M.O.R.C. Day 3. – Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Femme Fatale, Extreme, Richie Kotzen, Bulletboys, Rose Tattoo, Y&T, Saxon

February 25th, 2019

I remember this being a crazy, busy day.  I wanted to make sure I covered as much as possible while also getting to step off the boat and check out what I could of Ocho Rios, Jamaica.  Mission accomplished. 

I don’t feel I really had the full Jamaica experience.  I didn’t buy any of the excursions (I think I’ll remedy that on the next cruise). Instead I walked around the local, very touristy, market place and bought some gifts.

I think this was a Jamaican bracelet holder. (Did not purchase)

I walked over to Margaritaville afterwards, just so I could get my feet on the beach and my toes in the water and have some form of visual evidence that I left the boat. Also ran into the German Legend, Udo!

An American who grew up in Northern Ireland takes a picture with a German in Jamaica. The Legendary Udo Dirkschneider!

But you don’t care and I digress…

Onto the Bands!

Nikki Blakk brings out Femme Fatale

FEMME FATALE – Pool Stage

Lorraine Lewis – Vocals, Courtney Cox – Guitar, Nikki Stringfield – Guitar, Katt Scarlett – Keyboards, Janis Tanaka – Bass, Athena Bass – Drums

The possible (never say never) last two shows for Femme Fatale took place on the Monsters of Rock Cruise.  I made sure to get to both shows because Femme Fatale and Lorraine Lewis have a special place in my heart and in my rotation. Ever since I heard the first chords of “Waiting For The Big One” and then Lorraine’s voice, I was hooked.  There’s not a bad song on that first album and I play something from it often depending on my mood.  The Pool Stage show (as most were) took place in a windstorm and it didn’t do any favors to the mics or sound, but looking past that, it was a great set for their penultimate show.

The ladies kicked ass.  Courtney, Nikki and Janis are amazing and animated and there quite possibly couldn’t have been any more hair flipping or head banging going on during their shredding, which is in direct contrast to Katt, who is still amazing yet very subtle and subdued in her excellence. I know the comparison is obvious, but the tall, tatted, Athena, just reminds me of her famous brother from that other band.  She’s THAT amazing.

Towards the end of the set, due to some technical issues, Lorraine ended up vamping a bit and telling some stories about the evolution of her band (when she called to recruit Courtney and Nita Strauss at the same time not knowing they were roommates and them both being excited and telling EACHOTHER about the band they just joined) and their Pool Stage time ran out before they got to play “Waiting….”. Alas, all was rectified during their second and final show.

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Eddie Trunk welcomes Extreme!

EXTREME – Pool Stage

Gary Cherone – Vocals, Nuno Bettencourt – Guitar, Pat Badger – Bass, Kevin Figueiredo – Drums

Phew!  When we arrived on the boat some of us knew that Extreme singer, Gary Cherone, was ill and that their show on day one was canceled. It was a big relief to find out that their shows were rescheduled and their Pool Stage show would now be scheduled for Day 3.  If you didn’t know Gary was sick (or hadn’t seen that the setlist was tinkered with a bit) you would never have known.  The band hit the stage firing on all cylinders.  Gary sounded great, even through the wind tunnel on the pool stage.  He was his usual ball of energy and probably had as many steps during that one show as I did for the whole cruise.  He was all over the stage, bending, twisting, jumping… I was exhausted watching him.  

Nuno just shreds.  That’s what he does.  He has the touch do anything he wants with his N4’s, but when he’s letting it rip and his fingers are flying around those frets is when I just stand watching, mesmerized.  When he lets’ go on “Flight Of the Wounded Bumblebee” it’s one of those moments of musicianship at its finest.  

Kevin and Pat are another rhythm section (See upcoming Kotzen recap) that makes these Extreme classics, with their up-tempo rhythm changes seem effortless.  The background vocals of Pat and Nuno are also so integral and were spot on cementing that Extreme sound.

Extreme Rockin’ The Pool Stage

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RICHIE KOTZEN – Studio B

Richie Kotzen – Guitar/Vocals,  Dylan Wilson – Bass, Mike Bennett – Drums

I’m still amazed (and somewhat bothered) that some people still don’t know who Richie Kotzen is. I know I’ve done my part in spreading the word of Kotzen where I can.  People can shoo me off their porches and close doors in my face…but I’m not gonna stop..  I WON’T!  

Some will know him as the dude who offered some musical legitimacy to Poison, or nowadays, the guy that’s a third of the Winery Dogs, but Richie is so much more and one of the most talented musicians I’ve laid ears and eyes on.  No Kotzen set is ever the same. Even if the setlist remained the same, you wouldn’t see the same show twice.  His guitar skills are ridiculous with a voice that rivals Cornell in feeling, range and emotion. Every show I see he proves time and time again that superstardom doesn’t know what the fuck a rock star is. It’s Richie.

His two compatriots, Dylan Wilson (bass) and Mike Bennett (drums) are equally as talented in their own right.  These dudes follow every twist and turn that Richie throws at them. Very few I know (minus anyone called Sheehan or Portnoy) would be able to ride the nightly ride that Kotzen takes them on. His sets on the boat were among the best I watched.  

I only shot this show and just enjoyed the other because some things just need to be savored.  Richie, Dylan and Mike were joined on stage by Guitarist/Singer, Howie Simon, who you may know from such bands as almost every rock band you’ve seen who needed someone to fill in or as a guest. He’s played with the likes of Tesla, Eric Martin, Nelson, Stryper, Jeff Scott Soto to name just a few.  Howie proved why he’s so coveted.  He shredded right along with Kotzen and has a great voice in his own right.

You’ve been told, you’ve been warned.  Don’t skip a Kotzen show.  Go dig out his extensive back catalog and then just send me a note thanking me somewhere down the line.  You’re welcome.

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BULLETBOYS – Pool Stage

Mark Torien – Vocals/Guitar, Nick Rozz – Guitar, Chad MacDonald – Bass, Anthony “Tiny” Biuso – Drums

The Bulletboys are comfort food to me.  You know what you’re going to get… A really great Rock show! I always feel like Marq Torien, when not on stage, is somewhere plugged into a recharging station.  He leaves everything he has on the stage every time.  He dances and gyrates all around the place with his guitar, all the while encouraging the crowd to join his intensity and groove.

They ripped through a tight set that included their classics “Hard As A Rock“, their version of the O’Jay’s “For The Love Of Money“, of course, “Smooth Up In Ya” as well as, according to Marq, an approved by Steve Perry version of Journey’s “Stay A While“.

If I can make one request… over the past few years they’ve gone through a Spinal Tap size number of drummers… “Tiny” is the guy!  He’s just one of those drummers who keeps a really tight pocket and can let loose with the best of them.

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Don & Jim Bringing out Rose Tattoo
Jim verbally jerking off to one of his favorite bands…

Rose Tattoo – Studio B

“Angry” Anderson – Vocals, Dai Pritchard – Guitar, Bob Spencer – Guitar, Mark Evans – Bass, Jackie James Barnes – Drums

Unless you are Jim Florentine (who sends praises weekly on his Sirius XM Metal Midgets show) or one of the Aussies on the ship, you probably were in the majority of people who hadn’t seen Rose Tattoo Live.  More famous in these parts due to G’N’R’s cover of their song “Nice Boys” on the “Lies…” album, Rose Tattoo were one of the Ah HA moments on the boat.  Led by “Angry” Anderson, this band blew the roof off of Studio B and I have no doubt that the word of mouth from this show led to the larger crowd that they attracted the following day when they played the Pool Stage (While docked in Labadee).

Blues laden rock & roll grooves filled the room.  Definitely reminiscent of old school, Bon Scott era AC/DC (Or were AC/DC reminiscent of Rose Tattoo?!)  Which isn’t a stretch considering bassist, Mark Evans was a member of AC/DC and appeared on their first 5 albums (Info. passed on from Dean Boswell, currently still in Jamaica with his friend who sustained a broken leg while on the Cruise.) Two bands who were hitting the clubs at the same time with the same type of sound, they were equally as popular in Australia until AC/DC went on to rule the world…

Angry Anderson is a small man with a huge presence.  Coming out in white, cut off overalls, with colorful Tattooed sleeves, facial expressions for days and a blazing aussie sense of humor (He didn’t fucking curse once!), Angry transported everyone back to those smoky little clubs, where raw rock n roll ruled the world. He’s assembled a great band around him, especially, Dai Pritchard, brandishing some slick slide guitar skills. Here’s hoping that Rose Tattoo hit the tour circuit in the States.  

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Y&T – Pool Stage

Dave Meniketti – Vocals/Guitar, John Nymann – Guitar, Aaron Leigh – Bass, Mike Vanderhule – Drums

Much like the Bulletboys, Y&T are a band I’ll see at least once a year.  As a kid I didn’t have the LA opportunities to see bands as often as I do these days, and I don’t take that for granted. So every chance I can, I’ll go watch Dave Meniketti put much younger vocalists and bands to shame.  

The Pool Stage didn’t have a chance against Dave’s voice. Their plan was to hit at least one song from every album, and except for the constraints of time, they almost did it. Appropriately, “Hurricane” was the Y&T opener and it’s what they brought. A tsunami of their greatest hits, which just kept coming and coming…”Lipstick and Leather“, “Don’t Stop Runnin‘”, “Black Tiger“, “Mean Streak“, “Rescue Me“… I’m jamming them right now writing this because it’s the right thing to do when you get the chance! Go on..  put them on..  I dare you not get swept away…

Tesla Guitarist, Frank Hannon came out to join the band on “Earthshaker

Anyway, Dave, John, Mike and Aaron are consistently excellent.  Another band that mixes up their setlist whenever you see them and a great reason why every Y&T show is a new experience.  They’re celebrating 45 years of Y&T music, and here’s to “Forever“…

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SAXON – Royal Theater

Biff Byford – Vocals, Paul Quinn – Guitar, Doug Scarratt – GuitarNibbs Carter – Bass, Nigel Glockler – Drums

Saxon played two awesome and very different sets on the boat. Together you’d have had an almost 3 hour set covering everything you’d want to hear from the band.  Biff, Paul and Saxon have been around for a Long time and they’re one of the few bands from that era who are still releasing some really great material on a regular basis.  

It was the mid 90’s that Saxon turned from a Hard Rock band into a METAL Band and their last 10+ albums have kept the band at the forefront of the Genre. Biff still sounds incredible and doesn’t let his almost 70 years stop him from good old headbanging.

While the rest of the band are relatively mellow in their execution, Nibbs Carter, the “youngster” of the band, is a “Thunderbolt” or maybe even a “Battering Ram“!!  Puns aside, the dude thrashed his head around more than anyone on that boat.  I’m pretty sure he was powering the ship at one point.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it…well more than once… Go see the Legends… Saxon, around since the late 70’s, members of the NWOBHM, still relevant…still vital.

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(Click Dates/Links to be directed to that day’s coverage) 

2/23/19: M.O.R.C. Pre-Party 2 – Magic City Casino, Miami, FL

Diemonds – Black ‘N Blue – Kingdom Come

2/24/19: Day 1: Embarkation, Sail Away

DL&T – KIX – Kings X – Vixen – Faster Pussycat

2/25/19: Day 2 – At Sea

Soto – Pink Cream 69 – Brighton Rock – Skid Row – LD&T – Tom Keifer

2/27/19: Day 4 Coming Soon

2/28/19: Day 5 Coming Soon

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