Friday, October 30, 2015

The Streetwalkin' Cheetahs, Peter Pan Speedrock at the Las Vegas Country Saloon, Thursday Oct 29, 2015

I've known the gents in the Streetwalkin' Cheetahs for damn near 20 years now and have played many a show with them and have even played in the band for a short time, so be aware that I might not be the most unbiased of critics here. These punk'n'roll veterans took a bit of a hiatus for a few years but have returned with founding members Frank Meyer (lead vocals/lead guitar) and Dino Everett (bass/backing vocals) now joined by Mike Sessa on drums (who did play in the group for a while previously) and LA stalwart, Bruce Duff on co-lead guitar and backing vox.

This line up sounds as powerful as the band ever did and while the guys may need warm-up exercises back stage now, they are still wild men once they hit the spotlights. They come out strong with their own "None of Your Business" (with its catchy "oh no, oh no - bitch!" chorus) and go through a variety of number from their long career. "Mama Train" and "No More" are a couple more blazers, but they also give us an amazing power-pop tune with "Satisfy" and even a country-fied take on the Heartbreakers' "I Wanna Be Loved", in which Duff swoops in with some tasty riffs. He and Frank work well together, complimenting each others' playing without stepping on anyone's toes - always fun to see a couple superior players working the stage!

They guys are not afraid to be performers and give the crowd (small as it was this evening - Las Vegas does not seem to come out on weeknights for rock'n'roll) a show - plenty of choreographed moves along with spontaneous flailin' about! The new single ("Escape From New York") got a rockin' reading and they blasted through a few more originals - "Darla", "Motor City Rock'n'Roll", "Freak Out Man" - with Everett and Sessa building a fantastic, steady foundation for the guitars to run amok - before ending with their classic extended power-house "Built For Speed" that allows Frank to run through the audience and even hand me the guitar for a bit of noodlin'n'wankin'. This morphed into the MC5's "Black to Comm" for a prototypal finale.

Always great fun with these cats and Dino even shows his support for the Swamp Gospel on his battered, punk rock bass! Check 'em out the next time they come to town - you won't be disappointed!

I was not familiar with the Dutch trio Peter Pan Speedrock, although they are also celebrating 20 years of rock'n'roll. Their name is pretty damn appropriate, as they mix punk'n'roll with speed metal, giving a super-aggressive sound. They opened with Cheap Trick's "Hello There", turned into a grungy fury-fest, and bashed their way through a set of their own stripped down power-rock. Their bassist gets the job done with only three strings on his instrument, proving that they do just get down to the basics!

I spotted a number of Turgo Jugend jackets and patches in the audience, and that's a reasonable comparison for these cats, though I think PPSR are more flat-out contentious than the more rock'n'roll-leaning Turbo Negro. Still, powerful stuff from a lean'n'mean (though damn nice guys) three piece. Since I had worked 13 hours that day after being out the night before, I couldn't stay through the entire set, but well worth seeing. Hopefully, they will receive bigger crowds in some of the other cities that they are visiting, although they couldn't fault the enthusiasm here!