Tom Keifer (#Keiferband) with L.A. Guns
The Libbey Bowl, Ojai, CA – 8/24/19
(Note: Keifer’s management pulled all photo credentials a couple of days prior to the show, so all #Keiferband pictures are from previous shows at the Whisky a Go Go and on the Monsters of Rock Cruise)
A beautiful Saturday Summer evening in a park in Ojai, CA was where L.A. Guns and Tom Keifer woke up a small bohemian neighborhood. Known more for it’s art galleries and New Age stores, the residents of Ojai probably weren’t expecting their evening calm to be shattered in such a riff-laden way. The location of the outdoor venue meant that the show started and ended relatively early (6pm – 9pm). (I must be getting old because the thought of getting home at a decent hour certainly appealed, although when the music started, I didn’t want it to stop)
THE L.A. Guns kicked off the evening with a tight set mainly compromised of their greatest hits with a couple of new tunes from their latest album, “The Devil You Know” thrown in to the mix.
Getting things started with “Over The Edge” the band then gave us some “Sex Action” followed by “Electric Gypsy“. The band and crowd were in fine voice. The first new offering was the great “Gone Honey” which is sure to be a staple for all future shows.
The whole band were in good spirits and Phil Lewis was bursting with smiles, some dance moves that only he knows how to perform, and plenty of fist bumps for the crowd.
If possible, Tracii Guns continues to get cooler while he gets older and his riffs get heavier. “The Devil You Know” is full of killer, metal riffs and some insane solos. He seems so comfortable in his skin these days and I would venture to say he appears to be having the time of his life with this band.
Ace Von Johnson fits in perfectly as the bands rhythm guitarist and provides a perfect compliment to Tracii’s leads. His great backing vocals and trademark backbends are on full display. This band seems to be a really great fit for all the talent that Ace brings
Bass beast, Johnny Martin, legs spread farther than any man should have his legs spread, is like a human piston hammering his Gibson. He, along with newest L.A. Gun, Scot Coogan, provide a solid backbone to the driving beats that this band keep churning out.
After a great version of crowd favorite, “Never Enough“, out came Phil looking a little Devilish to sing the title track from their latest album.
The band finished out their set with “The Ballad of Jayne” which started out with just Tracii’s guitar and the crowd’s vocals and finally “Rip And Tear“.
As they were about to leave, Ace got some adoration and smooches from his biggest fan who had been staring at him from the side of the stage all evening.
Tom and #Keiferband, his collection of stellar musicians, made their way to the little town of Ojai and left a permanent mark in the park.
I’m predicting a very big year for Tom Keifer. He has a new album, “Rise“, set for release in Sept. (Album review coming soon…) and Spoiler Alert…it’s heavy and it’s GOOD!
Having listened to “Rise” for a few weeks now I feel like Tom is going to have to deal with a bit of a dilemma coming up and it’s a good problem to have… The issue is there are 11 REALLY strong tracks on this album and I see a bunch of them staking a rightful claim as standards in the #Keiferband setlist. Heavy Rockers, Blues Laden Grooves and Heartfelt Ballads fill the album, and I want to hear them all. The problem… what Cinderella tunes get cast aside?! Like I said…a good problem to have.
This show gave a good preview of how it might pan out over the next few years (Because Tom luckily loves to tour in support of his albums). The set was a great mix of the old and new and they blend seamlessly. The writing on the new album is stellar and all the trademarks that made Cinderella so great are front and center and are amplified with a rage and defiance that only someone with Tom’s history of issues could create.
But no man is an island, and Tom’s kick ass band are lock stock in step with what he’s dishing out. #Keiferband are Tony Higbee (Guitar, Vocals), Billy Mercer (Bass, Vocals) Jarred Pope (Drums, Vocals), Kory Myers (Keyboard, Vocals), Kendra Chantelle (Vocals, Percussion) and Tom’s wife, Savannah (Vocals, Percussion, Piano) who has had to miss this and a few other dates in order to tend to a sports injury their son incurred.
So far 3 songs from “Rise” have made their way onto the setlist, Show opener, “Touching The Divine“, “Rise” and of course first single, “The Death of Me” that was saved for the encore”.
The rest of the set was full of all the songs you’d expect and want to hear at a #Keiferband show… “Night Songs“, “Somebody Save Me“, “Nobody’s Fool“, “Fallin’ Apart At The Seams“… Due to Savannah not being available, what is usually a duet of, “Don’t Know What You Got, Til It’s Gone” was instead Tom at the piano while Savannah listened via a phone call while the crowd serenaded her.
“Shake Me” and “Shelter Me” closed out the main set until the band returned for their encore that included “Long Cold Winter” with extended intros from Tony and Tom and finally, “Gypsy Road“.
Two bands playing in support of two new albums chock full of balls out rock n’ roll. A great double bill that proved Rock sure as Hell Ain’t Dead.