12 March 2014 (gig)
19 March 2014
When Gypsy Pistoleros singer Lee quit the band – bang! - back in 2011 and prior to the band’s album release, the future looked somewhat uncertain for the remaining Gypsies. Not for too long though, as eventually, former Wrathchild Gaz Harris took over vocal duties and remained to stay. However, it wasn’t just Lee that had left the building… he took the Pistolero’s signature Spanglish rock with him.
Music-News Claudia A. went along to Edinburgh’s premier rock music dive Bannerman’s to check out the newly reformed band, which had come to Scotland’s capital to support California hard rockers LoveHate.
The Gypsy Pistoleros took to the stage relatively early just before 8pm. Heavily tattooed, and looking every part the rock n roll cliché (especially the 80’s metal glam cliché) that you might expect from an outfit with such name, the four musicians were still busy sorting out amps here and cables there when the obligatory fog machine started to emit its hazy vapours. This was spinal tap.
The Pistoleros, which by the way are Gaz Harris on vox, Kenny K Doll on bass, Jeff Pistolero on drums/backing vox, and die-hard founder member Iggie Pistolero on guitars/backing vox, weren’t deterred whatsoever. And yes, Iggie really does resemble James N. Osterberg.
Finally, they all blasted into first number ‘Too Drunk’ and from the outset it was clear that the band’s Latino infused sound of yesterday was pretty much gone… to make way for straight-up ‘n’ sleazy rock ‘n’ roll!
Indeed, ‘Sex, Drugs & Rock N Roll’ followed next, during which new singer Gaz amply demonstrated his powerful voice. Ok, he did so with every song the band performed. Glammed out rock riffs, attitude and swagger in spades, and an obvious enthusiasm that prevailed throughout – the Pistoleros had themselves a blast. Especially Iggie kept strutting from one side of the stage to the other, sometimes to join in and sing with Gaz centre stage, at other times to lock into joint riff work with bassist Kenny.
‘Give It To Me’ and ‘Go To Hell’ followed; hell, even the song’s titles are one big rock ‘n’ roll cliché! In between numbers, Gaz indulged in some banter and at one point cheekily remarked that he has “a feeling that this is going to be a very good night”. Cue then for ‘The Dirty Side Of Midnight’, the band’s new single and a taster of things to come. It’s dead catchy alright, and very much in the vein of 80’s sleaze rock (think Mötley Crüe or Faster Pussycat). And yeah, it’s a number that will make you crave for a night of booze-soaked decadence.
In fact, when I chatted with snake charmer Iggie after the show, he confirmed that he’s always been a huge Mötley fan, and that this will be the ‘new’ Pistoleros sound, no more Spanish language bullshit which the fans don’t understand. “We are an English band”, Iggie remarked, “so why should we play songs that are mainly sung in Spanish? That was always Lee’s idea, but he’s gone and so it’s gonna be dirty feel-good rock ‘n’ roll from now on, which everyone can understand and enjoy!”
After ‘Psycho Bitch’, however, the band did revisit the Pistoleros sound of old (albeit briefly), namely for a fiery rendition of Ricky Martin’s ‘Living La Vida Loca’. Senor Martin should be so flattered! Since the song has hardly any Spanish lyrics, Gaz thankfully was spared any bi-lingual challenges. Sticksman Jeff opted for a full-on drum kit attack during La Vida, thus upping the kick-ass factor even further. Unfortunately time was running out as other bands were waiting in the wings, but the Pistoleros managed to squeeze in one final number, ‘Rockstar’.
All in all a distinctly high-octane performance, though the band deserve to go wild in bigger venues. Whether the ‘new’ Gypsy Pistoleros sound (perhaps they should change the Pistoleros bit to Pistols) is strong and unique enough to set the band apart from other good time sleaze ‘n’ roll bands remains to be seen.
A new album is out later in the year, so watch this space. Meanwhile, catch the Gypsy Pistoleros in a town near you if the opportunity arises.