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L.A. Guns at London's Islington Academy - live review

Eighties hard rockers come bearing snakeskin and a theremin

Press shot of LA guns

“Whaddya think of the whistle? Is it too much?” says grinning Guns frontman Philip Lewis, a California resident since the mid-1980s but reverting to Cockney rhyming slang in his home city. Resplendent in a snakeskin suit and ‘Hustler’ T-shirt – later swapped for a black leather outfit, complete with flying goggles and riding crop – Lewis is now 60 and still looks and sounds like a rock star.

To the singer’s left, and back in L.A. Guns after 14 years away, the now bearded Tracii Guns plays guitar like a man on a mission, whipping out a bow for the introduction to Over The Edge. Later on there’s even some theremin action during Malaria (it’s fortunate that Jimmy Page isn’t among the packed, excitable house tonight).

There’s no mistaking the purposeful nature of the band’s performance, kicking off with Hollywood Tease by Lewis’s former band Girl and tapping most of the group’s best-known tunes. At an hour and 15 minutes, rounded out with a guitar solo, their set is perhaps a little on the short side, but the audience seem happy enough.

Tonight ends an 11-date UK tour, after which Lewis and co. will complete a new album for a summer release, its title The Missing Peace reflecting the pair’s rekindled synchronicity. Some big surprises, including a 10-minute epic, are promised. Watch this space.

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.