Sunday, October 3, 2021

Little Caesar @ Les Étoiles, Paris - October 3rd, 2021

Little Caesar at les Étoiles is our second show since the return of live music after nearly two years of living in suspended animation, with concerts, cinemas, restaurants and travels shut down for most of the world's population, in the same venue where we saw Robert Jon & the Wreck three weeks ago.

Incredibly, this is the band's first Parisian concert in a thirty plus-year career. They've played other French cities before, and lead singer Ron Young did play the capital with his Manic Eden project in the nineties but this is Little Caesar's Parisian debut!

Little Caesar is one of those bands whose lack of mainstream visibility remains a baffling mystery. It's borderline criminal that in the three decades since their debut they haven't reached the same commercial heights as other like-minded bands such as the Black Crowes. A ten year hiatus probably didn't help matters, but the albums released since their return to the stage are just as good as the ones from their original tenure. And as a live act, Little Caesar just kills, plain and simple.

Their tough but soulful blooze-rock is clearly indebted to the sounds of Humble Pie, Rose Tattoo, Whitesnake, Faces, AC/DC and other purveyors of metallic boogie thrill. Vocalist Ron Young's soulful, smokey rasp is equally powerful on rockers and ballads, and their knack for melody is evident in even the hardest rocking numbers of their repertoire.

The bulk of their set is comprised of numbers from their self-titled debut (including the two soul covers which made the record stand out amidst the plethora of hard rock releases in 1989) but their latest album Eight is also duly represented (four songs) as well as the under-appreciated Redemption from 2009.

Guitarists Mark Tremalgia and Loren Molinare (one of three original band member on stage) are not flashy by any means, but their solos are always appropriate and more importantly always add to the song. We'd be hard-pressed to chose a highlight, but muscular opener Drive It Home, Same Old Story, Ballad of Johnny and In Your Arms are our favorite songs in their repertoire, so it was a treat to hear them played last night. Unfortunately, another one of our favorites, the faux-ballad From the Start was omitted but you can't please everyone.

If there is one upside to Little Caesar's under-exposure, it's that their live audiences are almost entirely made up of real fans, and while it would be satisfying to see them play to larger crowds, the fervor and passion that they inspire when they take the stage remains undiluted by the presence of casuals: the word of rabid rock fans gathered at Les Étoiles on the last stop of their European tour was so supportive, so driven and so loud that it almost became a bona-fide member of the band.

Check out the Apple Music player below to rock out to the set-list:

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