KIX at the Whisky A Go-Go in Hollywood, CA 12/7/2018
In 1981, I was working at a local record store when I cracked open an album from a new band I had never heard of before simply based upon the album cover. That band was the Maryland based band called Kix.
I immediately liked the bands’ songs Iike “Atomic Bombs,” “The Itch” and “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.” I waited anxiously to see if the band would eventually tour and make their way out to the West Coast. Unfortunately that never happened and in 1983, Kix released their sophomore effort “Cool Kids.” MTV put the video for “Body Talk” in light rotation. The song was a cover of a Nick Gilder song. Still the band had not managed to tour the West Coast.
In 1985, Kix released their third album “Midnight Dynamite” for Atlantic Records and I finally got to see the band. I was actually playing in a band at the time and I was fortunate to not only open for the band, but I finally got to see them perform live. It would be well over thirty years before I would see Kix perform again.
The Whisky in Hollywood was sold out as Kix opened the show with “Wheels in Motion” from their 2014 release “Rock Your Face Off.” They followed that up with “Midnight Dynamite“, the title track from their third album. Next was “The Itch” from their debut album. I’ve always loved the first two Kix albums, so I was really glad to see the band perform the song.
Lead vocalist Steve Whiteman informed the crowd that the band was celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of their fourth album “Blow My Fuse,” and that the band would perform the album in its entirety. Being that this was the band’s most successful album, the audience was overjoyed.
Starting off with “Red Lite, Green Lite, TNT” it was obvious that Kix were excited to perform the album. The energy on stage was infectious and definitely exuded throughout the Whisky. By the time the band performed their biggest single “Don’t Close Your Eyes“, Kix had the crowd in the palm of their hands. Whiteman told a great anecdote about how the album was starting to lose momentum in sales until they were on tour back in the 80’s with Great White and Tesla. Apparently Great White’s manager convinced Kix to release the song as their next single and suddenly the album regained momentum and the band had a big hit on their hands.
By the time the band got to the songs on the second side of the “Blow My Fuse” I was hooked. See what I did there as a child of the 70’s, I still think of albums as vinyl with two sides? Then launching into my personal favorite song “Cold Blood“, which in my opinion was also a great video. Who could forget the stunning dark haired woman in that video?!
Kix are one of those bands from the 80’s whose music doesn’t sound outdated like so many of their contemporaries. Their songs are catchy, the band is really tight and they rock! Unlike many 80’s rock acts, Kix still has the majority of their original members. I want to give extra praise to Kix for travelling with their own sound man. They were one of the best sounding bands I’ve seen at the Whisky over the past couple of years. The twin guitar attack of Ronnie Younkins and Brian Forsythe make one fantastic duo. Both men are really complimentary to each other on stage. The rhythm section of bassist Mark Schenker and drummer Jimmy Chalfant are solid and they provide some great backing vocals. Lead vocalist Steve Whiteman has still got a solid set of pipes and he can still hit the high notes. He’s an entertaining frontman with numerous onstage anecdotes about the career of the band.
The band closed the show with some great songs like “Piece of the Pie” and the title track of the album. Whiteman announced that they would close the show with an encore of three songs. “Same Jane” and “Girl Money” from their fifth album “Hot Wire” and “Love Me with Your Top Down” from their aforementioned 2014 release. If you get a chance to see Kix don’t hesitate, you won’t be disappointed. They’re one solid Rock N’ Roll band.