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Reviews: The velvet revolution; VELVET REVOLVER, Carling Academy, Birmingham.

Byline: SIMON COLE

TIME and time again Slash says in his warts and all autobiography that he hated going onstage late.

It was, he admits, one of the reasons that Guns N'Roses finally split up.

So a 45-minute delay before his new band hit the Academy stage probably saw him getting into a bad backstage mood. But frustration, as we know, drives rock and roll.

When Velvet Revolver exploded into action, it was the start of a knock down, drag-out old school rock gig that reminded you of classic Guns - but somehow even better.

They stormed through a set including Big Machine, Dirty Little Thing and Fall To Pieces from the band's first album Contraband, and She Builds Quick Machines, Let It Roll and Get Out The Door from 2007 hit album Libertad.

Former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland screamed and wailed through the songs, sometimes choosing to distort them completely via megaphone.

But this was a homecoming for Slash, the Stoke-on-Trent misfit turned LA drug addict rock icon, and now clean corporate face of Microsoft's Guitar Hero III computer game. His searing solos have lost none of their power, and that backstage funk helped propel revisits of Guns N'Roses hallmarks Patience, It's So Easy and a barnstorming Mr Brownstone.

But, d'you know, VR no longer have to rely on past glories, and have forged their own identity. They rounded off a great gig with hit single Slither, leaving the capacity crowd baying for more.

Support bands were Midland heroes Aura, who combine rock and blues, and Pearl - fronted by Pearl Aday, daughter of legendary Meatloaf - who did a brilliant cover of Nutbush City Limits.

CAPTION(S):

GUITAR HERO: Slash unleashes another one of his trademark solos
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Mar 30, 2008
Words:288
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