Rock lives! Or so it would seem at this new L.A. institution, “Gazzari’s Night” (Gazzari’s, located where the Key Club now stands, was a mainstay of glam metal in the ’80s). Faster Pussycat, one of the Sunset Strip’s premier rock groups from that era, has reunited and is touring this summer with L.A. Guns. With a new rhythm section that’s tight and sharp, leader Taime Downe’s piercing mewl remains the same — they’ll do just fine on the hair-metal revival circuit.
Time has changed the Pussycat in sound and membership. With a rhythm section on loan from the Newlydeads (Downe’s recent Goth-based project), the band opened its set with a heavier, Nine Inch Nails-inflected version of “Got Your Number Off the Bathroom Wall.” Although this wasn’t as shocking as they may have thought, Downe and band downshifted back into the more familiar Aerosmith/New York Dolls derived motif for “Where There’s a Whip There’s a Way,” “Whorehouse” (nee “Cathouse”) and a messy version of “You’re So Vain” that was a sing-along. The band cranked out a handful of Newlydead’s numbers in the middle of its set and brought down the house with an encore of “House of Pain,” its only Top 40 hit.
Betty Blowtorch, a quartet of female pounders, was the absolute opposite. With a straight-ahead AC/DC-Nashville Pussy vibe over which bassist Bianca Butthole screams like a hell-bound siren, the band is all raw power with zero subtlety, the climax of their set being a pyrotechnics display and bonfire that had the club’s techies scurrying madly.