Lunatic's Serenade

Facebook Twitter Google

Sixx:AM, Apocalyptica, Vamps
and Fever Red at The Joint
Las Vegas 4-10-15

Last year around November, my brother told me of a show that was happening in town. The words Apocalyptica, Sixx:AM, and ‘on sale today’ fell from his lips. So what did I do? I jumped in my Echo and drove as fast as it would let me down to the box office, and picked up four golden tickets to what would turn out to be a sold out show. All I knew then was that Apocalyptica was the opener. Last month, two more bands were added: Vamps, a Goth Rock band from Japan, and those rowdy rock n’ rollers from Vegas, Fever Red! Needless to say, I was stoked that they had been put on the bill.

The night sparked when Fever Red unleashed music from their just released EP Fresh Hell. Their blend of hard core rowdy rock n’ roll and dynamite stage presence got new listeners bopping where they stood. Aside from the fact that we were so close to the stage we barely heard the vocals, their energy and chemistry was infectious. I couldn’t help but feel like a proud sibling watching the four band mates thrash around a big stage. Normally their stage is no bigger than a kitchen table so now they had room to run. I have nothing but respect for this band and hope they get on more big bills. This was the first time my wife and daughter caught the Fever and they just loved them! For me, the highlight was of course their last song, “Monster.”

Vamps came out to some loud cheers. I haven’t heard anything from them or of them until tonight. They strutted out to a club type beat in total late 80’s hair, band dress, and for gothic weirdness, the keyboard player wore a face respirator. The song they opened with was really mellow and I thought, ok. Then they played heavier after that. Their fan base at this show was pretty big. Most everyone up front knew the words. The highlight was a cover of Motley Crue’s “Live Wire.” The rhythm guitar and vocal arrangements were a little different but kept the same effect as the original.

When I was told about this next band being part of the tour, my first thought was of my daughter. I played some Apocalyptica for her years ago because of her love for classical music. She’s been hooked ever since. She didn’t know they were going to be there until I took her to the merch line. She flipped out when she saw the t-shirts!

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, Apocalyptica. These metal cellists just amaze me. Since hearing them back in the early 90’s, I followed the process of every release. From just four cellos to adding mild percussion to full on drums and now bringing on a full time singer! Most songs are instrumental, but they have collaborated with vocalists Corey Taylor (Slipknot/Stonesour), Lacey Sturm (Flyleaf), Brent Smith (Shinedown), and Adam Gontier (Three Days Grace). Classic metal sounds emit from the stage as they saw on their cellos, lights flash and the gritty, powerful vocals penetrated through the insane sounds and straight into the heart. Franky Perez’ shattering voice is a perfect fit for Apocalyptica. In the middle of the set they broke it down and played Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters.” The band played the soulful tune as the crowd sang each line and swayed to the sultry stringed arrangement.

The major highlights were the songs Shadowmaker from the album of the same name and my daughter’s favorite, “I Don’t Care.” Both songs really showcased the singer’s strength and presence. They ended with an instrumental version of Savtage’s “(Prelude to Madness) Hall Of The Mountain King,” a staple that they often end their shows with. This was a most intense set from an incredible band.

"Classic metal sounds emit from the stage as they saw on their cellos, lights flash and the gritty, powerful vocals penetrated through the insane sounds and straight into the heart."

Sixx: A.M. came on around 9:40 pm to a sold out venue of over 4,000 rock n’ rollers. Nikki Sixx came out in metal garb and sun glasses, guitarist DJ Ashby, slung low his axe, and singer James Michael strolled out in sunglasses and long coat. Indeed, I must say they were a motley looking crew!

Busting out the tunes that everyone knew, they blew up larger than life itself and drove an out of control 18 wheeler right at you. No time to dodge the truck when they dropped the hammer on “This Is Gonna Hurt.” The crowd went wild, the band jumped and spun around, and drummer Dustin Steinke just kept pounding away. He had a way of interacting with the band and his kit; assuredly, one fun drummer to watch.

During this show stopping performance, they took time out for ballads. One in particular was a heartfelt version of “Drive” by The Cars. This song has always been a favorite of mine. It became a stronger one when bassist Benjamin Orr passed, so it was a deep moment for me during this one. James Michael, the vocalist, played the baby grand piano on the song. I really enjoyed the spin and arrangement they put on it. It’s always cool when the singer plays another instrument.

The action got more intense as they slammed tunes like “Help is on the Way” and “Stars.” During the last chorus of “Stars,” tons of black confetti in the shape of stars kept falling. It was the coolest thing. I could barely see the stage from the 15 feet where we stood as everyone reached up to catch the stars as they fell.

For the encore, they gave into the relentless fans shouting to have them play “Life Is Beautiful.” All in all it was a super fantastic family outing of nonstop, hard hitting, fist pumping, face punching, gut kicking, rock n’ roll. And that was only what we did to each other!

Tim Duran, HMS

Back to Lunatic's Serenade Menu