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The Rolling Stones



The Stones’ 1999 No Security tour of North America and Europe was a concerted effort to get back to basics. Gone were the excesses of the stadium gigs of their global Bridges To Babylon jaunt, in favour of the relative intimacy of arenas. This 3LP, 20-track show culled from their appearance in San José is – with very few exceptions – a peerless spin through the highlights of their back catalogue. Jagger is better when dialling down the stadium histrionics, and the band sprints out of the blocks with Jumpin’ Jack Flash and Bitch’s horn-packed riffage. The witty You Got Me Rocking boasts tasty slide from Ronnie Wood, while Chuck Leavell shines on a loose and lively Honky Tonk Women. There’s an abrupt stylistic shift for Paint It Black, although this full-tilt version sacrifices the dark menace of its studio counterpart.

The home straight on Disc 3 is stunning. The band achieve lift-off on a lascivious Midnight Rambler before a triple whammy of Start Me Up, an extended Brown Sugar and Sympathy For The Devil. Even when you can see the flaws, their status as the world’s finest rock ’n’ roll band has never really been in jeopardy. Steve Harnell

Teenage Fanclub



It is, of course, absolutely compulsory when reviewing the Fannies’ back catalogue to namedrop the influence of The Byrds, and most notably, Big Star. We won’t break from that convention here, but it’s also worth noting just how consistent the Bellshill indie rockers have been over the past quarter of a century; they’ve barely put a foot wrong since their quiet emergence in the early 90s. This five-album series of reissues of their finest work on vinyl – they’ve long been out of print – is a timely reminder of a sterling back catalogue. Picks of the bunch are Bandwagonesque from 1991 and 1995’s Grand Prix. The former – released at the height of grunge – may have featured the odd nod to feistiness on gnarly feedback-drenched tracks such as Satan, but this was the work of a band in thrall to melodic songwriting. They then refined the process for Grand Prix, with its clutch of instant classics including About You, Sparky’s Dream and the punsome Mellow Doubt. The experimental Thirteen (1993) has improved with age, while Songs From Northern Britain, released in 1997, showcases an understated band that’s thoroughly at ease with itself. Their major-label excursion Howdy! from 2000 plays to their strengths, and is also worthy of re-examination. Steve Harnell

Guns N’ Roses



Three decades have passed since the sleazy rock ’n’ roll of Appetite For Destruction conquered an unsuspecting world; and this expansive celebration, in a dizzying array of formats, is a G N’ R fan’s ultimate fantasy fulfilled. The remastered 180g audiophile doublevinyl version of the album (£27.99), with its limited-edition slipcase and a ‘Hologroove Hologram’ on Side 4, is special enough; but the full 10,000-run Locked N’ Loaded Edition (£850) is Universal Music’s most sumptuous boxset ever. The “bombardment of collectibles” it contains ranges from a dozen 12x12-inch lithos of new track illustrations to a 96-page booklet with photos from Axl Rose’s personal archive. Aside from the newly remastered and 5.1 Blu-ray versions of the album itself and 12 remastered tracks compiled from EPs and B-sides of the era, of overriding interest is the release of 25 unreleased demos from a 1986 Sound City recording session. The undoubted motherlode is the 1986 run-through of the majority of songs that made up Appetite…’s playlist a year later. Despite the intriguing but inferior Shadow Of Your Love and covers of Heartbreak Hotel and Jumpin’ Jack Flash in place of Mr. Brownstone, It’s So Easy and Sweet Child O’ Mine, the road-honed set, brimming with fire and energy, is all-but record-ready. Urchins living under the street they may have been, but they’d put the work in: this is the sound of lightning being captured in a bottle. Owen Bailey

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