Thursday, November 12, 2015

Trixter - Rock 'N Skull - October 17th, 2015

October is a month where by ghosts, goblins, ghouls and the occasional Presidential candidate goes door-to-door begging for various things.  Yes most of those mentioned are looking for gifts of candy, or the occasional popcorn ball, there are somethings in October much, much scarier than a nine year old in a Bernie Sanders mask.  Yes it is true that each child, and the occasional Presidential candidate is trying to solicit a piece of candy or two but rarely does the the candy giver ever respond to the demand of the rapscallions and seven year old Trumps.  What am I babbling about?  Well...

Every October 31st parents and guardians sic their prepubescent spawn upon the hapless masses for candy but before the beggars can receive their booty they must first make their case.  With a nervous knock on the door or a far too long push of a doorbell, the kiddies greet their hosts with a hearty "TRICK OR TREAT!"  I shudder to think of what evil may befall the unexpected soul that replies with a wishy-washy "Trick?"

While the potential for bad, very bad things happening when you say such words to a Presidential candidate let alone four or five children dressed as devils or Katie Couric, there are times when it is an appropriate response at least partially.  I suppose the possibility for letting the Grim Reaper do a "trick" might not be the right thing, but suppose for a moment that the little monsters (I meant "monsters" as in characters, NOT their character) pulled off a nice little trick, something like oh I don't know presenting you with the neighbors garden gnome that went "missing" last Halloween, what would you say?  Might you reply "Oh you little 'tricksters'" smile and check to see if your best china is still in the house?  It's doubtful anything good can come from saying "trick" but if you are talking about seeing tricksters of another type in October well you are probably talking about seeing the band "Trixter" in Pekin, Illinois.

October 17th, 2015 I attended Rock 'N Skull in Pekin, Illinois for Day Two of a three day music festival at Goodfellas.  Day One of the festival was incredible with headliner Steelheart and on Day Two the band "Trixter" was on the lineup.  I have seen Trixter previously and written about them (story HERE) but they were so enjoyable the first time I was excited to seem them again.  It gets hard at times to write about bands that you have seen before at times, I have seen KISS seventeen times, Jackyl at least eight and many others but if a band is always good its almost a necessity.  That is where the band "Trixter" comes in.

Trixter is one of those bands that was exceptionally good but as the "trend" in music slid toward the slope of grunge, bands like this seemingly went dormant. Trixter is one of those "East Coast" bands that had a meteoric rise and the proof of that rise was the release of their first album, the self-titled "Trixter" in 1990.  The record peaked at #28, went Gold and its first single "Give It to Me Good" went to #26 on the Mainstream Rock charts.  That first album was a great effort with three singles released "Surrender," "One in a Million" and the aforementioned "Give It to Me Good."  That's an important factoid by the way, it shows that there was still substantial staying power of the band as grunge came out of its own primordial ooze.  Here's my soapbox moment, "grunge" was simply alternative / punk rock wearing flannel that's it, it really had no life of its own.  Sorry about that I had to get it out.

When Trixter took the Rock 'N Skull stage I was very interested to see the lineup of the band, not because of some type of infighting or breakup, rather I was able to see the band earlier in the year at "Farm Rock" and lead singer Pete Loran was not able to attend so vocal duties fell onto Steve Brown (guitar).  Steve did an incredible job but having seen the band even before that I was anxious to see Loran take the job back.  Why would I be so interested in seeing / hearing Loran once again you ask?  Its simple really, he's that freaking good.

Pete Loran, the spiky haired lead singer of the band has a couple of things I am intrigued by going for him.  The first being he really looks like a great friend of mine (its kind of scary) but more than that, the first album was released in 1990 and his vocals are still impeccable.  It's insane the vocal range this man still has but more importantly its the command of the stage, and the music that is intriguing.  I have gone back and watched the videos from the past and it impresses me that the command of the stage seems to have always been there.  While Loran doesn't bounce about the stage like so many of his contemporaries (and Loran) used to, it is as obvious as the nose on your face.

If I'm being honest one of the most important things I can ever point out after a show or festival is how or even IF, a band interacts with its fans following a performance.  I watched intently as Loran took the time to literally meet every person that might want to approach him.  It was insane the number of people that approached him after the show, he shook hands, gave autographs, took pictures and just talked with everyone.  Very impressive show for Loran who is obviously one of the great guys in music today.

The driving sound of a bass guitar is one of those things that we most expect about the sound of a hard rock band, or even a band from the so called "era of hair" so when explaining the band Trixter it is not hard to describe P.J. Farley.  Farley is the force behind that bass sound that is synonymous with the band.  I think at times the bass player is the forgotten one for whatever reason but Farley should never be forgotten, he is a machine.  I think the interesting thing is that watching him, he feeds off of his bandmates, their energy and since he is the driving beat that makes the whole experience get stronger.  He is exceptional and I think he could be the fuel to the nightly success.

Myself and Steve Brown - Guitar
Its apparent to any fan of rock, metal, or any type of guitar heavy music that every band needs that energetic, wild man that makes you stand and notice them through their music, and in Trixter that is Steve Brown, guitar and backing vocals.  Brown is that guy, that one guy that you can look at and say to yourself that is what a rock guitar player looks like.

Brown is energetic, that guy who was the the class clown and more importantly the guy you just have to focus on.  Seriously when Brown is performing, he is THAT GUY.  He has the ability to stun you with the ease in which he makes playing guitar look fun.  I can't play a note on the guitar but I can really see how fun it must be to play guitar because Brown plays with a smile at all times, and I think the members of the band feed off of it too.  The controlled chaos that is the stage performance looks easy with Brown on guitar.  As I mentioned earlier when I saw Trixter at Farm Rock Brown actually did the vocals for Loran.  The man is a powerhouse on the guitar, a phenomenal performer, and at the very least a massive star that shines among all of the other stars in the band.  I love the energy and the way he makes every person that is in attendance.

Mark "Gus" Scott - Drums and I
© - 2015
When I first saw Trixter at Halfway Jam in 2012, I was taken by the drummer of the band, Mark "Gus" Scott, and in fact one of my favorite pictures I have included in my writings endeavors is of Scott (you'll have to look at the previous article to see it).  Scott is much more than just a "photo op" he is this larger than life character, and at the same time the rock that every band needs behind the drum kit.  He is really fun to watch while controlling the chaos that is a live set.  I love this guy, he is a powerhouse.

Inasmuch as that is true watching him interact with the fans is like that of the other members of the band.  Scott literally was there until the end of the night at Rock 'N Skull, he is the epitome of the cornerstone of a band.  What I noticed most about Scott was the defined way he represented himself with his fans.  As I stood in the wings I watched Scott talk to those that wanted his attention for an inordinate amount of time.  Scott stood there face to face, enjoying the conversation, showing his appreciation and as a performer we expect nothing less.

Its easy for fans to almost require no, demand that our "heroes" be accessible whereby we feel slighted if they don't but as far as I can tell all of the members of Trixter are more than willing to go to the ends of the earth for them.  Its the simple truth when I tell you that fans expect so much out of their fans and often their demands are unrealistic.  I'm speaking from a point of experience but I love how Trixter ignores all of that.  It becomes apparent when you watch any of these guys really willing to spend time so much time with their fans, its refreshing and incredibly telling about their devotion to those that are their fans.

Music festivals are an incredible way for fans to see those bands that they may have not been able to see in their own pasts.  It seems that every time I attend a festival there are always bands I couldn't see for whatever reason in my past.  When I saw Trixter at Halfway Jam in 2012 that was the first time I had seen the band and now that I have seen the band three times, I can see in their eyes how much they love the support of the fans.  I mentioned the previous article I have written to each member of the band and TWO of them remember at least something about the article.  It goes without saying that I felt honored by that, and in fact P.J. Farley mentioned that one of the picture from that article he told me was one of his favorites before I showed it to him that October night.

It was mindblowing to me to know that he recognized that picture, and more importantly it showed me that he and the other members of Trixter had read that article.  It wasn't just me that had an experience that the band remembered either.  I met a person later that night at our hotel and they talked about having met Brown before and how he remembered that meeting.  That is that "aHa moment" (sorry veiled '80's reference) in my mind.  I mean that despite the bad pun, it shows something that is taken for granted all of the time, character.  The character of this band is indeed incredible.

When I attended Rock 'N Skull on October 17th, 2015 I knew going in what to expect when the band Trixter was taking the stage.  I knew the music, I knew the antics, I knew I would be blown away but through it all I was excited.  I was excited because it was going to be a great time, and boy was I right.  It became a time where I could enjoy the music and while I looked around I saw other people doing the same thing.  What made it even more fun for me was seeing the band doing exactly that as well.

When Trixter comes to your town, near your town or even in your state (or country) make sure you take the time to see the band because just like me you will have the time of your life.  Amazing job once again guys!

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