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Back once again at the Assembly, the Live/Wire boys and their AC/DC show looked to me an even bigger production than ever with larger speaker cabinets, more cannons and extra lights (may have been by imagination!) and as for the music they as always rocked with a capital R.

Manchester blues rockers Federal charm had an early start coming on stage at around 7.10 to a fairly sparse audience (which quickly built up) and as with my last looks at this energetic young band (supporting Joanne Shaw Taylor at this venue and the Copper Rooms in Cov) they impressed me with their drive, power and strong original numbers (also love the interaction between the two guitars).

Highlights included opener ‘Master Plan' with it's heavy, driving beat and strong guitar riffs, ‘The Stray' full of cool strutting blues with lashings of slide guitar, loved it when the harmonica made an appearance on a hi-tempo rock and roll number possibly called ‘Hill Billy' and closer ‘Silhouette' was a wonderfully polished catchy rocker.

I have realised while reviewing and photographing bands over the years that some music fans look down on tribute acts because not original and copycats, while I can see a little in their reason I have to disagree with this view, for 2 reasons

1) They often give fans a chance to have the experience of the music of much loved bands that in some cases are no longer around or maybe when they tour are too expensive for their pockets.

2) While listening to the likes of Planet Rock (also on rock magazine fee cd's) I often hear new bands original material that sounds exactly like a new AC/DC, Black Sabbath etc release so closely have they followed the template (do love some of these bands though!) and at least with tribute acts they are completely honest and upfront about what they do.

Saying all the above though for me a tribute band have to be bloody good and despite a couple of line-up changes since their last visit to Leam no change in this bands quality and power packed performance, in fact I do not think I have seen them perform better.

Lights down, short intro tape and the rhythm section sets the rock solid groove before on bounced the new boys in the band and our Bon and Angus for the first half of the show and I loved that they started with what surely is the bands signature tune ‘Live Wire'.

From here it was all systems go on a journey through the Bon Scott years (where it is of course top quality throughout) with the likes of ‘Shot Down In Flames', an epic, crashing ‘Sin City', a stomping 'T.N.T' and with all the usual and much loved Angus theatrics in place a glorious ‘Bad Boy Boogie'.

Both recent arrivals to the band did a sterling job both capturing Bon's cheeky boy manner and power-packed vocals while the Angus guitar work, duck walks and tricks were spot on.

With barely a pause for breath our Bon departed and our Brian took his place bringing the title track of the last studio album to the table and with a decent sized stage explosion it was a rollicking ‘Rock or Bust' that got part two underway.

As with the Bon Scott years all the anthems were in place including a barnstorming ‘Shoot to Thrill', a groove laden ‘Rock N Roll Train', with the preceding sounds of a tolling bell what else but ‘Hell's Bells' and the bands biggest anthem ‘You Shook Me All Night Long'.

Encores started with a short fun instrumental Scottish jig to ‘The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond' (must admit I thought this indicated a Scotland win in the Euro match with England taking place at Wembley that night - it didn't !) followed by the return of Bon for ‘Highway To Hell'.

Next with both singers on stage we had the legendary ‘Let There Be Rock' complete with Bon carrying Angus on his shoulders around and through the audience before finally the cannons were unleashed for a triumphant ‘For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)' with for me at least the cannon booms/explosions having a little more significance as it was the 11th of the 11th.

Fantastic and the same again in 12 months please lads.


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