Every once in a while you will find a show coming through town that is one of those events that is so far off the beaten path of anything that you might normally attend and support. This would be the case when “mash up” Kings Beatallica returned to New York City and scheduled a performance at The Highline Ballroom. For those who are unaware of exactly what Beatallica is, well the name alone should help you with that because the band is a mixture of the Beatles and Metallica in terms of both music and lyrics. Their appearance would coincide with the long awaited and anticipated album of musical adventures entitled “Sgt. Hetfield’s Motorbeath Pub Band”. The night was also going to be the place to see a score of other talented individuals such as the band Guyz Night, an all female King Diamond cover band called Queen Diamond along with Tragedy – The Heavy Metal Bee Gee’s. I knew well in advance that this was going to be a fun experience from beginning to end so here is how it all went down. I admit that in the past I never really or don’t generally discuss unsigned openers but this time around there was so much in the way of amusing stuff going on that such commentary was warranted.
Guyz Night: I walked into the venue as this band was loading in so I asked them what I could expect from them tonight. I was told that they were just the regular guys drinking beer and playing some Rock & Roll. This was definitely the case as they hit the stage where no matter where you focused your eye you could see a beer awaiting its demise at the hands of the band. The lead singer, Guy Manley, was decked out in a quasi Bruce Springsteen denim vest and headband and had a cold beer in his hand almost as often as he had a microphone. He was also very engaging to the crowd as he informed them of their overall greatness as a band and how they wished they could be down there drinking beer but instead would just do it onstage. Musically these guys were really good and as far as funny well they scored high on that one as well. Their songs were clever as all get out and how could you not enjoy a song about Die Hard own John McClean that had a chorus of “Yippee Kay Yay Motherf**ker”. The offered thanks to those men in the audience who ever wore the badge of “Wingman” and blew my mind with a hilarious rendition of Toto’s “Africa” that spoke about it “Raining Beer In America”. This band really proved clear that playing Rock & Roll is supposed to be as much about having fun as it is anything else. If you see that they are playing I suggest you check them out but make sure you don’t challenge them to any drinking competitions.
Queen Diamond: The School Of Rock members were at it again and this time it around it was an even darker twist of Metal that they would deliver. I last caught some of these players at this very same venue opening up for Bobby Blitz’s The Cursed and they did a mix of some great Metal classics but tonight the focus would be on the music of King Diamond and Mercyful Fate and oh before I forget, it was an ENTIRELY female lineup. Led by the Queen herself, Ms. Teddi Tarnoff, she and her Black Horsemen delivered a really tight set of classic Diamond and Fate tunes. The guitarists were as impressive as when I last saw them so kudos to Ms. Cox, Ms. Gleason, Ms. Thrower and Ms. Hayes for doing a superb job and I have to admit being personally blown away by the thundering drumming of the talented Kaleen Reading. I raise the horns high to anyone who can handle Mikkey Dee’s level of drum technique and think that while the others all rocked, this young lady added a level of skill to the mix that this material needs very much. I really liked them but did feel that they were lacking in the overall dramatic presentation that such a tribute act requires. Yes Teddi growled and snarled her dialogue to the audience who seemed to dig what she was doing but there were no stage props or actions that one often finds at a King Diamond show. Having seen the King a number of times I can safely say that such details add to the performance very much and not having them really takes away from it. Given our locality of Downtown NYC, I felt that they could have found a number of things within a 3 block radius easily that would have resolved this. Perhaps next time it will be different but either way they rocked and that amounts to something in the end. Good job ladies.
Tragedy – The Metal Bee Gee’s: You might be scratching your head at the name and the idea presented by this and I have to say that I was in the same boat on this one. Yet my willingness to have a good and rocking time left me with an open mind as these guys made their way to the stage. Their production is something that seemed very well rehearsed because they come off so loose and free on stage that it had to be the case. Decked out in white leisure suits were the three front men Barry Glibb, Mo’Royce Peterson and Robin Gibbens all who sang but it was up to the first two guys to play the guitar while Robin danced with abandon and often levels of recklessness. Since Bee Gee’s and Heavy Metal have not usually been spoken in the same sentence I gave them credit for the amusing idea and the fact that they were able to morph these Disco classics into worthy Metal numbers. Leader Barry was the main spokesperson and when he was not addressing the crowd he was belittling their resident intern “Lance”, who would attend to them during the show. He also told the crowd that he wished he could be down there with them watching the band to absorb their own greatness or something to that effect. He also stated how the band was dedicated to the great music of the Bee Gees who forgot one fact when they were writing their great music, this fact was that Disco sucked. The entire Highline Ballroom was moving during the set because even though these songs were now Metalized, they still had that pumping beat that made them so catchy in the first place. They were a band that you would find fascination with I am sure, especially if you like an entertaining show that has stuff going on during the entire performance. They were backed by some lovely singers who were made up of Mrs. Glibb, Angelpussy and Olivia Newton-Chong. The ladies really added to the fullness of the sound and became ghostly Druid goddesses of some kind during the show as well. Of the many highlights of their own performance I must say that I liked “You Should Be Dancing”, “More Than A Woman” and a little number that Barry said not a lot of people know – “Stayin’ Alive”. I have to say that they can headline with this stuff on their own and if you seek a good time then this is a band to see with friends who have an odd sense of humor as well.
Beatallica: While the dudes in Beatallica were the headliners tonight I was convinced that the Tragedy set was going to be a little tough to outdo especially in terms of the comedy meets music factor that they definitely delivered on. Fortunately, while Beatallica is a mash up group of the Beatles and Metallica it is more about the music sounding good than the shtick that’s involved even though some antics are done during their shows. They come out dressed in the garb of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club band or at least sport similar jackets and pants to that stuff and they get right down to business with the tunes. I had recently reviewed the CD and when I first put it on I remembered being surprised at how good it actually had come out. Outside of the ladies in Queen Diamond, the Beatallicats were the heaviest band performing tonight and probably the tightest in terms of their overall musicality. I enjoyed them live very much and was bopping along as they did the numbers I had favored on the CD such as “Revo-loo-tion” and “Blackened the USSR” among others. They’re led by Jaymz Lennfield, whose name is a mash up of its own based on John Lennon and James Hetfield – that’s pretty clever if you ask me. He also acts as the bands master of ceremonies and keeps the crowd going by doing all the interacting. The other guys talked a little bit but were more focused on being on top of their musical game. They spoke of the bassist being an animal, but we were never sure why so perhaps this was one of their inside jokes for fans who know more about their history. They played most of the album that was finally able to be released and if you are a fan of the Beatles and or Metallica and can be open minded enough to find the pair mixed together then you might like this one very much. You would also help support a very hard working band that goes to great lengths to give you a good time. I was very happy to see that this weird little gig tonight was as crowded as it was given that it was the last holiday weekend of the summer and a Sunday evening to boot. The success of the show proved that there is an audience for everything and that Metal and Hard Rock music remains as diverse as those who execute it would have it be.
I really hope to see all of these bands again to see how they have changed in music or progressed in terms of their concerts. This was really a good time that I will remember for awhile and it was also a great way to begin my own September which according to the calendar and appearances listed was going to be a month that would be loaded with Metal to consume.
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Official Web Site: www.beatallica.org
Official Web Site: www.letsmaketragedyhappen
Official Web Site: www.myspace.com/queendiamondband
Official Web Site: www.beatallica.org
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