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Bad Boys of Metal

By Marie Braden

Let's face it....the "Bad Boys of Metal" tour sounds like a joke, right? Especially when you know that it was originally going to be the "Bastards of Metal" tour, a collection of late-Eighties lead singers (most of whom have had charges of arrogance thrown at them) touring off their past glories. Surprisingly, the show is incredible, and an absolute bargain for seeing some of the biggest stars of their era. Though their years of fame may be past, these lineups give much better bang for your buck than the average package tour--and, as strange as it seems, it's quite possible that these guys are putting on a better show now than they did "back in the day."

While there has been some shuffling of the lineup (Jani Lane apparently having been replaced by Kip Winger), the feel of this show is much more than just an oldies revue. The SLC date featured Bang Tango, Steven Adler, Kevin DuBrow, and Jani Lane with Bang Tango supplying the backup for the other performers. While the crowd was small, the performers (for the most part) played as if they were still pitching it to stadiums, and a good time was had by all.

Bang Tango, while perhaps not as well-known as many bands of their era, put on a fiery show, and Alex Grossi may well be a guitarist to watch. Although these songs didn't necessarily have the instant recognition factor of the later sets, the audience still seemed to get into it moderately well. Particularly well-received were "20th Century Boy" and "Someone Like You."  

When Steven Adler hit the stage, though, all hell broke loose. This was the man most had come to see, and while Joe LeSte did forget a few lyrics (leading bassist Chuck Wright to quite literally "kick him in the ass"), Axl Rose is a hard act to follow--but LeSte pretty much pulled it off. Personal and health issues aside, it's obvious that Adler truly comes alive when performing, and the joy on his face was a delight to see. LeSte did an admirable job of handling Guns n' Roses classics such as "Mr. Brownstone", "Paradise City", as well as the usual classics like "Mama Kin" and "Knockin' on Heaven's Door." 

Adler played heavily to the crowd, particularly during "Rocket Queen", and while it may not have been the same as seeing the classic lineup of Guns n' Roses, it was definitely a better show than any put on by Axl Rose's more recent incarnations of the brand name.

Kevin DuBrow, flogging his new album of covers IN FOR THE KILL, was perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening. Whatever charges might be leveled against him on a personal level, this man is a consummate showman, and he didn't just stick to the obvious tunes for his set. From the bluesy romp of "Red Light Mama Red Hot" to crunchy hits like "Love's a Bitch" and "Cum On Feel The Noize", DuBrow doesn't disappoint. Sure, it might come across as a little slick, but he's been doing this for so many years that if he's bored, it definitely doesn't show. If the show had ended there, the patrons would have gone home drenched in sweat and happily exhausted.

Jani Lane, however, does not suffer from that level of hyper-professionalism, and was, perhaps, the most disappointing part of the evening. Apparently a graduate of the Vince Neil School of Lead Singers, he was content to have the audience (which had dwindled considerably by the time he took the stage) sing the largest part of his songs. To say he was going through the motions would be a kindness, frankly. At least he had a sense of humour about it, introducing "Heaven" with a series of false starts that included bits of "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" and several other ballads. 

The only time Lane really came alive was during "Better Than You" and "Back Down to One". It must be frustrating, when you're that good of a songwriter, to be saddled forever with the saccharine whines of your youth, but it's a shame that he can't even try to muster up a good time live out of it. 

The Bad Boys of Metal tour ... If you don't catch it at your local venue, the joke's going to be on YOU. 
 



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