Dead Man’s Whiskey live review VENUE – The Zanzibar Club, Liverpool

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DATE – 24th November 2023

Words and photographs – Graeme Wright


Dead Man’s Whiskey has been making waves since 2016 and has played at Download and performed on the Kiss Kruise amongst many other high-profile appearances. For some reason though, this was the first time our paths had crossed in the live arena and having released one of the albums of the year in 2023 I couldn’t wait to make their acquaintance. Singer Nico Rogers had been suffering from illness and had already had to cancel a couple of shows in the previous week, so I was worried this gig might go the same way. A couple of days before the show it was announced it would go ahead, so a big crew of us travelled the short distance to Liverpool on a Friday afternoon to check the band out. The Hot One Two had already turned in a fantastic set so the gauntlet had been well and truly thrown down. Dead Man’s Whiskey did not disappoint.

The first things to note when the band launches into ‘Live, Loud And Ready’ is that musically they are as tight as a drum and that Nico has one of the very best voices in the business. Soulful when required, aggressive and powerful on the heavier songs, he is note-perfect tonight and the band put on an almighty display of great music this evening. For me, the new songs are a big step up for this band and the album will almost certainly be in my top ten of the year. ‘Diggin’ For Fame’ and ‘Who I Am’ are both Stormers, with the band playing with a confident swagger that shows they know how good this material is. ‘War Machine’ is from the 2017 record ‘Under The Gun’ and is heavier than anything on the new record. It’s a live show favourite because the fans in here know all the words and are head-banging away to their heart’s content. ‘Fighting To Survive’ has an AC-DC style guitar riff and is a heavy blues delight, while ‘What’s Your Name’ is another thunderous and immediate song. ‘Do Or Die’ is the best song from the new album (and indeed it’s the best song in the band’s entire repertoire). A chorus to die for, it’s an arena-quality song and it gets the best reception of the evening from the Liverpool crowd. I’ve played this one to death since I received the album and as the latest single it could potentially be the song to gain an even bigger profile for this band if it gets the right airplay.

‘Rooster Crows’ is next and the differences between the older songs and the new material are never clearer than when listening to this song. It’s a credit to the band that they can give their older songs a turbo-charged modern-day makeover and they fit in seamlessly with the new direction the band have taken as this one goes down a storm. ‘Island In The Storm’ is five minutes of exemplary Heavy Rock music with another massive chorus and one that is played at a breakneck pace. ‘Fear Is Cold’ is Blues-based rock at its finest and Nico’s vocal is amazing here. ‘Make You Proud’ slows things down and it’s here that you realise the absolute quality of the two guitarists in this band on a tune where they are given time to breathe.

The show closes with ‘Racing Bullet’ with thunderous support from James and Charlie, the highly charged Bass and Drum back line. The band leave the stage and is happy to mingle with the crowd afterwards and everyone notes that they are all genuine and down-to-earth guys. This was a fantastic live performance this evening, so while the crowd was probably slightly affected by the fact that there were three other rock band gigs in town tonight, I hope they are back in Liverpool next year as this was one of the shows of the year for me, with two bands at the top of their game.


Nico Rogers – Vocals

Billy Kons – Lead Guitar

Elliot D’Alvarez – Rhythm Guitar

James Titley – Bass

Charlie Gray – Drums


  1. Live, Loud And Ready
  2. Diggin’ For Fame
  3. Who I Am
  4. War Machine
  5. Fighting To Survive
  6. What’s Your Name
  7. Do Or Die
  8. Rooster Crows
  9. Island In The Storm
  10. Fear Is Cold
  11. Make You Proud
  12. Racing Bullet

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