The Chelsea Smiles - Live @ Birmingham & Bristol Academy, UK 22nd and 24th March 2009

Miracles never really happen in your lifetime do they?? Well in the case of a rock n roll lifetime they not only happen, but just the old London bus adage when they do happen they come along in bloody pairs.

So not only did 2009 see a brand new and frankly superb "Chelsea Smiles" album, but then they go and make us UK Glitziners happier than "proverbial pigs" by going and touring with label mates "Wednesday 13".

I'm guessing that by now you've already read my interview with "Chelsea Smiles" mainman "Todd Youth" and you'll know the score about "Skye" rejoining the gang as frontman, and that in Birmingham myself and Gaz E had hung around to see a blistering 5 song sound check (well if you include "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Shock Me" it was five). Well not thirty minutes after exiting the venue we were back and crammed into a packed Academy 2 at show time waiting for the coolest band on ten legs from Los Angeles California to arrive, grinning like kids in a glam rock sweet shop.

Hitting the ground like a crack commando troop with "Action Coming Down" the guys unleashed a frenzy of guitar driven rock n roll high on adrenalin and nervous energy. Skye stalking the edge of the stage like some blood hungry rock n roll vampire is the perfect foil to Todd Youth's Frehley/Thunders licks and looks, and in Johnny M, R.J and Karl, you have a pile driving rhythm section set to slam you full force into the venue floor.

New tracks like "Take You Away" "Little Misfit" and "On the Run" are smoking hot rockers that seamlessly segue into the likes of "Heart Attack" and "Nothing To Lose" from "Thirty Six Hours Later".

It's during set closer (a cover of Mike Monroe's) "Dead Jail Or Rock N Roll" that the Birmingham crowd finally welcomes "The Smiles" with open tattooed arms and succumbs to their irresistible collective charms, "Skye" getting very up close and personal with the front rows and they in turn loving every moment. A classic show from a classic band and one I really never thought I'd get the chance to see.

Fast-forward two nights to Bristol Academy and "The Smiles" have now settled into a stride that will stun their competition at thirty paces. Finely honed rock delivered with pinpoint accuracy and set to maim those in attendance. The set is largely the same but the vibe is stronger and even more ferocious, and I do have to wonder what these guys must have sounded like by the last date at The Electric Ballroom in London (Spice you were the sweetie… pray tell).

Anyway, as "Joey Ramone" and "Errol Brown" once put it, "I Believe In Miracles".

Well rock n roll ones anyway.

by Johnny H.

Visit the Chelsea Smiles Website

(Spice: I unfortunately missed part of the guys set due to The Ballroom making folks on the guestlist queue with those collecting tickets, or in other words, a non-moving line!!! When I did get through though, I powered my way down to see the guys and the best way to tell you JUST how great the set was, The Chelsea Smiles got my full attention before the bar did)