I thought I had managed to clear all my Christmas-released reviewing and then this arrived just before Christmas itself. Here we have five songs from L.A. Guns, the first of which starts with a somewhat rambling monologue from none other than William Shatner! I must admit, it is funny hearing him asking the band to play “Sex Action”. This then leads into “The Bills/Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You” (Billy Squier cover) which is followed by a down and dirty treatment of “Merry Xmas Everybody” which features harmony vocals, and a band obviously having fun. (Slade cover). “Dreidel” is just 9 seconds long and leads into “There Ain’t No Sanity Clause” (The Damned cover) before we finish up with “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)” (Ramones cover). 13 minutes of mayhem which actually comes off really well, as there is the impression that the guys just wanted to have a blast and that they certainly achieved.
L.A. Guns were originally formed by guitarist Tracii Guns in 1983, and soon after he had a singer in the band called Axl who went on to form Hollywood Rose. Eventually, a new band was formed from both, and given a name combining words from both, and the rest, as they say, is history. Except the two main protagonists had a falling out and by the end of 1985 Tracii was back with his own band. By the time the debut album was recorded they had a new singer onboard, Phil Lewis, who had previously been in Girl with Phil Collen. Although there have been quite a few musicians in the band over the years, it has always been these two who have been deemed to be the most important, and strangely enough, there was quite a lengthy period of time when both Phil and Tracii were touring with different bands, both under the L.A. Guns moniker. But, in 2016 they finally got back together, and this is a live recording (and DVD) taken from the tour to promote the reunion album ‘The Missing Peace’.
Phil has never been the best singer in the world, but there is something about his voice that totally suits rock music in a similar way to Steve Tyler while Tracii is also not the best guitarist in the world, but he does know how to write hooks and create solid melodic hard rock. I could do without the bow solo at the beginning of “Over The Edge” (only one guitarist in the world is allowed to do that, James Patrick) but apart from that, this is a solid workout through material both old and new. The crowd enjoys the singalong of “The Ballad of Jayne”, probably their biggest hit single, which shows that they had a lot of fans in the audience. Overall, this is an album that fans of the band will have to get, and fans of bands such as Guns ‘n’ Roses and Dokken will say that it is okay, but probably not much more than that. But after 35 years the band are still going, so all credit to them for that.
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