REVIEW: Lynch Mob – Hi Fi Bar, Melbourne, December 10, 2008

I’ve been into George Lynch’s heroic guitar playing and to-die-for tone ever since I was about 14 and one of my older cousins showed up one day with a box full of cassettes. He’d been doing some spring cleaning and I guess he was growing up and entering the ‘real world’ and no longer had time for the wild-haired rock I’d always associated him with. Among that box were a few Dokken cassettes, and Lynch’s playing blew my mind. Not long after, he released his Sacred Groove solo album, and I was set on my path towards mastering that wide Lynchian vibrato.

I was fortunate to interview George a few months ago in preparation for Lynch Mob’s Australian tour. The current Mob line-up includes drummer Scot Coogan (Bridges of Destruction, Ace Frehley), bass legend Marco Mendoza (this dude is so charismatic he shows up David Coverdale on Whitesnake’s recent live DVD), and singer Oni Logan.

The first three tracks played were ‘She’s So Evil,’ ‘Hell Child’ and ‘Street Fighting Man’ from the first Lynch Mob album. Coogan has that rare ability to seem like he’s at the front of the stage even though he’s hidden away behind a drum kit, and his energy brought a powerful edge to the already riff-stomping Mob sound. George used his legendary J.Frog ESP (the one with the awesome carved skull and bones) for most of the set, although it was very cool to see him break out his ESP GL-57, which looks like a modified and bashed up Stratocaster. Amp-wise, he appeared to be using a Soldano SLO-100 and a Marshall Plexi, but the amps were turned towards the back wall (either for better isolation or because George wasn’t using his signature Randall amp, I’m not sure) so it was hard to tell. But his live tone was every bit as crunchy, clear and vocal as his studio work. Guitarists in the crowd, and I’m sure there were a lot of them, could learn a lot from the clarity of his tones, which are clean enough to remain punchy, but distorted enough to sound thick and edgy.

A particular highlight for guitar geeks such as myself was Lynch’s instrumental signature, ‘Mr Scary.’ The studio version included multiple overdubbed guitars, including a huge harmonized melody, so it was interesting to see how it translated to a single guitar, bass and drum interpretation. It came across more like an extended jam, with Mendoza covering a huge amount of ground while Lynch whipped across the guitar neck. When it was done, my ass was thoroughly kicked and somewhere my inner 14 year old was saying “Whoa…” Other Dokken tracks in the set were ‘Into The Fire’ and ‘Tooth And Nail.’

Finally, with ‘Wicked Sensation’ and a Scot Coogan stage dive as an encore, Lynch Mob were gone, but hopefully it won’t be too long before they return. With a new album on the way (the first with this particular line-up), I’d love to see them play a larger venue with a bigger stage to prowl upon.

CLICK HERE to buy the Randall MTS Series Lynch Box 100W amp head with modules
CLICK HERE to buy the ESP George Lynch M-1 Tiger electric guitar
CLICK HERE to buy George Lynch: The Lost Anthology on CD

Photo by Gabrielle Geiselman