RockEyez recently attended a great night of rock and roll at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ as the "America Rocks" tour rolled into town. This month-long cross-country package tour consisted of LILLIAN AXE, PRETTY BOY FLOYD, BULLETBOYS, FASTER PUSSYCAT and Jack Russell's GREAT WHITE and boy was it an 80's hard rock fans wet dream!
The night started with a backstage interview with guitarist Steve Blaze and new vocalist Brian Jones of LILLIAN AXE. The guys were gracious enough to give RockEyez a few moments prior to hitting the stage to talk about the band, its new album and this current tour, which they are three weeks into and seem to be having a great time on so far.
After speaking with the LILLIAN AXE guys it was time to rock. LILLIAN AXE took the stage first for a (much to short) five-song set. Opening with the track, "Babylon" they gave the crowd an immediate taste of new material from their recently released "The Days Before Tomorrow" album. They quickly followed with my personal favorite LILLIAN AXE track "Deepfreeze". The song was made to be played live as it is an excellent song to get the juices flowing. Another new track in "Death Comes Tomorrow" followed and then they closed out their set with a combo of classic AXE tracks "Ghost of Winter" and "Show A Little Love".
The band finishes up the "America Rocks" tour in Texas in another week or so but they'll be headed to Europe later in the year for some touring in Great Britain and hopefully we'll get another run of US dates at some point before the year is out. The band has gone through a couple lead singer changes as of late but they are as solid and tight as they have always been. They are very much an underrated band to say the least so check them out if they come your way.
Next up on the night was LA's PRETTY BOY FLOYD. I swear you would think it was 1989 once again as they roared onto stage with the classic "Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz" track from the debut album of the same name. They tore through a half-hour set like they haven't lost a step. I can't say I was ever a fan of the band back in the day but they were solid and the crowd was really into them as I witnessed multiple people singing along to many of the songs.
The middle slot of the night belonged to the BULLETBOYS and its crazy frontman Marq Torien. Even though Torien is the sole original member of the group he still commands the stage like few others. You almost feel physically worn out after watching him tear it up on stage. The band ripped through a forty minute set with highlights being "Hard As A Rock", the tribute to the legendary "Dimebag" Darrel of PANTERA titled "Witness" and of course the MTV hits "For The Love Of Money" and "Smooth Up In Ya"
Another LA act was up next as Taime Downe and FASTER PUSSYCAT hit the stage. I can't say I was a big fan of the band back in the day but there is no denying they have a lot of recognizable songs and there is also no denying they are a party band born from the strip on Sunset Blvd! They were even joined by Brian Jones of LILLIAN AXE, Marq Torien and "Steve "Sex" Summers" of PBF as they all supplied some backing vocals through the set. I will say even though I may not be a fan, one of my favorite songs from back in the day is the ballad "House Of Pain" and it was nice to hear the song mid-set. Just like previous bands on the night, the large crowd at Starland was very much into the set, as they may have had the biggest reaction of the night.
After four bands and a bunch of 80's hits we reached the end of the evening and it was time for Jack Russell's GREAT WHITE to take the stage. It's been pretty well publicized the events of Jack Russell and his former band mates that few months. I for one would have to put myself on the side of Russell in this battle. There has been various accusations from both sides but for me it comes down to the music and I personally would rather hear the bands past hits sung by the voice of the band more then anyone else. Russell doesn't shy away from talking about his past on stage and seems to be a pretty straightforward guy. He's been through a hell of a lot the past few years and yes, his voice seems a little different these days. It's not bad just different. I'm sure his health problems of the recent past have taken their toll but as I watched the band and heard the old songs I remembered the bands performances I had seen in the past, I actually enjoyed the show more and more as it went on.
Russell has assembled a solid band behind him these days with a twin guitar attack that seems to bring a new dimension to some of the old songs and I am glad I got to witness them. I have seen the "other" version of GREAT WHITE and quite honestly I prefer Russell's version here.
All in all it was a fun evening and RockEyez would like to thank Steve Blaze, Brian Jones and CharlieBagarozza (President of CME) for their time and efforts on this night.
During the night in attendance were Cheryl Rovendro (Rock Photographer) , Hughie Walmar (CASHMIER), Tina Fisher (Rock Diva News) & Christie Kane (MetalBarbie)