November 24, 2015 Britny Fox Rock Blackthorn 51 Elmhurst, NY 11-13-15
The hiatus is over, and fans rejoiced after hearing the news last Spring about the return of the ’80s Glam Rock band Britny Fox. Originally formed in 1985, it was 1988 when they exploded into the spotlight with the self-titled debut album that included the smashing hit “Girlschool.” The sophomore album, Boys in Heat, soon followed in 1989 where, at that time, it seemed smooth sailing. The reality is, nothing was ever smooth for the group. Difficulties began right from the beginning after the unfortunate death of Drummer Tony Destra in 1987 due to a car accident. A constant amount of lineup changes, which includes Tommy Paris replacing Dean Davidson in 1990 as the frontman/rhythm guitarist, and recently adding the fresh Chris Sanders (former Lizzy Borden) on lead guitar who replaced Michael Kelly Smith. Lastly, they faced multiple breakups over the years where a resurrection did not seem possible. Due to the said disappearances across the decades, their on and off again career has not made them stand-out as glamorous and arena-esque as Mötley Crüe or Guns N’ Roses. However, a Britny Fox fanbase has always remained one-of-a-kind. When the small tour was announced late this past Summer that included a limited six dates, which ended in their hometown Philadelphia, PA, fans could not wait to get a hold of a ticket. On the fifth night, Friday, November 13th, they tackled the borough of Queens, New York at the intimate club in Elmhurst, Blackthorn 51.
Dedicated Metalheads were ecstatic to rush to the venue to see the ultimate comeback of Britny Fox. Unfortunately, on this evening, an unexpected turn hit, where this night experienced terror due to the Paris Terrorist attacks. This event hit home for the music scene as it included the loss of many lives that were held hostage at a concert for Eagles of Death Metal. Despite the horrifying news, life went on where any rocker would want, to continue the celebration of the love of music. Fans kept their head up high this evening, as their hearts went out to the acts in Paris.
Opening the night were the Modern classic Rockers, Trnzprnt (pronounced “Transparent”). Influenced by well-known acts including Aerosmith, The Who, and The Rolling Stones, a style of their own emerged melding Blues and Rock N’ Roll. Grooving onto the stage were Jim Ambrose (guitar/vocals), Paulie Z (lead vocals), Casper Raines (bass/vocals), Andy Meyer (guitar/vocals), and Andy Raymond (drums), who were all ready to support their latest release, 2014’s No Alibis. Cruising in with tracks “Dirty Dancer” and “With You Tonight” had fans swaying the night away. Paulie Z showcased his sense of humor as well when he conversed with the crowd; “If you keep drinking and tipping your bartenders, we will sound better.” Embracing the intimate spotlight, a few fans headbanged close to the band members during the instrumental jam. Keeping the energy going, the set closed with “No Alibis” and “Oh Well,” as well as Paulie Z taking a walk through the stunned audience. This enthusiastic performance left the crowd hungry for more Rock-n-Roll.
Next up were New York City Hard Rockers Dirty Black 7. No stranger to a New York stage, they have tackled venues including Webster Hall, Santos Party House, and The Bowery. Influenced by a plethora of musical genres including Rock, Metal, Punk, and Pop, their originality will make anyone’s head spin. This evening, it was a Fozzy mixed with Country vibe as Mike Butchar (guitar), Ron Forte (bass), Mike Sapienza (drums), and Rob A Lou (vocals) took the platform. Promoting the latest, 7 Scars, that was released in July 2015, they dove into tracks such as “Starshine,” “Whiskey is My Woman,” “Candygram Pornstar,” and “Scars That Burn.” Their spirited energy captivated the crowd, along with a hint of humor where discussions on “herbal whiskey” babbled with the enthusiastic audience.
Changing the tone were Heavy Metallers Forsakken. These New Yorkers formed in 2002 and have been setting a tone for themselves ever since by incorporating their influence of traditional American and British Heavy Metal. Ready for all headbanging to commence, Brittany Diaz (vocals), Billy Garcia (guitar), James Strain (bass), and Charlie Raffaniello (drums) hit the stage. After the opening of “The Conqueror,” Diaz gave an honorable acknowledgement on the horrific events that occurred in Paris that evening, along with the unfortunate death of former drummer from Motörhead, Phil Taylor. Picking up the pace and spirit, they moved into tunes from their latest release, 2015’s Warn All Ye Sinners, with tracks “My Evil Reigns,” “Visions of Death,” “Warn All Ye Sinners” and “Never Back Down.” A handful of fans in the crowd knew the material as they continued to sing along and guess the setlist, where Diaz asked if they were psychic. After an engaging performance, it was time to come to a close with “Win or Die.”
The crowd piled up as many were ready to hear Glam Rockers FerreTT. The stage was filled with nostalgic ’80s memorabilia that included a scarf, sunglasses, tight pants, and shiny underwear. Fans pushed towards the front and screamed out the letters “F-E-R-R-E-T-T.” Members, The King of The Night Time World (vocals), TT Benoit (rhythm and lead guitar), Scotty Hart (rhythm and lead guitar), Nicky G (rhythm and lead guitar), Lex Slade (bass), and newest Alamo Jones (drums) rambunctiously hit the platform. Reminding all to have fun and that it was Friday the 13th after all, a man in a Hockey mask disguised as Jason slowly walked on the stage. Continuing to amuse the crowd, the band used the entire space the stage had to offer by showcasing their enormous amount of energy right from the get-go during “Thirsty,” “Twincest,” and “Wild Nonstop Nights.” The King of the Night Time World took a moment to introduce the guest member of the band, who flew from Nashville, Tennessee that evening as keyboardist, Leigh Foxxx strolled onto the platform. Moving to the next piece, which was dedicated to Maryland Deathfest, was “Boys’ Night Out.” Demanding all women in the room to move up front, “My Cock…Your Funeral” erupted as guitar picks were nonchalantly tosses towards them. Making sure everyone had a beer in their hands for the last tune, they closed with “Drinking Beers.”
After four diversified acts hit, it was time for the Long Island Hard Rockers J.Rad. Originally formed by brothers Jared Cannata (guitar) and Mo Sticky (drums), aggressive and pristine performances have always been at their core. After Vocalist Gino Rudolph had joined, their melodic sound and mixed material flourished, including the latest full-length album, 2014’s Sick Fantasy. No stranger to the platform, they shared the stage with acts such as Stryper, LA Guns, Filter, Twisted Sister, and Blue Oyster Cult. Recently adding Kareem Clarke on bass, this evening they were ready to bring a powerful set of Hard Rock to the fans. Performing with such intensity, Rudolph reminded all of a younger Chris Jericho of Fozzy and Mo Sticky’s ponderous speed had a glimpse of a youthful Lars Ulrich of Metallica. Energy did not stop there as Cannata fueled in with smashing guitar riffs and solos. Another plus was the impeccable sound quality for such an intimate stage as songs “Poison,” “Comatose,” “Hotbox,” “It’s My Fault,” “Hate to Love You,” “Falling Apart,” and “Breaking the Silence” powered throughout.
The time was running close to 1:00 AM, but fans did not care and gathered close to the stage as Tommy Paris (vocals/guitar), Billy Childs (bass), Johnny Dee (drums), and Chris Sanders (guitar) walked onto the platform. Paris uniquely lit a stick of incense as he proudly looked into the audience and went into “In Motion” from 1989’s Boys in Heat, followed by “Louder” and “She’s So Lonely” from 1991’s Bite Down Hard. Smiles were spread throughout the band and audience, as Paris admitted how happy they were to be there, and to be back. Paris asked if they were ready to hear “shit from the first record,” and the crowd cheered in agreement as they moved into “Fun in Texas.” Switching gears early in the night with AC/DC’s “Whole Lotta Rosie” drove in. Despite the official six-year absence, fans did not turn away as they continued to sing along with all of the tunes including “Hold On” and “Lonely Too Long.”
Paris casually conversed with the crowd as he admitted, “This is the fifth gig in about 5,000 years, getting back at it.” Promising the fans that they are working on new material, one fan shouted from the crowd, “Any song you do is great!” Paris chuckled and asked if everyone remembered the next piece, as “Livin’ on a Dream” from Boys in Heat chimed in. The crowd begged for “Rock Revolution,” where Paris himself was stunned to hear the overwhelming demands as they went into “Dream On” instead, followed by “Black and White,” and “Left Me Stray.” Continuing with taunts, Paris pointed to the audience, having everyone scream out “yeah” until he was fully satisfied and went into “Shot From My Gun.”
Sanders walked into the spotlight as Paris introduced him where he teased the audience with a Lizzy Borden bit of “Me Against the World,” which then transpired into a full blown guitar solo. He naturally noodled away, where many fans remained mesmerized. Paris jumped in shortly after the solo and made a few jokes about his age and the times, reminiscing the eighties as he asked if anyone were on “quaaludes” and “mary jane.” A fan shouted out “Molly,” where Paris thanked him for the education on the latest drug terminology and moved into “Midnight Moses” followed by “Six Guns Loaded.” Dee had his thunderous solo, as he riled up the crowd. Dee continued by thanking everyone for gathering on Friday the 13th as fans shouted, “Thanks for coming back together!”
As the set was winding down in the now late hours of the night, it was time for pivotal tracks consisting of “Rock Revolution,” “Long Way to Love,” and “Hair of the Dog.” Typically at a show, fans embrace the old material, where this night the crowd was begging to hear brand new unreleased tracks. The now taken aback Paris looked at his fans and stated with complete honesty, “We got it, but can’t do it yet.” As they continued to taunt the jubilant crowd by jamming casually into an assortment of flavors, it was time for the night to come to an official close. Wrapping up with the epic “Girlschool” had the entire venue dancing. Paris thanked everyone and mentioned how they rule, and the ecstatic crowd shouted back, “You rule!”
This evening was truly an intimate setting where many were able to embrace Britny Fox up close and personal. Many danced and sung along with the nostalgic tunes, as it was an honor within itself seeing them back together. Currently working on a new album, which would hopefully be the follow-up to 2003’s Springhead Motorshark, new rockin’ tracks will soon be heard!