Rusted Soul Revue 04/29/10
The Libertine – West Hollywood, CA
words/photos/videos by concertconfessions.com
For about 18 months, Rusted Soul Revue vocalist/lead guitarist TD Moyer was my own Snuffleupagus. My pal/guitarist Shawn Hitchcock swore up and down that he existed – much like Big Bird told his neighbors for years. While the Sesame Street gang finally did meet Snuffy in the fall of 1985, I met TD last July 4th weekend, walking around the streets of Long Beach (or as we call it – the land of sad boobies). Like any good friend, I missed the bands first two shows in order to support that highly anticipated third show. After all, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the last Thursday in April – especially with the show being in my old stomping grounds of West Hollywood.
Apparently this was the first show at Libertine (located across the street from the famed Chateau Marmont) and it really showed. RSR was supposed to hit the stage at 9:30 pm, but thanks to an issue with the PA, the show didn’t get underway till about 11:15 pm. By the time the band took the stage (and by stage I mean floor, as there was no stage) everyone in the packed bar was anxious for some real music. After all, while the two DJ’s who had spun 90’s hip hop (Kriss Kross, Skee-Lo, you get the idea) at maximum level were mediocre at best – they had overstayed their welcome. With no stage lighting at all, the band (which featured Fates Warming/Armored Saint bassist Joey Vera) kicked off the nine song set with “Better Days”.
With an influence somewhere between Mike Campbell and Jakob Dylan – Rusted Soul Revue is the type of music that makes you want to take the risk of driving with half-drank bottle of bourbon across state lines. Another way to describe RSR would be great lyrics over even better licks. “The Truth of It” has a great southern twang with the melodic pop sensibilities of Arctic Monkeys. While it was the third song of the night, it was the first to actually feature a light to illuminate the musicians on stage.
Despite the fact multiple young ladies brought Moyer shots of whiskey over the first four songs, the charismatic front man allowed the rest of the band to take a “pee break” while he stayed on stage floor and performed a beautiful solo acoustic version of “Murder A Rose”. Once bladders were emptied, Hitchcock and violinist/vocalist Brittany Ham returned and joined Moyer for “Place in the Sun.” Rich with warm southern tones and a lazy harmony, it was obvious that the three musicians were completely engulfed in the music.
Vera and drummer Fern Sanchez returned for the final three songs. Despite his success in the metal world, Vera knew his role was to compliment, not overpower the music. All night, he managed to find small pockets to enhance the magic between Moyer and Hitchcock. “Sun Gives Way to the Moon” was a perfect example of this as Vera focused on creating a rock solid and interlocking groove with Sanchez as busy Sunset Blvd traffic passed by in the background.
The band closed their 45 minute set with “Grave Dancing.” Now slightly intoxicated from so many free drinks, Moyer shared with the crowd about his Irish roots and drinking for those who were no longer with us. With a slight Irish flair over the established Southern Blues/Soul/Rock sounds, the song served as a perfect close for the very first band playing inside the busy Sunset Strip bar.
While still rough around the edges (hey, it was the band’s third show) it is clear this band is on the fast road to success. I am not just saying this because they are my friends. I am not just saying this because they were able to land Joey Vera on bass (at least for a night). I am saying this, because the songs are solid and they instantly feel familiar while being 100% original. I could easily hear the band winning over multi-day festival crowds like High Sierra or Bonnaroo, while finding their way onto the Adult Contemporary Radio charts. So if you’re looking for salvation in the form of melody rich southern fried guitar god rock via Southern California – Rusted Soul Revue is just the band for you.