Review: Michael Monroe rocks the Duchess

Simply stunning: Monroe in full flight at The Duchess. Photographs: Ben Hughes
5 Dec 2013 @ 5.17 pm
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Simply stunning: Monroe in full flight at The Duchess. Photographs: Ben Hughes
Simply stunning: Monroe in full flight at The Duchess. Photographs: Ben Hughes

Review: Michael Monroe / theFALLEN
Venue: The Duchess, York, November 28

For those of you who don’t know, Michael Monroe is a bit of a rock legend. The former frontman of the now sadly defunct Finnish rockers Hanoi Rocks is still going strong after all these years, even gaining Album of The Year at the Classic Rock awards in 2011.

Known for his incendiary and energetic live shows 2013 now sees the man and his band touring on the back of recent album Horns & Halos and The Duchess is the second stop on the UK leg of this tour.

First up tonight are local lads theFALLEN who just happen to be York’s brightest hopes for the future in my opinion. A mash of flailing black hair, tattooed skin and loud guitars, what more could you ask for in a metal band?

Oh yeah some good songs, they have them too, the likes of Face In The Dirt and The Harbinger are quality metal indeed, a heady mix of early Motley Crue and Avenged Sevenfold.

Live they sound heavier than on album, and tonight they sure are loud! Singer Johnny Fallen has a great voice, he can hit the notes with ease and scream his lungs out when required. He knows how to work a crowd and spends a lot of the set right at the front, stretched over the front row playing to the whole room.

They possess a confidence that many new bands lack even when playing to an audience that are obviously here for the headliners.

Slick and professional, theFALLEN are a fresh burst of modern metal and should be going places fast.

Full of energy: Michael Monroe
Full of energy: Michael Monroe
A mighty cheer goes up as the headliners take to the stage. Michael Monroe is a bounding ball of energy from the off, like no other man, possessing a body that will put men half his age to shame.

Just a black leather waistcoat to frame his fat-free torso, he lunges to the crowd, scales the barrier and proceeds to entertain with some of the finest rock ‘n’ roll music you are ever likely to hear.

The new songs mix with the old as we are treated to the likes of Ballad Of The Lower East Side, 78 and classic Hanoi Rocks material such as Motorvatin and Malibu Beach that get the crowd singing along to every word.

Tracks from Monroe’s previous band Demolition 23 are also given an airing – the sublime and anthemic Hammersmith Palais and Nothin’s Alright stand out as classic above all else.

Covers? They have them too, a quick one-two of Love Song and Machine Gun Etiquette by The Damned and a fine run through of Eddie & The Hot Rods Do Anything You Wanna Do fit into the set like they were the band’s own.

The extended five-song encore is a highlight, old Hanoi track Underwater World is a welcome addition with Monroe playing his trademark red sax and they end with a fast and frantic double dose of I Wanna Be Loved and I Feel Alright.

In a 30-odd year career Michael Monroe has nothing left to prove to anybody, he has done it all, yet he continues to make the music he loves and endlessly entertain at a level that many bands half his age could only dream of reaching. His band set the standard very high and there few who come close, simply stunning.