As a teen in the 80’s my hands existed for two purposes. One of those was playing guitar. As much as KISS may have been the reason I wanted a guitar, George Lynch was the reason I wanted to play guitar. It wasn’t just his playing I coveted. If he wore Nike hightops, I wore Nike hightops. If he had a red t-shirt that just said “Balls” I wanted a red t-shirt that said “Balls”. Along with being my own raison d’etre, George was at the forefront of the metal explosion in the early 80’s. One of the pioneering guitarists following in the footsteps of Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads, George and his band Dokken churned out four records that are must have’s of the 80’s LA metal scene. But all things eventually end.
Working with Don Dokken for almost a decade is the type of thing you should get some sort of Presidential recognition for. So George left to start his own band Lynch Mob. Their debut, Wicked Sensation, may be the pinnacle of George’s career and features a then unknown vocalist Oni Logan. After the subsequent tour, Oni left the band. Unconfirmed rumors of Oni being batshit crazy circulated but typically these things revolve around money in one way or another. The S/T follow up showcased current Warrant singer and thorn in my ear canal Robert Mason on lead vocals. Considering how ridiculous Wicked Sensation was on the awesome scale, this record was a letdown. Since then George has revived the Lynch Mob moniker in varied forms every few years. Somewhere around 2008 he reconnected with Oni to record Smoke and Mirrors. Then a few years later there was that tour Oni quit just before it started. Most assuredly over money. But they kissed and made up at some point as they released Sun Red Sun in 2014, have a new record coming out this month and swung through the great state of Minnesota to give us folks in the North Star State a Rock Show.
Pickle Park has become Minnesota’s welcoming arms for bands from the 80’s Sunset Strip metal scene taking their brand of rock on the road. Local band Downtread provided the support
before George and the rest of Lynch Mob took the stage in front of the packed house. At some point, I was told the air conditioning went out. It was hot regardless. And as the time approached for Lynch Mob to take the stage the crowd filled the floor making it even stickier.
I found opening the set with “She’s Evil But She’s Mine” an odd choice as it’s a bit of a low tempo rocker. But going from that right into “River Of Love” corrected that and we were off. What Oni Logan lacks in stage presence he more than makes up in vocal chops. His voice sounded as strong as it ever has and it was quite gratifying to hear just how spot on bassist Sean McNabb’s backup vocals were. The two of them harmonized brilliantly all night. The entire band was incredible but the heat took its toll on drummer and former BulletBoy Jimmy D’Anda who needed a few minutes to cool off right after the band ripped through a brutal rendition of “Mr. Scary.”
Watching and listening to George play it’s easy to forget he’s 61 years old. While he’s not quite the roided out behemoth he was during his brief Rap-Metal phase of Lynch Mob he is still quite fit and the only complaint I can make about his playing is that he seemed a tad low in the mix. Considering how frequently he changes his rig setup it’s quite insane how much he always sounds like himself.
Lynch Mob lets the music do the talking and they attract the kind of fan that prefers it that way as the heat was the only complaint I heard that night. Sticking mostly to songs from Wicked Sensation they did manage to include four Dokken songs. And listening to Oni sing on the songs from Dokken made me wish he would replace Don in the current Dokken. Oddly nothing from Lynch Mob’s second record made it into the set. I can only assume that’s because Oni finds the sound of Robert Mason as vexatious as I do. And the encore of “Tooth and Nail” was just fucking killer and got a crowd reaction that showed just how many people there that night have been with George for a long time. Afterward, the band came out to meet people and sign autographs. I don’t know if they were making you purchase anything, but it didn’t sound like it. Something I’m a fan of.
If there were any tickets left for this show it couldn’t have been many as I found it difficult to even find a spot in back to comfortably watch and review the show and take notes. It’s good to see there is still an audience for good hard rock n roll. Even in Fridley. Not sure how he does it but John from Viking Rocker Productions always manages to pull these shows off. And when a band delivers like Lynch Mob did it just makes it sweeter.
She’s Evil But She’s Mine
River of Love
All I Want
Believers of the Day
Let the Music Be Your Master
Into the Fire
Tooth and Nail