Teaming up for a brief tour in the spring of 2014 before a long summer of rocking was Skid Row and Black Star Riders. Beginning on May 8th in Tucson, AZ, the week-long swing concluded in warm San Juan Capistrano, CA at The Coach House Friday May 16th. A change from the norm, The Coach House is not your typical club for these rockers being that it has tables and chairs for dinner while you watch the performance. The classy venue was packed with fans ready for a Friday night of food and rock-n-roll music.
Setting the table in grand fashion was super group Black Star Riders. Formed back in 2012, the band consists of Ricky Warwick (Thin Lizzy, The Almighty) on vocals, Scott Gorham (Thin Lizzy, 21 Guns) on guitar, Damon Johnson (Thin Lizzy, Alice Cooper, Brother Cane) on guitar, Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy, Ted Nugent, Whitesnake, Blue Murder) on bass, and Jimmy DeGrasso (Alice Cooper, Megadeth, Y&T) on drums. Chosen to stand alone from Thin Lizzy, the band released their debut album All Hell Breaks Loose back in May 2013 to much critical acclaim. Now to the excitement of fans they are hitting the stage to support the new material.
As the band took the stage the crowd stood up at their tables grooving and dancing to the music as the band opened with “All Hell Breaks Loose”. Exciting the room, the band played other new songs such as “Bloodshot”, “Hoodoo Voodoo”and “Kingdom of the Lost”, among others. Gorham and Johnson matching each other’s energy on guitar really engaged the audience; seeming refreshed to have new material to perform. Fans appreciated the new music as much as the classic Thin Lizzy tracks showered throughout the set including “Bad Reputation”, “Jailbreak”, and “Whiskey in the Jar”. Warwick, a part of Thin Lizzy now since 2010, fits in perfectly with the rest of the band and voice shines bright with Black Star Riders. As the fifteen song set of classic Thin Lizzy and new Black Star Rider tunes concluded with “Cowboy Song” and “The Boys Are Back In Town”, it was clear these veteran rockers satisfied the room. While it is great to hear songs rock fans have known and loved for years, it is also extremely exciting to hear the new offerings from Black Star Riders as they continue to tour.
After a good meal and kick-ass set by Black Star Riders it was time for Skid Row to break out. Formed back in 1986 in Toms River, NJ, Skid Row quickly rose to fame with their monster self-titled debut in 1989 followed by comparable success of the 1991 Slave to the Grind. After parting ways with Sebastian Bach back in 1996, the band went on a three year hiatus until resurfacing with Johnny Solinger. Actively touring and rocking hard with the line-up of Solinger (vocals), Dave “The Snake” Sabo (guitars), Rachel Bolan (bass), Scotti Hill (guitars), and Rob Hammersmith (drums), Skid Row has shown no signs of slowing down over the past fifteen years.
Storming out with the hard hitting 2013 tune “Let’s Go”, Skid Row set a jolt of energy into The Coach House. Solinger, a showman through and through, had enough enthusiasm and power behind his voice to keep the energy going through classic Skid Row songs like “Big Guns”, “Pieces of Me” and “18 and Life”. Mixing in newer generation Skid Row pieces like “Thick is The Skin” and “Kings of Demolition” really provided the balance needed to keep the evening fresh and balanced for veteran and younger fans.
Paying tribute to rock legends, Bolan took over on vocals for the band’s cover of Ramones tune “Psycho Therapy” and Cheep Trick’s “Surrender”. With the crowd on their feet for the majority of the set, smiles were found on all the faces as Solinger continued to entertain and even roaming off the stage at one point to sing directly to fans providing for a special experience. Thanking the audience for spending their Friday night with the band, Solinger also thanked the Armed Forces just before going into “I Remember You”. Fitting and classy, the fifteen song set came to close with the rock riot song “Youth Gone Wild”.
All these years later Skid Row remain as passionate for their music as the day they began. Their new music is strong and well put together warranting a purchase of their 2013 EP United World Rebellion: Chapter One. With a die-hard fan base and their dedication to touring Skid Row will remain busy all summer long, so be sure to check them out.