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THIN LIZZY/Black Spiders/The Treatment
Assembly, Leamington  15 May 2012

Thin Lizzy, photo by Andrew Lock

A night to remember and also what could easily end up being my gig of the year as rock legends Thin Lizzy made their first visit to Leamington Spa with a knockout performance superbly supported by two of the brightest hopes of the British rock scene both making a welcome return to The Assembly.

First up The Treatment and the youthful Cambridge rockers if anything even more self-assured and confident than last year's visit to support Black Stone Cherry.

The Treatment, photo by Andrew Lock

They performed a high energy collection of numbers from their impressive debut album 'This Might Hurt', including the balls to the wall onslaught of 'Departed' and the slower tempo but full of power, arm swaying anthem 'Nothing to Lose But Our Minds' with its catchy chorus.

They are a real good time/party band emphasised by their choice of closing number a thunderous cover of Slade's 'Get Down and Get With It'.

The rock press and fans have really taken to this band and easy to see why, they play well, put on a show, have released a quality debut album and come across as really good lads, I think and hope that a big future awaits them.

Black Spiders,  photo by Andrew Lock

Also returning to the venue after their slot on the Black Stone Cherry show, and also high flyers on the British rock scene the Black Spiders, for me they have a fabulous look, a cross between an outlaw motorcycle gang and Lynyrd Skynyrd, a very animated band, (members often making good use of the drum riser) with a fantastic sense of humour and the banter with the crowd was flying all set, on top of this they also really rock in the loudest way possible.

The majority of their set came from the excellent 'Sons Of The North' album with the highlight being one of the funniest rock numbers ever recorded 'KISS Tried To Kill Me', other stand outs a storming 'Just Like A Woman' and the epic, at times Sabbath like 'Blood Of the Gods'.

Thin Lizzy, photo by Andrew Lock

The time had arrived for my first live Thin Lizzy experience since the Thunder and Lighting tour hit The Coventry Theatre many years ago, and as the lights dimmed you could sense the atmosphere change in the hall and the anticipation rise, as the band walked on and straight into surely one of the best set openers ever (also asking a question I am sure they knew the answer to by the audience reception) 'Are You Ready'.

Right from the off it was obvious the boys meant business, a solid wall of quality rock and roll but full of the Thin Lizzy melodies we know and love, the band showing the hunger and passion of a new outfit rather than old hands, but then one thing Thin Lizzy have always been famous for is giving 100%.

Thin Lizzy, photo by Andrew Lock

It would have been difficult to have improved on the set list which consisted of the lion's share of possibly the greatest live album ever 'Live and Dangerous' and selected highlights from the bands later years, and after the explosive opener we had the double header of all time classics 'Jailbreak' and 'Don't Believe a Word'.

While everyone in the hall still of course misses the legendary Phil Lynott (myself included) who it would be impossible to replace, Ricky Warwick's voice suits the band really well, powerful and with a good touch of Phil's singing style. And with the addition of him strapping on his guitar during the set he helped turn the classic twin guitar line-up into a three pronged assault at times.

Thin Lizzy, photo by Andrew Lock

Scott Gorham surely one of the coolest guitar slingers in rock was on top form reeling off his trade mark solos and I was also really impressed with the dynamic axe work of Damon Johnson on the 2nd lead guitar, the current line-up is completed by original powerhouse drummer Brian Downey who excelled all night particularly on the many Celtic tinged numbers, Darren Wharton who joined the band around 1980 on keyboards and on the bass Marco Mendoza (ex-Whitesnake).

Other numbers from the Live and Dangerous part of the set included the funky 'Dancing in the Moonlight' (throbbing bass lines supplied by Mr Mendoza), slowing the tempo right down for just a while a beautiful ' Still In Love With You', (which included breathtaking solos by both Scott and Damon), a superb version of my favourite Lizzy number 'Cowboy Song' with harmonica intro by Ricky (also a touching tribute to Phil Lynott) and of course a triumphant 'The Boys Are Back in Town'.

Thin Lizzy, photo by Andrew Lock

The later Lizzy years were represented by Darren Wharton's show piece, the atmospheric and ominous 'Angel of Death' the opening number from the Renegade album, dark rocker 'Killer On the Loose', and Mr Lynott's warning on the perils of gambling: 'Waiting For An Alibi'.

Fantastic also to see the track that really started the Lizzy story the glorious 'Whisky In the Jar' in its rightful place in the set.

All too soon it seemed we were at the encore stage of the evening which began with a monstrously heavy 'Emerald', followed by the Bob Seger number Lizzy have almost made their own 'Rosalie' and finally in keeping with the band's Irish roots a stunning (and to give it the full title) 'Roisin Dubh (Black Rose) A Rock Legend'.

One of the best nights so far at The Assembly and fantastic to see such a strong and powerful Thin Lizzy line-up back in action.

Review and photos by Andrew Lock

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