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O2 Academy, Islington, London
Thursday 12th June 2014

Words: Johnny Churchill

jonathan churchill


With the Download Festival in full swing over the weekend, the Academy always sees some interesting events as the great and good of the Rock and Metal world roll into town for a few days. Richie Sambora and Winger will be playing, but tonight it's Tesla, 'Comin' Atcha Live'.

Supported by Portsmouth's finest, Kodiak Jack, (whose new album 'Alhambra' was produced by Tesla's Brian Wheat) and an acoustic Toby Jepson, we were suitably warmed up by the time Tesla hit the stage. I'm never a big fan of acoustic sessions, but Jepson's low-key, friendly set was a surprisingly nice way to kick off a great evening of guitar-led showmanship.

Tesla have apparently been rudely lumped in with all the Hair Metal excess of the 1980s and for me, having never seen the band before, it's a great opportunity to find out who the real Tesla are. In short a bunch of very likeable and talented musicians who clearly have a blast playing live!

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With 4/5 of the original band still in place, there's a reassuring synergy between the group and they bring their songs to life with a real sense that they're playing the music from the heart rather than just going through the motions. The set-list is a mix from across the years, including new track 'MP3' from current album 'Simplicity', and what I enjoyed the most was that Tesla seem to be in no rush to hurry through their songs.

The two guitarists, Frank Hannon and Dave Rude, work together seamlessly while the band in general has a relaxed vibe that gives the material room to breathe. Jeff Keith works the crowd effortlessly while Bassist Brian Wheat, looking at bit like a Sasquatch at the back, and drummer Troy Luccketta keep a low profile in comparison.


Frank Hannon is definitely a natural show-off and we see all the tricks – including the over the head solo – and some absolutely outstanding twin-guitar interplay with Dave Rude, who despite a nonchalant approach, delivers a blistering performance when required.

Finishing the set with all the crowd pleasers, we're treated to 'Signs', 'Love Song', 'Gettin' Better', a superb rendition of 'Modern Day Cowboy', 'Lil' Suzi' and to end the show, a brilliant 'Comin' Atcha Live'.

Tesla are definitely not part of the raucous Hair Metal crowd, and it was a fun to discover a great old-school rock band and enjoy such a laid back gig.


Tesla's new album 'Simplicity' is out now on Frontiers Records. Check out MetalTalk's review by clicking here.

Set List:
I Wanna Live
Hang Tough
So Divine
Heaven's Trail
Mama's Fool
Into The Now
The Way It Is
What You Give
Love Song
Gettin' Better
Modern Day Cowboy
Lil' Suzi
Comin' Atcha Live






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Johnny Churchill: \m/
Twitter: @metalmeltdown55

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