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'London, Tufnell Park, The Dome, 1 December 2017'   

-  Genre: 'Rock'

Our Rating:
After suffering through one of the worst support acts of all time on the Thursday Night, it was a relief to arrive at The Dome on Friday and find Role Models on stage and sounding like a great support act should sound. Yes, they sound exactly like the sort of glammy punks you'd hope would support Michael Monroe on his greatest hits tour.

Not sure what the first song we heard was called as I was too busy buying beer when the singer announced it, but it rocked and certainly sounded good and tight. Lost In The City was next and had a good chorus and they sounded like they had been listening to a lot of Blue Period as well as loads of New York Dolls and Hanoi Rocks. Better yet they were well up for it and also well up to working the crowd to get us on-side.

After an intro about how happy they were to be with us they then took us down to Manic Street that seemed to leave them in a panic as to how to not let the song run away with them even so no matter what crisis it was about live it sounded like so much fun to have that manic attack with them.

Wizard Man didn't sound too much like Roy Wood and much more like The Boys or the more focussed end of The Snivelling Shits oeuvre. It was a good punky pop song of the sort The Derellas still love to churn out.

Radio is not the most original song title but then they are not the most original band. However, that doesn't matter when you're playing good punk-pop songs to get the place going and this did the job nicely with (I think) help from Rich Jones on additional guitar and backing vocals.

They closed with a song co-written by the singer and his son who has Autism. This Eventually Leads Nowhere was pretty life affirming for a song about how we all eventually die. Role Models are well worth seeing live and they will be headlining Some Weird Sin on December 15th. That's worth checking out.

Soon enough, it was time for Michael Monroe's band to storm the stage and launch into the Demolition 23 classic Nothing's Alright. Michael bounced onstage still looking great and of course still sounding great even if the sound was a little thin on the first couple of songs till the soundman sorted it out.

They went almost straight into Got Blood? with Sami Yaffa looking like he needed to wring every note out of his bass. 78 seemed to get everyone singing along and as ever Michael was all over the stage and ready to start climbing the speaker cabinets.

This Ain't No Love Song had some great drums from Karl Rockfist as well as Rich Jones' guitar intertwining with Steve Conte's to really get the place going. By this point the sound was all good as they took us off down The Old Kings Road that always makes me remember what it was like when I worked there in the early 80's.

One Foot Outta The Grave is as good a song about surviving everything life has thrown at them as you could want to hear and they all looked like they were having a lot of fun playing it. They also needn't have worried as this set was not Going Down With The Ship - in fact, far from it.

Simpletown was a great example of how to get across a serious message in a fun glam Punk song and it sounded just great. Trick Of The Wrist is good and cheeky and as Michael kept swapping hats and taking his jacket on and off, it felt like a good old fashioned tease of a song.

Hammersmith Palais sounded great and another reminder of how much things have changed over the years Michael and Sami have been performing together. Not Fakin' It is as much the band's statement of intent as it is the core value they live by as this band always play like they mean it and wouldn't know how to fake it if they tried.

Michael then sang (almost a capella) the first couple of lines of The Boys' Brickfield Nights before they slid into While You Were Looking At Me which all worked together seamlessly no matter what dirty looks Steve Conte was giving Sami and Rich at the start of the song.

Michael then went a capella again for a couple of lines of Dream On that led into The Ballad Of The Lower East Side that had everyone cheering and singing along to the "Junkies Pimps and whores" parts of the chorus and remembering when it used to be cool and dangerous.

Michael then got his wings on for Eighteen Angels (I think it was that) an it was sounding very cool indeed. We then all raised our Horns and Haloes for one of his more recent hits.

Michael then paid tribute to Razzle whose birthday it would have been on Saturday and dedicated the rest of the set to him before they played a very touching version of Don't You Ever Leave Me. They then kept it Hanoi Rocks for the evergreen and unlikely High School: one of those songs that always sounds odd as I could never picture Mr Monroe teaching classes despite being a judge on the Finnish version of The Voice.

I Can't Get It was fast and furious before they made everyone go nuts on Malibu Beach Nightmare. That featured a brief sax solo on it. It also went into an Up Around The Bend that really got us all singing especially when they broke things down and everyone just sang "Come on the Rising Wind" over and over. They closed with Dead Jail Rock & Roll - the first single I bought by Michael when it came out in Pink Vinyl quite some years ago and it still sounds formidable.

Naturally, they came back for a well-earned encore that opened with a magnificent version of Underwater World. They then got us all singing again on Tragedy as Michael borrowed a gold hat from one of the girls in the front row and preened around the stage. They closed with a great version of I Wanna Be Loved: a song from The Heartbreakers' L.A.M.F. that celebrated its 40th birthday just a week earlier. A perfect end to another great Michael Monroe gig.
  author: simonovitch

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