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Monday, 9 May 2016

A View From The Back Of The Room: Snake Oil & Harmony Tour 2016

Dan Reed & Danny Vaughn, Snake Oil And Harmony Tour 2016,  Fuel, Cardiff

Reprising their two man acoustical jam from last year veteran rockers Dan Reed (he of the self titled Network) and Danny Vaughn (Tyketto & Waysted) along with singer songwriter Craig MacDonald, played to an almost packed out Fuel Cardiff. The three men had earlier played a session spot in Retro-Vibe Records for local station Made In Cardiff but the Fuel was the full event that was made up of Vaughn and Reed trading songs and stories in one performance.

Firstly though was Craig MacDonald or WhoIsThisCraig? as he is also called opened the show as a one man singer songwriter unit playing his own songs which were emotive, powerful driven by some great use of the acoustic guitar and his excellent voice, MacDonald had Danny Vaughn as a guest on his last album which is testament to both men's talent, this is something that MacDonald has in droves, his songs really grab your attention and his voice is key to keeping you interested. I'm a little gutted I couldn't see his whole set but from what I saw he was excellent. 7/10

The room was full by the time Dan and Danny took to the stage, over the P.A came the dulcet strains of Eric Serra's Little Light Of Love and the two men took their seats that faced each other and strapped on their acoustic guitars and started, Dan Reed took to the mic and asked who recognised the song, I duly shouted but wasn't heard from the back (I went on to tell him after the gig in what was the the first of many brilliant conversations with both men). Reed then went on to say about who we'd lost this year in a heartfelt speech which culminated in him talking about Prince and how much of an influence he was, so because of this they opened the set with a cover of His Purpleness's The Cross with Reed showing off his excellent vocals as he sang the chorus with all his might. The nature of the gig was that the men took a song each with the other accompanying them where needed for extra backing vocals/guitar. The set was a mix of tracks from each, Dan Reed played songs from his solo repertoire as well as the bigger hits from Network with the obvious additions of Ritual and Rainbow Child included, with Ritual's call and response refrain lapped up by the crowd and Rainbow Child was dedicated to the Retro Girls from Retro-Vibe Records who were dancing their hearts out at the front (the benefits of youth you see).

Danny Vaughn too mixed his excellent sometimes introspective but mostly country/blues based solo material with the obvious addition of Tyketto's Wings being one of the stand out. Every song was well received by the hardcore fanbase that filled Fuel, in between the songs were asides, stories from the road and also a bit of competition between the two men with Vaughn joking numerous times that he has to follow the epic ballads of Reed with more upbeat songs constantly, vocally both men are superb Reed has a strong soulful vocal while Vaughn's pipes are bluesier and rougher but still deliver that emotive punch. For the final part of the set the two men were joined by Craig MacDonald who added yet another layer of guitar and another harmony to the vocals, climaxing in a sublime cover of Space Oddity dedicated to David Bowie. Snake Oil & Harmony was a chance to see two oft-overlooked rock frontmen in an intimate playing songs in a stripped down style, it was the cosy, personal nature of the gig meant it was over all too early but after the set the three men spent a long time meeting, greeting and chatting with all those that had come to see them.

As I said I had  a few conversations with them and both are perfectly affable down to earth individuals with a lot of great stories from hard rock's lost era (late 80's early 90's). Overall a great night with some fantastic songs and company, I look forward to the next time these men play together as it makes for a splendid night of performance. 8/10

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