LA Guns / Stone Trigger –
O2 Academy 2, Sheffield, Wednesday March 22nd, 2017
Set List: Rattle Your Bones/Children Of The Night/Black Venom/Edge of Insanity/Masquerade/Gotta Get it On/Larger Than Life/Show Your Hands.
Well here’s a group that I feel positive we covered in the past but it’s the first time I have seen them. I’m literally gob-smacked to the brilliance of this Dublin based sleaze band!
Frontman, Tommy Kenny and the boys really sock it to the crowd in here with the energetic ‘Rattle Your Bones’. As the old cliché goes, Stone Trigger have the crowd in the palm of their hands. They are as tight a Sheffielders wallet (only kiddin’ folks) and the sound in here is great too.
The ‘Trigger are a guitarist down in Ronnie Velvet tonight but they still sounded incredible all the same thanks to Andii Andrews who does his absolute best to perform the job of two. Now how can I forget to mention the second to none rhythm section of Peter Jordan (Bass & Backing Vocals) & Gav Black (Drums & Percussion) who form that deeper frequency framework needed for such a vibrant gang of entertainers.
Anyways, some fantastic stuff played for our enjoyment here tonight included the slower but gutsy ‘Black Venom’ or the raunchy Skid Row meets Motley Crue of ‘Gotta Get It On’. Meshed into the later end of their set is dare I say it, a Backstreet Boys song (Larger Than Life) that is all revved and rocked up – pretty amazing how it can sound if all the right elements are used – at the end of the day, a good song is a good song – no matter what genre it is.
The lads paid homage to their fellow Irishman, the late, great, Phil Lynott and played a snippet of a Thin Lizzy classic (‘The Boys Are Back in Town’ if my memory serves me right) and then had us put our horns in the air in preparation for the chorus of ‘Show Your Hands’ as a tribute to ‘Ronnie James Dio’ that was a real belter to finish on.
An outfit that will be one that rules the 'Rock 'n' Roll Roost' in years to come!
Set List: Ozzy Intro./No Mercy/Electric Gypsy/Killing Machine/Over The Edge/The Bitch Is Back/Sex Action/One More Reason/Kiss My Love Goodbye/Don’t Look At Me That Way/Malaria.
Encore: Never Enough (with snippets of Jump/Cat Scratch Fever/Smoke On The Water/Hells Bells)/While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Instrumental)/The Ballad Of Jayne/Rip & Tear.
Now it’s been quite a few years since I last saw L.A. Guns and in that time the line-up has changed quite a bit with only Phil Lewis remaining from that Sutton In Ashfield show in 2011. Back in the band is original axeman, the legendary Tracii Guns with the band completed by Michael Grant (Guitar), Johnny Martin (Bass) and Shane Fitzgibbon taking care of the drums.
When the band come on they are all snazzed up and looking pretty damn cool with Mr. Lewis leathered up and coming complete with a whip much to the amusement and joy of the fans in here tonight, getting their attention straight away, never mind getting our hears pumping to the opener, ‘No Mercy’.
There is such a happy vibe up there from all the members which is the be all and end all when it comes to being a touring unit of this nature. I’ve not heard L.A. Guns sound so tight and so good actually and this is no doubt due to an incredible chemistry between them, especially the reunion of Phil and Tracii, not to mention having the perfect rhythm section in Shane and Johnny. Talking of Mr. Martin, how does he keep that stretched out leg position for so long? It’s like his body is made up of elastic or something which springs back to the normal posture when needed!
When you have Michael Grant who has been in the band a good two or three years locking in and working around with Mr. Guns in the guitar depart they could not be any more perfect if they tried to be. Phil’s voice is still in amazing shape and there’s little doubt that he really takes care of it in order to sustain that crisp, sweet, tantalising powerful high-end quality that he has.
Throughout the set, LA Guns were treated as Rock Heroes - which they are – Phil and Tracii especially. Like Stone Trigger, the mix in the room was exceptional with every sound frequency given an equal amount of clarity in this well attended Sheffield venue. It was very much loud ‘n’ proud with the musical ecstasy filling every inch of your body.
Fans were made top be part of the show a lot especially during the long-time firm fave, ‘The Ballad Of Jayne’ where Phil extended the microphone to members of the front row to sing a few lines, giving them complimentary words and body language during and after. We were also encouraged as a whole to sing parts of the verse too that was as gracious as a church choir.
The sheer showmanship was off the chain and it was really something to witness Tracii Guns crank up snippets of a few classics by other famous acts that he no doubt been playing on a previous residential gig in Vegas! He even struck up the theramin in one number too! Not to mention the beauty and passion during the instrumental take of The Beatles ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ which totally shadowed Clapton’s solo on the original 1968 recording.
Song highlight of the night included firm favourites such as ‘Electric Gypsy’, ‘Sex Action’, ‘One More Reason’, ‘Kiss My Love Goodbye’ and encore number ‘Rip and Tear’ which concluded this amazing show on a rainy Wednesday in March. In fact, Phil Lewis thanks us all for coming too since the weather was so horrendous. My only qualm is the overuse of red lighting in the venue. That aside, here’s to the LA Guns return to Sheffield in hopefully the not too distant future!
By Glenn Milligan