The Dead Daisies – “Live & Louder” CD / DVD / 2LP (Spitfire Music / SPV)
Despite being something of a super group, I’ve gotta admit that I’ve not been a big fan of The Dead Daisies hard rock, coming across as bit lightweight and dare I say it, wimpy. However, this double live album is something else! Taking me back to the classic releases of Kiss, Scorpions and of course, Rush the gatefold was something every big name aimed for as the pinnacle of their achievement, attested in the proving ground of the live concert. Whether intended here or not, “Live & Louder” achieves exactly that to me, culling the best recordings taken off the band’s massive UK and European tour that played to 30+ sold-out shows including Paris and Vienna last year. Add in the polishing touches of mixing by Anthony Focx (Aerosmith, Bad Company, Metallica, Santana) and mastering by Howie Weinberg and you’ve got a killer release taking in 16 tracks of old and newer songs as well as covers like a shaking ‘Fortunate Son’, Grand Funk’s ‘American Band’, and monster interpretations of Alex Harvey’s ‘Midnight Moses’ and ‘Helter Skelter’ where John Corabi’s (Mötley Crüe, The Scream) rock god vocals match the monster swagger of the riffs coming from guitarists Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Dio) and David Lowy (Red Phoenix, Mink) to finish the sensational release off. Not withstanding the drippy stuff like ‘Something I Said’, it was the likes of ‘We All Fall Down’ off the band’s latest release that show the gutsier side of the band, with red blooded vocals, a hard stomping beat, rock out guitars and flash soloing. Speaking of which, Aldrich’s slide work impresses on the kick ass ‘Last Time I Saw The Sun’ with Corabi adopting a more sassy style to suit, while on ‘With You And I’ (taken off “Revolucion”) with its voice box, the slower but punchier beat is perfect for the par excellence blues rock soloing even raising an eyebrow from me. As for the ‘ballad’ of ‘Mainline’, it’s anything but that being a kick ass high speed rock n roller with wild guitars and double bass beats from Brian Tichy (Ozzy Osbourne, Foreigner) hinting at Motorhead and guaranteed to finish off any audience – and it sounds like it on this balls out performance – with Corabi stating ‘…now that’s a fuckin ballad..’! Completed by a matching gargantuan DVD with a 40 min documentary, 25 mins of tour recaps and 20 mins of video clip bonus footage (and more if you get the boxset) and you’ve got one helluva release. I’m not sure if The Dead Daisies got a whole heavier but they’re clearly no wilting petals anymore….