Tesla “Acoustics” Cain’s

altSacramento band Tesla hit the stage at Cain’s this past Sunday evening and offered a little something for everyone.

Tesla formed in 1984 and took their name from inventor and electrical engineer Nikola Tesla.  Ironically the band is probably best known for the acoustic album from 1990, Five Man Acoustical Jam.  This tour marks the 20th Anniversary of the album and also introduces crowds to their latest release, Twisted Wires.

I will just start by saying I have seen Tesla open for Poison years ago and they were badly lumped in with the Glam metal/Hair band genre.  Tesla is not that kind of band, they never wanted to be and actually resent being categorized as such.  What Tesla is, is a bluesy, hard-rock/rock band.  Yes, they have the long hair, but that is where the comparisons to Hair bands stop.  They were more comfortable in jeans and T-shirts and contrasted against the leather pants, big hair and make-up that largely represented that style at that time.

Tesla shines when they let it all rip, which at times they did at this show.  Unfortunately, in the writer’s opinion, they fell a little short with this offering.  With songs like “Hang Tough,” “Modern Day Cowboy,” and “What You Give” being done acoustically they just didn’t really pack a punch. They were okay done acoustically, but just didn’t have the same passion and energy in them as they could have had. 

Tesla Photo Gallery.


Photos by: Kevin Pyle

Don’t get me wrong Five Man Acoustical Jam is an amazing album and does a great job of reintroducing great songs in a new way, but I am not sure what they were trying to do here.  Catch lightning in a bottle twice?  With a new album that is not acoustic just out and all of the old songs it may have been a time to kick a little @$$.  

There was little movement and little energy in the set.  Again, it was good, just didn’t pack a punch.  I am sure that those in attendance were pleased with what they saw and heard and to be honest I would say that they would have reason to be.  I guess I was just a little underwhelmed.  

All that being said, Jeff Keith still has an amazing voice and the boys in the band sounded great.  Frank Hannon flat out shreds on guitar as does newcomer (joined in 2006)  Dave Rude, bassist Brian Wheat proved to be quite a teaser as he kept mentioning songs from FMAJ only to be told by other members, “We aren’t playing those songs yet.”

Overall, if you were looking to spend an evening at the feet of some true rock masters, you may have been pleased.  It may have been a better idea to sell it as a mellow, sit down and feel the groove kind of show, ala MTV Unplugged.  I guess I was just in a rock-n-roll mood and wanted to get rocked, not “acoustic’d.”

Sorry fellas you just didn’t wow me.  But that is just me, not everyone there.

Edit Note:  Publication was delayed on this review as a result of  what the editor shall call a Rick Perry "brain freeze."  Thus lost, but later found in the mix of massive email each day; staff is recommending remedial classes for organizational skill development.  The publisher is not so sure he is amused.