It’s really hard these days to recreate the level of brilliance 70’s bands like The Doors established all those years ago. Fuelled by a degree of dynamic intensity and arguably rock n’ roll’s most charismatic frontman Jim Morrison; their effortless mix of red-hot blues, old school rock music and everything that defines magic in between is pretty damn hard to beat.
They’re one of those exceptional bands many would’ve given anything to experience live. But with Morrison’s 45 year death anniversary hitting hard earlier this week, the reality seeps in that it’s simply a dream that won’t come true for some. And whilst The Newport Record Club can’t bring the local community the real-deal performance; paying tribute to some of most respected musicians and their classic albums in the finest of formats is pretty damn satisfying.
The finale of Season 5 at The Newport Record Club brought to life an album that’s impacted positively on many music enthusiasts’ and fan’s lives; The Doors’ Greatest Hits. Launching straight into Hello, I Love You, frontman Justin Burford led the band into a mind blowing tribute of the 70’s rock star’s best work. Featuring Brendan Tompsett on bass, Malcolm Clark on drums, Karl Hiller on guitar and Jon Fernandez on keys, LA Women – a band specifically formed to pay tribute to The Doors’ vintage masterpiece, ensured the sold-out crowd was hooked in a matter of seconds.
By Light My Fire, the band had the audience clearly convinced they were in for one epic ride of well-oiled 70’s rock n’ roll. And despite the disappointment of it in fact not being a genuine Doors performance, the way everyone took to the show proved it was certainly an impressive dose of justice.
Love Me Two Times was powerfully explosive and a personal highlight of the evening, with Riders of the Storm and the extreme funk-appeal of Roadhouse Blues following very closely behind. Hiller – nicknamed ‘Spider Fingers’ for a reason – was exceptional with his guitar skills, as Fernadez got beautifully lost in the complexity of the key melodies. Both Clark and Tompsett had the slick-bluesy drum and bass riffs down pat, with Tompsett’s vivid rhythms really hitting the groove. Like Morrison, Burford had a sense of dramatic space on stage and glided in and out of character effortlessly, staying true to Morrison’s carefully worded lyrics, unhinged attitude and deep vocal mood. Whilst his stage presence was less complex in comparison to his previous Record Club show, Burford worked the crowd profusely, who were lapping up every stunning second.
With the Greatest Hits album well initiated and a good array of classic, much-loved songs under their belt; the question stood what encores were going to be whipped out of the bag. And when they disappeared only to arrive back on stage with four new players, you knew you were in for one hell of a surprise. After all, it was the season finale!
With their grittiest part of the live performance yet, sax players Dylan Hoper and Mitch Boag, along with Ian Russo on trumpet and Downtown Dave on blues harp, took over the stage with the rest of the band to give a spectacular rendition of Touch Me. To finalise the set and satisfy a very excitable crowd of happy Doors’ fans, Love Her Madly and The Unknown Solider made the final cut, with an ever-so-fitting tribute of The End as the final song. Together the band gelled seamlessly well, putting on an entertaining showcase that reminded us of all the reasons why we fell in love with The Doors’ in the first place.
Special thanks to Erin Macliver for the use of her fantastic photos. Make sure you follow The Newport Record club on Facebook for details about Season 6 starts which starts July 21st. Big hats off to Steve Parkin and Malcolm Clark for the work behind The Newport Record Club and all the artists involved for bringing us a fantastic season!