Last night i was in a little bit of a mood and brought along my solid state HH VS-musician head to the gig instead of my usual laney VC30 tube amp.
I normally use this amp for practices occasionally, to preserve tube life etc. or have it as a backup amp, but i just thought "fuck it i'm gonna use this amp for the whole gig, i don't care if it sounds shit".
Holy hell - it sounds brilliant in context. The quality of the preamp overdrive, as I have mentioned before, is very tube-like in that it has a kind of gradual shift from clean to dirty, it's pretty smooth instead of buzzy or grainy, and is the only solid state amp i'm aware of that can do that "slight breakup" kind of sound very well. Obviously, the actual articulation of the amp is very very stiff and transistorized, lacking the touch-responsiveness of a tube amp - but it's still a very good, and kinda warm and organic, overdrive sound. I actually preferred the bass response (or should i say "lack of") of this amp to most tube amps, in context - it seems like the low notes, like an F5 power chord in the E position hit very hard, or an open A power chord, sound a lot more defined, because there's no natural compression or tube-sag to mush up the low frequencies. This is extremely beneficial to my style of rhythm playing and definitely works better for me than tube amps do in that respect.
For leads, again the notes were more defined but they sounded a bit dry and clinical and had a hint of the "sweetness" missing - but i don't really do a lot of lead - since i'm mostly a rhythm player and i find this works better than a tube amp for my rhythm playing, this may be my amp of choice for gigs now for quite some time.