Smokin’ Aces – Ace Frehley-Hamburg Rock City- Meister’s Eurotrip 2015: June 10
Learning about this event through a website that I’ve used before in Canada (Songkick.com), I planned to linger an extra day in Hamburg, Germany to see Ace Frehley in a club, especially after how good he was at Sweden Rock Festival. Basically, I was killing time at Kogge Hotel in the late afternoon/early evening prior to the show, having a couple of frostys at a table outside with an internet connection, something that I don’t seem to have much luck with here at Kogge. Surfing around on Facebook, I decided to see if there was an event created that I could post to my timeline and thank God I did. The event had a different venue listed than Songkick had! Thankfully it was still close to Kogge in the Reeperbahn area, just not as close as the first place. Consulting my trusty tourist map, I headed out to Gruenspan Club for the show, billed to start at 8:00PM. Now, all I was worried about was whether there were still tickets at the door! Well, that and fighting off the swarming whores on the way home. Tickets were a bargain price of 48E = friggin’ pricey there Ace! Once inside I thought the club resembled Toronto’s Mod Club in size and decor, for those that know that venue.
I was informed that there was only one support band, Diablo Blvd to start at 8, with Ace Frehley taking stage at 9:15, super I’ll even be home early tonight! Diablo Blvd was late getting going, at least according to what I’d been told, and they started at 8:15PM. They bounded onto the stage and speaking in English, the singer announced that they were Diablo Blvd and something about being undefeated in August. Diablo Blvd started out with what I would call a hard rock song, with a thick sound. The next few songs seemed more thrashy with that modern, less tuneful, non discernable chorus style with some gravel-raked guttural vocals thrown in here and there. They did announce that they were from Belgium and also the first Belgian band to be signed to the Nuclear Blast label. As this is not overly my style, my attention began to wander and I couldn’t help but wonder if Ace Frehley would fill a hall in Toronto as much as this (quite full), especially at a price of about $65CDN when usual concerts of that ilk would run you $35-$45CDN. Diablo Blvd didn’t seem my thing but they played well and warrant some further investigations just in case.
Ace Frehley seemed a little late coming on as I watched the minutes tick by, creating a small sense of dread. I’d heard some stories of him not showing up and so forth, so when the time between bands lingered to almost an hour I got a little nervous. Finally at 9:55PM Ace and his band ripped into “Rocket Ride”, for which I hope the cell phone video I took works out. “Gimme A Feelin'” came next as Ace tossed out tons of guitar pics plucked from the mike stands. “Toys” followed with skin basher Scot Coogan looking entirely animalistic pounding away. I should have videoed “Parasite” being a fave KISS song of mine and especially since I knew it was coming as so far the set mirrored Sweden Rock Festival‘s. Scoty took his turn on vocals for “Love Gun”, certainly much better at it than Paul Stanley these days! Then guitarist Richie Scarlet took over for “Breakout”, but it seemed “off” tonight and not as enjoyable as it had been at Sweden Rock. The setlist got adjusted here as Ace Frehley and the band added in “Space Invader” and “2000 Man”, which saw what I’m sure was everyone in Gruenspan singing along with Ace. “Back in the 70’s everyone was doing cocaine,” Ace said next. “Well, everyone except Gene and Paul“ he smiled. “Snowblind” brought us to another addition to the list in “Rock Soldiers” and Ace asking the crowd, “What’s the devil gonna do”? “He’s gonna play without an Ace in his deck” roared the response from the audience. The bass solo led right into “Strange Ways” with bassist Chris Wyse on lead vocals and “New York Groove” left not a silent patron in the place when Ace got us singing “I’m back, back in the New York groove”. “Too Young To Die” brought Richie back to the mike and I didn’t notice it previously, but is it just me or is this guy a horrible vocalist? As a guitar player he’s phenomenal, but his vocals just don’t work for me, at least not tonight on this song. “Shock Me” saw Ace Frehley‘s guitar solo including the signature smoking guitar move. “Cold Gin” had a great jam included and closed things down, but not for too long. The boys were back for an encore consisting of “Detroit Rock City” and “Deuce”, two songs that saw the whole band really, really rocking on stage and having tons of fun. The smiles were abound as Scarlet seemed to be everywhere acting almost clownish pushing/leaning up against bassist Wyse. This action caused Ace to back up to Scarlet afterwards as he was at the edge of the stage playfully pushing him towards the audience. Well, they dropped “Rip It Out” from the setlist unfortunately, but they did add in a few others to make a great night of rocking as Ace Frehley smoked out the Gruenspan Club in Hamburg!