Before "Wanted Dead or Alive," before "It's My Life," before Jon Bon Jovi went off to Hollywood and took the Lost Highway through Nashville in 2007, Bon Jovi was a pretty decent hard-rock band. Poppier than most, definitely, but Jon's Springsteenian tales of boardwalk knockabouts and Richie Sambora's streetwise riffs combined to make a denim-clad, working-class alternative to stacked-heel Sunset Strip skirt-chasers like Mötley Crüe. Judging by its debut CD, Where I Stand (released last year), Houston's Low Man's Joe is quite familiar with pre-Slippery When Wet Jovi - the woman in "No Heroes" even works in a diner. (All day.) Not only is singer Bret Gyrich's voice a dead ringer for Jon, growling the verses and exalting the choruses, but the music clings tightly to the Jersey boys' Thin Lizzy/Journey axis, with just a hint of Jovi's thrashier Garden State neighbors Skid Row.
The lyrics, meanwhile, peer into the lives of people who don't have a lot (except each other) or a lot to lose, people for whom salvation is a Saturday night on the town. The frustrated desire of "Temptation," on-our-own defiance of "No Heroes," last-chance powerdrive of "Radio Saved (My Life Tonight)" - it's all well-trodden territory, to be sure (and was when Jovi got there too), but why fix something that was never really broke?
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
With King's X, 8 p.m. Saturday, May 30, at Meridian, 1503 Chartres, 713-225-1717 or www.meridianhouston.com.