Mentally Ill In Amityville – LA Guns Tears Up the Revolution Bar
Saturday I made it over to Amityville NY to the Revolution Bar and Music Hall. Reminds me of the Stone Pony down in Asbury Park. Not far from the ocean and some good live music. Like the Stone Pony not a huge place but a nice stage and still fits a couple hundred people. Saturday night it was packed.
It was a crazy night in Amityville with LA Guns, Faster Pussycat, and Streetlight Circus on stage, packing the place, and just kicking out the jams. Put the first two bands into whatever categories you may it was a glorious night of Rock n’Roll. All three just confirmed that guitar driven rock is guitar driven rock, whether you have fussed-up hair or not.
I got there in the middle of the Streetlight Circus set and do not know their back story, but will keep an eye out for them passing through again. Faster Pussycat I remember from the 80’s. I believe I got one of their first albums back in the day. That was as far as it went.
Apparently in some cases it just takes some time to progress from the initial listen to checking out the show. It was good. It is always a challenge when you just don’t know the tunes, but I would see them again. They threw in the Ramones tune “Lets Go” for good measure. You know what really caught my attention were the fans. There were plenty of folks there for Faster Pussycat. They knew the tunes. They knew the band, and they knew the little jokes and stories that develop over the years. And it was easy enough to join in with the crowd and just enjoy the show.
No I came for LA Guns. I did not really know about them until 2003. Yeah I know – how does that happen with a hair metal band that has been making music since like 1986. That is a different story, but have been enjoying their tunes for the last thirteen years. Might have something to do with that dude Bernie Torme. . . again. Regardless I have been a fan of LA Guns for awhile. It is sad that Tracii Guns was departing from the band as I was just starting to dig into their stuff.
That said Phil Lewis and company still rocked. Caught them in the city twice over the years. First at Don Hills, and then at the Continental. Sadly both venues are gone. The first closed when the owner passed away, and the other just stopped having live music. I recall Phil Lewis reminiscing about playing the Cat Club, which Don Hill was also involved with. Anyway, Phil Lewis, Stacey Blades, who took over guitar chores following Tracii’s departure, and the rest of the band. I believe Kenny Kweens and Steve Riley. Both were memorable nights leaving me thankful that I found them – better late than ever.
So now ten years or so since I last saw them at the Continental. They has passed through NYC a few times. Just life intruding and me missing them. Stacey Blades moved on two or three years ago. Michael Grant is now doing the guitar work. I did catch them at a festival over in NJ last fall. They did not disappoint but it was just a big festival, where they were simply one act on a smaller stage and early on a Sunday night. So they were good, but just not the best time and place. It was good to see them but just a lot of other stuff going on too.
So performing at the Revolution Bar on Saturday night to a packed house was just right. The band was just as tight as ever, you have two other acts, one of which they have history with, and the crowd was there to see them. And you have a proper bar at the back of the venue. Much better. . .
The band did not disappoint on Saturday. Phil Lewis is one of my favorite vocalist. He has a good range and just the right voice for rock. A dash of rasp. And he is understated as far as stage presence. Perhaps it is that British wit. I loved that it was after three or four songs that he felt it necessary to introduce the band,”We are LA Guns”, which he stated so demurely. It was good that he informed us of that, in case there was any doubt. No doubt he has a voice and wit.
Michael Grant complements Phil. Yeah he is an excellent guitarist. I saw that on youtube and in NJ last fall. There are, however, plenty of folks that could regurgitate the solos from Tracii and Stacey. No he is more than able to perform that function. He makes these tunes his own, The tune that haunts me is Over the Edge and it was not just his solos but his rhythms. Staccato is how i would describe his rhythm playing, especially on that tune. Staccato – each sound or note sharply detached or separated from the others. That is the definition and that was his rhythm style and with that tone and those solos, it grabbed me that night. And yes he knows how to perform those tunes on a stage. There is a certain stage presence there.
Lastly, LA Guns routinely wanders. At the Continental Phil was intrigued with a photo of Iggy Pop on the wall. They had a bunch of such portraits on the wall. He insisted, much to the chagrin of his mates, on doing Search and Destroy. It was alright. You could tell it was a little rusty but it was cool. Saturday night it was Prince. With his passing it was only appropriate that it be acknowledged in some fashion. Before they went on they played Prince’s Lets Go Crazy. Mid-set though, Michael took over as MC and was joined by Ace Von Johnson of Faster Pussycat for a rendition of Purple Rain. Again a little rough at moments but appropriate. Was it note for note Prince’s Purple Rain, probably not, but it was nice nod to the man and his music.
It was once again a pleasure to see LA Guns. I look forward to seeing them again soon. I wish I could catch them at Crossroads in Garwood NJ this coming Friday! Next time.