EX-GUNS N’ ROSES GUITARIST SLASH SIZZLES ON SOLO TOUR
Singer Myles Kennedy and Slash on the road
By Nick Tsui
$11: For that I got the hat, Chucks, shades — the whole damn thing.
With Les Paul swung low, former Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist (during their greatest years), Slash, took the stage at the House of Blues in Boston once again. And he STILL looks and plays like it’s 1988!
The years roll by, yet the man plays better than ever without losing that classic image. Although the thought of a classic Appetite of Illusions-era lineup reunion will never happen before Stephen Hawking bowls a 300 game, that hasn’t stopped Slash from making great music.
Things have been looking good for Slash as of late. He released an autobiography, two solo albums and got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This past April, Guns N’ Roses were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Slash and other members were in attendance although Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin and Dizzy Reed declined. In lieu of Axl’s absence, Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge took lead vocal duties for the induction, and did exactly the same for the Boston show.
I’ve heard of Myles Kennedy before, but until last night I never actually heard him. Myles can SING! He blew the place apart, to put it simply, and his vocals are the perfect pairing to Slash’s sizzling, screeching and shredding fretwork.
This man would definitely give Axl a run for his money in his prime. The Conspirators look somewhat like the band No Vacancy from the movie School of Rock, except they are way better. I especially loved Todd Kerns’s bass which was covered in stickers with a super huge one of THE CLASH. Drummer Brent Fitz played this awesome clear drum kit as well.
“Halo” was the opening song which established Myles’s vocal presence to the audience, and it wasn’t long before the first Guns song, “Nightrain,” popped up second on the setlist.
It also wasn’t long before Slash switched to his next Les Paul, continuing to do so over the course of the night; each one a hot prom date. He no longer tours with the ’59 Les Paul replica of the Appetite days, but I wondered if he had anything vintage in his cabinet. One of his songs featured a red Les Paul and some great slide work as he leaned into it hard. He was definitely not afraid to get down and dirty on that one. “Ghost,” “Standing in the Sun,” and “Back From Cali” were fresh new songs to me.
“My Michelle” was the next GNR song of the night and it burned. “Not for Me” was a terrific song, with Myles really unleashing his vocal talent. He was in the zone, even throwing back the mic stand at one point and standing up on the section of metal grate placed before him.
One of the biggest show highlights came next when the man of metal himself, Mr. Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, joined the band on the song Doctor Alibi.
“You all know who this mic is for,” was all that was said before the legendary frontman came out wearing his gold and black hat and trademark boots.
Few bassists ever get a piece of the spotlight. Such was not the case for Todd Kerns as he ripped through “You’re Crazy” on vocals. A few more songs were played before Slash took a lengthy guitar solo and did the “Godfather” theme, flipping the guitar up to a NASA calibrated 90-degree angle while he played.
Then the moment everyone waits for came, whether they’ve seen it for the first time that night or 50 other times — the eight notes that open “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” I had been trying to see that for years and it felt surreal to witness it in the flesh. Funny enough, as I sang along, Myles replaced the word ‘Crazy’ with ‘Fresh’ as I sang that word. Clearly, this man has seen Stepbrothers before!
The songs on the setlist were chosen well. There was a little bit of everything: GNR, Slash’s Snakepit, new material and “Slither,” a Velvet Revolver song. The only thing that could’ve been better is if they played You Could Be Mine just because of it being in the Terminator films.
Even the opening band, Monster Truck, was good. To no one’s surprise but to the audeince’s utter joy, “Paradise City” closed the night with pounding drums, people going ballistic, Hendrix-esqe moves with behind-the-head playing by Slash and loads of silver confetti.
Whatever it is, Slash has that thing, that X-factor. Mr. Punk with a little Mr. Wholesome thrown in. He does what he wants to musically and is just a good person in every general sense. He still gets moms to bring their young daughters to his shows in home made ‘I’m on the night train shirts,’ has GNR cover bands playing afterparties when he’s finished, sells out VIP meet-and- greets, and tells High School Musical they can’t use his songs because they suck. Not bad for a kid growing up in L.A., who gets kicked out of Tower Records for stealing cassette tapes only to return years later and watch hordes of rabid fans behind a one- way mirror when his albums debuts at number one and two on the Billboard charts.