WHEN someone has performed with legends such as Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Etta James and Maceo Parker from James Brown`s band, not to mention stepping into the shoes of Johnny Thunders in the New York Dolls, you just know that they must be something special.

New Yorker Steve Conte is certainly that and it was a rare treat indeed to catch the guitarist in Michael Monroe`s band in such an intimate venue and this promised to be a very special night and Conte did not disappoint.

Drawing on his solo work, his material with Steve Conte and The Truth as well as some choice covers, Conte delivered a masterclass in passionate, energy fuelled powerhouse Rock `n` Roll driven by the ragged spirit of Punk.

The Truth Ain`t Pretty and Dark In The Spotlight quickly set the tone followed up with a swift uppercut of the Earl Vince classic, Somebody`s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight. Pure Rock `n` Roll gold dust.

Conte raised his glass to the much-missed Tom Petty with a lively romp through American Girl and Tom Waites too got the Conte treatment with I Don`t Wanna Grow Up. A rare run out for Romance on the Rocks by his early `90`s band, Company of Wolves, was a welcome inclusion into the set and a timely reminder of just how good that sole studio album was.

The covers are fun, and Janis Joplin`s Mercedes Benz would liven up even the grimmest of shows but Conte`s own material stands proud beside such classics with OK DJ featuring the most infectious hook known to man. One listen and it will stick for weeks.

New single too, Gimme Gimme Rockaway, steeped in the less is more tradition of the Ramones lit the touch paper and the glorious surf beats of Gypsy Cab brought a real feel good vibe to the evening.

Having worked with both Chuck Berry and Bo Didley it would be remiss not to acknowledge that and Conte blew the speakers with a raucous Roll Over Beethoven and Pills which saw him go walkabouts into the audience. What an end to a sweat soaked, supercharged evening of low down and dirty, Rock `n` Roll.

Mick Burgess