Dan Reed Network - Oran Mor - 08/03/17 *and* Black Star Riders/GUN/Backyard Babies - ABC - 09/03/17 - A Main

Kilts and pipers in the Oran Mor.
Nothing unusual in that you say.
But no, it's not Celtic Connections, but rather the funk rock juggernaut that is the Dan Reed Network who are stepping up to the stage.
All the way from the USA via brigadoon, but it works.
Probably because Scotland has always had a soft spot for Dan.
He is no stranger to these shores and has visited regularly with his band, and as a solo act, so a bit of the old shortbread tin braveheart cliches are welcomed with a smile.
They are enjoying themselves, laughing with us, and from the smiles sparking into life all around we are already enjoying ourselves too.
A little slice of the Hampden roar is returned in wry appreciation, and then kicking ego into the long grass the band fire into a KISS cover to open the show proper.

There's not many bands of the Dan Reed Networks stature who would consider doing a cover to kick things off, and it takes a special down to earth attitude to not just think about it, but throw themselves with so much exuberance

And from that moment on it just got better and better.

The band are consummate rock and rollers.
This is what they do, and they do it well.
Hits and favourite songs from the past, and present, are freely given to the audience to lose themselves in, and that's just what we do as the music builds and unifies everyone.

Mid set the band revisit KISS as part of a hugely entertaining medley that also touches on Metallica and Frankie Goes To Hollywood to name but two acts included.
It's moment that could be filed away in the 'you had to be there' drawer.
They nailed it.

Another highlight was when the band stepped aside to give the spotlight to band mate Rob Daiker who seized the opportunity and stunned a good portion of the crowd into silence with a self penned song from his album Binary Affairs.

As part of the communal experience it was also a welcoming sight to see his musical brothers in arms join him to finish the song.

It's this sort of camaraderie that lifts a show from being simply a walk through of material to becoming a golden memory for those who witness it.

Dan Reed Network, wha's like them - Dam few and most are a' deid.

Black Star Riders/GUN/Backyard Babies - ABC - 09/03/17

In the alternative universe that exists in my head the Backyard Babies play to stadium sized crowds nightly.
Everyone loves them.
They are the Beatles of punky rock and roll.
Everywhere they go the sold out sign leads the way.

Now if only the action in my head was reflected in reality.

Instead the band are fighting hard to win over a largely indifferent crowd of older rock fans.

I've no idea what they want from the band.
Obviously simply being shit hit isn't enough.

Maybe the could live out a bastardised Stones lyric for everyone.

If I could stick a knife in my heart
Suicide right on stage
Would it be enough for your aging lust
Would it help to ease the arthritic pain?


I'm not being ageist, but rather reflecting on a certain type of concert attendee.

At least those who didn't make it into the venue for the Backyard Babies are being honest in their disinterest, but the ones who stood chatting and casually ignoring the sonic magnificence are a whole different problem.

If someone gave then five minutes and thought it wasn't for them then fine.
Each to their own, but to casually dismiss them due to not making the effort to engage is criminal.

Dante of GUN looked as if he was struggling initially.
It was especially obvious as Backyard Babies hadn't been looking to take any prisoners.
Sweating, gasping a bit for air, but admirably not allowing whatever was going on to get a grip on the performance and pull it down.

In their truncated set they managed to get into a tight groove and cover the past and give a tantalizing glimpse into the future by airing new material.

With a Barrowlands gig on the horizon it is all looking good for the guys.

GUN are up there as one of our countries greats.
Alex Harvey, Nazareth and GUN.
The unholy celtic trinity of rock and roll.
And similar to the other two an act that has been there and got the t-shirt when you consider the ups and downs of a career.

Bring on the Barras.
We're ready.

The majority were very obviously attending to see Black Star Riders who have progressed so far forward that the Thin Lizzy connection is dropping out of sight in the rear view mirror.

Masters of a certain niche in rock they have left the competition equally as far behind them too.
Hard, but melodic, anthemic, but personal, tight, but loose.
They have it covered all the bases and there are no weak links in their chain.

With a few albums under their collective belts now there's enough material to provide a solid live concert appearance and they are supremely confident in doing just that.

In some ways they are the last of a certain type that the legend tag could be applied to.
They can sit comfortably alongside the rock greats, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and the like, but with these guys the tank is full, the highway is ahead of them and the best years are ahead of them rather than behind them.

If there is a stamp of quality awarded to rock acts then they have already secured the right to use it.

A. Main