• Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

Teenage Wasteland and The Smokin J’s – Acoustic and Electric Sounds on Stage at Vamp’d!

The Smokin J’s and Teenage Wasteland played Count’s Vamp’d on Friday, February 23, 2024.

2024 is finally underway, and Vamp’d remains Vegas’ premier home of all things rock, be it local, national, or international. There’s no finer place to catch a show in Sin City if you’re a rock or metal fan. This promised to be an excellent night of music, featuring the relaunch show for a tribute to The Who, Teenage Wasteland. The group was previously known as The Who Invasion, under which they had a different guitarist.

The Smokin J’s started off the evening, with the trio doing an acoustic set. JP, Jay Cee, and Jeff always manage to put together an eclectic mix of songs when they do these sets, and it was a fantastic way to kick off the evening of rock and roll. These are talented artists I’ve all seen with their other respective groups; Jay Cee in particular is well known for his tribute to Sammy Hagar known as Sin City Sammy. Their set included tracks from artists like Damn Yankees, Whitesnake, Tesla, and surprisingly, even Electric Light Orchestra (an odd choice of a band to do acoustic, but a damn good performance!) These guys are often a great opening act for shows at Vamp’d, but they need to be given a headlining spot and more time to do their thing with this eclectic mix of tunes sometime in the near future. It’s a great experience every time I hear these three play.

The Smokin J’s Gallery:

Of course, the launch of Teenage Wasteland, a Tribute to The Who (again, previously known as The Who Invasion). The group features vocalist/occasional guitarist Keith Steven Caplan as Roger Daltrey, bassst Jon Stenber as John “The Ox” Entwistle, drummer Chris Guida as Keith Moon, and the newest addition to the band, guitarist Steve Burchell as Pete Townshend.

No one can deny the impact The Who had on the world of music, transcending many of their fellow British Invasion fans, surviving well past the 60s and returning to the forefront on more than a few occasions. It stands to reason that The Who is a group who deserves a tribute band that can recapture that thunder and give these songs to the masses, cranked out in thunderous and powerful renditions. Teenage Wasteland certainly delivers on that front.

The set for the evening included a wide array of songs spanning the period from the band’s 1965 debut, THE WHO SINGS MY GENERATION, to the final album the band released before their initial break-up, 1982’s IT’S HARD. Picking a setlist of songs by The Who is hard, given how many classic anthems the group created over the course of their career. This means tracks from the band’s early career including “My Generation,” “I Can’t Explain,” and “I Can See For Miles,” plus tracks from the band’s post-Keith Moon period including “Eminence Front” and “You Better You Bet.” Rock operas TOMMY and QUADROPHENIA were represented with cuts like “Pinball Wizard,” “The Real Me,” and “Love Reign O’er Me.” Several highlights from the classic WHO’S NEXT album were played as well, including “Baba O’Riley,” “Behind Blue Eyes,” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Covers weren’t neglected either, with the band giving us The Who’s takes on “Summertime Blues” and “Young Man Blues.”

While there were certainly many highlights in the setlist, this fan’s favorite part of the night (and one that was certainly a highlight of the earlier The Who Invasion sets) was the rendition of “See Me, Feel Me,” the closing cut from TOMMY, featured here in a version more akin to the classic live performances, heavier and faster than its studio counterpart, with the extended instrumental passages. It’s moments like this where you can tell the group has studied the band extensively. Understandably, not every Who classic can make the cut every time, and while cuts like “Goin’ Mobile,” “Athena,” and “I’m Free” weren’t in the set this time, hopefully they’ll make the cut the next time around.

The group has a fantastic chemistry, with 3/4 of the old The Who Invasion retained, but with the addition of a new guitarist, Steve Burchell, who certainly got a chance to show off what he could do throughout. The rhythm section of Guida and Stenber is as reliable as ever. But of course, the true standout of the band remains frontman Keith Steven Caplan, who continues to command the stage and rock the audience with an unrivaled ferocity. A Who tribute demands a frontman who can channel the stage presence and energy of Roger Daltrey, and Mr. Caplan proves to be that man every single time he performs on stage, never once “phoning in” a performance or settling for less than 100%. While I do feel the band would benefit from the addition of a fifth member to handle additional instrumentation like keyboards and additional guitar parts, there’s no denying this quartet is on fire with each performance. Fans of the band won’t be disappointed.

If you’re a fan of The Who, seeing a Teenage Wasteland concert needs to be on your “to do” list. This was an amazing night of rock, and the eclectic and diverse acoustic opening set from The Smoking J’s was a great way to kick things off. Two great acts well worth your time if you’re a rock fan in or visiting Vegas.

Teenage Wasteland Gallery:
Visual Portfolio, Posts & Image Gallery for WordPress

Live photos by Courtney Ware for ZrockR Magazine 2024. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.