Monday, May 11, 2015

Concert Review: SIXX:AM - April 24, 2015

Only because Metal Eddie wanted to go, I decided to check out SIXX:AM at the Starland Ballroom this past April. As I mentioned in my review of their latest album, Modern Vintage, I have never been a huge SIXX:AM fan. I enjoy the band when I hear them, and I think some of their songs are absolutely amazing. However, I also think some of their songs are below average. And while I really enjoy their latest release, it was only purchased in anticipation of this concert. I never expected to pay much attention to SIXX:AM. But on a chilly Friday night in New Jersey, they were the focal point of my evening.

Finnish metal band Apocalyptica opened the night and I have to admit that I was not impressed. I had never heard of the band prior to that night, even though they have been around for more than 20 years. To me, their version of cello metal just didn’t sit right. I saw them as more of a Trans Siberian Orchestra wannabe. I tried to keep an open mind, but I just found myself getting bored as they performed. To say that their music wasn’t for me is an understatement. And although I wasn’t crazy about them, I was obviously in the minority. The band drew huge applause from the sold out crowd.

After Apocalyptica left the stage to a rousing ovation, the anticipation for the headliners grew. It wasn’t long before the lights went down, and from our vantage point at the side of the stage, we saw them leave their dressing room and line up to make their appearance. They walked onto the stage and the Ballroom roared to life. SIXX:AM was here to play and everyone was ecstatic.

SIXX:AM got off to a solid start with a nice blend of old and new. The audience seemed to know the new material as much as the older tunes and it was evident the new album had been well received. I personally enjoyed hearing the new songs more than the older tunes, but the selection of songs from the first two records wasn’t bad either.

After about three songs, James Michael ran to the side of the stage and walked off quickly. We looked over to see what was happening and there was a nebulizer that James used. I had no idea that the singer had asthma, but belting out the tunes the way he did, combined with all of the running around on stage, made it understandable that he would run out of breath. James didn’t let it affect him at all. He inhaled deeply and was back on stage before almost anyone even knew what was happening.

When James took a seat behind the piano, I looked over at Metal Eddie and laughed. We both knew what song was coming next. As I stated in my review, I was not crazy about SIXX:AM’s version of “Drive.” Metal Eddie flat out hated it. And as the night wore on, I teased him endlessly, because we both knew that the song was going to be performed. And to be completely honest, the live version was not bad at all. Seeing the band play it live gave me a better appreciation for their version of the song. It still isn’t one of my favorite SIXX:AM songs, but I have a deeper enjoyment for it now.

Somewhere in the middle of the show, Nikki Sixx took a turn at addressing the crowd. He told the tale of how the band came to be and how they never wanted to share their music with anyone but themselves. SIXX:AM was meant to be a fun side project that wasn’t supposed to go anywhere. They wanted to be selfish in that regard. But the music got out and then the fans demanded more. And after they got more, the fans demanded a tour.  And now Nikki realizes that he isn’t going to be retiring after all. He announced that the band hopes to have another record and tour in 2016. That news brought the loudest cheers of the evening.

The best part of the night came toward the end. The one-two combination of “Lies Of The Beautiful People” followed by “Stars” was just incredible. “Lies Of The Beautiful People” is the one song that I wanted to hear the entire evening. I personally feel that it is SIXX:AM’s best song and one of the greatest rock songs ever recorded. It is extremely powerful and catchy and contains all the proper elements of a perfect rock song. When the band pulled it out toward the end of the set, I screamed my lungs out and sang as loud as I could. I sang so loud, that I think I annoyed a couple of the girls standing next to me. They hadn’t really heard a peep out of me all night long, and then all of a sudden I was screaming like a banshee and singing so loud that my voice cracked. I couldn’t help it. I absolutely love “Lies Of The Beautiful People.”

And the band didn’t end the main set there. They pushed the envelope and followed “Lies Of The Beautiful People” with “Stars.” I thought that was a risky move, but SIXX:AM was able to pull it off flawlessly. Apparently “Stars” is a much beloved song as well and the band crushed it in the live setting. It was a fantastic ending to the main set, complete with paper stars confetti flying from the stage and covering most of the crowd in front.

The encore was a ballad to rocker finish as “Skin” made way for “Life Is Beautiful.” And while it was a decent encore, the moment of the night had passed for me. There was nothing that would top “Lies Of The Beautiful People” into “Stars.” It was just too perfect.

When the encore ended, the band said their goodbyes, and received a much deserved ovation. Having witnessed their performance that night, I will most likely be going to see the band again. Not right away mind you, but if they were to come back around on tour next year and I get a message from Metal Eddie---you can count me in.

Let’s Go
Give Me A Love
This Is Gonna Hurt
Pray For Me
Dead Man’s Ballet
Accidents Can Happen
Live Forever
Gotta Get It Right
Help Is On The Way
Goodbye My Friends
Lies Of The Beautiful People
Life Is Beautiful

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