Ugly Kids Roll Back the Years at the Regent: It’s very easy to forget just how successful Ugly Kid Joe were in the early part of the ’90s. Their mainstream fame was fleeting, true. But 1991’s As Ugly as They Wanna Be EP, which was padded out into 1992’s America’s Least Wanted album, saw them tour internationally with the likes of Def Leppard, and earn a handful of radio hits.
By the second album, 1995’s Menace to Sobriety, the love affair appeared to be over. The band was treading water, even though that record had some solid tunes on it. Frontman Whitfield Crane would, bizarrely, be fronting New York’s metal/hardcore crossover band Life of Agony by ’97 — truly one of the weirdest meetings of musical minds. Then he formed a metal band called Medication with former Machine Head guitarist Logan Mader.
Crane had apparently fallen out of love with UKJ’s goofy rock. But in 2010, the band reformed and it has stubbornly stuck around ever since. That said, this is their first show in their old stomping ground for quite some time. And by god, we get all of the greats at the Regent. “Neighbor,” “Panhandlin’ Prince” and their cover of “Cats in the Cradle” from that first album, the awesome “Milkman’s Son” from the second, and a bunch more. There’s nothing from “Motel California” and only the cover of Motorhead’s “Ace of Spade” from 2015’s comeback Uglier Than They Used to Be. We do a get a few from last year’s Rad Wings of Destiny, with “Failure” proving itself a highlight.
They finish, obviously, with “Everything About You,” which is as much fun as it was in the 90s — rap section and all. Frankly it’s great that Ugly Kid Joe is sticking around. For now.
Before that, wrestler Chris Jericho’s band Fozzy played and Jesus, we wanted to hate them. First of all, fuck wrestling. But also, the sound of the band’s gonzo metal is so polished and radio-ready that it’s the sort of thing that usually raises our heckles.
But fuck, Fozzy is just too much fun. The likes of “Enemy” and “Do you Want to Start a War” are fine, but the show is irresistible. Jericho has three, by our count, costume changes which some would say is excessive for an opening band but we think is magnificent. There are TV screens with anime, dry ice guns (yes really), Jercho’s ego platform, the incredible moves of guitarist Rich “The Duke” Ward, and the fact that Trixter man PJ Farley is on bass.
But best of all is Fozzy’s cover of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” — a song about gay sex that is sung full voice by a room full of metal heads. God bless Fozzy and their love for free love.
Earlier, the night was kicked off by Atlanta rockers Pistols at Dawn, and they did a great job of shaking the Thursday cobwebs away with their melodic hard rock/heavy metal. They didn’t have long to shine, but shine they did. Quite literally — their guitarist had lights on his guitar which he held aloft like Excalibur.
Overall, this was a great show and a great bill.
Ugly Kids Roll Back the Years at the Regent: For more info, visit regentdtla.com.
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