Bluesy heavy rock fronted by ex-Deep Purple vocalist, David Coverdale, Whitesnake in the late70s/early 80s were utterly brilliant. One of the first rock albums I ever bought as a teenager was Ready an’ Willing. Whitesnake evolved into something quite different but the early vintage of Whitesnake was always the one I was most interested in. Ex-Whitesnake members, guitarist Micky Moody and bassist Neil Murray, are keeping the flame alive with Snakecharmer, playing a mix of Whitesnake classics and newer material in that similar melodic, bluesy heavy rock similar vein.
The Whitesnake veterans have teamed up with ex-Wishbone Ash guitarist, Laurie Wisefield; the son of Rick Wakeman and keyboard supremo in his own right, Adam Wakeman; and Thunder drummer, Harry James. They are joined by vocalist Chris Ousey who handles the David Coverdale material perfectly, yet resisting the temptation of becoming a Coverdale trinute act.
I’ve seen another former Whitesnake member, Bernie Marsden, perform solo on several occassions and it’s nothing less than an absolute joy. But while Marsden’s shows these days duly celebrate the Whitesnake legacy there is a real emphasis on the slower blues that is his love and passion. A Snakecharmer gig, however, is more in the spirit of the heavy rocking nature of early Whitesnake, with the added bonus of a top-class lead vocalist and, of course, Micky Moody’s irreplacebale slide guitar playing. And anyone who thinks that an extended drums and slide guitar solo spot is a tad self-indulgent and over the top needs to het along to a Snakecharmer gig to see just how good this can be.
There’s some great new material. But, more than anything it’s those old Whitesnake numbers we are at this gig for. And how glorious it is singing along to Ready an’ Willing, Here I Go Again and Fool For Your Loving. I was 15 again, deftly manouevering myself to the very front row at Donington with my mate Gareth. The simple, life-affirming, communal joy of live rock music.
So how devastating it was getting home after the gig and finding out about the terrible events in Paris: other rock fans, like me, just wanting to enjoy the simple pleasures of a night out at a live gig. But tragically, unlike those of us at the Islington Academy tonight, many of them never coming home. I was reminded immediately of the emotive words of another of David Coverdale’s erstwhile colleagues, Glenn Hughes. Only a couple of weeks earlier on the final night of his UK tour Hughes spoke emotively and passionately about the beauty of music and its ability to break down barriers and bring people together, even when there is so much hate in the world. Terrorism will not stop that.
Guilty as Charged
A Little Rock & Roll
Ready an’ Willing
Ain’t Gonna Cry No More
Nothing to Lose
Crying in the Rain
Moody’s Blues (slide guitar & drums solo spot)
Slow an’ Easy
Here I Go Again
Fool for Your Loving