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03/09/1993, The Borderline, London (UK)

KERRANG! (UK) #?, September 1993

"If you want to see the next bigger-than-Guns N'Roses thing, then you're about to see it. I might be wrong, but I doubt it," states ex-Iron Maiden warbler Bruce Dickinson as LA sextet Tribe Of Gypsies take to the boards. He is, of course, resorting to his customary sense of Dickinson-ian exaggeration. Nevertheless, the Tribe have the kind of crossover appeal that can't be denied. Like Dan Reed raiding Carlos Santana's bag o' tricks, they're a melting pot of cultures and ideas. While most modern day Rock bands are chasing the Grunge gravy-train, TOG bare their influences with covers of Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well" and Spencer Davis' "I'm A Man". Their Latino roots show through on every cut, with some staggering interplay between conga cruncher Doug Van Booven and timpani thumper Mario Aguilar. Where the Tribe really sparkle is on the magnificent "We All Bleed Red", frontman Dean Ortega's soulful wail quavering against a backdrop of biting rifferama courtesy of guitarist Roy Z. If there are any criticisms of TOG, it has to be that despite their passion, at times they are a little too slick. Their enthusiasm, though, is infectious and something of a saving grace.

In contrast to the Tribe's slickness, support act Daze 69 are a bare-knuckled, bar-room explosion sandwiched uncomfortably onto the front of the Borderline stage. The vehicle for ex-Godfathers/Brotherland guitar-slinger Kris Dollimore, they stomp'n'roll their way through a 40-minute set loaded with promise. "What's A Life" kicks up dust, with frontman Jim Riley assuming thunderous harp and vocal duties in equal measure. "Shack Got Raided" romps rumbustiously, fuelled by ex-Spandau Ballet drummer John Keeble's back beat. Elsewhere, Dollimore flexes his six-string on the Page-like "Saudade" before launching into the equally Zep-like "Sahara". Things verge on the cliched with "Higher", but Dolli and his crew have the barrow-boy charm to get away with it. Their lack of presence might be a concern, and becomes more apparent during TOG's bombast-filled set. It's only their third gig and, like the Tribe, they remained unsigned with a ton of work to do. For both bands, better things await.

Phil Alexander