Phoenix Rising @ Jilly's, Manchester (UK) - 1st October 2000

‘Stiletto’ (UK) – Ermmmm yeah, whatever ….. anything more to say? Not much!!! Based in the seaside resort of Bournemouth these guys were actually voted by ‘us’ the audience to play Phoenix Rising … my gawd I think you should all be shot or at least beaten to death with a club. I’m the worst possible person to review a female fronted band. In my opinion most female vocalists don’t cut it, and the worst thing a ‘female’ newcomer could do is copy an outright babe such as Doro Pesch (Warlock) when they neither have the vocal skills or looks to match. As musicians in their own right, Stiletto do display showmanship and talent as for looks - they need help (couple of paper-bags would do it) and ….. they urgently need to send their vocalist for some long term musical range lessons or just sack her and find someone with the capabilities and heights needed in what they are trying to express.

‘Deadline’ (UK) – There’s something about Deadline and I have no idea what the hell it is …. my mind seemed to frazzle into a state of nowhereness and I just cannot put my finger on how to describe them to the world. Whether this should be taken as a good or bad thing only you can decide? I personally believe that ‘THE’ one member who makes a band is the vocalist, and I’d heard a lot of hype (all good) regarding Deadline before the gig so I guess I was expecting something out of the ordinary and … well ….. Deadline just didn’t match my expectations. Second on bill, I feel they should stay in this position at least until the vocal skills mature to the state of play that occurs after 25-30 minutes. There is a pure affluence that shines through their deep soulful qualities and I guarantee, to catch the last 15 minutes of a Deadline set would have you gasping in awe.

‘Sugartown’ (UK) – an we scream OH YEAH to the boys that made the day a day to remember. Based in York and currently undergoing negotiations with a record company in Los Angeles, Sugartown offer youth and freshness, coated in sweet seduction unfounded in most British music today. To say the Phoenix Rising Productions team, dedicate their festivals to those bands that stretch the AOR field, Sugartown were an absolute delight to my inner being. Delivering their style and uniqueness coated in the sweetest sugar popping candy. You just wish they were the headliners to keep you racing in ecstasy forever.

‘Contagious’ (UK) – Third time viewing and maybe, just maybe Tony Marshall (guitarist) passed over comments made last time I reviewed them. For those who haven’t come across that review, I passed comment on how the band lacked originality in the order and music played during a live set. Shocked into silence I decided to shoot the amount of film dedicated to the band in order I could sit back and take in the atmosphere. Contagious were missing something. All I knew; there was a pure, crisp sound that hadn’t been there before. The whole set seemed to flow as one, which was great, and even the guys seemed to be enjoying every moment joking with each other. They lost that hard-faced professionalism that bands stuck up their own asses own; displaying the fact music should be fun. Contagious seem to be realizing this now. Oh yeah and I found out later in the day what was missing ….. the keyboardist. 4 piece rather than 5? I’d say yes sir-ree.

‘Kick’ (UK) – Kick have dedicated the last few months to tour the length/breadth of the United Kingdom with Vaughn. Publicity is the greatest key to hold within this industry and, publicity sure enough is what they will get. Kick ….. a band I knew nothing of other than the fact they are Vaughn’s support band and of course they are British, unmistakably blew the headliners off stage. Kick are a band whose stamina and spirit will lift you higher than the stars and keep you there, also a band whose kick ass image will have each and every fan wetting their panties (and yeah, that includes the male species). A band you most certainly should spend every last well-earned penny on and utmost a band you should watch for in the future. Final words …. Kick (given the right opportunity) are a band who could take Britain forward into the new millennium and place it back on the map within the R’n’R hall of fame.

‘Vaughn’ (US) – For those unsure who Vaughn are, think Tyketto minus Brooke St. James and I’d like to point out if you’re expecting the exceptionally pleasurable band you remember from the early 90’s you will be sadly mistaken. Having seen the original lineup, and the lineup with Steve Augeri on vocals, I see a band stripped of most of its qualities. Some may say Danny Vaughn has the voice of a God, I say he has an attitude that sucks worse than a leech on untouched skin. With the added additions of P.J. Zitarosa - Guitars and Kyle Cummings – Keyboards, (I’m sure Cumming’s face would crack if he attempted to smile, I have the photos, I can prove it) Vaughn manage to whip out all those classics we love with the grace and ability they did 10 years ago, unfortunately unless you own a sinister sexual attraction to the band or are brain-dead, twice seen is one too many times.

Spice D.Warlock