Last week a band of musical brothers rode into New Orleans and slammed their fists through the theory that rock & roll was dead, buried and rotting in it’s grave. Heating up an already hot and humid city, Slash, Myles Kennedy, Todd Kerns, Brent Fitz and Frank Sidoris put the rock right back into the roll with a two hour set that blew the roof off the local House Of Blues. With more individual fan sites than any band, the guys who make up the top-hatted guitar player’s ensemble are solid, in synch and adored by most everyone who had crammed inside to see them play rock & roll the right way, with bad ass licks, chugging drums and booming bass lines.
Slash is a road dog if there ever was one. Hating to leave the road for very long, he finds ways to play even when the others are catching their breath. The road is his siren, his femme fatale, his red hot lover, and he follows her call to wherever it leads. With this line-up, who have been together since Sidoris came aboard in 2012, the camaraderie fell into place quickly and have handled Slash’s popular catalog of songs with an invigorating shot of adrenalin, allowing him to be one of five instead of the sole attraction.
With seven of the twenty songs coming from their latest album, World On Fire, Slash, Kennedy and the Conspirators started this new leg of an ongoing tour with fresh meat to throw to their adoring legion, playing “The Unholy” for the first time live. “We’ve never tried to play this in front of an audience before,” Kennedy announced before jumping into the last track on their latest CD.
The other new tunes were “Avalon,” “Wicked Stone,” “30 years To Life,” “The Dissident,” “Bent To Fly” and the title track.
The GNR choices are always insanely popular and from the first few notes of “Sweet Child” and “Paradise City,” the sound of their approval is deafening. But the rest of the repertoire is really starting to lean heavily on the material Slash is making with his new bandmates. So with a star-studded solo album, two records each with his Snakepit and Velvet Revolver and two extremely popular discs with Kennedy, Fitz and Kerns, perhaps he feels some of the past can stay in the past, left to his former lead singer to showcase. “Anastasia,” “Back From Cali,” a Kerns fronted “Dr Alibi,” “You’re A Lie,” “Ghost” and “Slither” are all such strong components of the setlist you find yourself not missing those other songs that blanketed the airwaves in the nineties.
But even with an extended set time of two hours, some favorites had to fall off. “Starlight,” a power ballad Kennedy sang on the 2010 Slash album, “Standing In The Sun” and “By The Sword” were not on the agenda for New Orleans. However, we were treated to a double-dose of Kerns vocals, not only on “Doctor Alibi” but “Welcome To The Jungle,” along with “Double Talkin’ Jive” and a sweat-dripping cataclysmic Slash solo in the middle of “Rocket Queen” lasting at least ten minutes. With this kind of commotion, those pesky annoying rumors that Slash should hook back up with Axl might finally dissipate into the confetti that flies during the spitfiring “Paradise City” encore.
New Zealand’s Like A Storm opened for Slash and they pumped up the crowd pretty darn good. Young and energetic, never bordering on a cheesy imitation of a rock band under the influence of their idols, they have opened for Kennedy before in Alter Bridge. It’s always good to see an opening band – they’ve been around about ten years with three studio and two live albums under their belts – win over an audience, as the cheers and visitors to their merch table indicated. They will be playing at two big hard rock festivals later this month, Rocklahoma and Rock On The Range, as well as opening for Steel Panther, Hell Yeah and Tremonti on selective dates. Their latest album, Awaken The Fire, is out now.
Slash will be on tour in the States for the rest of May before heading to Europe. A new live DVD will hit shelves in early June.
Photographs by Leslie Michele Derrough