Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators with Foxy Shazam – 09/18/2012
Manhattan Center’s Hammerstein Ballroom – New York City
Words/Photos/Video – Jay Porks
“The essence of “cool” that is Slash cannot be matched”. That’s a phrase typed by this very music fan posing as a journalist in a social media world, after walking out on the band currently touring under the moniker of Guns N’ Roses during their encore at Izod Center last November. Well, after tonight that phrase cannot sing any more true as Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators (on tour supporting Apocalyptic Love) made a pit stop at Manhattan Center’s Hammerstein Ballroom to turn a disgusting, rainy Tuesday night in New York City into an evening full of magic. Getting to see one of your favorite guitar players play live for the first time is an amazing feeling, and to top matters off, the opener. Now if Slash represents the essence of “cool”, then you’d need to find a bad ass opener able to keep up with that. You’d need to find a band that simply can’t be touched right now in terms of putting on a rock show. Whelp, if those are the qualities needed, then you need Foxy Shazam. And tonight that’s who we have. We’ve got Slash and Foxy Shazam, we’ve got mezzanine seats and best of all, we’ve got a good camera. Doors open at 7PM. So without further ado let’s jump into the 78th Edition of the Jay Porks Never Ending Concert Series, shall we?
Showed up at the door at 6:10. I have to stop showing up so early when I have a seat. The seat is there for me, why am I standing out here in the rain? Tad’s Steakhouse taking the Patty Melt I usually get off the Menu and causing me to leave (I’m not a steak guy) may have effected my time. When they started letting us in the search was vigorous. I know I always complain about the search procedures and I sound like a broken record- but this one seriously had me rethinking if I had actually had anything illegal on me. Which of course I never do anyway, because I fear prison. They bring me to my section and tell me “Anywhere in these six rows is fine”.. What??? I paid for an assigned seat, I have the number on the ticket and I scouted online to see the angle I’d be on and everything, now you’re just saying I can sit anywhere here? Is it hard to number the seats?
Soundspeak hit the stage at 8:01PM. That’s right folks, they went “surprise 1st opener” on us. I was pissed, not at the band they didn’t do anything wrong. The venue should advertise ALL of the openers. Hey maybe it was advertised and I didn’t catch it since my place of employment is in the 19th century and I’m not allowed to touch my phone. But seriously Hammerstein, what’s with these surprises? And this band I find out later is friends of my buddy who I met at the Lemonheads and later Local H. Had I known that before I would’ve given them a chance. They weren’t bad, but I can’t sit here and break them down for you because they were in a tough spot there (with me personally anyway). They went off at 8:19.. Had I known we were in for an 18 minute set I would have lightened up a bit.
At 8:34 when the lights went low I’m up there screaming “here it comes- the mother fuckin’ Church!”. I was so excited. And look at this Eric is rocking a new hair color. Interesting. They ripped through “The Church of Rock & Roll” and “Holy Touch”. I was head nodding and screaming lyrics the whole time. I’m conscience of saving battery on my camera anyway. Suddenly, after Holy Touch I get a tap on my shoulder from the girl next to me. She’s with her boyfriend and they have accents so they may or may not be from here but the girl says to me “What is the name of this band”
and I told her and she says “They are amazing!!”. You damn right they are. The first song of their set I decided to tape was “Unstoppable”. Well, I decided to get the 3rd song in, it just happen to be that very song currently running in that MLB commercial. “The Rocketeer” followed, I don’t think they played that one at Bowery Ballroom this past May, after I got it at Irving Plaza opening for The Darkness in February. Interesting.
“Killin’ It” before jumping into “I Like It”. And that song, well, “I don’t like it baby I fucking love it” as Eric would say. Cigarettes got eaten during “Temple”, which was the set closer at about 9 maybe a tad after. “If we had an ocean, we’d all be Surfin’ USA” was our “Deep thoughts by Eric Nally” moment before the lights came on. Unreal. And this night’s not even over yet!
I go out to smoke a cigarette, but you are not allowed to do that. They don’t have stamps for your hand or anything. You must stay inside, where they have confiscated your lighter at the door anyway and not smoke cigarettes. Okay, to the bathroom for that cigarette I go. I guess it’s okay to eat them but you can’t smoke them at this place.
So here comes Eddie Trunk (of That Metal Show, and the radio) on stage, to tell us Slash was coming up next. I’m so glad they had Eddie Trunk here to inform us of this drastic turn in events. And here I thought I was here to see Emerson Lake & Palmer. Anyway Eddie, thanks for that.
At 9:28 the man in the top hat himself hit the stage-Slash w/ Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators (seems ‘The Attractions’ and ‘The Imposters’ were taken). They jumped into things with ‘Halo’, off their new record followed by “Night Train”.
The place went bonkers. People walking away from their seats to make it to the back just to jump up and down and rock out. And all of these people are up to date on the new record a lot more than this guy. I have to admit I was more into the last record Slash put out with the revolving door of lead singers-but this stuff translates well live. “Standing In The Sun” came early and caught my ear. A few songs later they jumped into some more GNR cuts with a back to back of “Civil War” and “Rocket Queen”. During Rocket Queen, I noticed the entire floor level was pumping their fists in the air in unison. Looked like New Jersey, except that it was beautiful. Every song has it’s very own “Slash crazy solo” warped into the song. He quite an amazing soloist on the gee-tar. A song later on in the set, that I can’t even recall, I swear it was almost Phishy how Slash just jams out for 10 minutes at a time and then returns to the song Curt Kirkwood style. This became a problem on “Rocket Queen”, which I only have the first 9 minutes and 12 seconds of because I’m yet to figure out why my camera has a limit on the amount of minutes I can record a single video. I had camera issues all night.
Todd Kerns (the bass player) can sing too, so taking a break from Myles Kennedy for a song, we got “We’re All Gonna Die”, which the vocals are sang by Iggy Pop on the record. So now not only was Myles killin’ it but this guy is doing a hell of a job with this song.
Good to have a second voice option in your band so you don’t have to limit your set list-these are things professional musicians like these do. They jump back into the GNR catalog with “You’re Crazy”. I mean honestly, right now I’ve “won” for lack of a better term. See, back when I saw the band touring as “Guns N Roses”, I got to hear the handful of songs I enjoyed but every time I looked on stage I realized that I hate Axl Rose and his way of being a douche nozzle in every sense of life. Tonight I look on stage and see Slash, a gifted guitarist who has switches cleaner than anyone I’ve ever heard who’s whole life has been based on finding a singer. Finding someone to tour with and play music, write music, enjoy music with. This isn’t a job, I mean, there is a paycheck of course, but Slash and Myles look to be having some real fun up there. And making some real good music too, you can’t top the feeling of the artists you’re seeing seeming to be almost as excited to see you as you are them.
“Bad Rain” came before Myles took a seat on his little pedestal there. What’s with that? I first saw the guy from the Deftones doing it at BlackDiamondSkye with the tables set up in front. And he hardly stood on it. Anyway, he took a seat to get into a song called “Not for Me”, which, even with it’s epic guitar parts may in fact, not be for me. Didn’t hate it, but was one of the few times I looked to see what time it was during the night. But these guys know what they’re doing, and that’s when the “Sweet Child of Mine” riff started and then seriously there not an ass in a seat besides me trying to keep my camera steady.
It was amazing. Myles does a really good Axl, like a much less annoying Axl. Then rumblings of a familiar riff again, but not of the GNR variety.. It was “Slither”! Velvet freaking Revolver! Eff all you people I loved Velvet Revolver and now we’re finding out that Myles doesn’t do a bad Scott Weiland either.. I was so happy to hear this song live…. again? That’s when it dawned on me that I’m hearing this song live for the second time. In 2007 the first real concert I ever attended was Velvet Revolver with Alice In Chains and Kill Hannah. It’s so old there’s not even a blog for it. It took me til the last song before the encore for me to realize that this wasn’t me seeing one of my favorite guitarists for the first time live, never the less it was the seeing this dude the best time live. It was 11ish when they went off for the encore.
I’m up, I’m on my way out. I know Paradise City is coming and to be honest I’ve already for lack of a better term “shot my load” here with this one. I’ve gotten everything I could have wanted. Then Slash is on the microphone, a rarity. He says something to the effect of “We haven’t been playing this one, we’re gonna do it tonight because it’s fucking New York City!”. Then, with Kerns on vocals, we got ourselves “Welcome to the Jungle”. Once Slash grabbed the mic I stopped walking to see what they were up to. When he said that I immediately hit record and walking my way down the aisle and sat on the step there trying to record while everyone’s passing by my freaking shot. I found a better seat when they jumped into Paradise City, but halfway through I look at the ticker on my camera and notice it’s not moving. I didn’t hit record. That’s when I decided it was time to get my Foxy Shazam tee shirt and get out of here. Slash’s merch is in the lobby and Foxy has a table set up in the back of the General Admission floor. The security guard won’t let me through the velvet rope and tells me to head out the door as I’m ten feet from this merch table. So I walk out that door, and walk back in through a door this staffer is not guarding, and there I see Eric Nally taking pictures with two fans. I was trying to get my camera out to see if one of these strangers would take a picture of me with him but I’m way too anti-social for that kinda thing, so I went up to him when they left and shook his hand, told him they’re awesome and that I’ve seen them three times this year and made sure to say “And the Reverend Justito says Hi”. Now this is all while Paradise City is still blasting, so who knows if he even heard a word of what I said, but he seemed like a very warm individual. Not the dude on stage at all. With Paradise City still rocking, and my $30 Foxy Shazam tee shirt hanging off my shoulder, I said goodbye to the Hammerstein Ballroom, I was in a cab at 11:31. What an amazing night.
I have some issues with the venue I’d like to address here. Dear Hammerstein Ballroom: First of all, you search people like they’re criminals. You take peoples lighters- for what reason might I ask? You think you’re stopping people from smoking indoors? Everyone is still smoking anyway, raises lighters in the air, and I have 2 packs of matches besides the point. Speaking of smoking- you have a 3+ hour rock concert and people aren’t allowed to go out to smoke cigarettes? What is that? You know what happens when you do that? People smoke inside of your building. People who are Drunk, high, tripping or all of the above are now using fire inside your precious “ballroom”. And on the way out your event staff wouldn’t let me near the Foxy Shazam merch cause you stuffed it in the back of the GA standing area and security thinks I’m trying to sneak into that crappy area to stand for the last song of the show. Like I would want to sneak down from my SEAT to a STANDING AREA FULL OF NUTBALLS. Had to fake that lady out and head into the lobby before darting back in to grab my tee shirt. And hey, I don’t want to tell you how to run things or anything, but you have a twitter account right? Of course you do, you follow me. Now why on earth would that twitter account not be put into use to TELL PEOPLE ABOUT THAT SECOND OPENER?! Is this a little game that venues like to play? Trick people into showing up early? And why do I get to choose where I want to sit in the mezzanine? I paid 50 dollars plus whatever fees you plugged my ass for on this ticket and you can’t assign me a seat?? It’s going to take a miracle to get me back inside that building again.