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Rock Eyez 2006 Year In Review

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Rockeyez Brings Some Of The Best Bands Around For Summer Fun
by: David Felix...Check Out Our PHOTO GALLERY HERE

Yes, I know this has been a long time coming and I do apologize for the delay. See, under 'normal' circumstances and after witnessing an event such as the one we threw at The Cup, I would be very excited to write a review and the words would just pour out from my keyboard and into my computer as fast as I could type them. This time, however, things were a little different and while the night was filled with memorable moments and some incredible performances, there are some other things I just as soon want to forget. Let me explain'

I learned a lot of hard lessons this particular evening but I think the most important should just go without saying' never ASSUME anything! See, I 'ASSUMED' since we had worked with this venue before, everything would go smoothly' I was wrong! I 'ASSUMED' that since I was working on other things that other aspects and communications surrounding the event were taken care of...I was wrong! I 'ASSUMED' that since everything went so great the first time that no one at the venue would fuck us over but again, I was wrong!

The evening started off on a sour note. My wife and staff editor Judy and I arrived at the venue just a little bit past 6:30pm where we were greeted by our CEO Brian Rademacher and his wife Stephanie. Things seemed normal enough except for the fact that nothing was being loaded in yet and our opening act ATOM STRANGE was already there as well as ROCKEYEZ's own Joe Manno (who would be performing with both TWITCH and NORWAY AND who was also letting us use his drum kit for the evening) and Chigger from Ray West's band who was also graciously allowing us to use his bass cabinet for the evening to help things move smoother and quicker.

With this, I asked Brian what was going on and he told me the guy who was suppose to let us in to get the ball rolling hadn't shown up yet. So I was like, 'ok' whatever!' We still had plenty of time before our first band was supposed to hit the stage at 7:30.

The guy in question (I refuse to even mention his name) shows up about ten minutes later, walks right by everyone and straight into the club. I figure he knows he's late and is rushing to get inside to open the back door for us so that the bands could start loading in but, just the same, Brian goes in after him while I went around to the side door to see if I could help any of the bands with their load in. About five minutes later, the door still isn't open so I was like, 'What the Hell is going on?' I started walking back around to the front of the club when Brian comes rushing over to me and says, 'The guy said he's going home to take a shower!' Trying my best to stay a 'little' in control I screamed 'What???!!!??? What the Hell do you mean he's going home to take a shower?' And Brian then goes on to explain to me that the guy was being a complete #$$^&*% and even had the balls to say, 'We don't load in here until after 8:00pm!' THIS after months of advertising a 7:00pm doors/ 7:30pm first band start! There were posters almost wallpapering the club itself with our flyers saying this for Christ's sake! Don't give me that bullshit that he didn't know' this had all been worked out MONTHS prior. He just decided he was going to be a control freak and a complete $#*&ing #$$^&*%!

So I stormed around the corner just in time to see his car jetting out of the parking lot. I was pissed' but at that point there was nothing we could do. So I tried to relax figuring we'd only be about an hour behind if this guy got back by 8:00pm and we loaded in real quick, right? WRONG!

Well yeah' the guy did show up at just about 8:00pm but then dicked around for almost another 45 minutes just moving shit off of the stage area and setting up his equipment' real nonchalantly and even refusing our help to get things moving. After all this, he finally let our first band in to start setting up their equipment which they did so very quickly and were finally ready to go by just about 9:00pm. Of course, they didn't go ON then because, just to further delay things, he disappears for another ten minutes' What a fucking disaster but, now for the good part' on with the show!

After a loooooong delay, ATOM STRANGE hit the stage just about 9:10. Now, I had never really heard these guys before but they were really, really impressive. Fronted by lead vocalist Rick Dunn and backed by guitarist Alex Rude, bassist Steve Logan and percussionist Iliya Hamovich, these guys tore through their set playing selections from their new self-titled CD on RayGun Records. Their energetic performance and mix of classic hard-rock, heavy metal and progressive styles kicked the night off in stellar fashion bringing a lot of the crowd almost immediately to their feet. But don't listen to me; check out their MySpace page at: where you can hear song samples and order your own copy of their CD. With their solid arrangements and stirring musicianship, ATOM STRANGE is already proving they're a band to be reckoned with in the future.

Next up was Jersey's own TWITCH featuring (as I mentioned earlier) ROCKEYE's own staff writer Joe Manno on percussion, Mark Polon on keyboards, guitarist Rich Mazurkevich, bassist Mike Fash and incredible, young vocalist Gautam Malhotra. Now these guys are a covers band' and as you know, there's really not a whole Hell of a lot you can say about a covers band. They usually either suck ass or are pretty damned good at best but let me tell ya, TWITCH will simply blow you away! Trying to forget the fact that these guys sound as tight as (if not MORE tight than') a lot of bands out there, I think the thing that really grabs you about this band is that they're playing songs a lot of bands wouldn't even dare touch!

Their set included selections from LED ZEPPELIN, BOSTON, THE CULT, DEEP PURPLE, RAINBOW and RUSH' but not just your 'typical' songs. These guys tackled 'Since I've Been Loving You,' 'Finding My Way,' 'Highway Star,' and 'Tom Sawyer' like they were nothing! All challenging songs, from a musicians point of view, and moreover' songs you will very rarely hear another band even attempt. But these guys pulled them off with flying colors. The improvised 'jams' through out the set were just incredible and Malhotra proved he could pull off just about any vocal style you could throw at him. I'd love to see these guys playing around more and if you ever get the opportunity' this is one band you don't want to miss.

Just towards the end of TWITCH's set, I noticed an old friend walk in the club' none other than former DANGER DANGER vocalist Ted Poley! This was very cool and a real surprise and treat for everyone. So after a few minutes of Ted saying his 'hello's' to all his friends, fans and acquaintances, we got to talking and he started telling me about how he was putting the finishing touches on his new release for Frontiers Records due out in the fall. I was even privy to a HUGE surprise' he happened to bring along one of the tracks from his CD with him, which he invited me to listen to in his car! I can't really say much except to say Ted himself is so excited about the release, he believes this is some of the best work he's ever done and if the one little taste I got was any indication of what the rest of his CD is going to be like' I tend to agree with him!

I got back inside the club just in time to introduce the next band up' UNTIL DESTINY! Again, hadn't heard a whole lot from these guys myself, but Brian and Stephanie absolutely LOVE these guys and besides' when you have one of the best drummers in the world not only producing your album but sitting in with you as well (John Macaluso) and amazing veteran bassist Randy Coven backing you up ' there's gotta be some magic! And there was!

UNTIL DESTINY really isn't your traditional band' per say, but more of the brainchild of absolutely amazing guitarist Robert Katrikh. Now teamed up with former TOURNAMENT vocalist Chandler Mogel, UNTIL DESTINY is poised and ready for stardom! The music itself has that modern-metal feel to it' elements of classic metal with just a touch of 'prog,' and their live show will just blow you away. I can't wait to hear the CD and more from these guys in the future!

Well, so far so good' three killer bands up, three to go but ('gulp') thanks to the whole starting late fiasco, it was getting close to midnight with a 3am cut off! The set changes, unfortunately, weren't moving as fast as we had thought so it was about this time real panic began to set in. UNTIL DESTINY were kind enough to cut their set list, guitarist Jim Santos from NORWAY assured me they could cut down their regularly scheduled set to just 40 minutes and even Doug Odell from CRUNCH volunteered to cut out a couple of songs' but no amount of kindness from these bands could prevent the catastrophe looming on the horizon. I'll get to that, but in the mean time'

Now the crowd was in for a real treat. For the first time in over seven years, MTM recording artists NORWAY took the stage AND reunited with original vocalist Glenn Pierson! I had been looking forward to this for a long time! Backed by Joe Manno on the skins, vocalist Gautam Malhotra, guitarist Rich Mazurkevich and Mark Polon on keyboards (all from TWITCH), founding member Jim Santos and his long time friend, partner and bassist Joe Slattery triumphantly returned to the spotlight.

Despite a 'certain persons' comments' the band sounded GREAT and as good as they possibly could in a venue such as this AND with a vindictive club 'employee' making the night difficult for everyone. Their set opened with the opening track from the bands second release ('ARRIVAL') entitled 'Givin' It All' and how appropriate because these guys certainly did. Without a hitch, NORWAY proceeded to tear through 'Anything At All,' 'American Girl' and their STICKMAN RADIO hit 'Tell Me' all from their latest release 'RISING UP FROM THE ASHES.' Pierson added his own unique style and twist to the new songs (which were originally recorded by vocalist Dave Baldwin) and was even able to revive the old favorites like 'Can't Live Without You.'

A very special bonus occurred at the end of NORWAY's set when surprisingly Ted Poley jumped up on stage to jam the DANGER DANGER hit 'Bang Bang' and what can only be described as a stellar rendition of the JOURNEY classic 'Any Way You Want It' with the band! Ok, ok' maybe it wasn't a BIG surprise as I had heard rumors of it for a couple of weeks prior but still, what an ending to an incredible set!

Tick-tock, tick-tock' the minutes kept on slipping away and by the time our featured artist CRUNCH was ready to hit the stage, it was almost 1:30am! Their original set was only supposed to be about 65 minutes but by cutting out a few, we were all praying somehow, someway this would all work out.

But speaking of CRUNCH' WOW! That's all I can say' Featuring extraordinary vocalist Jamie Rowe, guitarist Eddie Campbell and the always amazingly talented singer/song writer/ producer Vic Rivera (all formerly of ADRIANGALE) joining forces with veterans Joe Cruz on drums and Doug Odell on bass' these guys really deliver quite a punch. And I thought ADRIANGALE was impressive!

Their set blended an ample amount of material representing all of the ADRIANGALE releases. They opened with 'Reap What You Sow' from their debut album 'FEEL THE FIRE' which I can honestly say actually sounded better than it did the way it was originally recorded. You could tell almost immediately that Jamie was really on this night as his powerful voice filled this 'Cup' to overflowing!

Also represented from 'FEEL THE FIRE' was 'Save Our Love' as well as 'Over, Said N Done' from 'RE:PROGRAM' and some excellent renditions of 'Faith,' 'Long Gone,' and 'Without A Moments Notice' from their last release as ADRIANGALE and also the origin of the bands new name; 'CRUNCH.' As you watched Rivera and Campbell duel leads and riffs together all night long and felt the pulsing rhythms of Odell and Cruz, it's hard to believe these guys only actually started playing and rehearsing together as a band just two days before.

The real backbone of the set was towards the middle when the band cranked out 'Crunch' and 'Last Call'' again, both from their 'CRUNCH' release. These particular two songs never sounded better and really showcase what this band is all about. And finally rounding off this incredible set was an absolutely captivating version of 'Closer' from 'RE:PROGRAM.' If this set was any indication of what this band is capable of, their new, original material must be absolutely amazing. Come on guys' let's get a move on here and get that new release wrapped up soon.

What a great evening so far' but it's not over yet! We still had the always entertaining Ray West and his band coming up next! ...or did we? See' despite our efforts and bands cutting their sets, at 2:30am, with another set change and a venue unwilling to go even one minute past 3:00am, Ray was not allowed to perform. What a travesty' I can honestly say in all my time working in the music industry, this was the most humiliating, unprofessional and disgusting series of events I had ever been witness to. And the worst parts about it were; 1) I was part of it! And 2) In the end, it wasn't just a band or person who ended up getting fucked over but a group of guys we consider friends'. especially Ray West himself AND not to mention Chigger who showed up early and let every band on the bill use his bass cabinet and equipment so that the night would go smoother.

Needless to say, most of the Ray West Band were pissed' and rightfully so. But not Ray himself as much' he seemed more upset and disappointed than anything else. It's funny' I remember talking to him earlier in the evening and him telling me about some hard times he had gone through and how he was finding out who his friends really are and such' Then here we go, people whom he considered 'friends,' turn around and stab him in the back' as unintentional as it was.

Now in situations like this, a lot of fingers start getting pointed. Yeah' things could have gone differently. Things on our side could and SHOULD have been done to assure nothing like this was going to happen but they weren't and that all boils down to our own inexperience at doing something like this, putting too much faith in a venue and their staff and ASSUMING that just because things went awesome one time doesn't mean they will the next time. So in that respect, I have no choice but to accept that responsibility.

On the other hand, it also boils down to an uncooperative, unprofessional person on a power trip who basically held the entire event captive from the start. As I said in the beginning, I am not going to mention any names but I will say not only will there never be any further relations with this establishment, but I will never set foot into that venue again for any reason and I strongly urge anyone who does have dealings with this particular club to be on your toes and always watch your back because you may just end up with a knife in it' like we did.

Overall, the night was far from a complete disaster. All the bands who performed were absolutely brilliant and on behalf of myself and the entire staff at, I would just like to extend our deepest thanks to ATOM STRANGE, TWITCH, UNTIL DESTINY, NORWAY and CRUNCH for making the most of everything and making the night a huge success. We would also like to personally thank Ted Poley for coming out and for all his continued support, Bill Farley from RITUAL for not only showing all his love and support but also for all his words of wisdom and help in holding things together when the shit hit the fan, Rocco Fury and AMERICAN ANGEL, John Macaluso, Randy Coven, Rob at, and all of our friends, families and all the fans that came out to show their support. Also, some very special thanks has to go out to all the members of TWITCH for making the whole NORWAY reunion a reality' and especially Joe Manno whose behind the scenes contributions proved to be invaluable. Thank you all!

Finally, I would just like to extend our deepest, heartfelt apologies one last time AND extend our thanks to Ray West, Chigger and everyone else in and involved with the Ray West Band. Words alone can never express how deeply saddened and upset we are about how things went down that night. All we can do now is let you know that we will always be there to support you and we hope that someday you'll really be able to find it in your hearts to forgive us.

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