TESLA was outstanding when they performed in front of a jam-packed Veteran’s Memorial Civic and Convention Center on Friday night!
The heavy metal/glam rockers out of Sacramento, California churned out hit after hit, much to the pleasure of the audience. I was amazed at the vocal work of Jeff Keith. His voice hasn’t changed much since joining the lineup in 1984.
Bassist Brian Wheat, one of the band’s co-founders, is still setting the beat for the five-piece group while his partner, Frank Hannon, is still tickling the six-strings. Both are as full of energy today as they were when they formed City Kidd in 1981. The name was changed just before they released TESLA’s initial album ‘Mechanical Resonance’ which sired hits “Modern Day Cowboy” and “Little Suzi “. Both songs were played on Friday while the album also was represented on the playlist by “We’re No Good Together”, “Love Me”, and “Changes”.
‘The Great Radio Controversy’ had a strong showing on the setlist as well. “Hang Tough”, “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)”, “Lady Luck”, “Love Song”, and “Lazy Days, Crazy Nights” all made the cut on the 18-song performance.
“Edison’s Medicine”, “What You Give” and “Call It What You Want” from 1991’s, ‘Psychotic Supper’ made the cut. Meanwhile “Miles Away” (‘Into the Now’), “Pvt. Ledbetter” (‘Forever More’) and their latest single “Time to Rock” blasted throughout the venue!
Hannon unleashed his rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” following “Pvt. Ledbetter”. It was truly a special moment that drew an enthusiastic ovation!
Of course, TESLA thrilled the crowd with their encore, the monster hit “Signs”. Keith shortly donned a baseball cap during the cover of the Five Man Electrical Band tune. He wore it until, yep you guessed it, he took it off to let his long hair down!
Also appearing on stage were guitarist, Dave Rude, and drummer, Steve Brown, TESLA’s newest member. Rude has been a member of TESLA since 2006.
Opening the evening’s entertainment was a band named Fastest Land Animals (FLA). The group hails from all over the country and was put together by a trio of great musicians who share the same calling.
Lead vocalist, ‘Screamin’ Jack Novak (John Cusimano) lives in the Big Apple while Alfonse Castillo (guitar) a.k.a. Jonny Blaze resides in Arizona. Texas is where drummer Shark Samuals (Andrew Meskin) calls home. The band’s core was joined on stage by touring musicians, Danny Roselle (stage right) guitar and Tommy Hayes (stage left) guitar.
The original trio of this punk-rock creation released two singles, under their aliases. They did that so they could keep FLA’s identity separate from their other band, The Cringe. The latter toured with and opened for Motley Crue prior to the pandemic. The threesome took that down time to do something unique, and FLA was born.
Collectively the five-piece ensemble are extremely talented. However, frontman Cusimano is a rare breed. It has been said by his wife, Rachael Ray (yes that Rachael Ray), that he can play over 57 different instruments. Hell, I didn’t even know there were that many, let alone know of anyone that can brag of playing that many. He displayed his talents with a perfectly tuned harmonica set. As if the man’s plate isn’t full enough, he also has a career as a lawyer.
Those are just interesting facts, but as I said, Fastest Land Animal is well worth taking the time to look up. Go to any streaming platforms to check out their debut album ‘East Coast/West Coast, In Between’. I find it fun to search for new music and FLA is one of those bands a chance. Afterall, ten million hits on YouTube in just over two years should count for something.
Please enjoy the attached photo recap below. Until next time, this is Big L saying, ‘keep those horns up and rock on’!! \m/ \m/