Wednesday, January 22, 2003 @ 8:35 PM
Tribe of Judah, With Very Spec
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Well, I wouldn’t normally write a concert review unless it was one of my favorite bands and I had some pics to share. But this was a unique show that impressed me, so I thought I’d whip this up for ya!
Anyone who lives in Los Angeles knows that the Viper Room is THE place to be on a Monday night. Metal Shop, fronted by the insanely charismatic spawn-of-David Lee Roth Ralph Saenz, covers the classic ‘80s heyday tunes in immaculate form. The best part of the show, however, is that there always someone famous hopping up on stage and belting out along with the band in an intimate setting (The Viper Room has maybe a 200 person capacity…?) Tonight was no different.
I had just received Gary Cherone’s latest effort, Exit Elvis, so I only got a chance to give it a quick spin before I headed over -- bear with me for the sparse details.
Tribe of Judah took the stage first. First of all, I was a little surprised at the album: for lack of a better word, it’s pretty techno. Not “house techno” or like Ministry or Nine Inch Nails… but a lot of weird synthetic riffs. But somehow, it was heavy and groovy and quite enjoyable. When the deep growling synthesized waves blasted through the sound system, I was taken aback at how Cherone looked. Is this the same guy?! I couldn’t help but get a Henry Rollins vibe from him! He has this very intimidating stage presence that made you feel like he was going to leap off the stage and wrestle you to the ground. Buffed-out, firm and healthy-looking, he looked more like an Olympic Bicyclist than a rock singer. And the size of this guy’s mouth could rival Steven Tyler’s!
They kicked things off with “Left For Dead” with its powerful and hardcore grooves. It’s hard to believe that ¾ of the band is from Extreme. I always found Extreme kind of on the “pop” side, and these hooky, transcendal vibes are anything but pop. Segueing into the slinky “Into My Dreams,” ex-Extreme members Pat Badger and Mike Mangini kept the rhythm pounding with impeccable timing to the pulsating lights. I’m pretty sure they next song they performed was “No One,” but hey, I didn’t have a pen.
They went on to play two more grinders before Cherone stopped and stared down the audience… “Is there a doctor is the hoooouuuse?” The place went insane as none other than Van Halen’s Michael Anthony took the stage with a big, fat smile on his face. He grabbed a handful of picks and tossed them at the fans like confetti, and they launched into Van Halen’s “Somebody Get Me A Doctor,” from their 1979 album, Van Halen II. You have to remember; in this club the farthest you can be from the stage is maybe 100 feet. If you weren’t getting sweat splashed all over you, you were outside having a smoke.
And now as if that weren’t cool enough, guitarist Nuno Bettencourt – completing an “Extreme” reunion – hopped up on stage with the others and proceeded to belt out Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” – the classic jam song. The entire audience screamed along until the curtain finally fell.
Five new songs, and two jams – it was amazing! I was impressed, because I wasn’t really sure how I felt about the album at first. Well, I’ll tell ya, live – it’s stellar!
Then, Metal Shop helmed the masses next. I won’t go into these guys, because that’ll be a separate review sometime. I get so sucked into their schtick – it’s the best fun you can imagine! However, since you know Michael Anthony was in the house, you can bet yer little ass he got right back up on the platform with Ralph Saenz and the boys for two brutal renditions of Van Halen staples “Unchained” and “Hot For Teacher.” I mean, Ralph Saenz is a better David Lee Roth than David Lee Roth is. With Michael Anthony up there on bass and vocals – who needs Van Halen!
Anyway, I’ll also mention that Newlydeads/Faster Pussycat vocalist Taime Downe was the DJ for the evening. This guy gets a bad rap – but he’s musical tastes would really surprise you, despite his dark, goth look (not to mention his ‘80s poofy big hair glam days). Downe cranked out Queens of the Stone Age, Led Zeppelin, White Zombie… a great mix of hard rock to keep the vibe rolling in between sets.
So, Tribe of Judah is an amazing live band – check ‘em out if you get the chance. You’ve been warned about the synthesizers...
There are photos available at Michael Anthony's web site, MadAnthonyCafe.com.