On a bleak and frosty December, the doors to Glasgow’s O2 Academy finally creak open after an agonisingly chilly delay, and it’s fair to say that the people waiting outside are ready for a good time. Luckily for them, Dan Reed Network are in town supporting glam/funk metallers Extreme on their UK tour, and tonight Mr Reed and Co. prove they can still deliver the goods after all these years.
Once the crowd have piled indoors, the veteran American rockers waste no time getting down to business, launching straight into a theatrical performance of ‘Resurrect‘, from their 1988 debut album. Dan Reed expertly works the crowd as they thaw, raising a few muted cheers and hoots as his voice echoes around the venue. What starts out as a thin mob of devoted Dan Reed Network enthusiasts slowly grows in size, as the majority of those who came solely for Extreme begin to prick up their ears. They may not be the most famous, but these funk maestros certainly know how to take command of the stage and encapsulate an audience.
Reed and his exquisitely styled band members’ happiness is infectious, and it spreads through the room until the entire lower level is packed. Guitarist Brion James lets his silvery dreadlocks flail as he strums out the opening chords to Whitesnake’s ‘Ready An’ Willing’, before DRN switch into their toe-tappin’ number ‘Forgot To Make Her Mine‘. Bass guitarist Melvin Brannon II is the personification of cool as the band change gear and play ‘Rainbow Child’; a melodious fan favourite that prompts a few lighters to spark and sway. Reed himself is like a kid at Christmas as he introduces their latest single, ‘Champion‘; a moody, bewitching track about discovering who really has your back when times get tough.
Fantastic music aside, the thing that really endears the audience to the Dan Reed Network is their unbridled enthusiasm for their craft – they love what they do, and raise a mighty middle finger to anyone that tries to bring them down. Reed moves about the stage like a 12 year old playing rockstar in front of his bedroom mirror, and all I can say is that it is incredibly pure. There’s not a trace of conceitedness in the band’s performance (which, by the way, can NOT be said about the headliner, but that’s another story…). Dan Reed Network just want to play, and play they do… extremely well. Their last song puts the funk train into overdrive, and I have no doubt that they ended the evening with a huge number more fans than they had just an hour before.
Take it from me – there’s no better cure for the winter blues than a night out with the fabulous Dan Reed Network.
Review: Fraser Doig
Images: Callum Scott