Monday, June 19, 2017

Guitar Wolf, Isaac Rother and the Phantoms, Mercy Music, Self Abuse at the Beauty bar, Sunday June 18, 2017

Bad luck and family health issues have kept us from seeing a number of shows that we wanted to get out to, but we were determined to make it for Japanese legend Guitar Wolf. Outdoor shows can be challenging in Las Vegas - in the wintertime we have below freezing temperatures and in the summer the temps can stay over 100 degrees at midnight, as it did this evening. Regardless, the Beauty Bar gave us four hard rockin' groups who put on great performances despite the heat.

Opening the night was locals Self Abuse, featuring bassist around town Rob Ruckus, singer Riley and original members Anthony (drums) and Sean (guitar). They have a melodic 70's punk sound with great vocals, drivin' rhythms and solid guitar work. Real songs and rockin' stage presence. They don't play around too often, but catch 'em when they do!

Mercy Music is another local group that is also playing their own brand of punk-pop, with all three members singing. They're highly energetic, tight and quite animated. Their sound is a bit more polished, being almost reminiscent of groups like Green Day. Good stuff and visually entertaining!

LA's Isaac Rother and the Phantoms claim Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, Bo Diddley and Scooby Doo as influences and all seem apparent as they run through their horror-themed tunes attempting to claim the crown of "the most ghoulish band in rock'n'roll"! Dressed all in black with Isaac draped in a cape and a spandex-clad female backing vocalist, the set consisted of early r'n'r, garage and surf sounds with covers like "Haunted House", "Heebie Jeebies" and Howlin' Wolf's "Evil" sung by the female vocalist (sorry, no names on their Facebook page!). They're all fine players - really dug the guitar sound and style (an old Eko or similar), the rollin'/drivin' bass lines and solid drums - and they have some cool original material. The spooky schtick probably works a bit better in a smaller, darker and interior setting, but they were a lot of fun - certainly would check them out again!

Appearing on stage clad in dinosaur masks (for no apparent reason), Guitar Wolf strapped on their instruments and proceeded to pummel the audience with a feedback drenched, high energy, punk'n'roll show of epic proportions! The masks didn't last long, but the rock'n'roll did as these three Japanese Link Wray look-alikes tore up the Beauty Bar stage, never standing still, climbing over the PA and anything else nearby, posing like the rock stars they are and slamming through a set of originals and covers like their demolition of "Summertime Blues". It's pretty much impossible to describe or capture the madness of their show, but the crowd loved it and went nutz throughout as the band did the same! The you to Pulsar and the Beauty Bar for bringing this legendary act to Las Vegas!