Live at Ace Hotel

June 23, 2023 Review by Steve Allen
Love and Rockets delivered an unforgettable performance at The Theatre at The Ace Hotel, leaving their audience’s taste for their timeless music and captivating stage presence 100% satisfied.
The band is comprised of Daniel Ash, David J, and Kevin Haskins (essentially Bauhaus without Peter Murphy on vocals). While still “dark and moody,” have a lighter side musically and vocally. In what may be their very last time together as a band they showcased and proved why they remain influential figures in the music landscape of the last three shows of their reunion tour in Los Angeles.
Hopefully this not the end of the road for this legendary band.

Let’s first address the Spanish Gothic beauty of The Theatre at the Ace Hotel as it truly set the mood for much of the night. The theater was first designed and opened in 1927 by those who formed the “rebellious” United Artist Group, which was made up of (at the time) some of the biggest names in movies: Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, and D.W. Pickford.

While I saw the many murals that adorn the walls, I didn’t necessarily notice this according to, apparently some of them depict studio bosses as demons and founding members of United Artist as Angelic figures and gods. The Spanish Gothic architecture was the primarily favored by Mary Pickford and her love for “Spanish castles and cathedrals while on honeymoon in Spain with Douglas Fairbanks.”  Architecture and the art set the whole vibe for the night.
The show opener Vinsantos took to the stage demurely positioning himself at the microphone to greet the audience before heading to his keyboard. Extending a kind hello and an interesting personal anecdote, he instantly captivated the audience. Accompanied by guitarist Agness Twin, whose strong vocals added an enchanting element, only elevating their set. The essence of his performance resided in captivating melodies and engaging onstage exchanges.

Acknowledging his cabaret influences, Vinsantos skillfully intertwined personal narratives and doses of humor throughout his set. Beyond the facade of sad clown makeup is a profoundly talented singer-songwriter and pianist, with true life stories of resilience in the face of bullying and abuse during his formative years. In the end, he’s the one on stage soaking up the adoration of others in attendance. Undeniably, it was an exceptional and truly remarkable display of artistry.
As we waited for Love and Rockets to hit the stage, you could feel the anticipation at fever pitch in the already full theater.
Opening the show with “I Feel Speed” and “No Big Deal,” the mood was set. I was kind of surprised at these choices as they’re a little dark and yes, very moody for opening a concert. Then I realized who they really are. Deep down their DNA is Bauhaus; it was then it all made sense and I was set straight. 

The very first chord of the night which was strangely enough from dual bass guitars by not only J but Ash as well before he picked up a guitar with six strings. It would be a night to remember as the band effortlessly transported the audience back in time, immersing them in the ethereal soundscape of their music before picking them up with the beginning of an incredible light show starting with “Kundalini Express.”
Throughout the evening, the trio flawlessly blended elements of rock, post-punk, and gothic music, creating a captivating atmosphere that resonated with fans both old and new. The band’s chemistry and creativity were palpable, with each member shining in their respective roles but the light show often hit a psychedelic side with mesmerizing projections on the back wall added a layer of visual depth to the performance, enhancing the overall ambiance and immersing the audience in a multi-sensory experience.
Ash’s distinctive guitar riffs add to that ever-so-familiar sonic journey sustained throughout his career. That was a highlight of the performance. J’s bass lines provided a solid foundation for the music, while still riffy it had that punch that makes the songs so memorable.

At times Haskins reminded me of Charlie Watts (RIP) from the Rolling Stones, with his steady rhythm that tied everything together, driving the songs forward with precision.
The setlist for the evening was a carefully curated journey through Love and Rockets’ extensive discography, consisting mostly of hits but delved into many of their deep cuts of which the L&R faithful soaked up every note.
Classics like “No New Tale to Tell” and “So Alive” elicited cheers from the crowd, while deeper cuts such as “Judgment Day” and “Haunted When the Minutes Drag” showcased the band’s versatility and experimental spirit.

One of the standout moments of the concert was the performance of “Kundalini Express.” The pulsating rhythm and Ash’s guitar created an electrifying atmosphere that had the entire venue on their feet. Another notable highlight for me was an extended version of “Yin and Yang (The Flowerpot Man),” where Haskins literally murdered his drums for an extra two minutes.

The first encore began with an absolutely amazing performance of “Holiday on the Moon,” then “Love Me” and their cover of The Temptations’ “Ball of Confusion.”
Once that was done, so many people thought the show was over and headed for the doors. Silently in my head, I was screaming, “DON’T LEAVE! DON’T LEAVE!!”

Fortunately, I like to check the previous setlist online and knew there was at least one more song. After a short wait, a second encore was none other than “Sweet F.A”. The way Love and Rockets performed it, the song perfectly captured the shared emotion between the band and their dedicated fanbase. “Fuck All Else.”
This is what I would call a historic show at a historic landmark. It was an extraordinary event that celebrated the band’s legacy and craftsmanship. Love and Rockets proved once again that their music transcends time, captivating both die-hard fans and those discovering their sound for the first time.

Ash and J have made it clear that this tour will mark their final chapter together. This “last blast” tour is designed to conclude their journey on a high note, leaving a lasting impact on their fans. However, considering the band’s history and the genuine love for their creativity and music, there remains a possibility that they might choose to continue in the future.
As of now, the tour’s final leg culminated with three shows at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. While no new announcements have been made regarding potential performances in the UK or other locations, the band’s devoted fanbase eagerly awaits any updates on their future endeavors.


by Steve Allen Photography



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