Night #3. Oh man. I got home from Houston yesterday and just flopped. I got a decent nap in and got in touch with Xristian to see what time they were going on in San Antonio at Fitzgerald’s. He gave me the word that 11PM was the time and that I was on the guestlist. Sweet. I contacted a friend in SA and let her know about the show and that she could be my +1 and she accepted.
I got there around 930 after driving just over an hour to San Antonio and felt the wave of tiredness coming over me. I didn’t know anyone there and the FP guys hadn’t shown up yet and the openers didn’t do anything for me. Xristian arrived with his awesome girlfriend, Melanie, and we have a beer while waiting outside for the last opener to finish. They finish and the band gets on stage around 11:15. They open up with Jack the Bastard from the Whipped album followed by Cathouse and Slip of the Tongue.
The sound out front was absolutely terrible and it was obviously bad on stage as well. There was a terrible hum coming from the mains and absolutely horrible feedback all night. It was the same way during the Lizzy Borden show there a couple of months ago. This place has notoriously bad sound. The whole band was obviously having issues with the sound on stage. They played 7 more songs and at the end of Babylon, they walked. The sound was just f’n awful. The soundman didn’t seem be trying. It totally sucked for them but I don’t blame them.
Most folks there didn’t seem too phased by the show being cut short. It was a small crowd, maybe 40 people. Tough draw for a Sunday night in San Antonio, especially when the Cowboys had the late game. Although a short set with bad sound, it was fun…it was also a very late night. I’m running on fumes now, so goodnight!
Night #2 of the eyeliner and hairspray weekend took me to Houston, TX to see Stephen Pearcy, LA Guns, Faster Pussycat, and The BulletBoys at the sold out Warehouse Live. I had booked a room at the famed Sam Houston Hotel in downtown. What a nice hotel. The rooms have been fully modernized and while small, they are very comfortable. I’ll likely stay there again when the opportunity presents itself.
This show was a free show and all you had to do was RSVP tickets. I was supposed to be on the VIP list as well (thanks to Faster Pussycat) but it didn’t happen. No big deal. One of the reasons I was going to this show was to get The Book signed by Phil Lewis and Steve Riley of LA Guns and hopefully Stephen Pearcy. More on these developments later.
My friend from Houston picked me up and we went to grab a quick dinner near the hotel and ended up at Frank’s Pizza in downtown which was delicious. From there we went to the venue and got in about halfway through BulletBoys’ set. This place is open and spacious and the sound was probably as good as you could get in a giant concrete room with very high ceilings. Bulletboys sounded good again and the crowd was very into it. I ran into some other Austin friends there and we all hung together for most of the night.
Next up was Faster Pussycat. They are one of the few bands of this genre that I’ve always liked. I think their scenes in The Metal Years softened it up for me. I had played with them back in Virginia about 12 years ago and always love seeing them live. Taime is a character and does his job as front man very well. They opened up with Cathouse and blew right into Slip of the Tongue. They played 9 songs including 2 covers (Supersuckers and Betty Blowtorch). They were very tight, which is no surprise as this unit has been together for the better part of 18 years. It’s always a good time seeing them.
After a quick set change LA Guns took the stage opening with Show No Mercy, Sex Action and Never Enough. Their set consisted of everything you’d want and expect to hear from Phil and the guys. Their lead player is a total badass, too. That guy shreds. Phil’s voice sounded great. I was super glad to see them since I missed them in Austin a few months ago as I was going out of town very early the next morning. Twelve songs total and it was a lot of fun.
Then Stephen Pearcy comes on. Look, I’m a pretty big Ratt fan and it was never really about his voice. I love the riffs and solos those guys used to lay down (minus the silliness of songs like Way Cool Jr). Pearcy never had a great voice although it was unique. I saw Ratt with the Scorpions in 2010 and his voice sounded pretty good. Saturday night not so much. I want to be careful to not dog him out as I don’t know if he was just having a bad night, can’t sing anymore or just didn’t care to try. He seemed to be phoning it in. His backup band sounded good but the voice was killing me and many others. We decided to leave about mid-set during I’m Insane. We weren’t the only ones. People were rolling out steadily and you could hear lots of people saying how poorly Pearcy sounded.
During Pearcy’s set, I went to the merch booth to see Shawn and the Bulletboys guys as Marq hadn’t signed the book yet. He thought it was great and cheerfully signed it. Hanging out with him 2 nights in a row did change my perspective a little bit. Aaron Samson (Odin) was also at the booth and while both he and Shawn had signed the book a few years back at an Odin show in LA, he hadn’t signed my rare Odin Caution! EP. Shawn and Jeff signed it for me a few months ago before sending it to me. Aaron was glad to see it. I still needed Phil and Riley from LA Guns though. I went over the VIP area to chat with Sean a bit while Pearcy was still playing and Phil came out. Chad Stewart, Pussycat’s drummer, grabbed Phil to come over and meet me to sign the book. He signed the band photo and flipped though it a little bit and asked where he could get a copy. I told him I’d send the link. Pussycat’s guitarist, Xristian Simon, was looking backstage for Riley and couldn’t catch him before he bailed out to the hotel. No biggie. Guns come to Austin every couple of years and I’ll be sure to get them next time.
All in all it was a great night with my friend, Myra, and my Austin friends. I was tired, so tired, and just needed to get back to the hotel to crash out and that’s exactly what I did.
Here are some great photos taken by Jamie Miller! Please visit his page!
I will go on record to say that most of the music from this genre of hard rock/metal didn’t do it for me in the 80s. I found the hairspray and makeup quite silly and still do. There were a few bands that did stand out and I took a liking to, but BulletBoys were not one of them. Smooth up in ya? Puhleaze! That over the top, bombastic pretty boy type stuff just made me want to puke. I had even seen them a few years ago when from pal in Arsis was in town on tour and freaked out knowing that BB was playing next door, so I subjected myself to it and didn’t pay any attention to the show at all. “Another shot please!?”
Fast forward to 2014. My friend, Shawn Duncan, who plays drums for DC4 and Odin (yes, that Odin), let me know that he was touring with BB this year and that they were coming to Austin and Houston. Shawn’s one of the nicest dudes out there and I was stoked to be able to hang out with him again. We didn’t get to hang out on my last couple of trips to LA so I was happy to get to see him here in Austin. He let me know that for the Austin and Houston shows, Odin bassist, Aaron Samson, was also playing.
I work near a Guitar Center and the band’s manager had asked me to pick up some sticks and strings for the band if I was near one. Luckily I work right around the corner from one so I grabbed their stuff and went right downtown after work to catch them at sound check and to try and grab dinner with them. There were several issues related to the promoter in getting an actual backline, hotel, food etc and the band decided to just go back to their hotel until showtime. Fine by me, I needed a nap anyhow!
After getting some rest, I catch my ride back downtown and get ready to see the band. Again, I am not a BB fan and was only there to hang out with Shawn and Aaron.
But I got surprised big time. I thoroughly enjoyed the set besides Smooth Up In Ya and For the Love of Money. Those still give me an MTv hangover. But the band was as solid as they could be. Marq Torien’s voice was strong and he handles most of the guitar solos these days. Homeboy can play and he’s a really good front man. I love watching Shawn play drums. I always get a Cozy Powell vibe.
There were about 50 or so people there, with a lot of them being fans of the band singing every song. That was good to see and I could tell that the band was having a good time. I had a great time as well and would definitely go see them again, even if my friends aren’t in the band. I’m still tired as that was night #1 of 3 straight shows.
Chrissie Hynde rolled through Austin, TX last night at my favorite venue, ACL Live at The Moody Theater. I was able to score front row balcony tickets and brought a friend who was back in town visiting her friends and family. The show was dubbed as “A Night With Chrissie Hynde”, which would make one think there was no opener. Ultimately, The Rails, which features her guitarist, opened up. We decided to skip them and just be there for the 9PM start of her show.
I’m a moderate Pretenders fan but have always liked her voice. I’m that guy who is basically only familiar with whatever I heard on the radio over the years, all of which I liked but not enough to buy the records.
Walking in and right before she hit the stage, they were announcing that no photos we allowed, which was fine by me. It’s nice not to look at a bunch of phone screens during a show.
She went on promptly at 9PM and right into the first song, someone in the front row pulled their camera out and she walked to the edge of the stage and wagged her finger in disapproval. That seemed to end it. She opened with 2 Pretenders songs, Don’t Lose Faith In Me and Biker, neither of which I was familiar with. Her voice sounded great and her backing band, as expected, was very good. She played 8 songs from her new album, Stockholm, 13 Pretenders songs and a Kinks cover of I Go To Sleep.
They played some of the radio hits like My City Was Gone, Back On The Chain Gang and Don’t Get Me Wrong (a favorite of mine), but left off Brass In Pocket and Show Me (my favorite of theirs). There wasn’t a lot of talking between songs and she played rhythm guitar most of the night. Early in the set there was a guy in the front row with a tambourine and she finally said to the guy, “Is there a story to go with this?” She waved the guy to the end of the stage and he told her that she had given that to him during a show 31 years ago. She said, “I don’t believe you!”, laughed and signed it and handed it back to him. About a song or 2 later, he was playing it along with the band and she motioned for him to stop. haha.
It was a fun show and about 3/4 through the set, the floor crowd ended up just rushing the stage and she was cool with it. Before the first encore, some woman jumped up on stage to get one of her guitar picks that had been dropped and tried to peel the setlist off of the stage. Security grabbed her quickly and rolled her off the stage. Before the second encore started, some other woman crawled on stage and tried to get a pick from the guitarist’s stand and quickly got rolled off of the stage. WTF, people? STAY OFF OF THE FUCKING STAGE!
Anyways, it was a good show and worth seeing if you’re even mildly a Pretenders fan.
Heart was great last night. I’ve been a fan since the 70s and it started in Ellwood City, PA in my grandma’s basement. My awesome aunts Dianne and Debbie were big fans and I have good memories of spinning Dreamboat Annie, Dog and Butterfly and Little Queen down there. The limited time I spent up there yearly was filled with music in the basement with my cousins and aunts.
Oddly, I never went to see them until last night. I especially love the 80s MTV-era stuff.
Heart opened with a slow-ish version of Barracuda and rolled right into Heartless and Magic Man. Ann’s voice was stellar. She’s 64. She sounded so damned incredible and I was completely blown away by the power she still possesses in her voice. Nancy is 60 and neither of them looked their ages at all. They are still both beautiful. I was amazed as to how tiny/short the sisters are. I don’t know why I thought they’d be taller. I would have hugged both of them if I had been given the chance.
The whole band was tight as expected. The setlist was a decent cross section of the 70s and 80s hits. I will admit to getting all choked up during Dreamboat Annie. A few tears rolled down. Not sure why. I love that song and all, but it just moved me a bit last night. We were 5th row center for the show. Right after Dreamboat was played, the lights were turned on the crowd for a moment and I had the horns up in the air. Standing at the edge of the stage, Ann caught my glance, gave me a wink and a thumbs up. I was already smiling and that just made me smile even harder.
I will say that the show was damn near perfect except for one thing…the abundance of cover tunes. I know they’ve been playing Zeppelin covers for years, but for the entire three song encore? I’m not a Zep fan at all, but Heart does it well. They also did a Wings cover. I went to the bathroom on that one. I’m no McCartney fan in the least. They did, however, cover Robin Trower’s Day of the Eagle and that sounded cool. But when you’re already playing what I thought was a short set, fill it with originals.
But overall, it was a great show and I wish I hadn’t waited so long to see them.