The space at ELEVEN is fairly covered and those who have ventured out on this Monday night, to this pretty cool new venue in Stoke, are in fine form. THE LAST GREAT DREAMERS started out around 1989 as ‘The Silver Hearts’ before changing their moniker and were a part of that semi glam/pop/sleaze scene of the early 90s. The 1994 debut album “Retrosexual’ even earned them the ‘Best New Band’ award by Kerrang. But due to a mass of set-backs they called it quits a few years later in 1997. 2014 saw them return in full gusto and they have since released 3 follow up albums. Recently the band have been seen as support to several bands, at numerous festivals and have completed a headline tour. The new album ’13TH FLOOR RENEGADES’ was out in April last year and has helped to resurrect this bunch of urchins.
The support slot tonight is generous, THE LAST GREAT DREAMERS are allowed enough time to play a long list of songs mainly from the new album and they get under way with one, ‘Primitive Man’. There is definitely an air of jovial cheeriness, as the audience warm to these rascals, resplendent in their Waistcoats, Bowler Hat’s and Velvet Jacket’s. Frontman Marc Valentine is joined on Guitar and Backing Vocals by the long standing Slyder and new Bass player Tim Emery. Completing the line up is another new face, Rik Pratt behind the drum kit. More from 2018 flow past ‘ New Situation’, the title track and ‘Broken Things’ only interrupted with ‘Glitterball Apocalypse’ from the 2016 ’Transmissions From Oblivion’ and ‘Only Crime’ which harks way back. The show is quirky pop with hints of glam, that reminds me of The Heavy Metal Kids and Hanoi Rocks. The swaggering continues into such beauties as the Mott The Hoople sounding ’Superboy Disaster’, ‘White Light Black Heart’ and the punk paced ‘Dope School’. A melodic ‘Oblivion Kids’ softens us, before the entertainment closes with the singalong anthem ‘Last Great Dreamer’. No airs or graces about this lot, down to earth and completely at home in front of the appreciative Stoke crowd.
ENUFF Z NUFF have always been underground favourites, with an army of dedicated fans worldwide. Paul Stanley of KISS called the debut album a Classic and Little Steven of Bruce Springsteens E Street Band, stated ‘they are one of the most underrated bands in the world’. Chip being the sole original member has seen tragedy, addiction and hardship, pummel the band. Fair play to him, he has stood steadfast, proud of what he has achieved over the last 30 or more years, with over 20 albums in the bag, this larger than life guy from Illinois is far from finished.
The ENUFF Z NUFF of 2019 is a band that’s evolved, from that Psychedelic, 60s Pop induced trip, of the late 1980s, to a more stronger, resilient and rocky character. Although, yes tonight Chip is still in velvet loons, a colossal hat and pink sunglasses. He has multi-coloured strings on his Bass and the set still includes the favourites from days of old. But with the addition of Tory Stoffregen, a master of six strings and Tony Fennell backing them up impressively on Rhythm Guitar and backing vocals, Enuff Z Nuff are back with a vengeance. Dan Hill on drums is the final member of this lineup that’s now been together for over 2 years. After a difficult period, adjusting to the changes, the band are now firmly glued in place.
The new release ‘Diamond Boy’ includes some glorious tracks and the set includes a few that allow Tory to shoot into solos that are mind blowing. ‘Diamond Boy’ itself is smooth and the harmonies combined with the catchy riff make it a winner. Classics like the infectious ‘Into The Groove’ is still so appealing, the whole room sings ‘Heaven or Hell’ and ‘Fly High Michelle’ is perfectly executed, with members of the LGD joining them on stage for extra vocals. From 1991, off the Strength album they play ‘The World Is A Gutter’ which is another memorable and loveable tune. ’New Thing’ is also a firm favourite with the audience, who are in total admiration and are now, singing along with hands waving at every opportunity. Of course the show isn’t complete without Chip, standing behind Tory, taking over and playing a stunning solo on his guitar. This is while the guitarist takes a well earned drink and finishes off a bottle, showing he is hands free in the operation. A blinding cover of Bowie’s ‘Jean Genie’ is another highlight. The choice of songs tonight spanned decades and the spectators at Eleven acknowledged, the expertise of these musicians, who played a blinder to be honest.