Last Wednesday evening I headed over to The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton to catch the West Midlands leg of the latest tour by Glasgow rockers Gun. Support was provided by The Wild Lies and Klasside.
The last time I saw Klasside they were playing an acoustic warm-up set before The Script at the Genting Arena (formerly the NEC Arena) in Birmingham.
This time they were fully plugged in and the amps were turned up to 11. They kicked the evening off in great style, belting out a set featuring the tracks from their latest Everything Changed EP. The highlight for me being The Fear, a song about bad hangovers and memory loss!
Next up it was The Wild Lies, a London based outfit with a sound which harks back to the hair metal era of the late 80’s and gives a big nod to bands like Warrant, Poison and Kiss.
Front man Matt James has a great stage presence and an astounding vocal range reminiscent of Skid Row’s Sebastian Bach. Although their musical style wasn’t really my cup of tea you couldn’t fault the energy and musicianship of the band. Their closing song Magpie got the crowd nicely revved up in anticipation of the headline act.
I have to admit that I have a massive soft spot for Gun. I vividly remember hopping on the 951 bus to go to Sundown Records in Walsall to buy their very first single, Better Days, after seeing it on the Chart Show‘s Rock Chart. Their debut album, Taking on the World, which was released way back in 1989, must have been my most played record of that year.
After the success of the first album, which was followed up by the equally well received Gallus in 1991, Gun seemed to be on the verge of a massive break through. However; like many rock bands in the early 90’s the Seattle sound, epitomised by the likes of Nirvana and Soundgarden, swept aside many UK bands as the rock scene became dominated by all things grunge.
Having split up in 1997 the band reformed a couple of years ago and are again beginning to pick up a bit of traction on the music scene. This current tour is to promote their latest album, Frantic, which was released just two days before the Wolverhampton show.
I think it’s a tricky balancing act for a band like Gun to get the mix of the set right. They have a substantial number of classic songs from the early days that the fans love but the band no doubt also want to play the new, fresher material of their latest release. They managed to strike the perfect balance interweaving songs from the new album into a set list heavy with those early classics including; Better Days, Taking on the World, Money (Everybody Loves Her) and Higher Ground.
The main set finished with an airing of their only top 10 single, their cover of Cameo’s Word Up, swiftly followed by the classic Steal Your Fire.
The obligatory encore featured two more songs; Labour of Life, the first single from the new album, and a barnstorming version of Shame on You from their debut release.
It was a great evening and the band really put everything into their performance. This was epitomised by guitarist Jools Gizzi, who by mid-set had a continual cascade of sweat pouring from the peak of his cap! With their new album picking up rave reviews it would be great to see Gun on the bigger stage next time they hit the road (see . . . I managed to end this without a cheesy “Taking on the World” reference!).