I have been waiting to see House Of Lords live since their debut album was released back in 1988! Now, 30 years later I finally got my wish... and it was well worth the wait. The mood of this show (both band and audience) was one of pure celebration and appreciation for the homecoming of a band that has 3/4 of its roots in Connecticut. To understand my love for House Of Lords is a study in what I love about music; passion, emotion, solid playing, a lot of melody and an aura of sophistication. This is House Of Lords!!!!
The band hit the stage with the elegant track of their second album, Sahara and before anyone could catch their breath it was right into Pleasure Palace, the first song from their 1988 self titled debut. Vocalist James Christian sounded amazing as he moved in and out of the impressive history of the band and had a lot of fun with the crowd. From Rock Bottom, Cartesian Dreams, and Go To Hell, the band took us all on a musical trip through the history of the band, proving their career wasn't defined by their first two albums.
Musically, House Of Lords were amazing as well. Guitarist Jimi Bell is as brilliant a player as they come and one of the best guitarist out there. For me it was such a treat to see and hear Jimi playing songs that he wrote and recorded. Drummer B.J. Zampa was full of life and put on a show; always heavy, always loud... but always working for the song, he is the perfect drummer. The 'new' guy, bassist Chris Tristram really held it all together, but was able to show his personality with not only his playing, but his stage presence. The four together looked and sounded as I had hoped... friggin' awesome!!!! From I Wanna Be Loved (their first hit) to Saint Of The Lost Souls, each song just complimented the next and flowed perfectly.
More than just the music and performances, House Of Lords had a lot of fun on stage, were appreciative of the fans and respectful to their legacy. The 'classic' moment of the night was when Christian strapped on his acoustic guitar to perform Can't Find My Way Back Home, but because James didn't have a set list near him, he was a song early. Not missing a beat he laughed about it, took off his guitar and handed it to a fan (named Mario, pictured below) in the front and asked him to hold onto it until it was time. A pure 'classic' rock moment that would have destroyed some performances, but here... it just added to it.
As a massive fan of House Of Lords and Guiffria (the band that predated HOL), there are of course a zillion songs they didn't play that I wanted; Remember My Name, Million Miles. Another Day From Heaven and Desert Rain to name a few. But that is a testament to their legacy... where their last album SAINT OF THE LOST SOULS is as good as their self titled debut.
Thank you James, Jimi, B.J. and Chris for two things... helping me never to grow up and proving the saying 'never meet your heroes' is at least in this case, so wrong!!!
The Power Chords Podcast is a twice-monthly podcast celebrating rock and metal music of the '70s, '80s, '90s and beyond. The show is co-hosted by Matt Herring and Brian LeTendre.