Saturday March 19 brought Warrant, Slaughter and Firehouse to a club in Grapevine Texas; Glass Cactus. I could not possibly miss a chance to see these so called 80′s hair bands perform in a small venue. First about the venue, this is one of the best venues out there if you are into the whole ambiance thing. If you are into the rock and roll music lifestyle, not so much. This is a club on the shores of Lake Grapevine. The deck has a 270 degree view of the lake. The clientele tends to be a bit swanky. The pure reason my concert friends will attend an event here, no matter who is playing. OK. More wine, and I will continue. For $25, I could not resist seeing this line up. I do not have the issue of the venue. I actually like it alot. It holds about 1500 in total. Regretfully, it doubles as a younger peoples club after the concerts, so young assholes begin filling the place and a DJ takes over playing black music that whites try to imitate to think they are black. Ugh
Firehouse (click on link for website)
Not a whole lot of people know this group. I have three CDs from them. I love them. Lead singer CJ Snare has one of the best set of pipes in the industry. Tonight however, I was quite disappointed. The mix was not good. The sound was muffled as much too much bass….Snares vocals were not featured by the mix. Clearly, for the most part, he still can sing to the years of when they were most popular. He did go the low route on one of their mellow hits “When I Look Into Your Eyes”, a ballad that features his voice and changes keys for the higher at the end. He ducked back at this point and went an octave lower, a true sign that a voice is tired. The band was fairly tight. They played an hour and addressed all of their “hits” such as they are. Overall, they disappointed. The sound mix and a fairly rigid performance stole away the opportunity to establish a bond in a smaller club setting.
Slaughter (website under construction, so I do not put a link here)
This is one of my daughters favorite bands of the 80′s (daughter is 23……..loves the bands). I am with her. They had two songs that made great radio airplay. The group is headed by a dude named Slaughter, and I am not sure if he just rents the rest of the players from the session pool. But the music, (look folks, you need to look beyond the “hits”) is great. The group puts on an energetic show. Slaughter has packed on a few pounds. 15 maybe. So he does not have the sex appeal he once had (according to the daughter….get real you homo phobes), but he still commands a stage in a very singular manner. He has a very screeching voice (just Google slaughter fly to the angels….you will recognize the song). The band is very tight. The mix was on. They made Firehouse look like they needed to drop off of this tour.
Warrant (Click on name for website)
So let me begin by saying that this is the 9 time seeing Warrant. Warrant is a 80′s ahri band that had a cadre of hits topped by a top five single; “Heaven” . The lead singer and primary writer was Jani Lane. The problem here is that Lane is bestowed by demons of multiple varieties. He is bipolar. He is an addict. He is a talent that wastes his life away. I have seen Warrant 6 times with Lane, 3 without. In all times past, I thought the group sucked without Lane. The problem is, they sucked with him as well. The last time I saw Lane with Warrant was when my daughter and I attended a one time festival in Houston called “Rock The Bayou”. Lane sucked. He sabotaged the performance of the other Warrant original members (one of the few groups touring today who are all original….sans Lane now). My daughter loves Warrant, the good Warrant when they are on.
So I was a real skeptic to see Warrant with yet another lead singer. All prior editions failed fairly miserably. I did not even get the name of the current singer. Did not care. Figured they would suck as usual. But after listening to them, my questions is Jani who? This dude had a voice. Yes he made an attempt to sound like Lane, but not so much. He clearly had his own identity. He was fucking terrific. He nailed each song (there is not a song they will play in concert that I do not know…sans the new stuff). His stage presence was excellent.
Truly, this was one the second best Warrant concert I have witnessed. The first was when Lane went through a period of sobriety and being really thankful that fans stuck with him and the group over the years and his exploits. Back at the Bronco Bowl ( you Dallas peeps know what I speak of, but I digress) Every note was hit by this guy ( I really ought to get his name…..commenting peeps, help me out). His stage presence excelled. The original members embraced his presence. Yes, there was a little kissing ass…..what do you expect? But bottom line, this guy rocked, and so did Warrant.
As is true with most of these groups, they have a new CD coming out. They played a few from it. It is too bad, there is just not airplay for these groups, and airplay is still king and dominated by the shits that come to this club after the concerts like this are over. The new music rocked. It is very blues rock based. My CD friends who collect them need to find a buy on this. A++. And I just do not hand out these kind of endorsements…but this is derserved. I will seek out to find when they play next to go hear them
Go see them. True fans ( and I know you are limited bunch) will not be disappointed.
Now a quick note: Jani Lane is currently filling in for Jack Russell as the lead singer for Great White. Seems Russell had a serious medical issue that has sidelined him since November. Seems Russell has more medical issues that initially thought. For years, he evidently has taken a steroid to help his voice…stay strong…..and the result is not only his current medical issues, but a degradation in bone structure where he falls alot………very sad. Word is, despite of my above review on Lane, he is strong as Russell’s replacement, and they are cooking as a group and playing Warrant hits as well…..if this is true, I may need to work to see Great White for a 17th time…… after all, they are my original and favorite ‘hair band’ even despite the fact that they burned a Rhode Island night club that resulted in 99 people losing their lives, including their then basis Ty Longly. I will see them again, no matter who is singing, and apparently Lane is doing a crack up job.
Peace. And go see Warrant.