RUBBER CITY MELTDOWN
There's something that's just plain cool about a throwback band like the LA Knights. I'm not sure what it is. I'm sure for a lot of people, they will just scoff at them as dated dudes stuck in the 80s that haven't "grown with the times". That's always a convenient cop out excuse to me, especially when you look at how the rock world has grown. If you ask most people to name 5 great bands from the 80s, within seconds you'll get five names thrown back at you (top of my head, Motley Crue, Skid Row, Guns N' Roses, Metallica, Dokken). It will literally take them a second. As the same question for five great bands from 2000-2010. The names don't come back quite so quickly, now do they? The reason is simple. The music was just better, or at a minimum more memorable universally. I'm the first guy that will admit that a LOT of the bands from the 80s were pretty embarrassing, but more times than not, they just weren't. At least musically, they were almost all solid. To do a throwback band now, you not only have to be excellent musically, but you also have to be thick skinned enough to not take the criticism to heart. Meet Akron, Ohio's LA Knights!
It's starting to look like 2013 is the season of bands that do things that sound pretty much the same from release to release putting out new music that's the same as the old. Buckcherry is a solid band generally, although their last two releases have been pretty God-awful. Their latest release, CONFESSIONS, is far better than BLACK BUTTERFLY or ALL NIGHT LONG, but that's still not saying that they have regained the greatness they once showed with releases such as their 15 or their self-titled debut. While CONFESSIONS doesn't rival either of those releases, it does have some of the qualities that made both of those very listenable albums. In short, CONFESSIONS is a comeback of sorts for this working man's band.
There's just something about Sebastian Bach that's compelling. Sure, he comes off like a knob a lot of the time in the media, but at his core, he's really just a guy that loves making music and isn't ashamed to talk about it. Yes, he comes off like a fanboy at times; particularly when talking about his love for bands like Kiss and Guns N' Roses. But regardless of all that, the guy fronted one of the better bands from the '80s in Skid Row. For those of us that had the chance to see Skid Row back in the proverbial day, we all remember just how good Bach (and the rest of the band for that matter) was on stage during that time. Performing live has always been Bach's bread and butter. Now as a solo artist, it's still where he earns his stripes. While there's been some controversy about him going back and "fixing" the newly released ABACHALYPSE NOW, Bach does make a good point about this. He states that he doesn't want to put out a bad product when he can create something that people will replay for years to come. Fair enough. It's certainly worked for his idols Kiss. So why not?
UNITED WORLD REBELLION: CHAPTER 1
Let's just be honest here. Skid Row has done themselves no favors since Johnny Solinger took over as the lead vocalist. They have put out two really subpar albums; subpar at least to those of us that were fans of their great past. I'm more giving than most, and even with that, I found both REVOLUTIONS PER MINUTE and THICKSKIN to be pretty much unlistenable (even though both did have a couple of tolerable moments). It's a shame too, because the band clearly can do some good things with Solinger, who doesn't sound like their old singer Sebastian Bach, but has enough of a "real rock" sound to fit well with their music (both the past stuff, and what they can do moving forward). If nothing else, listening to UNITED WORLD REBELLION: CHAPTER 1 seems to tell a story that the band finally understands what they need to be doing. By far, this is the best thing Skid Row has done since SUBHUMAN RACE.
30 YEARS: LIVE FROM THE SUNSET STRIP
There's a very awkward moment on 30 YEARS: LIVE FROM THE SUNSET STRIP wherein current vocalist Terry Ilous claims the night as a special night as the band has been together for 30 years. Sorry guys, I know the band has been around for all this time, but it REALLY is hard to accept Great White without Jack Russell at the helm. I really want to. Mark Kendall has been a friend for years, as has new vocalist Terry Ilous. But, being honest, their studio album without vocalist Jack Russell was very much outside the feeling one expects from a Great White album. That's not to say it was terrible, but there was a flair missing that just can't be replaced in the framework of what I consider to be Great White. Being honest, coming into this live release, I kind of had my doubts. Thankfully, the band captured a good performance. While it still doesn't have the bluesy flair that Jack Russell brought to the band, 30 YEARS: LIVE FROM THE SUNSET STRIP is a solid representation of what the band is today.