Hookers N' Blow; the group featuring Guns N' Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed, Quiet Riot guitarist Alex Grossi and bassist Chad Mcdonald (Jani Lane Band) - came blasting into Sticky Fingerz last night and I personally thought put on a helluva fun, high energy show.
A pretty cool local band from Little Rock called 4 On The Floor kicked off the night with a pretty good set of hard rock originals and covers. They rocked everything from Nugent's Stranglehold to Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love to Rage Against The Machine's Bombtrack and got everybody in a rowdy mood. They had good energy and sounded pretty solid.
After a short break, out comes Hookers N Blow with guitarist Alex Grossi ripping into his version of The Star Spangled Banner, only to step on his guitar chord and go silent. After a few choice f-bombs on the mic, he's plugged back in and proceeds to shred through his tip of the hat to our country before the band joins him and they tear into Petty Tied Up from Use Your Illusion II, which sort of sets the tone for the night I thought. I mean anybody who comes out to see this band expecting all the big GnR hits is going to be disappointed. They play more stuff for the hardcore fans than the radio fans.
Next comes It's So Easy off the Appettite album, one of the best albums of all-time in my opinion. Dizzy Reed is behind the keyboard for these tracks and sings vocals with backing from the other guys. He wields a guitar for a few songs also but spends most of his time behind the keyboard. They sound good and Dizzy does a good job with what everyone on earth knows is supposed to be Axl Rose's voice singing. He doesn't try to mimic Axl (which is a good thing, because nobody can) but he does sound a lot like the classic GnR sound.
I'm sure there are a few tracks I'll not mention, since by this time I was flying the devil horns, head-banging and was a Vegas shot and several Shiner Bocks into the evening but here's the best I can do with a set list for you:
The Star Spangled Banner
Pretty Tied Up
Brown Sugar (Rolling Stones)
American Girl (Tom Petty)
Dust N' Bones
Time of the Season (Zombies)
Used To Love Her
Sweet Child O' Mine
Knockin' On Heaven's Door
Rock N Roll All Night (Kiss)
Ok, I think I left a couple off but you get the gist. Somewhere in the beginning they played what I believe was a Dizzy Reed original, but I didn't recognize it. I think my favorite tune of the night was Dust N' Bones, and I was shocked they'd play it (although they'd teased it in soundcheck). Such a great old GnR tune and one of my favorites, but it wasn't Axl doing lead vocals on the song but Izzy Stradlin back in the day, which is probably why it never gets played anymore. Petty's American Girl was a lot of fun too and by that point, stage front was packed and rockin' pretty good after after getting the vocal chords (and lighters) warmed up on the more laid back Patience and Don't Cry back-to-back.
I saw Guns N Roses (the new version, not the "real deal") a couple of years ago in Vegas and they blew me away. Dizzy's cover version is a nice compliment and a whole lot of fun. He doesn't have Axl's charisma (who does?) or the incredible voice, but he gets butts moving and heads banging and offers up some GnR songs you won't normally hear.
Alex Grossi is a sensational guitar player and does a very adequate job, especially considering it's not the dual guitar assault of the originals. I didn't know who the drummer was, but they mentioned he was 21 years old and it was his first actual gig with them. He didn't miss a beat and it didn't seem to affect them at all to have a new guy on the skins, they still sounded pretty tight.
This is a great tribute and fun show for fans of the era.