MONDAY JULY 19TH 2010
HOUSE OF BLUES, LOS ANGELES
By Mark Rockpit
ROCK SUGAR is one of those bands that I can see dividing opinion, until you actually see them live that is. This is the first Monday night of their residency at the House of Blues and though the place isn't packed it is a solid turn out, and if word of mouth does its job then after tonight the place should be packed next week. You have to always keep in the back of your mind that the guys from Steel Panther are also playing up at the Key Club tonight, a band Jess tells me later that they love and have the greatest respect for.
Starting off as the album does with ‘Don't Stop the Sandman’ the crowd are on their feet and I am marveling at how great this sounds live. The mix is damn near perfect and Jess voice is absolutely spot on.
One of my highlights comes early with ‘I Love Sugar On Me’ before Jess treats us to one of the best Paul Stanley impressions you will hear. For a first night the between song banter is thoroughly entertaining and I guess if anything a band like ROCK SUGAR have a lot more scope with where they can go with as part of the act. There's some light-hearted fun with White Lion's power ballads and some Arnie impressions thrown in too. Jo thinks these guys are fantastic and by the time they play the BON JOVI/EURHYTHMICS mash up 'Here Comes The Fool You Wanted' that Chet the guitarist sings she is gone from the table and up dancing with the rest of the club.
'Prayin For A Sweet Weekend' and the AEROSMITH cover work brilliantly live. But the highlight of the night for me is the same as the CD - the AC/DC/MADONNA mash up 'Shook Me Like A Prayer' with all the girls up on stage, it quite simply rocks! There's some more crowd interaction with a 'Sweet Child' singing competition that I won't ruin for you. And before we know it we end with the QUEEN/MOTLEY CRUE song 'We Will Kickstart Your Rhapsody' that just showcases what great singers these guys are, the melodies they pull here are incredible.
After a short break we get an encore of Journey's ‘Separate Ways’ mashed with Ratt. It's a very cool way to end.
For those of you that see ROCK SUGAR as just a clever twist on a covers band I suggest you check them out live. It is a great night of music played to perfection by great musicians, but it's also great fun and it reminds you what great songs we had back in the day and how much pleasure you can still get out of them. All I can say is that if you were unsure when you heard the CD live the experience is taken to a whole new level. A great way to spend a Monday night in LA.
Many thanks to Jess, Chuck, Johnny and Alex (and his lovely family in from Austria) for taking the time to chat after the show.