Following hot on the heels of the previous nights "secret-ish" Download warm up from Buckcherry, this not at all secret warm up for Velvet Revolver proved something of a not so hot ticket.
Arriving at the venue early enough to miss any of Perry Farrell's new troupe of art reprobates, I'm met with the unfortunate news that I'm already missing an unannounced appearance by UK glam/stoners Zico Chain. From what I do see though, the cavernous and ½ full arena was an easy hunting ground for Chris, Paul and Ollie and they promptly laid waste to the early birds via the riff monsters "Where Would You Rather Be" and "About A Boy". It's over far to quickly for me, and a mate quickly turned to me and asked, "Who the fuck were they? I'm guessing a lot more people are going to be saying that over the next few months. Expect to hear a lot more about Zico Chain.
As Satellite Party ambled onto the CIA's stage there is something ironic about seeing Perry Farrell still sipping his bottle of red wine as he did in his glory days with nineties US shock rockers Jane's Addiction whilst now sharing a stage with guitar supremo and ex-Extreme's one and only Nuno Bettencourt. As the set of mostly new material unfolded in front of a largely receptive audience, most seemed content to either be staring at Etty Lau Farrell's onstage burlesque antics or Nuno's fret wizardry (there is a wank gag in there somewhere I know there is). Songs from the new album, such as "Wish Upon A Dog Star" and "Only Love, Lets Celebrate" sounded fantastic live and are much more pop orientated than anything Mr Perry has undertaken before. In fact "Only Love" sounds not unlike Sly and The Family Stone, someone Jane's Addiction could never have been compared to. Perry also gave us a gentle reminder of just how timeless his previous band's output was in the shape of versions of "Stop" and "Mountain Song". Sadly (or not) we got nothing from Nuno's previous musical pay cheque. So as a debut UK show for Satellite Party this could be considered a big success, and for a first time in Wales, Mr Farrell's two Jane's Addiction songs have been a long time coming.
Now, the last time Velvet Revolver played this venue it was sold out months in advance, tonight it was 2/3rds full at best and spacious enough for me to take up a great view point in readiness for the rock n roll storm to hit. Sadly tonight the said storm never quite happened, and in rock n roll/weather analogies we got, at best, a light drizzle with a blustery wind.
Opening with a new song is never really that good an idea, and when you open with one and you look like your hearts not in it, then that is just, well, Rock N Roll Suicide baby. Yet that is just what Velvet Revolver did tonight. This is not a comment on the quality of the new stuff they did play (which all sounded pretty good actually), it was simply the feeling that most of the guys would rather have been at home watching the last few episodes of The Sopranos. For all the strutting and posturing of Slash, Scot Weiland and Duff MacKagan it was only really Matt and Dave who really seemed up for a kick ass rock n roll show. At one point I thought I was watching a fashion shoot, rather than a gig featuring two of the eighties most infamous hell raisers. Such was the aesthetically clean feel of the production.
So songs like "Do It For The Kids" and "Set Me Free" seemed to lose, not only the edge that made Contraband such a great listen, but also seemingly the crowds attention, as they splattered unheard tunes within the make up of what could have been a great set list.
By the time "Vaseline" and "It's So Easy" were finally unleashed on us I was looking at the clock, and by the time Velvet Revolver had finished their frankly dire cover versions of "Psycho Killer" and Pink Floyds "Wish You Were Here" I almost had one foot out the door. But then they went and finished the set with a fantastically turbo charged version of "Slither" and I'm left thinking "Was this just me, or have I missed the best show I've not bothered to watch?"
Nah, in hindsight I'm thinking
Velvet Revolver were saving the best for Download the following night, which
is a shame really as they probably confused and frustrated a few diehards tonight,
by Johnny H.