There are supergroups and there’s Hollywood Vampires. The hard-rocking outfit formed in 2015 when Johnny Depp, Joe Perry (Aerosmith) and Alice Cooper first came together to record in 2015, bonding over a shared love of their favourite songs and a desire to celebrate their ‘dead, drunk friends’ by playing the music of the fallen heroes.
Named after Alice’s 1970s drinking club (which included the likes of John Lennon, Keith Moon and Mickey Dolenz), the trio made their live debut at LA’s Roxy Theatre with the help of Guns N’ Roses’ rhythm section of Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum.
Their second album, Rise, followed in 2019, consisting mainly of original material, written by the band. However, in the spirit of the Vampires’ original mission, the record also included three covers of songs originally written and recorded by incredible talents who died far too young, such as Johnny Thunders and Jim Carroll.
After multiple cancellations, the rock supergroup announced long-awaited European and UK dates back in 2022 but, even then, it looked like the dates would fall foul to bad luck when Depp injured his leg forcing the rescheduling of US headline shows.
Luckily, the Hollywood heartthrob recovered sufficiently to perform and, as the tour rolled into Manchester for the latest date of their sold-out UK run, anticipation was at fever pitch as the ghoulish backdrop revealed the supergroup’s faces and the band emerged from the wings.
A rock supergroup in the truest definition of the term, Cooper, Depp and Perry delivered a full throttle set of rock ‘n’ roll bangers. “Raise The Dead” was anthemic and trashy while renditions of Alice’s “I’m Eighteen”, and “People Who Died” by The Jim Carroll Band and “Walk This Way” were unforgettable.
Speaking of unforgettable, one of those moments came when Depp fronted the band for a gravelly rendition of David Bowies “Heroes”. Elsewhere their own material “My Dead Drunk Friends” and “Whose Laughing Now” didn’t sound out of place alongside a set laced with rock ‘n’ roll greats.
The trio have described Hollywood Vampires as being “a tribute to their dead, drunk friends” but, on the evidence of tonight’s show, real bar room rock ‘n’ roll is still very much alive and kicking.
Photo Copyright © Jo Forrest
I Want My Now
Raise the Dead
Five to One / Break On Through (to the Other Side)
The Boogieman Surprise
My Dead Drunk Friends
You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory
Who’s Laughing Now
People Who Died
As Bad as I Am
Jeff Beck Tribute
Bright Light Fright
The Death and Resurrection Show
Walk This Way
The Train Kept A-Rollin’