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THE BONES: RUIN YOUR ROCKSHOW II – LIVE FROM THE APOCALYPSE! Is the latest release from The Bones. The band features Patrick Vitagliano on lead vocals and guitar, Jeff Duncan on guitar, Sean Koos on bass, and Shon McKee on drums. The album was produced by Vitagliano with Vinnie Castaldo, and the album photography is by Leah Burlington and Vincent Young. For physical formats, the album was released on a CD digipak as well as a double vinyl set. I had access to the CD for this review.

The Bones have been rocking Vegas for over a decade now, and I’ve caught many of their performances throughout the years. While the lineup has changed slightly at times, they’ve always included vocalist/guitarist Patrick Vitagliano, well-known to rock fans in Vegas, and rightfully so. For this release, the band also includes guitarist Jeff Duncan (Armored Saint, Odin, DC4), bassist Sean Koos, and drummer Shon McKee, all of whom are popular local players who rank amongst the best in Sin City.

There have been several releases from The Bones so far, including an eclectic mix of covers and original songs. The band started in Vegas by billing themselves as the “worst band in Vegas” and “taking away time you’ll never get back,” doing stripped-down punk-style covers of existing songs, often from unexpected genres and performers. But they proved to be no one-trick ponies either, bringing original songs to the forefront on their previous album releases. Any time there’s a release from the group, it’s always a point of interest for this rocker in Vegas.

Just one look at the tracklist for ROCKSHOW II shows just how eccentric yet entertaining a mix of songs you get when it comes to The Bones putting on a live show. Artists covered on here include everyone from Lady Gaga to the Commodores! Other artists who get their songs Bone-ified here include Blonde, The Cure, Duran Duran, The Cars, Abba, Devo, Air Supply, and even Meat Loaf (may he Rest in Peace).

The digipak the CD comes in offers very little information as to where and when the release was recorded; it’s mostly devoted to tracklists/writing credits for the songs' original artists/lists of band members/etc. But once the music gets going, it makes a believer out of the listener. A lot of these songs are from artists I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to listen to normally, but the stripped-down punky approach to the songs that The Bones take here works. Covering songs is a tricky business because one must find that balance between staying true to the original and putting a unique spin on it. I’m pleased to say that what The Bones do for other people’s songs is a remarkable reinvention, yet none of the songs are ever unrecognizable.

It’s a great live concert experience that packs the CD to the 80-minute limit with these unique covers as only The Bones could do. The only real complaint I have with the release is that it’s literally nothing but cover songs; when a band like The Bones has plenty of solid original cuts, they deserve a place in their set (I’ve seen the band live for real many a time over the years, and every set I’ve seen is a mix of covers and originals). Lack of original tunes being included in the setlist aside, this is a fantastic release, and it’ll be another great addition to my collection of The Bones, which I’m happy to see continuing to grow.

The Bones do their own thing, and I adore them for it. Mr. Vitagliano and company are in fine form here with their stripped-own and punky reinventions of this wide array of songs. I adore the end result, and I think anyone who has followed the group will feel the same way. Some original tunes in the set would’ve been nice, but hearing them put their spin on even more tunes is worth the price of admission alone. Strongly recommended!

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