Official Website: www.trixterrocks.com/
Myspace Website: www.myspace.com/hostelinc
Official Website: tnarocks.com/
Photo Page from the Show
DAVID FELIX: Friday November 28th would certainly prove to be a night to remember. New Jersey’s premier rock club DEXTER’s was not only hosting two of the areas best talent in Ray West’s HOSTEL INC. and TNA, but the night would also mark the return of one of Jersey’s premier hard rock bands… TRIXTER!
Accompanied by Rockeyez’s own CEO Brian Rademacher and his wife Stephanie, my wife Judy and I all arrived at the club around 5:30 for what promised to be one Hell of a night of music.
As we walked in for sound check, Mark “Gus” Scott was already busy setting up his skins for the evening’s event… but that didn’t stop him from jumping down off the stage to greet us in his typical jubilant manner. Shortly after, Steve Brown emerged from the backstage area and PJ Farley took his place on stage-right and began to get himself prepared for sound check.
After a few minutes of conversation with both Mark and Steve it was back to business as usual. For the next thirty minutes or so, we hung out and watched the guys prepare their gear for their headlining set later that evening… I even caught myself a little nap as you can see from the show photos! Hey… it was going to be a long night so I figured I better catch some “winks” while I could! This was only interrupted briefly by the arrival of lead vocalist Pete Loran fresh off his flight in from Arizona! Then finally came the moment we had been waiting for… our own private concert with TRIXTER!
This was just GREAT! Of course a sound check could never be as good as the show itself and by all accounts, this was no different than any other sound check I had ever attended, but, to me, it was always exciting to get a sneak-peek at a performer before all the fans filed in. So while Brian and Mark Balogh (who had arrived a short time after we all did) snapped off pictures, the rest of us enjoyed the warm-up songs, which included “Bad Girl” and “Play Rough.” Pete sounded just great… and just a short time after his lengthy flight made it even more impressive. And as for the rest of the guys? What can you say? Even just warming up they sounded as tight as ever and Steve would just go off sometimes and really rip off some incredible solos in between microphone and level adjustments. Yes… STEVE BROWN! The guy you liked to poke fun of with his counterparts back in the 80’s as being a “fluff” band. But for anyone who has ever had a chance to see these guys live, you’ll know TRIXTER (despite being the victims of a lot of jokes due to their young, “poppy”/ “bubble-gum” image) never deserved their ill-fated rep and always have been and always will be a great, hard-rock band. And now, all grown up these guys have really grown into their musicianship both as individuals and as a unit.
After sound check, we got a chance to spend a few more minutes with the guys before they were off to their hotel rooms to prepare for the show. Courteous as always, they all took the time to sign autographs for anyone who approached them, talked and took pictures. Truly a unique experience none of us would ever forget. Now… on with the show!!!
The first band on the agenda was our old friend Ray West and his band HOSTEL INC. who were fast becoming almost a “house” band after playing Dexter’s so many times before. Always a great, great show and tonight would be no different… but there was ONE thing in particular that WAS different. As the lights went down and guitarist Diamond Den, drummer Jeff Hardee and thundering bassist Chigger all took their places on stage, you could see Ray silhouetted in the background and as the lights came up, everyone was in for a huge surprise and not only was Ray adorning his normal black clothes, shades and dreadlocks, but also full make-up in very “goth” fashion! We had NO idea what we were in for but for some reason, it really, really seemed to fit his image to a “T” and is something I hope he continues to use in the future.
What was really nice about this particular show was that for an opening band, the place was really jammed and it didn’t take long for HOSTEL INC.’s heavy, aggressive rhythm’s to win them over. After opening with fan favorite “Devil’s Sundown,” Ray and the band sweetened the set a little l=this time with a new track called “Don’t Think.” Very cool song… this heavy-rocker was a nice compliment to long-time set tradition “Execution Style” which just seems to get better and better every time I hear it.
Then, of course, came the quintessential “Novacaine” which is… without a doubt, still the band’s best song and is already making a name for itself being used as a soundtrack tune for television shows such as Burn Notice and Sons of Anarchy. Might I add, it’s about fucking time people started to take notice!!!!
Continuing on, the set included another new song entitled “Speed” and an absolutely phenomenal version of the VAN HALEN classic “Somebody Get Me A Doctor” which was highlighted by the brutal bass riffs of Chigger and an outstanding solo by Den where he didn’t as much try and mimic Eddie Van Halen as he did succeeding in making it his own… very cool! Then rounding things up was the heart-pounding “Blood From A Stone” and the gritty, in-you-face “State of Grace”… another one of my favorites. Just another typically stellar set by one of the areas best up-and-coming artists.
Up next was Jersey’s own TNA! At this point I’d like to turn things over to Mark Balogh for his interpretation of one of his favorite area bands...
MARK BALOGH: New York’s TNA is no stranger to Dexter’s in Riverdale, NJ. They have been the opening act for a handful of national shows here since their return on the scene in January 2008. The lineup, composed of original members Danny Tore (drums), Sean Tarr (guitar) and Mike McManamon (vocals) along with bassist Doug Odell have graced the Dexter’s stage for several shows in the past year with it becoming somewhat of a second home for the band.
So it was no surprise that on this night they would join another longtime local favorite to rock out just like they did back in the days of Studio One (Newark, NJ) and the legendary Lamour in Brooklyn, NY. TRIXTER and TNA shared the stage more than a few times back in the day and so it was almost natural to see them doing it again in 2008!
I’ve got to witness some great nights by the band since their return to the stage and tonight was no different. The guys put on a solid set with songs from both their releases including the triple shot of “Do You Remember”. “Where’s The Love” and “Rung On The Ladder” to open their set. Other staples like “Let Me Down Easy” and “Walk Before You Crawl” were also played and the band ended the evening with the crowd favorite “Take You Home”.
The guys were tight and really always have been since their first show (in more than 17 years) back in January ‘08 when they played Lamour (which is now located in Staten Island these days). It’s always a treat to see TNA again as it brings back great memories. Having the recently re-formed TRIXTER on the same bill this night made it even more special. I only wish they broke out “Coast To Coast”! Now that would have been really cool!
DAVID FELIX: And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for… TRIXTER!!!
After a rather long delay between sets due to what appeared to be technical difficulties with Brown’s signature red, white and blue axe, it was almost time for the hometown boys to take the stage. By this time the room was just packed by the sold out crowd. While the temperature outside continued to drop, we found ourselves almost sweating to death as the space around us became smaller and smaller as the crowd compacted around us. Then… in an eruption of thunderous applause and screams, for the first time in Jersey in over 13 years, TRIXTER exploded onto the stage and were welcomed home with open arms.
Right out of the gate, Pete, PJ, Mark and Steve wasted no time in shoving it right up the ass of any doubters. TRIXTER was back where they belonged… not only on the stage but right here in Jersey as they powered through an edgier version of “Bad Girl” from their debut, self-titled release followed by two more hard-rockers in the high-octane “Rockin’ Horse” and “Play Rough.”
It’s unbelievable how tight these guys sound with virtually no rehearsals to speak of but these guys weren’t about to let their Jersey loyals down. Loran’s voice still impresses after all these years and, if anything, has only matured giving even the old songs some fresh life. As for PJ, no longer sporting his long, blond hair but instead clad in nothing more than a pair of black cargo pants and a green, military-like cap over his buzz-cut, he lets his thundering bass speak for itself.
Then there’s Mark “Gus” Scott who has probably had the least time to keep his chops up after being busy with his family and numerous entrepreneurial ventures over the years but damn! Just listening to and watching this guy pounding away on the skins you’d never know it as his chest-jarring double-bass and additional fills charge each and every moment of the set. All this while Steve Brown’s electrifying guitar leads and solos ignite the crowd. What an underrated guitar player... this guy has really grown into his instrument and become a fine virtuoso in his own right.
Continuing on, the set list did not disappoint including fan favorites like “One In a Million,” “Heart of Steel” and their trademark 80’s ballad “Surrender” complimented by other TRIXTER rockers like “Power Of Love,” “Road of a Thousand Dreams” and “Ride The Whip.” It was so great to hear all the old songs again but only now through an even more mature and talented group of musicians.
All night long the crowd cheered and sang along with their favorites. As Mark (Balogh) so eloquently brought up earlier, it really brought you back to the late 80’s / early 90’s Jersey club scene where the crowds were all the same and they knew every song by heart.
After an incredible percussion feature compliments of Mr. Scott, the band ended the set with a powerful “one-two punch” with an extraordinary rendition of the up-tempo rocker “Line of Fire” and the band’s first single “Give It To Me Good” before taking a short break to the roars for an encore. Of course, TRIXTER did not disappoint coming back out to take their final bows after playing their classic hit “Only Young Once.”
The capacity crowd certainly got their money’s worth and MORE as the triumphant return of TRIXTER rocked DEXTER’s like never before. It’s such a thrill to have this band back together and playing shows again and the thing about it is, they’re all still relatively young and still have a lot of heart and a lot of music left to play. Welcome home, guys… Jersey’s certainly missed ya!