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Sunday, 14th December 2014

Newcastle, England - Media Reviews

Joe Elliott's Down 'n' Outz at The Riverside in Newcastle, UK By Adam Kennedy

Def Leppard’s Joe Eliot recently brought his latest band, the Down ‘n’ Outz, to Newcastle and proved that the spirit of good time rock and roll is alive.

The Down ‘n’ Outz is a who’s who of rock greats. Alongside the mighty Joe Eliot was Vixen’s, Share Ross playing bass and Newcastle Quireboys, Paul Guerin and Guy Griffin on guitar. The music pays homage to the legendary Ian Hunter and Mott the Hoople. They make a welcome return to Newcastle with their first headline show in the city. The last time they played in Newcastle was in 2011 when they were opening for Paul Rodgers of Free and Bad Company. Joe Eliot has a long running association with the city having first played in Newcastle back in 1979 with AC/DC.

Joe Eliot appears behind a white piano as the Down ‘n’ Outz open their set with, “Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Beneath.” Paul and Guy launch into “One of the Boys,” clapping their hands with the Geordie crowd. Joe back behind the piano leads the band into the heartfelt “Sea Diver,” for which the band recently released a video, and features as a bonus track on their latest album, The Further Adventures Of. The Down ‘n’ Outz are tight and genuinely look like they are enjoying themselves, almost as much as the crowd.

Mott the Hoople and Ian Hunter fan favorites and rarities alike get a much appreciated airing this evening with the likes of “Who Do You Love,” and “Crash Street Kidds,” included in the set. Joe welcomes Sinead Madden to the stage who plays violin during a stunning rendition of “Violence,” which brings the band’s main set to a close. As the band returns to the stage for the encore, Joe is donning a union jack guitar and closing their set with a Mott the Hoople favorite “Good Times,” resulting in rapturous applause from the audience, and leaving them wanting more.

With Down ‘n’ Outz the legacy of Ian Hunter and Mott the Hoople are in safe hands. The band is also successfully introducing their music to a whole new generation in the process.

By National Rock Review 2014.

Down 'n' Outz By Simon

As the dust settled on the Down N Outz’ headline set a surprisingly disappointed Joe Elliott likened his current predicament to a ‘porn star having his balls chopped off’.

It was a typically candid assessment from the Def Leppard frontman as he continues to battle the bronchial infection that has plagued this month’s run of eagerly anticipated shows by the Ian Hunter-inspired act. However, Elliott was being overly hard on himself.

Sure, he’s had better nights behind the mic but the odd croak, cough and snot-fueled splutter didn’t detract from the fact that this multi-millionaire leader of a stadium rock institution clearly loved every minute of a tiny club show that sparkled from start to finish.

The pre-gig warning that there would be no Leppard hits and no Quireboys’ standards (half of the band hail from the reborn Geordie rock n rollers) had clearly been heeded by the respectful throng. The fans – like Elliott and his beaming hired hands – were ready for a night of 70s glam-flavoured nostalgia and as an unpretentious pop rock party this was close to perfect.

The decision to kick off with a classic instrumental-led jam – Elton John’s Funeral For a Friend (Love Lies Bleeding) – proved inspired. Elliott has insisted the Down N Outz is a genuine band rather than a self-centered vanity project and each member had the opportunity to shine within the expansive set opener.

Flanking the voice of Leppard stood lead guitarist Paul Guerin and Vixen’s Share Ross – the former on fire and the latter bringing some silky smooth bass to the mix. Guy Griffin’s rhythm guitar screamed understated cool and Keith Weir carried on where he’d left off at the same venue three weeks earlier tinkling his way into the hearts of an enamoured crowd. Throw in Phil Martini’s pounding class and it was immediately obvious why Elliott loves his time fronting Down N Outz.

US rock hit Overnight Angels brought the band closer together before One Of The Boys picked up the pace. If Elliott was struggling to shake off his illness then it wasn’t obvious.

Quireboys’ fans are well aware of Guerin’s quality but challenged to fire out soaring solo after soaring solo, the local hero rose to the occasion. Just as Ross revelled in the spotlight alongside Elliott, Blyth’s finest did everything in his power to steal the show from his famous sidekick.

If Violence’s edgy tone didn’t quite work as the main set closer then Down N Outz served up a suitably raucous encore with Hunter’s England Rocks segueing into Mott’s aptly-titled Good Times: that’s exactly what this band specialises in.

By Rushonrock 2014.

Down 'n' Outz at Newcastle Riverside By Mick Burgess

If you go into any town or city across the country on any night of the week the chances are there will be some tribute band or other playing covers by their favourite artists.

But you can be sure that there’ll be none with quite the pedigree of the Down ‘n’ Outz.

They were formed by Def Leppard lead singer Joe Elliott and include members of the Quireboys and Vixen, at the personal request of Ian Hunter who wanted a band to open up for the long awaited Mott The Hoople reunion shows in London in 2009.

Being a lifelong devotee of all things Mott The Hoople, Elliott jumped at the chance at sharing the stage with his boyhood hero.

Interest from that single show mushroomed and an album and tour with Paul Rodgers soon followed with the Down `n’ Outz covering material from right across Mott The Hoople’s back catalogue and associated solo recordings by various band members.

With a second album, The Further Adventures Of, hot off the press featuring another selection of Mott The Hoople classics it was time for a full-blown headlining tour.

With Elliott fresh off the road playing huge enormodomes in The States with Kiss this was an altogether more low-key affair, playing small clubs the likes of which Elliott has not seen since the formative years of Def Leppard.

Elliott has never hid his love for Mott The Hoople over the years and has championed their music at every opportunity so this was a real labour of love for him and with Paul Guerin, Guy Griffin and Keith Weir from The Quireboys it would be hard to think of any other musicians quite as suited to a project devoted to the Mott cause.

American bassist Share Pederson may have seemed like the odd one out but her grooves complemented the glitter and sparkle of Rock and Roll Queen, the Honky Tonk driven Who Do You Love and Whizz Kid to perfection and she matched the boys every beat of the way. She was a real class act.

Neatly side stepping the more obvious hits meant there was more space for the hidden gems that an uber fan such as Elliott would want to cover, meaning no All The Young Dudes or Roll Away The Stone but leaving more space for One of The Boys and Drivin’ Sister and digging deeper to include Ian Hunter’s England Rocks and One More Chance To Run by the post Mott band British Lions making the set all the more special.

If Elliott’s aim was to expose an inquisitive crowd to the strength and depth of Mott The Hoople`s melody-=soaked back catalogue then this was a resounding success and set closer Good Times pretty much summed up the uplifting atmosphere in the Riverside at the end of a hugely entertaining evening.

By Chronicle Live 2014.

Down N' Outz at Riverside, Newcastle on 14th December 2014 By Wayne Madden

On September 13th 1979 Def Leppard opened for The Red Rocker, Sammy Hagar, to kick off their UK tour in Newcastle’s Mayfair. It’s not a far cry from that venue tonight as Joe Elliott steps out onto the stage to rapturous applause. He looks well for a man of his age; he looks nothing like his actual 55 years, perhaps due in part to the healthy lifestyle afforded to him or perhaps because his wife has recently given birth to his very first child. In a recent interview with Newcastle’s Evening Chronicle Elliott was quoted as having said that “I think the older I get the more I want to do as the time that’s gone never comes back and the time in front is getting less” and this project is a real labour of love, something which completely encapsulates that thinking.

Down N’ Outz were originally formed in 2009 by Elliott, also featuring members of The Quireboys and Raw Glory. Their debut album My Regeneration, first given away free with an issue of Classic Rock, provided a platform for which the band were able to capture fans of obscure Mott The Hoople and Ian Hunter tracks, proud to see this music resurrected and performed again. Following the patronage of Hunter himself, the project grew strength and numbers, with the bands second album ‘The Further Adventures Of…’ released in April 2014. At this point the fans who had attended the bands previous dates out of curiosity, and even those who turned up early to watch them open for Paul Rodgers, began to form solid opinions beyond that of the usual short lived side project or supergroup billing. Down N’ Outz, it would seem, are here to stay.

If that’s the case then Newcastle’s audience are in full agreement tonight.

This venue might not be the same Riverside building that Elliott’s hero David Bowie’s Glass Spiders played in 1988, but it does represent a lot of culture and heritage, positioned right alongside the Quayside no more than six feet from the Tyne. Down N’ Outz are more than happy to play with the assembled audience and throw around extended takes of ‘Golden Opportunity’ and ‘Shouting and Pointing’ and while these tracks never made the UK Top 40 in their day, they’re still as fondly known and remembered. In fact, so obscure are the Down n Outz’s material, that in researching some of their albums before this gig I had to – in some cases – start with their Wikipedia page. And that’s an important point because, despite the lack of real advertising or social media this gig failed to attract (a lot of that on purpose), the assembled bodies here tonight are simply proof of word of mouth.

You get exactly what it says on the tin. There is a little Elton John with ‘Love Lies Bleeding’ to begin the performance this evening – perhaps Elliott paying tribute to John’s imminent wedding – but from ‘Rock and Roll Queen’ to ‘Overnight Angels’ and even ‘Crash Street Kidds’ there is no denying that Hunter will be collecting a steady PRS cheque once the revenues from this tour have been agreed. His music is being performed in an engaging and positive way and you don’t once feel that you’re at a covers concert, not once do you realise not an original piece of material is being played. So new, fresh and exciting is the music you’re hearing.

Phil Martin, formerly of Tokyo Drummers, makes an engaging presence behind the sticks and is the stand out performer of this evening; you’ve heard it said that in some cases you had to be there to enjoy it, and in this case, you’re absolutely right – the evening’s performance is a solid entertainment from a session band who enjoy playing together and a man, at their helm, who is easily able to switch between arena and local pub in a matter of seconds. Outstanding.

By Nemmblog 2014.


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