SONIC SLAM TOUR
Tom Keifer / L.A. Guns / Faster Pussycat
June 23, 2022
Review by Tim Taylor
Photos by Terry Walsh
80s Metal Kicks In The Heat At Legacy Hall
Most of us in our late 40's and early 50's spent countless hours watching MTV in our younger years, and those of us with good musical taste spent Saturday nights watching Headbanger's Ball. Something about the bands from that era remains special to us, so when a group of those bands get together for a tour, we can’t wait to feel the same excitement from their music that we felt in our youth. The Sonic Slam Tour brought out three classic bands to kick our asses with hits from the past, and give us a taste of their more recent material.
Faster Pussycat was on first. I felt terrible for them as the blazing Texas sun was right in their faces at that time of day. Sweat poured off of them as they steamrolled through sleazy hard rock songs like “Slip of the Tongue”, “Cathouse”, and “Bathroom Wall”, but their new song “NOLA” stole the show. Their energetic performance started the night off right, even if it was abbreviated because of the heat.
L.A. Guns were up next and we noticed right away that something wasn’t right. Tracii Guns wasn’t on stage. I could clearly hear two guitars as they ripped through the hard-hitting “Cannonball” from their new record Checkered Past, but Ace Von Johnson was the only guitarist we could see. We learned later that Tracii Guns was playing from the bathroom backstage due to a panic disorder that’s triggered by extreme heat. It sucked not being able to see him, but it’s understandable. They sounded better than they have in decades though. “Electric Gypsy”, “Over the Edge”, and “Speed” perfectly showcased their vintage Sunset Strip sound, and lead singer Phil Lewis was perfect on the more upbeat songs they played. They closed the set with “Never Enough” and “Rip and Tear”, and left the crowd going crazy. It was really good to see them playing well again, and their new album is definitely worth checking out.
When Tom Keifer took the stage, it was obvious that his band was the main attraction. Cinderella got lumped in with the 80’s hair bands, but they were a notch above the rest of those bands. Their brand of ass-kicking, bluesy hard rock has stood the test of time, and it still sounds fresh today while other bands of that era sound a little cheesy and dated. Tom’s solo band has captured that same energy, and regardless of whether they’re playing new songs or Cinderella classics, every note is invigorating and every chorus is infectious. “Night Songs” and “Somebody Save Me” had us pumping our fists and banging our heads while “Solid Ground” and “Shelter Me” had the crowd dancing to their southern-tinged melodies. Tom and his wife Savannah harmonized beautifully on the crowd-pleasing “Don’t Know What You Got (Till it’s Gone)” and the band thumped through “The Last Mile”, “It Ain’t Enough”, and “Shake Me”. By the time the closing song “Gypsy Road” started, everyone was drenched with sweat and devoid of energy. He brings it full-force every single time, and I’ve never seen a crowd leave his shows disappointed. He’s one of rock’s most underrated and underappreciated front men and guitarists, and I feel fortunate to have seen him so many times over the years.
The Sonic Slam Tour is a good time from beginning to end, and it’s great seeing the old school fans come out with their kids to teach them about a genre of music that can never be duplicated. It was a little weird seeing little girls dancing to “Sex Action”, but I’m all for it if it means that the younger generation is learning to appreciate real rock n roll music. These bands will always have a special place in my heart, and they’ll never understand how much joy they’ve brought so many of us for more than three decades.