Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Hollywood Vampires pay tribute to fallen rock stars in Manchester

Returning to Manchester for the first time in five years, Hollywood Vampires take over a sold-out arena in what can only be described as the most expensive open mic night ever conceived. Complete with massive rock personalities and the star of Private Resort. Art rock/punk act The Tubes also supported the show. 

Much to the confusion of the audience, The Tubes came on first and nobody really knew how to feel about what was happening. The whole band came out wearing different brightly coloured suits and played some really bright and lively new wave/punk, that’s probably a contradiction but nobody cares about genre anymore anyway. 

The Tubes

Frontman Fee Waybill had several costume changes, including a particular spicy shirtless moment complete with fetish masks. It’s hard to sell this but it was a fantastic set and definitely worth checking out especially if the history of punk is of any interest to you. 

The Tubes

The final track saw a towering Fee Waybill in drag complete with platform heels and a proactively dressed nurse helping him off the stage and that didn’t seem to sit well with the audience. The Tubes probably weren’t the best opener for a band with the broad appeal of Hollywood Vampires but that added to the charm. Seeing a mass of upset and confused middle-aged white people is the ultimate essence of punk. 

The Tubes

Shortly after Hollywood Vampires came on to rapturous applause as the star-studded lineup made their way on stage. Alice Cooper came out with a stick that he’d use to point at things, a noble cause for the tree used to build it. Joe Perry was there ripping out killer solos and the Transcendence star was there to look mysterious and be eye candy, I suppose. 

Hollywood Vampires

Hollywood Vampires are a supergroup full of major heavyweights including Alice Cooper himself along with several members of his band, Joe Perry from Aerosmith and the star of the 1999 box office flop The Astronaut’s Wife. Hollywood Vampires is a conceptually amazing supergroup but once you’ve gotten over the novelty of how famous everyone is then you’ve got to have the tunes to back it up but Hollywood Vampires have that covered, literally. The majority of the setlist is full of covers of classic songs which originally featured rock stars who have since passed away. 

Hollywood Vampires

The band played tracks from The Who, Johnny Thunders, AC/DC and The Doors and they were all fairly faithful to the point that it felt like the most expensive open mic night in history. Hollywood Vampires is definitely a vanity, the origin of the band was that of a Hollywood bar band that just happens to feature the most famous people in music (and film). 

Hollywood Vampires

Johnny Depp is world renowned for his stellar acting in films like Yoga Hosers and Mordtecai but he’s somewhat reserved on stage, owing largely to an injured foot which limited his movements. He’s quiet for the most part but he still gets a chance to sing ‘People Who Died’ which will be stuck in my head for a very long time. 

Hollywood Vampires

The fact that some of these were deeper cuts was helpful, it’s not often you get to hear someone cover ‘Five to One’ by The Doors and Joe Perry does a masterful job replicating Robbie Kreiger’s bluesy solo work. Baba O’Riley is a classic track and a big crowd-pleaser but maybe the whole setlist could have been weighed a bit more towards what made the band work. 

Hollywood Vampires

There were six original tracks played and these all had personality and seemed like what you would get by putting these people together in a room. High-energy, punk-inspired tracks like ‘Raise the Dead’ could have been featured on one of Depp’s outings with Tim Burton. Perhaps it would be in Benny and Joon?

Hollywood Vampires

Alice Cooper is by far the best part of this whole ensemble, the man is a rock god and one of the best frontmen money can buy and he absolutely delivers here. Hearing Alice perform his classics, ‘I’m Eighteen’ and ‘School’s Out’ were the highlights of the show and the Hollywood Vampires tracks like ‘Who’s Laughing Now’ feel like they’ve been plucked straight from his untouchable repertoire. 

Hollywood Vampires

Hollywood Vampires is designed for die-hards of each individual member, it doesn’t have much for anyone outside of that and if you’re tired of the same tales of highly storied figures in rock history then this is definitely not for you. Luckily Alice Cooper is still touring with his solo band and Johnny Depp will hopefully continue his career as an actor which he’s still amazing at as evidenced by his performances in The Tourist and Secret Window. 

Lamestream Lydia
Lamestream Lydia
Self-proclaimed journalist, Progressive rock enthusiast and the most American sounding person you're ever likely to meet in the North of England

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