Live Gig Report by Chris Martin (Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
As I sit here nursing a bum knee (hurt it last night fighting a mental patient at work,) I’m very glad this injury happened when it did instead of last week. There’s no way in hell I could’ve managed four nights of travelling and shows with a bruised knee. Hell, by the afternoon of the fourth day I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to handle it as it was. I was exhausted, physically and mentally, and pretty much just going on pure will power and adrenaline. Complimentary tickets, however, are a great motivator. Thanks to my writing I was offered a couple free tickets and a picture pass for the Adrenaline Mob/Kill Devil Hill show in Charlotte at Amos’ Southend (yep, the same place I saw Final Curse a few nights prior.) I was actually already planning on going to begin with (along with my beautiful girlfriend,) but without the tickets being comped I doubt we would’ve made the show as tired as I was. Roger was planning on meeting us there though he was unable to, and at the last minute my Sister decided she would come along as well.
Poor McDonald’s got left in the dust again as we decided to eat at a place called Big League Hot Dog. I’d only been there one time before and had been hankering to get back so I took the opportunity of us driving by it and not needing to meet anyone in Charlotte for food so we stopped. Dogs down we jumped back into the car and attempted to make our way to the club. I freely admit that I am directionally challenged, but this was borderline idiotic that I got us backwards getting there. I really feel like such a dumbass getting lost going to places I go to all the time- especially since I was just there a couple nights before. Between being lost and pouring rain, I nearly turned us around and headed back to the house, but we finally managed to get straightened out (and I came to the realization that I took a different route the last time so I wasn’t completely stupid.)
By the time we got to the club I was surprised that there was a little bit of a line formed outside. We got in line, only for me to realize that I left the camera in the car. I’m not used to having one, as this was a gift bestowed upon me that day by AJ. The doors open, and we start winding our way in. I’ve been on guest lists before, but it’s usually for bands I’m friends with, so I wasn’t sure how it was going to work for a national act. We get up to the cashier, letting Kim go first since she was paying for hers. She was going to use her card, but they only take cash, so she went over to the ATM while I move on up and tell the girl my name and that I was on the Adrenaline Mob list. Much to my horror, my name wasn’t on there. AJ was furious; demanding that we leave immediately and that I should write my review about that, while my sister is standing there saying she’ll buy the tickets. As sluggish as I was, my mind still worked well enough to recall that I had my contact information for the bands PR guy still on my phone. We stepped outside, while I thumbed through emails looking for it. Finally finding it, I instantly called the guy and told him what had happened.
Apparently there was a breakdown in communication and not everyone that was to know had been informed so he told me he was going to text the tour manager, and would then call me back. As luck would have it, about the time my phone rang, the tour manager was walking over to the cashier and voila! Problem solved! I will admit that it was kind of cool making that call and having the tour manager come out- made me feel kind of important. I just hope that this never happens again.
We scoped out a table towards the back so I could get a crash course on the camera. Once I felt confident enough about using it Kill Devil Hill was about to take the stage. We made our way up front so I could get some good shots. I took advantage of the fact that there didn’t seem to be a “no camera” policy, so I practiced taking shots of Kill Devil Hill since my assignment was technically to take them for Adrenaline Mob. Kill Devil Hill is comprised of Rex Brown (ex-Pantera, ex-Down,) Vinny Appice (ex-Dio, ex-Black Sabbath, ex-Heaven and Hell,) Dewey Bragg (ex-Pissing Razors,) and Mark Zavon (ex-Ratt, ex-WASP.) Their sound is a mix of Alice In Chains, Dio, and Black Sabbath. When I heard the CD (I reviewed it for www.myglobalmind.com) I was impressed with it, but seeing them live is where it’s at.
With legends like Appice and Brown as the backbone of the band, you know it’s going to be tight. When you add to the mix the talents of Bragg and Zavon the sound is set. Upon first listen I thought KDH had more of an Alice In Chains vibe going on, but after seeing them live I’m going to walk back that assessment. There are dashes of AIC in their sound, but they’ve really forged a sound recognizable yet all their own. I was super impressed with the vocals of Bragg though. He’s got such passion in his voice. With this being their last night on the tour, I felt they really gave their all.
Next up was Adrenaline Mob. This is a band I’d heard Eddie Trunk talk about several times. It’s a project put together by Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater) and Russell Allen (Symphony X.) Instead of going the predictable route and melding the styles of both of their previous work, they decided to shake it up and go for a more current sound. I know some folks don’t like it, but I personally think it’s awesome. A couple months ago I had seen Allen with Symphony X and they blew me away. His voice is astounding. Everyone knows that Portnoy is the second greatest drummer in the world, yet with Mob he tends to be a lot more reserved than he was in DT. Joining them are the insanely talented Mike Orlando on guitar and John Moyer (Disturbed) on bass. There aren’t enough words to say how much I truly loved watching this band live. Though I very much enjoyed their debut CD Omerta, hearing the songs live is where they come to life. Allen’s stunning vocals, Orlando’s guitar calisthenics, the powerful backbeat provided by Moyer and Portnoy just melds into a perfect sound that should appeal to fans of all kinds of heavy music.
As if this weren’t enough, when Adrenaline Mob indicated that their set was done, they went off stage briefly then came back and announced that Vinny Appice would be joining them. I had a feeling this was going to happen since they didn’t break down his set afterward and only covered it. I’m more a fan of the guitar, but seeing two drummers of the caliber of Vinny Appice and Mike Portnoy work their magic on Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick,” was stunning. Then the rest of Kill Devil Hill came to the stage and joined them for “Communication Breakdown” from Zeppelin and the Sabbath classic “War Pigs.” The crowd loved every second of it. The last time I recall seeing a combination of bands that was this much fun and as good to hear was many years ago when I saw Cinderella, Winger, and Bulletboys. This was definitely a major highlight of the night. Sadly, there weren’t a lot of people there to witness it. Nothing against Final Curse as they deserved more people at their show as well, but they had a bigger crowd than Adrenaline Mob/Kill Devil Hill, which was shocking. You’d think two bands with such legendary musicians more people would’ve showed up.
I’m definitely glad everything worked out and we stayed for the show. It was one I would’ve hated to miss. I’m not sure if they did the two band thing every night or if it was just reserved for our show. Either way it was an excellent cap to an awesome night of music. I’m not sure that I can handle four nights of shows in a row again. It wore my ass out, but all four events were outstanding and I’ve got great memories to last a lifetime. I also got to hang out with great friends (and family) and got to spend some quality time with my girl. All in all it was a magnificent weekend.