Rest in Peace Gio Vitanza ‘King Of The Rock Stars (-By Anguish Young) (posted 2011-02-20)

There are always lots of cool bands in L.A.: The Joneses, Tex And The Horse-Heads, Alejandro Escovedo, The Hangmen, the Humpers…but my favorite Hollywood band since Gun Club, or vintage Van Halen, or Love, had to be the Coma-Tones. Their lyricist/front-man, Gio Vitanza, really captured something intangible, and elusive, but totally potent, that always spoke to, and for me. Their guitarist, Jimmy James (Barrio Tiger, Hangmen, Rock City Angels) was unbelievable, too. They exuded a simmering coolness that few could rival. When the rest of the Strip were getting kookier and kookier with the far-out Kabuki glam, until bands like Peppermint Creeps and Rebel Rebel were so focused on their outlandish images, that KISS seemed nearly quaint, in comparison; the Coma-Tones had this classic, under-stated, Jim Morrison appeal, like Thee Hypnotics. A Mexican wedding shirt, a newsboy cap, a concho belt, a lizard skin jacket-elegant, sophisticated, street-wise, authentic. ‘Same as their music. Simple, bluesy, honest, punk. And so, so full of pained heart and soul, which is all I really look for.I fell in love with that band when I first moved to L.A., in the early nineties, and promoted them in every fanzine and entertainment weekly I ever wrote for. Unfortunately, I was as much of an outsider, as the absolute genius Coma-Tones, so my belligerent enthusiasm had little impact, except, perhaps, amidst the many friends, for whom I dubbed their demos for, over the years…many of whom, similarly came to love, and emulate the raw, naked soul of that bunch. I tried interviewing various Coma-Tones, lots of times, but only one of ’em was ever really that inclined to use the underground media to promote the cause. Like so many of my fave bands–the Waldos, Hanoi Rocks, Gunfire Dance, the Ultras, the Fleshtones, etc., the Coma-Tones seemed to have some really shitty luck. More superstitious observers, have even called it a hex. I don’t know why they never broke out of the cult-ghetto. With the right producer, they should have been a huge mainstream band, like the Doors, or Guns N Roses-the two bands they were most often compared to. My gut tells me racism was part of it, because their singer had way more star power, and matinee idol, brooding good looks, than any of the blonde, toothy, ass-kissing cheese-steaks, that were signed non-stop, in the metal years, and saturation-marketed all over cable tv, until the decision was made, in this past decade, to entirely cease programming rock music on cable, to help condition people to accept the new conformity of the Disneyfied, plantation-state, permanent war-economy, ushered in by the last U.S. administration, and perpetuated under the current one. It’s a damned shame, too.A big corporate rawk dude has currently been soliciting “real rockstars” to appear on his jive-ass satellite radio show, and I was just thinkin’, “Where were you when the Coma-Tones were a full-time, West Coast-based, viable proposition?” I’ll tell ya where: all those major label cock-metal bands were cowering! Quaking in their brand new cowboy boots, because so few of them could hold a candle to the mythic badass grandeur of the Coma-Tones. Maybe they shoulda bleached their hair blonde, and sucked-up to the label weasels, but those dudes were just too pure, too cool, too defiant, too poetic, and too real, to be anything but themselves. It used to be, you could type their name into any random search engine, and instantly, pull-up ten, or twelve features, that me, and a few close pals of mine, had penned on the Coma-Tones, but sadly, our punknroll fanzines come and go, with the blip of a button, in this virtual hypno-screen unreality, so most of what I’d seen posted about them, over the years, has recently vanished….Just two days ago, I found out Gio was gone. That he’d been dead since December….I don’t usually cry, when people die, but this somehow, just fucks me all up. It just makes no sense, at all. Things have been in slow-motion, ever since a dear friend told me the bad news.

I don’t know what happened to Grant Johns, or Gio Vitanza, that stole ’em from us, so prematurely, all I know, is the Coma-Tones were, in my book, the best rock’n’roll band in America.

I can’t believe he’s gone. I’m stunned. Speechless, struck numb. Dumbfounded. Like it just can’t be real.

Gio, you were the man.

I salute you.

I’m sorry.

It’s devastating.

Bless your poet soul, brotherman…I am praying for all your loved ones. We already miss you something fierce, Giovanni. xo

I hope all you Veglam rock’n’roll people will visit the following four Coma-Tones related links:

and listen to songs like “Sexual Intellectual” and “Three Dollar Dress”, if you wanna hear the coolest unsigned band in Hollywood. Ever.

Rock’n’Roll Highschool

Joey Ramone passed away, but we all know that he will always
live in every rocker’s heart. Indeed, everyone listening to punk rock
(whether it is spiked punk rock, skate punk rock, pop punk, hardcore punk or glam punk rock) owes The RAMONES something. We’ve all been to the ‘Rock And Roll Highschool’,all hanged out on the ‘Rockaway Beach’ and we still ‘Believe In Miracles’. Veglam wanted to hear what glam punk rockers would like to say about The RAMONES!

“Where we come from in Sweden people seem to always have loved the mighty Ramones. You can’t go to a gig with a new band without them playing ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’! The first meeting for me with punk-rock was The Ramones and I absolutely loved it and has been a great fan ever since. The Scarecrows first stuff was almost too Ramones-influed, actually in one of our first gigs we played 3 Ramones covers. Not ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ though! I guess that every age, every day has got their own Ramones-clones. Sid Vicious was a Dee Dee, I was a Joey. Judy was a Punk, Jacky was a Runk! I will allways love the kings of 3 chord rock n’ roll bliss! The Ramones are just too tough to die!” (Manxxx/The Scarecrows.)

“The Ramones were a huge influence on me and the Trash Brats. I think that is sorta obvious in our sound. I think they were one of the best punk and rock & roll bands ever. They showed us all how to keep it short and great. Real songs and not over-jamming whanking bullshit. The best rock & roll songs are all about the song and not how much junk the guitar player or bass player etc can jam into it. The ramones were the kings of simple 2-3 minute tunes of rock & roll joy, and really helped save rock & roll in the 70’s from all the overblown radio rock shit like fleetwood mac, elo, etc etc. They proved that regular every day guys that love the music could pick up guitars and play regardless of what the business seemed to say-that ya had to have huge record contracts and play for years etc..the ramones threw all of that out the window-bless joey and them for it. I don’t know if he ever fully realized the huge impact that he had on us all before he left us, but i somehow have a feeling he did-and just maybe knowing that, makes mesmile. Joey and the Ramones music will be with us as long as rock & roll is alive.”
(Ricky Rat/the Trash Brats.)

“The first time i heard about the ramones was back in 1976 when my mom got back from l.a. and brought some hot records home. that was the ramones first album and the b-52’s. i was a pantyshitter at that time but still i was very impressed by the style and sound of the ramones. my mom was anyways a huge influence on me. she always knew what’s going on because she used to make clothes for a local punk rock store in zurich. when she told me how the ramones were like live it blew me away! it was none of that shitty top of the pops-behaviour! it was REAL attitude! so that’s when i decided to walk the path of glam punk.
Zygi has also a nice story to tell :
he used to be the singer for quite a famous swiss 60s garage band called the Hitchhikers. they were good and soon they got the opportunity to open for the ramones! unfortunately the day before the gig was the band decided to part ways with zygi! but it was zygi’s band! so bummed out and dead sad he got drunk for some months… the other side of the story goes like this: the band had to get immediate replacement – no matter what. so they picked up the first ugly punk rat on the street and thought him to sing. he couldn’t sing actually and the gig with the ramones turned out to be a disaster. Imagine a screaching grawling horror voice to nice 60s beat.. oh well yeah, we had all our little memories with the ramones – some are good and some are bad… as live goes…”
(Sarah and Zygi/Gutter Queens)

“My Psycho dad took me to a Ramones show in ’78. I wandered backstage and got a eyeful when I spied Joey sitting on the lap of the fattest girl I’d ever seen. Whan they saw me, they said ‘Hey, what the fuck do you want ?’ I said I wanted a beer and they told me to fuck off ! Outside the club adter the gig, my dad got into a fight with a pagan biker who hit him over the head with a bottle. I had to drive us home that night and I was only 8 years old !” (Johnny Jetson/Space Age Playboys)

“I had a dream last nite : Joey just started a new band with Johnny Thunders, Sid Vicious & Razzle. He seemed all happy, the other guys looked fine too. Their tunes sounded great… Then, I woke up ???” (‘O’/Undercover fuckin’ Slut)

Generation Manics

From the early 90s debut as a working class glammed-out punk band influenced by The Clash, Guns n’Roses, Public Enemy as well as writers/thinkers such as Albert Camus, Valerie Solanas and Guy Debord to the 2000s’ stadium pop rock band playing in Cuba and shaking hand with Castro, the MANIC STREET PREACHERS have always divided people: either you love them or hate them. We have asked a few people from the glam/punk/rock’n’roll scene to express their opinion about the Welsh band…

“We just want to clear everything away. Maybe, after us, music won’t seem as important as actually changing the world” (Richey James, 1992)

Adam Becvare (LUSTKILLERS)
Accept for such bands as Hangmen, Green River, Dogs D’Mour, I had all but given up on rock bands in 1990 and was for the most part uninterested. I was warned of Manics by my good friend at Sony Music and sent the advance copy. The energy was there, the recording over produced, the anthems a bit cerebral, awkward and even clumsy. the biggest crime was the obvious drum machine. Ironically, all I was writing and recording with were machines at that time.

Nonetheless, Manics were still sexy to me and so I was invited to the Chicago show at METRO. 1 of only 5 dates on their first US tour.

I dont recall the opening act but i remember my anticipation for them to get off the stage. Even my goth contingent were anxiously awaiting to be impressed by the band being touted as Rock’s new saviours.

We sat like gods in the theater box of balcony as Manics strutted out to a only half full venue. Except for Wire, we agreed the band were comically short. There was a great vulnerability and the band were clearly intimidated. I’m sure they opened with Slash n Burn and the sound was perfect as Metro always is. The drumming was embarassingly bad which explained the drum machine on the CD. I seem to recall Richie was not even plugged in, but he was super cool with his F-hole tele slung low. We all wanted to love the Manics but were broken hearted that these were indeed not the new Saviours.

The greatest part of the show was Wire’s frustration which ended in him bursting a feather pillow on the last number. There was no encore except that the feathers of that pillow reached the ceiling of the club into the balcony down 2 flights of stairs and out to the street! Pure Genius.

Afterward we all awaited downstairs in the bar for Manics meet and greet. They never came out. I am sure they were ashamed. Wire met a northshore chicago girl that nite that became his wife. There was plenty of swag all over the bar…..still got my generation terrorists cocktail napkings and stickers. We still wished them well but were convinced there would be no second cd.

Then, as I stood with manager and band mates, down the stairs came Michael Schenker. I could barely believe my eyes. It clearly made no sense why he was there but there he was. I talked and shook hands with my childhood hero and yes i trembled. Manics thought they were so rock n roll but here was a man who lived/died and survived it all by age 21…Drugs/booze/fights and emotional breakdowns.

I never gave Manics much attention again until “this is my truth…” cd PURE GENIUS. and yes it is an entirely different band…..thank god. I met with them in Berkeley, Ca and saw the most brilliant show in SF. I will never forget that show or cd.
so many people make heros of the past. They build a legend from what never was. Richie looked cool but had too many problems. The true heros are the survivors. that is my truth.

‘O’ (Undercover Slut)
What influence did the Manic Street Preachers have on you or your band ?
Absolutely none whatsoever! But a huge respect to that Richey James era! I was living in England when “Generation Terrorists” came out & you had to be blind & deaf to miss ’em… At that time, they were way different from everything that came out in the U.K.

Do you still see them as the same band as before?
Fuck no! They were unique & became fuckin’ boring! Money… money… money…

What’s your opinion on the Richey James’ case?
… Blame it on the U.F.O.’s!

Shari (Black Velvet Magazine)
To be honest I don’t think the Manics had much influence on me. Having said that, they’ve been my second favourite band for the past 12 years. But I’ve never been inspired to do anything because of them. I’m not the sort of person who reads certain books because they do or does anything just because they do. I’ve always been my own person. That said there are a lot of things that I really like about them, both as individual people and as a band.

When did you first hear about them?
In 1992 when a pal of mine (Karen Gray who wrote the first Manics book, ‘For Real’) sent me a tape of ‘Generation Terrorists’. I then went to see them on tour later that same year and haven’t looked back since.

What makes/made them special?
I like that they are their own people. They don’t do anything because anyone else does. I like for example that Nicky’s never taken a drug in his life and that he’s a loyal husband to Rachel. There aren’t many guys in the world that are faitfhful these days, especially guys in bands, so that’s one thing I think is really cool. They’re very down-to-earth, they don’t act like superstars despite being one of the biggest bands in the UK. Then there’s their intelligence. How they say things in their lyrics. It’s more mature and intelligent that just boyfriend-girlfriend type songs. They make you think and take note. The songs in general are great – whether it be ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’, ‘You Love Us’, ‘From Despair To Where’, ‘A Design For Life’, ‘You Stole The Sun (From My Heart) or ‘Masses Against The Classes’. The music was what attracted me to the band initially and is what’s kept me as a fan all along.

Do you still see them as the same band as before?
Before what? When Richey was in the band? Of course not. Most people and bands aren’t the same as what they were ten years ago. It makes you wonder what they’d be like if Richey was still here though. Would they be as they are now with Richey here? I think they’re still the same people underneath it all, they still have the same beliefs and interests. They’ve just matured and their music has matured with them.

What’s your opinion on the Richey James’ case?
… I don’t know. I really hope he’s out there alive somewhere. But I don’t know. It’s been so long now.


Other recommended sites:
Stay Beautiful
Black Garden

Hardcore Superstar & Gemini 5, @ The Underworld, Camden, London, UK. 4/2/04

While Gemini 5 receive a rapturous reception, its occasionally necessary to pinch yourself during their set and check this isn’t the main act already. Offering a similar blend of Backyard Babies theme punk’n’roll and broken English banter to the headliners, the Swedish quartet are an enjoyable, if generic, starter. As energetic onstage as its possible to be without ruining hair that deliberately greased and mussed they have an engaging stage presence, backed up by a gloriously mindless collection of debauched tales set to borrowed Babies riffs. ‘Automatic Cool’ ups the IQ score a little by cleverly referencing the lyrics of the heroes to make some kind of unintentionally ironic point about how ripping people off give you ‘automatic cool’, or something, while a punk rock cover of Caffeine’s ‘You Spin Me Right Round’ is a great mosh-along finale. Not exactly original but certainly good for brightening a Wednesday night.

As if to add conclusive proof that they’re putting Jack Daniel in the water over in Scandinavia, or least that Dregans crew are putting sleaze in the charts still, Hardcore Superstar roll out in creepers and tatts attire, ready to rock London. But there’s bad copies and then there are bands that while they may not be doing anything radical, are doing what they do damned well and its not without good reason that Hardcore Superstar are one of the leading lights in the Scandinavian Invasion. Tonight’s set is almost a complete resume of their talents, showcasing material from 2000’s ‘Bad Sneakers and A Pina Colada, through ‘Thankyou For Letting Us Be Ourselves’, right up to the newly released ‘No Regrets’. Early singles ‘Hello/Goodbye’ and ‘Hey Now’ instigate the heaving pit you’d anticipate, while newer tracks also receive a surprisingly warm and familiar reception. While HCSS certainly have songs to be a success its frontman Jocke Berg, acting a rock’n’roll ringmaster centrestage in flailing leathers and sunglasses in doors at night, coz he’s just so fuckin’ cool he just can, who holds the show together. A suave showman he flirts shamelessly with the crowd, grabbing hands and flashing grins, before dedicating a new song to his girlfriend. In a nod to another native influence the boys also chuck in a cover of Hanoi Rock’s classic ‘Don’t You Ever Leave Me’. Before they’ve even departed the stage, the cries of ‘more’ are starting up and get answer with a high-energy, punked-up 3-song strong treat from ‘Bad Sneakers…’. Here’s to hoping we hear a lot ‘more’ from them soon./Alison

Pretty Boy Floyd, The Renegade Playboys and The Plastix @ The Underworld, Camden, London, UK 15/02/04

Pretty much a de rigor opening act at any TB Records endorsed gig now Nottingham’s The Plastix consistently provide a lively wake-up call to kick off an evening. Dealing in a messy Glam-punk stomp, that references a more punky KISS, and singing about the simple teenage politics of it not being fair and playing music loud because we want to, they’re a familiar and not too challenging start to the night, who seem to get people in the mood for further goodtime rock’n’roll to follow. What’s not so consistent is the bands ever changing image, from painted KISS style aliens a couple years back, through classic slap-n-platforms Glam to today’s Manga-themed superhero look, which involves frontman Stu gluing plastic spikes to his head.

The Renegade Playboys are a similarly constantly evolving conundrum, going through numerous line-up changes since Bubblegum Slut last saw them maybe 3 years back they now contain only one original member, but finally seem to have found a formula that works, sounding tighter and more together than ever before. Trailing a uniform of long hair, bandannas and fishnet they look as much a Motley Crue style gang as a band. Musically the look to less heavy icons of their adolescence, reminding a bit of Bon Jovi, and when the keyboards come out for a sensitive ballad, the tail end of cock-rock when AOR started to seep in. Frontman Yorkie is a contagious whirlwind of energy centerstage, falsetto yelling through the likes of ‘Bad Girls’ and ‘Rain Song’, while stage left razor cheek-boned guitar virtuoso and newest addition Sebz is sure to have the girls swooning and the boys rushing to their bedrooms to practice those solos in the hope of having the same effect.

Its with some apprehension I await Pretty Boy Floyd’s arrival onstage. Last time they graced the Underworld they were a coked-up mess, so desperate for action bassist Leslie scrawled ‘Fuck Me’ on his chest, which is of course exactly the kind of state I want my debauched rock’n’roll bands to be in. I just want them to be able to remember how to play their own songs, too. So infamously appalling was that last performance Steve even tried to excuse it tonight, “We were up all the night before, doing coke and screwing girls” he shrugs. Tonight the bands abilities are vastly improved, although certainly not thanks to plenty of rehearsals and early nights, a highlight is when they pull two teenage girls, present the PBF party the night before on stage and proudly announce “Who would have thought Pretty Boy Floyd would still be getting 16 year old girls in 2004?”, before kissing them both and sending them off backstage. Oh no, this is not the bloated, sober and hindsight ridden world of Aerosmith or Motley Crue, PBF are just as dumb and decadent as when they started out in 1980. Consequently they still play weekend anthems ‘48 Hours To Rock’ and ‘Rock’n’Roll (Is Gonna Set The Night On Fire)’ from debut ‘Leather Boys With Electric Toyz’ with some degree of conviction, and think making sexist jibes about dead Grunge stars is hilarious.The hits are padded out with a couple songs lifted from ‘Pornstars’, a pair of new tracks and cover of ‘Toast Of The Town’, although Leslie is still heard to complain “Oh man, tonight’s going so fast, I certainly know *my* heart is racing”. As the end draws nigh Steve decides ‘all the pretty girls’ should get onstage for the final number, before they quit the stage only to return a minute later for an encore of KISS’s ‘Rock’n’Roll All Night’ which pretty anthemically sums up the ethos of the whole genre. Pretty Boy Floyd are the last dumb outpost of cock-rock, not even making an attempt at ‘cool’ they still act like they’re 14 and think they’re the first people to discover narcotics, write naughty words on themselves (yeah, again), make your wife/mum/dog jokes and go no deeper that the bottom of the bottle of JD self-consciously placed on the stage. As they say themselves, who would’ve thought they’d still be screwing our maidens and taking our money in 2004?

Robin Black and the Intergalactic Rockstars & The Sneakers @ The Kings Head, Fulham 16/2/03

Good Robin Black for opting to play a totally free show tonight. A low-key farewell date to conclude their debut British tour with Pretty Boy Floyd its the last that will be seen of them on these shores, save a cover of The Sweet’s ‘Hellrasier’ to be recorded over the next few days in Nottingham, til an April return with The Wildhearts.
Certainly they seem to have made their mark though judging by the impressive turnout for a chilly Sunday night. The explosive edge is somewhat taken off their exit by the proposed pyro show for the night being scraped, by still they promise to go out with a bang, or several, as Robin proclaims they will fuck some of you later tonight.
Before we find out if Mr Black got any hot action though The Sneakers have come to crash and burn and warm us up from the February freeze outside, or at least to half-arsedly flick the switch on the electric fire.
Sounding like the Quireboys or The Black Crowes topped with the bloody stupid Afro of Toploader, as sported by the guitarist stage right, they knock out smooth keyboard-led blues rock. Its pleasant enough fare but so polished for radio it loses the very dirty, bleeding heart rawness this genre derives its whole whisky soaked charm from.
Flanked by hordes of fishnet and glitter clad squealing beauties from as far afield as Sweden, Canada and London and fortified by a domino line of Becks bottles by the drumriser, each of which Robin cracks open with his teeth and downs in turn the Intergalactic Rockstars look every inch the rock’n’roll cliché and they’re on a mission to rock you.
Armed with only a Planet Fame sized ego and a neatly-applied coating of eyeliner they launch an initial attack in the shape of Cheap Trick-esque album opener ‘T.V Trash’ – the first strike in their campaign to ensure they Will be your favourite new band by the end of the evening. Continuing the assault with ‘Suburban Sci-Fi’ ‘Time Travel Tonite’ and some deadly hip-shakin moves they halt battle only long enough to swig some more beer and flirt with the front rows in underhand attempt to sleep with the enemy.
A whole lot more fun to watch than the other kind of Star Wars the Intergalactic Rockstars finish up victorious, the audience captive for closer ‘So Sick Of You’. Mission accomplished they return for an encore of the modest ‘Better Than You’. Combine a charm like that with the collective powers of Amen and the Wildhearts and the next time we see them if could be footing one of the best bills in rock history. All hail. /Alison.

L.A Guns @ JBs, Dudley, UK 24/2/04

Back in his native UK with yet another new motley band in tow and a new album in the works Phil Lewis is greeted with a rapturous welcome in the cock-rock loving Midlands. In return the famously temperamental rocker seems in good humor tonight and treats the sizable turnout to a lengthy and lively set.
Opening with ‘Over The Edge’ from ‘Hollywood Vampires’ the band set the tone for the evening, clad in black leathers and iron crosses for this tour and looking mean and moody they showcase largely the darker side of their repertoire tonight. Early tracks like ‘Electric Gypsy’ and ballad ‘Crystal Eyes’ feature heavily alongside newer ‘Waking the Dead’ material, while punkier tracks like ‘Some Lie 4 Love’ and ‘One More Reason’ punctuate the shadowy mood of the set.
A new addition since last April’s ‘Waking The Dead’ tour is a smattering of cover version, taken from a forthcoming covers album, these include ‘A Whole Lotta Love’ and ‘Search And Destroy’. Even after the torment of a 10 minute long drum solo from original skin-basher returned to the fold, Steve Riley it seems fans can’t get enough of the Guns, or at least Phil assumes either with great egotism, or typically perceptive humor, this is so. “So”, he says at the end of the planned set “this is a the bit where we go off stage and you chant ‘L.A Guns!’. Well I can’t be bothered with that, I’ll stay here, you chant and we might do a few more numbers”. “Ballad of Jayne” someone shouts. “Oh of course”, Phil replies “We don’t get paid unless we do that one”, and accordingly launches into the classic track.
Apparently only improving with age L.A Guns are as compelling an act as ever, returning for no less than 5 encores at the sold-out London show the following night, and even then halted only at the promoters discretion. One of the few old cock-rock groups still to have any relevance today. /Alison.

Brides Of Destruction & Viking Skull – The Electric Ballroom, London, UK 9/6/04

Rammed to the rafters with stetsons, stilettos and big, big hair in the sweltering heat of a rare bit of British sun the Brides Of Destruction have turned the Ballroom into the Whiskey for one night only. Warming up for a crowd of 80s throwbacks about to see Nikki Sixx play possibly the smallest venue he’s seen in years is not an enviable task but ex-Raging Speedhorns Viking Skull rise to it admirably, and riding on the back of the excitable, kinetic anticipation and means people will dance to pretty much anything right now they just pull it off. Not that this is just anything, clad in leather and denim-embellished, with yes, patches the gumby rockers confidently blast out some real classics as they blend Hellacopter’s punk’n’roll with a Sabbath-ish power and high brow lyrical content concerning drugs, booze, cars and chicks.

But of course the night must belong to the Brides. Chants start up even half an hour before they’re due on stage, until finally they swagger onstage to an elaborate intro tape. Scott Coogan first, Tracii Guns looking wiry as ever, Sixx grinning to a roomful of cheers and LeGrand, a vocalist in the unusual position of being overshadowed by the string pluckers to either side of him, apparently compensating for reputation by way of a foot-high mohawk to had to his already overly tall figure and this motley lot launch into a speed-punk rendition of first single ‘Shut The Fuck Up’. Tracii and Nikki are by no means old guys reliving past glories but dervishes tearing across the stage, the Brides are a mean, toned and angry beast. Full of more fury, energy and middle-class rebellion that any of toady’s youthful upstarts, whilst simultaneously showcasing a truly classic song writing sensibility and tightness ill-gotten only by years of life on the road. If the path of excess leads to wisdom this should be the wisest band in the world. As twice dead by heroin Sixx teasingly swings his bass into the crowd and retrieves it just in time there’s a feeling of fun rather than hell-bent self-destruction to his childish equipment trashing and encouragement for people to overthrow the ‘asshole’ security and climb onstage with him. Three encores of Crue and Guns go down rapturously as expected but if anything the Brides may musically be a more focused and consistent project than any drug-addled previous work. They may have settled into married life but only seem to have grown able to channel the destruction of their heyday rather than grown out it, creating a compellingly vicious, trim and massive-sounding live show without a revolving drum riser or rollercoaster in site. Absolutely essential.