David Reece homepage: www.reverbnation.com/davidlreece
David Reece facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/David-Reece-Official/139256386145749
Mike Tramp homepage: miketramp.dk/home
Mike Tramp facebook: www.facebook.com/MikeTrampOfficial
FINALLY! Back at a REAL venue! After last week’s adventure to the Stanhope House for TRIXTER and JADED PAST, it was SOOOOoooo nice to be back at one of my favorite venues in the area, Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ for what promised to be another GREAT night of music. I just LOVE this place! The shows always start and finish at a “reasonable” time, the sound is always great, the venue itself is what I consider the perfect size and set up (not too big, not too small), and the stage itself is high and provides for perfect viewing from just about anywhere in the house!
I guess the ONLY negative about Mexicali’s is that they tend to over book shoving in 5 or even MORE bands before the headliner… and tonight would be no different. The original line-up for the evening called for Scotty Dunbar, SCOTTISH WINDOWS, our old friends in LIPSTICK MAGAZINE, the “other band,” JADED PAST (whom we had seen just the week before opening for TRIXTER AND who were kind enough to put both myself and fellow staffer Mark Balogh on their guest list) and REECE. ALL this before the headliner Mike Tramp was slated to hit the stage around 11:00PM... just TOO MANY BANDS for your average Friday night! So after talking about it, Mark and I decided that 9:00PM would be a good time to show up at the venue. Unfortunately we would have to bite the bullet and miss LIPSTICK MAGAZINE but we figured we would arrive there just in time to catch JADED PAST, REECE and, of course, Mike Tramp. Unfortunately that did not happen as the original order posted online was NOT the order the bands actually played in. So instead of arriving just in time for JADED PAST, we instead arrived just as the “other band” hit the stage.
At this point I guess I have to try and explain briefly what the “other band” actually is! See, a few years back, we caught the “other band” opening for Ted Poley & Joe Lynn Turner at the LONG now defunct Dexter’s in Riverdale, NJ. In my review at the time, all I said was something on the lines of “I was not overly impressed”… ok, it may have been a “tad” harsher than that but bottom line, the band FREAKED out, called and emailed incessantly demanding that their name be strickened from the review AND Rockeyez… we were MORE than happy to oblige! Truth be told, musically the “other band” is not “horrible.” Actually, this time around at least, I was rather impressed with their lead guitarist (whether or not it’s the same guy who played with them last time I saw these guys I have no idea) and their rhythm section and arrangements themselves are not half bad! But still, there are “some” things that still stick out like a sore thumb SO, as it was then… it is now! I stand by my initial review and since I have nothing further to add about the matter, the band will forever be known as the “other band” here at Rockeyez.
Needless to say though, we were PISSED that we missed JADED PAST. So much, in fact, that we were so embarrassed after the band put us on their guest list AND not to mention we REALLY wanted to see them that we ended up “dodging” them and avoiding “eye-contact” for the rest of the evening. All I can say is we do sincerely apologize… we’ll make it up to ya, THAT’s a promise!
Anyway, while “other band” was on, we got to spend some time backstage with our friend David Reece and just a BUNCH of friends (both old AND new) which composes David Reece’s entire solo band! Starting with the amazingly talented guitarist Jack Frost (SEVEN WITCHES), keyboardist extraordinaire Charlie Calv (SHOTGUN SYMPHONY/ MELODICA/ LIBERTY N’ JUSTICE), one of the busiest bassists in the business and long-time friend Ronnie Parkes (SEVEN WITCHES/ FARCRY/ TANGO DOWN) and none other than Sebastian Bach’s son Paris Bierk on drums! Now I cannot begin to tell you how many times we heard from just about every member of the band including David himself, “Please be gentle on us… David is really sick tonight.” And indeed it seemed so as David was noticeably sweating and his demeanor was a bit more laid back and quiet before the show, no doubt trying to save is strength and voice for the performance so we didn’t know WHAT to expect. But let me tell ya, by the time these guys hit the stage, all bets were OFF and any sign of illness were virtually eliminated.
While their normal set would be a bit “abbreviated,” they opened with the hard-hitting “Hellhammer” marking Reece’s time in ACCEPT and from his only studio release with the band “Eat The Heat.” What the fuck were these guys talking about? David Reece, sick?!?! Really? Nailing notes like that! Obviously earlier statements about Reece’s illness were EXTREMELY exaggerated as he sounded almost in perfect voice. Even later after the show, Mark turned to me and said that they actually sounded better than they did just a few weeks back doing a headlining set at Dingbatz in Clifton! But then again, the sound at Dingbatz has been known to be “questionable” from time to time. But geez… if this is what David Reece sounds like sick, maybe he should be periodically injected with the flu bug!
David and the band were just fantastic all through their set. I just love watching Jack Frost play whether it’s with this band, SEVEN WITCHES or any project he is involved with… this guy is truly a world-class guitarist and showman if there ever was one. He has always reminded me a bit of having all the technique and attitude of Vinnie Vincent combined with all the speed and showmanship of Yngwie Malmsteen. Trust me… this is NOT the guy you’d want in your typical “metal” band… especially if you are the lead singer and afraid of being upstaged by your guitar player! But that is not the case with Reece and Frost as their experience and professionalism blend together so perfectly. It’s truly a shame that these guys don’t play together more on a regular basis as their combined ability of commanding a stage and audience is truly comparable to duos on the lines of David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen or Don Dokken and George Lynch back in the day.
THEN you throw in newcomer Paris Bierk who is just a “Wild Man” behind the kit (enough so that I wouldn’t be surprised to see him backing up his “old-man” Sebastian sometime in the near future), the seasoned keyboard skills of Charlie Calv, and the thundering bass licks of Ronnie Parkes and you’ve got yourself a band worthy of recognition!
While for…ahem, “medical reasons,” their set was only six songs long, what they did play sounded absolutely brilliant. Right after “Hellhammer,” Reece and the band tore right into two BANGALORE CHOIR tracks “Just One Night” and one of my favorites, the hauntingly melodic “Angel In Black” now even a bit edgier thanks to the addition of Frost! Then they surprised the crowd with a very cool rendition of the CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL classic “Fortunate Son” which was also included on Reece’s latest solo release “Compromise.” And finally, Reece and company reverted back to David’s ACCEPT days performing “Generation Clash” also from the “Eat The Heat” release and the all-time ACCEPT mantra “Balls To The Wall” which Reece didn’t even initially sing on but through the years has made uniquely his own. Killer, KILLER set which really left the crowd begging for more and he put on a show like that sick? Sorry… just don’t buy it! LOL
But now it was time for the man of the hour, Mike Tramp who did it the old fashioned way… just an acoustic guitar, a microphone and a voice! A voice which has MORE than withstood the test of time as his almost two-hour set really put it through the ringer. Astonishingly though, from beginning to end he sounded absolutely amazing as he performed 17 songs spanning his almost three decade career from WHITE LION to FREAK OF NATURE and all through his solo material.
He opened with one of my all-time favorite WHITE LION tracks “Little Fighter” from their 1989 release “Big Game.” Really enjoyed hearing this song “live” again even though it was more toned down than the CD version we all remember so well but what do you expect? It is acoustic after all and the arrangement and adaptation of the song was simply breathtaking and really brought back a lot of memories from my youth… as did all the other WHITE LION songs… and, as expected, there were a LOT of them! Just about any WHITE LION trademark you could think of: “Hungry,” “Tell Me,” their first hit “Broken Heart,” the MEGA-hit “Wait” ALL were represented as well as a single verse “tease” of “Cherokee” and some more WHITE LION “Deep-Tracks” like “Going Home Tonight,” “Lady of the Valley” and “Warsong” from the last WHITE LION release with all original members, 1991’s “Mane Attraction.”
In addition, his set went on to include “What Am I” marking Mike’s time with FREAK OF NATURE, my favorite track off of his debut solo release “Capricorn” “Have You Ever,” another “tease” in the shape of a one-verse rendition of “Anymore” from 2009’s Mike Tramp & the ROCK & ROLL CIRCUZ, the title track to his third studio-solo album “More To Life Than This” and representing his most recent release “Cobblestone Street,” a spot-on rendition of “Revolution.” Then in one of the most somber moments of the set, Mike performed the Danish bonus track off of his “Stand Your Ground” release “Hymn To Ronnie,” his dedication to the legendary Ronnie James Dio whom we lost May 16, 2010… a true music icon in any sense of the word and who is sorely missed more and more as the years go on.
All night long in between songs, Mike would regale the audience to stories about WHITE LION, being on the road with bands like AC/DC, even a few light-hearted “digs” at some other bands whom I will not mention and even some well-placed words of wisdom. Then finally he brought the evening to a close with a beautiful, acoustically arranged version of the mega-ballad “When the Children Cry” and a very eclectic version of GOLDEN EARRING’s classic “Radar Love” (once recorded as a cover by WHITE LION as well) proving even an up-tempo rocker can sound good acoustically if you have the right talent and arrangement behind it.
If you loved WHITE LION back in the day, you CANNOT miss Mike Tramp when he comes to your town! Typically performing almost two hours (if not more) and upwards of 17 or more songs, now that’s a LOT of entertainment for the price of admission and the thing about it is, the time just seems to fly by to the extreme that you don’t even notice it! Now THAT’s the sign of a gifted musician… no matter how long he plays, you never find yourself watching the clock and you are never, EVER bored. That’s what a Mike Tramp show brings to the table and I feel totally honored that I got to witness it first-hand. Thanks Mike for an incredible evening of music and also to JADED PAST whom we owe BIG and REECE who were equally as rewarding with just a six-song set! David Reece… sick my fat ass!!!