80s glam rock legends L.A. Guns played their hotly anticipated Sydney show last night. Marking the first time classic members Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns have played in Australia together, the band has pulled no punches and taken nothing for granted. The band made sure the occasion was a memorable one for more than just its circumstances. Fellow glam-rockers Eightball Junkies and hardcore punks The Kids provided the support, each bringing their A-game with vigor and energy to spare.

Eightball Junkies opened the night, setting the glam tone by delivering the roaring guitars and soaring vocals you would expect from an L.A. Guns support act. “Let’s smash a million froths and get loose!” Exclaimed frontman Will Vaughn, endearing himself to the crowd immediately. In fact, crowd interaction is clearly something with which the main-man is very comfortable. The songs varied in terms of memorability, with some seeming a little formulaic, but the conviction and talent of the musicians made it all play. Throw in some reverent covers of favourites such as AC/DC and The Ramones, and you’re left with a more than competent opening set.

And then something slightly peculiar happened. A group of angry foul-mouthed youngsters named The Kids sauntered on stage. Throwing a spoke in the glam-rock wheel of the night’s entertainment, The Kids delivered a fast and vicious hardcore punk set, not unlike those that might have filled tiny clubs during the genre’s infancy in the early 80s. “We’re The Kids, and we’re the naughtiest band of all time.” And didn’t they deliver on that promise. Every second word was a curse, the vocals were run-on and splittingly furious, and the music was a wall of sound in the best possible way. The crowd was admittedly divided by the drastic change in tone, but these kids stole the night in terms of on-stage energy, with a particularly pounding cover of ‘Killing In The Name’ rivaling the Rage Against The Machine original.

But the crowd, full of older leather-clad rockers, was only there for one reason. And when that particularly cutting guitar tone sliced through the venue, that reason was known. Tracii Guns and his impeccable guitar work stole the show, riffing and shredding like his life depended on it. The musicianship was top-notch all round, with a tighter than tight rhythm section providing a rock-solid canvas for Guns and lead singer Phil Lewis to paint on top of. A smartly chosen mixed set-list, featuring new and old, fast and slow, and hard and soft tunes alike assured no one would be going home without hearing at least one of their favourites. But the best part about the set was the unmeasurable sense of fun that coursed through the music. These guys clearly love being on stage, and even after a 30 year career the band seem very humble and grateful to be blasting their stuff to an adoring crowd.

There’s a simple reason L.A Guns has sustained a career for so long. This is a band still at the top of its performance game. The support acts more than held their own, but L.A. Guns showed us why they were the headline act.

Sunday 20 May – SYDNEY, Frankie’s Pizza (an acoustic intimate evening)

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