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1996.11.23 - Los Angeles Times - Slash in the Hat Comes Back

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1996.11.23 - Los Angeles Times - Slash in the Hat Comes Back Empty 1996.11.23 - Los Angeles Times - Slash in the Hat Comes Back

Post by Blackstar on Thu Nov 21, 2019 2:42 am

Slash in the Hat Comes Back


SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO —  Getting your pink slip from one of the biggest rock bands of the decade is enough to give a boy the blues. And that’s just what guitarist Slash has come down with following Guns N’ Roses’ latest (and according to many reports final) sayonara.

Rather than brood, he threw together a six-man blues band and returned to fundamentals as laid down by such masters as . . . the James Gang and Alice Cooper?

Nobody can accuse Slash of being a purist.

Slash’s Blues Ball made its second Southland appearance Thursday at the Coach House, and it was clear even before he of the stovepipe hat and black ringlet curls stepped on stage that we weren’t in for any prewar Martin/Mississippi front porch/Robert Johnson-type stuff. The stacks of Marshall amps were a dead giveaway.

Still, the guitar slinger (born Saul Hudson) appeared to have nothing but fun reeling off song after song, chiefly drawn from the heyday of ‘70s blues-based hard rock. Nothing profound--just lots of chord-crunching with some pals.

Singer Teddy “Zig Zag” Andreadis kept his Leslie West-like growl at nearly full throttle all night, which didn’t allow for much dynamic shading. Subtlety, however, wasn’t high on the list of the evening’s priorities.

These guys wasted no time plumbing the depths of their innermost feelings to bring revelations to the few real blues chestnuts they did attempt: “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “Born Under a Bad Sign” and “Crossroads.”

It was, pure and simple, time to crank the volume to 11 and jam. Even so, there were moments of skill and even surprise.

Near the end of their Cream-influenced, psychedelicized rendition of “Born Under a Bad Sign,” drummer James Bradley Jr. shifted to a disco beat; Slash and fellow guitarist Bobby Schneck pealed off funk lead lines (Slash’s were processed through that most ‘70s of guitar effects, the vocorder [think Peter Frampton])--and turned it into Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” Further along in the same number, Slash slipped in a riff from David Bowie’s “Fame.”

Not a bad way to revisit rock history.

The set began with Hendrix’s “Stone Free,” Slash twirling dervish-like while spinning out his best Jimi-like leads. His showiest playing came during AC/DC’s “Night Crawler” as he whittled out chords high on the neck and scraped the pick along the strings for skittering effects, all while hunkering over his guitar hypnotically, like a shaman mid-trance.

As for his split with GNR? Well, maybe it’s permanent and maybe not. Slash made no allusion to the subject (the only onstage connection to GNR was his inclusion of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”). After the show, a band source said that for now “it’s off--but that door never closes.”

The revolving ones never do.

Second-billed Barrelhouse closed its potent five-song set of uptown blues and R&B; with a staggering version of Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful,” with lead singer Steave Ascasio roaring like a man gargling shards of glass.

Punchy, horn-accented originals from the band’s latest album, “Peach,” were considerably more complementary to the headliners than was the generic punk thrash of the opening act, Vicious Fuel. That quartet, from Huntington Beach, played a set that was heavy on attitude and light on musical, lyrical or kinetic substance.

One of the members tried to live up to the group’s name by taking part in a brawl in the back of the club toward the end of Slash’s set. The fight generated more energy than anything Vicious Fuel offered onstage.

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