Ya know, usually when we head out to see a show we have to stand through some shit ass bands... but not always. Case in point, our good friends SPREAD EAGLE were playing Dingbatz in Clifton, New Jersey on Feb 12th. We arrived at the club in time to catch a band called VOODOO TERROR TRIBE who came on just before headliners SPREAD EAGLE.
Just around 11:30pm while the stagehands were still setting things up, we began noticing things like the special lighting equipment, a cool backdrop adorned with the VTT logo, a chained microphone stand and a logo painted bass drum. We knew then that these guys were definitely not fucking around and put some cash into there stage show. I for one appreciate bands that take pride in their image as well as their music. (Applaud!). But still... what about the music? Were we going see a great show with some shit ass musicians screaming and growling all night? That would totally suck! But, Nahhh... these guys really brought it on showcasing both good musicianship and vocals.
I was presently surprise with VOODOO TERROR TRIBE. Myself, I was brought up with diversity and photographed many different genres bands back in the day from bands like DEATH,KING DIAMOND, and TESTAMENT to THE CARS, Pat Benetar and KISS so I can handle pretty much anything. Now my boys Mark Balogh and Dave Felix like most of the milder shit but for them to even think these guys were ok was a HUGE plus!
I like them! They bring the full package with head banging, harsh and melodic vocals enhanced by some kick ass guitar licks. Vocalist Gil PZ I thought had good range and can really hit the low notes and did a great job with the melodic side of the chords. Guitarist Emir Erkal has great stage presences as well and with bassist Primer, they had that traditional metal power. VOODOO TRIBE TRIBE played hard and heavy yet added some smooth vocal tracks. They also did a few covers... one being “Separate Ways” (JOURNEY) and did a fine job on “Cowboys from Hell” (PANTERA) that even Mr. Felix enjoyed. (Surprise!). All in all I think these guys have potential to be a force... at least in the Jersey area where they can lift spirits of this musical "dead zone."
Now Dave will take you onto the review of SPREAD EAGLE... take it away Dave…
"Milder Shit?!?" Well Mr. Rademacher, since you've taken this opportunity to bash our differences in musical tastes I have two words for ya... Beeelllow ME!
But seriously, I do have to agree with Brian on VOODOO TERROR TRIBE, they really bring an aggressive flavor to the area music scene and yeah,
I absolutely LOVED the band's rendition of "Cowboys From Hell" as well as their originals like "Masquerade" and "World Of Lies." As far as the JOURNEY cover goes, though... all I can say is somewhere Steve Perry was crying... other than
that though... great job! Glad I had a chance to catch them...
Now speaking of "aggressive," it was time for the great SPREAD EAGLE to once again take flight and sink their talons deep into this crowd of ravenous fans. Since the departure of original drummer Tommi Gallo and incredible guitarist Paul Dibartolo, the band has manifested and re-manifested itself many times over and this night would be no different. Behind the skins was a somewhat familiar face but wait! That's not bassist extraordinaire Rob De Luca but his brother Rik! The family resemblance was just uncanny and taking his spot stage right was the newest member of this eagle's nest, guitarist Dennis Kimak. Under cover of darkness and settling in between Rob and Dennis, the great Ray West perched himself behind the mic as the opening notes to "Devil's Road" began to echo through the arena... ok, ok... Dingbatz but still, as the haunting melody filled the room, the only question was could this latest version of SPREAD EAGLE hold it's own against the ghosts of the past? We would soon find out...
Right out of the box, SPREAD EAGLE propelled straight through the crowd with "Devil's Road," the opening track to their 1993 MCA Records release "Open To The Public." This was followed by two more, in-your-face, heavy rockers from the same release and two of my favorite SPREAD EAGLE tracks "Rhythm Machine" and "King Of The Dogs." Rik De Luca handled all the double-bass pounding rhythms laid down by the originals with ease adding his own flair and fills to these already potent arrangements and what can you say about Rob? This guy is just a thrill to watch... his thundering bass sends vibrations up your spine and now along with Rik behind the skins, this rhythm section is the driving strength and power behind this bird-of-prey.
Now I've said it before and I'll say it again, anyone who tries to follow up the amazing licks of Paul Dibrtolo has got some pretty big shoes to fill. Chris Caffrey was able to pull it off a few years back but how could Kimak measure up?
HO-LY SHIT! This guy is one Hell of a shredder!!! Kimak was just superb from start to finish taking on all the licks, chords and shreds you could throw at him. His guitar work during the heavy, instrumental break in "Broken City" was just mind-blowing.
Wow... what an incredible guitarist and perfect fit for this band.
But the man who keeps this eagle's talons as sharp as razors is front man Ray West. No longer just the "screamer" he once was, Ray is now able to incorporate his own, unique vocal style to these SPREAD EAGLE arrangements which only enhances not only the songs but the performance itself. But yeah, he can still hit those high notes when he needs to... the only difference now for this veteran singer is that along with his incredible stage presence comes a more mature and versatile vocal style which has SPREAD EAGLE ready to spread its wings and soar into the next decade. We got a chance to hang with Ray for a little bit after the show as well and we were VERY excited to learn that it seems that this incarnation of SPREAD EAGLE may just be here to stay! What a thrill that would be to actually hear some new material from these guys after all these years.
This was one Hell of a show and one Hell of a band. Keep your eyes peeled as a little "inside information" has told us these guys will be getting out there to play a lot over the next few months and straight on through the summer. Great to have you back guys and we're all looking forward to our next visit to the eagle's nest very soon.