Last weekend’s return of a full capacity, zero restrictions, Download Festival will surely go down as one of the happiest events of the year when December 2022 comes around and publications turn to their “moments of the year” review. With Gene Simmons recently doubling down on his “rock is dead” comments from a few years back, even he surely would have cracked a grin at the sight of 80,000 fans praying at the altar of rock and metal music. And while Gene is correct in his statement that there will never be another Beatles, he perhaps doesn’t quite grasp the fact that there is an almighty wealth of young, new talent out there ensuring that the ethos of rock music will never die out. And with it being Download weekend, it meant the traditional regional shows from artists appearing over the weekend were back on, and Glasgow played host to a handful of sets from acts either just back from the East Midlands, or on their way down south.
First up, and fresh from their appearance on the Dogtooth Stage on opening day, – New York-based, hotly-tipped four-piece Tempt who are on a mission to make their 25-minute set at the ungodly hour of 6.30 pm seem like it was a headlining set at Madison Square Garden. Strong Def Leppard vibes from these guys, and not just because livewire vocalist Zach Allen bears an uncanny resemblance to a pre-peroxide Joe Elliott, but because the music that Tempt serves up is jam-packed with the same sense of melody that Leppard brought to the US masses decades ago (and still do, for that matter). The majestical ‘Burn Me Down’ deserves to be heard ringing out from the rafters of arenas around the world, but for now, a rapidly filling up club in Glasgow will suffice…for now.
With headliners Theory of A Deadman’s equipment taking up most of the stage, Tempt only has a small area to make their own, but regardless of that, it’s dizzying watching Allen making the most of it and covering every inch of whatever stage he has access to. Flanked by guitarist Harrison Marcello, bassist Chris Gooden, and with drummer Nick Burrows just behind him, Allen is a seasoned pro at making eye contact with everyone in the front few rows, and all four band members seem genuinely surprised that so many in the crowd know the words to some of the songs; especially the killer new single ‘Living Dangerous’. Throw in a riotous romp through the fast version of ‘We Will Rock You’, and Tempt leave the stage to heaps of well-deserved applause. Hard enough to play at festivals such as Download, Graspop, and Rock Am Ring, as well as open shows for Iron Maiden, Tremonti, and Shinedown, Tempt has the looks, and, more importantly, the hooks to also open a show for a more traditional pop act such as Harry Styles, as bizarre as that sounds, remember that The Darkness has previously opened for both Ed Sheeran, and Lady Gaga. It’s all about the hooks, and Tempt has them by the bucket load. Along with The Struts, and Maneskin, Tempt are playing their part in making rock music more approachable to younger, more pop-friendly audiences, and I tell ya, more power to them.
Sharing the Theory stage with Tempt, but leaving straight afterward to perform at Download; LA’s finest – Dead Posey. Having been booked on the original Download bill that rolled over for what seemed like an eternity, Dead Posey are making their long-awaited return to these shores. Fronted by wedded duo, vocalist Danyell Souza and guitarist Tony F., Dead Posey are a retina-blitzing experience best witnessed in a darkened room like tonight. Equal parts Shirley Manson, Marlene Dietrich, Tura Satana, and her own entity, Souza is an enthralling, badass performer who when we asked her, during an online interview during the pandemic, what she was like after coming off stage, replied: “For about twenty minutes after the show, I’m shaking and sweating, just coming down from the ultimate high of being on stage. You have an out-of-body experience, so I feel that you’re trying to get your soul to come back into your body for twenty minutes after the show. You couldn’t have a conversation with me straight after a show, I would make no sense because I’m on another planet!” After finally witnessing Souza in the flesh in her natural environment, it’s fair to say that she was not exaggerating. Just ask those in the front rows how much Souza puts into her performance, I’m sure the guy on the barrier who jumped out of his skin when Souza launched herself at the barrier is just about coming back down to earth around about now,
Industrial tinges here and there, with more than a dash of a British influence – in particular, Depeche Mode, and New Order (top marks for the gnarly interpretation of the New Order classic ‘Blue Monday’) – Dead Posey are a full-blown visual extravaganza who battle through early issues with the sound to put on one almighty show. Whether it’s Tony F. creating a swirling maelstrom with his guitar or Danyell ensuring that no one (band member, or audience member) leaves here tonight having not played their part in creating a “seance”, this is life-affirming. From earlier material such as ‘Don’t Stop The Devil’ (lifted from the rather delicious 2018 self-produced debut EP ‘Feak Show’), to the fresh as a daisy, attitude-filled, most recent slab of snarl from Dead Posey – ‘Can’t Take Me Down’, the Californians put in the kind of performance that makes you want to shout about from the rooftops.
Would be great to think that full headline appearances from both acts are in the advanced planning stages, but in the meantime, there is plenty of music from both just waiting to be devoured.
Review – Dave