Monday, July 15, 2002

Metal fest bands show hard-rockin' sameness

Concert review

By Chris Varias
Enquirer contributor

        What, you may ask, happens to all those jilted poodle-hair bands left off Poison's annual '80s-metal summer tour?

        They combine to form their own package show. A crowd of 2,200 saw Dokken, Ratt, Warrant, Firehouse and L.A. Guns on Annie's outdoor stage Friday night. The Metal Edge Rock Fest 2002 showcased 5 1/2 hours of hair-metal anthems and power ballads, making for a spirited celebration in the wake of the day's earlier news that the Riverbend stop of the summer's premiere package tour, Ozzfest, had been cancelled.

        So we will have no Ozzy, but we had Don Dokken.

        The order of the show's lineup seemed random. After all, each band's set basically went the same way: a couple familiar rockers everybody liked, a new song nobody seemed to like too much, a ballad the girls liked, and a couple more familiar rockers.

        Mr. Dokken's namesake band grabbed the headlining spot, maybe because “Wild” Mick Brown was the only drummer who brought his own gong, which would be as good a reason as any. The only thing memorable about their performance was Mr. Dokken saying “Keep on rockin' with Dokken” not once but twice.

        Perhaps Ratt would have been at the top of the bill had more that 50 percent of the band been original members. Guitarist Warren DiMartini and drummer Bobby Blotzer were the only ones left. Jizzy Pearl replaced original vocalist Stephen Pearcy, who has been battling Mr. DiMartini and Mr. Blotzer in court over the name Ratt. Original guitarist Robbin Crosby died June 6 of AIDS stemming from drug addiction.

        So this band calling itself Ratt was a good Ratt cover band, but Mr. Pearcy singing “Way Cool Jr.,” “Lay It Down,” “Wanted Man,” “Round and Round,” and all the rest would have been much better.

        Dokken and Ratt each did hour-long sets. Warrant struggled to fill its 45 minutes, and Firehouse and L.A. Guns didn't fare much better at a half-hour apiece.

        Warrant does, however, deserve special recognition for “Heaven,” undoubtedly the girls' favorite ballad of the night.


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