I just got word from a friend of mine that Thin Lizzy is raising the roof again across Europe and are planning some homecoming shows in Belfast on February 16 and Dublin on the 17th.

The 2011 Thin Lizzy features ex-Almighty frontman Ricky Warwick on vocals, original members Scott Gorham, Brian Downey and Darren Wharton, plus Def Leppard's Vivian Campbell on guitar and bass supremo Marco Mendoza.

You may look at this as blasphemy, the very notion of Thin Lizzy carrying along without Phil Lynott. I know I did. I thought I’d check out this Ricky Warwick joker who dared slip on the shoes of our coolest Irish rock legend.

After fronting a band called the Almighty, Warwick brazenly embarked on an acoustic solo career and recorded his first release, Tattoos and Alibis. He recorded that with Peter O'Toole of Hothouse Flowers and Scott Gorham, hence, the Thin Lizzy connection.

Warwick is a tattooed punk everyman, a far cry from the sexy exotic vibe that Lynott was giving out during his time as the band’s lead singer. There’s less T Rex and more Steve Earle, Johnny Cash, Ramones and the Clash in Warwick, which should make for a totally unique Thin Lizzy experience!

"We're delighted with how the shows are going," an elated Gorham told Hot Press. "Nearly all the gigs are sold out and the crowds are great. Ricky is doing an amazing job out front too."

If you like gritty rock like Gaslight Anthem, log onto YouTube and check out the video for “The Whiskey Song,” a toe-tapping rocker if ever there were one. Yeah, I can totally see this guy sing “Whiskey in the Jar!”

No word on plans to tour the U.S. yet, but fans who want a recording of some of these European shows are advised to log onto www.simfylive.com.