Melbourne had dealt us a stinking hot day, but this did nothing to deter the fans from turning out in force for the legendary master of heavy metal himself Dee Snider. It was a packed house at The Croxton Bandroom, with black t-shirts and some questionable leather pants as far as the eye could see, all in attendance bringing their A game, voices primed and ready to rock! At 64 years young Dee has the mind, body, and spirit of a man 30 years his junior, still absolutely slaughtering the congregation that worship at his alter of heavy metal, I for one could not wait for the bloodshed to begin.
Melbourne based heavy rock two-piece The Blacktides were our warm-up for the night, they certainly got the fires burning with a 45 minute set of tunes that were guaranteed to get your head nodding in approval. Singer Red took on the bass duties using distortion to fill the absence of the guitar. Netty smashed her kit with heavy hitting and a lot of head banging, also taking to the vocals on many occasions. Taking inspiration from Royal Blood to form a two-piece they put on a bloody good show, but they are the first to admit they “swear like sailors” so if you are easily offended take some earplugs along. I loved their cover of Royals (Lorde), we were forewarned they were going to butcher it but I think it leant itself to heavying up perfectly. So if you see them playing get along and support our local scene, you won’t be disappointed.
The air was palpable as we waited for the main event, an electric ripple could be felt as the black t-shirts surged forward as the lights dimmed down, Exciter by Judas Priest rang out, the hoards happy to sing along building the tension to fever pitch. Dee and his band exploded onto the stage, the Croxton going off like a frog in a sock, opening with Lies Are A Business from the new album For The Love of Metal. Dee was first to admit that this album had reignited his career and was his biggest since the Twisted Sister days, and after reviewing the album last year this comes as no surprise it is an absolute belter from start to finish! We were treated to many songs off the new album, all as polished as the Twisted Sister hits we all know and love. Tomorrow’s No Concern was next followed by You Can’t Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll and The Beast which put the Twisted die-hards into meltdown, fists pumping and sweat flying, pounding the heavy bass line in unison. American Made was a killer and the fans went crazy when Dee changed up the chorus to ‘Australian Made’, his regret at not returning to Australia for 34 years evident as he apologised constantly for leaving us waiting so long.
The Fire Still Burns from the iconic 1985 album Come Out And Play was an unexpected but more than welcome addition, Dee launching onto the speakers his spirit fingers finding the metal horns with ease. There was a slight hiccup with the microphone but Dee took it in his stride and carried on like the true professional he is. Of course the Clive Palmer debacle came to light as I knew it would, and after a brief discussion on it Dee dedicated Roll Over You to Clive (or as Dee called him Rebecca!) The stealing of the TS classic will be decided later in the year in the courtroom, the lesson here, don’t mess with the metal, leave it in the hands of the masters that created it! Without any introduction, We’re Not Gonna Take It sent the room into a frenzy, Dee bouncing around like a man half his age, his enthusiasm and energy transferring to every one of us. There were plenty of sing-a-longs during the night but this was a favourite, with Oh Oh Oh’s blasting back to Dee from all the S.M.F’s in the room. Dee’s voice has aged like a fine wine that just gets better and better over time. His vocal range and ability are of the highest standard and the envy of many singers today.
Become The Storm was Dee’s tribute to dealing with bullying offenders, lets not “talk to them with words” as recommended let’s get old school and deal with them with the rage they provoke. When the setlist couldn’t possibly get any better the band erupts with Under The Blade, a favourite of the hoards, metal horns on steroids as they punched the sky. Nick Petrino was a shredding maestro on guitar and while Dee may call him ‘Cousin It’ his hair does not hinder his playing one bit. Russell Pzütto was on bass duties and wow he was fantastic, showing that bass rocks just as hard as the guitars do. Dee’s band were a tight cohesive unit with the Bellmore brothers, Charlie (guitar) and Nicky (drums) rounding out the stage. Charlie and Nicky both had huge roles in For The Love Of Metal, with writing, singing, engineering, playing and mixing just to name a few of their talents. I Wanna Rock saw the crazed fans take over the singing before Dee could even raise his microphone, he stood back in awe saying he was glad we sang because he had forgotten the words, but we knew he was just kidding, he hadn’t missed a word all night! As Dee sang I Wanna Rock our ‘Rock’ in reply almost tore the roof off The Croxton, I’m sure it’s the loudest crowd they have seen for some time. A sea of fists and metal horns smacking the air savoring every second of singing with their metal hero Dee Snider. For The Love Of Metal was one for the headbangers young and old to really let loose, and the older ones like myself might just need to pop along to the chiropractor tomorrow. It was heavy metal at its finest, and as we knew the night was drawing to a close we took full advantage and banged until we were almost broken. As the final goodbyes were said to rapturous applause we were hopeful of just one more so we waited and chanted ‘Dee Fucking Snider’ until he had no choice but to return. The encore song was a classic that every Australian knows by heart Highway To Hell by AC/DC, Dee’s vocals leaned to it tremendously and we sang until our voices were hoarse. Dee still bouncing until the very last note was sung, his effervescent frontmanship still bubbling as he waved goodbye with a promise to return soon.
Until then, spin your favourite Dee Snider/Twisted Sister records and don’t forget to PLAY IT LOUD, MUTHA!
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale