Live @ The O2 ABC, Glasgow
December 2nd 2009
So here we are, the final show of the UK tour, and what by all accounts has been a triumphant return to the UK scene. Gun, back from the dead like a rock n’ roll lazarus have been boosted by new drummer Gordon McNeill and veteran (sorry!) vocalist Toby Jepson, once of Little Angels, taking over the mic duties, with brothers Gizzi, Jools and Dante, remaining as the heart and soul of the band on guitar and bass respectively
With the crowd buzzing from excellent support slots by Riot Noise, and especially New Device, Gun rumbled on to stage to the strains of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band’s classic take on Delilah… and proceeded to blow the roof off the ABC. In front of a home town crowd, every note, every chord and every huge chorus was greeted like a long lost cousin.
Material from the new EP such as Seraphina, Let Your Hair Down and title track Popkiller fitted in seamlessly with the classics, showing enough to demonstrate that this wasn’t just a nostalgia tour, that the new Gun has legs and will travel. For all the new songs showed a poppier edge than some of the older material, there was no return to the dreaded 0141 sound – though even that album’s Crazy You was revived, dusted down and given a rockier take.
The crowd ate up the setlist, cleverly constructed to include the newer material alongside classics, and fan favourite album tracks. Memorable moments on the night being a masterful Steal Your Fire, a stomping Inside Out that included a cover of Police classic So Lonely, and bass player Dante taking over as vocalist on Something Worthwhile sent the already exciteable crowd into rapture – a trick Dante would later reprise in the encore to cover Fight For Your Right (To Party) by the Beastie Boys.
As you’d expect, tracks from the classic debut album were highlights of the night – Better Days and Shame On You in particular being as close to rock n’ roll perfection as I’ve heard in a long time. Gun are a band with one eye on the future, but a firm appreciation for their past, treating those songs with all the respect they deserve.
The new line up gets better and better every time they take to the stage, Toby Jepson in particular laying to rest any doubts that he couldn’t step into the considerable shoes of Mark Rankin. Jools’ guitar work and enthusiasm for the show were incredible at times, and Dante’s powerful bass playing dovetailed perfectly with Gordon’s intense drumming.
When the final strains of Word Up echoed out of the speaker system, and a sweat soaked Gun taking in the applause of an enthusiastic crowd, you realised just what a powerhouse Gun were, and on this evidence, can be again.