Crashing Wayward and Slaves to Humanity played Count’s Vamp’d on Friday, October 15, 2021.
Concerts are still being postponed on a regular basis with all the craziness in the modern world brought on by the recent pandemic, but I’m pleased to say that Count’s Vamp’d is still delivering with some of the best rock and roll there is. Old and new, local, national, and international, it continues to be Vegas’ leading venue, bringing in plenty of talent, not to mention a wide array of rock and roll fans who frequent the venue to rock out. Anyone who says rock is dead hasn’t paid a visit to Vamp’d in a while. I knew I’d be back there to bang my head again upon hearing Crashing Wayward, the latest band featuring guitarist Stacey Blades (Electric Radio Kings, LA Guns, Roxx Gang) would be back on stage for the first time in 18 months!
One of the highlights of attending shows at Vamp’d is the support bands. In the case of Crashing Wayward’s gig, audiences were treated to a band called Slaves to Humanity, a group I wasn’t familiar with. When the curtain moved, I was initially shocked at what I saw – this group was a quintet of kids who looked like they could still be in high school! That said, I love it when I see the younger generation rocking out, and it didn’t take long into the set before these kids won me over with their own brand of alternative-flavored rock. Sound-wise, I’d compare them favorably to a band like Buckcherry, but I don’t think it’s possible (or fair!) to stick one label on them either.
As Crashing Wayward was using their own drum kit and Slaves to Humanity used the house kit, the back part of the stage was blocked off, leaving the Slaves to Humanity boys with limited room to maneuver on stage. But that didn’t stop or hinder them in any way. Although there were a few near collisions, they didn’t care about the limited space or the smaller venue. These kids belted out songs with an unrivaled energy, like they were The Beatles at Shea Stadium. Standing right in front of the stage, I had their vocalist right in my face on more than a few occasions; I mean that in all the best of ways. These kids were a refreshing change from the legions of generic cover bands that flood the stages of Vegas bars and lounges (their set featured only a single cover as far as I could discern; The Who’s “Eminence Front.”) Let’s hope these youngers get back up here from California soon – I already want more!
Following that ideal opening set from Slaves to Humanity, Crashing Wayward took the stage. Upon coming to the venue, I knew nothing about Stacey Blades’ latest band, other than that he was in it. One pleasant surprise I noticed upon the group taking the stage was the presence of Shon McKee on drums, a familiar face to anyone who follows the Vegas rock scene – I can’t count how many times I’ve seen this guy serving as the timekeeper for many a band here in Sin City, and it’s appropriate that with his skills the guy remains in demand! The band’s Facebook page and website doesn’t even have a full list of band members; just photos. But the website does contain a link for songs the group has recorded and release entitled “Disco Kills” and “Breathe” (the latter of which is not to be confused with any of the other hundred or so songs with that title).
And once the group took to the stage, they didn’t disappoint. Again, I was coming in blind, but it wasn’t long before I found myself rocking out to these heavy alternative-flavored tunes. The ex-LA Guns axeman has assembled a worthy cast of characters to keep doing what he does best, with Mr. Blades even having announced that this was his first time on the live stage in 18 months (and indeed it was my first time seeing him since the pandemic started). This was a spirited set and I do hope this will be an ongoing thing; Blades mentioned the possibility of recorded additional EPs worth of music, which I will gladly add to my collection if they’re released.
Once again, we got a killer night of rock and roll at Vamp’d, with one set of some damn fine alternative rock from one of the most talented axemen in the business, and one from the new generation of rock and rollers. Both groups come highly recommended if you get a chance to see either one of them live.