1 February 2005
Having seen two original members of Guns ‘N` Roses at one of their five London gigs very recently, it was an interesting contrast to check out the first original member to lose his place in the band. Steven Adler`s problems and addictions have been well documented in the press, but he has now returned to music and with the band name Adler`s Appetite, it`s not surprising his outfit rely heavily on Guns ‘N` Roses material.
So does Adler`s presence and a couple of new songs mean this is not just a covers band? Velvet Revolver visited the past on their set list, but focused firmly on their future. In truth Adler`s mob are currently doing the opposite, but is that such a bad thing?
Well, they had me to start with anyway. Samuel L Jackson`s "Strike down with great vengeance" speech from Pulp Fiction made for an effective intro with Adler the first to appear. Contrary to the pictures on his website, Adler`s hair has grown out considerably and he doesn`t look that different to the grinning young rocker on the back of the Appetite For Destruction album. It feels weird to have the mainman of the band the drummer, but Adler`s low kit meaning he`s in clear view, tendency to stand up between songs and props from both audience and his own band constantly remind us the reason for what the band is playing.
A one two of It`s So Easy and Nightrain kick things off in fine style. The contrast between Scott Weiland and Jizzy Pearl`s take on the GNR back catalogue is more apparent on the later with Pearl`s voice more suited to take on Axl`s higher range. The band themselves are experienced enough to handle the material with utmost respect to the originals. Bassist Robbie Crane`s spent time with both Ratt & Vince Neil and guitarist Keri Kelly, as well as likewise playing with Vince Neil, used to play with Slash`s Snakepit, the man who`s solos tonight he does a good job or recreating. There`s also a second guitarist who I was unaware of prior to the gig and remained pretty anonymous throughout.
Jizzy Pearl was very unlucky in timing with Love/Hate, who at the time offered something different to the deluge of hair bands and himself has always been a great frontman. He`s already found himself effectively singing covers as frontman of Ratt and I couldn`t help but think that he would prefer to focus more on new band compositions as he was strongly plugging the bands new EP. On first hearing however I can`t say I was wildly excited by that material. 99 & Suicide were both up-tempo rockers, at times reminding me of Britain`s own Hurricane Party, but lacking the killer hooks.
My Michelle and Mama Kin bring the energy levels and the temperature back up, with Pearl commenting that for the first time this year England was the warmest place on Earth.
However things then took a turn for the ponderous. I`ve never understood the appeal of the dirge that is Knocking On Heaven`s Door and sit down acoustic strum alongs of Used To Love Her and particularly Patience had me losing mine. I guess if you were a big fan of GNR`s Lies then this was all good. Sweet Child O`Mine was well executed with Kelly nailing the solo with his guitar practically in the first row of the audience. My attention was wandering however, not aided by the onset of a stinking cold, but the god awful Civil War pushed me over the edge and out through the exit.
I understand the band wrapped things up with several up-tempo Appetite classics. Much of the packed Underworld seemed enthused by the performance and by Pearl`s assertion that the band would be back every year. Whether that`s to an increased or decreased audience could rely heavily on the band`s ability to pen some new songs and the effect of the eventual appearance of Chinese Democracy.
Adler`s Appetite set list order may not be correct:
It`s So Easy / Nightrain / 99 / My Michelle / Mama Kin / Suicide / Knocking On Heaven`s Door / Hollywood / Used To Love Her / Patience / Sweet Child O`Mine / Civil War / Welcome to the Jungle / Rocket Queen / Mr Brownstone / Sin City / Paradise City