TESLA at the San Francisco Regency Ballroom

Written by on May 29, 2013 in May 23, 2013 - Comments Off on TESLA at the San Francisco Regency Ballroom

TESLA at the San Francisco Regency Ballroom

May 5, 2013
Photos by Walter Morgan

Kick-ass, foot-stompin’, good-time rock ‘n roll was exactly what was delivered by the mega-gritty Tesla! The Sacramento-based, blue-collar quintet unleashed a set of thundering rock explosions in San Francisco in early May. Opening with the feel-good tune, I Wanna Live, their thick-sounding, hard rock sound was tinged with blues and played with high-energy and emotional passion. Then, busting out Hang Tough, Jeff did his scare-crow-like swagger while belting out the feel-good song. They played Breaking Free next, a nostalgic tune. A sweet duel-slide guitar intro on Heaven’s Trail/No Way Out got the crowd super hyped as they launched into a chugging, bluesy beat.DSC02689

Today’s Tesla line up is Frank Hannon on guitar and piano, Brian Wheat on bass and piano, Jeff Keith, lead vocals, Troy Luckketta on drums and Dave Rude, also on guitar. Formed in 1982, the casually-dressed, original “T-shirt” band were categorized as ‘glam metal’ because they toured with such acts as David Lee Roth, Poison and Def Leppard. They were (and still are) just about the furthest thing from glam, ever. They didn’t write songs about banging chicks in cars. Tesla was a band that believed in the honest-to-God power of the power ballad. They didn’t sport make up, flashy outfits or hairspray. Instead, Tesla grew long mullets and covered songs by roots-rock bands like Canada’s Five Man Electrical Band.

They continued on with Mama’s Fool, then Frank Hannon announced that he’d heard that the Rolling Stones were playing across the Bay, but “Who gives a shit?! We’re here tonight!” – and the devotees screamed and roared. They dedicated the beautiful tune Gettin’ Better to their departed friend Ronnie Montrose. They played guaranteed crowd-pleasers like the The Way It Is and the radio-friendly Signs. What You Give embraced full-bodied guitars matched with soulful gritty vocals.DSC02638

To further preserve the noisy nostalgia of the evening they rocked Love Song. Edison’s Medicine/Man Out of Time were as exhilarating as expected, maybe even more so due the classic venue. Troy drove the train with both power and precision during Lazy Days, Crazy Nights and Modern Day Cowboy was helped immensely by the blazing guitars of Dave Rude and Frank Hannon. Closing up with Little Suzi, I couldn’t help but think how there is really a certain euphoria in witnessing rock legends doing their thing.

Tesla gives their audience exactly what they expect; meaty, familiar songs delivered by guitars, bass, drums and vocals that proudly stand the test of time. All done tongue and cheek with amps on 10! A damn good night of music!