Sirius XM’s Hair Nation Fest!
Jack Russell’s Great White / BulletBoys / Enuff Z’Nuff
Hosted by Sirius XM’s Eddie Trunk
The Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA – 9/14/18.
I wanted to like this show a lot more than I did and it had nothing to do with the bands at all. Enuff Z’Nuff, The Bulletboys, and Jack Russell’s Great White put on their usual brands of high energy rock n’ roll. Each act playing their most well known songs for the fans and keeping the new songs to a minimum. (Not always my preference when you’ve got some great new albums out there, but I digress…)
The issue tonight was the venue. The sound was horrible. The Lighting was Minimal. (The budget must have called for a single bulb to be used to light the stage). The crowd was pretty sparse for a Friday night in Los Angeles, which made it more like a hang than a concert. I get the LA Traffic, and the LA “showing up late” thing, but you’d have thought that at the very least all the local friends that these guys must have accumulated over the year would have filled the venue alone.
The people that did show up were treated to the second official date of SiriusXM’s Hair Nation Tour hosted on select dates, by Eddie Trunk. Eddie came out to say a few words and introduce each band.
Kicking off the evening were Enuff Z’Nuff. Founder and bassist, Chip Z’Nuff, is now THE lead vocalist in the band and he has mightily risen to that challenge. The frontman was adorned in customary bell bottoms, captains hat and his big, bright pink sunglasses. Everything about Chip is colorful. His wardrobe, instrument, and certainly his personality. He engages the audience as his band grooves through the EZ’N catalog.
And what a great band it is… Enuff Z’Nuff, like a lot of bands from “the day” look a lot different than they used to. There’s 10 year vet, Tory Stoffregen on Lead Guitar, Ex-Ultravox singer/guitarist, Tony Fennell on rhythm guitar with Dan Hill on drums and grins. A talented bunch of dudes who seem to be enjoying the ride.
Flanked at times by two dancers, one by the name of “Coco“, The band kicked off with “Baby Loves Me” and ran through a bunch of their best including, “Kiss The Clown“, the song “everyone loved to fuck to”, “In The Groove“, their MTV darling, “Fly High Michelle” (with a background vocal appearance from Faster Pussycat drummer, Chad Stewart) and finished up their short set with “New Thing“. Thrown in was “Metalheart“, a great cut from their newest release, “Diamond Boy“.
Interview with the Great Chip Z’Nuff!
Next up were the BulletBoys! Marq Torien harnesses enough energy for a freight train. As soon as he hits the stage it’s all systems go. Jumping and running around with his guitar strapped on, Marq definitely exudes a passion for his craft. If you hadn’t seen the Bulletboys live, you’d soon learn that Marq is quite the guitarist in his own right. I’ve seen him enough times now to be able to tell you this dude can Wail!
Another band that aren’t resting on their laurels, The Bulletboys just released their lucky 13th album “From Out Of The Skies“. Tonight we got to hear the first single, “D-Evil” from that release mixed in with the other set staples such as “Hard As a Rock“, “THC Groove“, their covers of The Ojay’s, “For The Love Of Money” and Elton John’s, “The Bitch Is Back“, and of course “Smooth Up In Ya“. Another example of Marq’s passion shone through during the song “Symphony” when he shouted out, “I love you so fucking hard!” dedicating the song to his (breast cancer survivor) sister and his wife. Right On!
Tonight, alongside Marq The Bulletboys *currently consisted of guitarist, Nick Rozz, stand in bassist, Johnny Santoro (for Chad McDonald who according to Marq is “Down and Out”) and drummer Phil Varone.
*As I’m posting this, I’m reading that their new drummer, Phil Varone, has confirmed that after two dates on the Hair Nation Tour he has left the band. Unofficial word is that Spinal Tap have sued for copyright infringement.
As I seemed to be the only photographer covering tonight’s show, please enjoy the last known pictures of Phil with the BulletBoys…
Rock N Roll….
Closing out the night were Jack Russell’s Great White. I’ve written it before and I’m still amazed by it, but Jack Russell is a freak of nature. Struggling through health issues that many might not have recovered from, Jack is fronting a bunch of relative young guns and each night he is setting the bar high for them to reach.
I picture Jack backstage with a large wind up toy key in his back prior to show time, because when he hits the stage, he’s a whirlwind. This dude is still twirling around his mic stand, chasing guitarist Robby Lochner around the Stage, and not standing in place for very long. His voice is THE voice of Great White and vocally, he’s still bringing it.
The whole band is top notch and each do their part in bringing the amazing legacy of Great White songs past and present authentically to the masses. There’s former (not Jack Russell’s) Great White guitarist, Tony Cardenas who also jumped on a few lead vocals this evening; the rhythm section of bassist Dan McNay and drummer Dicki Fliszar, whose contributions can not be understated in this groove heavy catalog; and finally lead guitarist Robby Lochner, who shares the same battery pack that Jack does. Robby does his part in making sure every piece of the stage has been touched at LEAST once per show. He also popped a squat on one of the monitors to tap out a great classic-music themed solo.
The setlist of course is filled with all those Great White hits from the 80’s including “Lady Red Light“, “All Over Now“, “The Big Goodbye“, the groove laden, “Mista Bone” and of course the classics, “Save Your Love“, “Face The Day“, “Rock Me” and closer, “Once Bitten Twice Shy“.
As I stated at the top, it was kind of a weird vibe in The Wiltern. Almost like being at a party with live music playing in the background at times while you caught up with old friends. I will say I’ve been to many parties that didn’t have a soundtrack quite as awesome as this one.
This Hair Nation Tour is just getting started and runs through November, so there’s plenty of opportunities to grab some very fairly priced tickets for your rockin’ pleasure.
Coming Soon.. A WillToRock Interview with Enuff Z’Nuff Leader, Chip Z’Nuff.