|Chickenfoot - London, Brixton Academy - 14th January 2012|
|Written by Jim Rowland|
|Friday, 20 January 2012 05:00|
Unbelievably, it's been two and a half years since Chickenfoot make their 'intimate' live UK debut at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire in the summer of 2009, how time flies eh! That was a really outstanding show, one of my gig highlights of that year, so it didn't take much to get me down to Brixton tonight for another dose. Of course, it's not quite the same Chickenfoot as last time, as Chad Smith is on Chili Peppers duty, so we have the more than capable session man Kenny Aronoff deputising, who does a fine job.
Now armed with a second album, there's a bigger pool of songs to choose from, and the set is pretty much 50/50 of material from each album. It's three from the second album that kick things off in the shape of 'Lighten Up', 'Alright Alright' and the excellent 'Big Foot'. What instantly strikes you, as it did last time, is what an outstanding frontman Sammy Hagar is. This man just oozes class, cool and professionalism. It's amazing to think that he's now 64 years old - he looks nowhere near that age, the voice is intact and he's got charisma by the bucket load. Just be careful not to be too dazzled by those all-American super white teeth when the spotlight hits him though!
'Sexy Little Thing' and 'Soap On A Rope' provide a rockin' double dose from the first album, and 'Up Next' is ..er.. up next! 'My Kinda Girl' was one of the more commercial tunes from the first album, and Hagar comments that it's his favourite track from that album, and it's delivered superbly, as is 'Down the Drain'.
'Three and A Half Letters' is one of the more unusual tracks from the latest album, but is for many people, myself included, one of its highlights, so I was both surprised and delighted as Hagar gets those letters out and delivers a corkin' rendition. This is followed up by yet another of my favourites from 'III', the country rocking 'Something Going Wrong', another pleasant surprise. 'Turnin Left' and 'Future In The Past' crank things up several notches for a really rocking finale before the encores.
Chickenfoot get a great reception throughout tonight, so obviously they return to the stage for a triumphant encore. 'Different Devil' is another highlight from the 'III' album, benefiting from some superb backing vocals from Mike Anthony which give it a bit of a Van Halen flavour, and 'Oh Yeah' from the first album has a bit of a Chili Peppers vibe to it, despite the lack of Chad Smith. The band sign off in superb style with a super sexy version of the Hendrix classic 'Foxy Lady', featuring some truly outstanding guitar work from Joe Satriani.
Chickenfoot have now established themselves as a super group as opposed to a 'supergroup', and it has to be mentioned how great Mike Anthony is here. He exudes as much charisma as Hagar, and the two of them together are a lethal combination. His backing vocals are second to none, and back in his Van Halen days contributed a hell of a lot to that Van Halen signature sound, with very little credit it has to be said. Well, Van Halen's loss is now Chickenfoot's gain and I think when, or should that be "if", Van Halen do make it over here in the future, Anthony's absence is going to leave a huge void. On the evidence of tonight, and also, in my opinion, on the evidence of the new Van Halen song 'Tattoo' now available on You Tube, I think Chickenfoot would blow Van Halen away these days.
Sadly the only down side of tonight's show is the venue's sound, which at times let the band down a bit, and unfortunately this is often the case with Brixton Academy. So for that reason, and the fact that it's a bigger venue, this show didn't quite scale the heights of that Shepherd's Bush gig in 2009, but all in all this sure was a finger lickin' good helping of Chickenfoot.
Photos: Thanks to James Warren ©Photobeat Images