Having always wanted to see Enuff Z’Nuff and never having done so since latching on way back in 1989, I was tempted towards this show. Throw in Tracii Guns band and the temptation grew. However the thought of Toronto traffic has severely limited our desire to attend shows as we used to in the city. Then Löve Razër was added and that became the no brainer for our decision. I also hoped to finally meet some fellow Decibel Geeks that are based in the area and regular attendees at the venue. We made that happen a couple hours before showtime at a pub across the street. Rich “The Meister” Dillon and Wallygator Norton were there so my wife and I met them and had a great time talking music, offering insights into what led us to being part of Decibel Geek and our love for the bands on the bill.
Over we went to The Rockpile which is a good sized venue with a 400 or so person capacity and with a good sized stage. We arrived and the fellas from Löve Razër were already doing their thing, getting to know fans and making new ones by being very visible on the floor. This is how fandom is built in 2016.
First band was ok, but not my thing, another band with Rebel in their name sorry folks that is as far as I go. Next up was Aliens Ashore another local band that I have wanted to hear live for some time. Sadly their live sound is not nearly what it is recorded, I am willing to believe that had more to do with the sound man as it seemed off.
Löve Razër was up next and as expected they take the show to the next level, the next multiple levels in fact. They command an aura onstage as if they are playing to 20,000 and match that with high energy, which is in direct contrast when you speak to them on the floor when they come across and are genuinely humble and easy going conversationalists. Well done on both sides of the stage. Micky is killer on guitar and he is all over left to right stage sides and I would say one of the top guitar players out there in style and execution. Mike leads with a strong bass line and backing vocals, his stage presence is that of a veteran yet with young brash attitude, again well done. Sydney struts the stage and belts out amazing vocals, the mic pumps number in the dozens, again a top notch frontman. Crissy on drums is as great as Bonham and Carr in style, I am not kidding around here. His pounding is unlike anything I have heard live for a long time. The entire band is solid and sounds great.
Enuff Z’ Nuff took the stage and I was so glad to finally see them live. Chip sounds great on vocals and the band he has fills in very nicely they are extremely tight and some cool talent being the skins (check out the interview to find out who). I wish of course Donnie would be there but those of us know it is not meant to be. The song list were strong choices and even though “In Crowd” was left out Chip did sing it later in the night on cue when I was talking to him about that being left out. Thanks Chip that was a cool touch for a longtime fan. He has that larger than life stage presence still to this day I was hoping would be the case after years of watching video. He also granted me a sit down after the show. Very thankful to Chip for being so frank through my hard pressing of the issues surrounding 1991, I do believe his humility shines through very clearly. No doubt he can and does speak to things as they are.
Tracii Guns band hit the stage strong with their playing of self titled album from 1988 since this is the 1988 tour. Tracii is masterful on guitar and seemed to be having fun, but something was missing for me. The vocalist, Michael O’Mara, was good and I certainly was not expecting anyone to be able to do what Phil Lewis does. The song selection seemed to be all over the place, I didn’t get the feeling there was a set list, rather they have a few options they play night to night. It also didn’t seem they gel as a band which I was hoping for; rather it was all about Tracii and extracurricular solos all night. Granted it is billed as Tracii Guns band but again I was still hoping for there to be semblance of a strong band rather than hired guns playing for Tracii. That said, he is one amazing guitar player and I am glad to have seen him wail away. Songs like “Sex Action” & “No Mercy” as well as “One More Reason” were perfect treats to hear live. I do have to say “The Ballad of Jayne” was a major disappointment soundwise, the tempo and tone was so off. Maybe that was what soured me.
It was a treat of a night with great music and it was very cool to finally hang out with some terrific Decibel Geeks, thanks Rich and Wally (Thanks for some great pics Wally!) for making my wife and I feel very welcomed to join you before the show and it was also nice to meet Laura at the venue.
- Blair De Abreu