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Deal, Astor Theatre 16 July 2006

It takes a gig like this to make you realise the true inner strength and belief of a rock band. Clad head to toe in black, BOC and their coterie of roadies, drum and guitar techs arrived at the Astor Theatre in Deal on a glorious summer's day that quickly translated into a steaming hot gig.

Guilfest The capacity crowd duly roared on their heroes and bought (black) T- shirts in abundance, but the band had to deal with the more pressing concerns of diminishing on stage oxygen levels. And yet aside from a couple of humorous Eric Bloom quips, they dug deep, showed true professional resolve and in the case of Donald 'Buck Dharma' Roeser, came up with some magisterial guitar lines lines, delivered with style, panache and without a hint of the tropical conditions.

Buoyed by their recent 'A Long Day's Night' retrospective CD/DVD release, BOC dipped into their substantial back catalogue with variable success. The band was tight, and Alan Lanier and Eric Bloom confidently switched from keys to guitars and back again, while the new American/Italian rhythm section punched the right buttons and all but overcame the significant loss of Danny Miranda on bass.

Yet there was no disguising the fact that some of the older songs like 'Cities on Flame with Rock & Roll' and 'Golden Age of Leather' - complete with a Capella intro - plodded along to no great purpose.

However, BOC are nothing if not premier melodic hard rock masters. They quickly built up a head of steam as the guitars came to the fore and impressed with the Floydian undertow of the Patti Smith co-write 'Shooting For Shark'. Equally impressive was Buck's intense rocker 'Burnin For You' and the surprisingly delicate melodic rock ballad 'Last Days of May.'

By the time of the audience participation number 'Godzilla' - introduced by Bloom as 'can it possibly be …walking over the white cliffs of Dover?'- and the show stopping 'Don't Fear The Reaper', BOC reminded everyone in the room as to their true status in the pantheon of rock.

And right there among the mayhem was the diminutive Dharma, smiling while firing off some studied warm toned licks and high register psychedelic runs by turns. Completely unfazed by the heat, and seemingly oblivious to Eric Bloom's rock posturing, he proved to be ever the trooper, effortlessly demonstrating that he is as great a guitarist as he is a million selling classic rock song writer.

Review by Jason Ritchie

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