California hard rockers, Tesla, named after the famous inventor, Nikola Tesla, has reinvented itself over the years. Their risky move in the 90’s to strip down their electric guitars and play acoustically transformed the music business and inspired a generation of rockers ‘unplugging.’ Their current tour is in support of their latest album, “Twisted Wires and the Acoustic Sessions,” released in 2011 with some acoustic remakes of their earlier songs and a few brand new songs like “Second Street” and “Better Without You.”
HOUSE OF BLUES
Tesla played a very packed House of Blues Saturday, January 7, 2012.
With over 25 years of playing their ‘blues metal’ has built a very strong fan-base with a very diverse following; metalheads, hippies and blue-collar types, kids in their 20’s and older fans of 30’s and 40’s. Opening band, Built By Stereo, warmed up the crowd. Tesla played for about an hour and twenty minutes. They had a strong start and a stronger finish. Lead singer Jeff Keith, sporting a football jersey with his name on the back, belted out the hits; “Comin’ Atcha Live / Truckin,” “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out),” “Modern Day Cowboy” and “Signs.”
The meat of the show was really for diehard Tesla fans as it pertained to lesser-known songs and songs from the new album including “Second Street” and “Better Without You.”
Playing acoustically is an animal all to itself. Some fans prefer the unplugged versions of Tesla’s rock songs while others like the original electric versions. This is not the band I saw over 20 years ago. Their energy was not the same. Mostly, the band sat on stools like any other acoustic jam. Keith got up and walked around a bit to connect with the audience. Guitarists Frank Hannon and Dave Rude showered the crowd with guitar picks. The packed house burst into singing “Love Song.” A pleasant surprise in Tesla’s set was a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You.”
Chad Plummer was my guest at the show. It was his idea to watch the show near the bar so I could use the bar to lean on when taking notes. Good idea, Chad. If the energy of the show was better I might have moved closer to the stage. I never moved.