The decade of 2010 seems to have become a decade that every rock band from the '80's has made a triumphant return and the lineup of "Halfway Jam" really reflected that. Skid Row closed out the third day of what could only be described as an All-Star lineup. Was Skid Row and the singer "that isn't Sebastian Bach" worthy of closing out the event?
This also marked the third time I have seen Skid Row, once in the same arena I saw Ratt, once in the same casino I saw Stephen Pearcy and the third time was obviously at Halfway Jam, weird isn't it? No, not really but what is a real surprise is that I am probably in the minority when I saw that frontman Johnny Solinger is better than Bach, hands down. Last fall I was able to see Skid Row at the Mississippi Moon Bar in Dubuque, IA, and I came away from that show very impressed and this show was no different.
There is a different dynamic between Bach and Solinger and the voices couldn't be more dissimilar but its a good thing. Solinger hits high notes very well, and his vocals on "I Remember You" are really, really good. Solinger has that little bit of Texas in his voice when he sings (being from Texas that makes sense), but his approach is very different, he doesn't sing the songs the way Bach does, instead he sings them like Johnny Solinger. I suppose the other interesting thing is that he sings the songs like they are his and that he isn't trying to be "all things Bach", there is no reason to do so.
Vocals alone do not make the band, just ask Bach (yes I went there) and the three core members of Skid Row are still there, and that is a great thing. Dave "the Snake" Sabo still plays the guitar like a master and he wants to entertain us, even pausing after the show, on the stage staring at the crowd and smiling. Dave's partner in crime if you will, Scotti Hill is one of the most intense guitar players I have ever seen, and he and Sabo feed off of each other during the show like no other.
As an example, during the obvious hard rock guitar solo, both men perform in a "Dueling Banjos" kind of way and the entire time they are making expressions at each other and the crowd. Both men fit seamlessly into each song, and both have a penchant to demand only the best sound leave the amps.
Not to be forgotten, Rachel Bolan on bass is a master, and he brings another dynamic to the fold. Bolan, who is the frontman on The Ramones classic "Psycho Therapy" brings that punk-like edge that I think any good hard rock band must have. Watching Bolan on stage is like watching a Doberman Pinscher, stoic, serious, intense and just waiting for the reason to rip your head off, and enjoy every single minute of it. I would be remiss if I were to say I knew any of my observations were true or not, I have never met any of them but the proverbial "a picture is worth a thousand words" makes me believe it is so.
Skid Row was a great way to end the night, they're intensity and the way they perform should be taken as a "rule of thumb" for any aspiring up and coming act that really wants to connect with the most important people in their professional lives, their fans. My memories of Skid Row, through all three of their performances I have attended, demand that they should be considered one of the greatest live acts I have ever seen.
At this point I will take the role of a broken record as I say, go see Skid Row they are worth the stage show alone and the music itself is just icing on the cake.