May 11, 2015 Red Dragon Cartel make epic return to Long Island, NY 4-21-15
Shredding master Jake E. Lee is best known for his five year stint with Ozzy Osbourne in the mid ’80s when he played an intricate part on 1983’s Bark At The Moon and 1986’s The Ultimate Sin. After leaving Osbourne, Lee formed the bluesy Hard Rock band Badlands before he went on to be a part of numerous projects, including a solo, instrumental record in 1996 called A Fine Pink Mist, and various tribute records, most notably a tribute to the late Randy Rhoads. An accomplished musician, Lee made an epic return in 2013 forming a new band now known as Jake E. Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel. Releasing their debut self-titled record in 2014, the band has been spending a great deal of time touring around in support of the material, but most of all, having fun. Halfway through the second leg of their U.S./Canadian tour, Tuesday April 21st saw Lee make a stop in Amityville, New York, at Revolution Music Hall, along with Ethan Brosh Band and some local Metal monsters. Marking Lee’s return to Revolution Bar & Music Hall since April of 2014, fans returned with equal excitement for a night with Lee and company.
Opening the show were local rockers, The Royal Guard, who were celebrating the release of their twelve track album, Hail To The King, the night of the show. Guitarist Andy Ascolese, lead vocalist/guitarist Todd Davidson, and drummer Fred Scragg put on a great show, performing tracks from their sophomore release including “Why Can’t We Be Together” and “Going Down,” both which received strong reactions from the crowd. Ascolese and Davidson combined for great harmonies on “I Wanna Know,” and the band produced some catchy, driven Rock-n-Roll. This is a new band to keep an eye on.
Captain To Co-pilot was up next. Hailing from the village of Lindenhurst, these guys have been rocking Long Island since 2003. Guitarist Dan Cahill, bassist Jeff Frohman, joined brothers Chad Willems, on guitar/lead vocals, and Justin Willems, on drums, to put on a solid set of Pop Rock songs with great vocals and guitar harmonies. At times they had a Black Crows vibe, while other times they felt more like early Pearl Jam. The band delivered stand out tracks, “Fools Luxury,” “Wake Up Kid,” and “We Are Nothing More The Ghosts.” They are definitely a band worth seeing live.
Keeping the local flavor going, Hard Rock band J-Rad directly followed in support of their latest record, Sick Fantasy. Lead vocalist Gino Rudolph had strong, vocals with great range, while guitarist/vocalist Jared Cannata bared a strong resemblance to Extreme’s Nuno Bettencourt; in looks and talent. Accompanying them, drummer Mo Sticky and bassist Kareem Clarke delivered an energetic stage show,and superior musicianship as the band played songs such as “Comatose” and “Breaking The Silence.” This band displayed complex writing and a tight, rock-solid stage show along with music that is heavy as well as infectious.
The final of the local showcase was true veterans of Metal, Magus Beast. Led by vocalist Ron Scauri and lead guitarist John Rup, who have been there since the beginning, they are joined by Andy Zuppardi on lead guitar, Andy Prezioso on bass, and Mike Festa on drums. Scauri showed off his range and power with melodic Metal vocals rarely heard in today’s scene, matched by Rup and Zuppardi as they provided plenty of low end chunk and blazing leads in tracks “Death Before Dishonor,” along with “Magus Beast.” Festa was a force behind the drums, contributing thunderous double bass throughout the entire set, while Prezioso held down the deepest lows, and supplying the depth of Magus Beast. “Nightfall” and “Born To Kill” rounded out a great set of straight Heavy Metal from this well-respected band. Check them out when they open for Flotsam and Jetsam July 12th at Blackthorn 51 in Elmhurst, NY.
As direct support for Lee, Ethan Brosh Band were ready to roll. Featuring guitarist extraordinaire Ethan Brosh, Brosh grew up in Israel before moving up to Boston, MA in 2001. Signed to Magna Cartel Records, he released his debut album Out of Oblivion in 2009 and returned with Live The Dream in 2014 via Rocker Records. Accompanied by Nate Montalvo on guitar, Giorgio Mongelli on bass, and Dan Whitelock on drums, The Ethan Brosh Band took the stage with a great presence and old school attitude as it was all about putting on a good show. Performing a set of technical, Progressive Metal originals, along with some classic Metal song from Iron Maiden, Dokken, and Lynch Mob, Brosh and company had the crowd screaming for more. Creating an atmosphere of heavy grooves, great vocals, and amazing musicianship, Ethan Brosh Band are one any Metal fan would be remiss to pass up on.
After a slew of Rock bands had already performed, the crowd waited anxiously as chants of “Jake E. Lee” began to rise from the floor of Revolution. Waiting for Red Dragon Cartel to take stage, those who have seen Lee and his band perform, knew what was in store. That is why, even on a Tuesday night, the venue was packed to the back bar and beyond.
They kicked the show off in a big way with “The Ultimate Sin,” from the record of the same name, as a roar of cheers came pouring down. Keeping the energy flowing, immediately, The Cartel went into their own “Wasted” and the Badlands song “High Wire.” With so much material to cover, Lee took a battled attack to it all as he rattled out solo material “War Machine’ and “Shout It Out.” Having everyone enthralled with such pinpoint guitar playing, Lee and his band rocked into more new songs such as “Feeder” and “Deceived.” The new material, sounding as vital and well-composed as any of Lee’s previous work, was not only well-received by the audience, but also known, as most have listened to the record countless times now.
Not letting his dedicated followers down, Lee did tap into his glorious past some more with other Badlands songs “Rock ‘N’ Roll Rebel,” and “Sun Red Sun,” as he delivered blistering lead guitar work and overall putting on a clinic. Bassist Anthony Esposito, drummer Jonas Fairley, and vocalist Michael Thomas Beck complete the lineup and frame Lee nicely, providing the power and range needed to complement such an accomplished guitarist. The tight-sounding Red Dragon Cartel wound down their set with an explosive finale of “Rumblin’ Train” and “Dreams in the Dark” before the epic “Bark at the Moon” as fans feasted their eyes on Lee’s amazing finger work.
Jake E. Lee is a guitarist with, undeniably, some of the most underrated guitar talent over the past three decades. He has withstood the test of time and the brutal music industry to find tranquility as a musician and a solid platform with his latest project Red Dragon Cartel. With that said, a guitar legend has returned, better than ever, and that is why this band is a must see while they are out on the road.