Sixx:AM brings a healthy dose of hope and real rock music to Las Vegas on their first ever tour, supporting their newest release, Modern Vintage.
It’s been two weeks since Sixx:AM played their second show of the tour in Las Vegas. At this point, they are well into the tour and selling out everywhere they go. Many reviews have been written for opening night in San Francisco as well as the shows that followed the Vegas performance.
All of these have been great. And positive. And inherently sincere. The only thing missing is the emotion behind this band and their live performance. What they are really bringing to their live shows. What fans already know and crave:
Sixx:AM is Hope.
Pure and simple this band is hope for the future of rock music.
Hope for a new band to know and to love.
And hope for the broken; physically, mentally, and emotionally.
This is what Sixx:AM is bringing to every city it touches, every CD player it embraces, and every listener that clings to it.
One of the most difficult reviews to write is that of a show that touches you to your core. And a live Sixx: AM performance will change you. Whether a long time fan, Nikki Sixx fan or brand new to the band, this performance will touch you, and you will leave a better person for it.This band is all feeling. It radiates off the stage and envelopes the crowd in a giant, crushing, bear hug.
By now fans are aware that the chemistry between the band members, all band members, (not just the ones we know: Nikki Sixx, James Michael, and DJ Ashba) is excellence. This applies to the “new” members as well: touring drummer Dustin Steinke and backup vocalists Melissa Harding and Amber VanBuskirk. This dynamic is seamless. Effortless. Perfect. And without them Sixx:AM would be unable to tour. Their presence is warranted, appreciated, and vital to the live performance.
The set list itself is a healthy mix of all three albums, Heroin Diaries, This is Gonna Hurt, and Modern Vintage. The guys did a great job choosing which songs to include from each of their three releases.
Standouts, as there always are: “Stars”, off the newest Modern Vintage album. This is a song so utterly gripping that it is easy to overlook a cover of “Drive” by the Cars that follows because of the desire to repeat “Stars” just as it finishes playing. In concert, James Michael’s pristine and classically trained vocals carried this song, and every other, through the venue and into every cell of everyone watching, without missing a single inflection or a single note. Emotional, vocal, perfection. Black paper stars fall upon the audience as the song is played. It was transcendent.
Of course Sixx:AM is a band developed as a side project. Essentially a recording project between friends that was never meant to tour. Thank the rock Gods that vision changed. This band was born to tour. Nikki Sixx is a musical genius. A visionary. And although it is obvious that Nikki is Nikki on stage, it’s important to note that when playing with Sixx:AM his aura is different. He is more cohesive and refined. There is a shared and balanced nature to this project, which seems to lift the burden of success off of Nikki’s shoulders and distribute it evenly within the band.
Whereas Motley Crue transforms Nikki back into the blood spitting, fire lighting, teenage heathen of the Sunset Strip, Sixx:AM is a grown up Nikki, not needing to prove anything. Same for James and DJ; established, professional, multi-talented musicians, who’ve already accomplished their individual successes. This band is not about proving itself, it can just be what it is… an inspiration.
It’s a different crowd at a Sixx:AM show. This is a group of people actively seeking positivity and awakening. You will easily see it in their eyes. These songs touch people.
There’s a song on the second album entitled “Skin.” It’s often times difficult to listen to. Occasionally you may need to skip it. If you take a moment to YouTube fan videos of this song, it’s striking and emotional to see what it has done for people. The lyrics likely resound with everyone in some way. This is not a song you would expect they’d include it in the set list.
As a baby grand piano sits center stage, James passionately plays its keys, DJ leans in, and Nikki, is of course at the left. The light is low. “Skin” is the song they are playing. The air stands still. The feeling within the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas is somber. Yet positive. And inspiring.
Sitting in the venue are two women; best friends, arms wrapped around one another, both stage three breast cancer survivors, both entranced and singing the lyrics to “Skin.” They have scars. We all have scars, but we are more than just our Skin.
Sixx:AM is more than a side project that Nikki Sixx created.
This is a band that exalts, lives, breathes and has a life of its own.
See Sixx:AM on this tour and hope they continue to write, record, and tour over and over again. We need them.