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Sunday
Oct212007

Live Review: Britny Fox, Pretty Boy Floyd and More!

allysonheather_wm.JPGIt’s Sunday, and the glam mistress is tired. I feel beaten and bruised after two exceptionally long nights of music. I realized just moments ago that I’d been staring blankly at my computer screen for about an hour. I decided at some point, I was just going to have to push through the pain to write a review of last night’s Britny Fox/Pretty Boy Floyd extravaganza.

Annie’s Entertainment Complex flanks the riverfront in Cincinnati. Last night, Drugstore Valentine, Triad, Z02, A Nervous Wreck, Pretty Boy Floyd and Britny Fox all rocked the house. I was there from before the beginning until after the bitter end. For the most part, the evening was upbeat save for a few bad notes, some feedback, and drunk women flipping their hair in my face.

Ladies: I have long hair too. I don’t get drunk and whip it around, ruining the fun of other concert goers. Have respect: pull that hair back in a ponytail!

Whew. Now that that’s off my chest, on to the music:

kennyatannies_wm.JPGThe bands performed in the order I listed above. Last night was big for Cincinnati natives Drugstore Valentine. New bassist Brian Kinkade played his first show with the band. All in all, he seemed to fit right in with the island of misfit toys. Of course DSV opened with “Welcome to the Show” but they didn’t get to play much else since their set was exceptionally short. Lead singer Kenny Ozz did sing his signature “Backstage Bombshells” and “Life’s a Bitch,” all while giving his parents – and this intrepid journalist – a shout-out from the stage.

triad2_wm.JPGTriad is another Cincinnati band. As many shows as I’ve watched in the Queen City, this was a first for me. The lead singer said “Cincinnati” about 57 times, but I guess that just proves he was working the hometown crowd. Triad played a slew of originals, plus a cover of AC/DCs overplayed “You Shook Me All Night Long” and a classic Guns n’ Roses medley. They’ll be with Pretty Boy Floyd again next Saturday night at McGuffy’s in Dayton.

Z02_wm.JPGBrooklyn based Z02 were a late add to the bill. Glam conspirator Heather immediately took a liking to the groove-metal band. I’d say their looks have something to do with the fascination. In addition to being incredibly attractive, Z02 sound damn good. A three piece, they are able to create the sound of five musicians. Both Paulie Z (guitar) and David Z (bass) can sing. Their originals sound good, but a highlight was a cover of “Tom Sawyer,” made legendary by Rush. David has an interestingly high voice and the cover actually sounded believable. Z02 has released two albums, and I’ll be reviewing both of them in the coming days.

anervouswreck_wm.JPGA Nervous Wreck played a whole lotta glam covers, including “One More Reason” (L.A. Guns) and “Blind in Texas” (WASP). The Kentuckians were alright, but exhaustion was starting to set in and I was growing impatient for Pretty Boy Floyd and Britny Fox. By this time, Annie’s was filling up nicely – but that would change. More on that later.

stevesexsummers_wm.JPGFinally, Pretty Boy Floyd emerged from the shadows of some back alley. Earlier in the evening, I visited the merchandise table and purchased a shirt. Some of the PBF members were sitting at the table at the time. When I say “some” I mean everyone but Steve “Sex” Summers – he waited to make his grand entrance. For some unknown reason, the band is passing out old photos which include former guitarist Kristy “Krash” Majors. I shrugged and accepted the photo.

Pretty Boy Floyd performed (incorrect order):

Rock n’ Roll (Is Gonna Set the Night on Fire)
I Wanna Be With You
48 Hours
Rock and Roll Outlaws
Your Momma Won’t Know
Toast of the Town (Motley Crue Cover)
Live Wire (Motley Crue Cover)

twist_wm.JPGSteve Summers (dressed in lycra athletic pants) sounded good and seemed jolly enough and bassist Mikki Twist is awfully cute in person. He seemed into the show, and the crowd appreciated his efforts. The two cover songs baffled me. “Toast of the Town” is included on Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz, but it still took me off guard as the band played such a short set. It seemed like PBF were on and off the stage in under 40 minutes. During those 40 minutes, Scotti D shoved drum sticks up his nose.

britnyfox_wm.JPGThen finally, round about 1:30 in the morning, Britny Fox emerged from their hole. As expected, the set list was pretty similar to Friday night, except the performance was shorter. Britny Fox performed (not in order and not complete):

 

Six Guns Loaded
So Lonely
Liar
Dream On
Long Way to Love
Drum/Bass/Guitar solos
Hair of the Dog (Nazareth cover)
Girlschool
*no encore

When Pretty Boy Floyd performed, the area in front of the stage was packed but then Annie’s pretty much cleaned out right after their show. Poor Britny Fox played for about 50 people, but this didn’t stop them from putting on a good, high intensity show. Last night marked the final stop of the band’s 2007 tour. They sounded good, but Tommy Paris was stronger in voice Friday night. After the show, bassist Billy Childs was wandering around in the crowd. He said he liked my glasses. All girls should have black hair and glasses.

Saturday
Oct202007

Live Review: Britny Fox in Dayton

tommyparis1_wm.JPGBritny Fox played McGuffy's in Dayton last night. Without pulling any punches, they rocked. The band played a mix of their own tunes, plus cover songs that had the crowd dancing.

Since I'm also seeing the band tonight in Cincinnati, we'll make this an ultra-lite review. I'm sure the set list will be the same. At any rate, the band played:

Six Guns Loaded
So Lonely
Left Me Stray
Liar
Dream On
Lonely Too Long
Long Way To Love
Drum/Bass/Guitar solos
Sweet Hitchhiker
Black and White
Closer To Your Love
Midnight Moses
Girlschool
Encore: Louder and a cover of Travelin' Band.

billychilds2_wm.JPGI love watching Billy Childs play bass. He always looks so happy, and he smiles at everyone. He was also wearing all his backstage passes from the big Britny Fox shows. On top is the pass from the tour supporting their 1988 self-titled release, on the bottom is his Rocklahoma pass. I wonder how many passes are stacked in the middle? At any rate, I think the massive neck lanyard acts as a sort of tailsman or good luck charm.

There isn't much more to add, except Britny Fox blew the other bands away sound wise. That said, Kentucky's own A Nervous Wreck put forth a good effort. I'll be seeing them again tonight as well.

 


 

Friday
Oct192007

Live Tonight (and Tomorrow!)

allysonbritny.JPGIt's finally Friday and I have a long weekend of live music ahead of me. Tonight I'll see Britny Fox in Dayton, and then I'll see the band again tomorrow in Cincinnati, with special guests Pretty Boy Floyd and my friends Drugstore Valentine.

Tomorrow night will be big for Drugstore Valentine: they debut a new bass player, and they've been out of the live mix for a few weeks now. The late add of Pretty Boy Floyd makes me ultra-excited, since I've never seen this band live.

I saw Britny Fox at Rocklahoma. They had the unfortunate slot of playing around noon on the festival's final day, when most people were either hung over, sunburned, or stoned. Still, the Philadelphia natives put on a high energy show and were very nice to me when I interviewed them for this online magazine.

If you're in southern Ohio, catch Britny Fox tonight at McGuffys in Dayton. Tomorrow, head to Cincinnati and Annies to see Britny Fox, Pretty Boy Floyd and Drugstore Valentine.

Here's "Long Way to Love" from the self-titled Britny Fox debut.


Thursday
Oct182007

Review: S.E.X. Department

sexdepartment.jpgThese days, Sweden is the hotbed of new glam metal. Of course, other countries are also birthing new sleaze bands. Italy's own S.E.X. Department is ready to rock 'n roll with the traditional sound of both L.A. Guns and Pretty Boy Floyd.

Their self-titled debut album (Perris Records) features these tracks:

Call Me, Baby Call Me
Drive Me Insane
Revenge of Vampires
Rock n' Roll Never Dies
One Way Ticket to Rock
Glitter Bitter
Sir Yes Sir
Italian Cowboy
Rock n' Roll
S.E.X. Department

As with every album, some songs are stronger than others. Right out of the gate, I would switch the first and last tracks. The album's title track opens with canned scanner traffic (a la, "Terror in Tinseltown" on Motley Crue's Dr. Feelgood). For my money, this makes a better beginning.

"Call Me, Baby Call Me" is probably my least favorite song on S.E.X. Department, but maybe I'm biased. I don't care for the odd cell phone tones, and the lyrics are not all that inventive. Still, this band has potential.

"Rock n' Roll Never Dies" and "One Way Ticket to Rock" are both strong, upbeat tracks. The latter really sounds like Pretty Boy Floyd. Lead singer/guitarist Kelly "Trash" Mendess doesn't have the strongest voice in Metal, then again, neither does Steven Tyler, David Lee Roth or Vince Neil.

I'll give the boys in S.E.X. Department this much: they know PR, and that's really half the battle. They are not ashamed to do a ton of Myspace bulletins and private emails to media outlets. They also include an inventive press kit with copies of their promotional disc. Written like a police blotter, S.E.X. Department do a good job connecting image to sound.

Listen to samples at http://www.myspace.com/sexdepartment

Band members:
Kelly Trash Mendess - Vocals/guitar
Doctor Dok - Bass
Milky Milano - Drums

Here's S.E.X. Department performing "Revenge of the Vampires"


Wednesday
Oct172007

Black List

blackist.jpg

I've wanted Black List by Paul Black's L.A. Guns for months now. The 2005 release is on the Black City Music imprint, owned by Paul Black.

 

If you know the real history of sleaze rockers L.A. Guns, then you know Paul Black is the original singer for the band. He was replaced by Phil Lewis because of drug issues. If you'd like to know more about Paul Black's history and success overcoming addiction, please see "Roll the Dice" originally published on August 8, 2007.

I've listened to Black List a handful of times, and I really like the entire disc. Songs like "Looking Over My Shoulder," "One Way Ticket to Love" and "Liquid Diamonds" are a highlight. Of course, "Looking Over My Shoulder" became "Never Enough" on the L.A. Guns release Cocked and Loaded. It's amazing to hear the similarities of both tracks. The music is pretty much exactly the same, but the lyrics are completely different.

Black List begins strong with "Stranded in L.A." A straight-up, dirty rocker, I found myself amazed at how much the song sounded like L.A. Guns...until I caught myself, realizing I was listening to the Guns in their purest - and most Metal -form (save very early vocals by Axl Rose and Michael Jagosz).

Paul Black's L.A. Guns features Tracii Guns on lead guitar, Robert Stoddard on rhythm guitar, Nickey Alexander on drums and Mick Cripps on bass. This album is important to own not only because the music is great, but also because it's a study in anthropology. Record executives tried to rewrite the history of L.A. Guns, and effectively eliminate Paul Black's identity. After Black and Guns reconciled so many years later, they teamed up to remaster the original L.A. Guns demos. Since these demos were confiscated by label executives, one can also assume these original recordings were not well preserved. In many cases, there is audible scratching and popping on the album, but I guess that adds to the history and charm.

If you're a fan of L.A. Guns or Glam Metal, than you need to own Black List. The release even includes "The Devil in You" performed by Black Cherry, Paul's post- Guns band. Black Cherry should have been huge, but the planets never aligned and it simply wasn't meant to be I suppose. At least Paul Black is finally getting his chance to prove his musical ability through the release of Black List and touring with his version of L.A. Guns.

http://www.myspace.com/pablomarsnegro

 

Tuesday
Oct162007

New Music Tuesday

I literally have stacks of new CDs at home. Some I've purchased, others are promotional releases. I won't even attempt to name all the discs here (honestly, I can't even remember half the bands!) but there are some discs that I'm very excited to own.

blackist.jpgTomorrow, I plan to review Black List, released by original L.A. Guns singer Paul Black. I've given the disc a limited listen and so far, I really like what I hear. It's interesting to hear some of the early L.A. Guns demos that would eventually become monster hits for the band by the late 1980s.

7LiveInSweden.jpg

 

Another exciting new CD is Vixen's Live in Sweden. Judging by the packaging, all the songs were recorded at the most recent Sweden Rock Festival. This disc was just released last week, and I'll be reviewing the effort for both this site and Metal Express Radio.

 

 

backtotheryhtnm.jpg

I've had the new Great White CD for quite some time and have yet to give it a proper listen. Every time I reach for the disc, I'd find myself inclined to review something else or just be in the mood for sleaze instead of blues. Expect my review of Back to the Rhythm in the coming days.

sexdepartment.jpg

Finally, S.E.X. Department sent me a copy of the self-titled debut. This band is already a Myspace favorite, and their first effort is due next month. While their CD isn't even in the hands of the buying public, the band is already planning a glam tour with artists like Pretty Boy Floyd and Tuff.

As you can see, I'll be busy the next few days. I have high hopes for all these albums.

Monday
Oct152007

Van Halen: 125 Minutes Live

Who: Van Halen, plus me, Eric and thousands of our closest friends.
What: Van Halen “reunion” tour, featuring David Lee Roth on vocals, Wolfgang Van Halen on bass, Eddie Van Halen on guitar, and Alex Van Halen on drums.
When: Sunday, October 14, 2007. 8:30 p.m.
Where: Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
Why: This tour is legendary!
How: Good credit. Thanks MasterCard!

vanhalenwide_wm.JPGI’ve been looking forward to my chance to see Van Halen live for months now. The “on-again, off-again” tour has put of the rock world on edge, and now it seems things might actually be halfway decent in the Van Halen camp. By the time the band took the stage, the crowd was rowdy and ready to go. These people wanted their Van Halen! The set list seemed pretty similar to the one leaked on the Internet around a month ago. Here’s what the mighty Van Halen performed:

You Really Got Me
I’m the One
Runnin' With the Devil
Romeo Delight
Somebody Get Me a Doctor
Beautiful Girls
Dance the Night Away
Atomic Punk
Everybody Wants Some
So This Is Love?
Mean Street
Oh, Pretty Woman
Drum Solo
Unchained
I'll Wait
And the Cradle Will Rock
Hot for Teacher
Little Dreamer
Little Guitars
Jamie's Cryin'
Ice Cream Man (both acoustic and electric)
Panama
Eruption/Guitar Solo
Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
1984
Jump

DLroth_wm.JPGDiamond Dave acted as ringmaster, and wore about a six different circus-style top hats throughout the show. He was in his element last night, and he seemed to be having the time of his life. That man has a huge smile, which makes me wonder if he wears dentures, but I digress. He did say “Look at all the people here tonight!” which made the crowd go crazy. Everybody screamed, I don’t recall any laughing (at least from my section). At one point, Roth said “Welcome to the show. We’re three-fourths original and one-quarter inevitable.” This seemed to make Wolfgang smile.

I may have a crush on 16 year old Wolfgang. The boy has taken a lot of criticism, both in the real world and on the Internet, but he sure seemed to know what he was doing on stage. My favorite part of the entire show was when Wolfie took the top riser of the multi-platform stage and strummed the beginning of “Runnin’ With the Devil” with his bass outstretched over his head. I wasn’t the only one impressed: I noticed a lot of ladies screaming for the adolescent, who also proved he knows a thing or two about finger tapping a fret board.

eddieguitar_wm.JPGMy word, Eddie Van Halen can still play the guitar. No, he doesn’t play, he charms the instrument. Last night was an interesting exercise for me: it’s been more than a decade since I last saw Van Halen live (on the Balance tour, with Sammy Hagar singing vocals) but Eddie sounded better last night than when he was so much younger. He looked good too. Perhaps I was too young to appreciate his guitar mastery when my parents took me to see Van Halen so long ago, but I get it now. The man is a downright genius. Eddie’s solo lasted about 15 minutes. He would go in and out of “Eruption” and play other bits, striking the guitar from upside down, over his head, laying on the stage: you name it, he did it and won. It was interesting to watch the faces of the people in the capacity crowd while Eddie performed. When “Eruption” kicked into high gear, people screamed, but when Eddie moved on to improvise, the stadium went kind of silent as the crowd watched in awe. True to form, there is no living guitarist as good as Eddie Van Halen. Dare to dispute me, but I urge you to see this band live. If you do, you’ll know I’m right.

I’ve never been a gigantic fan of drum solos, but Alex Van Halen’s solo last night was pretty good. It was a decent length and he kept standing from the behind the kit to get the crowd involved, and last night he wasn’t confined to a neck brace. Still, it was a little hard to see Alex since the drum riser wasn’t all that high. I had very good seats, so I’m not sure people in the upper balconies could see the elder Van Halen very well.

Diamond Dave was his usual self, cracking jokes within songs and pushing a lot of sexual innuendo. When it was time for “Ice Cream Man,” Dave gave his bandmates a short break, and came out on stage with an acoustic guitar. He told the crowd about his Indiana roots and then started the song. It wasn’t long before Eddie made his guitar wail once again, and we were back to electric hysteria.

vanhalenwide2_wm.JPGAs an encore, “Jump” makes sense. After all, it is the band’s most famous song with Roth, and every single person inside Conseco Fieldhouse knew the words – and sang along! Even the eight year old girls in the row in front of me knew the words and jumped around…just like their parents. During “Jump,” there was a Van Halen blimp that chased Roth on stage (these same blimps circled the crowd before the show) and lots of confetti. There was a giant disco ball, and inflatable microphone emblazoned with the classic Van Halen logo. Much to my chagrin, Diamond Dave didn’t ride the microphone. Eric decided it was bigger than the one he used in all those old music videos. By the time the last chord bounced off the walls, the entire crowd was pumped. People were screaming as they exited the building…and most people agreed that the reunion was worth the cash – and the wait.