A GATHERING OF THE ELECTRIC CHURCH

“There is no high as high as music… bearing witness to the healing power of rock and roll.

It unites and embraces us like a lover does… an excitement and stimulation that simulates a tribal dance around the electric fire, its flames licking the sweat of your dervish dance…

Til you lie spent gazing at the heavens as, slowly,  you come down… come down… come down…”

- MDB

Saturday night at the Viper Room in Hollywood was quite possibly the greatest show ever for The Michael Des Barres Band. DJ Morty Coyle was there, and lived to tell the tale. His review:

 “Do you believe in the healing power of rock ‘n fuckin’ roll?!”

This is the sort of histrionic stage shpiel that would drench a lesser man in sequined and spandex schmaltz… never to recover. However, this is not delivered by a lesser man. This is the clarion call of Sir Michael Des Barres (what do you mean he hasn’t been knighted yet?) after he rebounds from his opening number at the Viper Room last night. Looking around the packed room we all have our hands raised in mock religious fervor… until we raise them in earnest a couple songs later. Y’see, Michael and his best band yet put on a classic rock show. That is to say that their power is in bringing an audience a rock show like one should be brought; loud, exciting, theatrical, sexy, dangerous and tight while still displaying some delicious chaos.

The current band is musically as lean of sluggish flab as Michael’s lithe frame and equally as powerful. Tearing through most of the songs off of his top-notch, new album, “Carnaby Street” (as well as a song from one of his lauded past bands, Detective and a handful of covers by Lou Reed, Little Richard, T-Rex and Humble Pie), the band imbues the material with enough rough edges that the audience can be delightfully lacerated, infected, healed and scarred by the music and still leave humming the tunes with pride at having survived the experience.

If I knew nothing about Michael’s career (including his formidable acting trajectory) I would naturally assume that I had not been properly informed that I was bearing witness to the triumphant return of a legendary, rock n’ roll stalwart from the golden age wilderness of fickle favor. It’s exactly that “been there, partied with and fucked that” spirit that convinces his audiences that it’s THEIR loose grasp of history that’s to blame for the lapse in rock history. Des Barres connects the original glam rock scene to its inevitable revival during the M-Word’s video hegemony.

All in all, I woke up spiritually healed (and in a good way, perhaps a bit carnally sick) from having attended the Michael Des Barres Band’s Rock ‘N Roll Revival and Snake Oil Redemption Church last night.

Here are a few of the MANY fantastic moments from the show — including Matt Sorum (Guns ‘n Roses, The Cult, Velvet Revolver) commandeering the drum kit for a three-song medley of I Don’t Need No Doctor / Get It On / Long Tall Sally. As actress Frances Fisher, who was there amongst the crowd, put it — there wasn’t a dry forehead in the house.

MEDLEY WITH MATT SORUM (Guns ‘n Roses, Velvet Revolver, The Cult)

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