Over the years, The Last Vegas have made a name for themselves in the great city of Chicago. While their latest studio album was released earlier in March via AFM Records in Germany, they celebrated Eat Me in their hometown on April 1 at Chicago’s famous Double Door. A venue the band has played often, many were in attendance to support and get a taste, no pun intended, of new music.
After well received sets by The Tip, a sleazy, bluesy Rock ‘n’ Roll band from Nashville and Chicago’s own Blue Dream, a very well known Chicago rocker, Chip Z’Nuff (Enuff Z’Nuff) introduced The Last Vegas. As intro music played, one by one the band took the stage and they launched into the first of four new songs from Eat Me.
Bloodthirsty is a powerhouse of an opener. A straight up Rock ‘n’ Roll song that not only got your body moving and your head shaking, it also jump started the band into one hell of a performance. Watch the official video here. I bet you can’t help but sing along to the “whoa, whoa’s.” This lead into Here We Go Again, the second song on Eat Me, with its chugging guitars and catchy chorus, making it a great follow up song.
The band then got super funky with Hot Fudge. Personally, this might just be my favorite of the new songs. The crowd seemed to react really well to this one too. I also heard talk of it being the next video, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Chad Cherry’s trademark swagger as the band’s front man was temporarily put on hold when they slowed it down a bit with another new song, Anything It Takes. Even more engaging to watch on stage during the slower songs, Chad often times closed his eyes, getting into the groove of the song. As a singer, the microphone is an extension of your person and many times he would cradle it as if he were singing to an individual person, not a room full of people.
The Last Vegas have a pretty distinctive sound and The Other Side from 2012’s Bad Decisions album is pure TLV. Bassist Danny Smash played right into those chunky bass grooves with body movements that made you want to mimic his actions. There is a lot to be said for bands that make music that make you want to move. They took it back to 2008 with High Class Trash before playing another new song, Along for the Ride. For me, this song made you feel like you’re racing down the highway, windows down, without a care in the world. This lead into Come With Me, the first of two songs from Sweet Salvation. Guitarists Adam Arling and Bryan Wilkinson played really well together all night and this song is another example of why a two-guitar band always works.
All night, The Last Vegas did an excellent job on the flow of the set list. Up next were two back to back songs from their Bad Decisions album. The devilishly good Evil Eyes which lead into their cover of David Bowie’s It Ain’t Easy. The slow, easy groove lead you into another chorus that begged you to sing along. I’m not sure I’ve heard a better cover version than this one. Up next was a second song from Sweet Salvation, the always fun and upbeat, You & Me (You Never Know). Funny enough, this video was filmed at Double Door. Check out the official video of the band having a ton of fun during Battle of the Bandz here.
Prior to the show, I only knew one song off of Eat Me, so afterwards, I realized their version of To Be Treated was actually a cover by Terry Reid (the song also appeared in Rob Zombie’s 2006 film The Devil’s Rejects.) Based on the original, The Last Vegas took this song and ran in an entirely different direction, pumping it full of a punk vibe. Hearing it live is even better. The Last Vegas slowed it down once again with Apologize from 2009’s Whatever Gets You Off. The emotion Chad portrayed while singing felt real and genuine and honestly, those are some of the best moments during a live show. While everyone goes to see a band for different reasons, watching the artist feel something while performing, which in turn can make you feel something as well, is the best reason to see live music.
The last song they played from Eat Me was Voodoo Woman. Another in your face rock song with a hint of eerie sounding vocals from Chad during the verses, which is appropriate given the title. The last song before the encore was Love Me (When I’m Bad). Complete with a blistering guitar solo, this song has always reminded me of a battle cry of sorts. Needless to say, the band went out on a high note leaving the crowd wanting more.
The Last Vegas wrapped up their approximate 80-minute set with an energetic three song encore of fan favorites. Whatever Gets You Off easily transitioned to Loose Lips and they ended the night with the ominous sounding I’m Bad. While drummer Nathan Arling could barely be seen all night due to the lack of lighting on him, not to mention the amount of fog on stage, the short glimpses you could see were all arms swinging and hair flying. The guy is a monster on drums and his impact on the live show is massive. The band met with fans after their set and sitting next to the various CDs, vinyl and shirts was an actual cake decorated to look like the album cover. Another celebration piece, an afghan of the album cover made by a fan, was also hanging on the wall behind their merch. Definitely one a kind.
Head over to iTunes and pick up Eat Me and give it a few spins. Share with your friends and get to a live show to hear the songs for yourself. The Last Vegas are just getting started with this new album tour cycle and are headed to Canada later in April. Find all dates, including dates overseas with The Quireboys later this year here.