Concert Review: L.A. Guns at Texas Mist: L.A. Guns teleported fans to the late 80’s in sleazy style in Austin, TX.
It may be 2017, but for anyone who saw L.A. Guns last weekend at Austin’s Texas Mist it felt like we’d traveled back to the late 80’s. I mean that in the best way possible.
After a slew of opening bands including local act Three33 (who had their power cut for playing over time) and Budderside, a group that somehow managed to combine glam metal, dubstep, country and hip-hop, the Guns took the stage.
There has been a glut of 80’s hard rock bands who have split into feuding multiple incarnations, and L.A. Guns were not immune. Which is why this tour has been purposely billed as L.A. Guns with Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis.
This descriptor is important: Lewis and Guns are the two most recognizable faces and creative forces in the band. Their relationship has had its ups and downs, but they’re at their best together.
Their rekindled alchemy was clear on opening cut No Mercy: Lewis, clad in a snake-skin suit, unleashed his sandpaper howl while the band (which in addition to Guns, features rhythm guitarist Michael Grant, bassist/Johnny Ramone lookalike Johnny Martin and drummer Shane Fitzgibbon) whipped themselves into a frenzy.
The group barreled through their wide-ranging catalogue, from 80’s lusty classics (Electric Gypsy, One More Reason, Sex Action) to 90’s entries (including a stirring rendition of Over The Edge) and the 00’s (Don’t Look At Me That Way). The crowd ate it up, with devil horns held up high.
The band also teased new material with Speed, a ripping tune off their upcoming album The Missing Peace.
Tracii Guns demonstrated why he’s one of the most underrated guitarists of his generation, blasting out blues-metal riffs, blistering solos and atmospheric touches (including playing with a violin bow). At one point he engaged with a thrilling dual guitar solo with Grant, which brought down the house.
Guns’ chops were on full display on the instrumental Jelly Jam, showcasing a bluesy, soulful, psychedelic style not often associated with his band’s genre of music. It’s that multi-dimensional aspect that always made L.A. Guns stand out from their spandex and leather clad Sunset Strip peers.
For the encore the group pulled heavily from their smash 1989 album Cocked and Loaded, including a blazing rendition of their arena rock classic Never Enough (preceded by the opening bars of AC/DC’s Hells Bells) and hit power ballad The Ballad of Jayne.
Lewis was the consummate showman, chatting up the audience and walking through the crowd for high fives, hugs and handshakes during one of Guns’ extended solos. While he recently turned 60, he had the energy of a rocker half his age.
The group closed out the night out with fan favorite Rip and Tear, a raunchy banger that remains a decadent glam metal delight.
L.A. Guns are that rare band that sound even better live than on record, with a rawness and muscularity that impresses three decades on.
Given the group’s combustible relationship, fans should catch them while they can, but let’s hope this is the reunion that lasts.
L.A. Guns Texas Mist Set List:
Over the Edge
Bitch Is Back
One More Reason
Kiss My Love Goodbye
Don’t Look at Me That Way
(AC/DC cover) (partial)
The Ballad of Jayne
Rip and Tear