A BIG shout out to Knucklebone! The boys in their stage crew had tickets to sell and they were kind enough to sell them to Tommy and me. We paid $10 to see Kix with Bang Tango. Definitely one of the most affordable shows I have ever attended. And what a great night it was!
My best friend, Tommy, and I decided to meet at the Starland Ballroom on a Saturday night to see Kix in concert. The hard rocking quintet was performing with Bang Tango and a bunch of bands that I had never heard of. We were excited. I had seen Kix for the first time during the summer at the M3 music festival. Tommy had not seen Kix perform since they opened for Warrant and Poison in 1991. A lot of years have passed since then.
We met in the parking lot just as the doors were opening. Heading to the ticket booth, we were approached by two guys working with one of the opening bands, Knucklebone. They had tickets to sell and were selling them for $10 each. Ten dollars? How in the hell were we going to say no to that? We bought them with no questions asked.
Tommy and I made our way inside, ordered a drink, and reveled in the fact that this concert was only costing us $10. That was extra drinking money in both our pockets. As friends are known to do, we spent the time waiting for the first band by catching up on family life and work. We reminisced about days gone by and speculated about what type of night we were in for.
When the first band took the stage, I knew it was going to be a great night! Not only was the band solid (especially for an opening act), but they were equipped with a lead singer that was hotter than July in the Midwest. This woman was gorgeous. Dressed in tight leather short-shorts that left room for little else, ripped sheer stockings, a black leather bikini top, and a matching cap, the lead singer was turning us on with her voice and her wardrobe. Wow! Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the band, or the singer, but I know their music was great and their front-woman was a pure vixen.
Knucklebone was next and they gave a solid performance as well. Knucklebone can best be described as hard rock with modern flair. Their songs were well polished and fun. The band had an edge to them and it showed in their performance. I was quite impressed with their set and their energy. I’ll have to keep this band on my radar for future shows.
Cashmere followed Knucklebone and came out ready to rock. While their music sounded great (especially the power ballad), I didn’t particularly care for their lead singer. It’s not that he couldn’t sing, because he could, but I didn’t like the fact that he took his shirt off after the first song and was swinging his body for all to enjoy. Perhaps the girls liked it, but I would have preferred that his shirt stayed on.
He also tried to emulate Vince Neil way too much. I’m from the school of thought that if you are in an original band, then you need to have an original act. Stealing Vince Neil’s isn’t going to help escalate your band. Other than my griping about the lead singer (who really could sing) Cashmere was a decent band. I could have lived without their closing cover of Rock And Roll All Nite, but that may be due to the fact that I’m a huge Kiss fan and NO ONE can perform Kiss except the masters themselves.
Bang Tango followed next, the last band before Kix would take the stage. I only saw Bang Tango once, at M3, and that was from way in the back of the second stage lot. I don’t know many Bang Tango songs. I remember hearing one or two of their songs in high school, but this was just one of those bands that I never really paid much attention to. After watching them open for Kix, that may change.
Bang Tango gave a blistering performance. They only performed a handful of songs, but their performance was certainly about quality and not quantity. I was mesmerized by how good they sounded. I also enjoyed how lead singer Joe Leste looked so much like Shaun Morgan from Seether. It was eerie how close they resembled one another.
Ending their set with Someone Like You, Bang Tango walked off to a standing ovation. Their set was extremely impressive. I am going to have to seek out some of their discs to add to my collection now. The music was that good.
The headliners of the night were prepared to come out next and before they took the stage, I took a moment to look around. While the Starland Ballroom wasn’t sold out, it was pretty filled. Tommy and I were way in the back, near the bar (of course) where we wouldn’t be smothered by everyone else. I was glad to have the space around me that I did, although I would have liked to see more fans at the show.
Having only seen Kix perform under a tight timeline at M3, I wasn’t sure what to expect from their headlining performance. I knew the hits would be there, and plenty of them, but what deep cuts would they pull out? What rarities? What songs that I had totally forgotten about were Kix going to sneak in?
Prior to the band taking the stage, Eddie Trunk made the introductions. He mentioned how That Metal Show was picked up for a seventh season (very cool) and thanked us for giving him a career (even cooler). For those who don’t know, Eddie Trunk started out as a local NY/NJ DJ that worked his way into the metal scene. He is the authority on all things heavy metal and someone that I’ve enjoyed listening to since junior high. Trunk is the real deal.
With a “please welcome…Kix!” the lights went dark, the curtain dropped, and Kix came out to play. The band walked on the stage and ripped into the first song of the night. It took me a moment to recognize the notes, but once it hit I was all smiles. No More Ring Around Rosie was the opener and it was like a visit from an old friend. Steve Whiteman came whirling and twirling onstage filled with energy and a desire to rock. For someone who has lived the rock lifestyle for as long as he has, it’s unbelievable how great Whiteman looks. His excitement told everyone Kix was here to put on a hell of a show!
I don’t recall the order of the songs, but some massive hits were performed. Girl Money, Hot Wire, Same Jane, Cold Blood, Blow My Fuse, and The Itch just to name a few. Kix still sounds fantastic even after 20 plus years of rocking. Perfectly synched, every member of the band fed off one another to put on a precise performance. Each song sounded better than the last and had me anxious to hear the next. Kix was fantastic.
At the center of it all was lead singer, Steve Whiteman. Endless energy abounded from his skinny little frame. He talked it up with the crowd, brought positive vibes, and turned up the power in the room, leading by example. I was amazed by how much passion he displayed. Jumping, twirling, dancing, leaping, and singing all the while, Whiteman showed how a lead singer should act.
One of the best treats of the night for me was when Kix decided to play a song from the little known 2004 release Thunderground. Fireballs was played with skill and was certainly enjoyed by me. The rest of the crowd seemed to be into the song as well, but that may have been the infectiousness of Steve Whiteman. He has a way of making everyone follow his lead and have a good time, which is exactly what a rock concert is all about.
Still rocking after all these years and packed with a powerful energy that’s second to none in terms of performance, Kix’s live show was one I’ll remember for a long time. Tommy and I had a marvelous time. Kix proved that age doesn’t matter. As long as you still feel powerful, then you can be powerful. It’s all about the state of mind. Rock and roll lives on.