Danny Vaughn / VEGA

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Danny Vaughn / VEGA

Danny Vaughn / VEGA - JB's, Dudley (UK) - 10th of December 2010.

(Photo by Woody, www.midlandrocks.co.uk)

Tonight's gig could very well be one of the last ever shows at JB's due to it going into administration earlier this year. It's a real shame as it's one of the best venues for Rock music in the whole country, let alone the West Midlands. I've been lucky enough to see some of my favourite bands here over the last few years, with it being a regular date on any tour by the likes of Firehouse, Gotthard, H.E.A.T., Danger Danger, Winger, and of course Danny Vaughn and Tyketto. Hopefully the club can be saved before its doors close forever.

I had mixed feelings about seeing Vega playing one of their first ever shows as I had been a touch critical about vocalist Nick Workman's previous work with Eden, but because of the quality of the song-writing of Tom and James Martin there should be something to enjoy. In all honesty, I found that the songs weren't as instant as I expected them to be when compared to the tunes they had written for the likes of House Of Lords, From The Inside, First Signal etc., but I think they are the sort of songs that will be real growers when given more airplay. However I feel that Nick Workman's vocals are definitely more suited to this type of material, he sounded great. As for the Martin brothers, it's obvious that they're not really used to performing live, as both seemed very subdued. With Vega being a four-piece, Workman aside it was down to the two un-named additional members on bass and lead guitar to supply the majority of the visuals and audience interaction, and they also weighed in with the backing vocals too. Opener 'Into The Wild' was a standout track, with 'S.O.S.' and 'Stay With Me' not far behind, with the latter sincerely being dedicated to the JB's staff by Nick, who is no stranger to this venue in recent years. The set closes with the first single and album title track, the commercial sounding 'Kiss Of Life.' Given more time and experience with playing live, Vega will definitely be one to watch.

Danny Vaughn's latest touring venture is going under the title of 'Inspirations and Aspirations', interspersing some of Danny's influences and favourite songs with some choice cuts from his recent 'Reprise' CD, which is a re-release of his first two solo albums in one package, having rescued them from Z Records, and now owning the masters. As the majority of these songs haven't been performed live in a long time, 'It's like having your kids back from Foster Care' quips Danny. His backing band is made up of some of his Ultimate Eagles band-mates, namely bassist Chris Childs (Thunder), guitarist Christian Phillips, and drummer Ryan Aston, while keyboards are contributed by Jon Pease, who was a member of the short-lived The 80's Rocked band with Danny and Chris.

The set opens with Grand Funk Railroad's 'Footstompin' Music', which seems to be pretty unknown to a good portion of the crowd, which leads into the bluesy 'Bad Water' from the 'Soldiers And Sailors On Riverside' album. Next up Danny pays homage to one of the bands that were making waves when Tyketto were recording their debut album, Mr.Big. 'Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy' is the choice, with Christian Phillips demonstrating just what a great guitarist he is, emulating Paul Gilbert's solo perfectly; and yes, the drill does make an appearance at the end! Elsewhere the covers performed are much older songs, The Beatles 'Magical Mystery Tour' ('a song by the band that influenced most of us to pick up guitars,') The Who's 'Behind Blue Eyes', a stomping version of Led Zeppelin's 'Gallows Pole', and Blackfoot's 'Train Train', while Stevie Wonder's 'You Haven't Done Nothing' is fondly remembered by Danny from the first concert he ever attended. The loudest cheer of the night is for a storming version of Dio's 'Don't Talk to Strangers.' Mid-set sees DV delve furthest back into his own career to his Waysted days for 'Black And Blue.' As for Danny's own solo songs, 'Is That All There Is' is always a crowd pleaser, with Danny pointing his microphone out over the audience to let them sing the 'fucked up as hell' part, which they do very loudly! It's also great to hear the likes of 'Shadowlands', 'Fearless', 'Haunted' and 'The Voice' again after all this time, and the seldom heard 'Stone Monkey' gives Chris Childs chance to show his prowess by slapping out some funky bass lines. It's actually nice to see how popular Chris is, although he wasn't one of the original members of Thunder, he is still very highly regarded, as demonstrated by the enormous round of applause he gets when Danny introduces him.

No Danny Vaughn set is complete without a Tyketto song, and 'Forever Young' is the encore, which leads into a blistering run-through of Thin Lizzy's 'The Rocker' before the band leave the stage. Danny and Jon Pease then return for a gentle, heartfelt version of Tyketto's 'End Of The Summer Days' to bring the show to a close. As always Danny's voice is excellent throughout, and it's enjoyable to hear him singing other people's songs so well, but this time next year will hopefully see him promoting the new Tyketto album – let's just hope JB's will still be open to see it.

Ant Heeks

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