Writer And Blogger @ Philly Rock Radio
Sherry Horner (Vocals, Keys)
John Fiocchi (Lead Guitar)
Joe Mignonia (Vocals, Bass)
Vince Butler (Drums, Vocals)
Kim Wilcox (Vocals, Violin)
1) My Kinda Party (Jason Aldean)
2) American Girl (Tom Petty)
3) Boys of Summer (Don Henley)
4) Hella Good (Gwen Stefani/No Doubt)
5) Uptown Funk (Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars)
6) Mississippi Medley
7) Superstition (Stevie Wonder)
8) Midnight Rider (Allmän Brothers)
10) Bodies (Drowning Pool)
"Sweet Revenge" was the opening band and they were able to get the crowd pumped up and alive for the rest of the show. They are a high energy band that mixes several types of music styles and keeps the audience on their toes. The band blends pop, classic rock, modern rock, country, as well as blues in a very methodical approach. This was my first rodeo with Sweet Revenge so I was not sure what to expect. Well folks...let's just say I was very surprised as well as blown away. They opened the show with "My Kinda Party" which is a country cover of Jason Aldean. I must admit, I am not a huge fan of country music, but this band took country music to new heights with their energy and follow thru. Lead Vocalist Sherry Horner is exactly what a band would want in a front man/woman. She has a very dynamic voice, her vocal range is above average and she is all over the stage which keeps the fans upbeat. This song was the perfect fit for the perfect opener.
John Fiocchi is a beast on the axe. His playing was effortless and you can tell that he takes pride in his trade. Joe was superb on bass and you could really see this when the band covered "Hella Good." The bass licks were tight and clean as the song rang out. Then there was Vince Butler on the drums and all I can say is wow. Vince did not miss a beat and was spot on for every note of the set. And last but not least, there was Kim Wilcox on the violin. That must be a very hard instrument to play and it has to be all muscle memory because there was no way she could hear her instrument on stage. Needless to say, "Sweet Revenge" provided an excellent setlist that not only surprised the crowd, but also energized them as well. The covers of the two classics "Boys of Summer" and "American Girl" were extremely heavy and complete. And finally, there was the moment that everyone realized that the encore was going to be "Bodies," by Drowning Pool. Their version was plenty heavy and Butler's backing vocals were impressive, while blowing the roof off the building. My review for this performance was an 8/10 as I thought they did an excellent job and provided a diverse catalog of songs.
Fire Your Guns:
Kevin Mercer (Lead Vocals)
Gregg Tripp (Lead Guitar)
Richie Mahn (Rhythm Guitar)
Shawn Beaver (Bass)
1) Riff Raff (AC/DC)
2) Hell Aint A Bad Place To Be
4) Fire Your Guns
5) Dog Eat Dog
6) Flick of the Switch
8) Back In Black
9) Shoot To Thrill
10) Big Balls
11) Let There Be Rock
12) For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)
"Fire Your Guns" was the second band to hit the stage. For those of you that are not familiar with this band, they are an AC/DC tribute band that is fairly new to the scene. The band members are not new though as they all play or have played in many other bands. I have witnessed quite a few AC/DC cover bands in my day, but not many have come as close to the real deal as these guys. Their setlist was phenomenal. The band did not focus on one regime, but instead hit all levels of AC/DC's extensive catalog. Needless to say, they did spend more time on the Bon Scott era which I happen to like. Believe me...when it comes to AC/DC, I am a fan of both Bon Scott and Brian Johnson. However, when trying to replicate this band, most other bands have played mostly Johnson and it's always the same songs. These guys covered many hidden gems during their set and they were spot on. As mentioned, these guys are world class musicians and the band oozes of talent across the board.
Lead Vocalist Kevin Mercer actually plays Bass in other bands; however this band needed a singer and already had another bass player so Kevin decided to sing, which turned out to be an excellent decision. Kevin can hit a variety of ranges and was able to reproduce the sound and tone for both Scott and Johnson. He also plays the part of these guys as his voice is accompanied by riveting body language. Speaking of Bass players, Shawn Beaver is the prototype model for the position. He has that hard rock/metal bad ass image with his long blond hair and his tattoos. Shawn is actually a member of five bands (active/inactive) and is a star on the local music scene. He brings style and energy to the bass guitar that is essential in any band that is trying to emulate AC/DC. Then there is Richard Mahn on guitar, formerly of the band DVS. Richie is another musical genius and his playing is tight and smooth. He is versatile and can play both rhythm and lead and he makes it look so effortless. And then there is Greg Tripp on lead guitar. Well what else can we say about this guy besides amazing. Greg has the painted nails and eyeliner and has the classic eighties hair band looks to go along with the shrieking guitar style and licks. He did an excellent job of matching Angus Young's guitar prowess. Finally, there is Spike on the Drums. Spike is also a former member of DVS and although he is very short and small in stature, he plays drums like a giant and has the heart of a lion.
So, to recap the setlist, "Fire Your Guns" made a tremendous impression and the sky is the limit for these guys as time goes on. They opened with "Riff Raff" and came out on fire. Kevin has a very similar voice to Bon Scott, so the song was a huge success as an opener. The band's version of "Thunderstruck" brought thunder and lightning to the stage. The energy in the building at this moment was at it's peak as the song roared on. My personal favorite was "Big Balls" which I felt was the closest to the original. These guys are loaded with talent and the results bear witness to that fact. And of course...what AC/DC finale would be complete...without "For Those About To Rock." Their performance was electrifying and they had all of the crowd on their feet as the encore blasted through the speakers. My review for this band was an 9/10. Considering they have only been together for a few months...this band has the potential to make headlines...Great Job Guys!!!!!
Ed Owens (Lead Vocals)
Jim Alessi (Lead Guitar)
Richie Mahn (Guitar)
Kenny Straub (Guitar)
Steve Kohler (Bass)
Joey Pardisio (Drums)
Billy Misner (Drums)
Ed Frost (Keyboards)
1) The Final Countdown (Europe)
2) When You Close Your Eyes (Night Ranger)
3) Faithfully (Journey)
4) Never Say Goodbye (Bon Jovi)
5) Into The Fire (Dokken)
6) Come Sail Away (Styx)
7) Bring Me To Life (Evenacence- w/special guest Liz B on vocals)
8) Green Manalishi (Judas Priest-w/special guest Ski on vocals)
9) Flight of Icarus (Iron Maiden-w/special guest Glen on vocals)
10) Lady Wore Black (Queensryche-w/special guest Glen on vocals)
11) Immigrant (Led Zeppelin)
12) Here I Go Again (Whitesnake)
13) Heartbreaker ( Pat Benatar-w/special guest Elizabeth on vocals)
14) Kiss Me Deadly (Lita Ford-w/special guest Elizabeth on vocals)
So the moment everyone was waiting for was finally here. Jim's new project DV8 was about to be unveiled. An afternoon and early evening of hard rocking, heavy metal shaking music was about to go into overdrive. For all of those people who are wondering what DV8 actually is; the best way to describe this band is a hybrid version of DVS. The group DV8 combines members from several bands that have come together to play the classic hard rock and metal that you and I grew up idolizing. The main version boasts Ed Owens (Loaded Gun) on vocals. Ed has a tremendous voice and tackles each song with reckless abandon. The very first song was a superb rendition of The Final Countdown by Europe. The song began with a special appearance from Kim Wilcox (Sweet Revenge) on Violin. Then came the sound from Ed's keyboard intro that sent chills down the spines of everyone present in the room. The band absolutely nailed The Final Countdown and DV8 was off to the races.
The night was just beginning. Ed Owens continued to pound out hit after hit as his vocals seemed to improve with each passing song. And of course the main man of the hour...Jim Alessi was hard at work on the axe. Jim had put this entire event together with the help of so many of his talented friends. Steve Kohler (Dejavu) was king of the bass this evening. He provided some serious licks and riffs on these classic hits and his playing compliments the rest of the band. Joey Pardisio, Billy Misner and company (all of the drummers brought) the thump and energy to the powerful setlist. All of the special guests were world class as well. Liz B. absolutely nailed "Bring Me to Life." as I actually thought that was Amy Lee of Evanescence on stage. Then there was Ski who provided the vocals from "Green Manalishi" I must say that I was blown away by the power and range of his voice. Ski plays Rob Halford to the t and his voice is on an epic level. Another power vocalist, Glen stole the show on three tracks. He sounded exactly like Bruce Dickinson on "Flight of Icarus." I have never heard anyone cover Maiden on that level. He has a stellar vocal tone and this song was off the charts. He also was spot on for "Last In Line" and did a pretty damn good job on "Lady Wore Black" (which he had only practiced once)! Elizabeth (DejaVu) was also a hit on vocals. She played Lita Ford better than Lita Ford on "Kiss Me Deadly." The energy that she brought to the table was intoxicating. There were so many other great performances this evening including Melissa (Crashing Saturn) and also the members of Mystify. Im sure I forgot some people, but just know that the talent in the building this evening was endless.
There was a boatload of star power on the stage at the Bash. And of course...let's not forget the behind the scene stars like Harry Elder (Lights), Corey Wacker (Sound), Kim D (Videography), and the most important stars of the evening..."The Bartending Staff!" Last but not least, we had a ton of stars in the crowd that showed South Jersey that we can still rock with the best of em'. There was plenty of bodies shaking on the dance floor and many lips singing along with the bands. So to sum it up...the bash was an epic event that should make South Jersey proud. We have some of the best musical talent around and were treated to an A+ concert show on Sunday. In case you are looking to see some live video feeds of the show...there are plenty of them posted on Facebook on Jim's page as well as many others. A huge thank you goes out to each and every person that made this event possible and especially to Hot Shots for hosting such a cool party. In conclusion, please get out to see DV8 and all of these other great bands at a venue near you.