It was Valentine’s day in Adelaide and I couldn’t think of a more romantic way to spend the night than seeing a classic 80s sleaze-metal band at my old watering hole Enigma Bar. Thankfully my wife and I have some romantic history that involves the music of Faster Pussycat so I wasn’t in too much trouble for this unconventional date night.
Kicking off proceedings in front of an already healthy-sized crowd was Adelaide hard rockers The Babes.
Their old-school garage band style went down reasonably well and warmed up the growing crowd before Sydney’s The Art hit the stage as the second support for the night.
Having just toured Europe and the US with Faster Pussycat, The Art brought seasoned professionalism to the stage and put on a high energy show that was a well-suited precursor to tonight’s headliners.
Although the venue was quite full, leading up to the start of the headliner’s set there was still space near the front of the stage so I took the opportunity to get a great position right near the front. As the anticipation started to build for the arrival of FP on the stage, it struck me how lucky we were to get the opportunity to see this band, so close, and in a fairly intimate venue, in Adelaide, 30 years after the band’s hey-day. It’s not something I really thought I would live to see. When Faster Pussycat released their first couple of albums back in the late 80s, the LA glam hair-metal scene was huge. Bands like FP, LA Guns and Guns N’ Roses were postered all over the walls of my bedroom and my own band Trash City were so influenced by their music that our set was pretty much a Faster Pussycat tribute with 8 out of our 10 songs in the set FP covers! 30 years later, they were about to play right in front of me at Enigma Bar.
When the lights dimmed, the band launched into the awesome groove of Where There’s a Whip There’s a Way from their second album Wake Me When It’s Over. It was clear from the start that front-man Taime Downe still has all of the same sleaze-rock charisma that he had back in the day and he actually looked fitter than he did when I saw the band in Melbourne a decade earlier.
Although Taime is the only original member still around from the 80s line-up of Faster Pussycat, the rest of the band have been on-board for quite a few years now and really fit the bill. Drummer Chad Stewart, bassist Danny Nordahl & guitarist Xristian Simon have all been in the band for nearly 20 years now and guitarist Ace Von Johnson has been around for nearly 10 years so they certainly seem to have a stable line-up contrary to how the band was in the 90s.
As the set went on, the band rocked through a great representation from the first 3 albums. Some of the classic highlights were Cathouse, Babylon, Don’t Change that Song & Bathroom Wall from the first album, Non-Stop to Nowhere from 3rd album Whipped and the big ballad House of Pain which got the crowd singing along in full voice. The set also featured a few of the later songs including The Power and the Gloryhole and was rounded out with a handful of covers including their hit version of Carly Simon’s You’re so Vain from the early 90s, as well as unexpected covers of INXS’ Don’t Change and Supersuckers’ Pretty Fucked up.
I can’t really recall how long the set lasted because it flew by, yet it felt like a satisfying set-list that covered the band’s history really well.
Not only was I surprised by the size of the crowd that Adelaide drew on a Thursday night on Valentine’s day, but I was extra surprised when the band left the stage at the end of the show, only to return for a quick encore. Faster Pussycat are not known for performing encores so that sure was a bonus.
I sincerely must thank Silverback Touring for bringing these classic bands into the country and for allowing us, in Adelaide in 2019, to virtually be transported back to 1987 Hollywood for the duration of the show. This was the first gig of the Australian tour and after this, I wish I was able to travel the country and catch the remainder of dates before Faster Pussycat head back to LA.
Review Contributed by Kym Robey