L.A. Guns / Jared James Nichols / Stone Trigger Hot
Written by Central Electronic Brain     September 14, 2018    
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L.A. Guns / Jared James Nichols / Stone Trigger - O2 Academy Islington, London (UK) - 31 August 2018

Openers Stone Trigger started off melodic with 'Black Venom' and a Backstreet Boys cover ('Larger Than Life') and got heavier towards the end of the set. Tommy Rockitt, who looked outgoing in bandana and bright red kecks, did everything he could to engage the crowd and get them going, all despite the fact that it was a really early start and people only really started to drift in at the end of their set.

Stonetrigger Live

Jared James Nicholls came on determined to shake it for all he was worth, in doing so he gave us some Angus Young-style boogie-woogie guitar, plenty of finger "scrubbing" rather than tapping, slide guitar and funky tones as well as his trademark slinky Delta Blues that was peppered with some expert Glenn Hughes-style screams. The audience were small in terms of response for his question and answer singing session, but beautifully in tune and no surprise there that the quality of his guitar playing attracted connoisseurs. The early bird audience were rewarded by an appearance of Tracii Guns; he was introduced by Nicholls as "one of the greatest guitar players there is as well as one of the nicest guys" before they then executed an incredible rendition of Black Sabbath's 'NIB', which included thick vocals and a great guitar collaboration as they shared solo duties and made the most of their different styles. The end of Nicholls set included some witty repartee about accepting whisky as well as beer while he signed records. True to his word, he was still at the merch stand after LA Guns had finished which showed he is a man who is not afraid to meet the crowd halfway.

Jared James Nichols Live

LA Guns never fail to impress and with such strong new material it is almost like falling off a log. However, there were no signs of complacency in a set that started off with the storming new track 'Devil Made Me Do It' and contained other stunning offerings from their most recent album (like 'Speed' and 'Flood') as well as classic after classic (such as 'Electric Gypsy', 'Sex Action', 'One More Reason' and 'Never Enough').

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Phil Lewis virtually made love to the audience, and he was passionate and engaging with them as he kicked tracks into the net; upon completion, he punched "S", "E", "X" to get the message home. We not only got the superb Heavy Metal shredding from Tracii Guns for which the band are historically known, but also the bluesy maturity that is evident from their new release, an attribute which no doubt drew the expressed aforementioned appreciation from Nicholls in their earlier duet.

LA Guns Live 2

The camaraderie between Lewis and Tracii Guns was still delightfully present and most evident in several moments, particularly when Lewis made Tracii Guns laugh mid-line in 'Kiss My Love Goodbye' – it was something that augurs well for the longevity of their partnership. With jokes like "I'm not gay but my boyfriend is", there was a lighthearted feel to the performance that showed all is well in their camp (pun not intended), but this translated into a fluidity in Lewis' movements and the freedom to be his absolute best as the consummate showman (which even included doing martial arts Zen-like moves). 'Flood', being slower, showed that Lewis' voice is better than ever as he flowed from low to high octaves as easy as you like, this full-bodied whisky vocal and its associated sexual intensity was palpable in the air. Next up was 'Speed', which was no less intense, and it had big Ozzy Osbourne-like riffs and proved that some of the best Metal is still being produced in 2018; it doesn't get much better than that. When Lewis reached forward to do the finger of God to the audience, the comparison with Michelangelo was not lost on me, meanwhile, Tracii Guns had dropped to his knees as he shredded repeatedly along the full length of his guitar.

New touring member Adam Hamilton got a mention for the album he previously did with the band and a welcome back before the band exploded into a raucous "Hellraiser's Ball" which got an enormous roar from the crowd that resulted in meaningful exchanged glances onstage.

LA Guns Live 1

The evening's earlier compliment was repaid as Nicholls joined Tracii Guns for a smoky, bluesy jam, and we got an enhanced bluesy version of 'The Ballad Of Jayne'. Despite Hamilton's guitar not being very loud for the intro to 'Rip And Tear' (presumably due to a technical issue), the song was soon rocking away to bring the show to a close; it was a reminder that it's been a long journey since the Camden Music Machine. With twin dry ice explosions either side of the drum kits and hosanna-style goodbyes and bows to the audience, the show closed out.

Still delivering after all these years, it's nice to see the band still at the top of their game.

Review and photos by Dawn Osborne

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Chris Medek said:

Was able to see a show in Sacramento this tour. Really impressed .Tight loud fast set . Great band great performance.Absolutely go again. Don't miss them
September 17, 2018
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