After an hour rain delay, hometown rock chick Pat Benatar was back in Richmond on July 7th, 1999 for a long show at Innsbrook. She opened with some older stuff then took a break to chat with the crowd about her return to Richmond after a 25 year absence. For those of you that don't know, Pat used to live in Richmond and played the local clubs back in the day. I remember seeing her performing on a public television show back in the 70's from a Richmond nightclub. She has replaced the short dark hair she was famous for with long blonde hair and was cute as ever. Backed by her very capable band and hubby Neil on guitar, she ripped through some newer material mixed with the older songs from the 80's that had the crowd going crazy. You can listen to her new CD (the whole thing) on her website by clicking on the link above. She has expanded her style to include some country flavored songs as well as her standard blues, and rock format. Overall it was a great show in spite of the lightening and rain that was present in the beginning! Catch her on the road if you get a chance.
Government Mule played Alley Katz in Richmond on April 28th, 1999 with opening act "FEDERALE" featuring Marc Ford of EX-BLACKCROWS fame. I wasn't that impressed with Federale as they sounded like a local band that had The Black Crows as one of their main influences. Go figure! When Mule took the stage after a fairly short delay, I was on my feet and up front where it counts armed with my digital camera and ear protection. I was close enough to the stage that the PA wasn't killing me. Nothing like that raw stage sound to make you appreciate the tone Warren Haynes was cranking out! (No ear protection required) The only decibel overload was Allen Woody's bass rig. Large Ampeg bass amps WILL rattle your pants!!! They opened up with "John The Revelator" from their "DOSE" cd. The vocal quality and mix were great. Everything that followed was equally impressive, with an awesum display of drum flurrys by the very capable Matt Abts on the coolest green sparkle Slingerland kit I've ever seen. There were an impressive amout of bodies at the show despite it being a Wednesday night at Alley Katz. I got my pictures and heard my favorite Mule jam, "Trane" from their "LIVE AT THE ROSELAND BALLROOM" cd which they played true to the recording. Bottom line, it was a killer show! I only encounted one obnoxious big dumb bastard (Sinbad Size) on this night. But he was enough to make me quit while I was ahead. Thank you, ya stupid asshole for ruining an otherwise perfect night!!! For pictures of the show CLICK HERE.
Little Feat played XL-102's New Years Eve party at the Richmond Marriott December 31st, 1998/99 along with several local Richmond acts. I have never seen Little Feat live prior to this and I was pumped to have the opportunity. I am old enough to be a fan of the band from the 70's, and have some fond memories from listening to their music. Well evidently I've been away from the band for too many years because the Little Feat I saw was not the Little Feat I remember! Seems they have hired a female singer to sing most of their material, both old and new. I had a few gin and tonics that night but it didn't help me deal with what I was hearing! It just seemed like another band was up there. The only thing I recognized was "Fat Man In The Bathtub", which thank God, the chick singer didn't sing, and "Spanish Moon". The other thing that was killin' me was the volume! Maybe I've fallen into the "If It's Too Loud, You're Too Old" category, but I'm in a band and I know what those DB's can do to your hearing down the road. I'm just saying it was way too loud for the banquet room at the Marriott!!! They also didn't sound as polished as they should have for a band with that many years of touring under their belt. In their defense, it was just a hotel gig so...... They played the Boathouse in Norfolk the next night, and I'm sure they payed more attention to detail there. There, I got that off my chest. Just want to add that Richmond's own "Agents Of Good Roots" blew me away, prior ro the Little Feat disaster!
Van Halen packed the Classic Amphitheatre last night, August 28th, 1998 and put on a show that had everyone on their feet from start to finish. Richmond didn't have any trouble accepting the "new guy", Gary Cherone on lead vocals, even though his moves were getting on my nerves. I guess he looked strange to me with the pixie boy haircut! Only problem I really have with Gary is, he tries to hard to sound like Sammy Haggar. Eddie looked like the old Eddie with his hair grown back out and his trademark stage antics which was a treat for an old fan like myself. Last time I saw these guys was in 1984 when David Lee Roth was fronting the show. Still have my T-shirt from that show! The band did a mix of old and new songs with the old one's getting the best rise from the audience. The only glitch in the show was when one of Eddie's guitars flamed out on him and he had to stop the show for about five minutes to change guitars. None of this seemed to matter to the fans however, in fact it was actually entertaining to see a band of that statue going through real world problems in an otherwise flawless show! All in all Van Halen kicked Richmond's ass and a good time was had by all. Aside from my near fight episode with some drunk son of a bitch in the beer wristband line, which made me think I was too old for this shit, I had a pretty good time. I don't want to get off on a rant here but this guy was shit faced before the opening act and the last thing he needed was another fuckin' beer. So to that toothless fucker, two words dude, FUCK YOU!!!! Opening act, "The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band" was great as always. I got the rare opportunity to party with Kenny Wayne himself the night before at Medley's in Shockoe Bottom when he showed up for the Thursday night Blues Jam!
MICKEY THOMAS' STARSHIP
The Mickey Thomas' Starship show at The Boulders August 19th, 1998 was better than I had expected, but still a little lame in this day and age. The sound was good and the players were excellent, even though the band looked like kids compared to singer Mickey Thomas. I remember Mickey Thomas from the Elvin Bishop days and have always thought he was an excellent singer. As a "Blast From The Past" kinda show, it was about as good as you would expect. The sad part was, there was nobody there except for a few diehard Jefferson Starship fans and the usual "old dude" that comes to dance at EVERY show at the Boulders. Overall it was a pretty entertaining show and a nice way to spend a Wednesday afternoon!
Hometown Hero's, Firehouse rocked The Boulders last night, July 29th, 1998 on Richmond's southside with all of their local fans in attendance. I was glad to see they haven't let the latest MTV music fads change their staying true to the rock that made them famous! I've been a fan since they first started back in the day when music was still good music. With all the heavy bands of that era falling by the wayside, Firehouse will once again prove that Rock is still king with their new release, "CATEGORY 5". Their fans were treated to a video shoot last night for their upcoming video for the song "ACID RAIN" from the new album. The crowd went nuts as the band coaxed them into raising Hell for three takes. The crowd didn't need much coaxing because the crowd was already stoked! It was great to see people of all ages getting a chance to hear something besides BoyzIIMen and Backstreet Boys for a change. Last night's show was a lineup of the bands previous hits and a glimpse of their latest album which can be ordered on-line from their website. I didn't realize there were so many "Metal Babes" still left in Richmond, but from what I saw last night they are out there looking good as ever and looking for the Rock that all to often passes this city by. If you have a chance to see Firehouse this year, don't pass it up!
KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD
As expected, only a handful of Richmonders came out in support of one of the hottest Blues guitarist around today. The Mayo Island event held on May 24th, 1998 looked more like a backyard BBQ than a concert. The fans that did attend seemed to have a great time including myself, but I would have liked to have seen more people come out for what I thought was a great performance. Aside from some weak vocals, the band kicked ass from the git-go all the way through the encore. Kenny Wayne proved that he is not all hype and has an extensive knowledge of the Blues for a kid only 20 years old! He did seem preoccupied with a cutey in the audience standing near me. He couldn't take his eyes off her through most of the show. This did not take away from his concentration however, in fact I think it gave him more inspiration to tear it up. His version of Voodoo Child was the highlight of the evening for many as Kenny Wayne did his tribute to Hendrix, who along with Stevie Ray Vaughan gave him much of his inspiration to become the guitar slinger that he is. The only thing Mayo Island screwed up on was a lack of beer trucks. The one truck they had, ran out of beer long before the show was over. It's a shame Richmond doesn't support the Blues with the enthusiasum of D.C. and other cities on the East Coast!