Not for nothing, you suspect, do Scottish three-piece The Amorettes, play a song towards the end of their set called “Everything I Learned (I Learned From Rock N Roll)” because they have spent nearly all their lives, surely, perfecting it so that it sounded as no frills as it is here. Rather like their obvious contemporaries Tequila Mockingbyrd, it is tempting to think that The Amorettes have only a very neat line in AC/DC style hard rock, but like TM it’s actually far more nuanced than that. Sure, from the opening title track of their new album “Born To Break” to the closing “Hot And Heavy” there is something of the classic hard rock feel about them, but as befits a band that is now on their fourth record, they have their own stamp too. “Crusader” for example is a more Saxon-ish effort, “Russian Roulette” chugs along, while “Let The Neighbours Call The Cops” has the feel of their anthem. And, you’d be willing to bet that between them Gil, Heather and Hannah know exactly where to find trouble too. You’d also bet that after a near decade of paying their dues, a major breakthrough cannot be far away for The Amorettes.
Outside it is – as it seems to have been for months in this endless UK winter – cold and wet. Inside, as it happens, there is a collection of men who only want to bring sunshine. The Dead Daisies frontman John Corabi, even admits this. “You know,” he says, before playing, “What Goes Around”, “this is going to be the summer anthem. Top down, bring your woman a little closer, and crank the shit out of this!”
That, right there, is actually TDD in the neatest of nutshell’s, because if the first band learnt everything they knew from rock n roll, then effectively these are the boys that taught the lesson.
The history of the band is interesting and complex but suffice here to say that of the line-up when MV first saw them, opening for Black Star Riders six years or so back, then only David Lowry, the Australian who put them together, remains (and they’ve pinched BSR’s then bassist too).
This current line up reads like a who’s who of rock gods. Alongside Corabi and Marco Mendoza – the aforementioned four stringer – are Doug Aldrich and Deen Castronovo on drums. Small wonder then, that their new “Burn It Down” album amounts to a masterclass in how to do this.
It is also fair to say that each time they’ve come back there has been a little more buzz and a lot more people. The Robin isn’t small, but its been sold out for months. In that respect the band are a real throwback. Word of mouth and hard work has got them here – and from the atmosphere onstage, the jokes, the smiling – to the adulation with which they are treated from the crowd, it is clear that whatever “it” is, TDD have.
More pertinently, they have great songs and they cram them into this 90 minutes here with absolute relish. Confidence too. The in-built self-belief to start with two from the new album – the superb “Resurrected” the highlight – before casually nipping into the arena rocker in waiting that was the title track of the last one “Make Some Noise”.
At this point – four studio albums in – they have a body of work to make many envious. “Song And A Prayer” is made for radio, “Last Time I Saw The Sun” is sprinkled with some kind of stardust, and “Burn It Down” is an excuse for fists to clench.
Talented musicians too – surely a given with this pedigree – Castronovo gets a solo, but doesn’t overdo it and Aldrich is as good as there is at recognising how to be flashy within a song. But TDD are entertainers first and foremost, and this is never a clinical recital.
Instead, “Bitch” oozes sass as does “Devil Out Of Time” (“most definitely about one of my ex-wives” deadpans Corabi here), while “Mexico” is heads down, head for the border fun, and if they allow themselves the Rockstar indulgence of an encore, then remember these boys are rockstars.
And that encore is worth it too. “Judgement Day” is southern flavoured, before Credence’s “Fortunate Son” proves that it is one of the finest rock songs anywhere.
Even if they recognise their debt to the past, then The Dead Daisies are one of the finest hard rock bands around right now. They understand the point to what they do is simple. They are not here to change the world, but they will make it better for an hour and a half. And who can say that is a bad thing?