AUTOGRAPH, BRITNY FOX, KiLLeR DWaRfS & STATION Live In Akron (Concert Review)

*Autograph concert Aug 27 2016Decibel Geek was pleased to have representation from two of our Canadian staff writers south of the border at Braun’s Concert Cove, Mooney’s Sports Bar & Grill for this event. What follows are the words of Shawn “Animalize” Irwin and “Metal Kate” Thompson. Please visit the band’s pages and website through the links below and above all support them by purchasing music*

Shawn “Animalize” Irwin on Station/KiLLeR DWaRfS

After a little over a 4 hour drive, I find myself in a small town called Akron NY, at Braun’s Concert Cove, Mooney’s Sports Bar & Grill. I have been here once before, to see Winger in 2014.

The highlight on this trip is to finally see Britny Fox. Also on the bill is KiLLeR DWaRfS, headliners Autograph, and a newer band from New York called Station. We had the pleasure of seeing Station first. I have hard a lot about this band through social media and reviews on Decibel Geek. Now I finally get to see what the hype is all about. In 2013 they released an EP, following it up with their debut self-titled album in 2015. The band consists of Patrick Kearney – vocals, Emi Asta – bass, Chris Lane – guitars and Tony Baptist filling in on drums for regular drummer Jimmi Kane.

I find myself front row once again and not to be moved for 5 hours with camera in hand. Station came on shortly after 6pm.Station DG (20 of 22)

Not too familiar with their songs, they played with lots of energy and confidence being on stage in front of a small audience. With only a little bit of difficulty on the bass during the second song, they gave us a great live performance. There were some loyal fans in the crowd, but who impressed me the most was a girl who travelled all the way from Atlanta GA! Now that’s a long trip! Patrick‘s voice can crank it up hitting those high notes reminding me and my road trip co-pilot, of Miljenko Matijevic of Steelheart and Freddy Curci of Alias. The band had great stage presence throughout their show and now I know what all the hype is about. Check this band out if they come to your town. Or make the trip to see them live, as they will not disappoint. According to their facebook page they are unsigned, so I look forward to seeing which record label will scoop this promising band up!

On to The KiLLeR DWaRfS who hail from Oshawa Ontario. This is also my hometown. Home of the Oshawa Generals hockey team and the city that once motivated Canada – General Motors. Happy to share this in common with the DWaRfS!

Killer_Dwarfs_DG_14_of_20_Akron has become very familiar with the DWaRfS, with more fans approaching the stage to get ready for some Canadian kick ass music!! They consist of Russ – vocals, Darrell – drums, Gerry – guitar and John – bass. Starting off their setlist is “Coming Through”, with Russ making full use of the stage with the full “in your face” energy he is known for, which lasted throughout the whole show. After the 5th song, Darrell comes to the front and brings out his wife and daughter and announces how it has been 2 years since they got married on this very stage.

Continuing with their 9 song set, they had the crowd pumped up only to want more but tonight was not the night for KiLLeR DWaRfS to close the show. The crowd seemed to disappear after the DWaRfS were done, thinking maybe they should have headlined. “Heavy Mental Breakdown” was left out of the setlist again, but crowd favorites “Doesn’t Matter”, “Keep The Spirit Alive” and “Dirty Weapons” were not forgotten.

Looking forward to seeing the DWaRfS once again Oct 21st at The Rockpile in Toronto.

KiLLeR DWaRfS Setlist: “Comin’ Through”, “Hard Luck Town”, “Tell Me Please”, “Driftin’ Back”, unknown slow song, “Doesn’t Matter”, “Burn It Down”, “Keep the Spirit Alive”, “Dirty Weapons”

“Metal Kate” Thompson on Britny Fox/KiLLeR DWaRfS

We arrived at Braun’s ConceKiller_Dwarfs_DG_12_of_20_rt Cove (aka Mooney’s), with some friends, about three-quarters of the way through the first (possibly second) band, Station. It was a very very early start, and with the long drive, to Buffalo, a 4:30 door opening was difficult to make. I did not see any of Station (and I heard there was a band before them, as well), but Shawn Irwin was there, so he will write about them.

We were greeted by Darrell DWaRf backstage when we arrived. There was a lot of tension in the air. Britny Fox had arrived late and discovered that they were supposed to go on second. Apparently, that was the beginning of their ego-fest refusing to play unless they were put later on the bill. The DWaRfS are always very accommodating, so to ease the stress, they agreed to go on second. Unfortunately for a lot of fans, they missed 90% of the DWaRf set because they were driving from long distances and didn’t think they needed to arrive until a bit later in the day.

Britny Fox sounded great, but it’s always so disappointing to see the massive egos take over. After the first song, Billy Childs and Tommy Paris (or should we call him Don Jillson?) had a mini meltdown, over the hum through the PA system, stating “Give us a few minutes while they try to fix this hum…we’ll be back.” and “What, are there aliens landing?” The hum had been there for the two previous bands without any complaints. You do know this is a barn, right guys? It’s a fantastic barn, but a barn nonetheless. Get over yourself. In the words of my 80’s hair metal  aficionado husband, “Come on…you do know you’re not Dizzy Dean Davidson, right. It’s not like this is Blackeyed Susan, and Billy Childs I think you may have spent too much time getting the Led out.”

Killer_Dwarfs_DG_19_of_20_My Geek brother, Shawn Irwin who is a big fan, will be writing about Britny Fox because once egos took over, Chris (my husband) and I had no interest in watching them. We went out front and chatted with friends until they had finished playing. Like I said, they sounded great from what we heard, but it’s hard to support such huge egos in this day and age. This is 2016 and the bands we grew up with are lucky that they have fans who still love and support them, allowing them to do what they love, instead of having to earn a living doing something they don’t love doing. Bands like the DWaRfS, appreciate their fans so much and appreciate that it’s pretty fantastic to still be relevant after all these years. They never take anything for granted. They come out to the stage every night and they do what they do best…they play to their fans, for their fans, and for their love of the music.

Which brings me to their set that night. They were fantastic, as always! They had, by far, the biggest crowd of the night, even though their timeslot was early and half of their fans were still on their way to the venue. Braun’s (aka Mooney’s) is a lot like home for the DWaRfS and you can tell. They never have a bad show, but there’s always a little something extra special when they play here in Akron, NY. They’ve changed up their setlist a little and it’s always fun to hear different songs. Included, as always, were crowd favorites like “Comin’ Through”, “Doesn’t Matter”, “Keep the Spirit Alive” and of course, “Dirty Weapons”. Missing from the list was “Stand Tall”, but you can’t fit in all the hits when you are trying to adhere to a set list time limit. (Unlike one other band that will remain nameless.)

Shawn “Animalize” Irwin on Britny Fox/Autograph

Britny Fox DG (12 of 19)Now for the band I have been waiting to see since 1988. Like so many bands, they keep the music going even if the band changes original members and/or the singers. Britny Fox‘s current lineup is Tommy Paris – vocals, Chris Sanders – guitar, Billy Childs – bass and Johnny Dee – drums. After the original vocalist Dean Davidson left the band with 2 albums under his belt, Paris came in for the 1991’s Bite Down Hard album. 12 years later the band recorded Springhead Motorshark.

Opening the set with “In Motion” the band sounded great. Right away I felt Paris was the perfect vocal fit, as he performed the songs throughout the night with the same punch Britny Fox is known for. Finally, on the fourth song, I got to hear one of my favorites from the 80’s “Long Way To Love“. It was great to see I wasn’t the only one singing along to their first single from an album that hit #39 in the US. They closed the set with their second single “Girlschool“. After this set my co-pilot Steve and I both said we could go home now as that was an amazing show, and it will be hard to top that off.

Britny Fox setlist: “In Motion”, “Liar”, “She’s So Lonely”, “Long Way to Love”, “Lonely Too Long”, “Dream On”, “Hair of the Dog”, “Midnight Moses”, “Girlschool”.

Autograph DG (10 of 17)However, with one more band to go, we decided we can’t go home now! Let’s keep the night rockin’! Next up is Autograph. This band started out with their first release Sign In Please back in 1984 which was #29 in the US and certified Gold. In 2016 we received a new Autograph album titled Louder. With a few lineup changes, we have original members Steve Lynch – guitar and Randy Rand – bass, Marc Wieland – drums and with original singer Steve Plunkett not wanting to tour when the band was reformed in 2013, Autograph added Simon Daniels on vocals.

With many shows since 2013, the fans have welcomed Simon with open arms. Having seen the band at Firefest 2014 and Monsters Of Rock Cruise I am always ready to hear the songs played live that I grew up with in the 80’s. Starting the night with “Deep End” and continuing with “Dance All Night“, “Loud and Clear“, “Bad Boy“. Then came the second biggest hit “Blondes in Black Cars“. A highlight for the crowd with many of us singing along. Throughout the night the band played 2 songs from their upcoming CD, a Steve Lynch guitar solo, and then the final song of the night – “Turn Up The Radio“. Anyone who listened to rock bands in the 80’s would know this classic song. Always a crowd pleaser as rock is in our blood and if it is too loud then we are too old!!

Autograph setlist: “Deep End”, “Dance All Night”, “Loud and Clear”, “Bad Boy”, “Blondes in Black Cars”, “When the Sun Goes Down”, “All I’m Gonna Take”, “You Are Us, We Are You”, “Send Her to Me”Steve Lynch guitar solo, “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend Isn’t Me”, “I Lost My Mind in America”, “Turn Up the Radio”

With the night finishing off at 11pm, it was overall a great night and well worth the drive to Akron. A great venue – except that the lighting could be problematic for photographers.Autograph_DG_13_of_17_

Shawn “Animalize” Irwin

“Metal Kate” Thompson on Autograph

Autograph were fantastic too, although I think the timeslot drama, hindered them a bit because I’m positive all the DWaRf fans would’ve stayed to see Autograph headline. They really did filter out, a lot, during Britny Fox. Autograph are a great bunch of guys too. Really down to earth and always more than willing to go the extra step for their fans. My friend Angela is a huge fan and couldn’t make it to the show. She was so disappointed not to be there, so when I saw them I asked them to make her a video, which they did more than willingly! She will treasure that video for the rest of her life, and I’m not joking. Autograph are a band who also, quite obviously, appreciate their relevance in 2016. Now there’s a great example of a replacement singer without an ego! Simon Daniels is just happy to be there with the band and the crowd absolutely love him! I’m a much bigger Autograph fan now than I ever was. It’s got a lot to do with Simon on vocals and just knowing what great guys they are. Their set list was packed full of favorites, “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend Isn’t Me”, “Blondes in Black Cars”, and, of course, they closed with “Turn Up the Radio”! They also included “You Are Us, We Are You”, and “I Lost My Mind in America”, from their great new album, Louder. Now if we could just get Simon to throw a couple of Jailhouse songs, into the mix, we’d all be ecstatic! A great night, at a great venue.

“Metal Kate” Thompson

Autograph_DG_5_of_17_All Concert Photos by Shawn “Animalize” Irwin. Visit his individual band galleries: Station / KiLLeR DWaRfS / Britny Fox / Autogaph

STATION: Music / Website / Facebook

KiLLeR DWaRfS: Music / Website / Facebook

BRITNY FOX: Music / Website / Facebook

AUTOGRAPH: Music / Website / Facebook

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