Runnin With The Devil/Noel Monk (Book Review)2017

 

So here we finally get 32 years after former Van Halen manager Noel Monk gets the heave-ho from our favourite two twisted dutch brothers Eddie & Alex Van Halen the book(Runnin With The Devil) which chronicles  Noel’s first hand account of trying to harness in Van Halen during the years of Monk’s  managing tenure of the band.(1978-85).

Now if your asking why now  32 years later after being fired would a book come out now. Well as Noel himself writes a final settlement back in 85 meant no publishing a book for years…so it’s now time!

Basically it boiled down to this. Noel managed(tried to) while everything else around it seems was a shit show to say the least!

Speaking of shit shows Noel was actually the road manager for the Sex Pistols on there ill-fated 1978 tour of the United States when after two weeks they were sent packing back to England. Noel had to deal with Sid Vicious & Johnny Rotten so I guess that was a good as any training ground for what would become Monk’s gig with Van Halen!(only it lasted longer than 2 weeks managing Halen)

Monk was jobless after the Pistols gig and but in no time was hired as Halens Road Manager once the debut self titled Halen album hit the streets in 1978. Halen at the time was manged by Marshall Berle who was canned once the band started selling albums and at the end of the tour everyone  realised they were $1.2 Million in debt.  VH also learned quickly that all the dressing rooms that you destroy and all the limo rides/paying the road crew etc comes out  of your pocket at the end of the day. The fact that Berle had Halen sign a crappy record deal also didn’t help his cause. Berle got tossed and hooked up with another L.A act and that would be RATT.

Cool to read that there first ever tour was playing third on a bill with Journey and Montrose. Van Halen and Monk figured it out pretty quick that they were selling a ton of tickets yet playing third on the bill which meant for Halen small dressing room/small stage space/hardly any soundchecks yet the debut Halen went Gold in 3 months so Monk and Crew would throw huge backstage parties while Journey and Montrose would be playing their show much to the chagrin of Journeys management.

Basically Halen didn’t give a Fuck about anything back than. Noel writes that the camaraderie between the band members was the best as it was the “Us against everyone” philosophy. Over time he writes to no one’s  surprise  that evaporated!

If anyone out there ever meets Steve Perry ask him if he likes guacamole!

So Monk begins his tenure as the Captain of the S.S Halen. It’s amazing he didn’t totally lose his own marbles keeping this boat afloat but at the end of the day Ed and Alex made Noel walk the plank.

Course the book is filled with ton of stories and that’s  what we want right?!

Drugs and Alcohol  which to no ones surprise is featured predominately throughout. It’s all here Weed/Coke/Booze these dudes were wired tighter than a top but they all had one goal in common and that was World Domination.

Everything is over the top back than especially when Lead Singer David Lee Roth was taking over (back in the early 80’s ) as the best front-man in Rock. Not vocally perse but with the acrobatics that was part of his stage routine. Offstage though was a whole other story. One of the interesting reads  of the book is in regards to how they travelled early on. Halen would fly commercial flights from city to city and it was Monk’s job to get the troops down to the lobby to catch their flights. The last one always to show up was Dave. Monk for a while thought Roth was being an ass as he wouldn’t pack, his hotel room would be a disaster and Monk would have to get Dave to the lobby where the rest of Halen would be continuously pissed at Dave for taking his time.

After a few flights this way Monk realised that Roth was afraid of flying as a Monk points out Roth always wanted to be in charge of everything. Sitting on an air plane Roth had no control.

Everyone knows that by 1981’s Fair Warning album there was tensions between Roth and the Brothers. Monk points out it started back in 1980  during the recording of Woman & Children First.

Monk writes that indeed a “Musical Rift” was starting to happen between Ed and Dave(SHOCKER!) back in 1980 when  problems started…

Monk goes into detail about the music business as well. When VH was about to release  VH 2 in 1979 he was called into the Billboard offices and was told by a high-ranking official where they would like the soon to be released album debut on the charts. Monk states he was stunned as he was told they could come in the Top 10 if they chose to. Monk was quick to say how about the mid forties so it would look like the album was rising instead of debuting high and sliding down the charts. Payback for the chart debut would be made by VH in Billboard….

How about some Payola? Yep, Noel writes in  great detail about when 1981’s Fair Warning went to gold record status and stalled in sales (there were no real “single like” tracks on the guitar heavy Fair Warning record) VH/Monk were freaking out so as Monk got summoned to Warner Brother records, someone told him on the side if they wanted Fair Warning to start selling than VH would have to cough up $200,000 of their own money and pay certain stations across the States $5000 each to get the album played at which VH did, not happily mind you but it worked and Fair Warning went Double Platinum.

Early 1982 Warner Brothers is begging for Halen product. VH has nothing new to offer so they record Pretty Woman and the single takes off which no one thought it would as Pretty Woman was released just to keep the Halen name out in the public. This is why 82’s Diver Down was half covers/half originals as it was recorded in about 3 weeks and rushed out due to the  single shooting up the charts!

These kind of stories actually fascinate me more for as we all know the Party Deal of VH.(  I still like to read about Krell Wars that Roth/Ed would indulge in )

Monk describes throughout the book the chaos that surrounded this band from 1978-85 when Noel’s 30 day contract was not renewed. Yup! You read that right for the 7 years he worked for VH they would only renew his contract every 30 days….

This is a great read into a band that basically was a” Professional Shit Show”. I’m amazed they could record/tour at a clip for that time and not actually kill each other.

1984 the mega album from VH you would think they would be on top of the world with album sales and tickets sold right? Wrong-o! Years of frustration with everyone come to a boil when Roth announces to everyone his cover E.P.

I will leave it at that!

I could go on with a boatload of stories(Roth being forced into a straight jacket being one) but the one common dominator being that we all know is that ex VH Bassist Michael Anthony is indeed the nicest guy in Rock.  Yes he is by all accounts and Monk confirms many a time over how great a guy Mikey is. No smut on him in this book whatsover…

Below is what Roth/Ed and Alex wanted  Anthony to  sign ….. Nice way to treat a bandmate eh?

This a fascinating read. Get This!

So What If Steve Harris borrowed from Beckett

Well Folks….
We all know about Steve Harris getting sued for swiping a few lines from another song decades back. Well my good Blog Friend “Destroyer Of Harmony” writes excellent and he tackled this subject and lo and behold one of the fella’s suing Harris/Maiden comments.
Read on!

destroyerofharmony

A friend of mine said it’s fake news, but, seriously, so what if Steve Harris was influenced by the band “Beckett”. So what if Steve Harris borrowed from the band “Beckett”. Trust me when I say this, there is no way that “Beckett” and their song writers created their songs in a vacuum, free from any texts and music that could have influenced them. So as much as Harris borrowed from “Beckett”, the band “Beckett” also owes its dues to the people they borrowed from.

But this isn’t an issue with the Beckett songwriters.

For whatever reasons, Steve Harris made a deal settlement with “Robert Barton” and “Brian Ingham” from the band “Beckett” over the song “Life’s Shadow” and how six lyrical lines were referenced in “Hallowed Be Thy Name”.

The current issue is with a retired rock band manager called Barry McKay, who is taking Steve Harris and Dave…

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Aerosmith/ALOHASMITH(Live 1983) Bootleg

 

Ya gotta love Bootleg Soundboard recordings! What you hear on your stereo/iPod or whatever device you listen to your music on  is what you would have heard that night in Hawaii back on January 4th 1983 when Steven Tyler and the Boys in Aerosmith bashed out there song’s that night blasted!

Blasted in the most possible way as Aerostoned could! I love this stuff when I come across Boots as you can hear a band nitty and gritty with no studio fix up!

Aero, needs no fixing….

Jimmy Crespo and Rick Dufay here are the guitarists and nowhere to be found are original axe men Joe Perry and Brad Whitford having had already bolted(Perry in 1980 and Whitford in 1982) yet this is a real cool recording as the album and tour this is from (Rock And A Hard Place) is the only tour Dufay and Crespo did together.

You get the classic Aero Tracks like opener Back In The Saddle/Big 10 Inch Record/Lick And A Promise/Lord of The Thighs/Dream On/Sweet Emotion/Toys In The Attic played with a piss n vinegar approach. Aero was still headlining arenas but issues with Tyler passing out during shows was starting to ween on promoters but here in Hawaii Tyler shows up sings the tunes at times a little off-key rambling a bit between tracks BUT this is LIVE ROCK N ROLL!

I have always had a fondness for Aero 1982-86 when they were not so big on selling albums as Aero were basically fuckin stoned and in another time zone yet they in my opinion bashed out a couple of real good rock records in the polished kinda sounding Rock In A Hard Place and the Aerostoned rough sounding Done With Mirrors(when Perry and Whitford returned). Much debate has been made around these parts about DWM’s high scoring here(haha ).  I’ll leave it at that!

Too be honest perhaps those years (82-86) resonate with myself and TBone more than the common AeroFan as 1982 was the year I discovered Tyler and Crew as an 15-year-old!

The real selling feature of this recording are some of the tracks like Three Mile Smile and Reefer Head Woman from 1979’s Night In The Ruts album. Love the groove of Three Mile Smile with Drummer Joey Kramer driving the beat of both these tracks.

Lightening Strikes and Rock In A Hard Place are the only two  tracks that were played from the current release at this show which was a shame as there are a bunch of great tracks on Rock In Hard Place that could have been played live….

The band is focused on the two new tunes oddly enough especially the title track (Pushing new AeroProduct) which is hilarious where at other times Aero gets loosey goosey with some of the older tracks!

AlohaSmith is a great listen and considering it’s probably been bootlegged a million times over is a cool one to listen to as just a year later Perry and Whitford returned and Crespo and Dufay were let go!

Riot/Restless Breed (1982)

 

Riot’s Restless Breed back in 1982 was my first Riot purchase.  I had seen the ad for this album in Circus or Hit Parader and outside of the goofy looking seal cover inside this album packed a bunch of NYC street rock filled with riff’s and vocals delivered like a punch to your throat.

Riot I dug and when I reviewed their classic 1981 album Fire Down Under you get the sense that they were real close to breaking it big but singer Guy Speranza(RIP) abruptly quit  and In Through The OutDoor kicking it off its hinges is new lead throat Rhett Forrester(RIP)

Restless Breed gets under way with Hard Lovin Man with a straight kick to your gut like rock track. Rhett sings it like he lived it. The guitars of Rick Ventura and Mark Reale(RIP) are real good with each guy trading off a barrage of solo’s while Rhett just wails away.

CIA features a slick melodic chorus. CIA is a take no prisoners tune. Don’t muck around with the CIA as they will come hunting with their magnum!

The title track Restless Breed is an absolute beast of a track. It starts off simple enough and then ramps up come chorus time. Restless Breed I cannot emphasize how awesome of a track it is. Check out the vid below….it’s live…

When I Was Young kinda has rock radio written all over it as Rhett takes a chill pill and sings the tune and has a galloping like beat to it. Very autobiographical like song.(original version was done by The Animals I believe) Nice guitar work by the boy’s.

Drummer Sandy Slavin  and Bassist Kip Lemming rock the shit of their instruments to start off Loanshark. Rhett is jacked up and collecting payments over due! Tons of ride cymbal..

Hey man the first 18 seconds of Loved By You sounds like Dokken’s Into The Fire but played in a different key mind you. Than again maybe it’s me. Another great rock track. Hey man is Rhett dabbling on a harmonica on this track. Yes siree some one is…sounds like a party going on int he background.  Great track.

Over To You pulls no punches another great song in the Riot catalogue and once again they shift gears into a melodic chorus mind you not losing their edge!

Showdown takes a step back and Rhett is taking a walk out the door on his woman. It’s official a Showdown while Dream Away keeps the Riot hard melodic train a rolling while the chorus has Rhett and the guitars trading off.

To end the album Violent Crimes kicks you square in the crotch. Ouch! No fooling around. Violent Crimes just flats out rocks as the Riot Train may come off the tracks. Great chorus and real cool Bass ripping by Kip!

So here’s the deal…

I purchased this deluxe edition of Restless Breed which includes a 6 song live Ep recorded in July 1982 that at the time  was sold separate and there weren’t many copies floating around. These live Rhett tracks are the clincher with a total ripping version of Swords And Tequila. The other 5 songs on the EP are from Restless Breed.(Hard Lovin Man/Showdown/Loved By You/Restless Breed/Loanshark)

The reissue itself is pretty slick as well on cd. A mini gatefold sleeve. Mini poster and lyrics on the back. The powers that be went all out on this one.

Better yet when I stumbled upon this on Amazon.ca it was listed for $9.98(purchased it right away) and a few days later it went up to $19.98??

This is a great hard rock album.

These Dudes in Riot were not Quiet!

T.B.B.F 2017..Day 3/Bachman-Big Sugar/July 9th 2017

Day 3 of the Thunder Bay Blues Festival was basically a bunch of Guitar Rock with these acts..

Right in my wheelhouse you could say…

Myself and Suzi arrived at around 3:40 pm Sunday afternoon but it took us a full half hour to enter the festival grounds. Why you ask? Simple to access the Festival you have to cross train tracks and well two full CN cargo trains one right after another (with one train stopping/backing up changing tracks) held up quite a few people.

The way the tracks are laid out in this town is it will eventually cut a path right through the heart of the city basically splitting the town in two. There’s a few not so shortcuts but amazing in the year 2017 a Choo Choo train can basically halt a town at least for a  few minutes or in this case a half n hour…

Once on the grounds site we dumped our lawn chairs got a couple of Adult Pops and Anthony Gomes was taking the stage. This guy did not disappoint as this is a power trio that loves to blaze hard blues rock. The tempo was set for the day. Anthony and his two other cohorts rocked and rolled and did not let the downpour of rain that blasted down from the skies for a good duration of his set bother him.  Kudos to Anthony he got wet. Just kept wiping his guitar and getting on with it! This is a dude that I’m gonna have to check out. Hell he even at one point tossed a snippet of Van Halen’s Eruption in one of his solo’s so you know he means business!

By the time the  Wide Mouth Mason trio of fella’s hit the stage the rain had passed(still kinda cloudy) and these guys I can tell you showed up. With Gomes setting the bar on frenzied heavy guitar rock WMM’s own guitarist  Shawn Verreault showed up 10 fold. Laid down some great vocals and brilliant guitar playing including lap steel guitar and these guys the last time I saw them was when they opened for The Guess Who back in 2000. WMM has not changed one bit. It was real good to hear songs like Why,Midnight Rain,Tom Robinson.  One of the coolest parts of the Mason set was when Verreault had his lap steel out and the boy’s ripped out a wicked rocked up version of Prince’s “Raspberry Beret” that went right into David Bowies ‘Modern Love”. Man it was soooo good. Wide Mouth Mason took the challenge put forth by Gomes and his power trio and Mason Boy’s delivered!

BIG SUGAR. Gordie Johnson is back wearing the suits and he’s revamped Big Sugar. Gone is Mr Chill(Keyboards) and in are a few new musicians (a female backing vocalist)and I will say Sugar was unbelievable on this late afternoon. To me Big Sugar is a mashup of old school 70’s ZZ Top guitar rock mixed with a tinge at  certain time’s of Bob Marley reggae thrown in.  A sound that is known as BIG SUGAR. You want lots of Gibson Double Neck playing? It was here. Live his guitar tone sounds like it does on record. Red Rover was played early on and ‘Brothers and Sisters are you ready?” sang Gordie! Love the tempo these guys toss live. You know you have a decent back catalogue of material to draw from when one of Sugar’s biggest hits Diggin A Hole is played early on. If I Had My Way slinked its way around with Gordie playing some real slick slide guitar. Reggae rock of Turn The Lights On had the crowd moving while the old school ZZ sounding Better Get Used To It was brilliant. You cannot go wrong with this kind of rock. Gordie didn’t speak to much but when he did he told us that Sugar has a new album coming out later in the year and they proceeded to play two new tracks. (Sorry can’t remember the titles) But I will say they sounded like standout tracks and basically have sold me on wanting to purchase the new Sugar album. Slick move to play new tracks as you may lose the crowd but nope they were that good! One being a total rock out track . All Hell For A Basement whipped everyone in the crowd back into shape. Gordie totally slayed me with Sugar’s what I would say is my fav-o song of there’s The Scene. The Scene is a real cool vibe rock full steamer rock n sugar track. The Scene blends great percussion/guitar and vocals with some slick like lyrics. At the end of The Scene Gordie as per Protocol played O Canada on his double neck and flashed the Canadian Flag which was painted on the back of his guitar. BIG SUGAR DELIVERED!

To close out the weekend  it was up to Randy Bachman to cap things off. Did he? Well let’s put it this way. Randy has a ton of material to draw from him and he did by opening up with Roll On Down The Highway. Bachman at the age of 73(!) can still play the six string. The B.T.O material that was played like the classic Four Wheel Drive,You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,Let it Ride,Hey You ( in which Randy and crew jammed some AC/DC You Shook Me All Night Long, Steve Millers Rock N Me Rod Stewarts Hot Legs and WIld Thing) Now where he lost some momentum for me(not others mind you) was some of the Guess Who songs. Good songs mind you but songs like These Eyes,Undone  albeit a lot of people here tonight love those tunes to me Randy rules on the BTO stuff! Now saying that when Bachman dug into American Woman which segued into Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love only to return to American Woman was pure brilliance! So some Guess Who worked some in my opinion didn’t work so good. Course The Rand-man wrapped it up with Takin Care Of Business!

Gordie and BIG SUGAR stole the weekend but they were pushed by Mitchell/Doyle/Gomes/Bachman and  Wide Mouth Mason.

Sunday was a bunch of Guitar Rock which was what I wanted to hear in the first place and it was delivered upon.

Too wrap things up about the Festival. I still say the current location is crap. The setting by the lake is awesome but the place with the low stage sucks. The Food Vendors make a huge circle around the festival grounds and are right basically tucked on the sidewalk. This gets way to congested when you have people waiting for food and others just trying to back to their lawn chairs.  Friday and especially Saturday were jammed. Sunday was but not as much.

For the Organisers of  this Festival it’s about the buck. Too hear about broken attendance records all weekend gets nauseating after a while. With all this cash coming in fix this area up!

I think also the lineup nights could have been better but that’s due to availability of course. Bachman/Mitchell Friday Night ..Saturday Doyle should have closed with Bare Naked Ladies playing before Alan.  On Sunday BIG SUGAR should have closed this out. My gripe!

JACKASS MOVE OF THE FESTIVAL GOES TO…We weren’t even 20 minutes on the Festival grounds on Friday  when some ol dude(pushing 60 I would say) as Sue was about to put ice in her drink with a scoop this ol moron couldn’t wait for the scoop decided to grab the ice from the trays  with his bare hands. Sue decided at that point to never use ICE in drinks at a public gathering again(haha). What a DumbFuck this fella was…..

 

SUZI’S DAY 3 BOXSCORE

Anthony Gomes- 10/10

WIDE MOUTH MASON-10/10

BIG SUGAR-10/10

RANDY BACHMAN-8.5/10

Holeee Crap the wifey digs loud guitar Rock!

I’m outta here for a bit ! Thanks for reading!

T.B.B.F 2017…Day 2/Saturday July 8th 2017

So Day 2 of the Thunder Bay Blues Festival comes and goes so let’s get to it ok!

Word on the street is that 8000 people showed up to check out the acts that played down at the local waterfront festival on Saturday and you ask how do I know? Well simple! It was announced about 8000 Fuckin times that a new attendance record had been set in  the 16th year of the Festival! Ok that’s awesome lets move on from the continuous verbal ego boosting as I still find stuff wrong with this festival and a few decent things but I will gripe after..

The weather today was on/off light rain which was no biggie it would rain stop for a bit start but as the day progressed it got clearer out!

Let The Music Do The Talking….

Myself,Suzi and my pal Chuck D and his girlfriend Jennifer arrived at around 3:30 in the afternoon just as Vancouver’s Barney Bentall And The Legendary Hearts took the stage.

(pic below L-R ..Jennifer/Suzi and a Lunatic!)

Barney’s music on this day was basically John Mellancamp Lite. This is mid tempo rock kinda one beat and pace throughout. Nothing to write home about. Barney needs to crank the amp up in my estimation but the cat has been at it for so long(since 1988) as I don’t think that will change.  Basically I recognised one tune and that was from his 88 album debut which was Something To Live For.

So I was cruising to get us Beer tickets when I stumbled upon this fellow Rival Sons fan!( He was sporting the Son’s colours as well) He called me over and his girlfriend snapped a pic(I don’t have a iPhone) and I moved on. Later in the day he came by where we were sitting and Suzi snapped a shot of us on her phone. Never even got the fellow’s name. Seemed like a real chill dude and frigg he dig’s Rival Son’s so how about we call him Rando!

 

Lighthouse another Canadian radio staple for close to 50 years took the stage. This 9 piece act had a 4 piece horn section with them, Nothing like hearing live horns not some silly willy plonk of the ivories from a keyboard. Good act and the first real signs of life from the  audience this weekend as people got up off their asses and started jiving to the classic am rock of Lighthouse’s big radio hits like Summer Nights and One Fine Morning.  Lighthouse was good and entertaining and the second ever band I have heard with live horns ever! (Kool & The Gang Being the first) Dan Clancy  the lead singer was all over the place and should be commended as he worked the crowd hard man and was rewarded!

Another Canadian Blues N Brass band that has been going for about 40 years now is The Powder Blues Band. Led by founding member Tom Lavin Powder Blues featured 6 fella’s even featuring a local fellow on keyboards. (Sorry fella can’t remember your name) But these guys can play and Lavin told a great story about the late Jeff Healy as well. Powder Blues were good and of course big hit Doin It Right On The Wrong Side Of Town had people hopping.

Dunno what was going on as well, some kind of delay perhaps but 4 dudes hit the stage for a bit and played cover tunes? Killing time I would call it as the festival was about close to 90 minutes behind schedule and if you work early Sunday am this sucks. This festival is notorious for running late. Supposed to end at 11 pm but when the main act doesn’t hit the stage til 10:40 pm your shooting way over…

Alan Doyle And The Beautiful Gypsies hailing from Newfoundland rocked the Festival with a rocked up Irish Jig super fuel charged set! Alan was here with his previous band Great Big Sea four years ago and put on a great show. So now Al’s back with a new band and I can tell you there is no dip in this fella’s stage presence. Ton’s of energy and the real ace in the hole in Doyle s band is guitarist Cory Tetford  who wailed on the six string not showing off but playing slick like leads and at other times playing some nifty slide guitar as well.  Doyle has just released a new single Summer Summer Night which for a new track went over well and thorough out his 12 song set he kept working the crowd switching between his acoustic and electric guitar. He also dipped into his back catalogue and played Great Big Sea’s Ordinary Day and closed his set with 1,2,3,4 a song that had headliners Barenaked Ladies Frontman/Guitarist Ed Roberston jam on..

Barenaked Ladies came out and thanks to the energy put forth by Doyle was kinda lost when BNL opened with a track called Boomerang. Kinda mellow rock to open but the crowd was revived when the second track It’s All Been Done had the crowd moving. BNL are a quirky rock act to say the least ( did a jam out about a local Tbay pancake joint)and thats what I kinda dig about em. Not a huge fan per se but they are a tight live act and l will give them that. Tons of their hits were played and I like the guitar driven rock of tracks like Old Apartment. Even the theme of Big Bang Theory(TV show) was played. Big old-time jam out with Doyle and his band along with Bentall who joined BNL for IF I Had A $1000,0000 had the crowd moving as well….Good Act..

Day 2 was better act wise than Day 1. Doyle for my moneys worth should have headlined Day 2 over BNL’S as Doyle’s beer driven celtic rock cannot be beaten at this kind of festival. Even though I only know Doyle by his radio tunes and don’t own any of his music it speaks volumes that he can show up here to Tbay and make an old Metalhead like me take notice not once but twice!

SUZI’S DAY 2 BOXSCORE..

Barney Bentall- 5/10

Lighthouse-7/10

Powder Blues Band-7/10

Alan Doyle-10/10 (Suzi sez knew how to entertain a crowd. Did not let the crowd flatline)

BNL-  7/10

Thunder Bay Bluesfest 2017….Day 1/Friday July 7th 2017

 

I know I know I said yesterday I was out of here for a few weeks but I thought I had better review this weekends shows and strike while the iron’s hot! Once these 3 Day/ Nights are reviewed I will be on holidaze….

Pics done by D.S.P.S (Deke’s Shitty Photography Skills)

You have to hand it to the press in this town as the Headline’s read this morning”New Attendance Records Set” Well how about a whoop D who F’in cares. The organisers of this Festival go through this song and dance all the time with the amount of people  strolling through their gates.

Hey man do you think for a moment the press has to pay to get in? (Grease more palms please) . We paid and after my last post or should I say rant let’s see whats happening down at the old waterfront where the Festival takes place! Birch Tree’s included!

Now as I make my return to this festival after a 4 year sabbatical will it be a better experience for myself and Suzi or will it be “Meh!”

A few acts had already played by the time we got there which  was pretty much when Kim Mitchell  was about to take the stage and Akimbo still at around or over the age of 60 can bend those six  strings and when the sun is shining and you open your set with Lager & Ale followed by Rocklandwonderland you know you are gonna have the crowd on your side.

Kim over the years has built up an impressive solo catalogue of material as well as from his 70’s act Max Webster to which if I’m correct Kim and crew went 4 songs in this set with Webster material! (I can hear Mikey Ladano saying “WHAT!” ) High Class In Borrowed Shoes/Check/Diamonds Diamonds/Paradise Skies.  Props to Kim for shaking up the set list as he could have totally played it safe but choose to dig deep in the rock vault.

Kim also told the story of “technical issues” when he opened for Boston (Which I reviewed a ways back) and saying that Boston guitarist Tom Scholz had issues with his equipment that he monkeyed around with for about 4 hours! Quirky…comes to mind…..

Course some great Kim solo tracks were played like That’s A Man a real stripped down borderline acoustic country like  rendition of Easy To Tame.  The band than  rock’s  it up with I Am A Wild Party. 

All We Are featuring long time sidekick Bassist Peter Fredette was a standout as I have always loved the vocal trade off between the Pete and Kim on this song.

To top it off comes more blazing Rock Guitar in the form of Rock N Roll Duty and final tune Go For Soda! Just some good ol fashioned hard  rock nuggets with a ton of excellent axemanship on the six string left the crowd wanting more.

To which Kim and the boys headed back to the stage and ended there set with the mega hit Patio Lanterns.

Kim at this stage showed up and rocked it out as well as not playing it safe with his set list!

Atta Boy Akimbo!

This fella below needs to Go For Soda!

Next up was the Sam Roberts Band. These cats I have heard tons of on the local radio and in Canada they sell a ton of albums.  First things first I do not own any of these guy’s music so I will tread carefully with this one.

For starters there all clean-cut dudes from my vantage point who can play their instruments but the first three songs played to me sounded like one big tune that just floated about in the air down at the festival. Kinda U2’ey in spots. Fair enough as a lot of folks here are into them.

Sam did say that by being in Tbay it would be a great time to play   the tune  An American Draft Dodger In Thunder Bay.  I will give him a ton of props for really making a move to make me notice!

Course the biggie rock radio tracks like Were All In This Together  and  Brother Down did totally resonate with me and they are well crafted rock tracks.

To end the set Kim Mitchell joined the Roberts band and they from which I suppose did some collaborating and Kim once again laid down some guitar law. Pretty cool end of the set jam out!

Sam Roberts was good and perhaps I should give this dude some listens. But as I stated earlier he sells a ton of music and has his own Beer Line… Lets put it this way my good pal CHUCK D at one point asked “Who are we clapping For?” Haha…

Amanda Marshall was the closer for  night one of the Festival.  She showed up with a pretty decent light show and a real good 5 piece backing band but for some reason her pacing of the concert was left to be desired. Amazing that she has not put out any new recorded material since 2001 yet her 3 albums all sold well in Canada so I assume its comeback time.

Her set started off pretty rockin and no doubt the lady can still sing and she has a ton of airplay here in Thunder Bay.

Everybodys Got A Story is a pretty cool tune about Tattoos and Booze and well its  a song about when  shit happens.  But for some reason the set kinda limped along a little on the light side of things for my liking. Amp it up Amanda as you do have the vocals and the stage presence….

So Day 1 is in the books…

So shall we do a rating system like I did last year when me and Suzi went to Rock The Fort? 

Ok let’s do this…

Suzi’s Score –

Kim Mitchell ..7/10 ( Suzi deducted One point for Guitar Wanking…hahaha… but she did add that was  personal preference)

Sam Roberts Band- 5/10 ( no comment)

Amanda Marshall-5/10 ( Sound had too much bass)

dEkE’s Two Cents…

I agree with the Boss’s score on this show. The Festival Organisers would call this a diverse bill. I call it that yes but Kim Mitchell should have headlined this night as Kim has that driving loud guitar rock along with a mix of good ol fashioned Beer Drinking Tune’s that spike Beer sales! I can’t really say that about the other two acts. Albeit good acts in regards to musicianship and vocals but lacking in the  pace department!

Up Next Day 2……

 

 

Rock Album, Concert Reviews And The Odd Book Review