Gallery By Jaidyn Hale
Gallery By Jaidyn Hale
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
With close to 90,000 people flooding Melbourne for State of Origin it was reaching gridlock as I joined the unending line that was reaching the top of Hosier Lane. The fans were hyped, the wait has been long for a double header of this magnitude and we answered by selling it out as only the Melbourne fans can do.
After a quick stop at the merch desk it was off to the floor to grab a good vantage point, front and centre did me nicely as I waited for Mr Big to kick things off. In splendid fashion they opened with Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy (The Electric Drill Song) the crowd went crazy and yes, they did crack out the tools, playing their guitars with the help of electric drills, not your average start to a gig. In saying that it was not your average musicians on stage either, when you have the likes of Paul Gilbert and Billy Sheehan sharing the stage you feel like you are in the presence of rock royalty. They both treated us to blistering solos over the course of the show and some terrific duelling. Paul had his guitar face on which was mighty expressive, his passion for his instrument leaching out his fingers which every note. Billy slapped his bass as only he can, leaving the fans speechless, it was easy to see why he is a multi award winner.
Alive and Kickin’ had us all singing along Eric Martin worked the crowd like a true professional, his microphone stand complete with a steeling wheel base. Take Cover was dedicated to the late great Pat Torpey who we lost earlier this year. It was a very fitting tribute and I sure he would be looking down at Matt Starr on the kit with a smile on his face. Matt’s drumming was fierce, his heaviness providing the backbone of songs like Everybody Need A Little Trouble of the latest album Defying Gravity. The Cat Stevens cover of Wild World was a terrific addition and Just Take My Heart had all the girls swooning. Addicted To That Rush had the punters bouncing, loving every minute, but I think the band were loving it even more. We have waited a bloody long time to see Mr Big here in Australia and everyone was basking in their rock goodness. Eric was quite playful, wrapping his arms around Billy to take over the bass duties while Billy cracked out the harmonica or a stray hit of a cymbal as he flew past the drum kit. They are a very cohesive bunch and it showed from go to whoa. Green-Tined Sixties Mind another choice track from the album Lean Into It that had everyone bopping, loudly singing along.
Everyone was waiting for To Be With You, it certainly didn’t disappoint as phones were held aloft to capture a memory for later, the crowd loved it taking over the vocals for the better part of the song. Then the finisher and what a song to end it on Colorado Bulldog, the fans revelling in the brilliance that Mr Big delivered, leaving everyone completely satisfied and hopeful that the wait won’t be as long next time.
The magnificent Forum Theatre was literally bulging at the seams, it had swelled to capacity as Extreme fans turned out in force. The twenty-five year wait has been long but it was worth every day of every year to finally have them back in Melbourne. It was a very respectful fan base, all happy for the opportunity to see this awesome foursome live, it was smiles all round as we waited for the lights to drop. Taking their places under the cover of darkness Extreme exploded from the shadows in a wash of lights and colour with the massive opener It(‘s a Monster) followed by Li’l Jack Horny. Everyone was losing their minds as Get The Funk Out rang out, totally in awe of the what was unfolding before us. With an opening trifecta of that stature it was going to be one hell of a night!
What can I say about Gary Cherone, his energy is effervescent, bouncing from the drum riser to cover every millimetre of the stage with ease. He delivered some very cheeky poses to the photographers and I swear he was a Cirque De Soleil performer in a past life. His fluidity was mind blowing, his stamina undying, he is the quintessential front man that any band would kill to call their own. Oh and let’s not forget, he can really belt out a tune, sounding as good today as he did twenty-five years ago.
The hits (and there are many) kept flying out, Rest In Peace, Hip Today and Play With Me next on the list, I am still gobsmacked at how Gary delivered Play With Me live, the lyrics lightning quick and yet he does not miss a beat. Kevin Figueiredo, affectionally known as KFig gave us a sample of his sensational skin hitting partnered with Nuno on his own stand alone drum station, they fed off each other beautifully and treated us to a sensational drumming duet. A few lucky fans managed to snag a memento as Nuno lobbed his drumsticks to the crowd. Shortened versions of Tragic Comic/Whole Hearted saw Nuno hit the stage looking smooth in a suit jacket and hat and KFig move up close to the fans as a small drum kit magically appeared in front of my eyes. The punters singing loud, awash with happiness to have all four members up close and personal.
The needle on my fangirl meter flew to red at warp speed as Nuno Bettencourt took to a stool for Midnight Express. His jokes and banter with the crowd was sensational and in all honestly, I don’t think it was just the girls who were fangirling! The man-love for Nuno was obvious by the crowd that swelled around his microphone, was it for his astonishing guitar skills or his sexy good looks who knows. His shredding skills are exemplary, his guitar an extension of his body, never showy just musical perfection at its finest. Add to this a voice as smooth as honey and Nuno really is the complete package.
Cupid’s Dead was amazing and Am I Ever Gonna Change and Take Us Alive had the crowd rocking. It was return of the stools for More Than Words, Gary and Nuno not required to sing, we knew all the words and we sang them loud and proud. It was a special moment, driven with emotion and passion by all in attendance. Now time to talk Pat Badger, as far as bass players go he is the glue holding this tight knit unit together. Pat is the backbone of Extreme, he is an unbelievably talented musician and has stage presence like no other, not to mention his outstanding vocals. He feeds of the crowd and his enjoyment in performing was evident all night.
Flight Of The Wounded Bumblebee saw Nuno’s hands possessed with the spirit of rock and roll, the fans transfixed as he blew as all away with his blistering speed and precision. As He-man Woman Hater followed on Pat quickly walked out with a setlist in hand, pointing out that Nuno was off track, with that He-Man shut down they launched into the final song of the night Decadence Dance. I swear if the roof wasn’t so high we would have lifted it off, the crowd screaming the lyrics back at fever pitch, and amazing song to end what will be known as the gig of the year. As Peace filtered out of the speakers the band took to the pit to thank the fans. Gary walking across the barrier as Pat and KFig happily shook hands and high fived the adoring fans, and as Nuno got to me I must say I did hold on probably a little longer than I should have, but it was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I couldn’t let pass by. It was such a fitting way to thank the fans for there support and the perfect finish to the night.
The headline read, it’s gonna be BIG and it’s gonna be EXTREME, last night was a show of gargantuan proportions, and blew that headline out of the water. It was bigger than BIG and not just EXTREME but supreme. I speak for everyone who was there last night when I say get the FUNK back here real soon, we will be waiting with open arms.
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale
Gallery By JAIDYN HALE
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY JAIDYN HALE
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED JAIDYN HALE
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED JAIDYN HALE
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED JAIDYN HALE
It was a sight fit for a King or a Queen if you are that way inclined, as I made my way to Rod Laver Arena for a night of 80’s inspired tunes. Many decked out in full Culture Club regalia, some just happy in their own skin, and if that meant hairy legs with high heels, so be it. If you asked me to describe the devoted fans flocking in, my answer would be extravagantly colourful!
Quite a few tuned out early to check out Hoseah who recently came to light on The Voice Australia as part of Team Boy George. He gave us a lovely 20 minute set with the voice of an angel filtering out for all to enjoy. I am certain there are big things ahead for this talented young man.
It wouldn’t be an 80’s party without a little something from the Eurogliders, they put on a terrific performance for all to enjoy over the next 40 minutes. Grace Knight shining in one of her multi-coloured suits she is so well known for. Vocally and musically outstanding we got all the hits including, We Will Together, Can’t Wait To See You and Absolutely. Finishing out the set with the chart topper Heaven, which turned into a fabulous sing-a-long for all to enjoy. Then as the band downed their instruments the song finished out in a beautiful a cappella rendition as they left the stage.
Rod Laver was warming up and ready for the next 80’s instalment. Enter Tom Bailey and band, Tom being one third of 80’s sensation The Thompson Twins who were synonymous for many huge hits back in the day. With his band consisting of three lovely young ladies all dressed in white and himself also sporting a white suit and glasses they were off and delivering 80’s joy for all to hear. Opening with Lies, Tom showed his versatility swapping from drums to keys, guitar and even some sneaky harmonica and tambourine over the course of the set.
A huge blue ball was launched into the crowd much to their delight and after a fair bashing it ended up in the photographers pit, which nearly caused some carnage for the unaware snappers, but it was quickly captured and released back stage. King For A Day, Lay Your Hand On Me and Doctor Doctor all featuring on the night’s bill. The big screen working in overdrive to accompany the fabulous music and if you closed your eyes you could almost believe you were at the local blue light disco feeling fifteen again. Hold Me Now was the perfect closer, the swelling crowd on their feet loving every minute. We were treated to another sing/clap-a-long of Hold Me Now, Warm My Heart, Stay With Me, the lyrics we all know so well sung in unison, and I must say on reflection, we all sounded pretty damn good.
Calling Australia his second home it was no surprise that we were being spoilt with another live concert by Boy George and Culture Club, the third in as many years. The buzz was electric as the lights went down, screaming fans waiting for their first glimpse of their 80’s idols, Rod Laver erupted as they took to the stage. Looking fabulous in his yellow hat and ensemble of red, back and yellow to match, Boy George wowed us right from the start, add to this Mickey, Roy and Jon and you have Culture Club in all their glory. Opening with Bitchface, and then the iconic Church Of The Poison Mind, it was pure joy for the fans, immediately swept up in memories that are evoked by Culture Club’s amazing music. It’s a Miracle, I’ll Tumble 4 Ya, and Time all sublime with some lovely images flooding the screen from film clips and photos from across the years.
Featuring in Culture Club’s last three show was Different Man based on Sly Stone one of Boy George’s biggest influences, followed by the smash hit Miss Me Blind which had the fans singing and clapping eager for more. The mash up of You Can’t Always Get what You Want/Walk On The Wild Side was terrific and backed up with one of Culture Club’s biggest hits, Do You Really Want To Hurt Me. A song that the boys didn’t want to put out as a single but lucky for them the record label had other ideas and it sent them flying to stardom with numbers ones all over the world.
Boy George now sporting a red hat, shirt and shoes to match, ever the fashionista! I would have liked a bit more lighting as I felt I couldn’t really see Boy George’s face as well I would have liked but the pristine sound more than made up for what may have been just my aging eyes.
The musicians and backup singers all amazing and while Boy George stated it would be a night of “jetlag and optimism” it certainly didn’t show. The band faultless all night bringing endless energy and Boy George had his usual free spirit shining. You could feel the love and devotion so many have for Boy George, a man who has walked the hard road to be excepted so in turn others can feel free to express themselves openly.
As Roy took to the keyboard I knew Victims would be next, it is my personal favourite and a song that I hold very close to my heart. I held back tears as Boy George delivered this beautiful song, a definite standout for me. Jon’s booming drums were an absolute show stopper, the sound resinating around the arena having a huge impact on all. The War Song saw out the first set, but we knew Karma Chameleon was waiting in the wings, and they were no sooner off the stage and they were back to give the screaming fans what they wanted. Karma Chameleon then a stunning rendition of Purple Rain that rendered everyone speechless. The closer of the night was an awesome cover of Get It On. The crowd were singing and dancing not wanting it to end, but they certainly had made enough memories in this one evening to last a lifetime.
Culture Club really is the gift that keeps on giving, with every tour we get to unwrap another layer, and with Boy George saying they will be back, it really is the best present one could ask for.
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED JAIDYN HALE