Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Frank Hannon Band - The Chance, Poughkeepsie, NY March 21, 2015 + GUITAR PICK CONTEST

Hot damn!  What a great surprise this show was!

I've seen Tesla at least a dozen times in the past three decades or so and they are always somewhere between good and great live depending on that night's setlist, so I should have hopped right on this one to see what guitarist Frank Hannon does on his own, but that was not to be...until some last minute plans changed and my buddy had an extra ticket.  He called and said Frank was hitting the main stage at the Chance at 10pm (moved from their smaller upstairs venue, The Loft) and hell, it was Saturday and hopefully it would be good.

We walked in right at 10 and had about ten minutes to grab a beer, check the merch table and say hi to a few other friends in attendance.  Then Frank himself welcomed the crowd and the curtain went up for over two hours of simply great music.

Frank's band is a power trio featuring Aaron Leigh on bass and Kelly Smith on drums that does not stay strictly within the confines of rock. The small crowd (Frank has played numerous sold out shows with Tesla at The Chance, but on this night the crowd was less than a hundred. Frank joked - or maybe not a joke- that two fans up front were the only two in attendance at his first solo show there and with the improvement in the size of this crowd, that by the time he was 80, he'd be selling out the place himself!) was fully engaged and there was a great connection between band and audience that had them play a very long set as we all wanted more.

How long?  The set ran about 2 hours and 15 minutes.

I thought it would be filled with Tesla covers (I did not realize how many solo albums Frank has), but actually the only Tesla cover came during the acoustic set (The show was about 70 minutes electric, then 30 acoustic, then last 30 or so electric again) when he played the 90 second acoustic intro to "Love Song."

That's not to say the show was short on covers.  One of the best was a nod to one of the greatest power trios of all time when they covered "Working Man" off Rush's debut album.  Sweet! Throw in some Johnny Cash, James Gang, Santana, classic blues and snippets of Led Zeppelin, Parliament Funkadelic, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Montrose and some amazing standards including a beautiful version of the instrumental "Sleep Walk," the 1959 hit by Santo and Johnny that you all know even if you don't recognize the name.  Go ahead and youtube it...we'll be here when you get back. 

Most of the show concentrated on Frank's solo work, especially his newest album "World Peace" of which he played 9 of the 13 tracks.  Now reading that, I know what you might be thinking. "Ugh!  I go to see the guy from Tesla and he plays his whole new album I don't know!"  I've been to plenty of unfortunate shows like that where the new material was crap, but this show was the exception.  I didn't know any of this material going in and it's just catchy killer rock (from hard to southern to acoustic to guitar jammy.)  Frank is the singer as well as guitarist and has a great voice.  I was totally blown away and then add in the cool mix of covers and standards from as far back as the '20's and I'm telling you this show was as good as any Tesla show I've ever seen (and better than quite a few).

Here's the setlist:

  • Born Free
  • The Picture
  • New York City
  • World Peace
  • Train / Folsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash) / Brand New Shoes ("Train" is all I wrote down.  I know it was a cover but I'll be damned if I remember which "train" song he did)
  • Love Is Like A Fire
  • Electric Chair
  • Working Man (Rush)
  • Sleep Walk (Santo & Johnny)
  • Mobius Flip
  • Love Song (Tesla - acoustic intro Only
  • Gypsy Highway
  • Cocaine Blues (Luke Jordan via Keith Richards version)
  • Instrumental (didn't know this one)
  • Heavy Metal Hippie
  • Montrose snippet (A guy in the pit was wearing a Montrose shirt and the band kicked into about a minute or two of a tune for him when his buddy yelled out "Montrose!"
  • Down The Road
  • Funk #49 (James Gang cover but so much more.  Opens it playing the solo from Led Zeppelin's Heartbreaker right into the intro/main riff of Funk #49 and then the band jammed out on this throwing in bits of Red Hot Chili Peppers "Give It Away", Parliament Funkadelic's "Thank You" and "We Got The Funk", Some of that Peter Frampton tube guitar talking thing...just an epic jam)
  • Sweet Southern Sound
  • Electric Warriorz
  • Hope You're Feeling Better (Santana)
  • Eye of the Mind

I caught a pick during the performance and after the show Frank and the band came out to meet the fans and I got another one...so guess what gang... 

 *****CONTEST TIME! *****

Win Frank Hannon's Guitar Pick and Photo (your choice) From The Show!

My contests are easy.  Go to this link to the MostPeopleAreBlank Facebook page and simply click Like on the page (not the photo set or any of the pictures - Like the actual page so you're following us).  That makes you a follower of the page and you are now entered into the contest.  If you're already a member of the page then just like this posting or post a comment or shoot me a message and I'll enter you as well, contest is not just open to new members.  In a week or two I'll randomly draw a name and that person will get the guitar pick as well as a photo I took at the show (If you win and have a favorite, let me know which one).  No cost to the winner, I'll pop it in the mail so it doesn't get messed up and pay the postage.  Just a thank you to the readers!

Now not included in the contest is this Tesla setlist I've had from one of the aforementioned sold out shows Tesla has played at the Chance.  I dig the phonetic spelling of Poughkeepsie at the top.  Frank was nice enough to sign this and it is now framed on my wall.

Below are a ton of pics from the show.  Click on any of them to super size view them.  I can't stress enough how much you should go see The Frank Hannon Band on this tour.  I know next time they pass through I'll definitely be back.  If you dug this or want to enter the contest for the Guitar/Pick and photo just go click Like the Facebook page to enter and as always Rock on and Enjoy! - Paul

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Dwarves / The Atom Age - Bowery Electric, NYC March 3, 2015

UPDATE - Dwarves just let me know "Thanks! And yeah, we don't give a fuck about spitting. The set was over"

This will make sense when you read the full review below.  Rock on!


The Dwarves Invented Rock n Roll.  That's what their newest album, released in 2014, is titled and when you see them live, hell, it can be hard to argue - they certainly have perfected it.

They don't quite follow the credo of sex, drugs and rock n roll...more accurately it's sex, drugs, more sex, more drugs, then more drugs, throw in some more sex and rock n roll.  That's what their songs are about and the band delivers the message in a set of tight controlled mayhem led by Blag Dahlia, one of the most entertaining front men out there.

This show at Bowery Electric last night was no different.

Before the Dwarves were two openers.  First a band called Threats.  We only caught about the last ten minutes of their set as we ordered and drank a beer at the bar, but it sounded like good surf tinged music.  Wish the train down from Poughkeepsie was earlier and we could have caught more.  

Next up were The Atom Age.  Had never heard or heard of them before this night and we wondered what the sound would be like as we saw them take the stage with a pair of lead singer/guitarists up front, bassist, drummer, keyboardist and saxophonist.  

Well hot damn...they were killer!  They're from California and out for this tour with the Dwarves.  My buddy Kev, who came to this show with me, always enjoys picking out members of the band or audience who look like (often vaguely) celebrities of one sort or another and dammit somehow I got drawn into doing it for these guys when I felt the keyboardist looked like what I would imagine Stephen Merchant's son would.  On sax I felt it was Seth Rogen Jr., the singer/guitarist on right had a kind of young Jim Carroll thing going on and the bassist is what we would expect the seed of Dolph Lundgren to grow into he if took up music instead of movies.

I'll be damned but we couldn't come up with good picks for the other two.  I apologize for leaving you out if you actually end up reading this.

Oh yeah, but back to it...they reminded me quite a bit of the more rockin end of Rocket From the Crypt's catalog (and that is never a bad thing).  They threw in an excellent version of Devo's "Uncontrollable Urge" as well.  It's rare I hope an opener I've never heard of plays longer, but I wouldn't have minder more than the 30 minute set they got.  They definitely won the crowd over by the end of it.  If it wasn't the fact that the Dwarves were up next, they probably would have been cheered out for an encore.  I Just went and followed these guys on Facebook and will be catching them whenever they come through the area next.

A short break between sets and the lights go down and the Dwarves come out at 10pm on the dot.

I wouldn't have been able to keep up with writing/typing a list of the songs played, so just going to say they played a great mix of classic through new stuff.  

Instead of digging out the old thesaurus, just watch this video I shot of "I Will Deny" / "Everybody's Girl" to get an idea of the goodness of last night.

The whole show was that good.  The band played just about 45 minutes and perhaps would have played longer were it not for a spitting incident towards the end, but I have my doubts that actually caused the show to end early.

Basically someone in the crowd hawked one right on to Blag's head/face.  He finished the song and called out the fact that he had been hit, but honestly didn't seem pissed and in typical Blag form said he understood because in 1991 he had had his way with the spitter's girlfriend or mom so this was their revenge and they launched into the last song during which, after the vocals were done, Blag jumped the two feet off the stage to the floor and walked through the crowd up the stairs.  (Bowery Electric has a bar on the main level, then you walk straight down a flight to the basement where they have the shows and another smaller bar.)

I've seen the Dwarves before including back in early 90's (oh Coney Island High how I miss you) when the shows would never last 20 minutes and the mayhem was hardcore.  These days the shows are still intense and usually last between 45 minutes to an hour, so this seemed like the full show and I've never seen them do an encore.  They play until they end...none of that encore bullshit.

But the audience was told to chant "Dwarves! Dwarves!" then "More Dwarves! More Dwarves!" to get them to come back out for a few more, but it became apparent after about 2 minutes that wasn't going to happen so then the mystery voice on the mic said whoever spit at Blag was the reason our show was cut short.

It was an odd way to end the show and hell, I don't think Blag likes getting spit on, but I didn't feel he cut the show short for all of us because of it and this seemed to be the case even more so as we walked out.

So we all headed back up the stairs and it was moving slow as shit...because there was Blag at the foyer at the top of the flight smiling, chatting and taking photos with everyone.  Hell I even learned his name is Paul when my buddy taking our shot together said "Let me get one with you and Paully" and Blag commented on my awesome name which he shares and how he's a good Italian boy named Paully. (I'm a good Irish boy, but it's a name which can cross such cultural differences with ease.)

So as always, The Dwarves, inventors of rock an roll, brought the goods and the good opening bands.

They pretty much come around once a year and we'll be back next time.  Maybe you never went before and read this or watched the video and you'll join us.  If you're a single gal there's a good chance we'll even buy you a drink.  Dwarves fans are good like that.

So as always, go here to the Most People Are Blank Facebook main page and click like.  The more followers, the more shows and more contests we can do.  Also feel free to leave comments there.  Click any of the photos to super size them.  Thanks for reading - Rock on and Enjoy - Paul

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Four By Fate / Richie Scarlet - The Chance, Poughkeepsie NY June 6, 2014 Concert Review & Photos

Back in June of last year, Four By Fate played their second show ever at The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY.  With Tod Howarth (vocals/guitar) and John Regan (bass) in Four By Fate headlining and Richie Scarlet opening it was like a Frehley's Comet family reunion.

It was a damn good show of mostly Frehley's Comet covers as well as songs by other artists the other members of the band had been in - drummer Stet Howland (W.A.S.P.) and lead guitarist Sean Kelly (Crash Kelly).   Throw in some Beatles, Kiss, Humble Pie (John Regan has long been the bassist for Peter Frampton) and Cheap Trick as well (I'm pretty sure one of the guys did a stint in Trick or maybe something like Robin Zander's solo band).

Richie Scarlet aka "The Emperor of Rock n Roll" kicked ass as always opening in the middle of the crowd with "Beck's Bolero" in a set that included a cover of "Crimson and Clover", as well as "2 Young 2 Die" (dedicated to baseball legend Don Zimmer who passed away two days earlier) and "Shot Full Of Rock" off Ace Frehley's "Trouble Walkin'" album.

At the time of the show I was backed up with shows to report on and knew I'd get around to this eventually.  Well yesterday Four By Fate posted the following on Facebook, so I figured no time like the present...

"Changing Of The Guards:

Hello Four By Fateful's. Tod and John here to fill you in on what's up these days with FOUR BY FATE.

As we eagerly approach the 2nd part of our stretch to finish the new release, there have been some changes made to the lineup. 

Joining the FOUR BY FATE family is legendary drummer AJ Pero of Twisted Sister/Adrenaline Mob fame and New York's own Patrick James of Pound/ Flywheel on Lead/Rhythm guitars. 

The road for FOUR BY FATE is an exciting one and with each turn we are blessed with wonderful talent, strength and the promise of crossing an epic finish line. We, as band, are grateful for all the good times and creativity that both Stet Howland and Sean Kelly brought and shared with the band. More than that, we are blessed to have them as brothers, a bond that will always remain. 

Both Stet and Sean will always be a part of the FOUR BY FATE family and we wish them nothing but tremendous success in all that they do. We hope to cross paths again in the not so distant future.

From Sean Kelly:"While the time has come for me to focus on new musical horizons, I want to extend my very best wishes to John, Tod, Pat, and AJ, all players and people of the finest caliber. I also want to thank Stet Howland for the good times and friendship we shared, a true drum legend! It was an honor to launch the good ship Four By Fate with John, Tod, and Stet....long may it sail!”

From Stet Howland:"I love these guys and we will all continue to rock and cross paths down the line"As of this week, 6 songs went out into the hands of very interested parties that will eventually be a part of the launching of our release tentatively entitled: ‘Rhythm of the Curve’ 

It won’t be too much longer before you have a full length CD, Download, Video and more in your ‘Fateful’ hands. 

Our best to all,

Tod Howarth 

John Regan"

Glad I got to see this gig and it was a great night of rock n roll.  While Stet and Sean will be missed, it's good to see this is an amicable parting and their replacements should continue to kick some ass.  I'll definitely check out the new lineup when the album is released and they come back to The Chance.

Here's the setlist:

Calling to You (Frehley's Comet)
Something Moved (Frehley's Comet)
Into The Night (Frehley's Comet)
Follow Me
It's Over Now (Frehley's Comet)
I Am the Walrus (The Beatles)
I Want You To Want Me (Cheap Trick)
Blind In Texas (W.A.S.P.)
Ride The Wire (Crash Kelly)
Time Ain't Running Out (Frehley's Comet)
I Don't Need No Doctor (Humble Pie)
Rip It Out (Ace Frehley)
Breakout (Frehley's Comet included Drum Solo)
Rocket Ride (Kiss)

Below are a ton of photos from the show.  Click on them to super size.  Then go click this link to go to the MostPeopleAreBlank Facebook page and click "Like" to keep up to date on all our posts as well as giveaways just open to those who follow on Facebook.  More shows to come.  Rock on and Enjoy - Paul

Richie Scarlet Photos:

Four By Fate Photos: