The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

Monday July 19th 2010
House of Blues, Los Angeles


What do you get when you cross U2 with lite new metal or maybe Bush (for those that remember Bush). Tonight the answer is RADIUS the first of ROCK SUGAR's support acts. In truth they have a pretty well-executed but very tame set. There may be a drive and a beat behind the band but the songs are a little predictable and tepid and the ROCK SUGAR crowd act predictibly - they are appreciative but not fired up. RADIUS sounds like a band who used to do covers and haven’t found their own sound yet. Its only when they cover Pink Floyd 3 songs in they sound vaguely inventive.


To be fair they do get better: when they came on they said they would play some songs about "hope and change". ‘Change’ is perhaps their best song, a low brooding semi-ballad.


The songs they close out with are far stronger and last song ‘Shine’ sounds like where this band perhaps should be going.

DELTA ROSE are up next at a Monday night House of Blues. This young band from Pasedena seem to be the ones people have come to see. The first thing that impresses me is that these young kids have wild uncontrollable hair like me!


To be perfectly honest there is more energy in the first 3 seconds here than in the entire last set. The fur-coated and side-burned singer/guitarist high fives onto stage, and the band is all Les Pauls and all rock. For the first song the frontman makes an attempt to produce every move allowable in the Western World of Rock handbook, it's like a Guiness World Records attempt, and we like it a lot. He's down on the knees to solo to every rock cliche.



I'm trying to place the sound... It’s bluesy but also funky almost to Electric Boys standards. By song two we have synchronised Kiss guitars; then guitar against the mike stand. It may all be instantly recognisable but the point is its ALL here. And ALL by a young support act.


‘No Place feels Like Home’ is a great rolling rocker. We then get the old AC/DC move where singer gets guitarist up on his shoulders - sadly now missing from the OAP’s current set. Thoroughly entertaining...


The blues comes through in the new song with lyrics that could only have been written on the strip or by kids. While I’m not hearing the next Gunners here it's certainly entertaining stuff. Songs rock and roll and the set is worth it for the enthusiasm and the moves.


Any band with limited set time who allow a lead solo must be up for a set change or really want to be rock stars. As if by magic the singer returns bare chested with ‘I like the rug’, their own ‘Big 10"’.


Then the singer is up on the amps, the guitarist does a circuit of the room and the song is all AC/DC blues 'n' boogie. The singer returns in a shirt that looks just like the gaudy 70's glitter shirt Shane Rockpit and I celebrated our last birthday in. This is great stuff.


Speaking to the guitarist and bassist later its refreshing to hear influences like Albert Collins and George Thorogood and a stack of blues legends along with AC/DC and Van Halen.


A great young band well worth checking out...go to

ROCK SUGAR is one of those bands that I can see dividing opinion, until you actually see them live that is. This is the first Monday night of their residency at the House of Blues and though the place isn't packed it is a solid turn out, and if word of mouth does its job then after tonight the place should be packed next week. You have to always keep in the back of your mind that the guys from Steel Panther are also playing up at the Key Club tonight, a band Jess tells me later that they love and have the greatest respect for.



Starting off as the album does with ‘Don't Stop the Sandman’ the crowd are on their feet and I am marveling at how great this sounds live. The mix is damn near perfect and Jess voice is absolutely spot on.



One of my highlights comes early with ‘I Love Sugar On Me’ before Jess treats us to one of the best Paul Stanley impressions you will hear. For a first night the between song banter is thoroughly entertaining and I guess if anything a band like ROCK SUGAR have a lot more scope with where they can go with as part of the act. There's some light-hearted fun with White Lion's power ballads and some Arnie impressions thrown in too. Jo thinks these guys are fantastic and by the time they play the BON JOVI/EURHYTHMICS mash up 'Here Comes The Fool You Wanted' that Chet the guitarist sings she is gone from the table and up dancing with the rest of the club.



'Prayin For A Sweet Weekend' and the AEROSMITH cover work brilliantly live. But the highlight of the night for me is the same as the CD - the AC/DC/MADONNA mash up 'Shook Me Like A Prayer' with all the girls up on stage, it quite simply rocks! There's some more crowd interaction with a 'Sweet Child' singing competition that I won't ruin for you. And before we know it we end with the QUEEN/MOTLEY CRUE song 'We Will Kickstart Your Rhapsody' that just showcases what great singers these guys are, the melodies they pull here are incredible.



After a short break we get an encore of Journey's ‘Separate Ways’ mashed with Ratt. It's a very cool way to end.


For those of you that see ROCK SUGAR as just a clever twist on a covers band I suggest you check them out live. It is a great night of music played to perfection by great musicians, but it's also great fun and it reminds you what great songs we had back in the day and how much pleasure you can still get out of them. All I can say is that if you were unsure when you heard the CD live the experience is taken to a whole new level. A great way to spend a Monday night in LA.



Many thanks to Jess, Chuck, Johnny and Alex (and his lovely family in from Austria) for taking the time to chat after the show.

Mark Rockpit