Artist: Ross The Boss
Venue: Bowery Electric (New York, NY)
Opener: Martyrd, Seventh Calling, Magus Beast, Horrifier, Ravage
Label: AFM Records
I think it was about a year ago that I last caught Ross The Boss in action and for that show he was touring with the NWOBHM Legends Raven. The show was at Club Europa and the gig also featured White Wizzard, Zandelle and another band whose name I have forgotten. I liked what I saw as Ross was at the time supporting his album “New Metal Leader” and this incredible release was miles ahead musically than any of the recent output by his former band mates in Manowar. If you didn’t hear the album and think me insane for the statement, I suggest that you snare yourself a copy and be your own judge. The event this evening was listed as “Thunderfest” and would be held at the Bowery Electric club, a space that I had heard about but not adventured into until this very night. That is always a plus for me since it lets me enjoy the music in a totally new setting and it just makes the night cooler unless the venue turns out to be a hole. There was a lot going on at this rather early starting gig and while it said 6:30pm as a start I would not arrive until almost 8pm. I figured it would not be long after that for me to enjoy Ross The Boss and perhaps a couple of the other openers for the Thunderfest.
The show was kicked off by the bands Made Again, Seventh Calling and Horrifier and as I mentioned, based on the travel time and scheduling I would miss the first two in their entirety and only catch a little bit of New Jersey’s Horrifier. The band seemed to be your conventional Thrash Metal outfit, and I had to admit that with such a name that I was anticipating more of a Horror Punk or Metal enterprise like The Misfits or Wednesday 13 but that was not to be the case. I would see them again if they opened for someone else I was covering and I felt their set was tight. Martyrd was up next.
Martyrd: I’ve been able to see Martyrd in action a few times over the last couple of years and I will admit to not being all that impressed at the first go round but as each gig passed me by the boys were fine tuning their Metal craft and really putting out an energetic show. I was now a fan and was happy to find them delivering a kick ass appearance. They had a LOT of people supporting them this evening and that was great to see. The dueling guitars of Mike and Dan were on point and this was the first time that I ever saw their new bass player. The drumming was heavy and technical in some areas and he never missed a trick which impressed me, and through it all singer Aaron was a dynamo. Perhaps he made just a few too many faces during the gig but oh well, he does give you a great visual and a commendable vocal. The guys are all fans of the classic stuff and if the right people pay attention to them can start to climb up the ranks and start getting on as many shows as we see bands like Warbringer and Mantic Ritual being on. The Next Wave of American Thrash Metal is beginning and NYC is its home. At least I think so. Ravage was coming up next.
Ravage: The band hailed from Boston, MA and they are apparently a new signing to Metal Blade Records. They had a lot of sound issues this evening from my vantage point and perhaps they were not hearing each other all that well because while their set was on the interesting side it was coming off as a little choppy and not as in sync as the preceding Martyrd had sounded. There were also quite a few less people in the venue as a majority of the Martyrd fans had left to go mingle with the band as they packed up. As far as Ravage is concerned they seemed happy to be in NYC and the best impression that I took from their forty five or so minutes set was that they would be of definite interest to the fans of classic Maiden. They had that kind of vibe to them and perhaps before they got signed used to do a lot of that stuff since there was a very visible sound connection when I thought deeply on it. I wish them luck on their signing to The Blade and had to say that they were good guys and very friendly. If they come back through town I will try to catch them for sure so I can see if my minor hesitations have been worked out or not. It was now getting late as Magus Beast began to set up their gear.
Magus Beast: While I had heard the name of the band Magus Beast for a number of years, I had to say that I only think I saw them once and honestly never paid much attention to them. This is not a slight to their talents at all but just an honest reflection of what I had been able to do in wandering around the Metal scene. One truly cannot pay attention to everyone and they did have a strong command of fans supporting them so it didn’t matter. Tonight I would get a better chance to see what they were all about and hopefully enjoy it as well. They were the direct support for this show and they went on at around 11pm. This show was really starting to become a test of one’s Metal stamina for sure. I didn’t know any of their stuff and the singer had been hanging around early and enjoying some rounds with friends and supporters. This left him on the drunk side and while he was able to sing alright he kept announcing to the audience that he was drunk a number of times. The guitar work was sound in the band and the drumming solid. I would learn later that the drummer was also a member of The Nightmare Stage, and I even got their CD to dig into after the show. The Beast would also play a very long set and sadly it seemed that only a dozen of their own friends and the people there for Ross had remained. While I liked how they sounded even with the inebriated singing, I just wanted them to finish so Ross could play and I could get on home. It was shortly after midnight when Ross finally was ready to perform for the meager crowd that had chosen to stick around.
Ross The Boss: After the intro music brought Ross and the band to the stage the mood was different and on. Ross is a great guitar player and he shows that his new material is some really strong stuff that more Metal heads should be rallying behind. Ross’ band is great musicians and they all hail from Germany so that makes stateside regional gigging a very difficult prospect. The band was apparently a Manowar tribute acts at one time and Ross took the reins and made them his players. This was a great move as they are clearly capable of delivering the Manowar stuff and singer Patrick Fuchs really has a killer set of pipes and as many are noting in the press, a stronger register than Eric Adams possesses at this point in time. Ross announced that this would be the last time the band fully supported “New Metal Leader” and that their new CD was coming out. I think it arrived a few days before this gig or was coming shortly after, I lost track but it was entitled “Hailstorm” and is not to be confused with the Hard Rock act of the same name.
The set list featured a LOT of “New Metal Leader” but also a lot of classic Manowar which was what I really was in the mood for this evening. They left out “May The Gods Be With You” from that last album but made up for it by featuring “Thor”, “Hail and Kill” and even “Battle Hymn” – The latter song being my own introduction into the power of Manowar. Ross played a little keyboards at one juncture and showcased a new instrumental he called “G.G.G.” but I didn’t remember what that had stood for. They sounded great and were playing as if standing in front of ten thousand as opposed to at best twelve. It was closing in on 1:45am when they finally finished their set and now it was officially Monday morning and those who remained all had work in a few hours.
In looking at the whole night I had a few issues about it and this was primarily in the set list run times and changeover between acts. Without intending to slight the opening bands; there is no way that a seven band bill offers a full set for each band. That is just not how it is done these days and the night never ends if you do this. The openers get at best thirty minutes and the direct support usually about forty five unless they are someone huge and the gig is considered a co-headlining event. If they think this will keep more bodies in the venue they are wrong as tonight I watched people arrive for one band and leave after them. You also get it started early and not after 7pm when you are giving each band close to an hour. Putting Ross on well after midnight made this what a media person would view as a “non-press friendly” event. I don’t know any media people who will come and do a show review when the gig starts after midnight. In the end Ross played incredibly but to no one new to his sound and that will cause him to suffer in this region and it is here that he needs to develop a larger fan base. There were no curious onlookers present for his set and everyone who had braved the unending evening knew full well what the musician was all about.
The club can be compared to the Lit Lounge in how its downstairs from a main floor bar area but it is slightly roomier than the other space. If I had to choose between the two I would come here but only if I was assured that the main act would not go on the day after I walked in the door. My hope is that Ross The Boss comes back soon and performs as an opener for a band that will offer him a new audience. There are plenty of tours hitting Gramercy Theatre and B.B. Kings over the next few months so let’s keep our fingers crossed on that. Pick up a copy of “Hailstorm” and support the True Metal.
Magus Beast Set List:
1. Magus Beast
2. Death Before Dishonor
3. Into The Night
4. I Live
5. Should I
8. Rise Of The Beast
9. In Vain
RTB Set List:
1. Blood Of Knives
2. Death & Glory
3. Death Tone
4. God Of Dying
5. Shell Shock
6. We Will Kill
7. Dead Man’s Curve
9. Kill With Power
10. Hail To England (omitted)
12. Hail And Kill
13. Battle Hymn