Sunday, August 18, 2013

Slaughter Stick It To Ya in Toronto!



Now don't get carried away there my little perverts, it's not that kind of three-way, but a three sided concert review as Kate, Wally and The Meister all took in Slaughter's show at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto on August 3rd, 2013.  This review, while typed by Meister contains thoughts and notes from all three of us.  The show, presented by The Rockpile Bar & Nightclub in Etobicoke was held at the larger Phoenix Concert Theatre venue expecting a larger crowd.  The move may have backfired a little as there was lots of room to move around in the club.  I can only attribute the not totally packed attendance to the fact that it was a long weekend here and many cottages I'm sure were in full swing.  

Wally and Meister arrived a bit late for the show after grabbing a bite to eat at Gabby's up the street, missing a song or two of the first band.  We met Kate and her friend inside up front near the stage and were immediately impressed with what we were hearing from Suckershot.  Kate readily agreed with our sentiments and mentioned the purchase of merchandise after their set as she showed me (Meister) her phone's memo pad with her show notes.  Kate had also noted that they had a really good and clean sound and were a bunch of clean cut guys, although she was not impressed with their fans.  A lady who seemed to know the band kept elbowing Kate and her friend, which was totally unnecessary as there was plenty of breathing room down on the floor in front of the stage.  Wally seemed to be ready to cut loose and enjoy some beverages this evening as he made two trips to the bar in rapid succession and before Suckershot's set was over he had already disappeared on the third acquisition.  Under the guise of the beverage run he returned with two Suckershot CD's, just like he was reading Kate and Meister's minds, of course his hands were also filled with the next round of drinks as well.

I figured it was about time that I bought a round as Wally had been burning a path in the floor with his bar trips, Kate and her friend declined as they were driving tonight.  I immediately saw what may have contributed to Wally's thirst for beers tonight as I approached the bar and recognised the beautiful and talented Priya Panda of Toronto's own sleaze rockers Diemonds tending bar.

The second band got under way and started out quite heavily music wise as the singer/guitarists fingers buzzed in a blurr of speed over the strings.  Then he opened his mouth and I for one was aghast at the screamy noise that erupted from his lungs.  Not an enjoyable listen at all and I literally prayed for them to be off stage asap!  Wally's bar trips continued, but he echoed my sentiments agreeing as I yelled in his ear that "these guys blow goats".  In looking at Kate's face I could tell she was on the same page.  Her trademark "Yikes" was the first thing on her memo pad directly followed by "Will not be buying a CD or shirt!".  She also had noted that apparently they hate everyone and everything and I'm surprised that she could discern that much from the noise.  Her last note simply read in capital letters "OMG MAKE IT STOP!!"  We later discovered that they go by the name of Demonic Warfare, but I think even the devil and his demons would be embarrassed of that crap.

Symphony Grind filled the stage next and I literally mean filled the stage as there were a lot of them up there.  I felt that the two female back-up singers, one at either side of the stage, were a nice touch and I mean in more than just their looks.  Kate noted that although they seem to sing fairly well individually, it was like watching The View as they were just all singing over each other.  I myself started off grooving to these guys, but they failed to hold my interest as their set went on, maybe the initial reaction was just pure relief that the last band had stopped abusing my delicate ears.  I think the tambourines were the final straw for Kate as her memo notes stated "Tambourines?  Really?  Tambourines do not belong anywhere near a metal show in my humble opinion".  We all began to pay more attention to drinking and carousing with our Geek cohorts and other friends, all joining in the festivities of making fun of some of the other audience members, a sure sign that the band did not have a big (other than the sheer number of them) stage presence.  There were a ridiculously high number of prettied up dudes in the crowd and I threatened to pinch ones ass and point at Kate after she showed him to me.  Kate noted that she was completely distracted by the most stunningly beautiful boy standing to her left as there was not a girl in the place prettier than he was, perhaps this is some kind of hot-tub time machine and we're back in 1986?  But Mark Slaughter and Dana Strum were a part of the Vinnie Vincent Invasion then weren't they?

All three of us "Geeks" are in total agreement when it comes to the next band, J'nai and just cannot say enough good things about them.  We have all seen these mostly University age kids perform on several occasions and they absolutely rock every time!  Jeanette Ricasio (vocals) is described by Kate as a little spitfire, being a tiny girl who has the most enormous stage presence ever!  A statement that has never been truer and Wally and I 100% agree although I swear she's going to hurt herself one of these days with her outrageous dance moves!  They opened tonight with a cover of Rainbow's Kill The King, replacing the former staple opening song of Heart's Barracuda which I personally preferred.  In The Light saw the now expected unison bouncing of all members (except skin basher Rui Cimbron) and this time guitarist Stephan added a new great stunt in which he whipped out the ever present samurai sword from it's sheath home on his back for a little slide guitar.  After Accident it was time for Wally and I's personal favourite J'nai tune in Skipping Stones followed by the as yet unrecorded Gone which saw wood chips
flying as Jeanette wailed on drummer Rui's cymbals with a drumstick, giving it all her little powerhouse had.  Guitarists Stephan and Richie usually perform another neat trick during Defeat Them All where they switch their guitars with each tossing them through the air at each other!  Alas, the previous time I saw J'nai at the Stryper show they failed for the first time and one of the guitars came crashing to the stage, with no major damage.  Tonight they got rather closer to each other than usual, understandably a bit nervous after the last bungle, too bad it's amazing when they do it fully and I'm sure the confidence level will get back up there again soon.  They closed out with their standard finale of Welcome To The Jungle and Kate summed it up the best saying "the one thing that I always take away from this band is their incredibly positive energy", do yourself a favour and go and see J'nai perform live as soon as you can.  Say "hi" to the Geeks as well, we'll probably be there!

Now well lubricated with frosty adult beverages (except driver Kate), I've never seen Wally hit 'em that hard and fast before, maybe he just kept returning to the bar to ogle Priya some more.....good choice sir in either case!  Slaughter took the stage (Kate seemed to think it took them an awfully long time to come out, perhaps thinking they were Justin Bieber!, but that time was lost on the male "Geeks" with our alcohol induced state).  The crowd tightened up around us as they stormed out after a recorded intro and wasted no more time charging into The Wild Life.  By this time Kate and her friends' choice of footwear had got the better of them and they retreated to the rear of the concert hall in search of a place to sit.  Drummer Zoltan Chaney was off to a flying start as his sticks spend more time in the air than in his hands and he even uses his feet from time to time.  They chose Take Me Away for their second track and it's certainly not one of their more well known songs unless we all three were asleep at the wheel.  During the song however,
bassist Dana Strum, who formed Slaughter with namesake Mark after they left the Vinnie Vincent Invasion, came over to the right side of the stage and noticed my circa 1990 "Stick It To Ya!" Slaughter tour shirt.  Pointing at it he tossed me a pick and smiled.  Burning Bridges was up next and the guys were sounding great and tight musically, a total relief after some horror stories I'd heard about Mark's inability to hit the notes at some performances over the years.  It's nice to see what kind of a show we were in for tonight, although I will say it appears that Mark's beefed up a little in the gut area with the passage of time.  Spend My Life and Mad about you followed, giving the Stick It To Ya! debut record a lot of coverage already, as expected.  It was time for the inevitable guitar solo next, a process that always causes me to lose interest as I'm not a player myself, so it just mainly amounts to noise for a guy like me, but it was reasonably short and they charged into Eye to Eye which saw Mark jump off of the stage and into the crowd circling the whole room during the song.  The next song was Living Inside and I was unfamiliar with the tune although I thought I had all their work, I must be missing one
somewhere!  Real Love preceded the ultimate power ballad and ridiculous hit Fly To The Angels, which of course had the audience crooning along with Mark, the Decibel Geeks included, at least the drunk male ones.....where is Kate anyway?  Up All Night, the track that started me on Slaughter was next in line on the roster and then it was all over!  What, over??  What the F**K? a 70 minute set for the ticket price of $40!  A minimum headlining set should be at least 90 minutes without question!  Y&T tickets back in April were worth $26 and they played for almost two and a half hours.  What Slaughter played was awesome, but there just wasn't enough of it.  Ripping the fans off in this manner is totally unacceptable.  A couple of weeks ago Harem Scarem pulled the same horseshit.  It's amazing that these bands are all getting back together or back out on the road and including Toronto thanks to the Rockpile, but don't rip us off!  I hope that it's not a growing trend in these ageing rockers.  In any case Kate and I both look forward to seeing Slaughter aboard ship for Monsters Of Rock Cruise 2014.  They blew me away with what they did play and Zoltan Chaney is an absolute and utter pleasure to watch, Ive never seen anyone drum like that before, very entertaining.  I gave away two more Dana picks at the end of the show as I had mine personally tossed to me and also had secured a Mark pick, so let another fan have the souvenir for their $40!

Kate, Wally & The Meister


Anonymous said...

Great to read a review of this...thanks for posting!

Anonymous said...

Fabulous review ... thanks so much for the thumbs up for SUCKERSHOT. We'd love to kick your asses again (Musically) next time we hit Toronto !! Kate, Wally and The Meister, be sure to introduce yourselves to us next time .. we'll share some Cold Ones !! Thanks again.


Unknown said...

Great review! I've seen Slaughter several times and they never disappoint.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the review. I almost went to this show but I had to work. I also wasn't treated very well by the Rockpile club at the MSG concert about a year ago so I wasn't that keen on getting mistreated again.

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