Gorilla Riot, let’s get this out of the way, are already a mighty fine band. They actually have the potential to be a brilliant one. They’ve got power and groove and they’ve got a singer in Arjun Bhishma who has a voice from the Gods. Listen to them play and you can’t come to any other conclusion. So, what’s holding them back? Based solely on this show, the first time I’ve seen them, they are. They are occasionally sloppy (starting a couple of songs again) and frankly Bhishma is unnecessarily confrontational. I am singled out by him from the stage a couple of times. Not something I enjoy in honesty – and my reaction probably explained that clearly – and it rather sours their set if truth be told. And yet, their songs are fabulous. “Still Doing Time”, “Last Hymn”, a quite brilliant “Wait On You” is as whiskey soaked as the singer himself, frankly, and the sassy “Molotov Sister” drips with lust. And the bad boy in “Bad Son” (next line “I ain’t gonna change for anyone”) perhaps sums them up. They end as they’ve spent the last hour, musically superb and with Bishma being told off for swearing. “Imagine how bad it would be if he was drunk” notes guitar player Charly. Indeed, the singer himself apologises to me saying later (and offstage he seems lovely) that he “never knows what to say up there”. Far be it from me to tell a magnificent band what to do, but why not let the music talk? As someone said, you say it best when you say nothing at all, because their talent screams out. It genuinely does.

Occasionally, we get on the bandwagon first. And I like to think we did that with Doomsday Outlaw. It was seven years ago that, after calling them “the best unsigned band in the country”, I also announced “Doomsday Outlaw have released a brilliant record, and you need to seek them out forthwith.”

I’ve only seen them once before tonight, back in 2018 opening for Graham Bonnet, and what strikes you about them here is their evolution. Back in the days when I still interviewed bands I’d spoken to bass player Indy and he’d said the band he’d admired most was Black Stone Cherry. This version of the band feels like its comfortable in the arenas and not the swamps of that debut.

For an hour here, they are everything you – and indeed you suspect they – want them to be. From the opening “In Too Deep”, they set about being a rock n roll band, nothing more and nothing less. Singer Phil Poole, has a kind of languid, Phil Campbell (the ex-Temperance Movement one) feel about him, and he seems happy to be on stage. “The Spirit That Made Me” is dedicated to his wife to be (“I used to be depressed, and tell you how shit my life was, now I can’t”, he smiles) while “One More Sip” (“It was called “Drink Myself to Death” originally but that was too depressing even for us” deadpans Poole) is a stunner. The keyboards make it. Giving it a real Faces feel.

The skill of the band is perhaps best shown when technical problems mean there’s no guitars, so Poole and a piano do a brilliant “Into The Light” when panicking might have been a default position.

There’s a new album in the offing, and the smattering of it they play here seems to underline that the 2022 Doomsday is coming with some big intent. “This Is The End” has a bit of a Jovi thing going on, “Runaway”, despite the name, doesn’t, but it’s a fine song – as is “Saltwater” (“this one is about someone else’s depression, not ours.”

And the ones from that debut, man, they hold up. “All That I Have” is the hit that wasn’t, and the last one “Bring You Pain” sounds fresh too. In between is a cover they have done on this tour, and with it being the last night it might not be heard again. No matter, they all seem to have enjoyed “Crazy Horses” here, in fairness.

The pandemic has stalled the careers of bands like this, but Doomsday Outlaw seem to have set their sights on making up for lost time. They are different band than they were, for sure, but they are just as good as ever.

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