L.A. Guns @ The Yost Theater – 03/29/2019
Yeah it is 2019 and yes L.A. Guns has a new album out, but just not any album – an album that totally ROCKS, an album that holds true to the classic L.A. Guns sound with a bit of a more modern/heavy edge, an album that has the band shining and again capturing the magic that results from Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns. The Devil You Know was released on Friday March 29 and the band played a special show at The Yost Theater in Santa Ana to celebrate the release. The follow up to 2017’s The Missing Peace (a pretty darn good album too), L.A. Guns obviously has the creative juices flowing since Phil and Tracii re-united back in 2016.
After several local bands kept the venue filled with live music, L.A. Guns hit the stage at about 11:30pm opening the night with “Show No Mercy” then into a new song “Rage” followed by the classic “Sex Action”. The first thing you notice is Phil Lewis – the guy doesn’t visibly age, he must be using the Dick Clark anti-aging potion. In addition to looking great, Lewis sounds amazing, his voice is strong and powerful and exactly what you would expect to hear live.
The second thing you notice is actually what you hear – Tracii Guns on guitar. Without a doubt one of the top axe slingers from the late 80’s era, right up there with George Lynch (Dokken) and Warren DiMartini (RATT), just truly mind blowing to watch and hear (and he even throws in a little Jimmy Page with the solo using a bow). While on the topic of guitarists, Ace Von Johnson is now an official member of L.A. Guns (YES the same AVJ that is in Faster Pussycat), which is awesome as Ace is quite the player himself and brings a bit of youth and angst to the band. Ace and Tracii sure make for one of the premier guitar duos out there today!
The highlight of the night was the title track off the new album “The Devil You Know”, this song is one of L.A. Guns top 3 songs ever! The song is a bit darker than the usual stuff and just has an incredible riff coupled with some Black Sabbath-esque heaviness that just totally captivates the listener. Of course additional songs included “Kiss My Love Goodbye”, “Never Enough” and “The Ballad of Jayne” – all played exceptionally by the band. Bassist Johnny Martin is just a badass player who plays with high intensity and also delivers great backing vocals (along with Ace). This was Scot Coogan’s first show as the new drummer and he killed it (and I think “Coogie” is now the 50th member that has played in the band or some crazy number like that). He stepped aside and let previous drummer Shane Fitzgibbon play one last song with the band as L.A. Guns thanked him for his time and wished him well.
Tracii and Phil took center stage to play “Crystal Eyes” together and the band ended the night with the upbeat “Rip and Tear”. WOW – L.A. Guns without a doubt just put on one hell of a show – these guys are really better than ever. Do your ears a favor – go grab The Devil You Know before you read the rest of this review and put it on repeat!
L.A. Guns starts a brief two week tour April 4 at RocHaus in Illinois then plays various shows/festivals this summer. Catch these guys live and you will be glad you did!
Show Mo Mercy | Rage | Sex Action | Over the Edge | Electric Gypsy | The Devil You Know | Kiss My Love Goodbye | The Flood’s the Fault of the Rain | I Wanna Be Your Man | Never Enough | Speed | Crystal Eyes | The Ballad of Jayne | Rip and Tear