The stage was a blank canvas with the the black (semi-sheer) curtains covering the take down of Hardcore Superstar and the set up of Michael Monroe. Count’s Vamp’d was nearly full, patrons were gathered from the stage to the elevated soundboard in the back, with some rushing to get a drink at the long bar before Monroe would take over the stage.
I had arrived unfashionably late, that is, about half way through Hardcore Superstar’s set. As I made my way around the corner to enter through the two sets of double doors, I could hear their sound seeping through the walls. This was their second time playing in the states in over ten years and the crowd was overwhelmed with excitement, chanting and singing along to all of their hits. It was easy to see, the band had definitely been missed. This is a prime example of why you should never be late to shows folks, you never know what band you could discover next, but I digress.
With the curtains gone, I laid my eyes on a new black back drop with Michael Monroe’s name and custom logo of a double M in a very fitting deep-red color. Soon enough the room went silent and the band quickly filed on stage; Sami Yaffa, Steve Conte, Karl Rockfist, Rich Jones, and last, but not least, the man himself, Michael Monroe.
The band immediately strummed into “This Ain’t No Love Song”. Monroe made his way strutting across the stage in his all, black and red, leather getup with red stars along the outsides of both legs and his signature platinum blonde locks, howling away in his glam/punk rock way. Yaffa and Rockfist kept up a strong/heavy rhythm section to keep up with these vocals.
As the night went on Monroe got into many different sober antics and decided about halfway through the set to, mid song, climb up the side stage speakers to get, what I can only assume, a better view of the audience. Singing from the peak for a few good seconds before jumping down and running back to the opposite side of the stage, he was still flushed with energy.
The setlist was well rounded including rock anthems from multiple albums and a few Hanoi Rocks’ songs. *Signal opening harmonica lick to the rock anthem “Dead, Jail, or Rock ‘n’ Roll”*. The band also, surprisingly enough, covered CCR’s “Up Around The Bend”.
Wanting to keep everyone in amazement; just before the band was going to go into the encore, Monroe displayed his many talents and performed a drum solo that included many familiar classic licks. After waiting for the applause, signaling approval, he continued to pick up Steve Conte’s guitar to play a few riffs before (quite literally) flying into the final songs.
This was a night filled with 80’s attitude and numerous glam rock songs about the unglamorous with countless mic stands nearly meeting their end in the making. Michael Monroe actually gave us something to gawk at, to lose a sense of time for a couple of hours. With multiple talents and the ability to do higher kicks than any cheerleader I ever saw, it will be hard to ever forget this show. Be sure to check out the band’s new music video for “Goin’ Down With The Ship” that is out now and go down to your local record store pick up a copy of “Blackout States”. The second half of The Cemetery Tour will continue on this week with the guys making their way to the east coast and wrapping up the tour in Miami, Fl. on Monday.