I must start off by clarifying that this is the Phil Lewis version of LA GUNS. It’s bothersome that I have to specify that but a lot of people get confused because there are two versions of LA GUNS currently playing the circuit. It’s a rarity to see a band these days that formed in the early to mid-80’s that still have all of the original members. So it’s to be expected to have some changes. I have witnessed some real botch jobs on stage when a band is playing with only one or two original members. It makes you want your money back so you can turn around and pay them in cash to never play again.
Make no bones about it, there were no refunds needed with these guys. LA GUNS still had the raw and sleazy sound that many of us grew up with and the all-star crew that was on stage this night at “The Cube” rocked the house.
Let me digress, the night got off to a late start. There were two local Delaware bands that opened for LA GUNS. SISTER MARY SUPER CHARGER and
THE KEEFS. I missed SMSC but heard they had a couple a glitches with the sound so they didn’t play a full set. I caught THE KEEFS entire set.
The bass player Vince Kilpatrick is a newer friend of mine and this was the first time I got to see him play. THE KEEFS are a local punk rock band that in my opinion should expand for more exposure. They are a talented group of guys that don’t sound like every other local bar band, they are putting the “P” back in Punk. If you are ever in Delaware, check them out. They are really good and have a large following.
Getting back to LA GUNS, there still seems to be a problem with the sound. It happens. Some may get impatient, I only get more excited. This is what “live” rock n’ roll is about. The build up to the start of this show is the best part. The lights are dimming but no sight of a band member yet. “The Cube” is a small 80’s themed venue so I can’t imagine where they are hiding but my eyes are peeled. Whenever this kind of suspense occurs my heart starts pounding. I’m a Glam, Sleaze rock junkie and a huge LA GUNS fan so the anticipation was growing intense for me and I was about to feed my addiction. As I looked around the room, many other fans were doing the same. We all had that “I can’t wait” look on our faces. Hot, talented musicians are about to be standing right before my eyes, I’m biting my nails at this point and just when one of my cuticles started bleeding I see a glimmer of leather and bandanas coming across the room towards the stage. “Yeah, it’s show time, bring it”!
Stacey Blades came on stage first, then this unfamiliar guy holding a bass hopped on stage, I knew it wasn’t Kenny Kweens and soon found out that Kenny had to miss a couple of shows so they got Nick Rozz from the BULLET BOYS to fill in. Okay, we expected Kenny but Nick had the look so let’s see what he’s got. Steve Riley sauntered behind the drum kit sporting dark sunglasses and a lit cigarette. He’s got this laid back, cool, “rockstar” thing down. Ok, where is the voice of the band, Phil Lewis? More anticipation, I love it. Uh-oh, could that guy approaching the stage in all black leather wearing a motorcycle half helmet with red blinking goggles attached to the top be the one and only Mr. Lewis? Hell yeah, it’s him. Phil gets on stage to join his band mates and we were warped back in time to circa 1980’s in Hollywood on Sunset Strip.
They started off with “No Mercy” and played 12 more songs straight through. There were 14 songs on the set list but it’s R n’ R, there are no rules. Phil Lewis has a stage presence that is a show in itself. He took his blinking helmet and leather jacket off and placed them on a stool near the Marshall stacks and continued to sing through the set list while this helmet was blinking in the background. They did my favorite song “Over the Edge” 5th in. In between songs, Phil would keep the crowd going with his jovial, charming persona. I like the way he fronts the band. He has a way of making all the fans feel like they are his friend for the night. All of this is quite important. These guys are full of talent but stage presence and interacting with the fans is a big part of it. They have it all. Stacey Blades plays a mean guitar. It was hard to take my eyes off of his playing ability. He makes these “rocker” faces when he is playing. This demonstrates that he is feeling the music in his soul. Playing guitar is definitely not a hobby for Stacey it’s a lifestyle. I think it’s safe to say, he is a musician before anything. After finding out that Nick Rozz was just filling in for Kenny on bass that night, it was understandable that he had to learn the songs pretty fast but he pulled it off. Remember how I referred to Steve Riley as cool and laid back? He was the same way playing those drums. He sat behind the drum kit like “I got this” and I don’t mean he had a cocky way about him at all. He is good at what he does and doesn’t need to show off, his playing speaks for itself.
Phil Lewis continued to please the crowd with his amazing vocals. How does he sing like that? Halfway through the show, Phil reaches to the crowd for a lighter and then puts his leather jacket back on and proceeds to light these sparklers that were attached to the top of his helmet. Places the now lit up helmet back on his head, puts his red blinking goggles over his eyes and breaks into song. This was a highlight for me. I was a fan before seeing them play. Now I’m a groupie. I’m kidding, but I will go see them every chance I get.
These guys are doing what they love and having fun with it. There was a “Meet and Greet” after the show of course I got in line for that to thank them in person. For one night they made a room full of people let loose and have fun and listen to some down and dirty sleaze rock.
Thank you again LA GUNS!!
R n’ R ~ “If it’s too loud, you are too old”