Concerts

UPDATED: Guns N' Roses at House of Blues, 5/28/2013

UPDATED: Rocks Off just got off the phone with someone in the GN'R camp, who told us it was she who pulled our credentials, and that Axl had not even read our post from earlier Tuesday. So there it is.

Guns N' Roses, Venomous Maximus House of Blues May 28, 2013

An aging has-been milking the nostalgia circuit for a few last, big paydays. A petty dictator running out a squad of mercenary ringers onstage every night and calling it Guns N' Roses. For the more cynical observers among us, that's kind of been the rap on Axl Rose for quite a few years now: The Guns N' Roses of 2013 isn't a band, it's a business, with W. Axl Rose as its unquestionable president and CEO.

But that's not the truth. Certainly not the whole truth, anyway. To Axl Rose, Guns N' Roses has never been about business. It's personal. Yesterday, I found out just how personal.

On Tuesday morning, Rocks Off published a blog entry I wrote exploring the backgrounds of the modern-day Gunners who would be backing up Axl at the House of Blues later that evening. I wrote it because, like many fans, I didn't know much about them, and I wanted to have some idea about who I'd be seeing and hearing at the gig.

Along the way, I took a few jabs at Axl and the gang. I happen to think that they were pretty tame, and that the tone of the piece was all in fun. Not everyone agreed. Specifically, Guns N' Roses' camp did not agree. They (and by "they," I'm pretty sure we're talking about one guy in particular, here) took it personally. And so, they decided to revoke the Houston Press' media credentials to cover Tuesday night's GN'R concert.

Dick move? You decide. Had it been any other band, that probably would have been the end of it. But Guns N' Roses is personal for me, too. The group was in its creative peak just as I was beginning to explore music for the first time growing up. Their songs' dangerous mystique and their videos' lavish vision captured my imagination as a boy, and I've never quite gotten over it.

In short, seeing Guns N' Roses play live was on my bucket list, and even if the original band is gone for good, surely the 2013 version still has some of the old spark left. I wanted to experience it for myself, whether Axl wanted me to or not.

So I logged on to StubHub and bought a ticket. To quote a famous man, "Suck on that."

I wasn't the only one psyched to see GN'R. The show was sold out, even with general-admission tickets selling for $133. Just as excited to be in attendance were the men of Venomous Maximus, the local kings of occult metal, who were tabbed to open for Guns. Beginning with the first note of "Path of Doom," Venomous instantly filled the venue with its heavy, rollicking sound, making no effort to hide their glee at sharing a stage with one of rock and roll's most legendary bands.

It's no easy task opening for Guns N' Roses, but Venomous Maximus played fearlessly. Some folks dug 'em, some folks hated 'em and some folks ignored them. That's the gig when you're jerking the curtain. With any luck, they'll get to abuse that big, loud HOB sound system again very soon.

Once Venomous departed, the waiting began. The wondering began. Would Guns N' Roses show up on time? Would Axl sound good? And if one or more of those things didn't happen, would a riot break out?

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Nathan Smith
Contact: Nathan Smith