Velvet Revolver

REVIEW: Slash – Live in Manchester 3 July 2010

SLASH featuring Myles Kennedy – Live in Manchester 3 July 2010 (2010 Abbey Road Live Events)

When Slash went on tour for his awesome 2010 solo album, he could practically only bring one singer with him.  That singer was Myles Kennedy who was more than capable of singing the songs from all the vocalists he had to cover.  The July 3 date in Manchester produced an “instant live” album.  This is as real as it gets.  In fact the set list on the back cover does not match what they actually ended up playing that night.  You could download and print off a replacement instead.

“Ghost” (originally with Ian Astbury) opened the Slash album and also opens the set.  The raw live performance is a contrast to the polished album.  Kennedy’s version of the track is awesome.  He makes no attempt to imitate Ian Astbury and just belts it as he should.  The second track is a largely forgotten tune:  “Mean Bone” from the second Slash’s Snakepit album (Rod Jackson on lead vocals).  This version seems to have more life, but it’s not as exceptional as the other songs, hook for hook.  “Nightrain” is the first of five Guns tunes.  All that needs to said here is that Kennedy can go toe-to-toe with a vintage Guns track, no problem.  Bullseye.

Velvet Revolver next, with “Dirty Little Thing”.  Suddenly Kennedy has to do Weiland and nails it once again.  Four tracks in, from four different bands and singers, he has all the bases covered.  The next singer he has to cover is an easy one — it’s himself on “Back From Cali” from the Slash album.  Myles had two of the best tunes on that album, and “Back From Cali” is received with applause and clapping.  It was clearly a hit with this crowd.

Eric Dover is the next singer covered, and yes that means we’re talking about 1995’s epic “Beggars and Hangers-On” from the first Snakepit CD.  This timeless song always needed more exposure.  It is preceded by some cool slippy-slide from Slash, before he breaks into that riff.  Kennedy’s delivery lacks the rasp of the original, but makes it bluesier.  Now it sounds like an electric prayer from the deep south.  It might be the biggest divergence from an original version in this set.  This is the epic part of that setlist, with “Civil War” and “Rocket Queen” forming a solid 15 minute wall of Guns.  Bassist Todd Kerns backs up Myles, thickening those high notes, but Kennedy needs no help on the difficult “Rocket Queen”.

Velvet Revolver is paid some more respect with “Fall to Pieces” and “Sucker Train Blues”.  “Fall to Pieces” is the only ballad of the set, earning a singalong from the crowd.  “Sucker Train Blues” shifts back into top gear.  You can’t top Weiland at his own game, but Myles turns in some respectable versions.

Back to the Slash album, “Nothing to Say” (with M. Shadows) was one of the heaviest tunes.  Live, it is not as sharply polished, but it is a banger.  Myles’ own “Starlight” follows, the second of the two excellent tunes he had on the Slash album.  Not quite a ballad, but it slows pace and brings an eerie quiet to the stage, before completely exploding on the skyrocketing chorus.

The instrumentals “Watch This” and “Godfather Theme” give Kennedy a chance to rest up the voice, while Slash gets to do what he likes to do, including lengthy a blues jam.  Then it’s a bright burst of light on “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, and a surprise:  Alter Bridge’s “Rise Today”.  Very cool, after covering all these songs, that Slash then covers a Myles Kennedy song.  It’s quite different from Alter Bridge, more snakey.

The show ends on some classic tunes:  “Slither” by Velvet Revolver, Zeppelin’s “Communication Breakdown” and of course “Paradise City”.  By this time Myles’ voice has been through hell and back, a full setlist of very demanding material.  You can tell, but only barely.  The guy has had to sing songs by everybody from Axl Rose to Robert Plant!  He doesn’t cheat notes, he just barrels on through.

Not played at this show but appearing on the back cover is “By the Sword”, originally with Andrew Stockdale.  Slash’s live band included two Canucks:  Todd Kerns and Brent Fitz, with Bobby Schneck on second guitar.  They nailed it, every song, and had the foresight to be putting out an album that night.

4/5 stars

Storytime With Ryan Williams, Studio Wiz!

Great show today!  John from 2loud2oldmusic brought on engineer/mixer/musician/songwriter Ryan Williams for storytime.  Though his credits range from pop to metal, we tended to focus our discussion on rock and roll.  If you’re a fan of Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Slayer, Staind, U2, Phil Collen of Def Leppard, Limp Bizkit, Velvet Revolver, Dave Navarro, or Kelly Clarkson then you’ll want to check this show out.

From starting out in Atlanta, to travelling the world recording epic performances, Ryan Williams has seemingly seen it all and done it all.  Recording music on a Tascam 4-track home studio, graduating to two synced 24-tracks machines, to the modern tools of today, Ryan has kept learning.  We talked about his beginnings, and working with Brendan O’Brien, all the way to the present day and the imminent release of a Stone Temple Pilots box set for Tiny Music.  Ryan even had a little bit of show and tell with some hand-written original Eddie Vedder lyrics.

Great show all around and thank you for watching.

Engineer and Mixer Ryan Williams on the Saturday LeBrain Train

The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike and John Snow

Saturday July 3 – Episode 74 – Ryan Williams

Have you ever had anything with your name on it nominated for a Grammy award?  Ryan Williams has — for his work on Train’s Drops of Jupiter, Velvet Revolver’s Contraband, and Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger.  And we’ll be talking to him about it on Saturday’s LeBrain Train.

Join John Snow and I for this special Saturday episode with a very in-demand engineer.  How much demand?  Well, besides Stone Temple Pilots, he’s either engineered or mixed for Matt Nathanson, 3 Doors Down, Lifehouse, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Pearl Jam, Outkast, Staind, Michelle Branch, The Panic Channel, Phil Collen’s Delta Deep, Korn, Static-X, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Biffy Clyro, 10 Years, Atreyu, Mastodon, Billy Idol, P!nk, Sugar Ray, Deftones, Adam Lambert, Coheed & Cambria, The Black Dahlia Murder, Bush, Neon Trees, and Beck.  He even has a co-write on a Kelly Clarkson song.  Is that enough demand for ya?

This is going to be a great chance for us to pick the brain of a guy who has literally worked with the biggest names in modern music.  You do not want to miss this one — catch it live so we can ask Ryan your questions!

Saturday July 3, 1:00 PM E.S.T. on Facebook:  MikeLeBrain and YouTube:  Mike LeBrain.