Marco Mendoza Live in Edinburgh
Date: 08 February
Venue: Bannermans, Edinburgh
Support: Black Cat Bones
Bannermans Edinburgh became casa Mendoza for the night as The Dead Daisies’ bassist made a welcome return to Scotland on the latest leg of his UK winter tour. It’s not often that you get the opportunity to see musicians the calibre of Marco Mendoza perform at such close quarters, so we grabbed ourselves a couple of tickets as soon as they became available. Best of all though, in addition to seeing Mendoza perform his own work, this show would also give us an insight into the artists and music which have shaped and influenced his career.
As you’d expect, Mendoza brought along a rather tasty band to open for him. Straight off the bat I have to say that there was never any doubt that I was gonna really like Black Cat Bones. And that’s simply because the Liverpool-based five-piece draw inspiration from 80/90’s era hard rock music, which coincidentally was the same era that made me fall in love with the genre in the first place.
There’s more than a hint of classic era G’N’R in the way Black Cat Bones look, sound and perform. So if you like your rock music served up with huge riffs, blazing guitar solos and plenty of rock ‘n’ roll swagger, then you’ll love these guys. Highlight of their set was Down to the River, which happens to be the title track of the band’s latest EP. It’s one of those songs which, driven on by a brilliant bassline, generates a huge sense of momentum and batters you in riff-laden sonic waves. If you don’t find yourself at least tapping your feet to this song, you’d better check that you have a pulse! Have a listen to the EP version HERE.
And with the audience nicely warmed up by Black Cat Bones, it was time for Marco Mendoza to really turn up the heat. We expected him to appear with *only* guitarist Fabio Cerrone and drummer Pino Liberti, however the Edinburgh audience had the added bonus of a second lead guitarist in the shape of Jack Davies from Kane’d who joined the trio onstage for much of the show.
As you can imagine, the majority of the audience were Dead Daisies fans. But although Mendoza didn’t play any of their material here, his set contained a few gems by other artists with whom he has either worked with, or has taken inspiration from during his career. This was one of the best aspects of his performance, because you didn’t know which era or genre of music he was gonna dip into next. So after opening with his own Let The Sun Shine, he rocked straight into Ted Nugent’s brilliant Hey Baby. Before long we were delving into blues territory with Neal Schon’s Hole in my Pocket, and soon after that he slowed things right down with a really atmospheric version of Billie Holiday’s jazz classic, God Bless The Child. Highlight of the night though, had to be the thunderingly good Higher Ground by Stevie Wonder. I’ve never heard anyone cover this song before, let alone give it the full rock treatment Mendoza and the guys gave it here. Just awesome!
Despite battling a niggling cold, or ‘Man Flu’ as he now knows it, Marco Mendoza was absolutely tremendous here. Regardless of the genre, whether performing one of his own songs or doing a version of someone else’s, Mendoza and his band absolutely nailed it. Let’s face it though. You don’t wind up playing in bands such as Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake and The Dead Daisies unless you’re pretty damned special. And it goes without saying that Marco Mendoza is certainly that.
This was, first and foremost, a brilliant night of awesome music. But it was also a fascinating insight into what makes a great musician tick. Class.
Let The Sun Shine
Hey Baby (Ted Nugent cover)
Hole In My Pocket (Neal Schon cover)
Look Out For The Boys
God Bless The Child (Billie Holiday cover)
Still In Me
Higher Ground (Stevie Wonder cover)
Don’t Believe a Word (Thin Lizzy cover)
Marco Mendoza Gallery
Black Cat Bones Gallery