At The Carling Academy, Newcastle, U.K., March 19, 2008

They say that a week is a long-time in politics and that could quite easily apply to the world of Rock ‘n’ Roll too and certainly in the life of Velvet Revolver.

It’s not been that long that Velvet Revolver were heralded as the all conquering Supergroup who would take the Rock world by storm. They have certainly had their moments and you wouldn’t expected anything less than a band comprising of the core of Guns N’ Roses, The Stone Temple Pilots and the err…Electric Love Hogs!! A Number 1 Billboard hit album in the shape of their debut, Contraband seemed to confirm their obvious potential.

However, internal wranglings threatened to tear the band apart before they had even finished their first tour and when their second album Libertad appeared it seemed momentarily, that the soothsayers were wrong.

velvetrevolver Fast forward to their “will they/won’t they” UK shows. There were rumours flying around that lead singer, Scott Weiland was arrested/stuck in rehab/out of the band and there were serious doubts that the shows would go ahead but come showtime they did indeed show up as they crashed onto the stage with “Let It Roll”.

Weiland replete in “dirty old man” style overcoat and scarf…a little like Eric Morecombe used to wear at the end of the great Morecombe and Wise shows!!; gyrates and slithers across the stage while Slash, clad all in black with his iconic top hat and shades pulled all of the classic Rock guitar poses, no doubt causing glee amongst the Guitar Hero computer game generation. Bassist, Duff McKagan still epitomises cool with his bass slung so low that it almost scrapes the ground. Matt Sorum (drums) and rhythm guitarist Dave Kushner go about their business in a more perfunctory, no frills way compared to their more flamboyant bandmates.

velvetrevolver When Velvet Revolver hit their stride they can match any band around at the moment. Witness the barnstorming “Do It For The Kids”, the Pop groove of “Get Out The Door” or the rifftastic “Slither” for proof. However, too much of their material from both albums comes across as more filler than killer. At times Weiland in particular fails to lift the song beyond the average. Yes, he is an enthralling frontman with his unorthodox sinewy movements but vocally he is not strong enough to match the riffs of Slash and Co.

The scarcity of truly great material is made all the more obvious when they tear into the likes of a ferocious “It’s So Easy, complete with a dynamite Slash solo; “Mr Brownstone” and STP’s “Sex Type Thing”. Here the band look comfortable and dynamic and the atmosphere is raised tenfold. Even on the acoustic “Patience” it’s noticeable how much the crowd responds to the vintage material. It has to be said that Weiland really does excel on this take on the GN’R classic.

velvetrevolver Velvet Revolver pulled out a real surprise during the encores and included a stunning cover of Pink Floyds “Wish You Were Here” that embraced an atmosphere that you wouldn’t expect from them. A real left turn for the band that worked superbly.

As the band closed with a riotous “Slither” you can’t help feeling that the band could really deliver more. At times they are simply unstoppable as they move into overdrive but all too often they seem content to cruise in safety mode and for a band of their pedigree this is not enough.

The following night in Glasgow, Weiland had a public spat with his band mates and it looked as though it may have been all over. The tour stuttered on for a few more shows but the damage was irreparable and within days Weiland was out and Velvet Revolver are now looking for a new singer.

velvetrevolver Velvet Revolver are now at a critical crossroads in their career. They need to make the right selection to fill the vacancy left by Weiland and who they choose may determine whether they rise from the ashes or crash and burn like so many bands before them. A new website has been created as they start their search for a new singer but they could save themselves a lot of bother by giving Jeff Scott Soto a call.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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