Live Review: “Dead Men Walking” At The Viper Room!

Photos By Billy Bennight for the Los Angeles Beat

Photos By Billy Bennight for the Los Angeles Beat

There’s never been a time that The Viper Room has disappointed as a live music venue in my experience. There was the time That Bow Wow Wow played their first gig in 20 plus years where Anthony Kiedis and Billy Corgan were in attendance. That night it was the long awaited reunion of Annabella Lwin and the other member of Bow Wow Wow. There was the time Ronnie James Dio was hanging out in the down stairs bar at a corner table with his band mates and this delicious blond in a micro mini crawled, with her bum up – in a wheeling and dealing fashion as she crossed their table to set down next to Ronnie, good times! Then there was the time my date flashed everyone in the downstairs bar, but then constantly complained of Steve Jones slapping her bum to me, while I watched Tim Polecat come out of the closed liqueur store next door with a case of beer for the after party. While these are all over the top “Rock N Roll” antics, it portrays the energy and excitement of some of the really great shows that have inhabited The Viper Room. So when the opportunity to see one of my all time heroes, Captain Sensible of The Damned, and to watch him palling it up with other musical greats like, Slim Jim Phantom (Stray Cats), Mike Peters (The Alarm), Chris Cheney (The Living End), Duff McKagan (Guns and Roses) in the super group “Dead Men Walking” it was a call to action. This caused me to have a fever, a fever that could only be broken by seeing the Captain tear it up on The Viper Room stage!

Photo Gallery After The Break

I arrived after the Pink Slips ha played. There was plenty of time to settle in before the gig and I did. A good crowd gathered off the Sunset Strip inside the room to the increasing noise and heat in the upper room, when I heard the scuffling of feet, rummaging of instruments and bodies mounting the stage behind the curtain. The unveil was imminent and palpable. In a moment it would be on! The boys blew up the stage by launching into Rock And Roll Kills and the explosive and concussive waves kept hitting crowd with more of the magical one-two punches from Dead Men Walking‘s set as they continued with the Stray Cats Runaway Boys and The Damned’s Neat Neat Neat! The Captain was devilishly spot on for Neat, Neat, Neat. About this time Captain Sensible declared their performance wasn’t about money but it was about having fun! In my book “Captain Sensible” and “Fun” are universally recognized as synonymous! The Captain continues to riff on a little more. He noted to the fans how he could have not written a song like Eloise, noting Dave Vanian‘s “Gothicness” as a prime inspiration to the songs existenceI was surprised and delighted that the band covered The Misfits Attitude (a personal favorite), which isn’t part of any of the band members’ discography, but an excellent choice nonetheless. Duff McKagan squeezed every ounce of energy out of The StoogesI Want To Be Your Dog. All of this managed anarchy was reciprocated by the fans singing-a-longs and ruckus cheering number after number. At this moment The Damned‘s Smash It Up came in with perfect timing and everyone ate it up. This ended the set and then was followed by a brief wait for the encore. With all this amazing music it was hard to imagine that they could still burn more rubber at the end, but they did! The boys tore into The Beastie Boys’ “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)”, followed by the classic “I Fought The Law” and then they dropped the Sex Pistols bomb “Pretty Vacant” on the fans, who were eating it up churning in the total mayhem and chaos! There was the added bonus of Captain Sensible delivering this Punk Rock monster hit with a classic Johnny Rotten snarl! HeadlineThe Viper Room was hotter than a fire cracker when this session ended. Everyone there was filled with exuberance and exhaustion because of the hard-driving power surge of Dead Men Walking’s hour and a half set of classic Punk Rock mayhem and mischief had ended. Without a doubt there will be more musical tremors and earth quakes rumbling from this classic venue in the coming years: especially, now that The Viper Room has turned 21 and is of age to really get down!

Billy Bennight

About Billy Bennight

Billy Bennight is a writer, photographer, and wardrobe stylist with expertise and years of experience in these disciplines. His musical youth started as a Punk Rocker and has expanded into exploring many genres of music, with a keen interest in art, fashion, photography, and writing. He shoots red carpets and celebrity events for Media Punch, AdMedia, and ZUMA Press. He is a member of the Los Angeles Art Association and The Los Angeles Press Club. His images have been published in Mother Earth News, Vice, CNN, The Today Show, Wire, The Los Angeles Times, People Magazine, Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, French Elle, and Vanity Fair. He's very engaged in life. You can follow him on his Facebook page at: and on Instagram and Twitter @billybennight
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