Up until he took the stage I imagine Duff McKagan wasn’t having the best of days. Earlier in the day, the books he was due to be signing in store in the city didn’t arrive, and then it turns out that tonight’s gig hasn’t sold particularly well and has been demoted to the lower capacity sub-venue G2 underneath the 700 capacity main venue. It doesn’t sound particularly positive, but what it did result in was a cracking more intimate feeling gig.
G2 is a fairly small 350 capacity venue, and lacks the better acoustics of its bigger brother upstairs, but in a funny kind of way this actually benefited Loaded’s scuzzy sound. I missed first support Riot:Noise, but caught 2nd support Dear Superstar who seemed to be doing a trial run for a big sound in a small space. They sounded pretty poor and the crowd were inflicted with a combination of poor sound levelling (too much backing vocal, not enough main vocal, crappy guitar balance) and just generally unexciting songs.
There was a fair wait before Loaded though as the techs skittered around on stage and did manage to fix up a lot of the sounds problems from before, but thankfully not iron them out completely. Loaded’s sound is a bit of a mash-up of early (read ‘proper’) Guns’N’Roses and The Stooges with a healthy dose of Misfits and Sex Pistols in the mix for good measure. With none of those bands would you expect to hear a crystal clear crisp sound and the same is true of Loaded.
The smaller audience were treated to a great mix of new material from 3rd album “The Taking” as well as selections from its predecessors and a couple of G’n’R and a Misfits cover. Duff McKagan doesn’t have the greatest voice in the world, but he’s a great song-smith and a commanding frontman. Watching a legend up close and personal in a small room certainly helps, but Duff could easily hold court in a bigger venue.
The venue restricted the band to only a 75 minute slot and yet Duff still took time in between the fast paced set-list that contained no slower or ballad-like tracks to have a chat with the audience, even telling jokes. It’s clear he was really enjoying himself as were the rest of band, and it made for a good tight sound and some great playing. I guess it was a time-saving exercise, but they skipped an encore and played this tours encore tracks as part of the main set-list. I’d imagine purely due to the limited stage time they had.
I can’t speak for Duff McKagan, but my day was certainly made better by this gig. I reckon by the happy faces in the crowd as well as on the stage we definitely brightened up each others day.