Adler’s Appetite At Whisky A Go Go, Sunday December 30th 2018
When a legendary drummer (Steven Adler) headlines a show in a legendary Sunset Strip place (The Whisky A Go Go), there is no reason to pass on it, and last night, I went out of my ordinary way and drove to the Westside of Los Angeles o see a very long line-up of bands that stretched the evening till the middle of the night. I will never understand why the Whisky books 6 or 7 bands the same night, they probably want to test people’s energy and ability to drink beers because Guns N’ Roses’ fans started packing the venue at 7 pm, whereas Adler’s Appetite went on stage after 11:30 pm! Charlie Bonnet III & the Folkin’ Gasholes, Wild Ride, 79’, Motor Sickle and Venrez, all played before the famous Guns N’ Roses ex-drummer, but looking at the fake Axl Rose drinking beers in front of me, there was no doubt about the outcome of the long night.
Tennessee’s own Charlie Bonnet III & the Folkin’ Gasholes played a raucous country rock set, fueled by a secret beverage coming out a gallon gas can. Leader Charlie Bonnet III was one of these characters, tough and rowdy at first sight, leading the drunk party with a bluesy guitar, loud twang vocals, and some good old country foot-stomp.
Wild Ride were a power trio, the incarnation of a new faith in rock ‘n’ roll, with a leading man, Marek Lisiak, bringing up the muscular riffs and vocals, softened by drummer Kerri Berry’s vocal participation. It was an energetic and classic blues-rock set, filled with catchy melodies, hard-hitting at the right places, offering a broad diversity at the top of the wild guitar solos, which ended up with the always-popular Motorhead cover ‘Ace of Spade’.
The 79’s looked like passionate and talented kids eager to relive the late ‘60s or early ‘70s, that none of them have experienced. Over a brand of hard rock ‘n’ roll, their singer Ali Quinn was channeling her late soulful heroes. With a single titled ‘Sunset Strip’, a few drum solos and intricate guitar parts by guitarist Brinley Amicon, they knew they would retain the attention of a Whisky crowd.
Motor Sickle was led by a wild man with a carnivorous delivery and a bad guy attitude (he kept spitting his beer on us) who was hurling over heavy riffs and raw bass lines. A few ‘Die motherfuckers die’ later, he was still haranguing the crowd, screaming and half speaking over hardcore dissonances, like a drunk trainwreck kicking out the last passenger.
Venrez have toured with Alice Cooper and Slash and already released 3 LPs of hard-hitting, sweaty and explosive rock ‘n’ roll and they demonstrated just this, with a disheveled and melodic set, and plenty of energy. Frontman Steven Berez told us he was a next-door neighbor of the late Chris Cornell, and yes they had a song about him, while the look of their bass player kept bringing Kurt Cobain to my mind.
It was finally time for Adler’s Appetite, and it was a love fest from start to finish, with people screaming non-stop in my ears. Adler has been performing with his new band, Adler’s Appetite, for a few months, and it is basically a high-performance, high-caliber band, playing Guns N’ Roses hits with a large preference for songs from GNR’s debut album ‘Appetite for Destruction’. Curiously, they came on stage at the sound of Queen’s ‘We will rock you’, but as soon as they started, the machine was launched to the stratosphere of rock. I have to say that Ari Kamin on vocals did a great job at imitating Axl Rose’s famous high-pitched and forever modulating howl. And it’s not an easy thing to do as Rose is supposed to have the largest vocal range of the pop-rock music history, breaking Mariah Carey’s record with an impressive 6-octave range. That said, I have never seen Axl Rose live, and I am not sure if Kamin had this greater-than-life persona to play the iconic role,… probably not, but the stadium-dimension illusion was there, surrounded by these screaming fans which were, anyway, partially covering his voice with loud sing-alongs.
The rest of the band consisted of Alistair James on rhythm guitar, Michael Thomas on lead guitar, as well as Tanya O’Callaghan on bass, and Adler was regularly emerging from his drumset for a short talk between songs, checking on his fans with a sort of drunk voice and an immense smile barring his entire face. You could tell that everyone on stage was extremely happy, and for young Kamin who grew up with Guns N’ Roses’ music, it sounded like a dream come true to headline Adler’s band while filling Axl’s big shoes.
Beside this, it was a show for the die-hard fans, but for me, it always looked like a tribute band gig, executed very well, and with nevertheless one of GNR’s founders in sight, beating the hell of his drums with youthful energy, for an hour and a half,
Of course ‘Appetite for Destruction’ is the album that launched GNR’s national and international career, it is the album that propelled them from the LA clubs circuit to the world biggest concert arenas, and now Adler is back in the clubs, playing more or less the same album with a cover band. While Adler was fired from the band in 1990, after officially joining 5 years earlier, he is still an icon for all these fans as the original drummer of their favorite hard rock band, and he was playing the hits, in front of them, ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’, ‘Welcome to the Jungle’… And he looked like a really good man, endlessly signing material and taking pictures with fans after the show. In the end, this was the only thing that mattered for everyone in the room, a profound trip in nostalgia lane, with the nicest guy around.
The One That You Hated
Good to Be Bad
You Could Be Mine
Sweet Child O’ Mine
Welcome to the Jungle