Frankie Miller's Full House + Southbound + Ilona
Monday 1st May 2017
The Borderline, London
rankie Miller's Full House was originally formed by Miller and guitarist Ray Minhinnett, and tonight their current 40th Anniversary tour concluded with a stonking gig at London's Borderline. Sadly, Frankie suffered a brain haemorrhage in New York City in 1994, while writing material for a new band he and Joe Walsh of the Eagles had formed. Miller spent five months in a coma and when he emerged he was unable to speak or sing and then underwent rehabilitation. The BBC TV documentary Stubborn Kinda Fella (1999), featured Miller and his battle to recover. His last two albums 'Long Way Home' and 'Double Take' (an album of duets), consist of previously unreleased studio material, with Miller's vocals having been recorded before his illness. Minhinnett has continued to work with Frankie - and reformed Full House in 2007 for the first time to celebrate their 30th anniversary. To help perpetuate his music, Frankie also gave Ray his blessing to take a Frankie Miller's Fullhouse line-up out on the road once again, the new roster already being hailed as a 'supergroup', featuring Clive Edwards (UFO/WIld Horses) on drums, David Boyce (Quireboys/Skyscaper) on bass, Danny Peyronel (UFO/Heavy Metal Kids) on keyboards, Paul Manzi (Heavy Metal Kids/Cats In Space) guesting on vocals, Dave 'Bucket' Colwell (Bad Company/Humble Pie) on guitar and of course Minhinnett himself.
Supporting Full House were Bulgarian vocalist and fedora wearing Ilona plus Southbound - a young exciting 5 piece band from Cheshunt playing their own British Blues and Blues Style Rock. Unfortunately we only caught the end of Ilona's unplugged set, but we knew Southbound very well - so much so that the guys walked away with our 2015 WRC ‘One’s To Watch’ award and they also played at our 2015 WRC Xmas bash supporting Albany Down. Opening with the Rory Gallagher influenced 'Book On A Shelf', Elliot Stout's slide guitar sounded as good as ever, before a neat drum intro heralded the funkier Blues of 'Whats A Man Gotta Do' with an even neater solo piece at the end from drummer Aaron Virciglio. 'Paper Cut' was followed by 'Come Judgement Day' with Stout not only taking over from the charismatic Tom Ford on vocals, but also throwing in a mean Blues guitar solo in for good measure. 'You Got A Hold On Me' saw bass guitarist Dan Collins’ intro stepping up to the plate, complemented by the duelling guitar solo's of both Stout and rhythm guitarist Jordan Carter. 'Deceiver' and their last number 'Yes Indeed' sandwiched the Mariachi influenced opening of 'Rock Bottom' and with the excellent Ford on vocals - it was probably the tightest musically that we had seen the guys play. Don't miss them when they deservedly headline the iconic 100 Club on Tuesday 30th May with Deep Blue Sea and Lol Goodman.
The firing of the Full House starting pistol saw the guys open with the dirty Blues Rock of 'The Devil Gun' from Frankie's '74 album 'High Life' before the rockin' 'Guilty Of The Crime' from 2006 album 'Long Way Home' saw Payronel's keys on fire and some neat slide guitar work from Minhinnett. In the seventies, Miller toured the USA with Bob Seger, and Seger accordingly acknowledged what a big influence Frankie was, consequently covering Miller's 'Ain't Got No Money' from '75 release 'The Rock' - of which FMFH paid their dues to this classic with another Payronel solo plus Bucket doing the honours with a great guitar solo. 'Jezebel Jones' actually featured a Miller duet with Kid Rock on his latest album - but a beret wearing Ray guitar solo caught the eye on this track from 2016 album 'Double Take' - although not be outdone in the titfer stakes - bass guitarist Boyce looked resplendent in his fedora, although we weren't able to confirm that he had borrowed it from Ilona.
The Blues influence of Paul Kossof was palpable right from the start of Bucket's opening solo on 'I Know Why The Sun Don't Shine' - yes Frankie co-wrote this song with the Free legend - an opportunity for the long haired Manzi to flex his vocal chords which he duly nailed with support from two more jaw-dropping guitar solos from Bucket and Minhinnett. FMFH were obviously having fun and even Ray broke into a smile on a solo during 'Be Good To Yourself' before Bucket took over once again as Manz's vocal, for an instant, brought back memories of Frankie in his prime. The epic Blues ballad 'Jealousy' from '82 release 'Standing On The Edge' with both it's thought provoking lyrics and another Bucket solo was immediately followed by 'A Fool In Love', co-written by Miller with another Free legend Andy Fraser. Taken from 'The Rock', which they recorded in America, understandably the Glaswegian was once described as having "all American soul" and being "the white Otis Redding", although FMFH's live version was more true Rock 'n Roll - with even a 'Paper Back Writer' outro from Minhinnett!
Drummer Clive Edwards counted in the punchy 'I'd Lie To You For Your Love', which Frankie co-wrote with the Bellamy Brothers, and after yet another Bucket solo, Peyronel's keys solo on 'Down The Honky Tonk' was sandwiched in between Minhinnett's opener for this rocker and yes, you've get guessed it, another Bucket solo! So the story goes, Honky Tonk was actually The Treble Two Bar in Abercrombie Street Glasgow - apparently at the Apollo during the Frankie who? Tour, Miller introduced the song by saying "This song was started in Beverly Hills and finished in Abercrombie Street". Bucket's neat Blues Brother style riff on 'Blackmail' - a track on which Miller did a duet with Joe Walsh on 'Double Take' - was complemented by some more slide work from Minhinnett before FMFH finished off a storming set with 'Over The Line' from 'Long Way From Home' another track that Frankie co-wrote with The Bellamy Brothers - and finally, the appropriately named 'When It's Rockin'' - a microcosm of the set with solos from Ray, Danny and Bucket. The encore included Millers' most well know song 'Darlin' - which got to number 6 in the October '78 charts - cue the inevitable sing along before they rounded off the evening with 'Woman To Love' from Frankie's 1979 album 'Perfect Fit' - once again with the holy trinity signing off on the night with three more memorable solos! On an evening of all round great entertainment, Full House certainly shuffled the pack and played their cards right ensuring that Frankie's treasured musical legacy continues to flourish.