The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

DOC NEESON
The Charles Hotel
February 26, 2011

By Shane Pinnegar

 

 

One more day and Perth’s officially in the grip of a “heatwave”, and tonight’s gig kicked off with some smokin’ hot blues from a duo who neglected to make themselves known. I’ve always wondered why bands who don’t have a banner up don’t make sure their crowd hear their name a couple of times!

 

Through Robert Johnson and Creedence, old and more contempory blues combined to warm the night up (*groan*), and the over heated crowd lapped it up.

 

Angels (That’s Angel City for any non-Australian readers) lead singer Doc Neeson is older, puffier, and sweatier than in his heyday, but his songs are anything but.

 

 

Opening with ‘I Ain’t The One’ and ‘No Secrets’, the entire place erupted in classic Aussie beer barn style as every soul present blew off the steam of the past two sweltering weeks.

 

Doc has deconstructed and reconstructed these pub rock anthems, turning the spotlight from their rifftastic origins onto their songwriting strengths, and the beauty of ‘Out Of The Blue’ and so forth are finally allowed to shine through.

 

 

The quintessential Angels song, ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again’ is given a glorious intro – the likes of which is usually the doyen of troubadors like Paul Kelly and Mick Thomas. Doc’s insight into the writing of the song, actually about a housemate who had a partner die, and the acoustic and mellow arrangement turned the tune into a very different and extremely powerful beast. That there are still several meatheads yelling the familiar crowd refrain “No way, get fucked, fuck off” proves only that some drunks don’t listen.

 

‘Shadow Boxer’ is delivered as an Eighties jazzy blues trip, ‘Be With You’ was being done acoustic by The Angels decades ago and tonight’s version is absolutely magical – a glorious reworking that succeeds on all levels, and though I never thought I’d here the balls out rocker ‘Take A Long Line’ done acoustically, but tonight’s version with it’s angular, stabbing bass is another winner.

 

‘Marseille’ rounds out the first, acoustic, set, then for set 2 it’s rock n’ roll the way The Angels, Rose Tattoo, AC/DC and co invented it.

 

‘After The Rain’ and ‘Who Rings The Bell’ lead into Red Phoenix song ‘Retribution’ – funky as hell and drawing a huge cheer, which says a lot from such a partisan Angels crowd.

 

 

More Red Phoenix tunes followed – ‘Better Off Alive’, ‘Bright’, ‘Running Like A Cat’ until a stage invader makes Doc legitimately scared. “Get off the stage mate – you paid to come here, you should get your money’s worth”.

 

Next wild card out of the deck was a rousing version of Howlin’ Wolf’s ‘Smokestack Lightning’, proving that should he choose, Doc has a future career touring an old blues revival show.

 

Lennon’s ‘Working Class Hero’ brought more cheers – you simply couldn’t imagine The Angels playing these songs!

 

‘Face The Day’, ‘Take A Long Line’, ‘Hard Sell’ and ‘Marseille’ took us through to the false ending, and then it was time for the drunks to appropriately yell along with ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again’.

 

If anyone had any issues with the acoustic delivery and alternative relationships tonight, it’s their loss – any artist needs to stretch out and to this reporter Doc hasn’t been on such wildly good form for a decade and a half. Let’s hope we can hear more from him soon.