Last Saturday Chris Holmes’ Mean Man played the Rigger, a local rock club that I probably don’t frequent anywhere near as much as I should do, mainly down to the venues lousy promotion. Their Facebook page seems to make me aware of an event on the same morning. Not good if you’ve arranged something else. 

For those not in the know of who Mr Holmes is, he was the guitarist for W.A.S.P. The first band I saw live and for nearly three decades one of my favourite bands. If nothing else we metal fans are loyal. 

The giant Californian was a founding member and appeared on the first four albums. He left after the Headless Children touring cycle and rejoined for a further three albums in 1997 before waving goodbye yet again. 

Ask anyone of a certain vintage about Chris and I’d stump up a fair amount that outside of the band he’ll be known for his assless chaps or more likely his infamous interview featured on the second instalment of the Decline of a Western Civilisation documentary. He’s absolutely wasted on vodka and floating around a swimming pool on a lilo whilst being interviewed. I’ve only seen the documentary once a long time ago and that is all I can recall from it myself! 

When the show at the Rigger was announced I was in two minds about going. I have an affinity with his old band and he’s appearing less than 7 miles from my house. But I’ve heard some of his solo stuff over the last couple of years and it’s not great. Obviously I went and it was much better than I anticipated. Live the solo stuff sounded great. There was also a smattering of W.AS.P. classics from those first four albums. Guitarist Thomas Cesario took the lead with the Blackie Lawless parts. 

As I was home alone last night and there was nothing to watch on TV I ended up beaming the Live at the Lyceum video from YouTube on to my TV (isn’t modern technology ace?). I haven’t seen that video for an age. I know I have a copy on VHS tape upstairs, but we haven’t had a working VHS player in the house for ages, and I’m pretty sure I’ve not viewed it since I’ve been married. It’s also the first time I’ve seen the complete hour long version as European cut was only six songs and half an hour long.  

The crowd over dubs get annoying very quickly though.  I’m pretty sure even back in 1984 London crowds didn’t whistle and cheer during every song for the entire sixty minutes. I’d love to travel back to the height of their debauchery and outright decadence.  

Watching it thirty plus years after its recording it is so un politically incorrect. British media would be in uproar over a tour like this now. The fake blood, a pair of guys with their rears on display, raw meat being thrown into the crowd and the topless, chained up lady who makes an “appearance” on the rack. At the time they were taking what someone like Alice Cooper was doing live and taking it to another level purely for the shock value and keeping with their shock rocker personas. 

This version of Hellion is taken from the Lyceum video (be daft not to really wouldn’t it) and like all the tracks performed on October 24th 1984 they are all from the bands debut album, which surfaced a mere two months before the London show, and the Animal single. Hellion also happens to be my favourite track by the band which I thought I’d posted previously. 


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