Vandenberg's MoonKings - LIVE: The Underworld, London 2018

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February 17 (20:25 - 21:45)
Capacity 500

With the release of their second album late last year, Adrian Vandenberg and his MoonKings have made only limited engagements, mostly at home in the Netherlands, but made sure, quite early, that a stop in London was booked, even if it had to be a one-off date.

The intervening three years seems to have brought the band an increased following though, so while the venue this time has a nearly 40% lower capacity than Islington Academy where they played in 2014, the crowd turned out to be larger. However, another important difference was their activity at the time. The Islington Academy show came on a short European run where the band had already played four shows of the tour prior to arriving in London, including Bilston in the UK the night before.

This time, the lack of rehearsals and other recent touring was clear in the beginning. They got off to a very slow start, with little or no spark or energy for the first few songs, as both band and audience struggled to really connect until Adrian's acoustic guitar came out for the old Vandenberg classic Burning Heart, the MoonKings' own What Doesn't Kill You, and Whitesnake's Sailing Ships, delivered as a duo with singer Jan Hoving. By the time the rest of the band came back out for another 'snake song, Judgement Day, the place was finally in full swing.

After a brief drum solo from Mart Nijen-Es, there was just time for three more originals, and the encore of Here I Go Again (with Hoving showing special guest Nathan James how to sing with feeling), and Led Zeppelin's Rock And Roll. The evening seemed to gallop towards its ending too quickly because the set had taken so long (six songs) to really hit its stride, and the second half really showed what this band can do - they just clearly need to be doing more of it so that they're on form from the beginning every night.

With a second album of material now available to them, arguably better material than the first, and their penchant for choosing crowd-pleasing covers, there's nothing lacking in the music department. With any luck their plans to get bigger, more frequent tours will come to fruition later in the year, and the regular playing will tighten them up.

Setlist: Tightrope / Nothing Touches / Line of Fire / Steal Away / Angel In Black / Close To You / Burning Heart / What Doesn't Kill You / Sailing Ships / Judgement Day / Drum Solo / Reputation / The Fire / Lust And Lies // Here I Go Again / Rock And Roll

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2018, Gigs, Hard/Heavy Rock, ,

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