Artist: Sixx AM
Venue: Best Buy Theater (New York, NY)
Opener: Apocalyptica and Honor Among Thieves
Label: Elven Seven Music
Tonight was going to be an interesting one for any fan of Modern Heavy Music as it was not only what appeared to be the very first appearance on the Best Buy Theater stage for Sixx A.M. but it was also the return of Finland’s Apocalyptica. The tour package across the board was to feature an opening Vamps set (those guys from Japan) and the Apocalyptica before Sixx AM but that was not to be the case for the NYC show. Opening the show would be one of the Big Apples local circuit bands called Honor Among Thieves. I’ve heard this name before in the past at some of the venues down on the Lower East Side where they generally seem to play and their sound is a solid Hard Rock when it comes down to it. I was told that one of their members works at the venue so he had a lot of staff and area friends rallying their musical charge. It was nice to see and I wish them well with their continued adventures. Vamps would pick up the final dates of the tour if I was not mistaken and even better for us fans in NYC, they would be doing a headlining show at this very venue at the end of the week. Now it was time to get classy-call, as the great Apocalyptica was ready to take the stage.
Apocalyptica: It’s been far too long since NYC has had a visit from the great Apocalyptica and I have to say that I was really looking forward to seeing them about equally as much as finally being able to see Sixx A.M. Now this might have struck you as a weird opening slot for the band since they have also headlined this very venue a couple of times over the years and the same with Irving Plaza, so knowing you were going to get an abbreviated set from the Finns was not something those who had only come to this show to see very happy. The band recently signed to the Better Noise label which is connected to Eleven Seven Records where we find all the Sixx AM stuff coming out. Their new album is called “Shadowmaker” and while I have not yet heard more than a couple of tracks I do know that the Finns are working with a new singer in Franky Perez. His name is very new to me but some research found me learning that he had also worked as a touring member of Slash’s band before he partnered up with Myles Kennedy. The guys arrived to thunderous applause which was nice because I was not sure who here was all about them and who was all about Sixx AM. A show like this sometimes has dividing lines. The set tonight would feature three of the new albums eight tracks and since their set moved so quickly, a lot of the diehard fans were griping how the local opening wasted valuable Apocalyptica time in their eyes. Oh well, you cannot please everyone. They started out with two from the new release and the material does sound fine in concert which is honestly the best way to enjoy Apocalyptica. They kept the banter between the audience on the limited side and this didn’t surprise me since they don’t really talk all that much during shows anyway.
Singer Franky seems to fit right into the mix and does all of the tunes that require lead vocals. In the past the band has travelled with assorted singers to do those same songs but this is likely the easiest and cheapest option. In their “Metal Covers” part of the set we got Sepultura’s “Inquisition Symphony” and while it rocked, it’s just a band that I never found myself into so I would have preferred something else from their repertoire. They also did Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” which while their rendition has no vocals, it didn’t stop the audience from singing along to every single word. “I Don’t Care” is one of the bands biggest vocal numbers and that went over like gangbusters and to close it all up some homage was paid to Grieg with “In The Hall Of The Mountain King”. New fans might recognize this as something that the Trans-Siberian Orchestra has been doing for a few years and they indeed do it under the title “The Mountain”. Sadly that numbers end would take the Finnish Classical players away from NYC and now it was time for Nikki Sixx and company to hit the boards. I was very excited for this since it was a completely new experience for me.
Sixx A.M.: The most recent album by Sixx AM is entitled “Modern Vintage” and if you are wondering why you never heard about the band touring your region its simply because they had never embarked on a full scale tour until this go round. Each of the members is very busy with other projects as Sixx has Motley Crue and Ashba is in that little band that no one has ever heard of before Guns N Roses. Anyway, the room was nicely packed which was great to see because I am sure the guys had the same concerns about this tour. Yeah we are well known for these other bands that people see live at every turn but this is a brave new experiment and one that was surely proving was a great idea to have entertained. So I will admit to being behind on the times with the bands most recent output and was taking this show as an education in their catalog of stuff to better enjoy it. Sixx came out sporting his leather and a dark pair of shades but the smile he often had let the audience below him that he was enjoying it just as much as they were if not more. Ashba is a guitarist that I had never heard outside of the material on the bands albums and this was also my first time seeing him live in action since I have not caught him with GNR at all. What a solid player and a great choice for such a project.
The guys would actually begin their set with three tunes from the new album “Modern Vintage” and since I did some advance set list recon before tonight, I would learn that all three of their albums would get a nice sampling of this evening. That is never a bad thing. Front man James Michael was a charmer on the stage and wore a smile along with his own sunglasses that really went right through you. The other thing that went right through you was his vocal register which was amazing and just how affected the folks in the audience were by these songs. There was a lot of singing along to the tunes from the moment that they started and if this didn’t give the band pause that they had made the right decision in touring then I don’t think anything else will. The title tune from “This Is Gonna Hurt” came up next and then they would spend some time on the set with their first album “The Heroin Diaries” before returning to the new album. What I was noticing most about the show was how well all of the tunes were working with each other. Since this was essentially a project band that the members did when there was available time there was a certain level of consistency to the songwriting and nothing was hitting me as being too far left from center.
I did find it amusing to hear the cover of “Drive” by The Cars, a tune sung by the late great Benjamin Orr. It was a favorite from the moment that I heard it and the band does it some justice. They were assisted by a pair of lovely backing vocalists who at times would come down to the front stage to rock out with the rest of the band. Drums were being adeptly handles by Dustin Steinke. At one point Sixx took a few minutes to talk to the audience saying how scary this idea was to take on the road and how it had never ever been designed to be something for the live stage and a full on tour but the responses and reception that they had been getting made them vow to get back to setting up some dates to come back around and rock our socks. Okay so the last part was mine but you get the drift. This makes sense since Motley Crue is ended at some point this year as the band continues to rumble through its “All Bad Things Must Come To An End” tour and after that what is he going to do? This is a better option for him but of course these tours will have to be planned around any of the activity that Ashba is involved in with Guns N Roses. I know if they return to another tour that I will surely try to be on point for it since this was just such a rocking show. The final number would be their first and biggest hit “Life Is Beautiful” and by this time the entire venue was singing along – even us newbies (but I actually knew this was at least well before LOL).
Though I had an outstanding time at tonight’s show, I guess my main and only criticism is based on the photographic restraints that were faced. As readers know, part of the magic of doing the concert reporting is getting you some quality images from right up front for a few numbers and sadly this would not be the case this evening. All professional photographers had to stand on a platform in the rear of the venue near the sound board and shoot over the heads of the fans. That kind of sucked for us and bringing the larger than life vibe of this show to your screens. Oh well, I guess you take the bad with the good sometimes right? Hopefully this will be different when they return.
Full Sixx A.M. Photo Gallery: http://piercingmetal.com/sixx-a-m-live-photos-best-buy-theater-4272015/
Apocalyptica Set List:
1. I-III-V Seed of Chaos
2. Cold Blood
4. Inquisition Symphony (Sepultura cover)
5. Nothing Else Matters (Metallica cover)
7. I Don’t Care
8. In the Hall of the Mountain King
Sixx A.M. Set List:
1. Let’s Go
2. Give Me a Love
4. This Is Gonna Hurt
5. Pray for Me
6. Dead Man’s Ballet
7. Accidents Can Happen
9. Live Forever
10. Gotta Get It Right
11. Drive (The Cars cover)
12. Help Is on the Way
13. Goodbye My Friends
14. Lies of the Beautiful People
17. Life Is Beautiful