Review by Paul H Birch and photos by Russ Powney
It’s 7.30 and people are milling in and out between The Slade Rooms and its extensive bar, unsure exactly what’s happening or when. Meanwhile, managing to fit themselves onto a stage already filled with equipment for bands who’ll follow them are local lads Shyyne who deliver over a half dozen self-penned hard rocking 80s styled metal tunes with an affable front man in Tony Gale giving it his all. Unfortunately, they’re marred by a bass heavy mix that rarely allows Mark Wilkins’ guitar to surface except during solos on numbers such as ‘I’m On Fire’, and ‘Can’t Sleep’. By new song ‘Harder, Faster’ the crowd is filling out and staying, come ‘State of Mind’ the guitar can also be heard mid-song, and when they finish with ‘Girl I Can’t Have’ a mental note is made to check them out in less rushed circumstances when they’ve had a better sound check.
No such problems with Voodoo Sioux. Guitarist JB walks on stage, authoritatively steps up to a microphone instructing the mixing desk how to lift the sound, then as theme music plays over the PA they’re off: JB chews into a riff, Mario Ermoyenous delivers a thunderous flourish of bass notes, singer Nikki Flaherty jumps on stage wearing war paint and a trimmed Mohican haircut and Nigel Halford’s drums crack hard, keeping it all in auditorium worthy shape. Debuting with ‘Pillow Talk’ from the Grotesque Familiares album they blend commercial hook lines with dynamic musical dexterity and some fine stagecraft, then get heavy and nasty as Flaherty sings “Be quiet and you won’t get hurt” during ‘Mozart in Reverse’. By the time they’re into the wailing rock surrealism of ‘Is It Soup Yet?’ I’m pretty much blown away. The skewered blues of ‘Chase The Voodoo’ calls to mind The Sensational Alex Harvey Band while giving it some funk and a few reggae off beats for good measure and there’s much deserved applause for it, before they go into new single ‘Damage’, a punk rocking take on ‘Jesus Christ’ from their first album and then close with the straighter rock booted but no less lyrically opaque ‘Mister Smith Or Jones’. If your record collection has such diverse acts as The Red Hot Chilli Peppers alongside Ian Dury’s Blockheads, The Who and even at times Madness then there’s a good chance you’ll also enjoy the seasoned cocksure sounds of Voodoo Sioux.
“We Will Rock You” is the avowed intent of every band on the bill tonight and Knock Out Kaine give it all they’ve got, opening with a raucous version of the Queen hit and a hell of a holler from lead vocalist Dean Foxx. With a sound that pulls them between both the Hagar and Roth eras of Van Halen they play sleazy riffs and good time hard rock ‘n’ roll. Foxx is a legend in his own liquid lunchtime up on stage, but he’s got the pipes to go with it. Third song in, ‘Set The Night On Fire’ he also straps on a guitar to play rhythm and will do again when they also cover Steve Earle’s country rock ‘Copperhead Road’ that cunningly veers towards a Skynyrd/Motorhead workout near the end. In between we get numbers like ‘Back Street Romeo’ with the girls down the front having fun dancing, then later the slow starting stripper blues of ‘Time ’, before concluding with a couple of sweet rockers in ‘Little Crystal’ and ‘Somebody Save Me’.
Hendrix’s ‘Are You Experienced?’ plays over the PA as men bearing tattoos and cool haircuts walk on stage, the guitarist lets wail and Jizzy Pearl bounds on stage, his voice screeching into the microphone as this final line-up of Love/Hate surge into the opening track off the Crucified mini-album, ‘Hanging You Out To Dry’.
‘Yucca Man’ follows through, then the rumbling riff to ‘Tumbleweed’ sets the mood for a smoking guitar solo minutes later. The band is slick, well rehearsed and tight, with Pearl himself looking in good shape, moving round the stage like a hyperactive heavy metal karate-chopping Tigger straight out of a Winnie the Pooh cartoon. A couple more songs in and the rest of the band are adding the odd harmony, but it’s getting to the point where Pearl himself doesn’t need to open his mouth unless it’s to crack a joke or make a wry observation because I’m standing before a committed crowd of fans here and they’re singing along giving it there all, and by the time we get into ‘Spinning Wheel’ it’s like they’re reciting a sleazoid mantra joining Pearl as her roars “Get off your clothes.” Sadly, however, the ladies do not oblige tonight.
‘Mary Jane’ keeps up the action then things slow down just a tad for ‘Don’t Fuck With Me’. Having raged with a smile on his face for so many numbers one would have expected the helium-high lungs of Mr Pearl to have started deflating but they’re still pushing through as we get to the dark underbelly of psychedelia that is ‘Evil Twin’. From here on we’re into a home run as they blitzkrieg through ‘Wasted in America’, then are called back for two encores with a pumping take on ‘Why Do You Think They Call It Dope?’ and ending this dysfunctional LA party night with ‘Blackout In The Red Room’. Classy. Not dated, as I feared. Truth be told, I didn’t know what to expect tonight, but Jizzy Pearl and his band rocked, and they rocked hard. If you didn’t know the lyrics to the Love/Hate numbers being played before you went in you sure as hell left with them ringing in your ear. A night where four bands gave it their all, in differing rock styles, and in Voodoo Sioux you a band so musically adept one’s jaw dropped to the hot sticky floor.
1. Hanging You Out To Dry
2. Yucca Man
5. Fuel To Run
6. One More Round
8. Spinning Wheel
9. Mary Jane
10. Don’t Fuck With Me
11. She’s An Angel
12. Evil Twin
14. Wasted In America
15. Why Do You Think They Call It Dope?
16. Blackout In The Red Room