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Tesla at the House of Blues Chicago

House of Blues – July 20, 2013 – Chicago, IL, USA

Review by Charles Pearce, photo by James Currie

TeslaDiesel screams electric tonight at House of Blues Chicago. Music legend powerhouse Tesla sets to take the stage for a night of panty dropping, head banging, Rock and Roll. Its been a long time since Tesla was a household name turning out wide airplay singles and music videos, but every level of the venue is packed to the seams with rabid fans dying for a taste triumphant.

These are true Metal-headed Rock fans ready for an earth shattering performance and Tesla isn't about to disappoint. The opening song rips across the space the crowd falls into a cacophony of cheers and applause. Music is impossible to hear over the sounds of a well sauced party house in full tilt. This is a crowd from an era clear; when rock actually rolled and leather never died. Tonight it's all back, and on the attack. No, you won't find any hipsters with their ironic Instagram filters and Miller High Life's here tonight. This is where the wild things are.

Sound and light blend together with band members moving across the stage like the floor is on fire. With the energy of men half their age it's no surprise the fan base is so devoted, and it's always a joy to watch entertainers so willing to give themselves to a night. The vibrancy of the room is a feedback loop constantly pushing the show to higher and higher levels of sonic euphoria.

This is the scene, and these are the people. Welcome back to Rock and Roll. The floor pit surges to the stage. Humans pack in, hair whips and the band thrusts themselves forward. A powerhouse is underway as these golden gods remind everyone how to be alive in the moment. Old and new songs stitch together seamlessly. Tesla still builds complex riffs and delivers gut punching lyrics in their new material teased to the audience in a wall of sound leaving the crowd exhausted and satisfied.

Crowd sings along as Tesla delivers on fan favorites. Veterans of countless performances are right in stride and at home working the night into a pure Rock performance no one should miss. Group karaoke, and a band eager to share the spotlight with their people. The iconic dress down jeans and shirts from an era of oversold glam feels right at home in modern music, especially with Brian Wheat's "Obey" tee popping loud as he pounds away on the bass guitar like he's still twenty years old in Sacramento.

Pulling out stools and slide guitars they move into "Comin Atcha Live" with a perfect throwback to the "Five Man Acoustic Jam". In a killer change up to blues and country. No band from the era would be worth their weight in smoke and lights without the power ballads that captivated a generation, and its like no time has passed. Indeed a moment has slipped and Ronald Reagan is back in the White House as Tesla drives heartfelt emotional lyrics to a sea of teenage memories and an audience that can follow along beat for beat, word for word. These are the songs that make men cry and women swoon. Someone shouts "I went down the isle to this music!"

The lights flair up again as the band calls out across the crowd. Beer cans raise in approval as the tempo moves back into high gear. Familiar licks kick out of the speakers. Tesla rocks "Signs" to this crowd as everyone screams and sings along. Never mind these men have been playing the same lyrics and riffs for years, they still know how to keep it fresh, personal, and fun. Tossing guitar picks and calling for crowd participation the band is riding high on the 'tough hang' that is Chicago and Tesla. After twenty seven years Tesla is still killing it, and you really should have been here man.