Pick Your Rock and Metal

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Nice guys do play rock 'n' roll after all

In 1988 Guns 'n' Roses released the album 'Lies'. Half of the album was from the Live: ?!*@ Like A Suicide 1986 EP. The band covered the Rose Tattoo classic Nice Boys (Don't Play Rock 'n' Roll) for the EP. It was a defining moment for the Gunners. It had the edge of Appetite, hard rock sensibilities and a street punk snarl before the bloated excess of '...Illusion' 1&2 came along.

Spaghetti Incident's haphazard list of cover versions showed where the punk attitude of Guns 'n' Roses beat strongest - and Duff McKagan was at the heart of that attitude.

Duff McKagan is, let's face it, one of the most iconic figures in hard rock. While the albatrosses of Gunners and Velvet Revolver would have pulled down lesser men...not to mention the much repeated pancreas incident...Duff has shrugged all this off to prove that he just wants to play music and he wants to play it for people who appreciate it.

And, when Duff and his accomplices in Loaded hit the Spring and Airbrake stage, he proved that for all his straight edge, columnist for leading newspapers and websites career lifestyle, his heart beats with a passion for his beloved musical background.

There is no better city to dedicate a song to Stiff Little Fingers than Belfast; and Duff compared favourably to the trite waffle that many bands spout from the stage: he sounded genuine when saying that just over 12 months ago Belfast "hoisted us on your shoulders" after a long tour.

It's hard to credit that Loaded landed from LA just 48 hours before this Wednesday gig, did a Dublin show and then slammed on to the stage in Belfast with the title track of their latest CD, Sick played with a snarling delight.

Despite a back catalogue of hundreds of classic tunes to fall back on, it was the tracks off Sick that stood out, with their swagger, rock sensibilities and, at times, classic punk/metal crossover sneer.

'No Shame', 'Iou', 'I See Though You' and the superb 'Translucent' were ripped through, delivering a tenuous balance between classic rock and punk, mixed in a heady cocktail with metal.

Yes, it was not perfect. At times ragged, and at time loose, Duff and his willing Loaded accomplices proved that how you perform is not always as important as the attitude on stage.

Of course, 'It's So Easy' was a rousing finale to the evening, but it was equally important for all to note that Loaded is not a side project for a fading star. This is a rock icon who could retire to a comfortable ranch, raking in royalties, eyeing his investments. Instead he is recording vibrant songs and delivering live sets flled with a passion for music.

Yeah, Nice Boys do play rock 'n' fucking roll!

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