Sebastian Bach (The Voice of Skid Row) @ Strummer’s, Fresno CA 04/25/15

This was no Micky Mouse, half-assed gig for the black hole that is the Central Valley (sorry fellow valley peeps, I think I’m referring mainly to Porterville). THIS was a true rock show. The energy coming from Baz was relentless. The man was head banging so ferociously, I thought he was going to give himself whiplash or a concussion or something. He came to Fresno to kick our asses and melt our faces off. The steam and sweat was proof of that. Strummers was mostly full and the heat increased as the set continued. The audience was LOUD and rowdy at times. Baz stopped the second song due to a scuffle in the crowd. He gave the signal to kill the song and immediately confronted the two brawlers stage left. Baz called them out, shouting “if you came here to fight then GET THE FUCK OUT!!! GET THE FUCK OUT!!! And the crowd joined in on the chant, while Bobby Jarzombek pounded out a BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM on the floor tom, in time with “GET THE FUCK OUT!” Despite the fight and a couple other would be scuffles, the show was a positive, fun and exciting event. Baz was very personable with crowd. He was talkative, funny, and as candid as a musical celebrity can get. After the first couple numbers, Baz spoke to the crowd and reminisced about the last time he was in Fresno. He said “I can’t remember the last time I was in Fresno..why??? Because we were so fucked up!” Baz went on to say the last time he stopped in Fresno was a Skid Row support slot for Aerosmith. He asked “Who was at that Aerosmith show?” Half the crowd raised their hands. “That means there’s some old motherfuckers in here!”

The ceiling is low at Strummer’s. Early in the set, Baz twirled the mic a’la Roger Daltry, and it hit the overheard girders in the process. Baz winced for second, then regained the mic as well as his composure very quickly. The set was brief, but I have to give the man credit for showcasing quite a bit of Skid Row material. And only a couple songs were featured from the new solo album. I’m happy that Sebastian Bach hasn’t denied his history and let ego drive the set, filling it with mostly solo material. The audience footage found on youtube is not an accurate representation of the live show, those fan videos simply don’t do the group justice. No matter what kind of camera phone you have, you will always record shitty audio, I don’t see why people bother with holding up their phones, trying to film complete songs. From the footage I’ve seen, the vocals and instrumentation can sound weak at times with no definition. People have complained about pitchy, out of breath vocals. While Baz does take moments to catch his breath, the vocal performance was pretty damn good at the Fresno gig, and I only had 2 beers. He executed the highs and took me back to the original studio recordings, hair raising parts and all. I was bugging out, seeing him do those vocal runs and hitting the high parts. Audience response was very strong and Baz was feeding off of it. Quite a few Skid Row tracks were performed including “Slave to the Grind,” “Big Guns,” “The Threat,” “Youth Gone Wild,” “18 and Life,” “I Remember You,” “Monkey Business” and my favorite track, “In a Darkened Room.” The group teased us with a few bars of “Peace of Me” before stopping abruptly and easing into “18 and Life.” “Monkey Business” featured an ass-kicking partial cover of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer,” with Bobby laying down his drum parts just like Neil Peart, including the ‘cream your pants’ rapid drum fills during the breakdown. That part really got us going.

About the backing band, Kevin Chown is the current bassist for Baz’s solo group. He’s got an impressive resume including Chad Smith’s Bombastic Meatbats, Tarja and guitar wizard Tony Macalpine. The dude’s in his 40s but looked like some 18 year old kid onstage. He laid down the bass grooves well but nothing to write home about. Devin Bronson on guitar is just as accomplished if not more so, having played on recordings or tours with Demi Lovato, Kelly Osbourne, David Cook, Theory of a Dead Man, and P!nk, amongst others. Strangely enough, Bronson was the only guitarist onstage, covering lead and rhythm duties, which made some passages sound a bit minimalist and bare at times. Where the heck was Johnny Chromatic? Even with such accomplished, seasoned side men, the backing band was very underwhelming, save for Bobby Jarzombek’s thunderous drum work (ok, so I’m biased about drummers). Bobby’s resume is more bitchin’ than Bronson’s or Chown’s! Bobby has played with Iced Earth, Fates Warning and freakin’ Rob Halford. He also turned down the Dream Theater audition back in 2010. Jarzambek’s playing is technical and precise without sound busy our douchey. He’s also more heavy handed, putting a lot of power behind his strokes, including his pedal work on the kick drums. The band played well as a unit, but I expected some fireworks. In hindsight, maybe fireworks would have detracted from the front man’s delivery.The songs went over very well, and the single guitarist was enough but it would have been nice to hear the songs fleshed out with a second guitarist. Great, affordable show, and extremely happy to have seen another one of the metal greats.

Save to the Grind
Hell Inside My Head
Temptation
The Threat
Big Guns
Piece of Me/18 & Life
American Metalhead
Tunnel Vision
In a Darkened Room
Monkey Business

I Remember You
All My Friends Are Dead
Youth Gone Wild

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Posted on June 4, 2015, in Concerts: 2012 - Present, Sebastian Bach and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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