This is a bit of an elusive event for me. Knowing the day I had laid out before the concert, I expected I may not make it. For the second time. I was on target to see ROSS THE BOSS at Legions of Metal in May of 2017. That day didn’t pan out either and I departed the venue prior to his headlining set. Never the less I find myself on the Toronto subway heading to The Rockpile Bar and Nightclub on Friday, March 16, 2018. Whew, By Blood Sworn, I’m finally gonna see Ross The Boss!
Ross The Boss rose to fame as a part (founder) of the 80s traditional/speed metal band Manowar. A band that completely eluded me until recent years. I’m ashamed of that. Manowar should be way more of a household name than they are. As should Ross The Boss. The guitarist formed Manowar in 1980 with bassist Joey DeMaio after the two met during Black Sabbath‘s Heaven And Hell tour. During Ross The Boss Friedman‘s tenure with Manowar the group issued 6 albums. In 1988 after the Kings Of Metal release, the bands most known, Ross The Boss departed Manowar.
He stayed in music, playing stints with his former punk band The Dictators and several other outfits. Most recently, two albums were issued with Ross The Boss as a part of a band called Death Dealer (War Master-2013 and Hallowed Ground-2015) and also his own Ross The Boss Band (New Metal Leader-2008 and Hailstorm-2010). Watch for the newest Ross The Boss creation, By Blood Sworn due April 20th, 2018 via AFM Records.
ROSS THE BOSS Live at The Rockpile Bar & Nightclub Toronto, Ontario March 16, 2018
Surprisingly the 1hr30minute set included no solo compositions whatsoever. I find that odd that at least one didn’t slip its way in as promo for the By Blood Sworn record due April 20th, 2018 via AFM Records. However, the Manowar material that crowded the setlist proved absolutely fantastic and exactly what the enthusiastic audience was looking for. The band alongside Ross reads similarly to the album’s credits with the exception being Steve Bolognese sitting in place of Lance Barnewold at the drummer’s stool. Vocals are supplied by Marc Lopez and thundering bass from Mike LePond.
Prior to the set, Ross seemed all smiles as he greeted fans while presiding over his own merch table. Missing the first band of the evening, we were treated to delicious sets from locals Old James as well as Ross‘ tour mate Ethan Brosh. Once The Boss and his band took to the Rockpile stage the crowd tightened up closer to the stage, denim vests the uniform of the evening. It was great seeing some Toronto rock royalty in the house in the likes of J.T. Harris from Heavens Fire and also Darren James Smith (Harem Scarem/Jake E. Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel).
“Are you ready for some Heavy Fuckin’ Metal?” screamed Lopez as the band strapped on the instruments of war. And so began his impressive vocal display that included some excellent ear-piercing screams. From Kings Of Metal, “Blood of the Kings” got things rolling and the same album’s “Hail And Kill” ended the assault 90 minutes later. Sandwiched in between were selections from Battle Hymns (1982), Into Glory Ride (1983), Hail To England (1984), Sign Of The Hammer (1984), and Fighting The World (1987). Between many a song, the crowd chanted “Ross the Boss, Ross The Boss” often drowning out Lopez‘s between song banter. A night of classic Heavy Metal had the Toronto crowd headbanging from start to finish…thanks, Ross The Boss for including us on the tour!