Music: Review: Joe Elliott’s Down’n’Outz, Bierkeller

Robin Askew, December 6, 2014

Hang on a minute – these guys look awfully familiar. Yep, it’s half of the Quireboys – guitarists Guy Griffin and Paul Guerin, plus keyboard player Keith Weir – who were last on stage in Bristol at the Thekla just five days ago. Together with drummer Phil Martini, bassist Share Ross (formerly Share Pedersen of all-female US metallers Vixen, fact fans), and a certain Joe Elliott, they’re the Down’n’Outz. If this seems like a (very) rich man’s hobby band, that’s because it is.

Given the slightest provocation, Elliott will expound at great length on how Def Leppard were never a metal act, but took their inspiration instead from early 70s glam rock. The Down’n’Outz gives him an opportunity to wallow in the music of his heroes – particularly Mott the Hoople and any other project associated with Ian Hunter. Commendably, he dodges all the hits and goes for connoisseurs’ choices. That makes it all a tad alienating for those eager see a bloke who’s sold 100 million records at close quarters and perhaps hear something they’ll recognise. It probably also explains why only a few hundred punters have paid more than twenty quid to witness this most expensive of tribute acts.

Some of the audience seemed to be wondering what had happened to the chap they’d come to see during opener Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding (from Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road), until they figured out that he was tucked away behind a keyboard in a far corner of the stage. Nursing a heavy cold, the spluttering and somewhat hoarse Elliott took centre stage for Mott’s Rock and Roll Queen and Drivin’ Sister, playing rudimentary guitar a little unnecessarily given the talent flanking him. Overnight Angels from Hunter’s third solo album gave Guerin a chance to shine, with a full-on Freebird-style solo. But it was the anthemic One of the Boys (the B-side of All the Young Dudes, which proved that Mott had enough creative juice in the tank to survive without Bowie) that worked best. The menacing Violence, often claimed to be the first punk song, closed the set, but they swiftly returned for a bracing England Rocks. Elliott is clearly a reverential, dedicated curator of the Hunter songbook and has certainly assembled an outstanding band to keep it alive in style, but don’t expect him to quit the day job any time soon.




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