Lunatic's Serenade

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Doro Pesch at the
Las Vegas Country Saloon 3/17/15

In the mid 1980’s there were a handful of hard rocking female fronted bands. Lita Ford, Vixen and Hellion are among them, but one woman was crowned with the title “Queen of Metal”. Her name is Doro Pesch. The place she’s holding court on this St. Patrick’s evening is the Las Vegas Country Saloon.

Hailing from Dusseldorf, Germany she took her band, Warlock all over the world; killing everything within an inch of their lives. They brought you pure metal and it was poured out of their soul and into your ears.

As a solo act now, she’s backed by a band harsh and fierce in sound, they make the notes so scared they fly out at mach speed. For me, thirty years in the listening and waiting I am finally in the crowd about to witness the magic of Doro Pesch.

The evening kicks off with a sledge hammer to the gut with the spectacular spectacle that is Fever Red. I try to catch the sickness whenever I can. They breathe and bleed metal and you know it’s their passion by their expression and execution. Every time it’s a different show, but every time they hit you with a soulful tune like “I’m Not Ready” that has you singing along instantly. Then, to make sure you’re alive, they slap you around with “Monster” and a crowd pleasing Metallica cover. Tonight they did “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, complete with the Cliff Burton bass intro. Bassist Ryan Pasion nailed it! Gina Gleason and Leanne Martz rip through the solos as the rhythm section restricts the laws of physics. They were non-stop as they energized the crowd with loud, fist-pumping action and deep, rich tones.

I had the chance to have a real interesting chat with Sam Friend the drummer of Fever Red. Turns out he’s a very good composer and percussionist at UNLV. He had me listen to one of his compositions. With every movement, you felt the mood and atmosphere change. It was a very good listen and touching story. Keep an eye out for him. Visit FR on Facebook or their site.

The main reason I’m here tonight is to lend a hand with Leona’s rig set up for her group, Leona-X. She slays the crowd with her hard rocking attitude and sultry stage presence as she opens with “Ready for This”. If you haven’t heard this band, check out their official video, on YouTube. How can I describe Leona? She is Joan Jett, Wendy-O Williams and Chrissie Hynde, all rolled into one. She’s an axe slinger not to be taken lightly as she blazes through blistering solos and punkish vocals. Backed by the band that was thrown out of hell in fear they would take over, they pound their way through the set drawing a crowd and knockin ‘em dead! Jerry Vayne on rhythm guitar laid down the law as bassist Brian D’Litton belted out the bottom end and Danny Robert kept busy on the crash-boom-bang. Energy for days, I’m sure they could have gone on forever but this was truly an electrifying performance of hard hitting, head banging, fist pumping rock n’ roll. A great bunch of folks I am happy to have met. Check them out on their site or Facebook.

Next up, Cyanide took the stage and gave us the cool sounds of classic sleaze metal. They ran through their set like thoroughbreds out of the gate, stampeding like an out of control bison. They are heavy on the Motley Crue sound circa “Too Fast for Love”, but with a thicker tone. Another Las Vegas local act that’s sure to please the old rocker or young nostalgist. They brought their originals with punch and circumstance, but made the crowd jump with an old Motley Crue favorite, “Live Wire”. Rob Hussey killed on vocals, Mark Andrews was a blur on guitars, David Carr ran you over with his bass, Ryan Gillan needs new drum heads now and back-up singer Miranda Trenholm held down the harmonies. To end their set they took us back to the Queensryche E.P. and shut the door on “Queen of the Ryche”. Rob hit all the highs and then a few more.

Archer was next with a giant A-bomb. This power trio from Santa Cruz, CA dropped everything and the kitchen sink on your noggin. It was like a heavier, aggressive Raven watching them up there. The only thing missing was that the drummer didn’t use his head on the cymbals. The electricity illuminating the dim lit stage was intensified by the sheer brute force of David Desilva on bass, Keyhan Moini bashing the skins and Dylan Rose on vox and guitar. Putting the axe to the grindstone and letting the sparks fly where they may, Archer put your ears to the test.

"Doro’s melodious vocals are driven by the mad, musical masters of mayhem."

Louder and louder the music climbed as the crowd congregated towards the stage; fists in the air and wave after wave of swaying hair in virtual whiplash. Their set entirely of originals bludgeoned the eardrums, added thumps to the heartbeat, and ache to the neck bones. Driving way past the point of heavy, they kept the train rolling and the people jumping. Check out their site or Facebook

Lights down, intro plays and the metal giants emerge from stage right. All cheer as The Queen of Metal walks on. Her smile lights the room before the band explodes into the first song. Thirty years are up and I am in metal heaven. Immediately, the crowd falls under the hypnotic spell Doro weaves as she leans into the crowd holding out the mic letting fans sing into it and rousing everyone to chant the metal mantra, “Hey! Hey! Hey”! The outpouring of emotion and passion delivered an intense fashion to waiting and listening ears and filling the hearts of the concert goers with her brand of metal.

Doro’s melodious vocals are driven by the mad, musical masters of mayhem. Bas Maas plays mas solos de guitarra, Luca Princiotta also slings the six-string. Holding down the rhythm section is the bad boy of bass, Nick Douglas and the destroyer of kits Johnny Dee, who tests the durability of DW Drums. All flawless in tunes such as “Burning Witches”, “All We Are” and the song from the new album of the same name, “Raise Your Fist” gets everybody rocking more than at the beginning of the show.

Doug Aldrich of Whitesnake fame joined the band on a great cover of Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law”. It untraditionally started out very mellow with swaying vocals over the first two verses, then like a crack to the skull the original opening riff ripped its way through the speakers. It was all over but the shouting, and shout we did. Nothing sounded sweeter than bunch of metal heads yelling out, “Breaking the law, breaking the law!”

With the crowd still cheering, Doro asks the million dollar question, “What song should we do now?” One guy shouts a title that I don’t hear but her response is that her voice is spent and can’t do it. I imagine it was one of her more screaming tunes so in the awkward silence I yell out, “Fur Immer”! She quickly turns to the boys and dedicates the song to all her fans in the room. As one of the guitar players take over the keys for the opening lines and the drums come in, Doro sings that first verse in German just as I remember it in 1987. My heart melts as the chorus comes in, “Deep inside my heart fur immer/Deep inside my heart for ever/Deep inside my heart I see you and me”. On the “Triumph and Agony” record, this song has a keyboard solo. Bas Maas toughed out a soulful guitar solo instead. It added to the intensity and emotion and he definitely made his guitar gently weep.

I can’t tell you if that was the last song, because I was emotionally dazed when the song was over. All I remember after the band laid the last crescendo was that they all joined arms to take their final bow. Taking pictures through tear stained eyes was a little tough, but when you take the time to listen to this song you will understand. It melts the hardest of hearts and the toughest of metal heads.

Special thanks go to Leona Marie for letting me lend a hand to your band, her husband Greg for showing me the ropes, (hope I wasn’t too much in the way) and The Leona-X band. Thanks for your patience. Thank you to David Gonzales for letting be his side kick, Sam Friend for the conversation, Gina and Leanne for being the coolest, Ryan for keepin’ it real, Cyanide for the killer Queensryche cover, Archer for simply DESTROYING, and Doro Pesch and her band of insane gun slingers for bringing the house down and making my life complete. I can die happy.

Keep Those Fists In The Air!!

Tim Duran, HMS

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