Saturday, March 13, 2010

WASP - March 12, 2010

A windswept rain greeted my car as I parked outside of the Starland Ballroom and prepared to see one of the heaviest metal acts of all time, WASP. Metal Eddie and his friend Jay were meeting me there, and while we would have to sit through three bands we never heard of, we were all excited to see WASP. It would be the first time that I saw them live since 2006. I was expecting to hear the hits and hopeful to hear some deeper cuts. I wanted The Headless Children, Forever Free, something from Dominator, and some songs from their latest disc, Babylon.

I dodged my way through the rain and met the guys inside. The club was only half full at that time, which was a bit of a disappointment. One of the bars was closed down (the Starland has four of them) and that meant a sellout was not expected. Perhaps not enough people knew about it, or perhaps there are not enough WASP fans in the area, but those who were missing out, were going to miss one hell of a concert.

The first three bands we sat through were just painful. I got inside as the first act was playing, and they were just awful, loud and without rhythm. This would be a recurrent theme for the rest of the opening acts. Rain and War Machine were the next two bands to take the stage before Blackie and company.

Rain was fronted by a rail thin lead singer that looked a little too feminine for my taste. I like my rockers to look like rock men, so sue me. Rain’s singer, looked like a girl. His singing voice wasn’t so great either, and their songs were just awful. Imagine the sound of throwing your cat in the dryer and that’s pretty much what Rain sounded like. The only decent song they performed wasn’t even their own. They did a cover of The Cult’s Here Comes The Rain, and that got the crowd moving. Other than that, Rain was a forgettable experience.

War Machine was next and while we spent most of their set near the T-shirt stand, watching the people that were still coming into the show, they sounded better than the previous two acts. Their lead singer was more professional and served double duty as one of the guitarists for the band. While we watched the metal chicks enter the club (and there was a surprisingly large number of them, most of them very attractive), we listened to War Machine work the crowd and get everyone ready for the main event. War Machine closed with a cover of Iron Maiden’s The Trooper and they did a great version of it, complete with the crowd screaming the chorus back at them. For an unknown band, War Machine was a decent act that at least showed professionalism on the stage.

At 11:00, we pushed our way to the center of the floor and prepared ourselves for the mayhem that was about to ensue. The fans were still coming in, and by the time WASP was ready to take the stage, there had to be close to 1200 people packed into the club. That made me feel much better, as WASP is a band that should be selling out clubs and slightly larger venues. The power they deliver and the quality of their songs is comparable (or better) than any hard rock act out there today.

At 11:15, we were still waiting for Blackie to take the stage and I was getting a little aggravated. The club was hot and some of the guys standing around me had a funky smell to them. The odor was only intensified by the heat of the club. Where was WASP and how much more of this smell would I have to endure?

AT 11:25, WASP finally got their asses out on the stage to the blissful roar of the crowd, opening with a powerful version of On Your Knees and we were off to the heavy metal races. On Your Knees segued right into The Real Me, and I exploded with joy. Anything from The Headless Children makes me happy, and this has always been one of my favorite WASP tunes, even if it is a cover song. Behind the stage was a large video screen that showed the band’s old videos of the songs they were performing. I thought this was a cool touch as I got to hear the song live, but still had the extra visual imagery of the old videos that I grew up consuming.

I have to admit that I was nostalgic for Chris Holmes, especially when seeing his face in the old videos. I know that he and Blackie had their differences and he left the band (twice) with probably zero chance of ever returning, but I would have loved to see Chris Holmes on stage that night. Guitarist Doug Blair did an excellent job and he nailed all the solos, but I still missed Chris Holmes.

At one point, Blackie took a moment to address something that had happened in New York City the night before. Apparently a promoter arranged for fans to pay $50 for a meet and greet session with WASP and when Blackie found out about it he went ballistic. He reiterated the fact that WASP would NEVER charge fans for the privilege of shaking hands with the band. He appreciated his fans and knew that without us, there was no WASP. The crowd, of course, went wild for this.

A lot of hits were performed. L.O.V.E. Machine, Wild Child, Murders In The Rue Morgue, Hellion, I Wanna Be Somebody, and of course, Blind In Texas were all played and each one sounded incredible. WASP brought the energy for the entire hour and twenty minutes they were on stage. The adrenaline rush that surged through my body was one of the best feelings I had in weeks. The raw power of WASP’s heavy metal energetic music was a thrilling experience.

They played two new songs from their latest album, Babylon, and I was happy to hear them. I have not purchased that album, but these songs were so good that this will change. Other nice surprises included Take Me Up (from Dominator) and a partial rendition of Scream Until You Like It (from Ghoulies II). That was a nice surprise and it came complete with the video that had snippets from the movie. Total 80s flashback!

The final song of the night was I Wanna Be Somebody and the encore consisted of Blind In Texas. I was very disappointed that I did not get to hear Forever Free, and after WASP left the stage I noticed that they did not play Animal (Fuck Like A Beast). While reading about the band this morning, I learned that Blackie has claimed he will never play this song live again due to his new religious beliefs.

Metal Eddie, Jay, and I had a fantastic time and loved every second of the show. It was worth braving the rain storm, sitting through the lousy opening acts, enduring the heat of the club, and waiting an endless amount of time for the band to take the stage. WASP kicked our asses and we loved every second of it. Should they come back around for more concert mayhem, sign me up cause I’ll be there.

1 comment:

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The odor was only intensified by the heat of the club. Where was WASP and how much more of this smell would I have to endure?