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GUN

Artist: GUN

Venue: London, The 100 Club

Date: 29th February 2024


"They could have easily played another five classics but left the stage with the audience wanting more. The perfect way to end such a glorious night. Gun’s music will live on way beyond any of our lives and they will go down in history as one of the UK’s greatest Rock bands."


 

Photo: Myke Gray
Photo: Myke Gray

The first time I heard Gun was nearly thirty-five years ago. Their music resonated with me immediately. I remember hearing their debut album ‘Taking On The World’ and thinking that it was so radically different to everything else I was listening to at that time. It was a million miles from the Glam Rock scene coming out of LA that was being emulated by the rest of the world. Gun were raw and from the streets of Glasgow and their music reflected that. Thirty-five years later I’m still listening to their music and loving it as much now as I did then. They say that great music is timeless.


So on a chilly Thursday night, I made my way into central London to the legendary 100 Club as a fan of a band that I’ve admired for decades. It’s a remarkable achievement for any band to survive that period of time as they are generally as fragile as they are volatile. Personal ambition, musical differences, family commitments are just three of the many reasons that can tear a band apart. Gun may of have had their fair share of band members over the years but its heartbeat has always been the Gizzi brothers, Dante and Giuliano. I’m sure there have been some extremely challenging times, but their passion and commitment has seen them weather every storm and find a way past every obstacle that has stood in their way. Just like the Young’s and the Van Halen’s, the bond between the two siblings seems unbreakable. But a band is a team and every member has to be completely committed to the cause if they are going to achieve any kind of success. In Paul McManus they not only have a fantastic drummer but they also have a human being of the highest integrity. Someone whose own personal determination and inner strength is equal to the two brothers. Completing the line-up is Andy Carr on bass and Ruaraidh “Roo” McFarlane on guitar. Guesting with them for these shows were backing singers Beverly Skeet, Sarah Jane Skeet & Mary Peace.


Tonight’s show was part of a four-date mini tour promoting the release of their latest album ‘Hombres’. I had a sneak peek at the setlist prior to the band’s arrival and saw that it was a mixture of timeless classics and select tracks from the new album. Looking around at the audience I could see they were devoted followers and when the band made their way onto the stage they were greeted like dear friends.


They opened the set with ‘Lucky Guy’, taken from the new album, and instantly showed that this is not a band resting on its songwriting laurels. A killer verse leading to a monster chorus is classic Gun songwriting. Its infectious, sleazy backbeat saw Dante giving us his best Iggy Pop impersonation. The frontman now stamps totally authority on lead vocal duties with melodies that are written specifically for his voice. The gospel backing vocals are a masterstroke and within seconds the 100 Club has turned into a party. The opener is closely followed by ‘Here’s Where I Am’ taken from the album ‘Favourite Pleasure’. A slinky shuffle that has a hypnotic groove that keeps the party going.


Next up is the bonafide Gun classic ‘Don’t Say It’s Over’. As Jools fires out the opening riff he lives and breathes every note. It’s more than just a song, it’s a chapter of his life. The surest sign that an emotionally connection has been made is when the audience are singing along to every word. I was one of the fans singing. ‘All Fired Up’, the opening track of the new album ‘Hombres’, is welcomed like a long-lost friend. If you ever needed undeniable evidence of who is responsible for creating the unique sound of this band then you need look no further. ‘Better Days’ is where it all started for me. I was intrigued the first time I heard it, hooked by the second, and have been listening to it regularly for most of my life. Music at its best is when it inspires and for me this is a song that gives people hope. Once again the audience were singing along to every single word.


’You Are What I Need’, also taken from the new album, is a well-crafted composition containing a sophisticated top-line melody. A big slice of timeless Classic Rock. The gospel backing vocals giving it the touch of class that the song deserves. A defining moment in the set where Dante showed he isn’t filling anyone else’s shoes. He stands centre stage wearing a big pair of his own boots. A transition from bass player to lead singer takes a lot of balls and lesser men would have shied away from such a challenge. Dante was a great bass player in his own right, but what no one knew except maybe the people closest to him was that he also had a fantastic voice which just needed a little time to cultivate. This is his time to shine and rightfully he stands with his head held high.


The big guitar riff of ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ gets the party going again. The rhythm section of McManus and Carr are rock solid, effortlessly combining the power, groove and subtlety needed for every song. ‘Falling’ is a beautiful song with a melody that instantly touches the soul. With its jangling guitar intro, it’s clear that Jools is the unspoken General. He is the starting point of everything and the one who oversees the orchestra. Every successful band has to have a leader and no band will succeed without one. The up-tempo ‘Take Me Back Home’ is pure Rock And Roll. Once again the backing vocals were extremely effective in adding a different dimension and dynamic to their sound. Even though a large part of the set was made up of relatively new songs, they all sat perfectly alongside the Gun classics. I was standing within a sea of smiling faces and it was clear that the audience were loving every minute of what they were hearing.


We were approaching the end of the set and now it was time for the heavy hitters. ‘Steal Your Fire’ is one of my favourite songs of all time by any band. For me, it’s songwriting perfection. In my humble opinion, Dante’s vocal delivery actually takes the song to a new high. This is something that I wouldn’t have thought possible as I held the original in such high regard. It was within this song that new guitarist Roo McFarlane was given the opportunity to step into the spotlight. The original guitar solo is of an extremely high standard and to his credit he stepped up to the plate and hit the ball out of the park. The opening riff of ‘Shame On You’ is like a call to arms that instantly grabs your attention. The pulsating bass line adds to the drama. The bass drum from McManus was the signal for the audience to start clapping, to which they all duly responded. This is an anthem that has been played to audiences all over the world. Its multilingual melody touches you even if you don’t know the language. When the chorus kicked in a euphoric feeling of joy filled the room. This is the power of music.


After a brief onstage discussion, the final song of the night was ‘Inside Out’, taken from their debut album. They could have easily played another five classics, but left the stage with the audience wanting more. The perfect way to end such a glorious night. Gun’s music will live on way beyond any of our lives and they will go down in history as one of the UK’s greatest Rock bands.


 

Review and Photos: Myke Gray

 


 

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