It was through every fault of my own, but I got there when Limehouse were already on, and they had played over half their set already! The gig was held in the larger upstairs part of the venue, which surprised me but it seems that Limehouse had brought along a large following of their own. Although a tribute to Thin Lizzy, they're highly regarded in their own right and these days have a totally professional setup, with a large illuminated sign just like the one Phil and his mates had. They play supremely well too, you really can close your eyes and imagine the dulcet Dublin tones of Philo, although when vocalist Wayne Ellis does talk, it is in flat Lancastrian vowels!
The Limehouse lads were roared off stage and almost immediately cheered back on it again, overruning their alloted hour to play an encore of 'Whiskey In The Jar'. Despite missing over half the set, I enjoyed what I saw immensely. It's not the first time I've seen the boys and it certainly won't be the last, their incessant touring has brought them many friends.
They were quick in setting up the stage for Livewire, the AC/DC tribute band and with hardly a fanfare, they ran on stage. Opening with 'Shot Down in Flames', they ran through a repertoire of Scott-era material. Their vocalist dressed as Bon right down to the cutoff denims; he didn't have the menacing presence or charm of the genuine article, then again who has? He did sing the material pretty well, though and his 'Angus' was suitably energetic on stage. 'Angus' did look a bit like (local indie hero) Julian Cope though!
After around 40 minutes of classic 'DC, the vocalist departed, and the bells rang out to signal 'Hells Bells'. I expected him to make a quick wardrobe change here, but when the song struck up, we were greeted by a new vocalist! Dressed almost exactly like Brian Johnson, and sounding like he did almost 30 years ago too, he made a great impression performing 'Beano'-era songs. We even got two 'Black Ice' tracks ('War Machine' and 'Rock and Roll Train') I actually enjoyed this part of the show more; replicating an iconic figure such as Bon Scott is a near-impossible job but taking off the more down-to earth Johnson sat better with me, and his vocals were very close to the real thing. They were a little pushed for time tonight, and so the cannons which were sat atop the amps remained unused. They did fit in as much as they could, closing with 'Bon' returning to play 'Whole Lotta Rosie' before being joined by 'Brian' for a duet version of 'Let There Be Rock'. That in itself, was a surreal spectacle!
As I say, they did play well, and went down great with a crowd hungry for classic 'DC. However, having seen the real thing only a few months earlier, this was always gonna fall short. Their 'Malcolm' was struggling to make his rhythm guitar heard, which didn't help the band's sound. The drummer was a bit too hard-hitting for me too, not quite that metronomic beat of the great Phil Rudd. But these are relatively minor gripes, basically they came to play 'DC songs to an appreciative audience and in the main did a fine job.
On an entirely unrelated note, I noticed on the way out that Airbourne are coming to play this venue again next year... must get a ticket for that!