Located just up the slopes in Golden, the Buffalo Rose is a bar and venue unlike many others (if any others) in the region. Much like stepping into a glorious time warp, the vibe in the place offers the impression that the last 25 years didn’t happen. That’s not a slight on the place at all; the atmosphere is joyous, the staff are friendly, the drinks are good (as is, by all accounts, the food), and the stage is ideal. The sound man knows what he’s doing too. We felt right at home at the Buffalo Rose.
When we arrived at the venue on a Friday mid-April evening, local band Sabbatar was just kicking into the final two songs of the set. This power metal troupe, led by Marie Elam have a sort of Mercyful Fate meets Iron Maiden vibe, all symphonic musicianship and megaphone vocals. We’ll have to hear more, but we heard enough to tantalize.
Faster Pussycat has long been one of the more exciting, if often frustrating, 1980’s-era rock ‘n’ roll bands to have crawled out of the Hollywood gutters. They put out two amazing albums and another decent one back in the day, packed with quality tunes like “Bathroom Wall,” “Babylon,” “Cathouse,” “Slip of the Tongue,” and “House of Pain.” Faster Pussycat had everything, including a killer cover of “You’re So Vain,” but circumstances conspired to allow it to all slip away. Frontman Taime Downe tried his hand at the industrial-goth game with a band called the Newlydeads (good stuff, actually), but eventually returned to Pussycat.
A modern-era Pussycat show is a bit of a lottery. It all comes down to whether Taime is feeling it. This writer has seen some stinkers, and some great gigs from the band – and to be honest, that’s part of the excitement of live rock ‘n’ roll. Fortunately, this was a good one. The current lineup might be some way from the original, but it’s solid. Guitarist Ace Von Johnson in particular breathes new life into the band. Taime himself was on good form too, cracking jokes and answering hockey-related heckles about his beloved LA Kings. All-in-all, a fun Pussycat show with all of the top tunes aired.
While the pairing of Pussycat with Black ‘N’ Blue does make sense, they’re aesthetically and sonically very different. The headliners were in danger of being seen as a feeder band for a while, with singer Jaime St. James joining Warrant for one album, and guitarist Tommy Thayer hooking up with Kiss. James is back in what is nearly the classic lineup for the reunion, though Thayer understandably couldn’t be tempted back.
While Pussycat look like they crawled out of a filthy brothel and onto the stage, Black ‘N’ Blue are far more cared for. Musically, FP are at the sleazy, punky end of the glam spectrum, while B’N’B are an anthemic rock band. The headliners were on good form on Friday, playing their better known songs like “Without Love” and “Miss Mystery.” St. James seemed to be having a great time, despite suffering with a cold, and the band was on great form, playing tight with tons of energy.
Promptly at midnight, the whole thing was done. But we will be back (probably for Danger Danger in May).