Cactus @ Musikkafee Rex (Bensheim, Germany) – (5/16/2017)

Over the summer months our own stalwart adventurer Kat Electric was visiting Deutschland for studies, family time and some glorious Rock & Roll. One of the concerts that she attended was the always awesome Cactus and her report on the gig at the Musikkafee Rex in Bensheim follows below the logo.

Artist: Cactus
Venue: Musikkafee Rex (Bensheim, Germany)
Opener: n/a
Date: 5/16/2017
Label: Sunset Blvd. Records

So I get off the plane in Frankfurt, the heart of Germany’s banking center, and what interesting sites there are to greet me! An unshaven, bloated and greasy haired driver who speaks in strange post Brooklyn via Croatia “engrish” and who doesn’t seem to understand a word of German gives me a three tooth grin from under his hand scrawled sign : Katerina Vilson of Spinal Pap : Deutchlund velcomes yoo! “Welcome in Germany! We love Bush!” My driver says. I purposely fail to mention that we are eight years into the Obama administration – what would be the point, and ask to be pointed to the car. He goes on to discuss his auto repair abilities and shows evidence of such every time we hit a bump. “Wheel not perfectly square but Drago make it work just good. . .” He dropped me off a block away from my less than 5-Star where I reserved a single, but am informed it won’t be ready so early in the day – it is 4PM – so, I wait. Shortly after I arrive my parents and younger brother stroll in from their day at the market and we all sit down to some wonderful schnitzel and kraut. Interesting first day to say the least but it will all be worth it if only this summer of concerts that I have planned comes off.

First day in the country, and first up was the legendary Cactus. My dad and I had this show on our calendars since its announcement. Pop had never seen them and I knew they put on a show well worth ignoring the jetlag. We arrived at 7PM to find a sizable crowd ready and geared up for the show well in advance of the 10PM set time. These normally reserved Germans are very serious about their rock ‘n roll. Stoic faces and with arms crossed as they stand and stare at the stage, but when the lights come up – it is all arms flailing and voices at node breaking level for the rest of the evening.

The iconic Carmine Appice led his out hard with hard with “Let Me Swim” and kept the energy constant the entire night. The hits kept rolling and the audience fed off of every note. Frontman, Jimmy Kunes paced the footlights the entire night only pausing to sing a tribute to the late, great and obviously dearly missed Ronnie James Dio. Seven years gone, wept Kunes with both band and audience following.

Having seen a previous incarnation of the group, I thought that the newest editions, Jimmy Caputo on bass, and Paul Warren on guitar, fit the puzzle perfectly. The guys didn’t miss a beat, and although McCarty’s unique playing style will be missed, Warren has an equally matched interpretation of the group’s set list.

Appice sweats showmanship into every muscle twitch and tonight was no exception. Coming out from behind the kit to teach the audience a lesson in rhythm with nothing more than a pair of drumsticks, he had the place shaking and rolling while everyone beat on any surface that they could reach. The show ended with “Rock ‘n’ Roll Children” and though my dad would have all believe that he suffers from every known malady, (and several more unknown), he managed to shake a tail feather like it was 1976 for him all over again. Overall, a great show with a pleasingly long set in front of an enthusiastic crowd by the latest killer Cactus lineup.

Next up, follow me as I hop over to Frankfurt’s Festhalle and a little German boy reluctantly has one star painted over his right eye for a KISS concert.

Cactus Set List:
1. Let Me Swim
2. One Way…Or Another
3. Bro. Bill
4. Headed for a Fall
5. Muscle and Soul
6. Alaska
7. Black Dawn
8. You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover
9. Electric Blue
10. Evil
11. Dynamite
12. Parchman Farm
13. Long Tall Sally
14. Rock’n’Roll Children

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