Home » Live Show Reviews

WASP @ The Avalon Santa Clara CA

6 May 2010 No Comment

WASP
3/24/2010 @ the Avalon Nightclub
Santa Clara, California
by Jeff Longo
& Josh Kutras

Set List
1. Mephisto Waltz (intro)
2. On Your Knees / The Real Me (The Who cover)
3. L.O.V.E. Machine
4. Babylons Burning
5. Wild Child
6. Hellion/I Don’t Need No Doctor/Scream Until You Like It/I Don’t Need No Doctor
7. Arena Of Pleasure
8. The Idol
9. I Wanna Be Somebody
Encore:
10. Heaven’s Hung in Black
11. Blind In Texas

I got down to the Avalon in Santa Clara CA to see eighties metal band W.A.S.P. with middle of the road expectations. I must admit I’m not a huge WASP fan, not saying that I dislike them; just saying I only know a few songs from back when. Furthermore, a band like W.A.S.P. you have to see live anyway to fully appreciate; so middle of the road but… hopeful.

I arrived too late to catch local openers Bomb and Scary, but from what I heard from a couple of people at the bar they were very entertaining. We waited a good 45 minutes after supporting act Mystic Rage’s set was cut short before Mr. Lawless and company took the stage. The packed house went nuts as they opened with a medley of On Your Knees & a cover of the Who classic: The Real Me. So far so good. Next up 1984’s L.O.V.E. Machine and a new song Babylon’s Burning (2009 Babylon), it was very apocalyptic but rocked. The Avalon was at full tilt as fan favorites; Wild Child, I Wanna Be Somebody, I Don’t Need No Doctor, and Blind in Texas were sung loud and proud by the faithful.

Although known for their stage shows this was a stripped down set with no theatrics is sight. The new band was tight (Blackie is the only remaining original member), and the crowd was into to it but; they didn’t play Animal (Fuck like a beast). Huh? When you think of WASP that is the song that you think of right? Commercially, they were on the fringe of the L.A. hair metal scene that mainstreamed  Motley Crue, Quiet Riot, and Ratt, and in comparison only stepped into the spotlight for brief moments.   Not surprising since they personified (and embraced) more the sleaze side of metal therefore limiting broad appeal.   Those brief moments were hits like like Animal and The Who cover Real  Me.

I did a little research after the show and found a very interesting interview conducted by Norway’s FVN.no posted on Blabbermouth.com (in english) on October 2009 that may surprise you (I know I was).  In a nutshell, Blackie  refuses to play that song and has dropped the theatrics that made W.A.S.P. who they are due to …his religious faith.  Below are some excerpts (For full interview click Blabbermouth link)

On not playing Animal:

Blackie: “We haven’t done that song for several years. And it’s totally because of my religious faith, and it’s something that I don’t want to do anymore, and I will never play that song again. …So I’m looking at what I’m doing and I’m trying to create the best example that I can. I don’t want 13-year-olds going around singing that song. If that’s something they wanna do later in their life, that’s their business. But, like I said, it’s a question of faith and the religious conviction that I have.”

On things he may not be proud of doing in the past:

Blackie: “You have to understand that I believe that I’ve been put here on this Earth to do a very specific thing. This album, ‘Babylon’, that we’re doing now really talks about what’s going on with the Book Of Revelation and the bible.
“Someone asked me the other day. They said, ‘Are you a rock and roll preacher now?’ I said, ‘No. But I am a messenger.’ And that’s what my job is. So everything I did up to this point has led me to where I am now.”

On playing a basic show these days:

Blackie: “What you’re saying is: Are you doing the blood anymore? No, I’m not doing it. I don’t need that anymore…the image of that early show spoke so loudly, people were listening with their eyes and not their ears. We did what we thought was abstract art and we were trying to make social comment within that, and no one was getting the social comment; they thought, ‘Oh, it’s a shock-rock band.’ We’ve never considered ourselves a shock-rock band, and to be honest, even to this day, I resent that; I don’t like being considered that. But I understand that the eyes are the dominant sense, and so if you’re going to try and get your message across, sometimes you have to simplify it to be able to do that.”

Huh? Are you kidding me?  Not that there is anything wrong with that but this is W.A.S.P. These guys  achieved fame being a booze, drug, and sex soaked decadent pseudo-evil hair rocker band, if you’re going to take a stand on a song then do it for all songs that fit the bill not just the one with the word fuck in it.   Listen everyone is entitled to change and revelation, but maybe he should start a new project not under the WASP banner.   Maybe Blackie Lawless (of W.A.S.P.)  and the Divine shredders.

Overall – It was still a GOOD show. Dont get me wrong they rocked the songs they did they play but in the end, it lacked a little bit of the original spirit of WASP (OK, a lot of it) . If you are a fan, I would definitely recommend you check them out. The Avalon is a great place to see a show. Prices reasonable, security and staff are approachable and keep a pretty clean house so no bullshit. Expect a thorough pat down upon entry:) Sound was awesome and perfectly mixed throughout the room. Lights are strong and bright but lacked  variety.


WASP Nation
For news, tour dates, album info, and merch

Avalon Night ClubFor a calendar of upcoming events

Review by: Jeff Longo & Josh Kutras

Email the authors Jeff Longo or Josh Kutras

On whether it means that he’s not so proud of all the things he’s done in his past:

Blackie: “Well, that would be one of them, but… You have to understand that I believe that I’ve been put here on this Earth to do a very specific thing. This album, ‘Babylon’, that we’re doing now really talks about what’s going on with the Book Of Revelation and the bible.

“Someone asked me the other day. They said, ‘Are you a rock and roll preacher now?’ I said, ‘No. But I am a messenger.’ And that’s what my job is. So everything I did up to this point has led me to where I am now.”

Comments are closed.