Disclaimer: I’ve known these guys for a long time, so it might seem like there’s some sort of bias in my review, but I can assure you there’s not. I only review things that have really left an impression on me, regardless of if I know the band or not.
I’ve always loved going to shows, but in the past few years, I haven’t been able to see as many as I would’ve liked. So when I heard that local hard rock band, Dirty Lindsey, was coming to Front Street Grill in Dardanelle on a Saturday night, I made sure my schedule was clear.
Since the first time I saw the band open for Bret Michaels of Poison in 2007, I’ve been a big fan. Over the years, I would always try to go see them every chance I got, but it got to the point where I couldn’t go as often. Sometimes it was due to prior commitments, and many times it was simply because I wasn’t old enough to get into the venues they played at.
I’ve seen Dirty Lindsey play some great shows (sometimes with different lineups or different band names), but this show was probably the best I’ve seen yet. The band opened with Queen’s “Tie Your Mother Down,” and immediately I felt the same energy that I feel at arena rock shows.
It’s one thing to play cover songs well but to perform them well is totally different. Dirty Lindsey does both. One thing that’s always set the band apart from others is the fact that they play cover songs as if they’re Dirty Lindsey songs. They structure the song list to feel like an arena show, and the band’s showmanship is top-notch.
It also helps that the musicianship is that of an arena band. Vocalist Danny Millsaps has an incredibly versatile vocal range that can easily transition from Alice In Chains to Led Zeppelin.
Guitarist Darrell Yates is one of the most criminally underrated players in rock music, giving legends, like Eddie Van Halen, a run for their money.
Bassist Matt Hays, aside from being a truly solid bass player, also provides crucial background vocals, like Michael Anthony of Van Halen or Jeff Pilson of Dokken.
Drummer Sharpe Dunaway is the source of Dirty Lindsey’s powerful, driving rhythms, which were heavily-featured in the band’s version of “Run To The Hills” by Iron Maiden.
Whereas most bands would take a short break in the middle of the night, Dirty Lindsey played over three hours straight. Occasionally, a member would need a short break, so the rest of the band would have some fun during their absence, whether it be a cover of “Patience” by Guns N’ Roses, featuring Dunaway on the whistling parts, or a heavy metal version of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers. You read that right.
When you watch Dirty Lindsey perform, it’s easy to tell that the band’s only goal is to have fun. In a world where it seems like you can’t go to a show without hearing some sort of political agenda, it’s extremely refreshing to see a no nonsense, straight ahead rock show.
As the last notes faded off and my ears began to ring, I felt exactly the same way I felt when I was 15. Being a country/bluegrass musician now, I often look back on my early days when I was a long-haired rocker (please don’t look up those pictures), and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it. But as I was leaving the club, I was reminded of a line from a classic Bob Seger song: “You can come back, baby. Rock and roll never forgets.”
For more information, visit www.dirtylindsey.info.