Slash does a vintage Les Paul justice on “Do It For The Kids”. (Photo by Brian Howle)
By Brian M. Howle
Take the most talented members of the biggest band of the early 90s (Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum of Guns N’ Roses), blend them with one of Slash’s old high school jammin’ friends (Dave Kushner); and add the most magnetic frontman/singer of the late 90s (Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots), and, VOILA! – you have Velvet Revolver.
Without a doubt, the hottest ticket so far this year was Velvet Revolver’s December 7 appearance at House Of Blues in North Myrtle Beach. The line of concert-goers waiting for the doors to open snaked around the side and back of HOB, an hour and a half before the show.
Opening up for VR was Luna Halo, a happenin’ little four-piece band from Nashville, TN. Pumping out a nice blend of basic rock & nouveau’ punk, they proved to be a worthy appetizer for the main event.
The packed faithful roared in approval as VR opened the show with “Sucker Train Blues” and “Do It For The Kids,” both wide-open rockers from the new CD, Contraband. Lead singer Scott Weiland delighted the crowd with his usual theatrics, decked out in all-black attire and sporting his patent leather officer’s hat, trusty bullhorn close at hand.
They followed up with two more new tunes, “Headspace” and “Superhuman.” Then the boys dusted off a STP tune, “Crackerman,” to the absolute delight of the crowd. Three more cuts from Contraband followed – “Illegal i Song”; the gorgeously melodic ballad, “Fall To Pieces” – a quasi-autobiographical tune penned by Wieland (which evoked an old-school sea of lighters amongst the fans); and “Big Machine.”
It was time to let things get relaxed, so the boys cranked out Guns N’ Roses’ “It’s So Easy” to thunderous approval. Another STP favorite was served up with “Sex Type Thing,” followed by another new tune, the raucous “Set Me Free” from Contraband.
The masses just couldn’t get enough, and the possibility of a riot crossed my mind when the band departed the stage – but all that was put to rest when they came back out for the encores.
Slash then donned his trademark top hat and pulled out an acoustic guitar to twang the opening chords of GNR’s “Used To Love Her,” with Scott’s vocals in a well-suited match – along with the crowd.
VR then paid tribute to mentors Aerosmith with “No More No More” and followed that up with another GNR classic, “Mr. Brownstone,” before finishing up strong with Contraband’s final contribution to the evening’s great lineup, as they put their all into “Slither.”
Many a rock band have fallen victim to their environment and unceremoniously imploded. The rockwagon ride is not for the faint of heart, and breakdowns can be fatal. Velvet Revolver is the prototypical rock band of the new millennium, and they solidly made their mark on a savvy HOB audience without so much as an afterthought. The trials and tribulations of various band members are well-documented, but somewhere along the way, they all grew up. And unfortunately for the competition, they got even better.
Nope, there’s no broken axle on this rockwagon.
The previous article originally appeared in Alternatives NewsMagazine, December 16, 2004.