Live Review: Camp Freddy — The Roxy, West Hollywood
Mon, 07 Dec 2009 14:27:14
After last December's unforgettable Roxy residency, Christmas in Hollywood wouldn't be the same without Camp Freddy posting up on The Strip for a whole month.
If the first show of the '09 string was any indication, L.A. is in for an even merrier Christmas than last year. For these three very special shows, Camp Freddy's giving fans a bit of a rock n' roll history lesson—the first show on Friday was all '70s tunes, the next show [Friday, December 11] takes the Strip back to its 80s heyday and the final show [Friday, December 18th] will revive the '90s.
There's no one better to learn about rock from than Matt Sorum [Velvet Revolver, Guns N' Roses], Dave Navarro [Jane's Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers], Chris Chaney [Jane's Addiction], Billy Morrison [The Cult] and Donovan Leitch—absolutely no one.
Camp Freddy kicked off the festivities in the most fitting way possible with a raucous cover of Thin Lizzy's "The Boy Are Back in Town." These five individuals brandish a certain swagger that transcends the ages. It's the same essence that their heroes possessed, and they manage to give these classic tunes a vibrant new energy on stage that kept that primarily 20-something crowd hypnotized for an hour-plus.
Instantly, Dave Navarro ripped through the classic riff like a surgeon, nailing each note with care and precision. Morrison volleyed licks back and forth with Navarro seamlessly, and the chemistry between them sizzled with genuine panache. Chaney built an impenetrable bass foundation, as Leitch belted out each line with true passion and reverence for the material. Beneath the sound was Matt Sorum's inimitable drum playing. After a fun and fiery set with The Darling Stilettos, Sorum still had the fire to ignite each and every one of Camp Freddy's songs with powerful grooves and flawless timing. This was all just during the first song by the way….
Camp Freddy's got quite the sense of humor too. Shortly after the first song, Leitch announced, "Welcome to the '70s, does anybody have any quaaludes?"
The crowd didn't need any because Camp Freddy's perfect playing was intoxicatingly uplifting enough. Mark McGrath hit the stage for a pulsating cover of KISS' "I Wanna Rock& Roll All Night." Navarro imbued true soul into the lead, bending each note practically off the fret board, while McGrath kept the crowd fired up with each verse. When he yelled, "Scream for me, Long Beach" at the end of the track, smiles abounded from the audience and the musicians.
Next up, Frankey Perez sang "Highway Star" as Steve Stephens windmilled through the classic riff, revving up the Roxy. The Bangles' Susanna Hoffs and Vicki Peterson slid some sexy harmonies into "All the Young Dudes," just before Perez gave Robert Plant a run for his money on "Whole Lotta Love." Perez is a born rock star, and he's got a vivacity that allows him to proudly play alongside Camp Freddy's legendary main cast.
Sorum truly does remain one of the best drummers in rock n' roll history. Hitting the drums like his life depended on it, he fueled the entire set and when he and Navarro lock in, there's nothing like it. Navarro's got a bluesy cool that's reminiscent of Hendrix but he can rip alongside the most proficient shredders. It's quite the combo…Watching Sorum rock with Travis Barker was pummelingly invigorating as well and made for a set highlight.
The biggest surprise came when Fed Durst hit the stage for Van Halen's "You Really Got Me Now." Durst commanded the crowd's attention with his undeniable presence, and he sounded better than ever on the track. The Limp Bizkit mainman has always had the ability to get an audience going, and it's become second nature. After a little Van Halen, he asked the crowd, "Do you guys know anything about 'Sweet Emotion?'" He proceeded to inject a whole new style into the track blending classic rock soul and a modern edge.
This was all only the beginning of Christmas with Camp Freddy too…I'll be waiting like a kid (at Christmas) for show number 2….
Check out Rick Florino's new novel Dolor available now for FREE here…