A throwback extravaganza showcased as a "Hair Metal Holiday" was only halfway appropriately named, even though it delivered on all things '80s. Headlined by original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley and supported by Dokken, Enuff Znuff, L.A. Guns and the Graham Bonnet Band last Friday night on two stages inside The Rock Box, four local artists had their moment to shine as well.
Although the evening began inauspiciously for the first group on the bill, things smoothed over for Eden Burning, Sidewinder, and Jason Kane & The Jive after Wall Of Soul had kicked off the festivities.
If a tree falls in the woods and no one's around to hear it, does it make a sound?
That classic riddle befell Wall Of Soul when the band's 6:30 p.m. set time was jump-started prior to patrons being allowed into the venue. Wall Of Soul, with frontwoman Chrissy Bliss belting out her signature bluesy vocals, completed opening tune "New Day" as ticketholders that had been scheduled to be let in at 6 p.m. remained outside. The band began second tune "Got Me Wrong" before the soundman told them "stop" because doors still hadn't opened.
As Wall Of Soul's members awkwardly bided their time, the eventual admission of fans was accompanied by the same soundman declaring, "OK, doors have opened, and the next band goes on in 15 minutes, so we need to get going." A dumbfounded Fred Michalczak on the drums muttered, "Are you fucking kidding me" before Wall Of Soul admirably banged out three more songs to conclude its shortened 25-minute set.
Eden Burning received a long-deserved time slot serving as the local headliners on the larger Vibes Event Center stage, preceding L.A. Guns as well as the Graham Bonnet Band on The Rock Box platform. Singer/guitarist Phil Salazar, guitarist Matt Steele, bassist Shane Breon and drummer Doug Merritt rocked out to several originals plus an apropos cover of Motley Crue's "Starry Eyes" after several years of playing the club scene to crowds that, well, didn't have a VIP section. And neither did The Rock Box or the Vibes. That is until Friday night's setup saw the "regular" fans a good 15-20 feet from the stage inside the Vibes in favor of those who shelled out a few extra bucks.
Sidewinder, fronted by Byfist vocalist Raul Garcia, brought an edgier style of rock to the program. Guitarist David Valdez shredded impressively throughout the group's 25-minute set to "My Country," "Can't Take My Dreams," "Dreamers" and "Ready to Rock," backed by bassist Rey Ybarra and drummer Paul Pederson.
The trio of Jason Kane & The Jive, which opened at The Rock Box for Sebastian Bach on Nov. 10, this time used its Zeppelin-ish style of blues, rock and jammin' metal to kick off the Vibes portion of the mini-festival. Click below to see them in action on "Pussyfootin'."
With the local metal scene thriving throughout 2017, the Hair Metal Holiday's contingent received a much-needed jolt for themselves and fans, delivering the goods in what arguably could go down as the city's most meaningful local-band showing of the year. A showing that not even the Grinch could spoil.
Stay tuned for coverage of the five national acts on the Hair Metal Holiday bill.