The Last Vegas are a rock band out of Chicago that have been around since at least 2004 when they released their debut album Lick ‘Em and Leave ‘Em. The sound of the band incorporates elements of glam, punk and sleaze and have a kind of boogie and swagger that must be heard. Motley Crue fans will surely know The Last Vegas as they had a coveted opening slot on the Saints of Los Angeles Tour and their 2009 album, Whatever Gets You Off, was produced by Nikki Sixx, D.J. Ashba, and Marti Frederiksen. Aside from the Crue, The Last Vegas have also been on tour with AC/DC, Guns n’ Roses, Buckcherry and Papa Roach and are currently touring in support of their seventh release, Eat Me, available on AFM Records. The tour brought The Last Vegas into Southern Ontario for four dates in Hamilton, Barrie, Toronto and London in late April.
The Meister was on hand at This Ain’t Hollywood in Hamilton Ontario for the first date of the Canadian run on April 20, 2016, and Blair de Abreu caught up with The Last Vegas for a quick chat at Call the Office in London, Ontario on April 23, 2016.
THE MEISTER & THE LAST VEGAS – Hamilton April 20, 2016.
Making a three hour bus/train public transit trek to catch a live band is not something unusual for me, The Meister, (I have even been known to fly to Tokyo for the weekend to catch a fave band!) so setting out from home at around 5pm I arrived at This Ain’t Hollywood shortly after 8pm. For those not familiar with This Ain’t Hollywood, it’s a very small club loaded with character and enveloped in a history dating back to the 1800’s (I overheard the friendly bartender explain to another patron). Ahhhh you can just smell the history, wait that’s must and mold! The kind of place where it’s cleaner NOT to wash your hands!
After a long wait (time wiled away with the consumption of several Moosehead beers), the opening band, Dred, took the stage. They played a sort of split set with two different singers and two totally different styles. The first half saw a decently played selection of Pearl Jam and Judas Priest covers fill the set while the vocalist switch brought about a grindcore or metalcore style which I did not enjoy in the least. Part way through the Judas Priest portion my buddy Olivier from Sleazeroxx (who gets the credit for the live photos used throughout this review/interview) arrived and it was great to catch up since we’d not seen each other in awhile. The Meister is rather a strange creature and can often be found in his natural habitat at the front of the stage at a rockin’ concert, adult beverage in hand, but he’s actually quite shy. While Olivier went to the merch table to meet the band before their set, The Meister remained at the bar.
As The Last Vegas readied themselves on the stage the crowd surged forward for better vantage points closer to the action. The guys blasted off in fine fashion with their latest single from Eat Me, “Bloodthirsty” beginning a set with little talking and tons of rocking. The Last Vegas sounded fantastic with all instruments clearly discernible through the mix as they barraged the crowd with one fast paced hard rocker after another in the opening four track selections, all taken off of the stellar Eat Me, including “Bloodthirsty”, “Here We Go” (live video below), “Hot Fudge” and the bluesy “Anything it Takes”. Also representing Eat Me were “Along for the Ride”, “To Be Treated” and “Voodoo Woman” spaced throughout the 17 song setlist which also included “Other Side”, “High Class Trash”, “Raw Dog”, “Come With Me”, “Evil Eyes”, “It Ain’t Easy”, “You & Me (You Never Know)”, “Apologize” and “I’m Bad”. “Whatever Gets You Off” served as the encore song to close down a fantastic high energy set that left many in the crowd (myself and Olivier included) reeling after the stage lights came up.
After the set, as per my norm following a good show, Olivier and I bee-lined to the merch table with money in hand. Now hyped up with the performance of The Last Vegas and a healthy dose of Moosehead, I was out of my shell and rather chatty with band members, repeatedly telling them of my three-hour bus/train excursion to arrive here. The boys were extremely humble and appreciative as money and t-shirts and CD’s changed hands, regaling us with stories of being roommates with members of Hessler among others.
The Last Vegas are a real rock band……go check them out live and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
BLAIR De ABREU & THE LAST VEGAS – London April 23, 2016.
Have you ever been at the bus stop, and watched it go by? You saw it coming, heard it too but you decided not to get on? Then another bus comes, a new model, yet you still didn’t get on? Repeat this a few times and this is what I have been doing for years with The Last Vegas. I kept hearing them but not getting on the bus. This time, I decided to and headed to their show on a very busy Saturday. The guys were very accommodating in granting an interview pre-show and they could not have been kinder. The show was full of energy, great sounding all around and I will be staying on this bus. Here is the audio transcribed from my talk with John, Adam, Nate, Chad and Danny.
BLAIR De ABREU: How has the Canadian tour been?
THE LAST VEGAS: The Canada run has been on the upswing and London is the crowning moment of the tour, it’s been fun to see some familiar faces, this is the 3rd or 4th time in Ontario. Last night in Toronto at Cherry Cola’s was awesome and a couple nights ago there was some good sound, good lights in Barrie and a good crowd.
BD: 10 years in how does it feel?
TLV: It feels….sometimes it is surprising time can fly, put out 6-7 albums in a span of 10 years, been a pretty active band. We just released Eat Me our latest album, seeing things differently than a few years ago, all part of the experience of being in a band.
TLV: We are more fans of rock than hair metal or sleaze rock, we like it we just don’t want to get categorized, we listen to a lot of blues, soul, country, a lot of things all of us. We are more of a hard rock band.
BD: Your sound seems more like a 70’s hard rock band.
TLV: That’s right where we wanna be. The 80’s hard rock bands came from the 70’s sound. The Last Vegas are a band in another time. You know we somehow got transported to the 2000’s.
BD: How is the Chicago scene?
TLV: The scene is booming, big metal scene, indie, punk, electronic, everything thrives in Chicago. There are the people to back it up and support it. To be honest there are bands that are probably influenced by The Last Vegas.
BD: In a couple days you guys are opening for The Darkness, excited?
TLV: Sure, never played with or seen them live before, which is embarrassing. Of all the rock bands on the circuit today, the musicianship those guys are near the top of the list. We are ashamed we have not seen them yet. House of Blues has been very kind to The Last Vegas. It is Chicago at its finest. It defines what makes Chicago a great place to play.
BD: Are you guys happy with the reception Eat Me has received?
TLV: Yeah I think it has been very positive, people are more surprised and there are 3 things we hear about it. That it is different from the other albums, the cover art, the direction. They can smell where the band is at. Sounds like a modern version of The Last Vegas. One of the things The Last Vegas holds dear is that it is OK to create something different as with the last album and now Eat Me hits a bit harder. Does anyone want to hear the same album 5 times in a row? It’s not like we are making a country album. Everything that’s popular we do the exact opposite. That’s how we rollllll. There are no rules to making music. We listen to a bazillion things, a shit ton of other bands, movies. The sky is always the limit with us. If we like it we are probably gonna turn it into a song. The coolest thing that fans say is when they tell us what they like or don’t like. At least they are being honest. I think transparency is the best way to be. It’s a dialogue that bands should have, we are not on a pedestal, we are music fans, we like bands. It’s cool to talk about it. There is no right or wrong.
BD: Cool, that’s refreshing to hear. Seems too many bands always like to say this is our best album yet and hide behind that every time.
TLV: Yeah, the direction of this record has been pleasing, an honest representation of the band as were the others each time. This record more than our others represents the many styles we all listen to. From classical to blues to grunge, we are lucky enough to have been able to hear it growing up.
BD: You guys came through grunge and built off that as well which is cool because 80’s bands came through the 70’s and built a new pop/hard rock sound. You guys took 70’s, 80’s, grunge and give us The Last Vegas sound.
TLV: Yeah, Nirvana ruled, I had every Soundgarden record. You know in every point of popular music in history it’s because it hit a nerve it got people fired up. The world needs that, the world needs recycling. When grunge came in, it kicked things in the ass. Just look at all the UK/Euro stuff how it kicks things in the ass to keep it fresh. The Cure, Ministry, Bauhaus, the whole punk movement before that. The goth movement. Speaking of different music, one of my favorite Canadians is Bryan Adams, I love it, great songwriter and player. His voice has gotten better with age.
BD: The Last Vegas are hitting Europe next with The Quireboys right?
TLV: Doing a west coast tour in the USA, then we head over to Europe.
BD: So what’s going on in Europe that we don’t seem to have going on in US/Canada? Seems rock bands pull much more over there, what are we missing here?
TLV: A lot of their towns have solid rock music scenes. You can go to a town and there are hundreds of fans into rock music and have been for a long time, it seems more concentrated. More of a sense of loyalty to classic and hard rock. US/Canada are more into the superficial trendy shit. Here it’s a flavor of the month, where say in England a lot of the great rock bands are from there so they have a lot of pride. It’s in their culture. We have seen and had an excellent connection when we are in Europe. It’s a fun bond.
BD: What’s the plan after that?
BD: Will you come back to Canada?
TLV: I have always said Canada is the step. Canada gets hospitality and how to treat bands and how to filter bands. In the US there is almost too much going on, too many bands get run over by the money train. Canada actually supports the bands, with the radio rules that are setup. It’s cool.
BD: Thanks guys!
- Blair De Abreu
HAMILTON REVIEW: Rich “The Meister” Dillon
LONDON INTERVIEW: Blair De Abreu
LIVE PHOTOS COURTESY: Olivier Sleazeroxx