Photos by Julian Neil
My 2nd home The Rosemount Hotel was the venue once again, this time to showcase a rhythm & blues rock band that has been around for 57 long years – The Animals. After interviewing Drummer John Steel a few weeks ago, and talking about what they do in their live shows, I couldn’t wait to see it. I know this wasn’t the original Animals lineup, so I was intrigued to see how this would go.
The evenings proceedings started at 8:30 with local act Dan Howls, who certainly had the ears and eyes of the mostly older patrons the whole set. Howls? Perfect surname to describe this bloke. He was however alone in this endeavour, without his backing band. I enjoyed his performance but the whole time I kept thinking how much more I would enjoy this set from this man if he had that backing band. That’s just me nitpicking. It was a really solid set, the best song of the set was this Country influenced song where the pace picked up. Great stuff, and the people in attendance agreed!
Time came for The Animals to hit the stage – and the room was jam packed! From the get-go I guarantee you anybody in attendance that was expecting Eric Burdon or more original members certainly wuld have forgot about that within the space of a minute. Vocalist/Guitarist Danny Handley had this show in superb control from the outset. Just an absolutely natural performer. Astounded at his vocal range, and his ability to keep the audience invested in the bands performance. This is what a frontman is meant to do!
Early set highlights were ‘It’s My Life’ and ‘I’m Crying’. Mick Gallagher on the keys was a master – you know this man has played piano almost every day of his life because it just does not get better than when that man starts on a keyboard solo like the likes you’ve never seen or heard before. Brilliant, just brilliant!
John Steel spoke to the audience at one stage which was a nice touch, hearing him talk about their career and where the band is at now, introducing each member and showing them the utmost respect. John was a cracking delight on the drums as well. 78 years old and he honestly plays with the ability, the endurance, the timing and the intricacy of a man many years his junior. I hate to go on about his age and all that but it’s truly magnificent that at his age this man can still be so sharp. Roberto Ruiz deserves a shout out too, he showed a lot of passion and brought his own flare to the stage.
Danny Handley was on fire, man. I can’t get over how good that bloke is at what he does. They performed this amazing song of theirs ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ and the audience were having the time of their life singing along. ‘We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place’ was of coure yet another highlight, before they finished off this near 90 minute set with you guessed it – ‘House of The Rising Sun’.
A jolly good show all round! The blokes were kind enough to take pictures and sign merchandise for all their fans after the show proving how down to Earth they all are to take that time for them. I’m so thrilled I got to see this band play and wish them and John the best of luck in the future.