' saw Monroe enter the stage like a whirlwind looking to demolish everything in his path, covering every inch of floorboard.

He's probably taken one or two guitarists out in the past, and it wasn't long before he almost took himself out, tripping over his discarded mic stand, though carrying on without seemingly missing an (Oriental) beat. The Sex Pistols-like undertones setting the tone and bar for the rest of the evening.

michael monroe

'Got Blood?' is next up and if he carries on swinging his mic around by the lead, then there's a good chance that's exactly what he'll get. '78' makes it a 'Sensory Overdrive' double and with its classic Ginger Wildheart harmonies and its "you can't take '78 out of the boy" lyric hitting close to home, things were starting to warm up.

The words to 'Old Kings Road' and another D23 ditty 'Hammersmith Palais' leave no one in any illusion as to where Monroe's roots lie, and just like the Nazareth cover, he certainly isn't 'Fakin' It'.

'One Foot Outta The Grave' and 'Goin' Down With the Ship' saw the vocalist scaling the stacks on both sides of the stage, lying flat on his back singing the words before scrambling back down for 'Simpletown' and 'Trick of the Wrist'.

michael monroe

The oxymoron that is 'Horns and Halos' pretty much sums up Michael Monroe, all the girls think he's so sweet, hell…so do most of the boys! But he's definitely got the devil in him.

Introducing his stage companions as "the greatest band I've ever seen" and Sami Yaffa as his blood brother, the next four songs are all Hanoi Rocks numbers.

michael monroe

Monroe introduces the first one, dedicating it to "this amazing guy Razzle, whose birthday is tomorrow", the poignant 'Don't You Ever Leave me' a perfect tribute to the drummer who was taken too soon, its plaintive sounds saw the singer with his jacket slung over one shoulder nonchalantly lettin' loose a harmonica solo, then wafting himself with his hand-held fan, this guy is cooler than a penguin's ball sack.

'High School' and 'I Can't Get It' make way for crowd favourite 'Malibu Beach', which saw Monroe high kicking unfathomably higher than the volume of his saxophone, with the beginning of his solo inaudible until he gestured to the mixing desk to turn it up, getting the audience involved in the 'football crowd' handclapping mid-section, Monroe is the epitome of rock 'n' roll.

But hey, let's not forget, this ain't no one-man show, Monroe surrounds himself with swank and swagger, a band more cocksure than Ron Jeremy.

michael monroe

Yaffa and his cohorts, gunslingers Rich Jones ex-Wildhearts and former New York Dolls man Steve Conte, along with the man at the back, Karl 'Rockfist' Rosqvist formerly of Danzig, a more accomplished bunch of rouge gallery vagabonds would be hard to find, and work as the perfect foil for the flamboyant Finn.

The classic Creedence Clearwater Revival tune 'Up Around the Bend' that Hanoi Rocks made their own, saw two stage invaders welcomed with open arms.

After a bit of preening and teasing to their backcombed bouffants (well who wouldn't want to look their best for Michael) a few 'do do do yeah's', and a compliment from the man himself, "nice pants man", they were dispatched side stage before Monroe brought the song to an end with an eye watering splits that Olga Korbut would have been proud of.

That just left 'Dead, Jail or Rock 'n' Roll' to wrap the main set up. I'll take the latter option every time please.

michael monroe

The encore started with two more Hanoi songs 'Underwater World' and 'Tragedy', which just left The Heartbreakers song 'I Wanna Be Loved' to close the evening. The raucous Johnny Thunders written number brought much revelry, had the hall bouncing and was a fitting end to this social soiree.

Let's hope this wasn't a despedida and Mr Monroe is true to his word about touring here more in the future.

Whoever said the best parties start and end in the kitchen, clearly hasn't been to a Michael Monroe gig. I didn't see any toque blanche or double-breasted chef whites here, what I did see, is plenty of fedoras and leather jackets, partying like there's no tomorrow, just how it should be.

michael monroe


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