Over, Over the Edge. . .
So this past Sunday was not typical. Not typical at all. It just has been awhile since I have gone out on a Sunday night. Lately, it is more and more just preparing for the coming week. Thrilling. Perhaps in some distant past I was not so concerned about such prep or I just could do both – go out, do the prep and even make it out the door Monday morning.
Who cares? I digress. . . This Sunday was simply something different. Different in various ways. I got out of the house, yes. But I also found a new place to check out, saw a band that I have not seen in a bit, and all was just a little different. All was good.
One can easily get stuck in a rut. I know I can. I wish I had seen a a mix of bands this summer as opposed to the two I seemed locked in on. And the venues this summer, this fall? All a few blocks from each other. All in the Lower East Side. Not the worst place to be, Certainly not the worst bands to lock in on.
So I wandered. I wander all the way over to the West Side. Yes, all the way over to Washington Square, and that school that seems to just want to consume the Village, and Bleeker and all that surrounds it.
So for a change I was over on Bleeker at Le Poisson Rouge, which I have never been to before. It has actually been there awhile. Yes, I need to get out more.
A nice size basement venue with a nice long bar along the back wall and a decent size stage up front. You come down the stairs, through a small lobby area. Nice for the merch folks and you just having a place to converse if needed. And then you enter. The bar is there to the left. To the right? Is the stage. Be careful not to walk onto it.
So I enter, and head to the bar. I am proud that i did not walk onto the stage. No, I like it. It is not claustrophobic. I was not claustrophobic. I could breathe. There was actually some space for both the band and fans.
I realize on stage it is Wild Streets on stage. I had caught them this summer. They were not one of the two. Anyway, I am sorry but I survived the 80s once. And this band to me just screams that vintage. The singer just reminds me of Michael Monroe or Dale Bozzio, not sure which. Those are not bad things, but I guess I have my own favorite peroxide blonde.
Next up was Venrez. The front man visually just made me think of Howard Stern. It was the hair. Oh he had more than just Howard Stern hair. They had some interesting things going on. I liked them. Atmospheric. A mellower Alice in Chains maybe? Progressive melodic rock. Thoughtful with some stuff going on musically.
I was asking myself a few times through the course of their set what did he, the bass player, just did? What was that? What he was doing grabbed my attention. Not your typical bass. Guitarist was in a similar vein. The singer, reflective, his voice, his delivery. . . I picked up an album and will give them a listen. They made me want to hear more.
Finally, LA Guns. Last time I saw them was last summer over in Long Island? Things have changed since then. Ace Von Johnson is doing rhythm guitar. His usual gig is lead guitar in Faster Pussycat. He was all but in the band before. I don’t know know if it is him or what but this show was a different vibe. The album they released earlier this year was different.
They still enter with Ozzy or Randy in the background. This time though they jumped into Over the Edge. Right over the edge. They use to work up to those heights before taking the plunge. Tonight, they started there. That was cool to start the trip there.
From there it was on to “No Mercy”, “Sex Action”, and “Electric Gypsy”. Those four songs together. All done nicely. What is Phil’s phrase? “Do you want to hear something hard and fast?” That was those four songs. And then they jumped into the new one, “The Devil You Know.”
That was complete with Phil in an interesting mask, a devil mask complete with horns. Well at least part devil. . . part Groucho Marx maybe? Remember the accountant in the Untouchables? At least from where I was standing he seemed in the mask to have a mustache. Does the devil have a mustache? It was the lighting.
Regardless, “The Devil You Know” was a good song to sum up that part of the set. It is heavy. Blacker, as Phil said, than Black Sabbath. Those first five songs just confirmed, in case you had any concerns, any doubts, that you were at an LA Guns show. And we were now way over that edge.
It was with that they shifted it down a gear or two and did “Some Lie for Love” from Hollywood Vampires. It was cool to hear this one. I do not think I heard it live before. And then onto “Kiss My Love Goodbye”, again from Hollywood Vampires. We had shifted into mid-tempo. And they continued this with “I Wanna Be Your Man” and “Never Enough”.
“Gone Honey” from the new album, The Devil You Know, was also done. Again mid tempo, a good tune. The one I like from the new album is “Loaded Bomb”. Somehow I can imagine it as a Bond theme. It is the chorus, Phil asserting “You are a loaded bomb.” As Ace and Tracii, play those extended chords. I like the slide at the end of it too, before it slows down a tad bit and Phil reiterates, “You are a loaded bomb”. If not Bond, an appropriate song for today’s politics.
Now of course Ballad of Jane was coming. The neat little twist here was the foreplay. They started with a bit of another ballad of theirs,”Crystal Eyes”, and again from Hollywood Vampires. Here featuring just Phil and Tracii. I liked hearing these neglected pieces.
And as we were now getting a little too comfortable, a little too mellow, they shifted it up into overdrive, doing “Speed”. And just continued at that pace into “Rip And Tear”.
It was a cool set. I just liked the pacing as you can see. The band was tight. I remember hearing Phil saying in various interviews it was about him and Tracii, but I heard and saw a pretty powerful band this Sunday, not just Phil and Traci but Ace Von Johnson, Scott Coogan, and Johnny Martin. Good stuff.
One last item. . . the venue, Le Poisson Rouge, is very cool. I hope to be back there soon. Phil Lewis pointed out a few times that it had a vibe which was reminiscent of the Cat Club for those who were lucky enough to indulge in NYC in the 80s. I was in that place a few times, but sadly not for LA Guns. I wish.
Just another Sunday it was not.