Ok, Ugly Kid Joe‘s leadoff single “Everything About You” was a bit of a novelty track when it first came out, with its dumb lyrics and teenage libido but hiding behind that song was a band that rocks out and parties like it’s 1999. Their first full-length album, Americas Least Wanted, followed hot on its heels and definitely didn’t disappoint. In my opinion, there is not a bad track on this album and when I heard that Ugly Kid Joe were coming to Australia to perform this album in its entirety, I was chomping at the bit to get tickets.
The Capitol nightclub in Perth, Australia is a multi-room venue which has a main room that holds a few hundred people. This was about as intimate as you can get and even though it was a fair bit off a sellout, you could quite clearly see the band were more than happy to be there playing for their longtime fans. Throughout the show, the banter between band and fans gave the whole show a very warm atmosphere that was appreciated by all. The band seemed to be having fun on stage and clearly enjoyed the Australian crowd.
When the band casually walked onto the stage the crowd erupted and blew the roof off the small venue. Frontman Whitfield crane was clearly amused that a crowd could be this rowdy on a Wednesday night. Commenting frequently throughout the show that this audience parties like it’s the weekend on a Wednesday night. As the opening riff of “Neighbor” cuts from the PA, the place erupts and before long there’s arms and legs flailing everywhere. I have waited a long long time to hear any track by this band live and I am not disappointed at all.
The band sounds amazing live and frontman Whitfield Crane is in fine voice. He has no problems reaching the notes that are embedded on the recordings and he is as full of personality as he was 25 years ago when Americas Least Wanted was first released.
As the last chords of “Neighbor” ring out and the cheers go up the band launch to another fan favorite from the album. “Madman” is an amazing song live it just rocks!!! Crane hands the microphone off a few times to members of the audience to belt out their own renditions of the vocal lines, which leads to an even more enthusiastic crowd. From there we get “Jesus Rode a Harley” and “C.U.S.T ” and then another favorite “Panhandling Prince” followed by “Come Tomorrow” both of whom have that distinctive early Ugly Kid Joe guitar crunch.
Then we get a couple of tracks from Stairway to Hell. Not a great album but some of the better tracks like “No One Survives” and “Devils Paradise” are played out before we head back into another A.L.W. classic “So Damn Cool“. Next up is the Harry Chapin cover “Cats in the Cradle” which became one of Ugly Kid Joe‘s best-selling singles. Then we get “I’m Alright” and “Milkman’s Son” from Menace to Sobriety and Stairway to Hell before an amazing rendition of “Busy Bee” which was a highlight of the set for me. All the backing vocals sounded great along with the lead and really took off during the heavier part of the song.
“Same Side” and “Goddamn Devil” are played with ferocity and sound easily as good as their recorded counterparts but then the set comes to a weird halt when the band gets Australian artist Tim Mcmillan up to play a solo version of “I’ll Keep Trying” which sounds absolutely awful. This is the only bad move the guys make all night but it’s their show and it’s good in a way they are supporting homegrown artists.
“Mr. Recordman“, as it does on the record, sees guitarist Klaus Eichstadt take lead vocals and he does a great job. It’s funny how a little happy song like this gets people enthused. “V.I.P.”, not one of my favorite songs, sees a few people head to the bar or to drain the lizard but then Ugly Kid Joe opt out of the obligatory encore desertion of the stage and launch into a hard and fast version of Motorhead‘s “Ace of spades“. The band finishes off the show with “Funky Fresh Country Club” and the band’s best known and uber selling single “Everything About You” and then it’s all over.
Final thoughts on the show are as follows. I haven’t been this excited about seeing a band in a long time, I love this album from start to finish and the 25th anniversary run through of America’s Least Wanted did not disappoint. The band sound amazing live and really love the crowd to get into it. They have a chilled out relaxed atmosphere which translates to the crowd. They seemed to have loved the Australian crowd and in all honesty, I can usually tell when a band is running through the motions and this show just seemed full of honesty and the sheer delight of being in front of their Aussie faithful.
Come back soon boys, I will definately be in line waiting!
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