Friday, April 11, 2014

The Streetwalkin' Cheetahs and Cheetah Chrome at the Dive Bar, Las Vegas, April 10, 2014

Our old friends the Streetwalkin' Cheetahs have reunited (with LA legend Bruce Duff sitting in for Art Jackson, who has retired from r'n'r) and for their first tour they have joined forces with ex-Dead Boys guitarist Cheetah Chrome for their "Two Headed Cheetahs" attack of the west coast. Las Vegas was lucky enough to have them appear at our own Dive Bar, though due to having four bands (!) opening and a late start, the night ran so long that many could not handle the marathon and left before the rock had ended. I know that Vegas is a 24 hour town, but most people cannot stay out until 3:30 in the morning on a weeknight. OK, sorry for the rant - on to the rock!

This version of the SWC's has lead singer/lead guitarist Frank Meyer joined by original bassist Dino Everett, powerfully metronomic drummer Mike Sessa and the afore-mentioned Bruce Duff. The rhythm section is fast, tight and loud as Frank and Bruce trade licks (both are superb guitarists) on classic Cheetahs' numbers like "Waiting For the Death of My Generation", the new-wavey "Automatic", the poppy "Miss Teen USA", "Kick Me Down", the ode to Detroit "Motor City Rock'n'Roll", "Darla", "Freak Out Man" and their new single "Escape From New York".

"Built For Speed" was always a wild jam number that often included Stooges-esque sax wailin' so tonight local sax-man Gene Howley joined the crew for this audience-invasion craziness that melded into a version of "Funhouse" with Cheetah Chrome joining in on the action. The entire set was high energy punk'n'roll with manic stage presence throughout. Great time seeing these gents back in the r'n'r saddle!

After the SWC's, Mr. Cheetah Chrome took front'n'center stage for a a solo set (with Frank, Bruce - on bass - and Mike backing him) that relied on about half new songs and half Dead Boys tunes. There was a cool, rockin' instrumental opener with some twin guitar work and then several new songs that tended to be more mid-tempo, almost pop songs. Chrome's voice is a bit raw and seemed somewhat hoarse this evening, but his guitar playing was pretty exceptional during the whole set. Of course, the Dead Boys' tunes are what got the remaining audience movin', with songs like "What Love Is", "Ain't Nothing to Do", a spot-on "Son of Sam" and, of course, a stellar "Sonic Reducer" - a pleasure seeing the original man taking those much-covered leads! The band was smokin' behind him and Bruce's bass playing is always top-notch and he locked in with Sessa as well as Dino did.

A couple of high-profile and amazingly rockin' acts for the Dive Bar - just wish it could have been a bit earlier so that more people could have made it out. Regardless, a great night of punk'n'roll!