Artist: The London Souls
Venue: The Satellite, Silverlake California
Date: Thursday, January 17th, 2013
JUMPING INTO THE HURRICANE…SOLID BETS PAY ON A RETURN TO AN OLD FAVORITE VENUE…LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMOND FLASHBACKS SEE THE LONDON SOULS COME OUT SWINGING…
As a dedicated, intrepid and passionate lover of Live Music, I’m always on the hunt, dashing along on the wilderness safari of Big City Nightlife to discover new musical experiences that will set my soul free. Give me transcendence in a four-four beat with heavy bass drum, guitars that bounce, chime, squeal and wail, topped by a singer that convincingly brings it all together.
In one recent week I’d been out on the town to see live shows three-of-five days from Monday to Friday. Instead of soaking in so many hours of amplified glory, I was feeling disappointed, mentally dis-jointed and slightly discouraged by the overall mediocre and generally repetitive bands I had been enduring. It was like returning to your beer to find it gone warm and flat, or spotting an ugly bug floating in your drink. Not horrible, but not good at all.
Little did I know my hope and faith would soon be refreshed and restored by a three-piece group I had never even heard of a day earlier. I was driving rather slowly and aimlessly around the bends of Mulholland Drive, languishing in the cliff-ledge views of luxurious oblivion and ruminating on how sour my taste for New Rock music had become.
So you grasp just where my head was at the time, I was listening to New York Magazine’s 2012 Song Of The Year on repeat endlessly. This song features no guitars of any blend in the mix. It was also my personal favorite song of the year and still is so go figure? Suddenly a call came in. It was my respected peer and consigliere best known as Mr. X.
“What are you doing tonight?” he bellowed, over the background roar of sirens and traffic wherever he was in the streets of Gotham.
“Playing some old Johnny Thunders and Izzy Stradlin solo albums to restore my guitar rock faith.”
“No you’re not, you’re going to see this great band in Silverlake tonight. Trust me, you’ll love this group, they’re the real thing.”
Hours later I was lounging on a small gray-blue leather couch in the back bar of The Satellite, looking out at the stage and reminiscing fondly on all the great live shows I had seen there over the years, back when it was called Spaceland. Whatever happened to that girl I met at the Bad Wizard show? The names change but the scene remains the same… Didn’t Led Zep make a movie about that?
I had not heard a measure of music from The London Souls before they went on. After the first song I was convinced they were marvelous. Mr. X had picked a sure-shot home-run winner once again. The London Souls consist of a solid bassist, a drummer who sings and a lead singer who plays electric guitar. These gentlemen whip up such a mean swing of heavy blues twang that you’ll be rocking whether you want to or not. It’s impossible to not be swept up in the songs and ferocious energy they project.
My good friend Zanzibar who met me at The Satellite summed them up wonderfully when he said; “These guys could be playing Woodstock in 1969.” Obviously a lofty compliment in every way. The songs were huge and epic sounding with simply three instruments and two vocalists. They cooked up expert jams from country-blues rumbles, to boot-stomping amp-crashing riffs with kinetic, distortion-squealing guitar solos.
I wish I could tell you more of the song titles, and all apologies as Kurt would sing but I don’t have them for you. You don’t need to know the exact song titles to know every song they played legitimately Kicked Ass. I didn’t go to the bathroom or bar once during their rowdy set. They played for over an hour. Which by the way, is like two and half hours in ‘real time’ when it’s late at night and you’re watching live bands in rock bars.
I wish I had the vocabulary to describe every musician and band without comparing them to other, more famous artists who have come before. But when you’re describing new music to someone who wasn’t there with you, it’s like withholding important information to not make any comparisons at all. That disclaimer in mind, at times The London Souls reminded me of the swirling blues jams of Cream, the bell-bottom crunchy boogie of Led Zeppelin and even the extended guitar solo wailing of dare I say the name, Jimi Hendrix.
I don’t use the name of Lord Hendrix lightly. To be fair, no other human being has ever or probably will ever play like the Ultimate Wizard of Electric Guitar Hendrix has always been. Lead vocalist / guitarist Tash Neal played in a style all his own, but the way his face contorted with emotion and effort, cranking out waves and peaks of angry, soulful notes, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Jimi delivering a mighty solo. It was more in the passion of his delivery than the particular distortion pedal employed. Believe me; I’m prejudiced in the worst way toward guitar players because I play guitar myself. I challenge all six-string slingers to impress me. Come on, really, impress me! I’m pleased to report I was impressed and convinced, and wanted to go home and practice my own burners immediately.
Another strength of The London Souls is how Tash and Chris St. Hilaire, the drummer, both sing and harmonize seamlessly. Singing and drumming simultaneously never fails to impress me. St. Hilaire did a great take on lead vocals for the cover song “It Ain’t Easy”, originally by Ron Davies, but also recorded by David Bowie on the monumental album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. Tash didn’t say much to the crowd between songs because he didn’t need to, he thankfully let the music do the talking.
The entire set was a rip-romping barn-stormer of riotous energy. In terms of both song quality and live performance, The London Souls easily decimated all the other “Rock” bands I’ve seen recently. Other bands should be taking notes. The London Souls don’t need gimmicks, on-stage choreography or banter to grab and hold your attention. When they unleash their electric hurricane of sonic fury, you can’t help but be caught up in a very exciting and enjoyable hard rock freak-out extravaganza.
All the high-definition concert films and blotter acid you can eat will never take you back to Woodstock 1969. But check out The London Souls sooner than later, and you’ll experience a full-power dose of very talented musicians playing with authenticity and intensity. As long as groups like The London Souls keep taking the stage and belting out the riffs, the furious fire of Rock ‘N Roll will burn brightly on into the uncertain future. Lucky for you, they’re now going on a big tour. Find them at http://www.thelondonsouls.com.
I’m not affiliated in any way with the artists I write about or employed by the labels they are supported by. I’ve paid for all my own drinks at all the shows I’ve seen and do not personally know any of the musicians involved, though I’m sure they’re probably all pretty cool.
My close friend Mr. X also does not work for a record label, publishing company or any other entity that would pose a conflict of interest to the name of genuine trustworthy journalism. I am in no way paid or compensated for my work on these pages, but of course I’d be interested to write for your blog, magazine or whatever so feel free to drop me a line in those regards.