The Edge, Fort Lauredale, FL
Ex-gunner Izzy Stradlin Takes It To Edge
So Izzy? Yeah, he sure is.
Straddling several musical genres, Izzy and his JuJu Hounds took the stage of the Edge Thursday night and got back to his roots of bluesy rock and reggae to a crowd of about 400.
To the pounding sound of tribal drums, Izzy Stradlin strolled out in requisite loose-fitting black leather jacket and red bandana strapped around his floppy brown dreadlocks.
A keyboardist filled out his four-piece backup band, led by Rick Richards on lead guitar and Charlie ``Chalo`` Quintana on drums. Quintana used to play with a knockout L.A. band called The Havalinas who only put out one self- titled album in the mid-`80s, but it was an LP that achieved cult status on the underground circuit.
A no-frills stage and spare light show suited the stripped down venue, although over at the merchandise booth the tour baseball caps cost more than the price of admission.
The JuJus kicked into a cranked up version of Cuttin the Rug off the self- titled debut album, with Stradlin ragged, raging and raspy like Keith Richards little brother.
``Generic but tight,`` pronounced WSHE disc jockey Glen Richards, watching from the balcony. ``And very LA.``
Very L.A. indeed, as Stradlin kept up the bluesy wail through the debut single Shuffle It All.
Paying homage to the Stones, Stradlin drop-kicked into a loping reggae version of You`re Crackin Up, and later in the set he whipped out classic blues versions of Little Red Rooster and King Bee.
I wish he`d played more of the slower numbers off the album like Come on Now Inside and Take a Look at the Guy, written by Ronnie Wood, but I guess on this first-time-out, hard-hitting tour, Stradlin is feeling cranked up and ambitious.
With his dead-white pallor and whip-cracking guitar style, Stradlin is a well-seasoned rock veteran. As most know, he defected from one of the biggest rock groups in the world, Guns N` Roses last year, apparently feeling disconnected from the monster he had helped create.
Playing to a few hundred people at the Edge is a far cry from selling out Joe Robbie Stadium, but Stradlin and his album have been generating the kind of international press and praise GN`R probably wishes they could get at this point. His world tour itinerary features stops in Germany, Australia and Japan.
This guy is genuine and his music is the real deal. Everything seems to be coming up roses for this ex-gunner.
Opening band Dada (from L.A. again) were a nice light three-piece appetizer with their funny wool hats and clever cutting lyrics. Sweet harmonies and some interesting drum and percussion work gives Dada a real absurdist touch. A dreamy and heartfelt cover of California Dreamin` closed out the set.
Hounds Put Teeth Into Rock
Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds (Geffen). This is the album the Black Crowes wanted to make but couldn`t. Not that the Crowes aren`t good, but compared with the Hounds, they are still children.
Drawing from such varied sources as the Faces, the Beatles and Bob Marley, Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds have put out one of the best albums in a decade with this self-titled debut.
Make no mistake, though, this is no Guns N` Roses. The Ju Ju Hounds (Stradlin on vocals and guitar, Rick Richards on guitars, Jimmy Ashhurst on bass and Charlie Quintana on drums) borrow more from Exile on Main Street-era Rolling Stones than from Axl and company. But that is expected from a band boasting ex-members from the Georgia Satellites (Richards) and Bob Dylan`s traveling band (Quintana).
Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds is a grass-roots album a la `90s. Blues rockers such as Somebody Knockin` and Train Tracks are given extra spice by Stradlin`s and Richards` twin guitars. Stradlin also take a stroll down country roads with Time Goes By and How Will It Go, two acoustic renditions that fit in the album`s rootish atmosphere.
Stradlin has obviously done a lot of reflective thinking since his departure from G N` R. Songs like Shuffle It All, an anthem about living on the road, and Come on Now Inside are clearly closer to Stradlin`s heart than any of his previous output. The Hounds also give Pressure Drop a new treatment, transforming the reggae classic into a 100-mph punk explosion.
And while this debut proves the Hounds can make great music, its biggest achievement may be that the band actually sounds like that -- a band, a unit. Despite the group`s name, this is a team effort. The spotlight is constantly being shifted from Stradlin to his equally talented mates and back.
The album also boasts an impressive list of cameo appearances. Ron Wood, ex- Faces and current Rolling Stone, joins the Hounds in Take a Look at the Guy, a tune he penned. Another ex-Faces member, Ian McLagan, added his distinctive organ sound to most of the album`s tracks.
Finally, Nicki Hopkins, one of the legendary pianists of `70s rock, steps in for the record`s final and most moving cut -- Come on Now Inside, a ballad about Stradlin`s home, Indiana, and its cold, dark winters.
Unfortunately, Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds, who appeared in South Florida recently at the Edge, are likely to go unnoticed by the folks at Billboard. After all, this is not your usual pretty-boy MTV metal band. But it is one of the few truly talented bands in the market now, and its debut album is one of those rock gems that seem to come along only once every decade or so.
Enjoyable Display Of Country Casual
After all the recent loud hard knocks of Miami Rocks, I had to find a way to kick back and soothe my achin` ears. So there I found myself, along with 20,000 other folks at the KISS-FM Chili Cookoff in Pembroke Pines Sunday to see the recent Grammy winners Vince Gill and Mary-Chapin Carpenter and openers Brickey`s Pass, winners of the best local country band at last year`s contest at Desperado.
It was a mighty fine show at that big west Broward park. The weather was gorgeous, the chili plentiful and the sound was even good for such a large venue. And, boy, those Grammy winners sure were casual.
Carpenter came out singing in a floaty chiffon dress and kicked off her shoes about halfway into the set. ``It was 4 degrees where I just came from,`` she said. ``This feels great.``
Vince Gill, usually the dapper suited country gentleman, bopped out in shorts and sneakers. When someone in the crowd complained, Gill yelled back: ``Hey, this is a concert, not a fashion show!``
For more good local country bands, check out Crazy Heart, fronted by Laura Haber. Crazy Heart recently won best country band at the Jammys, and is ready to go into Criteria studios to cut an album. Crazy Heart performs locally at Crazy Heart Saloon in Pompano Beach.
Mary Karlzen is set to release her really wonderful new CD, produced by Nuclear Valdez`s Jorge Barcala. The previews I heard were really impressive, with sweet tight songwriting and a more straight-ahead rock vibe. Release party will be at Specs, the big store on U.S. 1 in Coral Gables, at 5 p.m. March 13 with a live performance.
Lollapalooza artist Keith ``Scramble`` Campbell will be in town from Orlando painting his wet and wild free-form mural designs during the live performances of Lyrics for Lunch tonight at the Reunion Room and then with Basketcase at the Square Saturday .
Keith coins his work ``scramble vision,`` and judging from the loopy psychedelic reprints that came spinning out of his press kit, it`s a pretty accurate description. Campbell has painted murals up to 70 feet long during some of these performances, and has also used live nude models that get ``painted`` into the murals.
Speaking of the Square, its mega musicthon fest, scheduled for April, is still looking for bands to play. With slots for over 300 bands, there`s room. Call Doc, Bill or Kevin at 534-1403 to get in on the Thon thang.
Love Canal is taking March off to work in the studio and do some more writing, now that it signed its Sony publishing deal. The band has been playing some incredible shows lately. Their Miami Rocks set was a real treat, with some slower-paced arrangements that really highlighted Chad`s singing.
Extreme and Saigon Kick are playing 8 p.m. March 13 at Miami`s Knight Center. Heard that Saigon ex-bass player Tom DeFile has started a new band out of L.A. with ex-members of Trouble Tribe and other ex-members of hot new groups. His band`s new name? Left for Dead. Reports on the sound are that they have an Alice in Chains heaviness.
Sandra Schulman has been staying up past her bedtime for years to see the last band. Her column appears every other week.
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