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LA Guns: A.B.A.T.E Of Minnesota 2017, Litchfield, MN

14th September 2017

jeff kunze
Words and Pictures: Jeff Kunze

la guns

Finally... it took some time, but Tracii Guns is once again standing left of Phil Lewis on a stage with the LA Guns logo on the backdrop.

This is the duo that powered the band from the Sunset Strip onto stages across the globe. The combination of Tracii's riffs and Phil's soaring vocals provide an unmistakable formula that is essentially the bands DNA and the potency of that formula was on display through the entire set.

la guns

LA Guns' current line-up features Phil Lewis on vocals, Tracii Guns and Michael Grant on guitar, Johnny Martin on bass and Shane Fitzgibbon on drums and it's good that Michael Grant stayed on after Tracii came back as LA Guns are at their best with a twin-axe attack and Michael's playing syncs well with Tracii's.

Wasting no time, LA Guns came out blazing with some heavy hitters, 'No Mercy' and 'Electric Gypsy' from the debut record flooding the airwaves with a sonic explosion. The intensity ramps up even further with the aggressive 'Killing Machine'.

la guns

After a bow solo from Tracii, we got the fabulous 'Over The Edge' which is one of the best cuts from the 'Hollywood Vampires' release, the power of the verses blending into a delicate melodic chorus. The dynamics really play off each other creating an epic feel.

Three more songs of that first record, 'Bitch Is Back', 'Sex Action' and 'One More Reason' brought the long time fans to a roar. That record was such a slab of raw unfiltered hard rock and that is further emphasized when played live.

la guns

The big news from LA Guns is a new record coming out in October. The album will be called 'The Missing Peace' and will be on Frontiers Music Srl. The first single, 'Speed', has been released and the band cranked into it with a furor. The song is reminiscent of the classic LA Guns sound and fits perfectly in the set.

The big hit in 1991, 'Kiss My Love Goodbye', always goes over well with it's ultra catchy singalong chorus and a cool surprise was Michael Grant taking lead vocals on a terrific cover of 'Purple Rain'. It's never a bad idea to play Prince when you're in Minnesota.

la guns

A killer song from the 'Waking The Dead' album, 'Don't Look At Me That Way', and 'Malaria' brought the show to the encores and the closing songs were all from 1989s 'Cocked & Loaded', the band's biggest album with iconic hits that have stood the test of time.

'Never Enough' features an unforgettable riff that launches the song and it sounded as fresh and exciting as it did decades ago. One of the biggest ballads of the 80s era, 'Ballad Of Jayne', is always a fan favorite and engulfs everyone into its spell while The closer, 'Rip And Tear', brings the show full circle and ends the night how it began, with a hard rocking straight ahead bruiser with an infectious hook.

la guns

It was a great night to be an LA Guns fan. Tracii's presence and playing defines the LA Guns sound and he looked like he had a blast as he projected a fun vibe that the crowd fed into. Phil Lewis still hits every note and together the band sounds complete and most of all... sounds like LA Guns. The rhythm section was tight musically and in providing backing vocals that filled out the sound.

If you have not caught these guys recently, now is the time to do it. They've never sounded better.

la guns

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la guns

la guns



Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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