Nothin’ Quiet ‘Bout This Riot

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The Canadian Decibel Geek duo of Wally Norton and Rich Dillon were on the move again last week, taking in another awesome concert show at The Rockpile Bar & Nightclub in Etobicoke, Ontario.  The Rockpile have done an incredible job of bringing in some bigger name acts to their relatively small venue and have done an awesome job of creating a local scene here.  The Rockpile is becoming a destination, boasting such names as Faster Pussycat (many times), Helix, Kill Devil Hill, Drum Wars, Jack Russell’s Great White, Stryper, Y&T, L.A. Guns, Dio Disciples, Brighton Rock and many more past and future.  (ROCKPILE on FACEBOOK) (ROCKPILE WEBSITE) Their latest attraction for us was Quiet Riot.

Photo taken from The Rockpile Bar & Nightclub Facebook page

Everyone has heard of Quiet Riot, being the first heavy metal band to have a top five charting song with their cover of the Slade track Cum On Feel The Noize and the first heavy
metal début album to reach #1 on the Billboard charts.  Their songs are also featured at sporting events on a regular basis.  For those more in the know, Quiet Riot also housed guitar virtuoso Randy Rhoads (future Ozzy band member) in his early days in the business.  The distinctive vocal styling and sounds of Mr. Kevin DuBrow led the charge on most (Paul Shortino appeared on 1988’s QR also known as QRIV) of the Quiet Riot albums.  Sadly in 2007 this rock and roll icon passed away.  At the time Frankie Banali (Quiet Riot’s long time drummer) issued a statement basically saying that like his best friend in the whole world, Quiet Riot would be laid to rest.  That all changed with the blessings of Kevin’s mom and in 2010 Frankie assembled a great band for the re-birth of Quiet Riot.  On bass is Chuck Wright, who has long been involved with Quiet Riot, appearing on the albums Metal Health 1983, QRIII 1986, Terrified 1994 and Down to the Bone 1995.  Alex Grossi wields the guitar and originally joined the band in 2004, appearing on 2006’s Rehab album, the last with Kevin DuBrow.  Many have said that it’s not Quiet Riot as only Frankie remains from the original band and things of the like.  Well, for everyone’s information Frankie Banali is not an original member either, missing Quiet Riot 1977 and Quiet Riot II 1978.  He did come in time for 1983’s Metal Health and the most commonly known or popular line-up of the band.  Chuck Wright as you can see above has been involved off and on with Quiet Riot since
1982 and guitarist Alex Grossi since 2004.  That to me says that these boys have the credentials and are as much a part of Quiet Riot as Rudy Sarzo and Carlos Cavazo.  Chuck actually played bass on the songs Metal Health and Don’t Want To Let You Go and backing vocals on Thunderbird as well as on the Metal Health follow up record, Condition Critical.  While Kevin is no longer with us, the new vocalist, Scott Vokoun has a similar sound to his pipes and is an excellent performer as we discovered and I can’t wait to see them again aboard Monsters of Rock Cruise in March 2014.  Join me there (MONSTERS OF ROCK CRUISE WEBSITE)

I had seen Quiet Riot once before, so long ago that I hardly remember it.  I did however find my ticket stub, something that is harder and harder to come by these days, often having to pay a delivery surcharge for that little souvenir.  A bunch of us had gotten the tickets for free as we were leaving a dance club the night before (hey, it’s where all the girls were!).  I remember loving the show, but not much else aside from that, so I was pretty pumped up to see Quiet Riot tonight after hearing rave reviews from someone who caught their Las Vegas performance back in March.

We arrived early as usual, greeting friends and staff.  We grabbed a burger and caught up with each others recent events and life altering adventures.  The first band took the stage at 8:30pm and were a four piece unit.  They were a little screamy and high pitched for such a big guy on vocals.  With the veins popping out in the bald singer’s head their third song was a cover of one of their major influences, Dream Theatre, with Under A Glass Moon.  The fourth and last song (they were rather lengthy compositions), Breaking Free included band introductions for Third Dynasty.

After Third Dynasty, while The Rockpile’s excellent sound man assisted in getting the next act ready to roll on stage we noticed that there were several “Crooked Zebras” t-shirts floating around.  They must have quite a following and I had heard of them before as a friend often sings their praises, well I think he knows someone in the band, so he may be biased.  A good majority of the shirts said “with Quiet Riot on the Crooked Zebras party bus” a good and safe way to get your local fans to the show by providing transportation.

Soul Heavy was the next band to take The Rockpile’s carpeted stage.  They consisted of five members and the guitarist sported a mohawk while the singer a bushy red beard taking on a character all it’s own.  Much like Third Dynasty they were a little screamy and had an alternative, heavy, modern style of sound.  I caught the title of one song, Head Rush, before they introduced the b
and.  During the final cut the guitarist with the mohawk broke two strings.

A group of Bramptonites all between the ages of 15 & 17 called Revolution were the next victims in the revolving roster.  I couldn’t even understand the vocalist when he was talking normally, it was very muffled and he did not annunciate well.  They had a bit of a muddy sound which is highly unusual for The Rockpile, so I assume it must be the band itself.  They performed a tribute to Randy Rhoads with a version of Ozzy’s I Don’t Know and without being mean here, I’ll just say stick to listening to the original version.

I couldn’t help but think how none of these bands tonight were a particularly good fit on a bill with Quiet Riot.  We moved closer while waiting for Crooked Zebras to start their set, taking up residence in our normal position leaning on the stage to the left side.  Once we got up front we noticed the stacks of amps…….there will be nothing quiet about this riot indeed, they must think it’s still 1986!

At 10:45pm Crooked Zebras took the stage and were a much more suitable opener for the 80’s metal legends.  They powered through a decent cover of Rage Against The Machine’s Bulls On Parade as the drummer gulped down a long swig of Smirnoff Ice.  From Rage they burst into A Hard Day’s Night, The Beatles classic and absolutely nailed it.  I now get it!  All the buzz that my friend had been filling my head with about Crooked Zebras, you have to see these guys to understand.  What I believe was an original song, appearing on the set list as Black Cloud Bastard contained good riffs with a great energy and sound.  The lead vocalist thanked the Crooked Zebra fans for making the trip as I looked around noticing that we were rather swarmed with the Crooked Zebra t-shirts.  I’m a lover of Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell record (no judging please), but the Zebras ramped it up for their version of the song Rebel Yell and I’m not sure it’s ever sounded better than that.  We were informed that their next song was entitled Gone Wrong and will be on their forthcoming album (which I will certainly be on the lookout for) and that was
followed by A Girl Like You, originally by the Smithereens.  It was awesome to hear this song live as it’s always been a favourite of mine since I first heard it on a dock rock type of radio station at a friend’s cottage many, many years ago and was shocked to find out that Wally had never heard of it before.  The next appearance on the set list for those that were following along such as we were would have been Buckcherry’s Lit Up, but it was omitted, presumably due to a time constraint and they soldiered on with Ain’t Talking About Love.  The vocalist even sounded a little like David Lee Roth on this Van Halen classic.  I was left feeling glad that I had caught their set and they were a great stage setter for the Metal Health head liners although I would have preferred that they had skipped the Bulls On Parade as opposed to Lit Up, but one thing’s for sure, these guys definitely deliver great party music with their infectious cover versions.

Always one to help out, I trotted off to the bar when bassist extraordinaire Mr. Chuck Wright leaned down to us and asked one of us to get him a beer, charging Wally and Brian to “be big” as they held my position whilst I obtained the goods.   Queen’s We Will Rock You served to set the scene for the intro music as 2013’s Quiet Riot flooded the stage.  As they opened up with Run For Cover from the iconic Metal Health record I was struck by how much this guy even sounded like Kevin DuBrow.  Before they got into their next song Frankie requested more volume and sound in his monitor announcing “I fuck louder than that, thank you.”  Slick Black Cadillac assaulted us next and I was singing along with every word.  Condition Critical‘s Slade cover Mama Weer All Crazee Now sat in the third position while
Sign of the Times from the same record followed.  Frankie Banali looked almost angry as he pounded hard on his kit playing with force and passion and intensity.  I played the Metal Health record, yes actually the 33rpm vinyl record, religiously as a kid, loving it so much along with  QRIII right behind and maybe I’m a bit over dramatic here but I felt that my life had been enriched by seeing Quiet Riot this night and it was only halfway through the show.  Love’s A Bitch from that soundtrack of my youth was next and the facial energy and intensity on Chuck Wright’s face was amazing to watch as Wally studied his dancing bass fingers.  Condition Critical from the Metal Health follow-up record of the same name led us to Put Up Or Shut Up,
the first representation from QRIII.  By the time they got to Put Up Or Shut Up they had taken no little breaks between songs, just barraging us with one Quiet Riot classic after another.  Frankie now stretched his legs rising from behind his kit and taking the mike at centre stage to dedicate Thunderbird to Randy and also to his best friend in the entire world, Kevin Dubrow.  Chuck’s fingers continued dancing over the bass strings as they soldiered through into Breathless,  The Wild & The Young following close behind.  Let’s Get Crazy including a short guitar solo was next to slap us in the face, now
having played almost all of the iconic Metal Health album by this point with the title track and Cum On Feel The Noize sure to come soon.  My deductive reasoning powers were right on track, although I had hoped for a couple more first as they blasted into Cum On Feel The Noize, the crowd singing along.  Quiet Riot left us with Metal Health, known more commonly perhaps as Bang Your Head and indeed there was a ton of headbanging taking place at The Rockpile tonight!  After the show we were able to chat with Chuck for a few minutes (watch for Wally’s interview with him coming soon) and Frankie also circled the crowd meeting and greeting fans and taking tons of photos with them.  The Monsters of Rock Cruise Facebook page does a countdown to the next cruise with cruisers getting involved and taking photos with bands and friends counting down the number of days until the next voyage.  Here’s my countdown shot with Frankie:

Take my advice and get past the stigma of original members and get out and see Quiet Riot, you’ll thank me for doing so!  Here’s a fan made video I found on you-tube from the show at The Rockpile and the song Metal Health (METAL HEALTH at ROCKPILE)

QUIET RIOT on FACEBOOK     QUIET RIOT WEBSITE     FRANKIE BANALI’S WEBSITE

Cheers,
The Meister

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