.@louelladeville_ @PlanetMosh review of .@sebastianbach supported by .@JamesMToseland at .@MancAcademy
Probably most well known for his time as vocalist in Skid Row Sebastian Bach has pursued a solo career since leaving the band including a stint on Broadway where he has played Jesus Christ and the lead role in Jekyll and Hyde. Having proved he can play both the good and the bad I was hoping tonight’s performance would be in the former category. I last saw Sebastian Bach a couple of years ago at Hard Rock Hell and was particularly impressed with his swinging ability! As in his microphone swinging technique. I had only seen him once before, when Skid Row played Manchester Apollo around 1990. I was upstairs towards the back and although I have some recollection of the gig it’s limited and I cannot remember whether or not any swinging took place at that gig!
As it was a Monday, I headed to the venue as soon as I finished work and was pleasantly surprised to find Manchester Academy 3 already buzzing when I arrived, which was only shortly before the support act came on. The main support on this ‘Tour of Hell’ coming from Toseland, fronted by the versatile Yorkshire born former motorcycle racer James Toseland. Opening their set with Gotta Be a Better Way a catchy number with great riffs I liked Toseland immediately. With his muscular physique and boundless energy James reminded me of fellow Yorkshire born vocalists, Danny from Deadaudiosaints and Stevie from Spill Sixteen. To warm us up, next came Burning the System. James announced ‘We’re Toseland and it’s a pleasure to be on stage with Sebastian Bach’ and also said they’d only got half an hour. All the songs are on the new album Renegade which was released in March this year. The penultimate song and title track of the album Renegade reminded me of The Black Crowes say a cross between Remedy and Hard to Handle with a great drumbeat and some fantastic riffs. Half an hour only allowed for six songs and James said they would have to love us and leave us with Crash Landing which appropriately enough ends with the words ‘This is me saying goodbye’ thus ending a short but sweet set from Toseland. They are doing a headline tour starting in September, so there will chance to see a full set from these guys soon!
1. Gotta Be a Better Way
2. Burning the System
3. Singer in a Band
4. Life Is Beautiful
6. Crash Landing
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialJamesToseland
The man we had all been waiting for with eager anticipation burst on to the stage to Slave to the Grind a hard fast song guaranteed to grab your attention and I wasn’t disappointed when, after swinging his hair, he also gave the mic a good swing! Sebastian made an imposing figure and looked to take up much of that small stage. Entertaining from the off with a little banter between songs, but not enough to have your mind wandering and thinking get back to the job in question! After the opening song Seb (hope he doesn’t mind if I shorten his name) yelled ‘Let me hear you all the way from this side’ and indicated to his right, left facing the stage ‘This side’ his left ‘Middle’ (same to both) and there were plenty of whoops which indicated the crowd had enjoyed that song. Seb advised that this was the smallest stage he’d ever played on and, whilst he would love to do all his moves, and run around there was nowhere to run! I’m not saying that Brent and Rob are small but Seb towered above them and whilst he didn’t have much room to manoeuvre he was expressive throughout the show with his eyes and hand gestures instead.
The set was comprised mainly of songs from his latest album Give ‘Em Hell and Skid Row classics. The next song Temptation from the album included some great Seb screams, but also some mellower sounding singing too. Next came three Skid Row songs starting with The Threat from the Slave to the Grind album with plenty of fist pumping. Then back to the first track on the first, self-titled, album and for those who still remember and love vinyl Seb said it was on ‘The first side of the first album’ the song being Big Guns with screaming vocals and screaming riffage to match. This one reminded me of Motley Crue. Now I couldn’t quite make out his exact words but he regretted to have to inform the censorship council that he would be saying the word f**k (which I’ve censored in case of under eighteens!). Seb said it would suck if you got too old to head bang or were in a back brace like Tom Araya from Slayer (referring to a back injury which has left Tom unable to head bang). By this time Seb was sweating and after a sip of water he sprayed the remainder over the audience, who were probably glad of some cool water because it was really hot in there. He requested Bobby to ‘Give me the back beat’ and the band launched into Piece of Me with it’s great rhythm and riffs.
Seb asked if people liked Guns N’ Roses as he wrote the next song Harmony with Duff McKagan. This one got Seb jumping around and the audience clapping along with him. With the opening bars to 18 and Life there were loud cheers and Seb got the crowd to wave from side to side in time to the music. When the audience started singing the words Seb jokingly said ‘Hey! You’re supposed to wait for me’ before joining in. I noticed a a few cameras held aloft to record this one. With it’s mellower riffs and Seb’s Screams there was certainly lots of applause and whoops at the end of this popular classic. Seb thanked us for twenty five years of rock n roll and he said it was ‘Like Milton Keynes Bowl, only a bit different’ and that it had ‘Been a good run’ although there was ‘Still no air conditioning in this country, which makes your hair look better’
He mentioned meeting Jim Carrey at a crowded gig in Hollywood and Jim had declared ‘Work the space! Which is what this gig is about. Working the space.’ The next song was dedicated to all the heavy metallers, those so old they remember when Kerrang covered rock! Seb pondered ‘How can you name a band Korn?’ although he went on the say ‘But I like K(c)orn, the food and the band’ American Metalhead a PainMuseuM cover with it’s good rhythm had Seb giving more low fives to audience members. To claps and whistles he asked ‘You like your heavy metal in the UK?’ to replies of ‘Yeah’ he said ‘Only ‘cos you invented it’ and named the bands Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. He said he was so hot he felt like he was on acid. Two more from the new album followed Tunnelvision which reminded me of The Osmonds Crazy Horses in places. After a quick microphone change and Seb asking if anyone wanted a sweaty mic we got Taking Back Tomorrow with it’s bullet fast drumming and screaming riffs.
Seb asked ‘Do you like Pantera in Manchester? The next one was Dimebag Darrell’s favourite Skid Row song. This one’s for Dimebag’ and the band played In a Darkened Room a bit of a ballad, if you can call it that. It was mellower anyway. Seb reminds me of an older Olli Herman or should I say Olli’s like a younger Seb with the statuesque, blonde good looks and limitless energy. Seb paused for a moment with his arms folded before emitting a piercing scream. With his thumb raised Seb wondered ‘How the F**k can that not be on Skid Row’s greatest hits? Bullshit! I have a big ego, lead singers disease!’ Then came Monkey Business and judging by the cheers and claps from the audience this was another popular song and Seb reminded us to ‘Work the space’
To a bit of a funky guitar and drum beat Seb sang a couple of the chorus lines from well known Judas Priest classics Breaking the Law and Living After Midnight and I’m sure I picked up a bit of a Walk This Way by Aerosmith/Rum DMC beat as he held up a waistcoat which he had borrowed from a guy in the audience, which was emblazoned with the Skid Row logo across the back and with a pout said ‘I used to love that band’ then he said ‘Here’s come the point…..’ and before he could finish a crew member got up brandishing an acoustic guitar. ‘Hang on dude’ he said to him, ‘Can’t get the staff’ to us, before he finished ‘The point where we’re supposed to walk off’ and the band made to leave the stage before Seb announced ‘We’re back. Thank you for bringing us back with a standing ovation’ although as there were no seats it would have had to be! He asked Brent ‘Why are you wearing a jacket? Take it off or I quit the band’ faced with such a threat Brent did remove his denim jacket but kept his t-shirt on although at this stage Rob took his t-shirt off for us.
Seb reminisced about the first time he ever played England, at Milton Keynes Bowl with Bon Jovi twentyfive years ago. I Remember came next with the eager crew member strumming the notes on his acoustic guitar before the rest of the band joined in and, as he was bald, Seb decided to put some of his own sweaty hair on the guys head for a moment! After this one Seb said ‘I see you at the back. Thank you for twentyfive years of making my dreams come true’ An uplifting song, or so he said, came next in All My Friends Are Dead which I suppose would be an uplifing song to a zombie! With head banging and low fives from Seb and more bullet drums from Bobby, ending with a gesture and ‘Cut’ from Seb at which point it ended abruptly.
Nearing the end now there were chants of Youth Gone Wild from the audience and Seb pointed to the words tattooed on his forearm. ‘Thank you. This is dedicated to all. See you next time. Thank you to all the Youth Gone Wild’ this one got everyone jumping, dancing or singing along, with Seb adding some penetrating screams. End of the show but still time for a little speech from Seb who said he was as ‘Hot as a motherfucker up here’ then ‘Manchester, thank you for a hot, sweaty, sold out, packed out rock n roll show tonight. I can’t wait to take a shower’ We were introduced to the band. On lead guitar Mr Brent Woods, who has played with Vince Neil for ten years. On bass guitar from the band UFO Mr Rob De Luca, and on drums from the heaviest band in rock, Crazy Lixx or so Seb said before admitting he was only joking, Mr Bobby Jarzombek. This left Brent to state the obvious. ‘Do I need to say his name? Mr Sebastian Bach’ to some loud claps and cheers the band then gave a few bows to audience and the show was over.
Can Sebastian Bach walk or water? Probably not but having heard mixed opinions of his past shows I have to say I enjoyed the gig tonight. It was a thoroughly rocking and entertaining evening. Everyone I spoke to afterwards seems to have enjoyed it. I even managed to speak briefly to Nuno, the guy whose waistcoat he had held up during the show. Nuno actually plays drums in a Skid Row tribute, Subhuman Race, and he told me he was never going to wash the waistcoat again!
1. Slave to the Grind (Skid Row)
3. The Threat (Skid Row)
4. Big Guns (Skid Row)
5. Piece of Me (Skid Row)
7. 18 and Life (Skid Row)
8. American Metalhead (PainmuseuM cover)
10. Taking Back Tomorrow
11. In a Darkened Room (Skid Row)
12. Monkey Business (Skid Row)
13. I Remember You (Skid Row)
14. All My Friends Are Dead
15. Youth Gone Wild (Skid Row)
Band Members on this tour:
Sebastian Bach – Vocals
Bobby Jarzombek – Drums
Brent Woods – Guitar
Rob De Luca: Bass
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/sebastianbach
Photos of Sebastian Bach and Toseland taken at Islington Academy 9th July 2014: