As sole support for Slash and Myles Kennedy on their current Australian tour, New Zealand hard rockers Devilskin faced an arduous task in not only winning over fans there for Slash and Slash alone, but also parochial Aussie music lovers who were bemoaning the lack of home-grown music on the bill.
From the opening chords of 'Pray' the reason Devilskin were invading our stages was clearly evident. Because they deserved to be.
With diminutive vocalist Jennie Skulander twirling and dancing on-stage at Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (30 January), Devilskin (who were added to the Download Festival line-up yesterday
) started like a band with a point to prove, which they did emphatically.
They looked at ease on the big stage with guitarist Tony Vincent and bass player Paul Martin working the angles while they attacked their instruments, making each member of the growing crowd feel as if their early presence was appreciated.
With minimal banter and maximum output, Devilskin played a collection of songs from their two albums, unveiling as yet unreleased single 'All Fall Down' before launching into 'Start A Revolution'.
Jennie's range – effortlessly alternating between harsh, yet beautiful clean vocals to gut-wrenching growls – was a feature of the set, with her powerful voice dominating throughout.
Mid-set the band dedicated 'Never See The Light' to close friend Shoki who had sadly taken his own life. But rather than trundle through yet another sentimental homage to a fallen friend, Devilskin upped the ante once again.
When Jennie introduced what she called a love song it seemed as though the bubble was about to burst, but judging from tonight's performance Devilskin don't know how to write a cheesy love song. Thankfully.
Finishing with 'Violation', Devilskin left the stage with a new-found respect and quite possibly a small army's worth of new fans. It still would have been nice to have one, local band there.
Although going these days under the name Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators, there is no doubting who the leader of tonight' headliner is.
With a large banner adorning the rear of the stage and the word 'Slash' emblazoned in large letters at the top, there was no mistaking who the star attraction was; and from opening song 'The Call Of The Wild', Slash let it be known through his guitar strings that it will always be his band.
Seemingly turning the clock back a couple of decades Slash looked to be in his element, jumping on the spot and running in circles, all the while belting out precision notes that spoke louder than any vocal line ever could.
That's not to sell Myles Kennedy short because his soaring vocals are an integral part of the band's sound, but as is often the case he happily stepped back into the shadows on regular occasions to let Slash work his magic.
Myles has come a long way since joining the band, with a growing confidence and sense of belonging that makes him more than merely a passenger along for the ride, but rather a co-pilot who defers to his captain when required.
With songs from latest album 'Living The Dream' dominating the set list, Slash also threw in a handful of tunes from 'Apocalyptic Love' and 'World On Fire', but it was songs from Slash's solo career that were the musical highlight.
'Doctor Alibi', which originally featured Motorhead frontman Lemmy on guest duties has sadly become a tribute to the great man and the band played it with such intensity that Lemmy's Jack Daniels would surely have been shaking from where he now drinks it.
'Ghost' and 'We're All Gonna Die' were highlights of the set, but the three separate guitar solo's during 'My Antidote' epitomised the musical feel of the night. Slash's Gibson Les Paul sang almost by itself and his hauntingly eerie chords hung in the air long after the final note was struck.
Despite persistent rumours that no Guns 'N Roses material was going to be played on tour, Slash almost catered to public demand by including 'Nightrain' in proceedings.
But judging from the less than enthusiastic response from the crowd, fans are finally permitting Slash to have a life after Axl and are more concerned with hearing current music rather than living in the past. Not that the crowd didn't appreciate the gesture, but the applause afterwards seemed more out of respect than gratitude.
It seems Slash is finally allowed to move on from the Gunners period of his career and judging on tonight's performance that can only be a good thing.