TVD Live Shots: LA Guns at the O2 Islington, 8/31

I’ve always loved LA Guns and thought that these guys conjured up their own unique sound during an embarrassing mess of look-alike hair bands from the late ’80s. These guys were a bit more rough around the edges and had a much more raw, sort of lo-fi sound to their debut record that helped it stand out from the slick production and ridiculous lyrics of their peers. That self-titled debut album is an absolutely fucking masterpiece.

While I’ve celebrated several of the other releases from these guys, this is the one that set the bar, the one that all others shall always be compared to. The band sort of lost their way as they would split into two dueling projects and there’s not enough time in the world to discuss that saga. The good thing is that founding members Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis finally did the right thing and came together again. Even better, they made a brilliant record. A return to form for a band that everyone knew had this in them—it would just take a decade or so of bad decisions to get to this point.

The record is called The Missing Piece, and I guess you could consider it a reunion recording, but more importantly it is the first album of new material featuring both singer Phil Lewis and guitarist Tracii Guns in 15 years. Oh, and it’s bloody brilliant. But don’t take my word for it. How about the 77 plus nearly five-star reviews on Amazon, or the critics across the blogosphere praising it left and right.

This was the fifth or sixth time I’ve seen LA Guns over the years and the second time seeing them since Phil and Tracii buried the hatchet. These guys are firing on all cylinders across Europe and then heading back to the States to continue the tour. The setlist that night was exactly what it should have been—a mix of classics and new material. Rightfully the band leaned heavily on the first two records and the newer stuff fit right in. “Electric Gypsy,” “No Mercy,” “Sex Action,” “Never Enough,” and “Rip and Tear” all sounded incredible, along with a helping of three songs from The Missing Piece.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and that’s precisely the case with LA Guns as the band just announced their 12th studio record—Wasn’t Tomorrow Great will be released in 2019. Tracii, who’s very active on Twitter and Instagram said that the upcoming includes “what has to be the best guitar work I have ever done.” After what I saw at the live show in London, I don’t doubt that for a second. This guy is shredding like never before, and he’s looking to be enjoying it more than ever. Cheers to a band in 2018 that makes albums in both frequency and quality like the great rock bands of the ’70s.

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