January is never the best time of year for gigs, coming so soon after Christmas attendances tend to suffer. However, this gig had a strong turnout for Danny Vaughn and his troops, as this gig and indeed their whole UK tour was rescheduled from November, when it was originally meant to take place. Most of the dates were able to be rearranged and that included this show at Liverpool’s o2 Academy.
For this rearranged show there were two local bands supporting; I only caught the end of openers Scare Tactics but what I heard was in a similar vein to main support Rain May Fall. They’ve opened for Tyketto once before, and I have seen them previously and know them to be a solid outfit. There were already a good number of punters on the floor for their short set, they played very well with a good vocal performance from frontman Mark and some meaty riffs from guitarists Tim and Ian. (If these guys have surnames, they’re unknown to me!) Admittedly I’m not too familiar with their material, but although they play well, none of their songs really lodged themselves into my head, and I actually thought one or two of their numbers could do with being shortened a little. They are worth catching when they play, however.
Tyketto have released a new album (‘Reach’) featuring their current (now Anglo-American) line-up, so unlike their previous visit which was a greatest hits celebration, there were some new songs to fit in. The material off ‘Reach’ (such as opening number ‘Kick Like A Mule’) was well-received but it was the old favourites that everyone had come for. Accordingly, the likes of ‘Wings’, ‘Meet Me In The Night’, and ‘Burning Down Inside’ got another airing. Before performing ‘Standing Alone’ the singer prefaced it with a monologue about how he has viewed success as he has got older. ‘When I started, I thought if I drove a Maserati that’d be success’, he told us. ‘Then along came Grunge, and I thought – OK, how about an Audi?’. Then came the punchline: ‘I drive a Yaris now!’ The point of the humorous speech was to illustrate how a song such as ‘Standing Alone’ had become a favourite of their fans, more than 25 years after it was written, which Vaughn very much considered success – even if he is yet to take delivery of that Maserati! He delivered that song, and everything else, supremely well.
Watching this it struck me how every time I’ve seen Danny Vaughn live (going back 30 years, I first encountered him at the nearby Royal Court in 1986 when, as singer for Waysted, he supported Status Quo) he has always – ALWAYS, been on the money live. I can count on one hand the singers I’ve seen live (on multiple occasions) who have been able to bring it every single time, and he is one of them. He has some good backing from guitarist Chris Green and keyboardist Ged Rylands as well as from drummer Michael Clayton Arbeeny but they are used when necessary, not as a reinforcement for the lead vocal as I’ve seen with some other (bigger) names. Bassist Chris Childs does not contribute vocals in this band as he does with Thunder, although he did get a moment in the spotlight near the end with a nifty bass solo, when the band jammed on ‘Lay Your Body Down’.
As ever, the band encored with rock night favourite ‘Forever Young’ before leaving the stage, and soon after appearing at the merch stand to meet and mingle with the fans. By rights, a band as good as this, with first-rate players, terrific songs which have more hooks than the locker room at the MetLife stadium and a singer who is up there with the very best this genre has to offer, should be playing venues such as the MetLife. They’re better known in the UK and Europe than in the US however, and so long as they keep doing it, I and I’m sure everyone who made the effort to come out will be back for more.