Category Archives: Tbones/ Decade Of Decadence

These are all the shows that me & T attended in the 80s til present day!

Tbone’s Top 11 All Time Favourite Concerts.

      T-Bone’s Top 11 Live Concerts

HEY FOLK’S! Did you all see Tbone live on Mikey’s stream last night? Well in case you missed it here is the man himself going into full detail about his all-time Top 11 Live Shows! Take it away Tbone….

  1. Tragically Hip. Man Machine Poem- Final Tour. Winnipeg. 2016-Most emotional concert I’ve ever attended. We all saw the final show in Kingston on CBC when Canada shut down for the day to pay our respect. I consider myself extraordinarily fortunate to have been invited to take this one in and will never forget it. The only time I’ve opening cried at a Rock concert “… Get Ry Cooder to sing my eulogy” hit me very hard that night. Gord Downey was on stage by himself at the end of the show looking everywhere in the arena at everyone in the crowd and literally thanking every single person it felt like and the crowd was deafening and this went on for such a long time but yet you didn’t want it to end. Because the end would be final. This one will be very, very hard to top for me personally.

     

    2--Aerosmith Pump Tour 1990-Before the summer of 2016 when I attended what would become my new #1, this was the show for me. Not only was this a phenomenal concert both musically and visually, by a band that only a few years earlier ressurected itself from the Rock’n Roll graveyard, but I was still a somewhat impressionable, Smith fan seeing them live for the first time and this was a bus tour package with an awesome group of people including Deke and my bro’s and the total experience was just incredible. And Skid Row opened so that didn’t hurt either. I could go on and on but I’ll leave it at that.
  2. 3-U2. 360 Tour. Montreal. 2011-This is the biggest concert I’ve ever attended, 80,000+, and U2 did not disappoint. Even though this outdoor show concluded in a huge rainstorm, that only adds to my memories of this show. Great, great show supporting “No Line on the Horizon”, which is one of their better post “Achtung Baby” albums in my opinion.
  1. 4-Van Halen. F.U.C.K. tour. Minneapolis. 1992-Van Halen since 1984 has been unabashedly been my favorite band, and this was my first time actually getting to see them live. This was the height of the Van-Hagar version of the band and myself and a friend (Funk, Deke knows who this is.) actually got to sneak into soundcheck. As we went to the Target Centre to collect our tickets at Will-call, we could here Van Halen riffs pour out of the arena so we snuck down some corridor and popped out in the upper deck and quietly just took it all in. Very cool experience.
  1. 5-Rolling Stones. Voodoo Lounge. TO. 1994-What can you say about the Stones? Legends, awesome tunes, Keith Richards is a God that no drug or substance on the planet can take out. This was a time when many first and second-generation Classic Rock Bands were doing huge reunion tours or in the Stones case, business as usual, and this tour was huge doing huge numbers and Deke I got to experience first hand why. And it didn’t hurt that STP opened the show as I was just becoming a fan of their music and this concert cemented that for me.
  1. 6-Rush. Vapour Trails. Minneapolis 2002-I have only ever had the privilege of experiencing Rush once, live in concert, but it was worth the wait. Wow! Neil Peart in particular just blew me away. Drum solos usually mean Washroom break or let’s go check our the T-shirt mech, but not when he’s on the kit. Geddy and Alex were equally impressive in their business type approach to nailing every song but still maintaining a sense of humor along the way. One of Canada’s most impressive exports for sure. And “ NO Deke” I am not prepared to share any of the Big Red exploits from this trip. LOL
  1. 7-Bon Jovi. Jersey. Winnipeg. 1989-This was my first out of town, big concert event with Deke, and in my opinion, Bon Jovi was supporting their best Album, so for those reasons, it makes the list. Skid Row who I was also into at the time opened, so this was the real-deal…. Full-On, Arena-Cock-Rock as Deke would say, not for the faint of heart. Jon popped out of the stage at the beginning of Lay Your Hands on Me to start the show and from that moment on I wasn’t sure whether to watch the band or the girls throwing their underwear at them. First World Problems, I guess.
  1. 8-Paul McCartney. New World Tour. Winnipeg. 1993-Seeing Paul live was seeing a living legend and as close as I’d ever get to experiencing the Beatles, so what more really needs to be said. Even in his later years the guy could then and still delivers. Only weird memory from this show was he was really pushing a promoting Vegetarianism, which Deke and I found a little humorous. Should have snuck in a couple Big Mac’s or Whoppers just for fun.
  1. 9-Pink Floyd. Division Bell Tour. Winnipeg. 1994– I never have been a huge Pot consumer, beer and whiskey are more my vices, however, I wish I had smoked up before this show as I’m pretty sure Deke and I were the only two in Winnipeg Stadium who weren’t lit up. That said, even though this was the David Gilmour version of Floyd, whom I love as a guitar player, Pink Floyd was and is an iconic name with iconic tunes, and getting a chance to experience that live was not lost on me.
  1. 10-Motley Crüe. Dr. Feelgood. Winnipeg. 1990-I struggled with where to slot this one in as in more recent years my Crue fandom has waned somewhat but still, I knew this show had to make the list. At the time I think it’s fair to say, that Deke and I loved this show. Tommy Lee’s drums rose up off the stage and traveled out above the crowd, the band came on at the very end of the show and played a second encore (Don’t Go Away Mad) with the house lights on which at least felt like an ad-lib at the time with Vince saying to the rabid Winnipeg crowd “You guys have been kicking our asses all night so here’s one more for ya”. This was Motley at their best.
  1. 11-Sloan. Navy Blues. Crocks/NV. 2019– This is the only Thunder Bay show to make my list and I wanted to have at least one and I also needed to have Sloan on this list as I’ve never seen them in a larger setting but have seen them with Deke here in Thunder Bay in the bar/club setting a couple times, and I absolutely love these guys. And since Navy Blues is my favorite Sloan album, slam dunk, easy choice. I love the concept of playing the whole album as a first set and then play a second set of favorites. Also, love watching Chris play drums when Andrew steps up to the mic. His drumming style looks like it’s about to fall off the rails at any point but it never does. Awesome! …. S-L-O-O-A-N!
  1.  

 

Serious contenders but I wanted to keep things one per band. These are in no particular order.

  1. Tragically Hip. Thunder Bay. Crocks. 1988
  2. U2. Vertigo Tour. Minneapolis. 2005. 
  3. Bryan Adams/ Steve Miller/ Extreme. Birds Hill Provincial Park, Manitoba. 1992
  4. Sloan, One Chord to Another, Thunder Bay. Crocks. 2016
  5. Aerosmith Nine Lives, Minneapolis. 1997
  6. Aerosmith. Just Push Play. Minneapolis. 2001. Mainly for opening act The Cult. Ian Astbury was worth the price of admission on his own.
  7. Georgia Satellites, In the Land of Salvation and Sin. Thunder Bay, 1989
  8. ZZ Top with Colin James. Recycler. Winnipeg. 1990
  9. John 5 with Jared James Nichols, Crocks/NV. Thunder Bay. 2020
  10. Helix. Razor’s Edge. Thunder Bay (LU Agora). 1985
  11. Ted Nugent. Little Miss Dangerous. Thunder Bay. 1986
  12. Jeff Healy. CLE Colesium. 1990

 

***Too many cool TBay shows to mention, never mind remembering them all at my age. LOL

 

 

 

 

 

Vinyl Rewrite- RUSH: Signals(1982)

When I received on Friday this text from Tbone’s brother Darr that Neil Peart had passed I was shocked as were millions of others.

I basically spent Friday night(and basically the weekend) surfing FaceBook and Twitter as hundreds of tributes poured into that fella Peart who revolutionized rock drumming.  Guys like Paul Stanley/Peter Criss/Mike Portnoy/Slash/Duff/Gene Simmons/Lars Ulrich/Julian Lennon and Taylor Hawkins who commented that Neil had the ‘Hands of God’ were brilliant and all from the heart.

Fellow Bloggers such as Mikey/HMO/80’s MetalMan/Destroyer of Harmony/Andrew/BOP/Jeff Jap/Bourbon and Vinyl wrote awesome posts about Peart’s passing.

I was going to as well but I thought I would also talk about the very first RUSH album I purchased which was Signals back in 1982.

Tbone in the summer of 1981 got Moving Pictures on vinyl and that was my intro to RUSH as they were HUGE that year as Tom Sawyer and Limelight were everywhere.

Xmas 1981 my parents gave me Moving Pictures along with Exit Stage Left which just blew my mind!

Once Signals hit the streets in  September 1982 we were all snapping it up pretty much the day it hit the streets. What a way to start Grade 10 that year. First week back to school and a new RUSH album to dig into.

Safe to say I blew out a few weeks of doing homework that September as I was studying the lyrics of Neil Peart as well as the riffage brought forth by Lee/Lifeson!

Signals was 80’s Rush. 8 tracks. 4 songs per side. Synthy driven as the opener Subdivisions proves. Analog Kid has to be in my Top 5 all-time Rush Tunes. I love how Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson lock horns with the bass and guitars and Neil just does the rest on the song.

Chemistry is awash in keys but what a fantastic tune. Neil drives the song forward. The wild thing about Chemistry is it’s one of the few Rush tunes that the lyrics were written by Neil/Geddy and Alex!

Countdown details the very first NASA Launch of the Space Shuttle. A total Prog Rock track and the way Neil writes the lyrics you think you were there with him..

Lit up with anticipation
We arrive at the launching site
The sky is still dark, nearing dawn
On the Florida coastline

Circling choppers slash the night
With roving searchlight beams
This magic day when super-science
Mingles with the bright stuff of dreams

Floodlit in the hazy distance
The star of this unearthly show
Venting vapors, like the breath
Of a sleeping white dragon

Crackling speakers voices tense
Resume the final count
All systems check, T-minus-nine
As the sun and the drama start to mount

The air is charged, a humid, motionless mass
The crowds and the cameras
The cars full of spectators pass
Excitement so thick, you could cut it with a knife
Technology high, on the leading edge of life

The earth beneath us starts to tremble
With the spreading of a low black cloud
A thunderous roar shakes the air
Like the whole world exploding

Scorching blast of golden fire
As it slowly leaves the ground
Tears away with a mighty force
The air is shattered by the awesome sound

Excitement so thick, you could cut it with a knife
Technology high, on the leading edge of life
Like a pillar of cloud, the smoke lingers
High in the air
In fascination with the eyes
of the world, we stare

Safe to say that Neil was my favorite teacher in Grade 10 whereas I could lye in my bed and drop the needle on this album and it would just take my mind away as there was always something going on within the parameters of a RUSH song. Whether it was the music or the lyrics.

So Brilliant!

People have gone on at times that Alex was at times buried under the keyboards in the 80s, Perhaps but what I always dug that come solo time the guitar would be upfront as they would just strip it all back to that three-piece band no one could touch em. Then, now or forever! Listen to Alex’s solo from Subdivisions for reference.

New World Man was a cool single that grazed just inside the Top 40 single charts which was impressive, to say the least. New Word Man is RUSH writing a little prog-rock ditty and just kicks into gear when it goes from the pre-chorus to the chorus.

Peart always pushed himself as a drummer. I mean listen to some of his drumming on Signals and I hear at times The Police’s Stewart Copeland (check out Digital Man at the end of SIde 1)who himself is no slouch on the skins. See Neil at that time could adapt some influences and incorporate it into his playing. He always pushed the envelope. Check out and crank up this live clip posted below!

Losing it is another tune with RUSH shifting gears almost into Prog Ballad (is there such a thing?). Losing It tells the tale of a dancer breaking down from wear and tear on her body. You could almost say that about Neil as a drummer as the man played like a beast for over 40 years and even his body began to break down not that anyone of use ever noticed as Neil wouldn’t allow it!

This album is my favorite studio album by RUSH( 2012’s Clockwork Angels is a very close second as is Counterparts). It’s still hard rock but with a different kind of vibe. Along with Iron Maiden at the time. The lyrics made me think. Which was a good thing doncha think?!

Rush at times on Signals kick out some serious jams just listen to the beginning of Digital Man. Geddy basically solos right out of the gate on that Rickybacher. So smooth as Neil and Alex follow his lead.

Classic Stuff! For me, 80’s RUSH was where I discovered the music created by Neil/Geddy and Alex so this period resonates with me. I’m not the only one that feels that way. Ask HMO and he will tell you the same thing!

As many of you know when I turned 50 a few years back I decided to dive headfirst back into acquiring VINYL!

For my 50th, myself and Tbone headed to Montreal and I was on the prowl for used Vinyl. We were in a huge used record store and Tbone went one way and I went another.

A few minutes later I hear ‘DEKE!” I looked over and Tbone was holding a copy of Signals.  I told him “do not put that back down in the bin!”

What a Score!

Cool to have come full circle as back in 1981 Tbone was the first one between us to own RUSH(Moving Pictures) and then 35 years later there’s Tbone holding a copy of another RUSH(Signals) album.

Time Stand Still

You have to hand it to Neils buddies Geddy and Alex who knew all along what was going on but kept Neils condition private through it all. Much RESPECT for those two fine Gents!

Chuck D (Public Enemy) put it best when he wrote a tribute to Neil and said “Rest In Beats”

Thank you, Neil, for the music and lyrics.

 

Coney Hatch: Live in Thunder Bay(Nov 23rd 2019)-eVents Nightclub

 

Pretty psyched to finally have been able to see Coney Hatch after being a fan of these Iconic Rockers since the self-titled debut hit the street’s back in 1982!

Never up until this point have I ever had the opportunity to see Coney live until this show was announced a little over a month ago.

If your a reader of this Blog (I Thank Ya!) then you know have I reviewed the 4 studio Coney albums that the band has put out over the years. Those being the self-titled as previously mentioned debut  (1982) Outta Hand(1983), Friction (1985) and Four (2013).  All of these Hatch albums are fine additions to any Hard Rock Fans Music Collection!

As per rock protocol, my good pal Tbone was along for the ride as he’s been hearing me talk about these guys for well over 3 decades!

So when Carl Dixon (Lead Vocals/Guitar) Andy Curran(Lead Vocals/Bass) Sean Kelly(Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals) and Thunder Bays very own Dave ‘Thumper’ Ketchum (Drums) hit the stage shortly after midnight all bets were off as the Coney fella’s kicked out the jams with opener “We Got The Night” that has Ketchum laying down the backbeat on the drums like he’s the boss!

The real added plus of Coney Hatch was that they have two lead vocalists in both Carl and Andy who takes the lead vocal as they launch into Stand Up which has a real cool slow swagger to it which featured Sean Kelly nailing down a fantastic solo ( as Mr. Kelly did all night).

The AC/DC-driven  “No Sleep Tonight”was next followed by “Don’t Say Make Me” which is, in my opinion, one of my all-time fav’s! Love that driving Bass Line by Andy! 

What a fantastic 4 pack of songs to get the night rolling!

“Some Like It Hot” kept the show moving along and another track from Outta Hand that as Carl explained from the stage that “First Time For Everything” was a song that garnered some MTV and MuchMusic video play

“Hey Operator” one of the two big singles was played halfway through the show which shows you the number of songs these guys have built over the years which when you think of it they could have saved it to the end of the set but didn’t. Keeps us in the audience on our toes!

The band played tracks from all of there records as “Blown Away” andMarseille” were featured from the Four album released already 6 years ago!

“This Ain’t Love/Girl From Last Nights Dream/Wrong Side of Town” and “She’s Gone” were shown some love from the Friction album which in the Coney catalog of rock may be the album that flew under the radar for most but I will tell ya it’s certainly up there with the other three releases with some stellar written and performed songs!

“Devils Deck” and “Monkey Bars” from the self-titled debut album( that went Gold in Canada) ended Coney’s regular set.

Coney left and came right back out and walloped us over the head with a kick-ass cover of AC/DC’s Sin City!

Being a fan of these guys since 1982 I can honestly say it was one of my favorite shows in this town as I was 15 when I discovered Coney and finally had the opportunity 37 years later to finally see the band!

As great as the show was the Coney guys are even better people! Carl was in the audience(before the show) when he cruised by our table I asked if him if he wouldn’t mind signing my Coney albums!  Carl asked me if I was the guy who left a message on his Facebook page telling him to bring a sharpie to the show to sign my records! (Yup it was me!)

Carl even took my 3 Coney records and two Andy Curran solo CD’s backstage and had the fella’s all sign them and Carl brought them back to me along with Sean Kelly!

Thanks, Carl!

It was great meeting Sean as if you recall he was one the first guys to do a ’10 Questions With..’  interview for me and was very gracious. Meeting him though was awesome as we talked about Music, Families, more Music and well you get the drift! Solid dude if there ever was and a fantastic guitar player/singer and performer!

Just as we were about to leave and head home I bumped into Andy as well and we chatted for a few minutes as it was nice to talk to him and tell him that the last time Coney was in Thunder Bay in 1985 I was 17 and couldn’t get into the show as you had to be 19 to get in to Bar’s here in town. Cool to talk to Andy about his past project Soho 69 and the Rush book Wandering The Face of The Earth.

Oddly enough Dave Ketchum was the only guy I didn’t get a chance to speak to and he lives here in town! Maybe next time!

It was a great night period and if ever Coney Hatch comes around do go as you won’t be disappointed!

Check out Coney Hatch on your various streaming devices or buy the reissues on disc from Rock Candy or better yet track these albums down on Vinyl!

Photo of the Coney Hatch stage courtesy of Sean Kelly.

Live band shots were taken by Adriana Coslett (Thanks Buddy!)

Band Photos were taken by Tbone (Whiskey on the Rocks).

BIG WRECK: NV Music Hall (November 15th 2019)-Thunder Bay

Canadian Rockers Big Wreck rolled into Tbay on a Friday night and proved without a doubt that Rock (for one night that is!) is alive and well in this town which may come as a shock to some.

NV Music Hall was packed (Sold Out) and I mean packed for BW leader Ian Thornley who returns to Tbay supporting the latest release  ‘…but for the sun’.

(above shot of Big Wreck in Tbay- Cabin Media took the pic-Nov 15/19)

Taking the stage just after 10pm Big Wreck came out of the gates with the opening track from there latest release called ‘Voices’ followed by ‘In My Head’ which features some really slick off the top soloing by Ian.

And we’re off!

‘That Song’ which was one of the biggie singles from the debut album In Loving Memory of(1997)   proved to be the first of more than a few crowd participation numbers which was actually quite good to see in this town as crowds at shows here (especially at the stuffy Auditorium) can be mellow to say the least.

Shows you the depth of material built up in the BW catalog that they can dial up and blast out one of there most popular tunes third song in the show!

That’s saying something!

(above photo was taken by my pal Jeff Yahn whom I call the Yahnmower Man! Great Shot!)

‘Locomotive’ one of the best if not the best rock radio track I have heard this year soared as Ian and fellow 6 stringer Chris Cadell did some dual slide guitar throughout this track which at times sounded like a Locomotive coming off the tracks! This song was so good that I told Tbone when it ended that I would be ok to hear it played again and again. So good!

Tbone said it best that Thornley is a musician first and foremost as his guitar chops and vocals prove that point! Hell if you don’t believe Tbone ask Myles Kennedy(AlterBridge/Slash) who says Ian is one of the best in the biz!

‘Too Far Gone’ (with that cool ZZ Top guitar jam out at the end of the song) which was another newbie was played as six tracks in total were played from ‘…but for the sun’ that proves that BW is moving forward with music but with also keeping everyone happy about still dipping back in there past and playing the songs that brought them to a prominent level in Canada.

For us Canucks, two Tragically Hip tunes were played the first being a snippet of ‘Ahead by a Century’ which led into ‘Wolves’ which was a cool move. The element of surprise so to speak.

The show had a great pace to it. Some of the songs that the band stretched out(Albatross that featured a double-neck guitar* along with a snippet of Amazing Grace) which would be followed by shorter numbers like the brilliant ‘Inhale’ which features big bombastic riffs of Zep like rock that just soars.

‘Blown Wide Open’ ended the set amidst a bit of feedback of the instruments but before long BW was back out onstage for a encore that featured the second Hip cover of the night that being ‘In View’ which had Drummer Chuck Keeping and Bassist Dave MacMillian holding the rhythm fort down exceptionally! Cool that ‘In View’ was played in full!

Speaking of which there is no musical weak link in Big Wreck as each player is phenomenal on there instrument!

The boys ended the night with ‘The Oaf’ which has that Who like synth opening yet Ian does it on his guitar and the final song must have clocked in at over 10 minutes! What a way to wrap up a solid night of rock!

Openers Texas King hailing from London Ontario are an energetic band on the up and up with there current single ‘Chandelier’ denting the charts in Canada. Never heard of these guys before tonight but if they ever make it back to Tbay they are worth going and checking out as they work every inch of stage afforded to them. Texas King sound is like a Red Bull-Steroid infused shot of Counting Crows!

Good to see BW play in front of a lively crowd here in town as at the last Big Wreck show here back at the local outdoor Bluesfest the word I heard was that Ian was not amused by the lawnchair crowd sitting on there hands so to speak. I wasn’t there so I can’t say for sure. I will add that maybe a jam-filled club is more up Ian’s alley than a bunch of lazy’s in lawn chairs!

I have to thank local promoter Frank Marino who went beyond the call of duty to take care of me and Tbone and for getting us into the show! Thanks a bunch, Frank. It was a blast.

Tbone though was in classic mode as when we arrived at the venue we were still a half-hour away from the door opening. No one here in town is ready for winter about to descend in Tbay so we were  not dressed for the elements.

Tbone took matter into his own hands and sent Frank this message!

Ha! Tbone is a great typer but his fingers were frozen. Within a few seconds the door swung open and a staffer asked if there was fella named Troy present!

Bam we went from the back of the line (about 40 people) to the front! Cold to Heat in seconds!

Felt like a Big Shot for about a minute!

*-kudos to the Guitar and Bass Tech fella’s that continually changed out guitar after guitar after each song!

 

Sloan: Live at Crocks- October 16th 2019

Wednesday night and Sloan are back! Back folks to this sleepy little Northern Town that over the years Sloan has graciously performed there own brand of power pop to the faithful who don’t view Wednesday as a work night but a live music night!

Thanks must be made to local promoter Guru Frank Loffredo who keeps bringing these bands back to Tbay. Without him, the live scene here in the Bay would be well, no scene!

Shortly after 9pm Patrick Pentland/Chris Murphy/Andrew Scott and Jay Ferguson hit the stage with one of the best opening killer riffs in   Murphy’s ‘She Says What She Means’C’mon C’mon (We’re Gonna Get It Started) the second song by Jay is a great tune that sets the plate for the awesome ‘Iggy And Angus’ by Patrick and we have officially lifted off. From there it was followed by the remaining 10 tracks that make up the current ‘Navy Blues’ Tour that has Sloan performing the album in its entirety.

Hard to believe to us as the listener that Navy Blues is 21 years young. I’m sure to the Sloaners it must be as well but Jay and Chris have stepped up to coincide with the tour a limited edition box set (1200 only) of Navy Blues which includes the full album on vinyl along with demos/booklet/digital download etc.

The songs from Navy Blues come across brilliantly in a live atmosphere and isn’t it amazing that one of the band’s biggest hits in ‘Money City Maniacs’ is the sixth song in the show!  That right there tells you the depth of there catalog which is pretty phenomenal that Sloan is sticking by the running order of the original album.

One of the highlights is when Andrew steps up from behind his kit and straps on his guitar while Chris hops on the drums and Jay hops on the bass and they launch into Andrew’s brilliant ‘Sinking Ships’.

Once the first set of tunes ended with Patricks ‘I’m Not Through With You Yet’. Murphy addressed the crowd and said to stick around!

My good Pal Tbone (who joined me) wasn’t going anywhere!

After 20 minutes or so the band kicked off Set 2  with ‘Flying High Again.’ From there another 15 songs came at us! ‘Who Taught You To Live Like That/The Lines You Amend/Coax Me/Three Sisters’  and another  highlight when Scott came out from behind his drum kit and did  ‘People of the Sky’ with the classic line of,

It’s like a three-legged dog
In search of a crutch
Ba ba ba da ba
Dissecting in past
All the motives of such

The cowbell  (by Gregory MacDonald who also provided backing vocals/keys/guitar)driven excellently sung Pentland track ‘Live On’ had the crowd clapping along while Sloan ended the night with ‘The Rest of My Life’.

Sloan left albeit shortly and returned with ‘The Other Man’ which like many a song this night featured crowd participation and the band headed straight to the finish line with ‘The Good In Everyone!’

This is mine and Tbone’s third show in a row(in the last 4 years) catching Sloan here in Tbay and they never disappoint live. With Sloan, you get your money’s worth and more!

I have to add its always cool that Sloan will come out once they’re done and talk to people. Tonight it was Chris Murphy who always is readily available to spend a few minutes chatting. Give these guys credit as they don’t play the bullshit game of charging for Meet N Greets!

We(Tbone and I) chatted up about the various influences we hear in Sloan’s tunes like The Beatles/KISS etc with Chris and of course, I had to ask him if there was perhaps another live album in the making since the last live Sloan came out back in 1999 ( 4 Nights at the Palais).

Chris told me “people don’t really dig live albums anymore”. I was like ‘What?! I do!’.  Fair enough and Tbone snapped a few pictures and off we went into the cold crisp fall air of Tbay.

Great Show and if Sloan hits your Town. GO!

All pics courtesy of ‘Boozin Wobble’ 

 

 

Kick Axe: Live in Thunder Bay- January 16th 1986.

Hey, Folk’s For this review I’ve teamed up with Kick Axe Guru the one and only Mikey Ladano who over the last few weeks has scored every piece of Kick- Axe recorded material possible!

Click Mikey’s link below and check out some total fantastic reads on a band that should have been waaaaay bigger but got fucked over by shady music business stuff! 

REVIEW: Kick Axe – Welcome to the Club (1985, 2016 remaster) – Kick Axe series Part Five

 

When the Community Auditorium opened its doors in Thunder Bay back in October of 1985 Kick Axe has the distinction of being the first-ever band to my knowledge to take the stage there!

Kick Axe released the brilliant Vices debut in 1984 and swung around the States that year opening for Judas Priest and Dio while 1985’s followup Welcome To The Club was a pretty decent album in itself!

So with that in mind and being 18 years young back then it was a no brainer to buy tickets as Kick Axe was trending in the upward position as the kids say nowadays!

Tbone was onboard to checking this show out as were a few other jokers we went to High School with at the time. Keep reading!

Kick Axe played to the crowd that night which thinking back the Auditorium was about half full (600 people) for Kick Axe which for this town was a pretty decent turnout.

I still remember lead singer George Criston running all over the stage barefoot-like no one’s business yet delivering the goods vocally! Song played that night, of course, featured about half of the Vices album( On The Road To Rock/Vices/Heavy Metal Shuffle/Alive and Kicking) while the recently released Welcome to the Club had a bunch that was played like the title track Welcome To The Club/Feel The Power/HellRaisers!

HellRaisers really stands out as a memory as the Auditorium staff was nervous about a bunch of metalheads coming into their productive little environment. The crowd was sitting down, for the most part, until George said “Why don’t all you Hellraisers come on down to the front!’

Bam that was our cue. We were a little ways back in the crowd but sure enough, these other guys that we noticed from our school headed down to the front before we got there and you could see the nervousness in the suits that were doing security that things might get goofy. I recall one of the security guys telling one of the dudes we went to school with to put out his smoke. The dude told security ‘Fuck You!’ and they left him alone!

Nothing happened, and to this day that’s the typical deal with that place as they are stuffy as fuck! It’s not a concert environment. Sure it’s an excellent sounding building, and I will agree that Alice Cooper sounded fantastic in there last year, but that place for some reason sucks the life out of rock audiences.

Kick Axe though showed up and gave it there all that night which considering they could have totally canceled this date as I will explain right now.

This show is memorable for a couple of reasons.

1- The night before in Winnipeg. Kick Axe had all their gear confiscated by the RCMP right off the stage due to shady business dealings by there manager who fled the country to avoid criminal prosecution. The show must go on so Kick Axe rolled into Tbay and played the show on pawnshop gear! The pic below is from the Winnipeg show the night before(January 15th, 1986) with the cops being the Strong Arm of the Law! If you notice below, there’s George barefoot, so at least the RCMP couldn’t take his shoes that night!

2- Kick Axe after the Tbay show canceled the remaining 7 dates of this tour because of the issue in Winnipeg!

You have to hand it to Kick Axe who I’m sure were totally deflated as their manager bolted and the cops seized all their gear! But what I can tell you is that they didn’t let it hamper there performance as no one knew in the audience any difference!

I have to thank the Kick Axe fansite for some of this info and pics https://kickaxe.wz.cz/main.htm

Also, have to thank my Good Pal Tbone who I had to get some help on remembering this show on memory as there was absolutely zero press on KICK AXE here in Thunder Bay!

 

John5/Jared James Nichols- Live @ Crocks(March 26th/2019)

 

 

Pretty wicked show that Local Promoter Frank Loffredo brought to Thunder Bay  on a Tuesday Night that being Opening Act Jared James Nichols and Headliner John5!

What a  great concert and when It was announced a few months back I was onboard and I made sure my pal Tbone was as well!

GuitarArmageddon this Tour should be called…

John5 many people know his six string work with Marilyn Manson and currently Rob Zombie whereas for myself and Tbone its John5’s superb axemanship on David Lee Roth’s 1998 release DLR band which unfortunately didn’t burn up the charts but to the faithful Roth fans back than the DLR record was a return to Dave’s straight ahead rock sound and that’s thanks to John5 who not only played guitar on that Dave album but also co wrote seven tracks.

Just this past week I read an interview where John5 stated that there is a another DLR band album  completely finished that is in the can but it’s up to Dave to release it. Let’s all hope it will see the light of the day!

Not only that but John’s resume with whom he has co written or played guitar with is a who’s whose of Music! A bunch of Rock stuff for sure but John has also played or written and recorded with KD Lang/Ricky Martin/Rod Stewart and most recently Steve Perry and Motley Crue! A very diverse player which I was sure to find out about Live!

Anyways back to the task at hand as what a real cool treat it was to catch this show…

Opening the show was from Los Angeles  a 5 piece band calling themselves  Dead Girls Academy.  We arrived too late and missed there set. Perhaps next time through town guys…

Opener Jared James Nichols lays down a  heavy hand of great guitar rock and fronting this 3 piece these  are phenomenal musicians! Frank told me a few months back that when Nichols opened for Fozzy a few months back Jared stole the show and I can see why! JJ is a serious player has the  guitar chops and the songs as well as the voice to go with it. To get an idea of his style of Rock just listen to Mountains ‘Mississippi Queen’ and yep these guys play it live as the set ending cover! Super cool bunch of guys as well! Met them afterwards and they hung out at the merch table and mingled with the crowd! Signed my disc and had a bit of a chat! Super Friendly! Down to earth these chaps are. Met the Bass player Elvis and of course Jared! Great guy’s!

Frank bring these guys back sooner than later!

Pics by Tbone ‘Blinded By The Light Photography Inc’

Now onto the Main Event!

Pretty cool that John5 blows into Thunder Bay with a complete stage show that has a bunch of props that looks like a cross between a Psycho Circus and a Haunted Halloween Castle!

In other words….

Impressive that John5 and his band The Creatures just don’t show up with a basic bare bones stage but there going to give  you an arena like show in a club!

Salute!

From the opening huge crunch of a riff in the opening song  Season of the Witch these guys mean business by putting on a show yet playing like the pros they are! John5 is no slouch and you can see that in just under 90 minute set where  John takes his playing all over the  musical map! From the  straight ahead Rock of Crank It to the one of my fav’s of the night the real cool amped up slick picking country  Hell Haw is just brilliant!

(Video by Tbone…)

In all my years of going to shows I have never ever attended a guitar only headliner show meaning no lead vocals and John and his talented band of Bassist Ian Ross and Drummer Logan Miles Nix hold down the rhythm fort superbly to let John go to town on the guitar!

All styles of music were performed. Industrial/Metal/Jazz/Blues/Country/Blue Grass. No genre was forgotten  by John5! Plus it was played at a loud volume. (Kudos to the in-house Sound Fella that mixed all the instruments clearly and kept it crisp n loud for both acts!)

John5 and the Creatures really  ramp up the chops on the 10 minute jam song that features snippets of Rush/Nirvana/Led Zeppelin/Sabbath/Van Halen/The Knack/Megadeth/Manson/Soundgarden/Queen/The Police/Pantera/KISS! Basically  a huge ball of rock going from one tune to the other like no one’s business!  Check out the video below!

(Thanks to Steve Robinson for filming this clip!)

The night ends with Beat It! Yup that Beat it by Micheal Jackson and to close it all out  I am John5!

What a Brilliant show and I would like to thank of course the acts themselves for showing up to Thunder Bay on a Tuesday Night and of course to Frank who booked John and Jared…

Have to add that this was a great double bill of two Power Trio Acts with each act having their own identity and style. Jared James is a monster on the guitar with an airtight rhythm section slamming out hard blues rock while John5 and his band were stellar! John5 is a smart performer as all of us aren’t guitarists so in between the musical spectre of the musicianship you had robots/angry clowns a ton of video going on in the background. A well thought out show to keep the audience engaged!

Thunder Bay really needs to wake up when acts of this caliber come through town and even though its technically a work night for many including myself. The show ended by 11:30pm. No excuses folk’s!

Hell..these tickets were only $25 bucks! What a steal!

Get out and support Live Music!

(check out the clip below at the 3 minute 50 second mark!)

Van Halen: Live-St Paul: Xcel Energy Center(May 19th 2012)

Wow! Time does fly now doesn’t it??

So one of the biggie tours of 2012 was Van Halen touring and supporting their brilliant release at the time A Different Kind of Truth. 

So when a date in St Paul/Minneapolis was announced my brother Todd pounced quickly on tickets and what was real cool was that not only myself and Todd were going but along with us as well was Tbone and his two brothers Dar and Rugg along with another pal Kevin C!

All of our families came down with us on the trip as well but it was a dude’s only ticket to the show not that our ladies minded they understood that Halen especially for myself and Tbone were one of those hard Rockin Bands that we followed religiously during our High School years(1981-85)!

Time does indeed fly. Me and Tbone graduated from High School in 1985 the year that David Lee Roth quit/or got the boot out of Halen.

Fast forward 27 years and here we are along with 17,000 other Halen Fanatics waiting to hear the soundtrack of our youth played at an exceptionally loud volume!

First up was openers Kool & The Gang.  When I first heard they were the openers I laughed. Typical Roth move to shake it up. But you know I have to hand it to these guys as they were very good! Playing live with a full-out Brass section was brilliant. They were entertaining man from the opener Fresh to the closing tune Celebration. Kool was indeed Cool!

After a short break we noticed (as it was a very hot humid day in Minneapolis) that it seemed like someone turned off the air conditioning in the arena right before Halen’s set! Turns out supposedly Roth feels the air conditioning affects his singing! (Whut?)

It got hot in their man but just when you really wanted to start bitchin …

Bam…

Here they are Roth/Wolf along with his ‘Dad’ Eddie and ‘Uncle’ Alex ripping into Unchained and HOLY CRAP we’re off!

22 songs played. 24 if you count Al and Ed’s solo’s. 3 tracks played from the current album (Tattoo/Chinatown/Trouble With Never) and the Hits(JUMP/Panama/Pretty Woman/Dance The Night Away) and my personal fav’s (Romeo’s Delight/Hear About It Later/And The Cradle Will Rock).

Wolf Van Halen is a Beast on the Bass. Man, he plays with a huge sound and does all that crazy finger tapping stuff as well and basically watches Roth with amusement. I wonder what goes through Wolf’s head when he’s tearing up the Bass and Dave is sliding around on his mat? HAHA!

Alex Van Halen with his enormous huge drum set up ploughs through the tunes like it’s nobodies business and I was wishing just maybe he would torch up and set ablaze his gong just like the good old daze. But nope he didn’t and fair enough. His drum solo had him playing to a backing track of what sounded like Mardi Gras or something. It was different…..but doing the songs man he laid waste to his drum kit!

What do you say about Edward. He was on his A Game! Looked cleaned up not like the mess he was when Tbone and Rugg caught Halen on the 2004 Tour! Ed did all his tricks of his trade. Wowed and bedazzled us and played his 9 minute Eruption solo claiming that he is indeed still the Boss! 9 minutes of soloing in which it flew by…

Amazing that Eddie is…

The there’s Dave man…I dunno. Long gone are the days of  the high kicks/ the yanking of his torso in positions that are unknown to mankind. The verbal barrage from the stage at coming down there in the front row and Fucking your Girlfriend if you keep spitting water. You know the whole 80’s schtick that made him one if not the top Arena Dog back in the roaring n snorting 80’s!

In its place is past 50 years young fast tracking to the age of 60. A different Dave. One in which he has a sliding mat out or whatever it is. Crazy Carpet I call it. Just watch the Unchained video I posted from the show and within seconds you’ll know what I mean!

Dave was ok. Vocally live well kinda ok. He made it though the songs, Did his deal ad-libbing  along the way he huffed and puffed at times vocally but what was apparent that the fast boogie rock numbers later in the show like Hot For Teacher Dave was out of gas vocally. It’s like he couldn’t keep up to the Van Halen’s as they ramped up Hot For Teacher big time musically….

She’s The Woman  and especially Romeo’s Delight I posted from the St Paul show. Dave  is a hoot pushing his mic stand around the stage like it’s a broom is friggin hilarious while Wolf is looking at him like how does Roth keep coming up with this shit! I will give Dave credit as he has had to reinvent himself as a frontman. Almost comedian like at times.

Dave though is on another planet. Here posted below is the fantastic  Chinatown! Watch Dave ..need I say more?

 

This show still was great but the air conditioning thing was funny as hell as Dave has really no voice left. Still though musically superb were the Halen Fella’s!

It was cool to hear all the 80’s stuff. You cannot beat it….

Also of note was the night before the St Paul show Halen cancelled about 30 shows that would have made up the 3rd and 4th Leg of the tour. Why? Read somewhere about exhaustion? Umm ok!

You can turn the air conditioner back on!

Help, I’m steppin’ into the Twilight Zone

Have not done a Goofy Post in a bit so here it goes…

Flashback 1985: Thunder Bay Ontario…

More importantly our suburb known as Current River was a great place to grow up as you will recall from other stories I have posted about my house and Tbone’s house were basically behind each other.

We had another pal named John Young whose name you may also recall as well as John was the first guy I knew who got into KISS. When I got into KISS John got into Deep Purple. When I got into Deep Purple John got into Led Zeppelin. See where this is going. John always was one step ahead and I followed his Musical Lead.

(For the record I discovered Van Halen on my own back in early 1981! John thought Halen was lazy! haha)

John as well was a fantastic Guitar Player( John owned a slick looking Gibson SG). He was always playing and had real talent which probably came from his Dad Jack who was a talented Fiddle Player. So when John began jamming with some local High School Guys their basement would be LOUD! Both of John’s parents were very chill in regards to their jamming out a bunch  of songs with Live Drums/Bass and Vocals that would emulate from the basement of the Young’s.

It was only a matter of time before John purchased a Fostex Four Track where John could record his guitar parts and what not….

Well fast forward a month or two down the road and I’m sitting in the cafeteria at our high school(Lakeview High) when Tbone rolls up with a shit grin a mile wide. I knew something was up but I had no idea what was up?!

Tbone pulled out a cassette and told me to put it into my Walkman. Tbone said it was a track by a new band called Gravedigger. So as I placed the Orange Foam Headphones on my head and pushed play a straight ahead Guitar riff started playing. No drums but a bit of Bass could be heard and then came on this voice. The vocal sounded Gruff. Demonic like. A vocal I had never heard before. As the voice somewhat sang/ somewhat talked I started laughing as the jig was up.

Tbone and John had gotten together a few nights earlier  and slapped together a track. It has to be Tbone’s first dabble with a Four Track as a few years later down the road Tbone would purchase his own.  I was impressed…hahaha…it was goofy funny and Frigg to come out and say here’s a tune by a band called Gravedigger was brilliant!

Another Fella sitting at a table next to us  whose name was Dale would be the next lucky person that would get to hear this track.

So Tbone took my Walkman over to where Dale was sitting. Dale I knew as he lived next to my Grandparents and I think was a year younger than us. I had no idea if he even listened to Music. Whereas I wore a ton of Rock Shirts  at school Dale never wore any so I had no idea…

Tbone chatted up Dale and Dale put on the Headphones, It took about a minute into the song when Dale ripped off the Headphones and tossed them on the cafeteria table.

(Conversation went something like this)

Dale: Who are these Guy’s??

Tbone: A new band called Gravedigger!”

Dale:These guys stole the lyrics to RUSH’s Twilight Zone from 2112! I’m writing Rush and telling them so. There getting ripped off!

Deke:’ HAHAHAHAHA…Tbone’s gonna get sued!’ 

The cat was out of the bag! While John laid down some guitar action Tbone grabbed John’s vinyl copy of Rush’s 2112 Album and read verbatim the lyrics to the track Twilight Zone!

Wicked! I had no idea that Tbone lifted the words to the song  and put a demonic vocal spin on it.

Kudos to Dale for figuring that out! We howled with laughter after but were impressed. I basically learned by talking to Dale later that Rush and Triumph were his favourite bands…

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover they say….

I wonder if Dale ever did write that letter to Rush….?

 

 

SLOAN: Live @ Crocks(April 4th 2018)

Here’s Sloan rolling into Thunder Bay on a Wednesday Night no less and I’m stoked!

Almost two years ago to the day when Sloan last played  Crocks myself and Tbone were simply “Blown Away” as the Sloaner’s that being Patrick Pentland/Chris Murphy/Jay Ferguson and Andrew Scott took over the stage and basically owned it for over two sets!

There back catalogue of the hits was  one after super hit after another and the fact that in there first set they played the full One Chord To Another album was a coup for Tbone and Moi as that was our first time catching these guy’s live!

So when local Promoter Frank Loffredo announced this show it was a no brainer to grab tickets quick! I recall the conversation I had with Tbone two years ago  as when Sloan was last here I flat-out said whatever night these guys would come back I would go no matter what!

Well Its a Wednesday night and we’re going! Not only that but Tbone’s brother Darr along with some other friends Brian and Cindy were along as well!

Hey not only do we need to support bands like Sloan  but you gotta hand it to Frank who sticks his neck out and brings these acts to town so we gotta support the Local Fella whose paying the bands to get em here!

Thunder Bay is the second night of the Sloan 2018 Tour and what is real cool is that they are pre selling their new release on April 6th 2018 entitled ’12’ two days early here at the Merch Table. 12 is available on both CD and Vinyl and myself and Tbone quickly grabbed up the vinyl version of 12 as we didn’t want to wait till the end of the show in case they sold out of it! Also included with the vinyl is a coupon to redeem the new album on  Digital(which I have already). Nice!

Speaking of Merch their prices for T-shirts/Vinyl/CD’s/Hats were all reasonably priced with all the CD’s going for $10 bucks!

So at around 9:30 pm the Sloan Fella’s hit the stage opening with the first two tracks of the kinda soon to be released 12 album and those tunes were Spin The Wheels followed by All The Voices which only takes a matter of seconds when the guys hit the stage that were in for a fine night with those wicked lead and harmony voices with the sounds of a hard like Power Pop Rock emulating from the retro vintage back line gear that these guys use.

If I’m right and I may not be the guys trotted out 10 of the 12 songs for the new album! Overall I’m thinking about almost close to 30 songs were played at the show! Not bad for a $25 ticket!

Give the band credit they could have blasted all the hits and perhaps sprinkled a few tracks from the album but I have to say that these new tunes carried over well as crowd was into it. How can you not be. Seriously when they change-up Instruments and Andrew takes over on Guitar/Vocals while Chris hops on Andrews Drums while Jay slides over to the Bass these guys musicianship does not dip. The talent these cat’s have just boggles my mind that they can continuously play at this high level.

Though not to be disappointed Sloan did pull out the classics as well. Patrick’s Losing California is a great straight ahead rock track with a fantastic solo as Andy,man what can you say about this guy and his basic Drum Kit? The guy is a human dynamo sitting on that stool!

The Other Man (featuring Backing Vocalist/Keyboards/Tambourine) Greg MacDonald is a valued asset of the band that doesn’t go unnoticed as Greg and Chris trade-off vocally at the end of the song! Feels Good Do It  had the crowd rocking while end of the night closer Good In Everyone just wanted you wanting more!

Sloan is a great Live/Studio act and what is a real cool quality is the fact that after the show they all came out and talked and signed a bunch of merchandise and were in no hurry to split considering they are playing something like Seven Nights in a Row!

I was lucky enough to get all Four Guys to sign my CD and to chat a bit. Chris told me and well you can call me a whistleblower(haha) but I asked how come the excellent Navy Blues album wasn’t available at the show. He told me that they are going to be coming back and playing that album front to back on their next go round. Judging by the fact that Money City Manics wasn’t played  I’m thinking were onto something here…

Look real forward to when these guys come back! Thanks for a great show Patrick/Chris/Andrew and Jay!

Photo’s courtesy of Wingman & Need More Drinks Photography!(Darr & Tbone)