Ok, I am not sure if the timing of this release was a good thing or not. I recently (by recently, I mean yesterday) received the brand new L.A. Guns’ Made In Milan live album from Frontiers Records. The reason for the dilemma of the timing is that my own podcast, the CGCM Podcast, is a couple days away from releasing our latest episode entitled The CGCM’s Greatest Live Records Of All Time. This episode is already recorded and mixed and will hit the streets later this week. Stop the presses, this album needs to be on my list! My list is now completely outdated and the episode has not come out yet.
It is no secret I love this band. I honestly don’t remember if I actually had heard a note of their music before parting with some cash the day that their debut album was released. I may have heard “Sex Action”, but it might have been simply the print adds I had seen in Circus or Hit Parader Magazine. For an impressionable fifteen year old kid, these guys had the “look”, they were fucking rock stars. That self titled debut album knocked my dick in the dirt, and thirty some odd years later, this band is still ripping and tearing up stages around the world.
L.A. Guns – Made In Milan
Last year, L.A.Guns touched down in Italy as part of the 2017 Frontier Records Rock Fest. They performed an intense 14 song set-list and I thank god someone came up with the idea for a live album/DVD. From the opening chords of “No Mercy“, you couldn’t remove the ear to ear smile off of my face. This has been the L.A. Guns live album I have been waiting all my life for.
Let me start with this, Holy Fucking Bass Tone Batman! Johnny Martin‘s tone and his level in the mix rumbles my gut like a bass guitar should. It’s as though I am standing right in front of his bass rig at the show. Moreover, there is something almost contradictory about this album. The band sounds well rehearsed and tight, but the guys are playing with such ferocity that it feels they are often right on the edge of it all falling apart. Therefore, that alone makes this one of, if not the best live record I have ever heard. It’s also why I love seeing this band live whenever I get the chance.
You can call it chemistry, you can call it magic but Phil and Tracii just sound “right” together. It’s completely intangible. Like Mick and Keith, these two are more than the sum of their parts and this record flat out proves my point in spades. Furthermore, Phil‘s vocals are on point and somehow sound stronger than they did back in the mid 80’s.
Furthermore, Tracii‘s guitar work is the cherry on top of this experience. Yes! I am about to fanboy out for a moment, turn away if you must, but Tracii Guns is the baddest motherfucking guitar player on the planet, period! He is like equal parts Page/Hendrix and Halen/Rhodes. In 47, almost 48 years I have yet to see or hear anyone like him and he is like a disease on this live album. He never quits for a second, throwing in fills and melodies and tasty riffs over every inch of these songs. Onstage, it’s like his playground. Check out the twin guitar solos with Michael Grant on “Over The Edge“. So melodic, so brilliant.
For a healthy dose of hair raising goosebumps, just have a listen to “Jelly Jam“, Tracii‘s 5 minutes to channel whatever he is feeling each night to our ears. Check out the part specifically starting around the 2:37 mark, just WOW! Magic.
For those keeping score, the running order is as follows..
- No Mercy
- Electric Gypsy
- Killing Machine
- Bow Solo/Over The Edge
- Sex Action
- One More Reason
- Kiss My Love Goodbye
- Don’t Look At Me That Way
- Never Enough
- Jelly Jam
- The Ballad Of Jayne
- Rip and Tear
Therefore, rest assured that when you listen to the CGCM’s Greatest Live Albums Of All Time, my list is now grossly inaccurate. Made In Milan now sits proudly atop of my top 6, Johnny Martin‘s bass still rumbling in my gut. Go! Fast! And buy this CD and someone better be getting me the DVD for my Birthday!!!