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Brian Downey's Alive and Dangerous at Nell's Jazz & Blues

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
Event: -
Iconic album celebrated at special gigs
Original Thin Lizzy drummer Brian Downey will mark the 40th anniversary of Lizzy's Live and Dangerous album with gigs at Nell's Jazz & Blues in West Kensington, London, on November 24 and 25, 2017. The drummer and his new band, Brian Downey's Alive and Dangerous, will celebrate the anniversary with a one-off performance of the record, considered one of the greatest live rock albums ever.

Thin Lizzy, Brian Downey's Alive and Dangerous, Live and Dangerous, Nell's Jazz & Blues, Brian Grace, Matt Wilson, Phil Edgar, Phil Lynott
Alive and Dangerous: Phil Edgar, Brian Downey, Brian Grace, Matt Wilson (pic: Larry Canavan)


Brian's band features Brian Grace, best known as the guitarist for the Commitments' Andrew Strong, and former Low Rider members Matt Wilson (lead vocals, bass) and Phil Edgar (lead guitar).

When the Thin Lizzy reunion project wrapped in 2013, with the band morphing into Black Star Riders, Brian took time off, declining to join BSR.

He says: "After the Thin Lizzy reunion shows finished in 2013 I was asked to join what turned out to be Black Star Riders, but it just didn't feel right for me. In January 2016, following an appearance at Vibe For Philo, the annual Phil Lynott commemoration in Dublin, I approached Brian Grace and that's when we discussed getting a band together. After a few rehearsals, Brian suggested that we rehearse with Matt Wilson and Phil Edgar, both of whom had been in a band called The Low Riders whose name was taken from a lyric in the Thin Lizzy song Johnny The Fox.

"In January 2017, we jammed together at the Vibe For Philo and it went so well we decided to form Brian Downey's Alive and Dangerous and make it a full time proposition."

Thin Lizzy, Brian Downey's Alive and Dangerous, Live and Dangerous, Nell's Jazz & Blues, Brian Grace, Matt Wilson, Phil Edgar, Phil Lynott


Next year will mark the 40th Anniversary of Thin Lizzy's Live and Dangerous album (pictured above). Although it was recorded live in 1977 at London's Hammersmith Apollo and Toronto's Seneca College, it wasn't officially released until a year later in 1978.

"I got hooked on Thin Lizzy's music at the age of 12," says Brian Grace. "I'm a huge fan of those songs. It's such a dream to be playing with the best drummer in the world! The musicians in the band love and respect the Lizzy sound. We really try and recreate it.''

Thin Lizzy, Brian Downey's Alive and Dangerous, Live and Dangerous, Nell's Jazz & Blues, Brian Grace, Matt Wilson, Phil Edgar, Phil Lynott
Respect: Brian Downey's Alive and Dangerous (pic: Larry Canavan)


Brian Downey's early musical influences came from his father who played in a local pipe band in Dublin. His sixties heroes included The Kinks, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. He met friend, co-founder and bass guitarist Philip Lynott, who attended the same school. Before forming Thin Lizzy, Brian had been in numerous school bands including The Liffey Beats, Mod Con Cave Dwellers and, briefly, The Black Eagles with Lynott. He went on to perform in a local band, Sugar Shack, and in 1969, he was persuaded by Lynott to join him in the band, Orphanage.

Also in Orphanage were Joe Staunton, Pat Quigley and guest member Terry Woods. The band didn't last too long and towards the end of 1969 the guys were approached by Eric Bell and formed Thin Lizzy. Brian and Phil were the only full-time members of Thin Lizzy until they disbanded in 1983.

After Phil's death in 1986, Brian played in the tribute Thin Lizzy line-up with John Sykes, Scott Gorham, Darren Wharton and Marco Mendoza, but was absent from subsequent Thin Lizzy touring bands. After John Sykes' departure in 2009, guitarist Scott Gorham created another line-up of Thin Lizzy. Downey, Mendoza and Wharton re-joined, along with two new members, guitarist Vivian Campbell and former vocalist from The Almighty, Ricky Warwick. This version of Thin Lizzy started an extensive world tour in January 2010 and continued to tour until early 2013.

Thin Lizzy, Brian Downey's Alive and Dangerous, Live and Dangerous, Nell's Jazz & Blues, Brian Grace, Matt Wilson, Phil Edgar, Phil Lynott
Anniversary tribute: Brian Downey's Alive and Dangerous (pic: Larry Canavan)
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Why? Celebration of Thin Lizzy's Live and Dangerous album
When: November 24 and 25, 2017
Phone: 020 7792 1200
Where: Nell's Jazz & Blues, 3 North End Crescent, London W14 8TG
Cost: 25
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