By Lisa Burke
April 14th 2017, West Hollywood CA: With musicians’ schedules as hectic as they are between recording, rehearsing, writing, playing out, and of course still finding time to make ends meet, it can be quite challenging to put a like-minded show together with a cohesive line-up and have it run as smooth as butter. On Friday April 14th 2017 in West Hollywood, I attended a very well fit-together line-up all stemming from the world of the biker blues rock n’ roll. The headliner Junkyard dates back to the ’80s but in my opinion they have always been a standout band for their creative ideas that spawn a unique end result. Also, on this evening were support acts Circus Of Power, Six Gun Sal and Heaviness, among others.
Friday evenings on the sunset strip around springtime are never a dull moment as it is, and on this night the crazies were oozing out of the gutters while one drunk girl actually fell off the sidewalk curb right into the gutter all before midnight. Back to the tunes, I arrived in time to catch Heavyness and they brought just that with their sunglasses at night biker dude style in check. The riffs were strong and the attitude was reaching the back of the room with ease. As far as any outside of the box thinking is concerned, they would have had to start with a more descriptive name and then incorporate something other than the standard fast and fun biker rock tunes that seem to date back to the nineties. They proved to be a solid base, however, to stand on to build stable momentum for the other bands to come, and I was engaged in what they brought to the table as well. Basically, this was a very grounded band that took the classic idea and blazed it forward on their own terms while maintaining the reputation of the coolest dudes in the school.
After this ride ended, Six Gun Sal stepped up to the showdown and showed us exactly what southern blues rock with a side of biker country has to offer in 2017. With six members in total, all in a line on the stage as the name portrays, the sound was definitely full and cohesive. The singer has a pleasantly prominent voice that is very reminiscent of Eddie Vedder and that oddly lends the guitars to border on grunge in certain moments if they steer a gear away from tough love blues. They were probably the slowest paced band of the bunch, yet they packed in some quality classic rock tactics and the drum pace is on par with the course of action and as hard-hitting as it should be. Their occasional inappropriate lyrics add a sharp bonus to the package as well, and the dynamic of the classy rhythms with the trashy lingo brings the soup to an intense boil. All in all, Six Gun Sal is more than worth a listen and again fit very well with the rest of the line-up.
Moving on to the sleaziest band of the night, New York originated band Circus Of Power stole the limelight. They brought in the catchiest jams with the top favorite song being ‘Mama Tequila’. These five guys are the bikers that make or break the party with their wit and drinking capabilities alone. In the case of the four bands I watched, they were the highlight of the evening as well. They played all the usual hits, and old or new it all comes across as life of the party biker rock n’ roll that can kick your ass. There really is not much more to say as they are definitely best witnessed firsthand in all their live wire glory.
Finally, the headliner Los Angeles based rock n’ roll band Junkyard paced the stage with their unique brand of country biker rock with a dose of punk attitude thrown in for good measure. The oddity here is that some people think this is a newly formed band when in fact their last album was 26 years ago. They have been playing their hits in and around LA again for the last few years and really turning heads of those in attendance. The latest album however, is quite the Debbie downer for some, while others view it as simply the direction the band is aiming to take today. I for one am glad they keep the tone lighthearted and away from politics while focusing on their more country biker bar elements. It is a bit of a harsh turn from the norm but it translates well to their style regardless and must be trusted accordingly. They mixed up the setlist to span their works, so the live appeal was as advantageous as possible. One favorite of the night was the tune ‘Misery Loves Company ‘ in all its rock n’ roll charm. The fast-paced tunes definitely won over the audience the most as is usually the case with a live show, but the slower more country bluesy songs still carried a torch.
Talk is almost cheap when it comes to Circus Of Power and Junkyard because the real test of strength is in the live performance. Regardless, these are two powerful bands that play off of one another extremely well and were oddities of the normal in their heyday. If you get the chance to catch them on tour, take the opportunity, as biker blues is here today and gone tomorrow, but then probably will return the next day twice as tough and with plenty of buff.
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