SUNSET BROTHERS, ALSO KNOWN AS PHIL LEWIS AND STACEY BLADES OF L.A. GUNS
Show Date: April 28, 2009
Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
Venue: Oneida Casino Lounge
Reviewer: Jason Lemke
Band Websites: www.laguns.net – www.myspace.com/lagunsofficial
Vocalist Phil Lewis introduced himself and guitarist Stacey Blades as the “Sunset Brothers – half of L.A. Guns” as they began their set of all acoustic songs.
This was the final night of a three night stint at the small casino lounge located just inside the main Oneida Casino and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. With Phil on 12-string standing up and Stacey sitting, the duo launched into the first song “Rip & Tear”. This is one of the songs where the vocal begins at the top of Phil‘s range and he went for it, I was impressed. After the song Phil mentioned that they had never tried that tune acoustically before and that they decided to do it about 10 minutes prior to starting the show. Phil was holding back a bit, but all in all he hit every note he went for. It was cool to see them come out guns blazing like that.
Phil was very candid and charming, I think the British accent helped. He explained how cool it was for them to perform the songs stripped down in the fashion of how they were written. He mentioned that if a song doesn’t sound good that way it probably isn’t any good. He thanked everyone for coming out despite the ‘wine’ flu, and then quipped “I like wine flu.”
The set drew mainly from the first three L.A. Guns albums. I personally love the ‘Hollywood Vampires’ album so I was glad to hear several songs from it. Missing however was “It’s Over Now”, as I was really looking forward to that one. But “Crystal Eyes”, “I Found You” and “Over The Edge” more than made up for it. Before the inevitable rendition of “Ballad Of Jayne”, Phil talked about a recent VH1 ‘Top 100 One Hit Wonder’ show and that L.A. Guns came in at #98 and the crowd of fifty or so erupted. He said something to the effect that “Ballad Of Jayne” was the song that introduced most of us to L.A. Guns, and that’s true for me (I think, it’s been 20 years!).
The duo did some cool covers including “All Along The Watchtower” and a tune from Phil‘s old band Filthy Lucre called “Baby I Want” that was great. They closed the set with “Sex Action”, but by that time the crowd wanted more as we were a small but rowdy bunch. I could have sat for several more songs but the guys only obliged us with one, “Never Enough” from ‘Cocked & Loaded’. They said they had never done it live acoustically before, but it sounded really cool and was a great closer.
Although I do feel that instrumentally the sound was sometimes a bit lacking (it could have used some organ or something to fill up the slow songs and a bit more backing vocals as Stacey seemed somewhat timid) and that at times the guitars were rhythmically out of sync, Stacey Blades really kicked some major ass with his leads! The guy can play and Phil just sat back, played chords and let him do his thing.
Overall this was a very cool show and the pair were very nice after the show at the merchandise table. Seeing this show really makes me want to see the full band version of L.A. Guns.