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Wednesday, 22 June 2011

LA Guns/Venrez/Tragic City Thieves - Glassic Grand - 21/6/11 (Glasgow

LA Guns are coming to town maaaaaaaaan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Pretty gnarly huh?
I mean those guys rock duuuuude.
Or the rough translation of that would be that the glam sleaze train was rolling into Glasgow and some people were rather excited about the prospect of hopping on board.
Not me though.
While I don't have a problem with LA Guns - and I was indeed curious to see them play with Jizzy Pearl fronting them – the main draw was that Gypsy Pistoleros and Venrez were the support acts for the tour.
Unfortunately the flamenco rockers, Gypsy Pistoleros, were dropped from the tour after one night because............wait for it...............they were too good.
Now forgive me, but if the band whose name is above the door feel that they are being overshadowed by a support act then it doesn't fill me with confidence that they will deliver the goods on the night.
It's also a bit of a backhanded compliment telling a band that they're too good for a tour.
It's a negative wrapped in a positive.
On one hand it sounds like praise, but on the other you have four guys who have juggled their personal and professional lives around to accommodate going out on the road, and then been left hanging.
It's to the Pistoleros credit that not a hint of animosity about the situation has reared its ugly head about what some would describe as being royally fuckin' shafted.
Okay. When I say some, I mean me.
I think that if the shoe was on the other foot then five minutes after being told that a band I was in was off the tour I would be standing cock in hand pissing in the petrol/gas tank of the LA Guns tour bus, even if I had to stand on tip toe to do it, but then again that might just be me.
With every dark cloud they say there's a silver lining though, and in this case the silver lining to this dirty black cloud was that the venue stepped up in the eleventh hour and procured the services of Glasgow's finest glam terrorists Tragic City Thieves to fill the gap on the bill.
Although they were one man down, with lead guitarist Stu out of the country, there was no evidence on display that they were going to let that get in the way of some good rockin'.
In fact the opposite would seem to be the case.
The awareness that their brother in arms wasn't bending the six strings for them seemed to push the band individually to go above and beyond the call of duty, and it was another blistering set from them.
I've genuinely yet to see them do a less than impressive show.
They've played the shitholes with crap pa's, played to crowds that just don't get them, played with members out of action, played to the three quarters empty halls in support to bigger, but not necessarily better, bands, and they have always delivered.
Never once have I seen them stumble.
Currently they have a fistful of new material that is getting road tested and if they can capture the fire of these songs in a studio then their sophomore release is really going to set the cat amongst the pigeons.
If you could get rock and roll broken down into it's smallest molecular components and looked at it through a microscope, then what you would see is the four members of Tragic City Thieves staring up at you and pulling the finger.
It was the perfect start to the evening and I suspect that if Tracii Guns had seen Tragic City Thieves in action he would have been very concerned about how his band was going to follow on from that performance.
Thankfully Tragic City Thieves aren't on the tour and have no need to concern themselves at being dropped.
Venrez who had survived the support band cull looked confident when they took to the stage and once they got into the flow it was easy to see why.
With ex members of Juliette and the Licks and Alex Kane of Life, Sex and Drugs, AntiProduct, Clam Abuse, Enuff Z'Nuff. Marky Ramones Blitzkrieg on board this is a band who can walk the walk.
Steven Berez on vocals has a rich solid classic rock tone to his voice, but the guitar work and attitude displayed on stage fleshes out the traditional skeleton with some punk muscle.
This mix works very well and allows the band to be imbued with that intangible something that while you can't put your finger on it does separate them from many of their peers.
There's some west coast psych hiding away within the music, but there's also some hints at Seattle's grunge sound.
Mainly in a vocal deliver that occasionally sounds reminiscent of Layne Staley from around the Jar of Flies time.
While not apparently everybody's thing there is no doubt that the talent is there, and Venrez could very well pull something special out of the bag at any moment.
For some reason I kept thinking throughout the set that I could imagine seeing these guys playing on a festival stage somewhere.
Japan would probably be a place to visit as I could imagine that the Japanese rock fans would fall in love with them.
If I was to have one single solitary criticism to make it would be that I would have preferred to see Steven Berez strut it a bit more, maybe swing that mic stand about a bit.
It wouldn't make any difference to the music, but visually I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the inner rock star coming out.
So far so good.
Two out of two band delivered the entertainment promised.
Then LA Guns ruined it to an extent.
They are one of the few bands who rode a wave of popularity many moons ago that I didn't see.
Motley Crue, check.
Ratt, check.
Guns and Roses, check.
Cinderella, check.
Bon Jovi, check.
I could go on and on, but you get the picture.
I even seen Love/Hate who as far as I recall were pretty much shit hot live.
So even although it's 2011 and we are all well past the glory years I expected that on some level I would feel myself swaying towards some level of enjoyment, even if it was rooted in nostalgia.
The thing is I didn't feel that pull into the past, and what was going on in front of me had very little to do with the present.
Yes, Tracii is a guitar hero, and yes Jizzy appeared to be in fine voice, although it was hard to tell as he was so low in the mix, but the over riding feeling I got was that I'd woken up in a scene from Hot Tub Time Machine.
The view of the past wasn't rose tinted.
It just looked silly, slightly embarrassing even.
It was like looking at a photograph of yourself as a teenager and cringing at what you were wearing.
It felt like this LA Guns were the facsimile of another LA Guns.
They look the same, sound the same, but it's a shadow copy.
The main thing that was bringing me down was the sound though.
The vocals were so low in the mix that Jizzy wasn't coming across as a fully paid up member of the band.
It was so bad that anyone could have been fronting them and you really couldn't have heard much of a difference.
At one point I was thinking that if it got any worse then you would fully expect a front man to have a strop and ask what the fuck the score was.
I doubt Tracii would have been too enamoured with a sound man who turned his guitar down so low, or the vocals up so high that you couldn't hear him.
So to allow Jizzy to work under these conditions is pretty reprehensible.
Maybe on a different night it would be a different story, but it wasn't a different night.
So I gave up and went and spoke to Alex Kane on the merch stand and asked if he wanted to do a quick interview.
To cut a long story short, he did.
So apart from providing an open and frank look back on his career, and what he is up to at the moment, I really have to thank him for giving me a legitimate reason to miss a good chunck of LA Guns.
If I had seen more of them then this review would have dipped to the level of tourettes sufferer showing shocking poor anger management skills.
To sum the show up I guess it would be fair to say that as a band they lived up to the dire Shrinking Violet album that was their last release.

*Please refer to the comments section for further information pertaining to some of the comments that I made in the review.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes things have a habit of coming back and biting you on the ass.
    This is one of those times.
    I was informed about the situation with Los Pistoleros from their camp and without any alternative denials coming from LA Guns I took the information as to be a fair representation of what happened.
    Now I've been told by a witness of the Welsh gig that there was a few issues on the night.
    Ugly drunken ego driven attitudes were on display pre-gig and latterly one of Gypsy Pistoleros took to the stage during the LA Guns performance and started unplugging instruments and generally causing a bit of mayhem.
    Now while some may say it's all rock and roll I would have to say that if I paid to see a band perform and someone was drunkenly making it difficult for them to do so then I wouldn't be pleased regardless of whether that was a punter or a member of the support band.
    So while I'll not be removing the original comments, as I'm uncomfortable with how people can rewrite history to suit themselves, what I will say is that the comments I made were misguided at the least, and far off the mark at worst, and I will take full responsibility for an undeserved attack on Tracii Guns himself, and LA Guns the band.