L.A. GUNS/WARRANT/JACK RUSSELL’S GREAT WHITE/RIVERDOGS
The Frontiers Music Holiday Bash – The Canyon Club, Agoura, CA – 12/2/17
(Host – Eddie Trunk)
Saturday in Agoura Hills, The Canyon Club saw the arrival of “The First Annual” Frontiers Rockin’ Xmas Bash. Hosted by DJ/Rock Advocate/Go-To Festival MC, Eddie Trunk, the Bash featured four of Frontier’s acts: The Riverdogs, Jack Russell’s Great White, Warrant and L.A. Guns. The Little Italian Label that could, Frontiers is at the forefront of giving a number of rock bands from days of old (Ok, the 80’s) a home to lay their hats and create new music for a new generation. Packaging up a selection of these bands was a great way to celebrate the old becoming new again.
Even though most of the sets were heavy on the classics, each band were able to throw out a song or two from 2017 releases. The Riverdogs were touting “California” (released in July). Jack and The Boys played a selection from “He Saw It Coming” (released in January). Warrant were still giving it to us “Louder, Harder, Faster” (released in May). And L.A. Guns are spreading the word on their hot, new release “The Missing Piece” (released in October).
After a 13 year absence, The Riverdogs returned to the stage. And by all accounts the consensus was “What The Hell Took You So Long?!?!”. Well, one member may have been quite busy touring the world and playing in a couple of other pretty successful bands. But if George Lynch can be in 35 bands at once, then Vivian Campbell can surely make time for three. And hopefully he does, because these four guys produce a sweet, sweet sound.
Rob Lamothe (vocals & guitar) has an amazing, soulful voice which helps these songs elevate to another level. Vivian Campbell gets to let loose on his guitar work, displaying some licks that he’s probably had stashed away since the days when this band first got together in 1989. His background vocals offered a taste of some of the amazing harmonies that he gets to display often in Def Leppard. The rhythm section of Nick Brophy (bass) and Marc Danzeisen (drums) funnel these grooves down a rockin’ road.
The band looked like they were having a great time together and the packed Canyon Club crowd were certainly eating up everything that the ‘Dogs had to offer. They joked that with their touring cycle, they should be scheduled for their next performance around 2030. Hopefully the cycle will be broken and they’ll make themselves a fixture on the circuit.
(FULL RIVERDOGS GALLERY)
JACK RUSSELL’S GREAT WHITE
Go Jack Go! It’s definitely a case of, “I’ll have what he’s drinking”! (Or in Jack’s case what he’s NOT drinking as the dude has been on the wagon for 2 years now). Whatever it is, it’s working. Jack Russell came out of the gates like a twister! Twirling his mic stand, dancing around the stage and sounding incredible. It’s no secret that Jack’s health has been through the ringer. During shows he often praises his wife, Heather-Ann, for saving his life; and as fans, we should thank her as well, because there is a lot left in this tank.
A set heavy on Great White Classics (This year marks the 30th Anniversary of GW’s, “Once Bitten…”) the songs sound as good as ever in the Ol’ Pirate’s hands. The band themselves are an energy infused bunch. The only holdover from the Old Great White days is guitarist, Tony Montana who acts as an elder statesman, while young gun Robby Lochner (guitar) runs around the stage like a deranged maniac. Robby is an amazing talent. I’ve seen him a few times now and he always impresses. He gets a moment to shine on a classic infused, tapping, guitar solo (which I have to say is more impressive when you can actually see what he’s doing). Robby… Stand up so everyone can see!!!
Bass and Drum duties are handled by the versatile duo of Dicki Fliszar and Dan McNay who provide the perfect tempos for all that this blues rock catalog can throw at them.
The final song of the set, “Once Bitten, Twice Shy”, saw Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Foreigner) and Keith St. John (Who produced the Bash) come out to help on backing vocals. For several dates on this current tour the band are going to be covering the entire “Once Bitten” Album, and I have a feeling that this won’t be the last time I catch JR’s GW this year.
(FULL JACK RUSSELL’S GREAT WHITE GALLERY)
(Eddie Trunk Interviewing Jeff Pilson)
I was lucky enough to catch Warrant on their “Blood Sweat and Beers” tour in support of “Cherry Pie” at the (gone but not forgotten) Universal Amphitheater in October of 1991. I loved (still do) Janie Lane’s vocals, and remember being mildly annoyed at the people I knew who all of a sudden were Warrant fans because of THAT song and THAT video… I also remember shoving “Dog Eat Dog” down people’s throats a couple of years later asking them what they thought of the Cherry Pie guys now?!! “Dog Eat Dog” is still an album that I blast to this day because it is one hell of a HEAVY album. Both in sound and lyrically in its tone.
Fast forward to now…and except for vocalist, Robert Mason, this is the band that kicked it all off in 1989 with “Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich”. The band sound great and in Robert Mason have a vocalist who has the ability to do justice to the classics while adding his own brand of cool to the newer Warrant songs. The band, as I remember it being back in the day, kind of kick back and let Robert do his thing…interacting and teasing the crowd. It’s not an easy task to handle a cross-armed, LA attitude crowd, but Robert gave it his all and got most of the stick in the muds to break the cool stance at least for just a while to raise some hands, and get involved.
Jerry Dixon (bass) seems ageless. Seeing him there brought back memories of those early 90’s videos. Erik Turner and Joey Allen (guitars) are still effortlessly trading off rhythm and lead duties and Steven Sweet (drums) is still holding everything together behind the kit. Nothing more and nothing less.
For their last song, of course “Cherry Pie”, Jeff Pilson made another appearance on background vocals, this time joined by Cap’n Jack Russell. And as a nice touch, Original bassist, Josh Lewis, came out to help accompany Jerry. I’m being selfish…, but next time…”Machine Gun”, PLEASE!?!?
(FULL WARRANT GALLERY)
I think we can now stop saying, L.A. Guns featuring Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns”. Supercharged and Re-loaded, but Mother fucker, this is L.A. FUCKIN’ GUNS!
Still spreading the word for their new album, “The Missing Piece”, ironically The Guns have found all their pieces. Johnny Martin, Ladies and Gentlemen! Any bass he plays he makes his bitch. Wide stanced, head down and bangin’; he is the bastard child of all the Ramones combined. The first thing I noticed from the new album was the big throb of the bass and drums, right in your face and it translates to the stage.
The second part of that throb is Shane Fitzgibbon. I first saw Shane in a band called L.A. Guns, he was great, and he was their drummer…. But now Shane is in L.A. Fuckin’ GUNS and he looks like a happy, arm flailing, hair flyin’ skin basher behind this band.
Michael “The Assassin” Grant is just that, he stalks out his piece of the stage, and casually kills you with riff after riff before you know what happened. He may be too cool for even himself, but he is stealth and he is deadly…
Which leads to the leads…Phil Lewis sporting his Movember, porn stache & chops, reminded me of Serpico, the cop that Pacino made famous in the 1973 movie of the same name. Phil is having a good time with this band and this new album. All the tracks from it tonight sound killer live, “The Devil Made Me Do It”, The Animals inspired, “The Flood’s the Fault Of The Rain” and the killer first single, “Speed”. These newbies fit in seamlessly among all the L.A. Guns staples. They sound familiar but new, because they’re that good.
And then there’s Tracii Guns… how happy must this man be?! Who knows, but he looks reinvigorated playing alongside this incarnation of his Guns. Shaggy haired, cool and as pristine on the guitar as ever, Tracii laughed grimaced and smirked through every song. Eyes often closed; channeling the emotion of each song flowing through his fingers and onto the strings.
The Frontiers Music Lable is putting together a family of now classic hard rock acts from the 80’s. The family theme ran deep as noted by the appearance of label mates, Jeff Pilson and Chip Z’Nuff who were on hand to be part of the festivities. It was also apparent when Phil brought up his daughter, who came out to help him sing “The Ballad Of Jayne” (Which she noted was written about her Grandmother, and Phil’s mum, Marion).
(FULL L.A. GUNS GALLERY)
This smorgasbord of Rock presented by Frontiers Music definitely wet some appetites. It was a good showcase of some great bands who are doing their best to bring this brand of rock music back to the people who love it. Based on the packed house at the Canyon Club, I’d say they’re taking a step in the right direction.