Rock & Fuckin' Roll

For a band that just seven days ago, were awarded Best International Newcomer at the Kerrang! Awards, these guys look as is if they’ve been performing for years. This might, however, have something to do with the fact that the forty-somethings have been in the business for longer than almost anybody else.

Just in case you’ve had your head in the sand for the last year, Velvet Revolver are not just any new band. With Slash and Duff from Guns ‘n’ Roses on guitar and bass as well as ex-Stone Temple Pilots front-man Scott Weiland on vocals, you get some idea of the size of this “super-group”.

One thing is for sure – and that’s that this is one of the most anticipated gigs of the last decade. Touts are selling tickets for in excess of a hundred quid and Slash hasn’t been seen in an English 3,000 capacity venue, wielding his axe for many, many years.

Slash’s hat is placed at the side of the stage and a massive gong is unveiled behind the drum kit. As the crowd go wild, Scott, Slash and co. swagger on to the stage with an uproar that the Manchester Apollo has, likely, never before heard. As the deafening cheers eventually die down, Velvet Revolver can now be heard, playing for the first time on English soil.

A lot of people are here hoping, initially, to see Guns ‘n’ Roses fronted by Scott Weiland – but that soon disappears. Scott has the entire crowd under his complete control. As eh taunts the crowd – telling them exactly how loud or quiet to cheer – they follow his every word and you realise just what a front-man he is. He may not be the most stable front-man and he may well hate the press, but he loves what he does with a passion that oozes straight from his figure hugging leather trousers.

As Slash takes his first solo his guitar tilts on its side, his leg steps up on a stage monitor and his fingers fly over the fretboard like only Slash’s fingers can. With his world-renound locks flowing over his Jack Daniels T-Shirt, the crowd worships this legend of rock who is as much of a contender for front-man as Scott Weiland himself.

After just forty-five minutes the band disappear whilst the crow clap continuously. As the band walk back on stage, Slash now wearing THE hat, they open their first encore to Scott Weiland belting out the lyrics “I used to love her…”. Three songs later, and with Slither now out of the way, the band once again leave the stage.

The cries for Slash or G’n’R have now gone – just one united cheer exists for “VELVET! VELVET! VELVET!”. As the band return to play their final two songs, there are a lot of happy faces in this crowd. Looking around easily reveals many burley and balding metallers whose faces are filled with the childish glee that you normally witness in someone’s eyes at their very first ever gig.

As one of the best crowds in the history of rock leave the Manchester Apollo it is clear that next time it’s going to have to be in an arena for these guys – very few people will ever get the chance to see Slash in such a venue again. Tonight was something special and rare that everyone present will remember.

In the words of Velvet Revolver’s stage banner – Rock & Fuckin’ Roll.