LIVE PHOTOS: Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators, Plush
By Greg Maki
Slash’s reunion with his “other” band in 2016 might have been the best thing his solo project, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators, could have asked for. Without Guns N’ Roses songs sprinkled liberally throughout the set list of live shows, the band now stands on its own as a tight, hard-rockin’ unit. Sure, the guy with the top hat and mop of curly hair is the star, but each member plays a valuable role.
Though the Fillmore Silver Spring was not sold out in advance, the crowd was close to capacity when the lights first went down at 8 p.m. and the young, all-female quartet Plush took the stage. Vocalist/guitarist Moriah Formica was a powerhouse leading the band through a 30-minute set that gave a good indication of what Alter Bridge might sound like fronted by Lzzy Hale. Highlights included the fiery opener “Athena,” a cover of the Heart classic “Barracuda” and the band’s own hit single, “Hate.” With Formica the group’s oldest member at 21, the future is bright for Plush.
PLUSH SET LIST: “Athena,” “Champion,” ”Sober,” “Better Off Alone,” “Barracuda,” ”Will Not Win,” “Hate”
It’s not every day that you get to see a bona fide legend in a 2,000 capacity venue, but that’s exactly what we got when the headliners took the stage. Slash was on fire for over two hours, soloing like a madman at every opportunity in one of the most impressive displays of guitar heroics I’ve ever seen—certainly the best since Black Label Society’s “Unblackened” tour rolled through Baltimore in 2015. And even after decades as a mega-star, the man remains humble. As the crowd showered him with a long ovation during the band introductions late in the show, the soft-spoken Slash sheepishly said, “You guys, I don’t fuckin’ deserve that.”
Touring and recording since 2010, Slash and company have compiled an impressive body of work. The set list pulled from the four albums they’ve made together (including the recently released—and appropriately titled—“4”), Slash’s first solo album from 2010, his late-’90s band Slash’s Snakepit and a pair of covers—“Always on the Run,” which Slash co-wrote with Lenny Kravitz, and the Elton John classic “Rocket Man.” Bassist Todd “Dammit” Kerns took over lead vocals for the Kravitz cover and “Doctor Alibi” later in the set. Throw in his crucial backing vocals throughout the night and he’s the band’s secret weapon.
The previous times I’ve seen Slash with this band, the GNR songs were the biggest crowd-pleasers of the show, yet this performance felt more satisfying without them—no overblown epic songs, just the beauty of guitar (lots of guitar), bass, drums and one of the best rock vocalists of the 21st century. If you’re a fan of anything Slash has done in his career, seeing him with Kennedy and the Conspirators is absolutely essential.
SLASH SET LIST: “Driving Rain,” “My Antidote,” “Shots Fired,” “Halo,” “Back from Cali,” “Spirit Love,” “The River Is Rising,” “Whatever Gets You By,” “Always on the Run,” “Standing in the Sun,” “Speed Parade,” “C’est La Vie,” “Fill My World,” “The One You Loved Is Gone,” “Call Off the Dogs,” “Doctor Alibi,” “Rocket Man,” “Nothing to Say,” “You’re a Lie,” “World on Fire,” (encore) “Anastasia”