Friday, February 24, 2012

Sebastian Bach Still Commands The Stage

Webster dictionary defines swagger as “to walk with an air of overbearing self-confidence”. In the world of rock and roll, it is commonly referred to as “swaggah”. There have been some front men throughout the history of music who truly are the epitome of that word. Every generation has their own who exemplify the word. Elvis had it. David Lee Roth had it. Sebastian Bach had it. Just a side note, Roth and Bach still have it.

Sebastian Bach and his tour bus rolled into Winston Salem, NC to Ziggy’s on February 1. It was a warm afternoon, but it was about to get much, much hotter inside the club. Bach is touring in support of his album Kicking and Screaming and judging by the fact that the show sold out, it would be safe to say that there were quite a few who wanted to see if he still had it.

After an opening act that almost put the audience to sleep, Bach and his band came rolling out to the stage and shot the crowd full of adrenaline. The show started with a blistering version of Skid Row’s “Slave to the Grind”. Bach looked like he was in great shape and his voice was seemed just as strong as back in the 80s. The band was tight and sounded amazing.

Bach is the master of ceremonies when he is on stage. The show is his vehicle and he is the driver. He asks for audience participation and he keeps the show interesting, even when no songs are being played. His banter in between songs was comical as he made fun of how skinny his guitar player is by asking if anyone could buy him a cheeseburger. He even held up a DVD of the Gilmour Girls and commented on it. For those not in the know, Bach made several guest appearances on that show.

What was surprising during this show was so great his new material sounding when meshing against the older, 80s stuff. “Kicking and Screaming”, “Tunnelvision” and “Dirty Power”, which are all off of his new album, were played and sounded pretty amazing. The crowd’s reaction to the newer material was very favorable too.

The show at Ziggy’s marked the first show for new bassist Jason Christopher who had played for fellow rockers Stone Sour before joining Bach. He seemed to just fall right into place with the band and sounded right at home. Bach’s guitarist Nick Sterling, who wasn’t even born when Skid Row started out, was simply brilliant as Bach’s right hand man. His solos were tight and he definitely has some mad skills.

Bach made sure to cover all the old Skid Row songs. All of the classics were there including “Monkey Business”, “Big Guns”, “Piece of Me”, “Monkey Business” and “18 and Life”. The crowd erupted when “I Remember You”, one of THE best power ballads from the 80s, was played. I’m not going to say Bach’s vocals were dead-on during this song, but they were pretty darn close. He closed the show with the song that he made an anthem for a generation back in the day, “Youth Gone Wild”. He even pulled a little rocker kid up on stage during the song. The kid looked to be maybe 5 years old and had on a leather jacket and was throwing horns during the entire song.

The show ended much like a wild night of sex. The audience was hot and sweaty and exhausted, but smiling at the same time. There were even quite a few who made a dash for the exit door to have a cigarette! Although, I think that had more to do with the no-smoking policy in the venue. After watching Bach command that stage, one thing was crystal clear; that “swaggah” that he possesses is sorely missing in rock today. Maybe when all is said and done and Bach decides to hang up the microphone, he can do infomercials that teach “swaggah” to wannabe rock stars.

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