Thursday, July 31, 2003 @ 11:07 AM
Beautiful Creatures Live at th
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REVIEW BY: George Trippe
A rejuvenated Beautiful Creatures showed they were the real deal here in a very well-received kick-off to a small, four-date East Coast run.
Dropped by their label and hit with the earlier departure of guitarist and one of the band's principal songwriters, DJ Ashba, the easy thing would've probably involved folding the band and rolling out another version of Joe Leste's Bang Tango. The band's debut - a hard shot of glam rock, successfully updating and mixing late '80s G 'n R, Aerosmtih, and AC/DC - somehow got lost in the shuffle, and after Beautiful Creatures' run with OzzFest and some airplay of "Wasted," the band appeared to go "pfft."
Instead, as borne out by this show and recent Internet buzz - Beautiful Creatures has gone in another direction, with some new (and younger) blood, a fresh label deal with JVC, and a record that lead singer Joe Leste says is nearly done (awaiting only vocals and final mixing).
The power of the Internet can really be seen when a band in the Beautiful Creatures niche draws the numbers and disparate geographic audience seen last night, with a strong street team and some folks apparently ready to follow the band for the four-gig tour.
On to the show: The redoubtable Joe Leste delivered the goods vocally and as a front man, coming off as a more current, street-ready Axl Rose/Stephen Tyler model. Working a set list that drew heavily from the band's debut ("Kickin' for Days," "Step Back," "Kick Out"), Beautiful Creatures seemed amped up by the presence of new guitarist Alex Grossi (a New England-based young veteran of the band Angry Salad) and shaved-headed drummer Matt Starr (also a New England-area talent, and playing one of the largest kick drums ever seen). With the new local guys, there was a bit of a homecoming feel (with fans delivering multiple Jack Daniels' shots to the stage) and roar to the crowd that spurred a decidedly informal, kick-ass set. You have to understand: playing the type of straight-up Los Angeles hard rock that Beautiful Creatures unleashes to a Northeast crowd is like throwing meat to a pack of hungry dogs, as most of the local bands in this area are more likely to band influenced by Disturbed, Linkin Park, and Korn, than LA Guns or Faster Pussycat. As DLR once put it, "You can't get that stuff no mo’."
No by-the-numbers Vince Neil stuff here: Joe Leste introduced a new song, "Ready to Go," that had an AC/DC-like grind to it, and acknowledging as much, had the band then tear into hard-hitting covers of "Whole Lotta Rosie" and "Highway to Hell." Planned in the set list or not, the band was enjoying themselves, with guitarist Anthony Focx switching to drums and the afore-mentioned Starr moving to rhythm guitar.
I think old Beautiful Creatures fans will dig the new version of the band. Rossi more than handles all of Ashba's earlier guitar leads (especially on "1 AM"), and the friendly, self-deprecating vibe of the band seems far different than the previous incarnation. Leste introduced "New Orleans" as being written for his ex-wives, shrugged off a musical miscue during set closer "Wasted" and repeatedly praised the infusion of the new members. Good stuff. I would plan on grabbing that new Beautiful Creatures record the day it is released.