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LA Guns @ The Robin, Bilston, Wolverhampton (1/10/11)

posted 5 Oct 2011, 14:04 by Paul Woodward   [ updated 13 Oct 2011, 14:34 ]
Review By Woody
Photo's by Rob Stanley
With this wonderful summer weather kicking in over the past week I arrive at The Robin to discover my MR colleague Rob Stanley wearing shorts! I shall not further comment on this sight, but we had plenty of room around us for most of the night! Although I’m absolutely loving the warm weather I did know it was going to get hot and sweaty tonight and I was hoping my increasingly sweaty self wouldn’t put of my fellow rockers joining me down the front!

Tonight’s opening act were local Black Country rockers The New Saints, In fact we learn they are very local hailing from Willenhall! I have seen these guys once before supporting Tyketto in Wolverhampton, where I was really impressed with the guys brand of modern melodic rock so was quite looking forward to seeing the guys in action again.
I really enjoyed their attitude fuelled performance of punk edged modern classic rock. The sound wasn’t perfect and the performance was to quote front man Connor Emms a little rough around the edges, but I really enjoyed it and felt the band sold their songs to the audience whom seemed to take to them, as they were quite noisy in response to the band after every song. The band made the most of limited space and did their best to put some vigour into their stage performance, Emms in particular seemingly to enjoy his role as front man and delivering a damn fine vocal performance and managing to keep the crowd’s attention in between songs too. Although his entrance wearing rock star shades was part of a bet for charity, I believe!

Drummer Dez and bassist Andy kept a tight rhythm which allowed Connor and Guitarist Rob Grosvener to chuck some tasty riffs and solos at us, which certainly got a few heads nodding. The songs that really stuck out for me were “Rapture”, “Take A Look” & “Next Best Thing”, the band have a rip snorting punk edge but they combine it with a great classic rock energy and beat which really struck a chord with me and I felt these three songs showed the band at their best. They also played “Slave”, “Blame”, “Naked” & “Black Out The Blue Sky” to round of a decent set, and it was nice to see the band get a decent amount of stage time!

I highly recommend checking out their album “Songs For The Black Hearted” an album which Connor gave to me before the bands set! So during Connor’s “Check Out our album” bit he mentions he would be up for battering on the price with anyone interested and said he may even give some away for Free! Then pointing at me and then Rob saying he’s already had one and him! Then another guy cheekily shouts I’ll have one (hell who doesn’t like free stuff! Hahaha!) so Connor passes him down the copy he was previously waving at the crowd, to which an audience member shouts, that’ll be Ten pound and Connor  says I’ll see you later which invokes much laughter!
I definitely hope to catch these guys again live soon!

The official support act Damn Dice on the other hand didn’t really do anything for me, their brand of Guns & Roses sleazy rock n roll failed to stick with me. These young guys did seem to get a few people excited though with their full force stage presence which was full of piss and vinegar, they have the attitude but for me they didn’t have the songs to back up their stage act. These young guys all looked like they had walked of sunset strip circa 1985 and given their cocky swagger and need to strip off you could tell these guys are in it for the girls and judging by some of the reactions here, some of them may have been adding another notch to their bedpost!

The lead singer who was wearing tight spandex trousers came bounding onto the stage and ran right up to the stage front near me thrusting his crotch out and showing us a little more than I would have liked, so whilst I’m dealing with keeping my dinner down a couple of ladies are all titled and excitedly laughing – although I’m not 100% sure it was in a positive manner as I was dry retching and muttering I could have down without seeing that *Shudder*.

The only song that perked my interest was “Tears In The Night”, but I think they also played songs called “Take It All”, “Miracle” & “Promise”. They absolutely murdered Bon Jovi’s melodic rock classic “You Give Love A Bad Name” but I think their take on 80’s classic “You Spin Me Round” worked quite well, although I’ve forgotten who originally did this song – send your answers on a postcard to!
Its well after half ten by the time LA Guns bounce onto the stage on ever increasing hot and sticky night! Given the confusion over line-ups and two versions of the band been active tonight’s band, whom I gather from diehards is the better and only true version of the band, features Phil Lewis (Vocals), Stacey Blades (Guitars), Steve Riley (Drums) & Scott Griffin (Bass).

I’m only a casual fan of the band and have missed loads of opportunities to see the band perform at my old stomping ground JB’s in Dudley, where the band have played more times than I’ve had hot dinners – so I thought it was about time I caught the band live. Phil even shouts it’s good to be back before quickly going oh hang on we’ve never played here before it’s normally JB’s down the road! Phil is actually quite full of praise for the Robin remarking on more than one occasion how much he likes the place.

The band open things with a bang and Phil strides onstage dressed as the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – or at least that’s how it looks to me wearing a masquerade mask with a large nose! As he rips through the opening tune he reveals that inside his long coat are plenty of ladies knickers (jammy fooker! - note to self get guitar, learn to rock and rub miracle grow on my bald scalp!). Phil is a noticeably experienced front man who’s totally at ease when talking to the audience, but also loves to throw his all into his stage performance and he flirts with every single woman in the room from his spot in the limelight, obviously intending to add to his already considerable collection of Ladies bum floss.

I found the bands full on rock n roll swagger performance highly enjoyable and whilst I have to admit they played many songs I’ve never heard before I still found myself getting really into some of the songs. It was obvious to see that the band have a loyal and vocal fan base! This leads Stacey Blades to say near the end  of the set, we’ve been on tour for over a fortnight and I have to say this is our best gig yet and he insists he isn’t just saying that, to which Scott nods and shouts you rock and Phil says believe these guys they ain’t just giving you the flannel! What can I say it’s the Black Country factor, how any band wouldn’t organise a gig here on a tour is beyond me!
They run through a lengthy set of “Don’t Mean Nothing”, “Gypsy Soul”, “Sex Action”, “I Wanna be Your Man”, “Vampire”, “Easy Come, Easy Go”, “You Ain’t Got Nothing Better To Do” & “Hellrasiers Ball”.

The songs that really got me rocking were the energy filled “Never Enough”, “Over The Edge” and full on crowd pleasing performance of “Rip & Tear”. There was tight squeeze down the front as Phil introduced their hit ballad “Ballad Of Jayne” as a song they loved then they hated and now they are just good friends, as any ladies who weren’t already adoring Phil at the front pushed their way forward! The band don’t stay off stage long before returning for the one and only encore and with a shout of “C’mon Mother Fookers” the ripped though a fantastic rendition of “Show No Mercy” which the crowd went nuts for.

Now I’ve finally seen the band I definitely think I’ll be seeing them again! All in all an enjoyable hot and sticky night, just the way I like it!