L.A. Guns: Either Good, Bad--but Always Ugly

Let's get the obligatory stuff over with: L.A. Guns and Guns N' Roses kind of spun off of each other, sort of like "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons." But, no, L.A. Guns, who headlined a sold-out Hollywood Palladium concert Friday night, isn't of that caliber. The group specializes in Ugly: ugly hair, ugly name, ugly clothes, ugly album covers, ugly guitar solos and a skull 'n' pistols logo that looks as if it were scrawled in a margin during a remedial math class.

Naturally, L.A. Guns celebrates the ugly on stage too, with a set designed to resemble a couple of its favorite Hollywood landmarks--the X Theater and the topless-bottomless Ivar--and decidedly non-Cowardesque stage banter. L.A. Guns is that funny thing: a band based around a guitarist, Tracii Guns, who's a real good rhythm guy, but not exactly an Eddie Van Halen on his leads.

The latter tended Friday toward horse whinnies and four-finger exercises. In other words, the band rocks hard or dies. On Friday, it rocked hard, very much at home amidst the quarter-mile-long beer lines, bombastic solos floating from a purple cloud of smoke--that sort of thing.

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