Music Mania Podcast — Riding a wave of reunion momentum, L.A. Guns strolled into North Tampa, Florida’s Brass Mug on Friday evening; a venue marred with the permanent smell of rotting beer and sweat. On this night, hundreds packed the place to the hilt to witness a version of L.A. Guns that we can all live with- one that includes Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis.
The pair decided to re-form back in 2016 after years apart, also known as that confusing time in history that spurned two different touring versions of L.A. Guns. This time, it just feels right as the band (also featuring Michael Grant on guitar, Johnny Martin on bass and Shane Fitzgibbon on drums) released the highly-acclaimed album “The Missing Peace” back in October of 2017.
“It’s a reunion that happened naturally, it wasn’t forced.” Singer Phil Lewis explained in a recent interview with the Music Mania Podcast. “It was never about the money. It was about Tracii and I burying the hatchet.”
The receptive crowd welcomed the Sunset Strip legends to the stage at around 11:00 PM as the band opened with “The Devil Made Me Do It,” a strong fist-pumper from the “Missing Peace” album. What followed was a frenzy of hits from the first two albums such as “Electric Gypsy,” “Show No Mercy,” and “Over the Edge,” a personal favorite from the “Point Break” soundtrack. The band was tight and in top form all night. Lewis is still every bit the rock showman and singer at 60 that he was at 30. A non-musical highlight included Lewis engaging in a battle of wills with a concert-goer who refused to put his cell phone down.
“I’d have you thrown out, but you seem like a nice fellow.” Lewis joked before taking the gentleman’s phone away for a song or two.
The evening’s set flowed nicely between classic songs and tunes from the new album, all of which people seemed to dig. Guitarist Tracii Guns remains one of the most underrated players in rock, flawlessly executing lead parts throughout the night (although Michael Grant is quite competent in his own right).
Lewis sneered his way through songs like “Malaria,” and “Never Enough,” two unforgettable songs from 1989’s “Cocked and Loaded” album (which unbelievably turns 30 years old next year). “The Ballad of Jayne,” and “Rip and Tear” sent the beer-swilling crowd home happy as an elongated ovation occurred as the band said their final goodbyes.
This is the show that L.A. Guns fans have deserved for many years now. Even without the original lineup in tact, it is important to understand the significance of the highly-anticipated reunion between Phil and Tracii. They are, undoubtedly, creating a wave of musical momentum that should carry them far into the future.
Review courtesy of Clint Switzer & Music Mania Podcast