Danny Vaughn – Ahoghill, Diamond Rock Club – 23 September 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Mark Ashby and The Dark Queen   
Sunday, 01 October 2017 04:20

The thing about venues such as the Diamond, run by fans for fans for the genuine love of the music, is that the warmth of their hospitality means that artists always want to return to them time and again, often going out of their way to ensure that they are included in their tour schedules or even just popping over for the odd one-off show.


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And so it was on this occasion with Danny Vaughn, making something like his fourth or fifth visit to this little secluded corner of the Überverse, accompanied by only his guitar and, for the first time, his lovely wife. The pair had actually flown over from their home in the south of Spain a couple of days early in order to do some sightseeing, as Danny alludes to when he finally manages to make it onto the stage… I say “finally” because for quite some time it looked like his performance might not actually happen: and this wasn’t because of some temperamental wannabe rock star blaming a few sherbets too many the evening before for catching a dose of the lurgy (as has happened a couple of times in the recent past)! No, this was down a particularly Northern Ireland phenomenon – the band parade! And we’re not talking rock bands here, rather the drum ‘n’ flute variety. And one of those parades was taking place this very eve – and right outside the door of the Vaughn’s hotel, resulting in them being trapped inside as the clock ticked ever closer to stage time…


Vaughn makes light of the situation as he sits down and straps his guitar around his shoulders. “There was like 33 bands marching past… or was it just the same three bands going round and round and round?” he asks, after apologizing for his enforced tardiness. No need, Mr V, no need: it’s a local thing which you have to see to believe – and you just did and you do! Despite the delay, both he and the crowd (well, we’ve all had time for a few extra of those there sherbets!) are in great form, and the next two-and-a-half hours fly by. Yes, you’ve read that correctly: two hours and 34 minutes if you want to be precise! How many artists perform for that long these days – and for only the price of a couple of pints? (NOTE: Vaughn later revealed on his Facebook page that this was the longest set he had ever played.)


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The problem with these “sing and tell”-type shows, where the artist narrates the stories behind the songs, or tells funny tales about life on the road” is that they often become more “tell” than “sing” (as I’ve seen happen on more than a few occasions), with the result that, at the end of the evening, you realize that maybe less than half the set has consisted of the actual music. Not, on this occasion: while Vaughn does talk quite a bit, and extremely elegantly and eloquently, he keeps his chats as brief as possible, highlighting little nuggets of information – such as revealing that he stole the intro to ‘Here’s Hoping It Hurts’ from Cheap Trick or that tonight is the first time in their eight years together that he has dedicated a song (‘Reach’) to his wife.


He delves deep into his archive, drawing the analogy between the state of the world when ‘How The West Was Won’ was written in 1986 and where we find ourselves in the one in which he performs it today. He also keeps the repertoire fresh, with first ‘Reach’ and then ‘Circle The Wagons’, which he describes as his favourite song from the most recent Tyketto album, and also tells us it is the most requested song at his acoustic show: the song certainly shines in this interpretation, it’s simplicity really sparkling like the name of the club in which it is being delivered.


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Of course, there is a dig at those (albeit, on this occasion, a very small minority) who are talking during the set – but the songs win through: there’s a beautiful version of Queen’s ‘Love Of My Life’ (“you mean you want me to sing like Freddie and play like Brian?” he says of his reaction when asked to do it) is followed by the almost obligatory ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’ as well as more from his solo songbook, and those of Tyketto and Waysted and a smattering of rareties: he admits to not having played the likes of ‘A Handful Of Rain’ in quite some time – which he then demonstrates by taking several attempts to get it right!


He may be the one on the stage, but there is no way he is ‘Standing Alone’, as every voice in the room joins in the chorus, with Vaughn responding accordingly, telling us that “that’s the hardest I’ve sang that song in about five years”. And the songs keep coming, with one of the latter segment highlights undoubtedly being ‘I Will Fight No More Forever’, a rending paean to the final submission of the last Amerindian tribes in the face of the white man’s invasion: a subject close to Vaughn’s heart, and the irony not lost in these days dominated by debates about immigration.


Video courtesy of N I Rocks


On each occasion that DV has played the Diamond – be it solo or as part of the Snake Oil & Harmony set up with his good friend Dan Reed – we had managed to miss the show, for one reason or another. This time around, The Dark Queen made sure the UR diary was cleared of all other distractions, and stood over me while the beer bus and gig tickets were purchased well in advance… I would probably looking at the divorce court if anything, anything at all, had got in the way of this chance to get up close and personal with one of her favourite singers. Well, one thing is certain: she wasn’t the only one who left with a smile on her face… and it won’t be long until she gets to do it again, as Vaughn revealed that he and Reed will be returning to the boards of the Diamond next March. That’ll be that appointment booked in the 2018 diary then!




PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © The Dark Queen/ Über Rock.


Tyketto return to the United Kingdom in November, playing the following dates:


Friday 10 – Pwllheli, Hard Rock Hell

Saturday 11 – Sheffield, Corporation

Sunday 12 – Manchester, Club Academy

Monday 13 – Nuneaton, Queens Hall

Friday 24 – Troon, Winterstorm

Saturday 25 – Edinburgh, La Belle Angele

Sunday 26 – Newcastle Upon Tyne, The Cluny


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