August 7, 2014 Quiet Riot rocks The Paramount Huntington, NY 7-23-14 w/ Gilby Clarke, Bulletboys, & Faster Pussycat
The 1980’s saw a changing of the guard in rock-n-roll with heavy metal music coming of age and forming into a dominate force in the mainstream. At the forefront of this historic movement was Southern California’s Quiet Riot, the first metal band ever to have an album debut at number one on billboard charts back in 1983 with Metal Health. Originally consisting of vocalist Kevin DuBrow, drummer Drew Forsyth, bassist Kelly Garni, and the late guitar legend Randy Rhoads, many changes have transpired over the past three decades in the band. With the untimely passing of DuBrow in 2007 at the age of 52 years old it appeared that the storied career of Quiet Riot had concluded. In mourning the fallen singer, three years passed until 2010 when longest standing band members Frankie Banali (drums) and Chuck Wright (bass) reformed Quiet Riot with a new lineup including guitarist Alexi Grossi. After sustaining three vocalist changes in a three year period, 2013 saw Love/Hate frontman Jizzy Pearl take over singing duties. Strong with a veteran lineup and releasing their first new album in eight years titled Quiet Riot 10, 2014 is a shaping up to be a big year for the band, including the launch of the Bang Your Head tour. The tour features support from Faster Pussycat, Bulletboys, and former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke. Rattling the brains of the early MTV generation, Metalheads came out in full force to The Paramount in Huntington, NY on Wednesday July 23rd to rock out with this stellar line-up.
Warming up the amplifiers first was celebrated former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke. As part of the band’s most successful period between 1991 and 1994 Clarke has gone onto a strong solo career as well as collaborations with other projects. As the crowd built and moved toward the stage, Clarke kicked things off with “Wasn’t Yesterday” and “Under the Gun”. Jamming with ease on his guitar and singing strongly, Clark asked the audience if they liked the Rolling Stones which received a warm response as he went into classic “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)”. Keeping the energy flowing he went into “Motorcycle Cowboy” from his time with Kills and Thrills which had everyone swaying to the soulful rock sound. Looking relaxed, Clarke strummed his guitar and went into the classic Bob Dylan tune covered by Guns N’ Roses titled “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”. This was greeted by cheers of excitement as he wailed a soulful guitar solo. Blasting into Slash’s Snakepit track “Money Chow” the set concluded with the catchy “Tijuana Jail”. If the set seemed too short for Clarke lovers, they had the chance to see him later on that night for a secret show held at Blackthorn 51 for a full set of rocking and rolling.
Up next to greet fans was Los Angeles, California’s Bulletboys. Formed back in 1987, the band celebrated success early on with their 1989 self-titled debut and 1991’s Freakshow which spawned a series of memorable singles receiving heavy airplay. Reforming a handful of times over the years, founding vocalist/ guitarist Marq Torien has kept the band going strong and the current line-up includes bassist Chad Macdonald, guitarist Nick Rozz, and new drummer Shawn Duncan. Approaching the stage with the energy and presence they have always possessed, Torien was a firecracker as they kicked things off with “Hard As A Rock”. Rough, raw, and straight up fun, Bulletboys had everyone moving as they went into the lustful grove of Vecent’s bass on “Hell on My Heels”. Torjen’s voice was bulky and forceful as he dominated the room with confidence. Keeping the audience’s hearts pumping, they went into the heavier new track “Wasted” before concluding the set with their cover of The O’Jays track “For the Love of Money” and signature hit “Smooth Up in Ya”. Time can not keep a great rock-n-roll band down and Bulletboys continues to prove that. Their tenth studio album Elefanté is scheduled for release by the end of 2014.
After two excellent performances it was time for another signature band from the 80’s Sunset Strip scene with Faster Pussycat. Always a fan favorite, the band formed in 1986 and achieved chart-topping albums with their first three releases. After an eight year break, vocalist/ guitarist Taime Downe reformed the band with a new lineup of guitarist Xristian Simon, bassist Danny Nordahl, drummer Chad Stewart, and since 2010, drummer Ace Von Johnson. Regularly touring clubs nationwide, Long Island has been a hotbed for the band as they are consistently treated to sold-out crowds at local clubs each time they come into town. Bringing that fanfare with them to The Paramount, the room was packed and amped up.
With Downe walking onto the stage dressed in his typical black attire and his face mysteriously concealed behind a military style hat and blacked out sunglasses, the room erupted with cheers that were deafening. Followed by the rest of the band the party kicked off with bang playing songs like “Cahouse” and “Slip of the Tongue”. Projecting some of the rowdy sounds of the night the floor was shaking from the audience bouncing and the stage was on fire from the electric performance of Faster Pussycat. Downe as cool as ever showed the attitude and poise of a true rocker as they played other great songs such as “Number 1 With a Bullet”. While the band clearly could tear the roof off The Paramount they also had the ability to slow things down with the beautiful and thought-provoking ballad “House of Pain”. Evoking emotion in room everyone swayed to the track and sang each word aloud with Downe and company. The sentimental moment was followed by the humorous and unforgettable hit “Bathroom Wall”. Faster Pussycat are a show with non-stop action that any rock fan should see at least once.
Enjoying themselves to the fullest the main attraction was ready to be unleashed. Tempting the already roused audience, Quiet Riot teased with an intro of “Bang Your Head” blaring from the speakers before they emerged from the darkness and erupted into “Run For Cover”. Pearl worked the crowd with much enthusiasm and sang like a man on a mission. That adrenaline rush rode into tracks like “Slick Black Cadillac” and their classic cover of Slade’s “Mama Weer All Crazee Now”. Reliving more fond memories of the historic Metal Health record “Love’s A Bitch” kept the audience’s blood flowing. Grossi’ screaming guitar solos were note perfect and ear-tingling as the rhythm section of Wright and Banali held each song together like glue. One thing is for certain, the 2014 configuration of Quiet Riot is tight and a fitting tribute to the bands legacy.
Recognizing the support of the fans, Banali emerged from behind his kit and thanked the audience for coming out and keeping the memory and music of founding members Randy Rhodes and Kevin DeBrow alive. Speaking openly about how hard the loss of the two was to him in his life as well as fellow music lovers, Banali asked for a moment of silence before playing the touching “Thunderbird”. Lost in the moment everyone attentively watched immersed in thoughts of the late great musicians.
Picking the mood right back up was “Party All Night” followed by “Breathless”, “The Wild and the Young”, and “Let’s Get Crazy”. After a balanced retrospective set highlighting all the shining moments in Quiet Riot’s career it seem almost fitting that the closing would be the band’s two biggest songs. Kicking off the finale with “Cum on Feel the Noize” Pearl did a spectacular job delivering the words and had everyone screaming along as a unified group. Leading the frenzy into “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)” more chants came down and headbanging was at its peak level before the final farewell for the night.
Quiet Riot proved their reincarnation is not merely for nostalgic purposes. They still have edge and motivation and rock an audience with the best of them. The Bang Your Head Tour runs until the end of the summer so do not miss out on this whiplash inducing lineup.