Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Riverboat Gamblers, the Eagles of Death, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Another good night of music in Las Vegas! How bizarre! We’re trying not to get used to this. This was one of 4 shows that we wanted to get to over this weekend and now we don’t see anything that we’re interested in for the rest of the year. That’s life in LV!

The night started off fairly early once again, but we’re not complaining! We got to see 3 bands, hang out afterwards and still got home by midnight or so! Us aging rockers appreciate that!

First up was The Riverboat Gamblers, whose singer is basically a pinball – if it could move in 3 dimensions instead of only two! From the first note he was in the air and didn’t stop moving the entire time they were on the stage. And oddly enough, he could really sing! They were more melodic than most of the current crop of punk’n’rollers – almost comparable to a band like American Heartbreak. But definitely cool punk rock with fast, heavy guitars and everyone moving on stage. The drummer kept us entertained by throwing his sticks in the air and not even coming close to catching them! Great live band and the new CD, To The Confusion of Our Enemies, is highly recommended!

The Eagles of Death Metal is one of the most unlikely combinations of musicians that I have seen in recent memory. Gene Trautmann was the drummer for the fantastic Miracle Workers and continues to look like a hip, young rock’n’roller. Dave Catching played in numerous LA bands, including the wacked-out Honk If You’re Horny, and now dons the stage in jeans, a flannel shirt, huge goggles strapped to his head and a short-short blond Mohawk, which all makes him look completely demented while playing his Flying V. Bassist Brian O’Connor does indeed have the biggest hands I have ever seen on any human being, and this oddity is offset by wearing a vest, tie and bowler hat! Singer Jesse Hughes looks like a 50’s greaser version of Earl from the “My Name Is Earl” tv show! Not exactly a sexy r’n’r band! All the more ironic considering that their new album is titled “Death By Sexy” and Jesse constantly repeats “let’s hear it for the ladies!” throughout the show! I can’t even begin to describe the music, but check it out!

One of the first “girls” (she was all of 16 or so) to play in-your-face r’n’r, Joan Jett continues to kick butt 30 years (!!) later. She looks and sounds great and has a super stable of tunes to choose from. I could quibble on a couple of the song choices (I would have liked to have heard some of the Evil Stig-era stuff, but the omission is understandable) but overall it was a great set from the reigning queen of straight-forward guitar rock.

I think Joan was a little under the weather this night and she did have some vocal help from a keyboardist/singer behind the curtains, but she still delivered. All the hits were there and she had the crowd with her, singing along, the entire time.

I have nothing but respect for this woman. She completely understands her history and keeps up with current music, as well – and is even politically aware! She’s as good now as she was when I saw the Blackhearts in ’79, so see her when you can!


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