Friday 13th April 2018
The Half Moon, Putney, London
Rhino’s Revenge are essentially a vehicle for Status Quo bass player John "Rhino" Edward’s solo output, a relatively fluid line up of musicians that come together during breaks in Rhino’s hectic touring and recording commitments with Quo. He has been part of Status Quo’s dynamic rhythm section for a staggering thirty two years, appearing on sixteen studio albums and countless live releases. Rhino is a formidable bass player and is one of the pivotal driving forces behind the bands continuing creativity and popularity in the twenty first century. Being an integral part of the backbone of Quo has helped the band continue to release quality work, being co-writer of some of Quo's greatest songs including: ‘The Oriental’, ‘Creepin' Up On You’ and ‘Heavy Traffic’ from the 2002 album ‘Heavy Traffic’, ‘Belavista Man’ from the 2005 album ‘The Party Ain’t Over Yet’, ‘Gravy Train’ and 'Bad News' from the 2007 album ‘In Search Of The Fourth Chord’, also, ‘Two Way Traffic’ and ‘Dust to Gold’ from the 2011 album ‘Quid Pro Quo’.
Rhino started his musical career in 1973 in a covers band called ‘The Sunday Band’ and also in the band ‘Rococo’, who released a single ‘Ultrastar/Wildfire’ on Decca Deram in 1973. Over the proceeding years he has worked with many diverse artists such as Peter Green, appearing on his 1980 album ‘Little Dreamer’, the Climax Blues Band from 1983-1985, Judie Tzuke from 1980-1985, appearing in her live band and on five studio albums, Dexys Midnight Runners from 1982-1985, appearing on one studio album. Rhino was also a member of Kim Wilde’s 80’s touring band. During his tenure with Judie Tzuke's backing band he was given the nickname "Rhino" for apparently being so clumsy!
The first Rhino’s Revenge album, simply titled ‘Rhino’s Revenge’ was released on Eagle Records in 2000, the follow up ‘Rhino’s Revenge II’ was released on Cargo Records in 2015, fifteen years after the debut. This 2018 tour is billed as the ‘Save The Rhino’ tour, interestingly the band will be donating a portion of the profits from the tour to Save the Rhino International. The current line-up features Rhino’s son, Freddie Edwards on guitar (Freddie has worked with Status Quo on and off for the last four years, having stood in for Rick Parfitt when he could no longer play live due to ill health, and then again after Rick passed away. Freddie is currently in the band ‘Flawes’), Jim Kirkpatrick also on guitar, (Jim’s other day job, since 2008, is with the band FM, appearing on five of their albums), and finally Richard Newman on drums, (Richard is widely respected in the music business as one of the UK's most accomplished Rock drummers, he is also the son of legendary drummer Tony Newman. Richard has worked with many big names including Steve Marriott, Alvin Lee, Rory Gallagher, Jim Capaldi, Bernie Marsden, Joe Brown, Sam Brown and Nikki Lamborn’s band Never The Bride).
Kicking of the set with full on energetic drive and a determination to rock the house came the bone rattling ‘One Note Blues’, an up-beat rocker that set the scene and got us all in the mood. This song can be found on the ‘Rhino’s Revenge II’ album. ‘Secretary’, also from the ‘Rhino’s Revenge II’ album, stormed in next with total conviction and purpose. This song is constructed using almost exactly the same riff and rhythm as Led Zeppelin’s ‘Immigrant Song’, with its relentless rampant pounding down beat and energetic Punk snarl. An absolute quality track! The Status Quo classic ‘Belavista Man’ rattled up next, a tasty Bluesy shuffle played with real spark and flair. This track was co-written with Rick Parfitt, and can be found on the 2005 album ‘The Party Ain’t Over Yet'. Following on from this was the hard driving ‘Republican’, a classic heads down Quo style boogie with catchy guitar phrasing. Next up, the fiery ‘Jungle Love’, was played with rampant abandon! A strong classic Rock track complete with high pitched ‘woo woo’ refrain! Both of these tracks are on the first Rhino’s Revenge album.
The turbo charged boogie of ‘Gravy Train’ steamed in with its infectious heavy riff and intense shuffle, reminiscent of early 1970’s style Quo. Written solely by Rhino and originally from the 2007 Status Quo album ‘In Search Of The Fourth Chord’. Definitely the highlight of the set. ‘Spacemaker’ is a fairly mid-tempo stomp with a nice angular groove, originally found on the first Rhino’s Revenge album. The brilliant ‘Two Way Traffic’ motored in with hard driving precision, co-written with Francis Rossi and found on the last great Quo album of original material, ‘Quid Pro Quo’, released in 2011. ‘Mine All Mine’ is a slower tempo song that gives the headbanger's a rest! However, it does insight some gentle crowd swaying! ‘The Stranger One’ is another mid-tempo track with some nice guitar phrasing, a bit of a plodder though. Both these tracks can be found on the first Rhino’s Revenge album.
A rare live airing of ‘Lucinda’ peps things up a bit, an excellent B-side from Status Quo's 2004 single ‘You’ll Come ‘Round’. A fast paced heavy stomper of a track, which was co-written with Rick Parfitt. ‘Busy Doing Nothin' thunders in with its bone rattling riff and locked in groove. Cool funky bass playing from Rhino. A top quality song from the ‘Rhino’s Revenge II’ album.
The exceptional ‘Bad News’ raised the roof! A monumental rocker and huge crowd pleaser. Another worthy Quo classic written solely by Rhino from the ‘In Search Of The Fourth Chord’ album. This was also Rhino’s first lead vocal on a Quo album. The Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band cover ‘Old Time Rock & Roll’ was rattled through with passion and vigour. Leading seamlessly on to the quirky and amusing ‘My Name Is Stan’, a fast tempo Rock epic that gets everyone singing along to its anthemic chorus. “My name is Stan, I am the man, top dog you understand, I lick my balls because I can, don’t mess with Stan the man”. Profound lyrics if ever there was! This quality track is from the ‘Rhino’s Revenge II’ album.
The blazing ‘Jam Side Down’ rolled up next, a catchy melodic song with an infectious guitar phrase. Another crowd favourite that has the faithful singing along and jumping around! This song was a Status Quo single that reached number seventeen in the UK Official Chart in 2002, it can be found on one of the best Status Quo albums of the twenty-first century, ‘Heavy Traffic’. The last song of the set was a pounding cover of Steppenwolf’s ‘Born To Be Wild’. A triumphant conclusion to a hugely enjoyable gig with a massive party atmosphere.
Steven C. Gilbert