Sixx:A.M., Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx’s side project has really come into its own as more than just a second thought to Mötley Crüe. The band features guitarist DJ Ashba who is also in Guns N’ Roses, along with vocalist James Michael, who has worked as a record producer and songwriter for recording artists including Kelly Clarkson, Alanis Morissette, Meat Loaf, Mötley Crüe, Scorpions, and Hilary Duff. Sixx: A.M has just released their third studio album Modern Vintage and set out on their first ever U.S. headline tour with Finnish cellists Apocalyptica and Japanese rock band Vamps. The tour began in early April and arrived at Los Angeles’ Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday April 11, 2015. Since Sixx:A.M. has never toured before, there were people who came all the way from France to see this show as there is no European tour planned as of now.
After many fans stood in quite a long line, doors opened at 8PM, and the show began at 9 PM. Vamps took the stage for a 30 minutes set. After epic intro music was piped in for a few minutes the band launched into Ghost from their latest album Bloodsuckers. They played a high energy, fast paced set with songs like Lips and Revolution II. A real highlight was their cover of Mötley Crüe’s Live Wire, which succeeded in winning over the Sixx:A.M. fans who were not already convinced of the band’s ability to rock. They gave the song a bit of a new flavor while keeping its original spirit.
After Vamps was the immensely talented gentlemen known as Apocalyptica. They played a 40-minute set that seemed far too short. They formed more than 20 years ago as a group of four cellists covering Metallica songs, but eventually added drums and created their own sound. They have recently released their eighth studio album Shadowmaker via Eleven Seven Music/Better Noise Records. They have used different vocalists in the past on some songs, and they recruited Franky Perez who has also performed with a number of all-star cover bands over the years including Camp Freddy and Slash’s band. Perez not only sang on some songs on the new album but is touring with them as well. His delivery of the band’s 2007 hit I Don’t Care off of the Worlds Collide album, which was originally sang by Adam Gontier of Three Days Grace, was especially riveting as he added a real edge to the already angry sentiment of the song. Apocalyptica also played some of their classic instrumental cello metal in the form of tunes like Grace, and Inquisition Symphony, which are both fantastic songs. They did some of their staple covers including Hall Of The Mountain King, and Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters. The entire audience was singing the words to Nothing Else Matters even though there was no vocalist singing, and it was a truly moving moment.
Lastly at 11 PM, Sixx:A.M. finally hit the stage with a nice long 90 minute set of music that came across just as good live as it sounded on the albums. One had to wonder if this would be the case since they obviously had the budget for a nice production and they have never toured before. It’s easier to sound good in the studio than it is on stage and Sixx:A.M. started as a studio-based project inspired by Nikki’s Sixx’s book The Heroine Diaries. When they first formed many assumed that it was just a vanity project based on the book and probably would not do anything else. However, when they released their second album it became clear that Sixx:A.M. was going to be much more than that. Guitarist Dj Ashba, who was extremely humble and friendly to meet in person showed off his extensive guitar chops during songs like This Is Gonna Hurt and Miracle. Vocalist James Michel nailed every note as clearly as he did on the albums and definitely proved that they really are a real band. Nikki Sixx, Dj Ashba, and James Michel all seemed to have an infectious comradery on stage as they took turns rocking out together. The band opened with X-Mas In Hell from the Heroine Diaries album and then launched into an electrifying version of Let’s Go from their latest album Modern Vintage. Though the set was 90 minutes, it seemed to go by too fast. As the closer they played the songs Stars and shot a whole bunch of black confetti stars all over the crowd. The effect was truly epic. They then did an encore of Skin and Life Is Beautiful. They played an equal mix of songs from all three albums, rather than just focusing on new material, which was a nice change from the average band’s set list.
There was never a dull moment throughout the show. Each band was talented, energized and played kick ass songs. Though all three bands are very different in certain ways, they all blended seamlessly throughout the evening.