After almost a month-long trek across Asia, Slash, Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators finally landed in Australia, white-hot and ready to rumble. The outfit kicked off their venture down under in Sydney on Monday before hitting up Brisbane last night.
Realistically speaking, the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre isn’t purpose-built for decadent rock ’n’ roll. But by the time you squeeze in 6,000 fans (predominantly decked out in black, of course), drape a banner of a massive skull wearing a top hat at the back of the room, and line the stage with a wall of Marshall amplifiers, the venue is good to go.
As soon as the house lights drop, the five-piece hit the stage to tear through the boisterous opening, “The Call of the Wild.” Slash occupies stage left while Kennedy is positioned front and center. Brent Fitz hammers the drum kit throughout the evening with Todd Kerns on bass and vocals, and fresh face Frank Sidoris supplies rhythm guitar.
The night sees the band drawing heavily on their most recent outing, Living the Dream, as well as their previous collaborations Apocalyptic Love (2012) and World on Fire (2014). There’s no stage patter as the band roll into “Halo,” “Standing in the Sun” and Slash’s own “Ghost.” The band rock hard, but at the heart of it all is the guitar legend doing what he does best. Slash, permanently saddled with a Les Paul, proves he’s still one of the greatest riff-meisters of the last 30 years, and there’s no querying why.
“Back From Cali” is a standout, as is “Bent to Fly.” Kennedy wastes no time getting on the foldback speakers to hit some astonishing high notes while the band rumble behind him, always supporting the interplay between the Alter Bridge man and Slash.
Kerns, on the other hand, lends stellar harmonies all night. The bassist hits it out of the park when he takes the lead, singing for “We’re All Gonna Die” (a Slash/Iggy Pop collaboration) and “Doctor Alibi” (which was sung on record by Lemmy).
Kennedy returns to stage for the ballad-like “The One You Loved is Gone,” giving Slash a chance to break out his twin-neck. The laid-back, breezy rendition is a welcome shift respite from the rollicking set so far.
But soon after, Slash and co jump back into the groove, ripping through “Wicked Stone,” and, arguably, Slash’s best solo of the night. Elsewhere during the gig, the group’s harmonization shines on “Driving Rain,” and “By the Sword” is underpinned by the dirtiest riff of the Brisbane show. Guns N’ Roses’ fans, who waited all evening for a track or two, were also treated to a sterling take on “Nightrain.”
“World on Fire” comes with a classic rock breakdown before Kennedy is back, urging the crowd into a robust sing-along. The band are introduced, and the biggest cheer is reserved for the man in the hat.
The encore doesn’t overstay its welcome and the band kick into “Avalon.” By the time they close with “Anastasia,” Slash has a foot on the wedge and is shredding like a demon, bringing the night to a magnificent finish.
Contributed by: Sean Sennett