Having never seen Jackyl before, I highly anticipated their return to Toronto show after 17 years. The plan was to meet up with fellow Decibel Geek Rich “The Meister” Dillon to enjoy the show. However Rich had a last minute change of plans , so I was doing the show solo.
Toronto band Second Pass powered through their opening set as the crowd began to fill in. I had seen them a few nights earlier open for Stryper and quite enjoyed their set. Next up was A Rebel Few, another local band with quite a few followers who call themselves D.I.R.T. Bags. The crowd really got going as they rushed the stage and rocked with hands pumping and mouthing every word. A good solid rock band no doubt about it! Direct support band Heavens Fire was up third and boy did they rock. I have seen these guys a few times now and they seem to be raising the bar more and more each show. JT Harris’s brilliant guitar playing is absolutely spot on and supported perfectly by drummer Mike Mackinnon and bassist Andy Narsingh. Newly acquired singer Jesse Jack dominates the spotlight with his intense stage presence. I can tell he feels completely comfortable in the roll and gels in with perfection. They had the whole crowd “Screamin'”.
Finally it was Georgia’s finest, Jackyl’s turn. Unfortunately after two attempts to start the first song the lights came on. Following about a 15 minute delay to fix the blown equipment it was show time – and they never looked back. Lead singer and guitarist Jesse James Dupree didn’t waste any time as he passed around a bottle of JD during “My Moonshine Kicks Your Cocaine’s Ass”. Their set consisted all of the faves, “Down On Me”, “Screwdriver”, “I Stand Alone”, “When Will It Rain”, “Secret of the Bottle”, “Dirty Little Mind”, “Redneck Punk” and a great crowd participation cover of Chuck Berry’s “My Ding-a-Ling”. Brothers, guitarist Jeff Worley and shirtless drummer Chris Worley along with bassist Roman Glick seemed to be having a blast feeding off of Jesse’s vibes and stage antics. After the crowd favorite “She Loves My Cock”, came the closing song that everyone anticipated. With the sound of a chainsaw behind the darkened stage Jackyl returned with Jesse swinging the Stihl towards the three quarter filled Phoenix Concert Theatre crowd as it was time for “The Lumberjack Song”. During the finale he managed to saw up a bar stool which sent wood chips flying all over the crowd up front.
All in all it was a great show. A couple observations I noticed included how good a guitar player Jesse really is considering he only plays it for a few songs. I was also amazed at how stage friendly he is. I seemed to have conjured up this image he was an angry Axl Rose/Sebastian Bach type. But no, he truly enjoyed what he was doing and was smiling while interacting with the crowd the whole time. In my opinion, the only negative thing I could say is that although they are fabulous musicians and have incredible rock songs they seemed to gear more towards the novelty and gimmick songs with a real emphasis on the southern redneck drinking image. But heck I guess that’s what Jackyl represents and I respect that!!
Above are some classic Jackyl shots I took that evening of mayhem! Enjoy!!