The Last Vegas are an American rock band from Chicago, Illinois. With influences from many genres including ‘70s classic rock and glam, ‘80s hard rock, heavy metal, garage and punk rock. Formed in 2003 The Last Vegas won Guitar Center‘s ‘On-Stage: Your Chance to Make Rock History’ contest opening for Mötley Crüe in late 2008. Beating 8,000 contestants for the prize they joined Mötley Crüe on their US winter Saints Of Los Angeles Tour. They have also toured with many big names including AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses and Buckcherry, and have headlined concerts in over 17 countries worldwide. They are currently touring to promote their latest album and will be supporting The Quireboys on a tour of Germany later this year (see here for all TLV tour dates). They first appeared on my radar when I got the opportunity to go and review them at The Snooty Fox in Wakefield in 2014 (see here). Suitably impressed by their live show, I headed out to see them supporting Skid Row at the larger Warehouse 23, also in Wakefield (see here).
The Last Vegas released their 6th studio album exclusively through AFM Records Germany on 18th March 2016. Titled Eat Me, and with a calorific looking, rainbow coloured, iced celebration cake on the cover it’s fitting that it follows their 2014 release Sweet Salvation.
To commemorate, The Last Vegas have a special message to the world:
Yes, ‘Eat Me’ is a mash-up of full-tilt boogie rock, droney Zeppelin-esque riffs, and alt-psychedelic acoustic ballads. Equal part American bluesy riffs and Swedish production technique, the album balances grit & polish.
“This is truly an American hybrid album” quotes guitarist Adam Arling. “Some may call it ‘rock’, however its more ‘pop trash’. There’s even a song entitled “Hot Fudge” with a nasty Moog riff just waiting to rule a dance floor. It’s ridiculous”.
‘Eat Me’ was recorded in near lightning pace, in advance of singer Chad Cherry’s relocation to Los Angeles over the summer.
“I was over in Sweden on a reality TV show for 2 months, when the guys decided to do another album. We had less than 3 weeks to write songs, rehearse, then schedule recording before Chad split.” quotes drummer Nathan Arling. “We wanted to capture the energy of a tight deadline and approach the material without looking back or over-thinking anything”.
Adam goes on to say “There’s a lot of feeling in this record. It’s fascinating what you can express musically when you record songs quickly, never second-guessing your gut instinct. We found the soul in rock’n’roll; from both Chicago and Stockholm. But let’s not get too serious, I mean the album is called ‘Eat Me’ after all. Catch you on tour in 2016.”
I’m glad he said don’t get too serious because I always like to find something a bit different when I’m reviewing and the title Eat Me lends itself to a few foodie analogies! Luckily the album had lots of different flavours, a bit like a five course meal but this time eleven courses, and it will certainly give you a taste of what they have to offer. I picked up elements of Guns N’ Roses, Reckless Love, Bon Jovi, Gunfire 76, The Cult and perhaps the less obvious Rammstein, Rod Stewart, Marilyn Manson and Joe Cocker. I could stop there but it doesn’t tell you very much so I’ll go through a few of the tracks, or maybe all of them, depends whether or nor I picked up an interesting flavour when I listened!
The first track I heard before the others because I saw the video to Bloodthirsty when it was released back in February. A great bouncing number to get your tastebuds tingling from the first bite! With it’s ‘wah wah’ voice synthesizer and energetic rhythm and riffs I thought of party band StOp, sToP‘s In’n Out, peppered with some Michael Monroe style Dead, Jail Or Rock ‘N’ Roll riffage and elements of Gunfire 76’s Let’s Kill the Hero so we start with a nice juicy steak for the bloodthirsty out there! Whilst I’m not reviewing the video the style (it’s filmed in an enclosed space with the band getting up close to the camera) reminded me of Guns N’ Roses’ Garden of Eden.
Here We Go Again, with some great riffs, bullet style drumming, and powerful vocals, had a flavour of The Cult. Universe & You, a gentle ballad, was like a heavier version of You Are So Beautiful, a song written and performed by The Beach Boys and popularised by Joe Cocker. Then we get some petit fours with Hot Fudge, another one with lots of flavours, starting off a bit Extreme, although not literally. I’m thinking Get The Funk Out and it is an upbeat funky song, think of a rap infused pizza with a few different toppings, Rammstein’s Du Hast, Hot Legs by Rod Stewart and a few Crazy Horses by the Osmonds sprinkled on top for added flavour! Yeah ‘Hot Fudge tastes like I knew she would‘ (that’s a line in the song!).
Along For The Ride is indeed a long ride, but one of the shortest tracks at under three minutes, the ride takes you on journey from East to West. It starts with the sounds of the East, with riffs sounding like an Indian sitar, then it travels along a chugging route to the West merging into something not dissimilar to Gracie B by The Quireboys. Voodoo Woman has elements of Reckless Love’s Monster including the lyric ‘Created a monster, now it’s time to dance!’ and yes this would be a good one for a woman to dance round her handbag to! Love’s Got Nothing On Me is another melodic ballady one, think of Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead Or Alive meets November Rain by Guns N’ Roses and you’ll get the idea.
Hard To Get Over is akin to a trifle with its different layers of jelly, fruit and cream, which make one great tasting dessert, think of The Rolling Stones say Honky Tonk Woman, Dancing With The Devil’s Goombah by Darrell Bath and The Quireboys’ Turn Away. To Be Treated nearly, but not quite, my highlight track (it was a close runner up) is a punky number. Think Blondie meets the Buzzcocks or One Way Or Another (you’re an) Orgasm Addict! For Anything It Takes think 10CC’s I’m Not In Love meets Patience by Guns N’ Roses. Stuffed full of fine food by now there’s only room for one more and that’s the last track From Hell which reminded me of Marilyn Manson’s Deep Six.
As Shakespeare wrote in Twelfth Night ‘If Music be the food of love, play on‘ and I played Eat Me several times before putting pen to paper, picking up new and different flavours each time. If you know them you’ve probably bought this already. If you haven’t been tempted by The Last Vegas before,then give Eat Me a bite, it’s a sweet little taster of what they have to offer with the rainbow icing, (on the cake) on the album cover hinting at all the sweet flavours within, which range from The Rolling Stones and The Quireboys to Guns N Roses and Gunfire 76. Not only is this a sweet little album they’re an entertaining live act and having toured with both AC/DC and Guns N’ Roses I would be more than happy if they were to open at The Etihad in Manchester when AC/DC, fronted by Axl, come to my city.
For fans of Guns N’ Roses, Gunfire 76 and Biters.
Highlight Track: Bloodthirsty
2. Here We Go Again
3. Universe & You
4. Hot Fudge
5. Along For The Ride
6. Voodoo Woman
7. Love’s Got Nothing On Me
8. Hard To Get Over (You’re So)
9. To Be Treated
10. Anything It Takes
11. From Hell
Chad Cherry – Vocals
Adam Arling – Guitar
Johnny Wator – Guitar
Bryan Wilkinson – Guitar
Danny Smash – Bass
Nathan Arling – Drums