When Topfest announced their first headliner back in November I could not quite believe that the guitar legend Slash with his comrades Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators – Todd Kerns, Brent Fitz and Frank Sidoris, will make it to Slovakia. Frank unfortunately had to sit out this part of the tour, but Cory Churko stepped in quite well. It was the first time for these guys to ever play in Slovakia and fans all over the country were excited to see the mighty guitarist with his band in summer on the festival.
Topfest is a bit smaller compared to the festivals like Download, Hellfest or Graspop that the band played during past weeks, but what lacked in tens of thousands of people elsewhere got more than made up by the atmosphere Topfest provided for the band. Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators, or The Canadians as they jokingly named themselves when Cory joined in instead of Frank, played a full headline show on Friday evening that to the joy of fans lasted well over two hours.
And what a show it was. Slash is for sure a guarantee of excellent music and very creative and captivating guitar play and his solos are legendary. At Topfest he played quite a few and the one during Wicked Stone was reaching ten minutes! With other bands you could easily get bored during such a long guitar solos, but for sure not here. Well, maybe except for the singer Myles, who instead of retreating either wielded a guitar himself or grabbed drumsticks and joined Brent Fitz on drums during World On Fire.
As people who follow this band for a while surely know, this is no one man show, though. Especially the bassist Todd Dammit Kerns is quite a crazy and full of energy on stage, throwing his long hair literally everywhere and making faces at the photographers and fans. Besides bass and backing vocals he got more space for We’re All Gonna Die and Doctor Alibi where he replaced Myles on lead vocals. The rest of the singing was handled quite outstandingly by Myles Kennedy and from his performances and vocal abilities it is quite clear why Slash decided after the first album and tour to make him permanent part and voice of the band ever since.
As a nice surprise after the two songs with Kerns on vocals Slash brought out a double neck guitar and the band played a ballad from the last album – The One You Loved Is Gone. This song has been appearing on the live setlist only couple of times and I think it is a big pity, because this song is on the quality level right there next to Starlight – a notoriously known slower piece from the first album that was the first song that started it all for Myles in this band and can’t miss on any of the band’s concerts.
As Slash has already four albums out at this point, there was only one song by the mighty Guns N’ Roses included in the set – Night Train. For those who complain that there wasn’t more GNR – go see a GNR play live then. There is no need to fill the setlist with their songs, since the band has so many amazing material of their own.
If for nothing else, than for this higlight of the whole day at Zelena Voda it was more than worth it to come to Topfest on the first day this year. These guys are surely Living The Dream, as the name of their last album hints. That being said, apart from local Slovak and Czech bands that are notoriously known between Slovak audience like Walda Gang or Desmod, there were also outstanding sets by Australians Hands Like Houses, which where grateful to be able to come to play for Slovak audience or The Great Malarkey from UK. And the festival still continues into a second day with many more interesting acts to appear on stages of Topfest today.