SLASH FEAT MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS and PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS at O2 Apollo Manchester UK – 16/2/2019

I’m going to make this review short and sweet! Mainly because, apart from rocking out at Manchester’s iconic Apollo theatre to two kick-ass bands with actual living legends on guitar, not a lot else happened! Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators came to town and brought with them in support Phil Campbell, Motorhead’s legendary guitar player, with his band the Bastard Sons. For those not in the know, Campbell’s band is made up of his three sons, Tyla, Todd and Dane on bass, guitar and drums respectively and their old mate, vocalist Neil Starr. Although the sound out front was pretty shocking (surely they had a sound check?)  they pulled off a great show and proved they have the ability and the songs to play to large crowds. They’re so good in fact that my attention wasn’t drawn to Phil Campbell after the first couple of songs. Neil Starr is a cracking frontman with a cracking rock voice who pulls the attention towards himself, as most good frontmen do! They have a great collection of songs from their debut album ‘The Age of Absurdity’ to please any rock crowd but, three songs in they hit us with the Motorhead classic ‘Born to Raise Hell’ and quite rightly the Apollo floor shook a little! Add a raucous but brilliant version of ‘Ace of Spades’ in to the mix and I think PCATBS can consider their performance, shite sound aside, a triumph!

Smashing their way through 22 songs tonight, and I’m sure they would have played longer if time permitted, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators treated us to 7 songs off the latest album ‘Living the Dream’ along with a ‘best of’ from Slash’s solo career and his previous two albums with Myles and the Conspirators. Myles breezes through ‘Ghost’ and ‘By the Sword’ as if they were written for him, instead of, of course, Ian Astbury and Andrew Stockdale. Song highlights for me were ‘Back from Cali’ a 9 minute ‘Anastasia’ and a near 20 minute ‘World on Fire’.  From a personal perspective though, I’m always disappointed these days with the omission of every song from ‘Ain’t Life Grand’ by Slash’s Snakepit. Still one of my favourite albums to this day! The solo Slash canon argues its point even further though by them including only one Guns ‘n’ Roses tune (‘Nightrain’) in their live set.

Other than bassist Todd Kerns stepping up to take over vocal duties as usual on ‘We’re All Gonna Die’ and ‘Doctor Alibi’, each band member more or less sticks to their position on stage. Slash having all of stage right to himself, and rightly so! He’s the star of the show! He’s the reason why most of the 2,600 strong crowd have shown up tonight, and he certainly didn’t disappoint! Some of his solos tonight were breathtaking! Some of his riffs will still be practiced in bedrooms in century’s time!

I was lucky enough to see Slash with Guns ‘n’ Roses back in 1988. We should all feel lucky that he’s still around and playing as good as ever in 2019!

Photography by Shayne Friessner-Day

Written by Mike Brierley

I'm a keen music film maker and rock star interviewer. I attended my first gigs in 1982 (Jethro Tull, AC/DC, Gary Moore, MSG) and haven't looked back since!

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