Friday, March 20, 2015

Devil City Angels - Pzazz Event Center, September 19th, 2014

Everything around us goes through some type of iteration.  The moment something happens is an iteration in the cycle of whatever you are doing.  Whether it be putting gasoline in your tank (that instance is an iteration of the act of putting fuel in that tank) or brushing your teeth (that is an iteration of removing the goop from your pearly whites) they are both iterations of the status of objects.  As an example, examine music no, examine musicians and the many iterations they go through in their careers.  Well...

Musicians are intense individuals and they go through dozens of different iterations from the first time they pick up an instrument to the day they perform it will be a roller-coaster ride.  Add into the the equation those musicians that make it to the big time that roller-coaster could be the wildest ride of their lives. I like roller-coasters, at times, but I'm not a musician that has hit the big time so for them I can only imagine their response to the that ride.  I would assume that to make it big the musicians would have to be able to handle the queasy stomach that would come forth from the loops, and the groupies, and the hairspray and the critics.

Amusement park analogies aside, performers that get famous deserve it.  First of all musicians within any "rock" genre have to be good, really good.  Unlike popular music where everything is synthesized and auto-tuned, rock musicians better know what they are doing because if they don't their fans will eviscerate them.  Whereas country music MUSICIANS that are never as famous as their vocalists, rock musicians have a veritable "who's who" of musicians that came before them that they really do have to live up to.  While it would be easy to discount that last statement ask any rock fan who their favorite guitar player is and who are the greatest ever and the point will be quickly proven.  Ask a country music fan the same question and you'll probably get Johnny Cash (and its well deserved) but few others.

If you look forward to the past that was the '80's - early '90's and that entire genre that seems to be dubbed the "era of hair," you will see an influx of decent bands with decent musicians except for some incredible bands with icons of musicians that filled their roster.  Don't get me wrong, there were some phenomenal bands that has performers in which the casual fan may not remember but they knew that band was great.  The great misnomer with the world of rock / metal / "hair" bands is that either those genres no longer exist or that they are even viable today or that none of the bands from that '80's - '90's are still around.  To those that assume that those bands are no long around I can assure you that indeed they are, and their popularity still grows.

In the recent past I wrote about a band named "Cheap Thrill," its a band with a great lineup of performers from the '80's - '90's with band members from the lineups of Cinderella, Collective Soul, Staind and the Gibbs Brothers plus an incredible talent that is John Corabi, that band was stacked.  It made sense that the band may merge inward with similar talent while remaining fluid itself.  That band remains the same but from it spawned another opportunity that made me extremely excited.

That opportunity came in the form of the band "Devil City Angels" and the lineup that blossomed is one of rock royalty.  One man's "rock royalty" is another mans current Guns N' Roses right?  Wrong, well kind of.  While GNR was possibly one of the greatest bands ever, it resided in an era that also saw bands like Poison, Cinderella and LA Guns dig their heels into the hardscrabble of that time and carve its way into rock royalty.  Imagine if you will one man that has been part of three of the four bands I mentioned moments ago on guitar, a bass player that has had massive success with one iconic band, a drummer that also had similar success with an iconic band and another performer that seems to be the glue that holds everything together.  Stop imagining for a moment and let the names Tracii Guns, Eric Brittingham, Rikki Rockett and Brandon Gibbs tickle your mind because these four men are the band "Devil City Angels."

When I saw the band perform on September 19th, 2014 at the Pzazz Event Center in Burlington, Iowa it was the day before my 46th birthday and it was with eager anticipation that I made that drive south.  The venue (Pzazz Event Center inside the Catfish Bend Casino) was a treat, their staff was friendly and helpful while the location was easy to find and well laid out.  The opening act for the performance was a band called "Fivefold" a St. Louis based rock band that is incredible!  I loved their set and the personalities that lie within the band are big but very grounded in their music and their love of their fans.  I thought that their music has an edge to it that isn't found in some bands that have been "famous" for years.  They were incredible and I hope I can see them again sometime soon!

Eric Brittingham - Bass
© - 2014
Take a moment and think of a song by Cinderella would you please.  Chances are you can hear that dirty, crunching bass that helps move you through that song head bobbing (you know you were).  That was Eric Brittingham, from the start of that band the sound that shaped its music was from him.  Brittingham is as good on stage as he is on those records, I mean CD's.  He is a treat to watch because he seems to know exactly what he has to do and he makes it look effortless.  I have met Mr. Brittingham, he is a personable, fun guy that is truly a master of his trade.

Rikki Rockett.  That would probably suffice for description enough about the drummer for Devil City Angels, after all he has been the drummer for the band "Poison" since its inception.  Without Rockett Poison wouldn't have had the attitude they did I would think.  Rockett is a hard driving drummer that is technically superior to most.  There is a swagger about him when he performs, it is one of knowing he is that good but I think he makes those that surround him even that much better.

L-R Rockett, Gibbs, Guns
© - 2014

I am from the Midwest, heck I live in something called the "Tri-States Area" because of the proximity of Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa and I am so close that I can literally see the other two states from Illinois with little trouble.  So...  I understand the area oddly enough and I know what kinds of people live in those three states, so the first time I saw Brandon Gibbs perform (with another band), I understood the man that he is.  Gibbs was born and raised in a small(er) town in Iowa and just watching him perform as a lead singer and guitar player, you can see his appreciation of his fans.  The first time I saw Gibbs perform he was under the weather and after the show he still took time to talk to every fan that approached him.  He's like that on stage.  He is a consummate professional, he is a gifted musician and he has a voice that literally fits almost any genre of music like a glove.

Devil City Angels is truly a force to be reckoned with.  They have the best performers at their stations in the band, and they really are creative geniuses.  You can't look at that pedigree and argue that I am wrong successfully.  The number of hard rock / heavy metal classics that have come from the members of this band makes them more than just the fruit of the rock tree, nope these guys are the roots.  I have to be honest I really am excited about original work that they will be putting out!  Seriously.  DCA performed a couple of originals that evening and I was blown away!

As Devil City Angels gets up and running pay attention.  There will be no way on God's green earth that this band WON'T be a success!  Do yourself a favor and put a bug in the ear of your favorite radio personalities, or management of venues near you and tell them to book them, play their music, and if they come out with a salsa BUY IT!

That was one heck of a performance gentlemen!  AWESOME JOB!

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