Dweezil Zappa makes a welcome return to the North East of England for his first show in the region in five years.

There’s been much deliberation online recently regarding Dweezil’s ongoing legal battle with the Zappa Family Trust relating to the usage of the name his father gave him. Whilst Dweezil continues to push for a Trademark Co-Existence agreement, as of the present day this dispute is currently unresolved.

However, this has not deterred Dweezil Zappa from hitting the road across the UK, following the footsteps of his father who along with The Mothers of Invention first toured Europe back in 1967; this year marks 50 years since that maiden voyage.

Over the space of two and a half hours, Dweezil Zappa who is joined by a uber-talented six-piece ensemble brings to life some of the compositions from his father’s expensive body of work. Frank Zappa released an incredible 62 albums during his lifetime, giving Dweezil somewhat of an impressive songbook to be able to delve into, master and perform.

The band delivers two sets this evening, with a brief intermission. During the first of which Dweezil and company dig deep into the Mothers of Invention back catalogue with a phenomenal seven song medley traversing choice cuts from the Freak Out, We’re Only In It For The Money and Weasel’s Ripped My Flesh albums. With the likes of “You’re Probably Wondering Why I’m Here” and “It Can’t Happen Here” included in the opening segment. Of course, Freak Out was one of rock music’s first concept/double albums.

Dweezil and the band continue to challenge themselves, with each show and tour incorporating new songs into their set. This time around the band delivers a song that they’ve never played before in the shape of the mellow, psychedelic number “Mom and Dad”.

It would be impossible to perform these complex and intricate timeless masterpieces without the aid of a world-class band. From the beautiful vocals of Cian Coey, the multi-faceted instrumentalist Scheila Gonzalez, Chris Norton on keys, the devastating rhythm section of Ryan Brown on drums and Kurt Morgan on bass, who join Dweezil and newcomer Adam Minkoff on guitar. The latter of which also adds a substantial amount of the vocal parts throughout the show. Each of these talented musicians come together seamlessly.

The second set starts off with material from around Zappa’s Philly ’76 live album, including the likes of “Dirty Love”, “Wind Up Workin’ In A Gas Station”, and the bluesy “What Kind Of A Girl Do You Think We Are?”. During the latter of which Cian Coey really shows off her beautiful voice, effortlessly reaching for the high notes.

Of course, the comedy element shines throughout the show, one memorable moment of which was Minkoff referring to Coey as his ‘Angel of the North’ and that he didn’t realise she was Brian Johnson’s Mom – topical and witty humour which gives the Tyneside audience a giggle.

Over the course of this marathon show, Dweezil covers a lot of ground, some of the many highlights include incredible renditions of Zappa’s epic compositions “Rollo” and “Inca Roads” in full. Dweezil’s passionate playing and blistering solos really light up the room.  

As the band progress towards the end of the show, they give the audience a choice between three Zappa classics including “Montana”, “Zombie Wolf” and “Cosmik Debris”. The latter of which was the clear winner, and closes out the set to a standing ovation from the Geordie faithful.

Dweezil rounds out this marathon performance with a four-song encore culminating in a cover of The Beatle’s number “I Am The Walrus”.

Earlier in the show Dweezil tells the audience ‘How there are not too many things in the world like my dad’s music, it really is its own thing – we love learning it, we love playing it and you know it’s great that you guys can still come out and support it and have a chance to see it and not have it be a hologram’, and this is a sentiment which the Sage Gateshead audience most certainly agrees with.

Dweezil’s love and passion for his father’s music shines through all night long. Over the course of the two and a half hour show, each song is greeted with rapturous applause and adulation from the die-hard Zappa fans in attendance. Tonight’s performance proves that the music of Frank Zappa is most certainly alive and well and in safe hands thanks to Dweezil Zappa and the Others of Intention.

Dweezil Zappa
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Event Date: 08-Oct-2017

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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