Camden Town has been a mecca for live music fans for sometime and continues to offer live music just about every night of the week. There really is a wealth of emerging talent currently in the U.K. rock scene and a trip on the Northern Line to this vibrant area of North London offers the opportunity to catch much of this talent in many of the intimate club size venues.
Marco Mendoza had invited Anzi Destruction and Daxx & Roxane to open the evening for him at The Underworld in Camden Town. I only saw the last number played by Anzi Destruction but the Daxx & Roxane set was caught in it’s entirety and it was very impressive. Both bands have chosen to base themselves in London rather than their respective homelands being Finland and Switzerland.
Daxx & Roxane describes itself as “a ticking time bomb of raw rock n’ roll power and crushing heavy riffs!”. On this showing that’s not a bad description. They tick all of the boxes and there really isn’t anything to dislike. The band’s time in London is beginning to pay dividends as they have landed on the Planet Rock playlist which is a trigger to raise their profile, and they certainly had quite a devoted following with them on this occasion.
They gave us 40 minutes of high energy rock, six numbers from the 2017 debut album and a couple of choice covers. They introduced themselves with Sugar Rush which left the audience in no doubt as to what they were going to get. Three numbers from Ticket To Rock followed, Girl Next Door, the title track and Loneliness and it was obvious this band could write a serious rock number.
Cédric Pfister’s great vocals reminded me of 80s rockers Great White and he plays a mean bass as well. Cal Wymann is a great lead guitarist with all the moves on stage. He gives the impression that his guitar is just an extension of himself and takes him no effort at all. Simon Golaz on rhythm guitar, a Flying V no less, compliments Cal as they create a real tour de force. Luca Senaldi bringing up the rear on drums is often out of his seat as he puts every ounce of energy into his performance.
The band give us a cracking version of Stevie Wonder’s timeless Superstition, they squeeze in new single Interstellar before leaving us with Good Vibes which really summed up this performance.
Marco Medoza’s recent visits to London have been with the brilliant Aussie-American supergroup Dead Daisies but he has a very impressive curriculum vitae with Ted Nugent, Whitesnake, the reformed Thin Lizzy (big boots to fill here) and Black Star Riders.
Whereas Daxx & Roxane were hitting us with numbers from their debut album Ticket To Rock, Marco Mendoza was here to publicise his new release Viva La Rock, you kind of get the theme running through this gig.
Marco had selected two young Geordie friends in Micky McCrystal (Tygers Of Pan Tang) on guitar and Kyle Hughes (Ron Bumblefoot Thal), a real powerhouse on drums.
John Corabi takes centre stage when Dead Daisies rock but this mini tour gave Marco licence to entertain. He really is a personable humble character and had an instant rapport with his audience. He just loves playing the smaller more intimate venues so that he can connect with the fans.
The band showcase their credentials by opening with the classic Sunshine Of Your Love. So cool to be up close and personal with one of the world’s best bass players. I say up close and personal, when Marco was calling on everybody to throw their arms in the air he was not going to let me escape when I tried to abstain and squeeze in a photograph.
Marco manages to sit under an umbrella of sound which includes blues, funk and R&B, there is something for everyone. Sweetest Emotions from Viva La Rock sits perfectly under this umbrella and it also becomes apparent that if John Corabi ever had an off night Marco would be more than capable of taking on vocal duties.
Marco pays homage to Ted Nugent with a splendid cover of Hey Baby before another track Hole In My Pocket from his recent release which segued into Plastic Ono Band’s Give Peace A Chance. Although Marco didn’t tell the story behind Rocketman, it deserves mention as it’s about the Danish inventor Peter Madsen who killed a reporter in his submarine in Copenhagen while she was doing an item about him.
Daxx & Roxane covered Superstition whilst Marco Mendoza gave us the very funky Higher Ground before Marco introduces Niro Knox from another great English band KilliT to form the dual guitar partnership with Micky McCrystal for two Thin Lizzy classics, Chinatown and Jailbreak (drummer Kyle Hughes taking on lead vocal). You can imagine how these went down and signing off with title track from Viva La Rock we all went home buzzing.
I think everyone but myself was handed one of Marco’s endless supply of plectrums. He even dished out a free vinyl copy of Viva La Rock and a t-shirt, it was a comfort to see that the t-shirt was too small for me.
Photography and live review of Marco Mendoza and Daxx & Roxane at The Underworld, Camden on Thursday 15th August 2019 by Phil Honley. Phil has his own photography site here: http://www.gigsnapz.co.uk