You can usually judge the type of band playing at a gig by the music played over the PA during the gaps in bands. Tonight it was Guns N’ Roses, followed by even more Guns N’ Roses. Pair that with the old school t-shirts in the crowd from bands like LA Guns, Faster Pussycat and (ahem), Guns N’ Roses, and you get the idea. Tonight was a nostalgia trip back to the 90’s, where metal ruled the world and LA was the place to be. Even though Jizzy Pearl and Love/Hate could never be classed as ‘hair metal’, Los Angeles played an integral part in their history.
The hair metal scene does spring to mind a tad with opening act Knock Out Kaine. Vocalist Dean Foxx looks like he’s stepped out of a Motley Crüe promo video, but only after Tommy Lee has told him off for being too much of a party animal. The venue is pitch black at the best of times, so when Foxx takes to the stage wearing sunglasses, the thought that something could go seriously wrong does spring to mind. When he does take the glasses off, he looks like he’s been partying all week and needs an early night. Musically, Knock Out Kaine mix British steel with American sleaze. ‘16 Grams Of Heart Attack’ is pure Sunset Strip, whereas ‘Little Crystal’ is far edgier. ‘Boxes’ has Brit-Rock stamped all over it. ‘Terrorvision with added riffs’ could be an apt description. It’s catchy as hell whatever you want to call it. ‘Coming Home’ is the highlight of the set, Foxx whips out (ooer) a gorgeous customized acoustic guitar for this and ‘Backstreet Romeo’. You might be hearing them for the first time, but you’ll experience a sense of deja vu with these tracks. They follow the tried and tested path of so many acoustic driven rock from the 90’s, but when they are played with so much enthusiasm and passion then who cares really? A cracking live band that get the party started, no matter where they play.
Twenty five years have passed since the release of Love/Hate’s second album ‘Wasted In America’. With the band enjoying considerably more success in the UK than their native homeland, it was a no brainer that Jizzy Pearl would mark the occasion with a tour. Hence, we have an evening of celebration, not just ‘Wasted In America’, but some choice cuts from the stunning debut album ‘Blackout In The Red Room’. Jizzy Pearl looks incredible. Unlike some other bands from the same era currently treading the boards, he has looked after himself. He hits the stage brandishing a cross made out of budweiser cans in a homage to the way that original bassist Skid used to begin each show back in the day. Jizzy Pearl blesses sections of the crowd with the cross as the band kick into what else but ‘Wasted In America’.The voice is still incredible, retaining the ability to strip paint from 100 yards, and he hits those high notes with ease. He was always a fantastic frontman to watch, and he continues to be so. He spins around like a Tazmanian Devil unleashed and dances like primetime Mick Jagger.
Sticking with the sophomore album, the band blitz their way through both ‘Spit’ and ‘Miss America’ in quick succession. Jizzy Pearl takes a second to soak up the applause and seems genuinely taken aback by the fact that people have turned out some 25 years later. He recalls the first gig that Love/Hate played in Scotland, decades ago when the floor gave way at a sold out King Tuts… “I hope you’re not going to break the floor tonight!”. There might not have been as much bouncing tonight as there was at Tuts, but those that can bounce without causing themselves an injury, did. Taking a break from ‘Wasted In America’, we visit the Red Room with both ‘Tumbleweed’ and ‘Fuel To Run’, two timely reminders of how potent the debut album was. Jizzy looks like he’s really enjoying himself on stage, and makes a few jokes throughout about how we’re all still here after 25 years. The tour has been a great success, and part of that, I feel, is down to Jizzy’s enthusiasm, and the fact that he can still show the young pretenders a thing or two. He delves into the deeper cuts by announcing that ‘Happy Hour’ was only played once by the original band and ‘Time’s Up’ not at all. Both are played tonight, and sound incredible.
The remainder of the set is classic after classic. ‘Mary Jane’, ‘Don’t Fuck With Me’, ‘Why Do You Think They Call It Dope’, ‘Evil Twin’ and of course ‘Blackout In The Red Room’, all raise the roof and involve mass singalongs. Before launching into closing song, ‘Blackout In The Red Room’, Jizzy mentions that he’s not a big fan of walking off and waiting in the wings for an encore. So the band are just going to play one more then call it quits. However, after the band have exited the stage they have a quick huddle in the corner. Turns out that they have missed off ‘She’s An Angel’, even though it’s listed on the set list. Not wanting to short change anyone, they plug back in and go for it. Shame the people that left after ‘Blackout…’ didn’t stick around!
This was an incredible evening’s entertainment. Jizzy Pearl is in the form of his life, and his enthusiasm is a joy to watch. He seems very happy and in a great place. A special mention must be made of the fact that after a quick break in his dressing room, he was straight back out, mingling with the crowd, posing for selfies, signing anything put in front of him. He didn’t have any merchandise left to sell, that was long gone, just a guy standing drinking Guinness, having a chat, shooting the breeze. Totally accessible, and you can’t ask for anything more than that.
Review: Dave Stott