Slash w/ Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators, August 15th 2014 @ The Hard Rock Casino, Vancouver B.C.
on August 24, 2014 12:01 AM in
I have always been a fan of smaller, more intimate venues for concerts as there is just more of a sense of connection to the artist or artists. Don’t get me wrong, I do love big arena shows. I love even bigger stadium shows with tens of thousands of screaming fans. Hell, I love giant festivals where numbers can tip the scales into 6 figures. When it comes to live music I like it all, but there is something special about having the chance to see an act you respect up close and personal.
Especially when the act in question is a true legend on the rock scene.
More on that fellow in a minute.
The smaller more intimate venue in question was the theatre at the Hard Rock Casino in Vancouver (Coquitlam really but now we’re splitting hairs). With an official capacity of well under 2,000 people, small & intimate was served up on a silver platter. Furthermore, with full service bars on every level in the theatre as well as another in the lobby there was plenty of lubrication being served up to go right along with the intimacy.
The openers on this night were a quintet out of Baltimore, Maryland named Charm City Devils. This was an act I was not familiar with but am happy I got to see. They hit the stage with a great level of energy and rocked out their entire set. My initial impression of these boys was of a straightforward old school rock band with definite flavors of Buckcherry. At one point the 2 guitarists took turns trading solos in a jam that went from Hendrix on into Zeppelin seamlessly. Later as the singer was talking about their merch booth they had in the lobby he informed the crowd that every CD they sold afforded them the opportunity to put another gallon of gas into their van. Classic.
Charm City Devils; definitely worth checking out.
Slash, Myles, and The Conspirators hit the stage with zeal, opening with the lead single “You’re a Lie” from their 2012 effort “Apocalyptic Love”. From 2012 the boys then jumped right back into 1987, tearing into the Guns ‘n’ Roses classic “Nightrain”. Slash, adorned in a sleeveless black shirt displaying the Smirnoff logo with “SUCKMEOFF” slyly inserted for text instead, definitely didn’t seem strapped for energy as he frequently went airborne off the drum riser as we ran around the stage without missing a note.
Even a broken string during “Back From Cali” couldn’t slow the man down nor screw the man up.
When it was time to go into “Doctor Alibi” from Salsh’s solo debut, originally sung by Lemmy of Motörhead fame, local favorite and fellow Canadian, bassist Todd Kerns took over on lead vocals in what was pretty damn good fit. He continued his tenure at the mic through the next song “It’s So Easy” from GnR’s “Appetite For Destruction” debut.
Todd was not the only Canadian to share the stage with Slash as Manitoba native Brent Fitz more than adequately held together the rhythm section at the back by pounding away on the drums.
During another GnR cover “Rocket Queen”, Slash took up residence at the front of the stage for an extended guitar solo I have only seen rivaled, at least in length, by Zakk Wylde from the mighty Black Label Society. Seriously, I had time to leave and dispose of some “processed beer” so to speak, and return with the solo still in full swing. Now, as then with BLS, although it was quite impressive work with the axe for sure, grumbles could be heard among a couple patrons as to the excessive length of it.
Hey, you’re never gonna be able to please everyone.
One thing that was made crystal clear during all the GnR covers strewn about the setlist was Myles Kennedy’s unquestionable capability of handling the wide vocal range of one Axl Rose. Kennedy’s voice was incredibly crisp and unwavering all night long regardless of what octave he happened to be singing in at any given point.
I don’t think Slash could have found a much better vocal fit to front his band.
Moreover, Myles actually takes the stage at the scheduled start time.
While I am happy to have seen Slash twice before with Velvet Revolver, there was a real “full circle” moment for me when he started into a riff that has been seared into my consciousness ever since the 1st time I heard it back in the late 80s.
Sweet Child O Mine.
After closing the set with the VR cover “Slither”, the boys returned to cap off a truly epic night with an encore of none other than a song that is truly epic itself: the GnR staple “Paradise City”.
For the 2nd night in a row I was lucky enough to attend an evening of musical magic where, judging by the enthusiasm of the screaming crowd after the last number, nobody wanted the night to end.
However, much the same as the previous night at Petty, nobody I could see was walking away anything but fully satisfied with all that went down.