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  • Live Review: Camp Freddy - The Roxy, West Hollywood

    Wed, 10 Dec 2008 14:10:24

    Live Review: Camp Freddy - The Roxy, West Hollywood - Camp in December

    "Are you ready for a fucking mega rock show tonight?" Donovan Leitch asked the sold out crowd at the Roxy, on night two of Camp Freddy's December residency. The audience roared, and they were more than primed for a "mega rock show" courtesy of Camp Freddy—the Special Forces of cover bands. However, the evening's "V.I.P." guests were just as ready as the fans were. Perching over the balcony, Slash smiled as a cigarette dangled from his lips. Signature top hat on his head, he was ready to light up the Roxy like never before.

    Though Slash waited till the end of the set for his turn to join the party on stage, his presence was definitely felt, as pockets of fans kept staring up towards the balcony at him. However, once the music began, all eyes were transfixed on the stage and the rock n' roll royalty holding court there. The party started with a raucous rendition of the Queen classic "Tie Your Mother Down." No matter how cold it is outside, Camp Freddy bring the heat—and Dave Navarro never needs to wear a shirt. Navarro anchored down the infectious riff with an unmatched gusto and grit, as Matt Sorum pounded out each rhythm with an unparalleled charisma. As Sorum flipped drumsticks, he showcased a true percussive panache that few drummers brandish. Meanwhile, Leitch carried the chorus to heights of pure rock n' roll ecstasy. Once Navarro ripped the first solo, it was on. It didn't stop from there either.

    Van Halen's "You Really Got Me" gave Navarro the space to showcase his virtuosity, as he breathed new life into Eddie Van Halen's impenetrable fretwork. Even though some massively influential musicians shared the stage with Camp Freddy last night, a relative newcomer, Frankie Perez, made a lasting impression. The Scars On Broadway guitarist grabbed everyone's attention, during spot-on renditions of "Highway to Hell" and "Alright Now." He dashed across the stage with a strut that evoked Mick Jagger and a fire forged from pure heavy metal. He garnered massive applause as well, despite being the underdog of the evening. It was a ballsy and bombastic turn for Perez.

    The Darling Stilettos traded off melodies on "Girls Got Rhythm," while Mark McGrath joined Steve Stevens for an epic "Rebel Yell." Afterwards, McGrath exclaimed, "I know who's backstage, and it's going to be the best fucking show we've ever done." The band backed that up, especially during a fiery display on David Bowie's "Suffragette City" that included The Cult's Billy Duffy, The Sex Pistols' Steve Jones and Camp Freddy axeman Billy Morrison singing.

    Next came a true clash of the titans. Bassist Chris Chaney began churning out the slow, ominous roll at the beginning of Jane's Addiction's "Mountain Song," and suddenly Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington took to the stage. A torrent of energy spread through the building, and everything erupted. Watching Chester with Camp Freddy is like bridging the generational gap. Chester showcased a vocal prowess and style that matched the legends beside him. He can hold his own alongside former Guns N' Roses and Jane's Addiction members, fitting right in. In fact, his presence caused a surge, as he simply killed the song's chorus. At the same time, Navarro conjured Hendrix on the solo and unleashed his best lead of the evening. Their chemistry was palpable and infectious.

    However, it got better. Slash stormed the stage during Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love." He oscillated between strange toggle switch schizophrenia and mind-blowing fretwork. Slash simply bled soul all over the stage, as he and Chester brought the show to rapturous heights. Sorum nailed the drum break, injecting it with a tribal flair.

    As Slash tore through "Paradise City" with Chester singing, it was hard to believe Camp Freddy could top this. However, there's no doubt they will—probably next week.

    —Rick Florino

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