Live photos credit: Adrian Hextall
Live review credit: Mark Dean
Tesla are a band that I have had a long musical affinity with since I first saw them support Def Leppard for two nights in my home country in Belfast in 1987. On discovering that they were playing a gig in London ahead of their Download Festival show well I just had to attend. Its been several years since I last saw them live and they have a new back to basics album ”Simplicity” to promote. Unfortunately my pre show interview with the band overran and I was unable to view the support act. Great to see another packed house at the venue underlining the bands enduring appeal after twenty seven years.
Tesla’s set these days is a solid mix of old and new. As I hadn’t seen the band in recent years I had not previously had the opportunity to hear recent songs from their subsequent studio albums. Opening the set was “I Wanna Live” from the bands 2008 release “Forever More” , ”Hang Tough “ from 89’s ”Great Radio Controversy”was next. Excellent sound, with all musicians coming through individually and collectively with a sharp clarity. The slightly adverse criticism which had been directed at vocalist Jeff Keith was clearly unfounded as he displayed both power and melody across a wide range. The set traversed the bands’ entire back catalogue and included two tracks from the latest “Simplicity” release.
All musicians displayed technical ability and extreme talent-I would particularly single out guitarist Frank Hannon who,s guitar playing and style I have long admired. Displaying his dexterity throughout the set with the use of some exquisite slide playing on “Heavens Trail”and using a theramin. It was clear that all the band members were thoroughly enjoying the experience as much as the fans in attendance at the show.
The two new songs from “Simplicity” which featured “Mp3”and “Ricochet” segued seamlessly alongside the older classic songs. They certainly didn’t seem at odds with their more mature contempories. The ”hits” section featured several classics. “Love Song” in particular sounded great with a twin guitar sound both electric and acoustic with Frank and Dave Rude. Probably my personal highlight of the Tesla set. This was quickly followed by “Signs”and an electric sounding ”Modern Day Cowboy”. Quite remarkable how the songs from Tesla’s classic debut album still sounded fresh and relevant in 2014. Further enforced by another debut track ”Little Suzi”. Exiting only to return to finish off with their former opening number “Cumin’ Atcha Live”, it was clear that Tesla like the album namesake still have an affinity with live electricity.
Great band and as evidenced by the bands approachability with their fans pre gig a grounded and down to earth one.
I Wanna Live
Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)
Into the Now
The Way It Is
What You Give
Signs (Five Man Electrical Band cover)
Modern Day Cowboy
Little Suzi (Ph.D. cover)
Cumin’ Atcha Live