On April 22, 2017, Loaded Concerts and Mulcahy’s Pub and Concert Hall presented the L.A. Guns Phil Lewis + Tracii Guns Reunion show in Wantagh, New York. Also on the bill that night were :::KILLCODE:::, Faster Pussycat, Streetlight Circus and Ryder. It was an insanely excellent night of good ole rock n’ roll with a dash of sleaze.
I arrived just in time to catch the beginning of Streetlight Circus’ set (traffic from Brooklyn to Long Island was a bitch). Streetlight Circus is a New York rock band founded by singer, songwriter, and bassist David Shaw, other members of the band include guitarists George Giannoulis and Fabio Bargna, and drummer Erik Fehrenbach.
The band opened their set with “Sad Cafe” from their latest CD, Needle Down, a kind of homage to a small-town hangout that closed down, something as New Yorkers we can identify with having lost so many of our local hangouts. They went on to play six more songs off of Needle Down, including “Ghettoblaster,” a fun song that starts off with a great riff and builds quickly into a catchy sing-along anthem. They closed the set with “Downside,” off of their 2012 self-titled album.
These guys have a southern rock twang with an edgy, New York twist that is real, no-frills rock n’ roll. Their songs are melodic short stories told through high-energy vocals, excellent riffs, thundering rhythms, and memorable hooks. Shaw, the ringleader of the band, is an energetic bass player with raspy vocals, who shines while playing up to the audience. George’s guitar playing was explosive and Fabio, rock steady in his rhythms. Eric, the driving force behind the band, is a straightforward, hard-hitting drummer. Streetlight Circus’ set was a ton of foot stomping, fist-pumping, down home fun… except for the balloons—I didn’t get the balloons…
To find out more about Streetlight Circus and to purchase music and merchandise, visit their website at http://www.streetlightcircus.com/
Next up was the band I came out for tonight, :::KILLCODE:::, the hard-rocking, original five-piece band from New York, featuring Tom Morrissey on lead vox, guitarists Chas Banellis & DC Gonzalez, Erric Bonesmith on bass, and Rob Geyer on drums. A charismatic, extremely talented, and down to earth bunch of guys, their unique sound, a southern-infused rock/metal with modern vocals, is a marvelous byproduct of their diverse influences. I reviewed these guys last year when they opened for the Northeast portion of Ace Frehley’s U.S. tour in New York City, a show that kicked off their European tour, and my opinion of them hasn’t changed a lick: they are still a “force to be reckoned with.”
Streetlight Circus sufficiently warmed up the audience and as I looked out from the photo pit it was evident that the crowd had increased enormously. As :::KILLCODE::: took to the stage you could feel the energy in the room—people were psyched and the KILLCODE Krew was representing in full force along the rail. As DC began the lead-in riff for the opening song “Show Me” of off their latest CD, The Answer, you could see new fans being made in that moment. “Show Me” was followed by one of my favorites, the title track of The Answer. Chas’s opening chords always give me the chills and the hair-raising guitar duel halfway through is something that must be experienced live. Up next was “Hands Up” from their 2012 self-titled CD, a catchy anthem in which the band encourages the audience to put their “hands up,” which of course they did! All of :::KILLCODE’s::: songs are high-powered, sing-along anthems with catchy hooks, intricate lead-ins, heavy riffs, and driving rhythms that are superbly executed by the stellar guitar work of Chas & DC, the strong, clear vocals of Tom, and Erric & Rob’s pounding rhythm section. A couple of more rawkin’ songs followed and we were then treated to another fan favorite, the relationship-gone-bad metal ballad that shows off the band’s soft side entitled “The Wrong Side”. This was followed by an excellent rendition of Twisted Sister’s “You Can’t Stop Rock n Roll,” and they closed the set with the high-octane, in-your-face, have to sing along to it, “Kickin’ and Screamin’”.
:::KILLCODE’s::: fan base just keeps on growing, as was evident by the vast number of people with their hands up, flashing horns, and singing along. Electrifying and professional, these guys get better and more polished every time I see them. After touring and playing to audiences of thousands you would think that this was a small show to them, but you would never know it as they always bring it no matter the venue. Their performance was energetic and the band extremely fan friendly, totally engaging the audience in between songs and encouraging the crowd to chant along with them, “When I say ‘KILL’, you say ‘CODE’!!!”
:::KILLCODE::: recently released a new video, “KICKIN’ AND SCREAMIN,” this highly recommended viewing gives you a taste of their experiences travelling around the world in 2016 spreading the :::CODE:::. In the summer and fall of 2017, :::KILLCODE::: will once again take off to spread the :::CODE::: first in Puerto Rico and then off to Europe to play major festivals in Barcelona, Germany, the UK, and Switzerland. I would not be surprised if more shows were to be announced. :::KILLCODE’s::: last U.S. show before they start touring will be on June 17, 2017, at Dingbatz in New Jersey, so catch them before they leave. To find out more about the band, their upcoming tour dates, and to purchase music and some really cool merchandise, visit their website at http://killcode.net.
The headliners of the evening were L.A. Guns, an American hard rock band originally formed in 1983 in Los Angeles, California. This band has an interesting and intricate history, including numerous lineup changes, and at one point two active lineups using the L.A. Guns name. All of this makes for a good long read, but not in this article. Tonight we gathered here to celebrate a reunion that began last year between two of the “classic lineup” members, Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis. This tour is in pre-support of their collaborative album The Missing Peace, due out in June 2017. The current version of the band features Tracii Guns on lead guitar, Phil Lewis, lead vocals, Shane Fitzgibbon on drums, Johnny Martin on bass, and Michael Grant on lead guitar and backing vocals.
L.A. Guns took to the stage amid a cheering and ecstatic crowd as they opened their set with “Electric Gypsy.” The 10-song set included such classic tunes as “Killing Machine,” “Kiss My Love Goodbye,” “Never Enough,” and “The Ballad of Jayne.” The over seven minute performance of “Over the Edge” was full of ear-splitting, heavy guitar riffs, and a no-holds-barred dual guitar solo between Tracii & Michael. They closed their set with a rousing rendition of “Rip And Tear.”
The band’s energy was off the charts and their chemistry was on point, sounding as good as they did 30 years ago. Phil’s vocals were in great form—the man doesn’t seem to have aged at all. Michael and Tracii play off of each other like they’ve been doing it for decades. Throughout their guitar-driven set you could see that they were having a really good time and that came across to the audience. Tracii and Phil fit together like hand and glove and they looked ecstatic to be sharing the stage once again. I overheard a few fans saying that this was the best they’ve sounded in years and how great it was to see them back together again. Although L.A. Guns has no other original members, it really didn’t matter as this current lineup delivered a set that was everything you could want in an L.A. Guns show.
For more information on the band, upcoming tour dates, and to purchase music and merchandise, visit their website at www.laguns.net.
Closing out the night was Faster Pussycat. Called the Kings of Sleaze Rock, Faster Pussycat is an American glam metal band from Los Angeles, California. The band was started in 1986 by vocalist Taime Downe and to date Taime remains the only original member, which like L.A. Guns, has seen a revolving door of musicians. The current lineup features Taime Downe on lead vox, Xristian Simon and Ace Von Johnson on guitar, Danny Nordahl on bass, and Chad Stewart on drums.
Faster Pussycat walked onstage to the grooving themes of “Pussy is a Powerful Thing” as they waited for Taime to make his grand entrance, and an entrance he did make in full leather regalia, face paint, and dark sunglasses. He proceeded to the front of the drum riser, took a wide leg stance and very dramatically lit a cigarette, approached the mike and started singing. Their set included such fan favorites as “Where There’s a Whip There’s a Way,” “Cathouse,” “Slip of the Tongue,” and “The Power and the Glory Hole.” Their rollicking rendition of Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” was well received, as was evident by the audience member participation.
In between choruses Taime would step back from the mike, posing with hands on hips, or horns-up while smoking the ever-lit cigarette, at one point sitting on the drum riser sipping his beer. Jokingly complaining about being old, Taime sat down at the edge of the stage to sing the power ballad “House of Pain,” an emotionally powerful performance that really affected the crowd. Not too many glam metal artists can attract such an adoring audience at this stage in their career and Taime’s love for his fans was evident as he took the time to shake hands and thank them for being there. All of this emotion led directly into a high-octane “Bathroom Wall,” followed by Chad Stewart’s rousing rendition of AC/DC’s “Sin City.” Faster Pussycat closed their set with yet another fan favorite that proceeded to send the crowd into a frenzy, the anthemic “Babylon”. With the odds seemingly stacked against them during the course of their long career, Faster Pussycat is still an entertaining and powerful force onstage.
Faster Pussycat tours consistently, doing multiple headlining tours nationally each year, as well as appearing on the Monsters Of Rock cruise to the Bahamas. For more information on the band, upcoming tour dates, and to purchase music and merchandise, visit their website at www.fasterpussycat.com.