|Shoot to Thrill!|
So, normally I give the lowdown on the show I saw by talking about the opener and then the headliner. Not this time. When I saw the band Shoot to Thrill for the first time, it was at the Canby Harefest. I will openly admit that I had two very distinct reactions. Musically, I thought that they were the tightest band to perform when it came to the music. However, I was not as enthusiastic about the lead singer. Evan Berry is a talented young man, of that I had no doubt, but I have seen the original lineups (meaning both Bon Scott and Brian Johnson) in the flesh. Evan's vocals were too modern. He was a bit of a screamer, whereas, Bon was nasty sex and Brian was a punch in the face.
A few months later, I entered the Aladdin with no new expectations. I will say on the record that Evan has grown into his role, and if he continues to show this sort of amazing growth, then he will own any true AC/DC fan's admiration. He came out and took control of the stage and belted out vocals in a way that made me wonder what spirit he was channeling. He had an edgy nastiness when he took on AC/DC classics from the Bon Scott era and then snarled out the Brian Johnson lyrics with a voice twice the size of the young man I had seen just a few short months ago.
The rest of the band is still just as tight as I remember. Ted Berry IS Angus Young (as well as Evan's dad) and he is a ball of energy that will make you wonder what fountain of youth he drinks from before the show. Maury Brown holds down the rhythm as Malcolm Young (with one of the most beautiful guitars I have seen in a while) and Jeff Krebs drives the rhythm engine on bass along with Kevin Rankin on the drums as Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd respectively. If you are in the Northwest and have never seen the power and glory of an AC/DC concert, or, if you just want to re-live the glory of one of rock's premiere bands, then go to the J-Fell page and find out when and where you can see them next. Fair warning, this show sold out...and I see that as a trend that will continue for a long time. And let me just say to Evan Berry...young man, you have converted me into a fan.
|Livin' on my hair...err...a prayer...|
Steelhorse is the band I came to the Aladdin theater to see. This is another band that I saw for the first time at the Canby Harefest this past August. When I was younger and Bon Jovi was popular, I actually dismissed them because I was into Motley Crue, Van Halen, and KISS. I saw Bon Jovi as too pretty to like. However, the Young Guns song, Blaze of Glory, converted me. Then I found out that this was the same band that had put out the track Runaway a few years earlier. So I wiped the egg off my face and gave them another listen. After that, they were sort of my dirty secret.
|Two very cool cats|
Mark Thomas fronts this band and if you are not right next to him, you would swear that Jon Bon Jovi snuck onstage. He is simply amazing and has some crazy good vocals. However, this is the band that was a too-close-to-call second when it came to the tightness of their sound onstage.
|Don't try this at home. Singing...drumming? Oh, and then he hit skins for Shoot to Thrill|
That has to be credited to Bryan Harvey on keyboards, Jeff Buehner on bass and Kevin Rankin on drums providing a soundtrack. Yep, Kevin Rankin pulled double duty that night. After a flawless set behind Steelhorse, he drove the bus for Shoot to Thrill. J-Fell knows how to put together one helluva night for music fans. I will say that Jeff is one of the most enthusiastic and expressive bass players on the tribute scene (and alongside Motorbreath's Mark Trees, could probably become the next WWE tag team champions of the world).
|Look...it's THE KISS!|
I saved a special part to talk about a very talented guitarist. The first time that I saw Brian McGroovy (how cool is that name?!) was with a Cult tribute band. He just exudes "cool". He is one of those guys that you watch play that makes you believe that playing the guitar is easy. Make no mistake...it is NOT. However, he is just that damn good. He is charismatic and plays with style. I think I have a slight man-crush on this guy. Not in the scary, stalker way, just in the "hanging out with this guy would be freakin' awesome" sort of way.
If you were not in attendance, I once again urge you to find out the date of the next Steelhorse gig. If you are a Bon Jovi fan, you owe it to yourself to get closer than you probably ever came to the real band. And the beauty is that you will be hard pressed to tell the difference.