Artist: L.A. Guns
Title: “Loud And Dangerous”
Label: Shrapnel Records
Release Date: 9/19/2006
Genre: Hard Rock
The L.A. Guns would be one of the lucky ones when it came to the “Hair Metal” scene of Hollywood in the 1980’s for here we are in 2006 and still able to enjoy a live release composed of songs that sound just as good today as they did when they were first created. Originally formed by Tracii Guns, the band referred to as the “Hollywood Vampires” always managed to have more than a handful of great tracks to dish out and perhaps this is the reason for their longevity on a scene that has changed very drastically since the band first appeared. Their newest live recording plays like an in your face “Best Of” collection and truly when the band does not have endless releases of this type it should focus on your best material rather than too much in the way of new songs that people might not be too aware of. It’s often best that they touch upon the new music rather than to concentrate on it exclusively. Over the years I have seen the band on numerous occasions and the thing that I always remember about them is the energy and electricity that they broadcast during a set. Lead singer Phil Lewis and drummer Steven Riley are the only ones that remain from the original group and are now joined by Adam Hamilton (bass) and Stacey Blades (guitar) but when it comes to sounding like the old days there is little doubt that the fire still exists as a result of the new member participation.
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Artist: John 5
Title: “Songs For Sanity”
Label: Shrapnel Records
Release Date: 9/13/2005
Genre: Progressive Rock
Guitarist John 5 from Marilyn Manson will surprise a lot of people with the release “Songs For Sanity”. On this album there is none of the Gothic Horror Show Metal that one might expect from the guitarist but instead a wild display of technical ability and style that will quite literally blow you away. For the most part it’s a heavy album with lots of skillfully composed runs and thundering drumming. Songs that prove this best are “Gods And Monsters” and “Soul Of A Robot”. The bluesy feel is given its time to shine in “Blues Balls” which is brief and to the point. The track has a Stevie Ray Vaughn feel and is done quite well. “Fiddlers” is truly a song that is among the most fun; while it’s rocking, it has a strong bluegrass feel to it. This was probably my favorite on the album, along with the moody “Sin”. Joining John 5 for the album’s recording is the legendary Steve Vai, whose contributions are solos and some lead work on a couple of tunes. John 5 himself plays most of the guitars and even does a little bass. Other players across the record include Larry Klein & Joah Jones (bass), Rodger Carter & Aaron Rossi (drums), Sid Riggs & Kevin Savigar (keyboards). Legendary axe wizard Albert Lee makes an appearance by soloing on “Death Valley” and it’s nice to see his talents represented for the world to enjoy on an artist of today’s work. “Perineum” was also one of my favorites as it had such a level of progressive technicality to it and was perhaps the heaviest of the numbers on the album.
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Artist: Michael Schenker Group
Venue: The Wreck Room (Wallington, NJ)
Opener: Uli Jon Roth
Label: Massacre Records
Michael Schenker Group has returned to the NY Area once again, and this time the appearance is all the more special. Seeing MSG is always a guaranteed good time for fans of the Guitar God for he is a leader in the field of hard rock guitar. However, this time he would be supported by the one and only Uli Jon Roth who many will remember as the guitarist in Scorpions many years ago. While Uli has been a solo performer for a long time it was not until discussing this appearance with fellow fans that we realized that while Michael does not tour here often, Uli had not been to the United States in almost 20 years.
Tonight Uli Jon Roth would perform his set with a rhythm player and a keyboardist. Many of the drums and lush orchestrations that are on his albums needed to be programmed and performed via computer for these particular live shows. One cannot travel a small club tour overseas with a full company of string instruments. His backdrop was a unique sight as behind Uli was a projected movie screen that showed wild psychedelic images or the orchestra accompaniment. Uli dresses very Rennaissance styled with a large feathered hat, and a shirt that matches this era, it actually went along well with his orchestra compositions. It’s a very Hendrix manner of dress.
Continue reading Michael Schenker Group @ The Wreck Room (9/16/2004)