There Was an '80s Glam-Metal Revival at a Casino in the Mountains

Categories: Concert Reviews

Tom Murphy
L.A. Guns at Lava Room at Reserve Hotel and Casino
For the last handful of years, some rock bands of an older vintage have been brought in to Lava Room inside the Reserve Hotel and Casino. Over the weekend, it was L.A. Guns, the band that helped spawn Guns N' Roses.

When you're thinking of going to a rock show, Central City is not the first place that comes to mind, especially considering all the options available in Denver. For the unacquainted, Central City is a quaint touristy town with a strange graveyard and Herndon Davis's well-known Face on the Barroom Floor painting in the Teller House Bar. It takes seemingly endlessly winding roads to get to the town, a slice of Las Vegas with bright lights on small-town tall buildings, nestled into a crack between mountains

Tom Murphy
L.A. Guns at Lava Room at Reserve Hotel and Casino

The streets looked deserted. Inside the casino proper, the surreal quality of the place was immediate, at least if you don't go to casinos regularly. It certainly has the same air and vibe of a modern Las Vegas casino. Slot machines are stacked in aisles along the edges of the large, lengthy middle room

Still, the whole thing didn't have that well-used, grimy feel coupled with an ineffable sense of ambient desperation that a lot of the older Las Vegas casinos seem to have. Sure, there were the usual games hosted by dealers and the like, but it didn't feel like there was a lot of pressure on you to part with your money.

The Lava Room itself had polished wood floors and TV monitors around the semi-circular room showing a view of the stage. The latter is set down below the second floor. There are two tiers before the floor before the stage, and that dance floor was packed with people who seemed very into L.A. Guns and who seemed to know the words to "Kiss My Love Goodbye," "Electric Gypsy," and "Ballad of Jayne."

Of course, the crowd looked like people that remembered the band well from their youth in the '80s. There was no nonchalant arm-crossing -- the people who showed up seemed happy to see one of the better bands of the heavy glam-rock scene of L.A. in the '80s. No one who is still into this music is ambivalent about it. There was no ironic enjoyment of the show, and there's something refreshing about that no matter what the music.

The guys in the band certainly seemed to be well aware of what they were doing, where they were doing it and for whom. But the humor -- certainly lighthearted -- was directed at the situation. It was no stadium of people chanting the band's name, but that probably isn't going to be happening for much of anyone whose appeal these days is based partly in nostalgia, despite the new albums L.A. Guns have been writing and recording well into the 2000s

Location Info


The Lava Room

321 Gregory St., Central City, CO

Category: Music

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