Slash – review

Hammersmith Apollo, London

Pity the diehards who attended last month's Guns N' Roses tour: 90 minutes late on stage was standard, and one northern gig ended not long before dawn. Their former guitarist, on the other hand, has got the hang of punctuality: Slash arrives at 9.15pm, delivers 20 songs without undue fuss and winds up just in time for last orders. He needs to watch that – surely he doesn't want the surprisingly large number of teenagers here to think it's acceptable for a rock star to be on time and get the job done.

His most rock'n'roll act of the night, in fact, is choosing as support band the reunited 1980s electropoppers Minny Pops, once dubbed "the Dutch Joy Division". They mystified fans with a set that was at once retro and futuristic, and seemed unsurprised to be rewarded with resounding boos.

Slash, of course, has never been remotely futuristic. He embodies values as old as rock itself - this gig is all about showmanship and volume, the underlying message being that it's possible to escape the 9 to 5 treadmill, even (especially?) if you are essentially a top hat with a guitar attached. He's got the hits to back him up – musically partnered by singer Myles Kennedy, an amiable wailer who is hopelessly overshadowed from the start, he fills the set with his catalogue's big beasts.

Guns N' Roses' Sweet Child o' Mine is still vital and steel-spined, but also a platform for the Stoke-born guitarist's sentimentality; it ends with a burst of God Save the Queen. Slither, from his Velvet Revolver period, seeps out seedily – he'd have made a fine blues player – and Anastasia, from new album Apocalyptic Love, is a musclebound anthem that has him pointing his guitar skyward, tearing off riffs till he's breathless. Axl Rose: watch and learn.


Caroline Sullivan

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Velvet Revolver, Hammersmith Apollo, London

Pop: Slash's new hybrid 'supergroup' prove they can deliver a barnstorming performance to pull in the younger fans - though it's the old Guns N'Roses numbers that get the biggest cheers.

Sarah Boden

16, Jan, 2005 @3:22 PM

Slash: Apocalyptic Love – review
Slash's ever-terrific guitar playing is elevated by a replacement Axl on vocals, but it's still no Guns N' Roses, writes Michael Hann

Michael Hann

14, Jun, 2012 @8:15 PM

Article image
Axl Rose sues Guitar Hero makers over animated Slash
Guns N' Roses frontman seeks $20m from Activision for using the likeness of the band's former guitarist in the video game

Sean Michaels

25, Nov, 2010 @10:37 AM

Slash: Apocalyptic Love – review
The outstanding guitar work on Slash's second solo outing is undermined by quite appalling lyrics, writes Phil Mongredien

Phil Mongredien

16, Jun, 2012 @11:05 PM

How to the play the guitar: part two, Slash offers readers some tips

Concentrate on your sound and your performance skills will develop in tandem, says Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver guitar legend Slash

Amy Fleming

10, May, 2008 @11:06 PM

Article image
Slash: Apocalyptic Love – exclusive album stream

Michael Hann: Be among the first to hear Slash's new album, Apocalyptic Love, and tell us what you think in the comments

Michael Hann

16, May, 2012 @11:05 AM

Article image
'I died. I do remember that'

When three battered ex-junkies from Guns N'Roses got together to form Velvet Revolver, the cynics got ready for a flop. Guitarist Slash tells Adam Sweeting about going straight, going steady and making the critics eat their hats.

Adam Sweeting

08, Jul, 2004 @11:05 PM

Article image
Slash on his greatest hits: ‘John Lennon had his lost weekend. I had a lost decade’
The hard rock guitarist picks the best of his back catalogue, from his ‘feral’ Guns N’ Roses heyday to Velvet Revolver and collaborations with Bob Dylan and Lemmy

Michael Hann

14, Feb, 2019 @2:00 PM

Velvet Revolver, Leeds University

Leeds University

Dave Simpson

18, Mar, 2008 @12:09 AM

Article image
Download festival – review

Bleak, turgid and blisteringly loud, Black Sabbath reigned supreme at heavy metal's answer to Glastonbury, writes Ian Gittins

Ian Gittins

11, Jun, 2012 @10:03 AM