L.A. Guns/The Aviators – Whisky a Go Go – 3/4/17
Lennon & McCartney…Tom & Jerry…Peanut Butter & Jelly… Ok, it’s quite a spectrum, but somewhere along the axis of things that go-together lie Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns.
I caught the 2nd of two consecutive sold-out shows at the Whisky a Go Go and L.A. Guns showed why 2017 might be the biggest year since their heyday of kicking ass up and down the Sunset Strip. This newest version of L.A. Guns may be the best since the classic mid/late 80’s lineup that garnered all it’s success and biggest hits during the “L.A. Guns”, “Cocked & Loaded” and “Hollywood Vampires” era. Keeping Michael Grant in the band on rhythm and occasional lead adds an extra amount of Ooomph to the band’s sound. And with the addition of Tracii’s touring drummer, Shane Fitzgibbon and Johnny (Should-have-been-a-Ramone) Martin shredding on bass, this band has become a powerhouse of sound. L.A. Guns are definitely “Reloaded”.
There’s an energy you feel when things are going right. And you can see on stage that this group just fits. Phil grabbing Tracii to sing together, Michael Grant shredding and posing on guitar, Johnny Martin’s wide-stanced thrashing of the bass, Shane Fitzgibbon pounding drums and grimacing in the back… They look and sound great and all those familiar L.A.Guns songs come fast and hard… “Electric Gypsy”, “Sex Action”, “Over The Edge”, “One More Reason”, “Kiss My Love Goodbye” and main set closer, “Malaria” that had Tracii pitch perfectly “playing” the Theremin (instrument that makes sounds by waving your hand in front of it. Look it up… I had to 🙂
The 4 song encore definitely kept the best for last as the band launched into “Show No Mercy” followed up by Tracii teasing the intro to AC/DC’s, “Hells Bells” leading into “Never Enough”. A crowd sing-a-long of the “The Ballad of Jayne” followed by “Rip and Tear” closed out the evening.
If you live in Europe, I’ve got some good news…The “Reloaded” tour is about to bring a piece of the Sunset Strip to your neighborhood. Tour starts this week so get your tickets! You’ve been told!
Both shows at the Whisky had The Aviators as direct support, and this band do what they always do…Hit the crowd in the face with a barrage of Rock ‘N’ Roll and energy. The Aviators are a band that have to be on the cusp of something bigger. I’ve seen them win and place in two Battle of the Band contests that have thrown them on to the opening slots of both the Cathouse Live and Hair Nation Festivals held at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater (May it R.I.P.)
The Aviators short set included a sampling of their best; “One Last Cigarette”, “Flying Planes/Hopping Trains”, “The Doctor”, “Going Down Swinging”, “Wolfman”…Even a blown guitar cable during crowd (and my) favorite “Set it Off”, skillfully substituted and replaced JUST in time for Will Slikker to launch into the solo, couldn’t slow them down.
If you’ve never seen the band live, there are more than a few similarities to AC/DC in both sound and style; But frontman August Young, bassist, Matt Reid, guitarists, Daniel Boone & Will Slikker, along with newest member, drummer, Sherwin Glynn add just enough of their own touches to make them a band worthy of their own pedestal. The Aviators are definitely a band to keep on your radar.