For the past few weeks the rumblings about the new 'supergroup' ADRENALINE MOB piqued my interest. ADRENALINE MOB features Mike Portnoy (of ex-DREAM THEATER fame of course) and Russell Allen of SYMPHONY X. Both are schooled more in the 'progressive metal' vein, but my sources told me that this was to be more of a mainstream/hard rock/metal mix, which is more to my own personal liking. Rounding out the band are lead guitarist Mike Orlando (SONIC STOMP), guitarist Rich Ward (FOZZY) and Paul Dileo on bass, a seemingly newcomer, though he has been in the scene for over 25 years now.
Excitement reached a fever pitch for this new act last week when the band suddenly announced a one-off debut performance in New York City. I knew that I had to go, even though I had not yet ever heard one note from the band. Nobody had! The band had yet to release any of the music that they’ve spent the past few months recording for their debut album.
Having also never heard of this new venue, the Hiro Ballroom inside the Maritime Hotel, I headed to the city early with a good friend in tow to check the place out. What can I say? This Japanese-themed club is nice, clean, has a friendly staff and an excellent sound system. The average $12 drink price (served in actual glasses!) might chase away some music fans, but I would definitely say this place has great potential and I hope it continues to host plenty of nights of music to come.
And now onto the show; longtime friend Eddie Trunk, Q104.3 DJ & host of VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show, took the microphone just before the 8:00pm. His own enthusiasm in the fact that he was helping to launch the band really got the capacity crowd hyped. And again, nobody knew what to expect!
Moments later, as the lights went down, the band took the stage in darkness, opening with an apropos cover of the DIO-era BLACK SABBATH classic “Mob Rules” From that moment, the crowd was hooked, pounding their fists in unison to every beat of the music, fifteen songs in total, most of which were originals that they had never heard before (save for the two snippets the band let loose on their Facebook page just a couple of days prior).
“Mob Rules” was followed by originals “Hit The Wall”, “Undaunted”, “Feelin’ Me”, “Down To The Floor”,and “Indifferent”, the last two of which actually had many in the audience singing along to the chorus after a few minutes even though the songs were totally new to all. Singer Russell Allen, a very charismatic front man who was interacting with the crowd all night, took a break to address the crowd at that point. This marked the first time the actual 'name' of an ADRENALINE MOB song was ever given to the public, as Allen stated “That last one was called Indifferent, if you hadn't noticed”.
In no time, the band was back to debuting their new music with “Believe Me”, “All On The Line”, “Psychosane”, “Freight Train” and “Angel Sky”, after which Allen again addressed the audience, offering up, of all things, David Lee Roth's line 'Take It Off. Take It All Off!" from VAN HALEN's “Dirty Movies”, which served as the introduction to a totally unexpected cover, a metal version of DURAN DURAN's “Come Undone”.
Who knows what one could expect next after that? Naturally, it would have to be covers, for Allen came to the mic to say “Well that was our new album in its entirety. Did you like it? (roars!) We have nothing else to play except maybe some covers”, to which they broke into a rip-roaring version of BADLANDS' “Highwire” and ended with DIO's “Stand Up & Shout”, dedicated to the late great Ronnie James Dio himself.
At this point, the crowd was spent, but they still had enough in them to cheer the A MOB back onstage for an encore of yet another BLACK SABBATH tune, this time the Ozzy-era “War Pigs” was thrown at the crowd. They went nuts! Finally something everyone in attendance could sing along to!
The band left the stage to a thunderous ovation as the theme to the Godfather trilogy played over the loudspeakers.
This was a superb debut. Adrenaline ruled the night. Literally! The band and the crowd were pumped.
Mike Portnoy is obviously the focus, he with the most star power, and I have to say that, up close and personal, he is simply an amazing drummer as most are aware. But the other players are as well, so kudos definitely first go out to bassist Paul Dileo, who has to have his shit together to round out the rhythm section and keep up with Portnoy, as well as guitarist Rich Ward, who was nonstop full of energy all night long, singer Russell Allen, who I have no clue how he could still have a voice left after belting out his pipes for 15 songs straight, and of course lead guitarist Mike Orlando, who has that ability to shred, but showed us all that night that he is a guitarist not to be reckoned with and someone everyone leaving the building was talking about.
I didn't bother trying to shoot the show, for the band had requested that, at least for this gig, no pictures be taken until their actual official debut, but I know that, at least back in the film days, this would have been a 'ten-roller' at the very least, for when I am enjoying myself, I just continue shooting, and this show was great!
So who do ADRENALINE MOB remind me of? There is definitely a classic DIO influence in there; maybe even some PANTERA and of course bits and pieces of the collective bands all these great players have been involved in. But the music is certainly accessible and all I can say is I can't wait 'til their CD drops in a couple of months!