Show Reviews



WeilandGoing to the Nokia Theatre always feels like I’m going to a corporate event. For starters, the entrance resembles a hotel more than it does a rock concert hall, to say nothing of the myriad ads for shitty Nokia cell phones. The other problem, as with many shows in New York City, is that so many of the attendees are obviously record label / agent / music biz types who are just there for the schmooze and couldn’t give a shit about the music. You know the type — they’re easily recognizable aging hipsters dressed just a tad too nicely, hanging by the bar and around the VIP area. Nevertheless, any time I get to see Scott Weiland and Slash in a 1500 capacity room is a true treat, and once you’re down in the general admission area in front of the stage all that matters is what comes out of the speakers and into your ears. And that, to say the least, was awesome.

Scott Weiland is surely one of the best rock and roll frontmen of our generation. I’ve never seen this guy have an off night. He slithers, scowls, bends and gyrates in a way that only he can do, entertaining the audience through and through. His voice also sounded as clear and solid as I’ve ever heard it, ringing through truly and accurately. Slash is always fun, and for once his guitar solos were mixed loud as fuck, just the way they should be. Duff is in ridiculously amazing shape for a man of his age, and the dude just fucking rocks. Matt Sorum, as always, plays just what is required of him and he does so in style. And Dave Kushner… well, I feel bad for the guy because he’s often overshadowed, but with the other members in this band how could he not be? I guess he was good too.

Velvet Revolver stormed through a mix of songs new and old, playing a hefty selection of material from their debut album Contraband much to the delight of the audience. The band debuted 5 or 6 new songs from their forthcoming release Libertad, two of which you’ve heard here on Two of the other new ones — whose names now escape me — were really good, but the other two were mostly forgettable including a ballad. In recent interviews the band members are quoted as saying the new album is more of a “rock and roll” album than Contraband. This comment always confused me a bit, because wasn’t the last album rock and roll too? But after hearing more new songs it now makes sense; the new tunes have a more traditional Aerosmithy vibe to them with simpler, more blues-based chords and traditional arrangements as opposed to the drop-D riffing and vocal scowling that dominated Contraband. I loved the band’s style on Contraband, but I can’t say the change is a bad thing. It’s interesting to hear the band go back and write songs that heavily reflect what are obviously their childhood influences in bands like Aerosmith, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and their ilk. The new songs are a bit different, but they still rock.

The band covered STP’s “Vaseline” during the set, and Guns N’ Roses “It’s So Easy” during one of two compulsory encores (the typical “gee! I wonder if they’re going to come back and play an encore?” bullshit). They also covered Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” (very cool) and The Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” (not as cool).

The first time I saw Velvet Revolver before Contraband was even out, both the band and audience were so excited that I don’t feel that level can ever be matched; nevertheless last night was a good performance and I’m not disappointed at all. On the way to the show Axl said to me “I feel like we’re on our way to say goodbye to an old friend for a long while,” and in a way I totally agree; after this 11-date tour of small theaters, the band heads off to Europe for festival season and then back to the US for a shed tour that will undoubtedly turn into an arena tour once Autumn falls upon us. Frankly I don’t have much interest in seeing the band in an arena setting, so in a way this was “goodbye” for a while. And for that, I feel incredibly lucky to have seen Velvet Revolver last night in the relatively intimate (albeit corporate) Nokia Theater.


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