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Happily, rock n roll refuses to die, so tonight the Ritz is host to an unrestrained celebration to all things backcombed, bullet belted and dressed in fishnet stockings. For sure it can be dumb but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun, and with the requisite amount of Jack Daniels, it can on occasion be nothing less than sublime. Tonight at the HMV Ritz, for the price of a ticket the lucky punter gets something old, something  new, and something buried and jet black. Put them together though and they all add up to an evening of raising hell. It's the 'Something Wicked Comes This Way 'tour rolling into town.

Crash Diet - are four Swedish outlaws intent on causing as much mayhem as humanly possible.  Chief trouble causer is lead screamer Simon Cruz, who sports the most amazing Mohican this side of the Arctic Circle, though all the crash dieters get stuck in with a performance that’s high on passion and aggression. Playing songs from their latest CD ‘Generation Wild’ the band gradually entice the crowd over to their cause by judicious use of ferocious guitars and pounding drums. In fact it’s playing the title track of the album when the band really comes alive and they don’t let up until the raucous closer ‘Breakin' the Chainz’ brings their short set to a breathless close.

Michael Monroe Band - Finland’s favourite son, Michael Monroe steps into the limelight next, and with a ‘Trick of the Wrist, the former Hanoi Rocks man is off and running. Now a stately forty-nine years old, Monroe looks like a young Iggy Pop in his heyday and throws himself around the stage with just as much zeal. Flanked to his right is Monroe's newest member of the band, Dregan, [a founding member of The Hellacopters and Backyard Babies] guitarist, and Sami Yaffa also from the New York Dolls and original Hanoi Rocks bad boy is back on bass. To his left is New York Dolls legend Steve Conte taking lead guitar duties and proves to be a master at wrenching dirty rock blues from each of its six strings. However Conte isn’t the only famous guitar slinger who fired off a solo because an excited looking Ginger Wildheart joins Monroe’s band to lead them through spirited versions of ‘Superpowered Superfly’ and ‘78’.   It’s good to see that Monroe is on fine form tonight and takes every opportunity to climb down from the stage and get down with the kids in the crowd on a few occasions. The biggest cheer of the night comes when the snake-hipped tune that calls itself ‘Back To Mystery City’ burst into life and everybody suddenly becomes a rock n roll star. A further guest guitarist in the form of Honest John Plain from punk band The Boys eases Monroe’s great set to it’s finale with an old Boys classic. However it’s good to know that there are still people who are holding a torch aloft for good time rock n roll. 

Wednesday 13 - Up to now there’s little that could be called subtle on display tonight and that situation didn’t change when America’s greatest dead boy band unleashed their jet black magic on the willing sinners who’ve gathered to welcome him to Manchester. It’s not an original sound but it’s exciting and it’s played with a brutal rage that sweeps everything along in its wake.

Most of the songs played tonight have a similar concept, a deathly pun for a title, a gregarious riff, a paint stripping vocal courtesy of the mesmerising Wednesday 13 and anthemic gang chorus that dares you not to sing along. Each song is a slight resurrection of the last but with minor adjustments to make is slightly unique. You’d think it’d become dull very quickly but it’s done with such verve and enthusiasm that as a live experience it works fantastically well, and the crowd mosh feverishly to every tune played tonight. Lead singer Wednesday 13, or Joseph Poole as he’s known to his mother, is by all accounts a heart throb to girls who’d like their boyfriend to be something out of twilight. But he does command the stage and is in possession of a sand-blasting voice that suits the heavy metal Goth his band grind out perfectly. Still as dark and cold as Wednesday 13’s heart is, there was still a place for the showman because he demands that the audience to ‘Make Some Fuckin’ Noise!’ every two minutes. But fuck it, it’s a rock and roll show with all the silliness and fun that comes with it, and in the end it’s incredibly difficult not to succumb to it. To end the show Wednesday 13's final words rang out to the screaming fans  "Manchester you just came".


Calling All Corpses
I Walked With A Zombie
Scream Baby Scream
Home Sweet Homicide
Silver Bullets
From Here To The Hearse - (Under My Wheels snippet)
Happily Ever Cadaver
Put Your Death Mask On
I Only Want You Dead
I Wanna Be Cremated
House By The Cemetery


Till Death Do Us Party
Bad Things
Something Wicked This Way Comes

Review by Phil King
Photos by Mel