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[whitespace] L.A. Guns Still Loaded

Sexy rockers rock the Usual

By Sarah Quelland

I HOPE SOME of these flavor-of-the-minute bands that get one hit single, sell a million records and then disappear into obscurity as the taste tides shift have the foresight to pay attention to other bands that made it and faded. I hope they're putting a little something away for a rainy day or a time when the fans get scarce.

Ten years ago, L.A. Guns was on top of the world. But last Thursday, the band didn't even sell out the Usual, where it performed with Zero Hour and Los Bastardos de Amor. Instead of cruising in the luxury of a tour bus, the band drove up in a modest RV and transported its gear in a U-Haul. It's sobering to see how fast fame can fade. The real injustice is that L.A. Guns sounds at least as good as it did in 1990. Its performance is at least as exciting. And time has been surprisingly kind to the band members--they're still looking sexy and fit. But he who lives by the trend dies by the trend, and since L.A. Guns came up with the Hollywood cock-rock scene that dominated the mainstream in the late '80s and early '90s, its music isn't "cool" anymore. Nevermind that it's basically just rock & roll.

The original lineup, with the addition of a swaggery new bassist, played the requisite classics: "Electric Gypsy," "Rip and Tear" and "The Ballad of Jayne" and lots of songs from its Hollywood Vampires album, including "Over the Edge" and "Kiss My Love Goodbye." It also played material from the forthcoming album, including a song titled "Home." The band was red-hot, and the guys made performing well look easy. Sure, I could have gone to see the A Perfect Circle/Snake River Conspiracy show at the SJSU Event Center that night. I thought about it, and I'm sure it was a spectacular show. But for me, the L.A. Guns show was far more tantalizing. To see a band that knows how to rock an entire arena perform in an intimate club setting is a special treat that doesn't present itself every day. Coming from a time when music was meant to be decadent and fun, L.A. Guns looked like it was having a great time--as did the majority of the audience. Touring is how this band makes most of its money and performing is apparently still what it does best.

Macy Gray will be performing on Feb. 23 at the Usual as part of the Cinequest festivities. A limited number of tickets will be available to the general public and are selling for around $100 a piece. ... JJ's Blues celebrates its 18th anniversary this Sunday (Feb. 18). The big party starts at 3pm with lots of free live music and a barbecue that runs 5-9pm. ... Club Miami celebrates its five-year anniversary on Sunday (Feb. 18) as well. The fiesta features Devious Dave, Rated R, DJ Fabian and L Diggy and is hosted by Mauricio and Boss Entertainment.

Australian country sensation Kasey Chambers has a date at an as-of-yet- undetermined venue in San Francisco on March 23. ... Systematic is preparing to tour with Godsmack and Staind. The Bay Area band's debut (which will be released on Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich's the Music Company imprint on Elektra Records) is due out May 22, the same date Insolence's Maverick Records debut is scheduled to hit shelves.

This year's Vans Warped tour includes Weezer, Rancid, Pennywise, Less Than Jake, Black Eyed Peas, Me First and the Gimme Gimms, Alien Ant Farm, AFI, New Found Glory, Fenix TX, the Vandals and H2O. A new addition to the extreme sport and music event is a reverse day-care center, where parents and chaperones can kick back.

PLAN AHEAD: Anton Schwartz and the Toledo Show, Feb. 15 at the grand opening of the new Icon Supperclub in Palo Alto; the Mermen, Feb. 15 at the Backbeat; Mudvayne, Spineshank, Nonpoint and Unjust, Feb. 16 at the Pound; Spike 1000, Feb. 16 at Slim's in San Francisco; Eve 6 and VAST, Feb. 18 at the Fillmore; Dave Meniketti, Feb. 18 at the Backbeat; Moodfrye, Manic Notion, Adverse Side-FX and Fighting Jacks, Feb. 22 at the Gaslighter Theater in Campbell; Slow Gherkin, Mar 2 at the Catalyst; Steakhouse, Mar. 16 at Fuel; Voodoo Glowskulls, Mar. 22 at the Cactus; DRI and the Eight Bucks Experiment, Mar. 24 at the Cactus; Everclear and matchbox twenty, Mar. 31 at the San Jose Arena; U2 and PJ Harvey, April 19-20 at the San Jose Arena.

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From the February 15-21, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

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