When I was a teenage pup there was a music video TV show called Toronto Rocks. On Wednesdays, the show was Midweek Metal Mania and every week I would get my fix of Sunset Strip rock videos. Every Wednesday I would park myself on the couch to see the newest songs from the newest bands all sporting leather and spandex and fishnets and mascara. A time when Rock Stars actually looked like Rock Stars!
Well on Wednesday, October 5th, 2016 it was a live version of Midweek Metal Mania at Toronto’s best rock club, The Rockpile. The BulletBoys with Special Guests Löve Razër were in town to plug in and deliver some fist pumping rock n roll. The BulletBoys exploded onto the scene in 1988 with their self-titled debut album produced by legendary Van Halen knob twister, Ted Templeman. “Smooth Up In Ya”, “Hard as a Rock” and “Kissin’ Kitty” give you a pretty clear idea of the blues influenced crotch rock that made this debut album so much fun. Sexist lyrics? Absolutely and with ZERO apologies.
Onstage first though was Special Guests from Windsor Ontario, Löve Razër who I proudly introduced to the Decibel Geek back in May when I reviewed their 3 song EP Rock N Roll Addiction. Since then I have been trying desperately to catch this band live, but life kept getting in the way. Finally, at half past eight, I would finally get my chance. Ripping into a new track “Toast Of The Night” the boys wasted no time setting the tone. No easing into the set, they came to rock. And judging by the number of Löve Razër T-shirts I was seeing, so did the audience. On the topic of T-shirts, I would be amiss if I failed to mention the incredible fashion sense of Mr. Sydney Snow donning a Decibel Geek Podcast shirt for the evening’s performance.
“Turn It Up” from the EP got my head banging. It is so refreshing to see a band that truly gets it. It’s more than simply stepping up onstage and playing the music, it’s interacting onstage, getting the crowd involved and it’s about enjoying the music you play. That is what made the 80’s music so much fun and Löve Razër has captured this in a bottle, I think it’s a Jack Daniels bottle. Infectious and fun, tonight’s only cover tune came in the form of a Motley-ized version of Bob Seger‘s “Her Strut” in which I think I heard Sydney substituting the lyric “Strut” for “Slut”, although I could be wrong. Either way an amazing cover!
The biggest reaction came when they kicked into “First Class Bitch” and the finale that was introduced as Canada’s National Sleaze Anthem, “All Time Sleaze”. Löve Razër in 2016 has created Sunset Strip North, it’s not an actual street but it’s alive and well and I am stoked to hear a full-length release from this band. New tunes “Venom”, “Wrong Way” and “Partied Out Freak” need to be part of my music collection soon. I stand on guard for SLEAZE!
Without any introduction of any kind, The BulletBoys unassumingly took to the stage and launched into “Rollover” from the exceptionally solid 2015 Elefante’ album. Holy Hell they were loud! “Hard As A Rock” and “Hell On My Heels” followed delivering a one-two punch from their incredible debut album. Let’s talk Marq Torien for a moment, in this world there are musicians and there are “Rock Stars”. Marq Torien is the quintessential “Rock Star”, the passion and intensity he exudes on stage is electric. It’s almost as if he was born to perform and his vocal prowess in 2016 remains every bit as powerful as their debut back in 88′.
The 2016 BulletBoys lineup consisting of the aforementioned Torien, Nick Rozz (guitar), Chad MacDonald (bass) and Shawn-Duncan (drums) came to rock Sunset Strip style. “For The Love Of Money”, an old O’ Jays cover was another crowd favourite from their debut album but the highlight of the night for me was “THC Groove” off of 1991’s Freakshow album. The band were tight seemed to be having a blast here in Toronto. Marq chanted “TORONTO! TORONTO!” and mentioned how nice the border guards treated them coming into Canada this time out, (reference to a cancelled show back in 2013) and promised to keep coming back as often as we would have them.
They closed out with a super fun cover of Elton John‘s “The Bitch Is Back” and the essential BulletBoys number, “Smooth Up In Ya!” It was amazing show top to bottom as the Sunset Strip circa ’88 got to meet the Sunset Strip NORTH circa 2016. If you missed it, YOU MISSED IT! Midweek Metal Mania at The Rockpile. Special thanks to Shawn “Animalize” Irwin for the killer photography.
Check out this show’s photo gallary from Shawn Animalize Irwin…click here.