Live Review : Tyla's Dogs D'Amour + Gorilla Riot @ Rebellion, Manchester on April 20th 2019
Early start at Rebellion tonight as apparently we are being followed by a punk festival. Which is nice! So Gorilla Riot are onstage by 7.30, which I suspect was a shock to their systems as well as mine. This is because Gorilla Riot are a late-night kind of band. They’re bluesy, and sleazy. The kind of band you feel you should be drinking neat whisky and chainsmoking Marlboros to. Oh and none of your Marlboro lights either!
They start off with ‘Kerosene Clown’, a dirty riffmonster of a song that’s available on their first EP “Six Shots Down”. It’s groovy, and gravelly, and fun. This is followed by ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’ – no, not that one! This one is bluesy and it kind of oozes into your ears. Most Wanted is next, another perfect balance of sleazy rock goodness. One of the things that stands out about Gorilla Riot is that they have not one, not two but three guitars, which gives them a full, rich sound and allows them to blend and harmonise beautifully.
More songs follow, including ‘Aint No Use Being Good’, which is a bit of a personal favourite, ‘Morning Sun’ and ‘Bad Son’. I happened to be standing with guitarist Charly’s proud parents when he played a rather excellent solo during this one. Guess what? It appears he’s not actually a Bad Son at all, hurrah! The style continues unabated, it’s dirty, grinding rock n’roll but with an occasional country twang. It’s all held together and blended by these 5 young men who show some real promise. Final song ‘Dirty’ has the crowd bouncing along to the catchy riffs like someone has put springs up their bottoms, and Gorilla Riot leave the stage to rapturous applause. There are a lot of good bands on the circuit at club level at the moment but I don’t think it would be exaggerating to say that Gorilla Riot are amongst the best of them. This band are the future of hard rock, and hopefully a bright future awaits. It will be lovely in a few years time when they’ve taken over the (music) world to be able to say “I saw them when………”
Staying with that theme, one of the bands I am lucky (or old!) enough to say “I saw them when…” about is The Dogs D’Amour. 30+ years and many line-up changes later but still led by the inimitable, indomitable, inebriated Tyla J Pallas, the Dogs are still on the road. This tour, they are celebrating the 30th anniversary of second album “A Graveyard of Empty Bottles” but in typical Tyla style they’re not doing it by playing the whole album, as so many others do. Nope, they are playing (in Tyla’s words) quite a few songs from it, and a load of other shit that you all want to hear too. I know this is true, because Tyla, having all those years of material to draw on, had a poll on his Facebook page asking fans which songs they would like to hear, and apparently this set is made up of the ones that got the most votes.
Despite the comings and goings over the years the current Dogs line-up seems to have stabilised over the past few, and the band are very together and always seem to be having a great time up on stage.
Onto the show. I’m going to move away from my usual reviewing style here (yeah, I know, waffling on) and just give you a rundown of the set, with only brief descriptions in between. This is because if you are familiar with the Dogs you will know all about the songs anyway, and if you’re not well it’s actually really hard to find the words to describe them! They really aren’t like any other band. Apart from anything else, they all have really good shoes. Plus (real reason) I was kind of busy bouncing around the place and didn’t take many notes…. Sorry……
They started tonight with ‘Bloodline’, and followed it with ‘I Don’t Love Anyone’, ‘Comfort of The Devil’, ‘Bulletproof Poet’ and 'perennial crowd favourite ‘Billy Two Rivers’. This one got sung back to Tyla, and you could tell he was absolutely loving it. His usual white Gretsch Falcon has recently been retired and he now sports a nice black one – it seems this brand of guitars along with the ever-present bottle of red wine are his trademark features. Oh, that’s if you don’t count his soulful voice and wonderfully poetic lyrics of course.
‘I Think It’s Love Again’, ‘Firework Girl’, ‘Black Confetti’ and ‘Bottle of Red’ are up next, and the audience are right there alongside the band. I love gigs like this where you’re not just watching a band you’re experiencing an event.
‘Angel’, ‘Heroine’, ‘Monster’ and ‘Last Bandit’ come next. The latter is a warm comfort-blanket of a song that draws you in and envelops you like a hug. The plaintive lyrics and singalong chorus work so well, and by now the crowd are manic. We are loving it, we are part of it.
We’re now approaching the home straight, and the big hits are on the way. ‘I Don’t Want You To Go’ is another rollicking singalong, and one of my favourite songs ever. Tyla dedicates ‘Wait Til I’m Dead’ to anyone who’s erm dead. Only they won’t know cos they’re erm dead. OK. Tyla logic is making my head spin, so lets just enjoy the song instead! ‘Drunk Like Me’ and ‘How Come It Never Rains’ are supposed to be the the final two songs of the main set, and by now the crowd are hoarse. Tyla too, is apparently knackered so instead of going off and waiting for cheers for an encore, he just goes straight into the final song of the night ‘Errol Flynn’, which from now on will affectionately be known as Beryl Flynn instead.
The perfect end to a perfect night. We’ve welcomed some new blood, and sung along to some old favourites. So let me answer your burning question – were Tyla and The Dogs D’Amour better in the old days? No. They were a great band then, and Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour is still a great band now.
Words and photography by Jo Crosby