Kix are a Maryland band. Their shows are legendary around the land of Orioles and Ravens. I didn't anticipate flying east for the show, but everything worked out and I was in the audience at Baltimore's Rams Head Live last night. My husband and friends were with me, crunched against hundreds (thousand?) bodies inside the club.
I'm writing this in an airport terminal, just before 8 a.m., trying to get done before I board my plane to Ohio. Instead of going home like a normal person, I'm getting off the plane and going to an all-day Metal festival. I will try to sum up my excellent Kix experience in the time Northwest airlines has alloted me.
Seeing Kix in Baltimore was doubly special because I got the chance to visit with friends that live in both Maryland and Washington, D.C. Going to shows together is the ultimate bonding experience. Unfortunately, an overly slow Hard Rock Cafe put an immediate damper on my Kix experience.
Thinking Kix were playing at 11:30 or midnight, no one was too panicked about the super slow service at the restaurant. That is, until we arrived at the club and realized Kix were already playing - and it was 11 on the dot! Apparently, Kix have never played that early. So, we arrive during the "The Itch" and I am immediately devastated. How could I spend all this money and travel this many miles and miss the beginning of the show? I tried to shove the depression aside for the duration of the set, but I'd be lying if I said I succeed. It is several hours later and I am still very sad.
As a band, Kix are workhorses. They are known for live shows and for good reason. In the past few months I've watched Kix live three times. Each time has been spot-on accurate. Even the hard songs, like "Don't Close Your Eyes" still sound like the recording after all these years. People, this is not an easy feat! You can't fully appreciate the artistry of a Kix song until you hear the band live. It seems as if - all those Glam years ago - the band set out to write the best catalog of live songs possible. If you play to your strengths - and Kix are a strong live band - it stands to reason that the songs would be solid. The musical breakdown of many of the band's most famous songs lend themselves to both stagecraft and audience participation. Both are cornerstones of the Glam genre.
A funny part of the night was when singer Steve Whiteman became flustered during his very famous rap portion of "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah." The rap changes with every live performance - but Steve seemed to really change it up last night. At one point he started laughing and exclaimed "I'm getting old!" The crowd didn't seem to mind. Such flubs make a live performance - and remind all of us that music is the epitome of humanity on stage.
I'm a sucker for choreography, and each Kix show provides some lovely stage moves courtesy of bassist Mark Schenker and guitarists Brian Forsythe and Ronnine Younkins. Drummer Jimmy Chalfant seems happy just keeping the rest of the band in check.
My expectations of being bumped and bruised during the show were realized. Still, it didn't matter because I was sharing an experience with hundreds of others who were in exactly the right place at the right time. From my estimations, just about everyone inside the club was a diehard fan - or learning to love the band based on their live show. When everyone around you is shouting the words to each song, you know you've found a Glam band that still connects with the crowd. Sure, Kix had a hometown turf advantage. Still, there were people in the crowd from all ages and backgrounds. Steve even addressed a 12 year old from the stage, saying the music is now "generational." I think that statement may be more accurate than any of us realize.