|C'mon, you LOVE Poison...stop pretending. It's cool...they are "retro" now!|
Saturday night in Portland, Oregon. It is cold, windy, and mid-November. After the last few stress-filled weeks, it was past time to just have a little fun. It is no secret that I am a fan of the "Tribute" music scene. (NOTE: The difference between TRIBUTE and COVER band is the fact that a Tribute band focuses on one group, and even tries to go for the "look" that band was known for.)
|You wanted the BEST...(you know the rest)|
Dr. Love is Portland's KISS tribute band. Seriously, I know of no other. As a fan, the first song I learned when I started hacking at my guitar was "Cold Gin". (Hint: I would love to "guest vocal" someday!) These guys go all out when they hit the stage. One of the nice touches is when "Peter Criss" sings the song "Beth", he passes out roses that are attached to drumsticks to some of the ladies. A real kick is listening to "Gene Simmons" and his constant banter with the crowd and the band. They guy is a natural performer.
|Holy Diver indeed!|
Believe in Dio was next. I actually saw this band a month or two ago and joked about "Scrawny James Dio" in a prior blog post/review. My problem was not just the fact the singer was so skinny, it was that his lips were not moving while the vocals were still going. Not saying he was not singing...but he had "help". The new guy has the chops. He struggled on some of the more ballad-driven cuts, but when it was time to belt it out, he had all you could want from a guy singing Dio tunes. Note to sound techs, too much guitar was drowning the vocals a bit. The guitarist is talented, but it covered some of the vocals and everything else at times.
Poison'us was the final act. Having seen them before, I was pretty stoked. This was Jenifer's first concert and I knew these guys were high energy stage performers. They really proved it during this show. I write zombie fiction for a living...and comparing the audience with the walking dead is kind of a cut on zombies. But, like true professionals, they left it all on stage and hit the marks on all the classics. They sounded great as always.
|Jenifer gets up close with "Brett Michaels"|
And with such a small venue, the band actually came out into the gathering and interacted. (I won't say crowd...let's leave it at gathering.) To be standing a foot away from "Brett Michaels" while he croons is something that my character from That Ghoul Ava might have to experience for herself some day. (I Wonder if Brett/Will would be interested in reading about her and then letting me use him loosely in one of her upcoming adventures?)
|...and "C.C DeVille"|
But there was something different about Poison'us this time. "Bobby Dahl" on bass is now played by Roger Jamie (also the Gene Simmons with Dr. Love). Take away the greasepaint and this guys still has a presence on stage that is undeniable. His energy and banter is great and he "acts" the part of the bass player for Poison. It is like watching a clinic of Onstage Rockstar Poses from the 80s-101. Scratch that...this was graduate level stuff. He can strut and shake with the best of 'em.
|This might be the longest he stayed in one spot.|
I had no problems with the former Bobby, and bands go through changes. But I will say that this new member brought a GREAT energy level to the show. The band interaction was up several notches. He even had some fun banter with the female backup singer (who might not get enough credit...she adds a very nice tone to the vocal side of this band).
All in all, Jenifer had a great time. She even got presented with a drumstick from "Rikki Rockett" who is played by the talented Andrew Losli. If the night had not already been memorable enough...she had something physical to commemorate her first concert experience.
A side note, I briefly mentioned the sparse audience. I wanted to take a moment to re-visit that part. One of the things about playing in the bars and clubs is that "hit-and-miss" factor when it comes to the audience. For me, this audience was a miss. Too many people sitting around, not enough people treating this like an event. Polite applause is fine for a musical or community theater production, but this is a chance to step back in time with some bands you love who actually care about the audience. These guys (and ladies) all have "real" jobs to deal with. Then, they find time to practice so that they can put on a helluva show. So next time you are in the audience...to quote "Brett Michaels" (aka Will Barnes) "MAKE SOME NOISE PEOPLE!" Kudos to all these bands for not letting the downer crowd (at an establishment that seemed to care less about this event...sorry Analog, but you lost a customer Saturday Night) keep them from putting on one kick ass show.