Live: Down 'N' Outz / Vega

Joe Elliott's World of Mott: a screwdriver jiver's delight.

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“We didn’t think this through,” admits Vega singer Nick Workman as he looks to introduce those members of the five-piece squished into an unseemly huddle to his right.

It’s a schoolboy error for a band three albums into a career that hit the heights with last year’s Stereo Messiah. It does, though, underline that they need to sharpen up their presentation. If they could look as good as they sound then bigger stages await…

Joe Elliott’s Down ’N’ Outz, on the other hand, come on like the seasoned troopers they are. And even though boosted by new bass player Share Ross (ex-Vixen) they sound even better than they look. Since they launched themselves in 2009 – supporting Mott The Hoople with a masterclass in MTH-related classics even the headliners had forgotten – they’ve expanded the template to include a few hits, too.

They keep to the era but switch bands for a gobsmacking opener of Elton John’s Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding, but later end with Hoople‘s Crash Street Kids and Violence after wellying the likes of Drivin’ Sister and Whizz Kid into the 21st century.

Okay, these might be someone else’s great songs but they still need delivering properly. Which, helped in no small way by guitarist Paul Guerin knocking seven bells out of his Gibson, the Down ’N’ Outz do with maximum wallop.

Neil Jeffries

Freelance contributor to Classic Rock and several of its offshoots since 2006. In the 1980s he began a 15-year spell working for Kerrang! intially as a cub reviewer and later as Geoff Barton’s deputy and then pouring precious metal into test tubes as editor of its Special Projects division. Has spent quality time with Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Ritchie Blackmore, Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore – and also spent time in a maximum security prison alongside Love/Hate. Loves Rush, Aerosmith and beer. Will work for food.