Metalhead Matt Smith just woke up from Saturday's Slaughter concert in Detroit and files this report on the Motor City. Sounds like fun:
We go shopping today in the Royal Oak Arts District. This is a wonderful area for artwork and eccentric clothing. Great shops for leather and other hard to find specialty clothes. Shoes, boots, vintage T-shirts, jackets, essential rock and roll gear can be found in this section of the city.
You can roll down 8 Mile to get here. That is the street made famous by
the Marshal Mathers movie of the same name. If you want to hit up just a
regular old shopping mall, stop by The Oakland mall, it is also close by.
They have a three-screen art house cinema here in the district. They opened “Factotum” and “Only Human” on 9/22. Those films are opening @ Market Street Cinema on Friday 10/06. I take pride in the fact that Little Rock is only two weeks behind a city the size of Detroit on the opening dates of indie films. The hold over film was “Inconvenient Truth”, which Market Street has been playing since the national opening date.
We head out to Mt. Clemens early. The Hayloft Liquor Stand is the spot
for the SLAUGHTER concert tonight. The bar owner is friends with the band’s guitar player. So, they have booked this show. Everyone is just hanging out early on. A ton of Italian food has been prepared and all the local opening bands are eating and drinking with the Slaughter band and crew. This is great and a really good time, almost like throwing a family barbeque. However, it has a negative impact on the evenings show. The local bands ate some food, then drank and drank and drank… FOREVER! I don’t even want to review the bands, give their names, or even talk about it. The opening acts were wasted. It was just sloppy.
SLAUGHTER hits the stage at 11:30 p.m. They were great! Sticking to tradition, they opened with “The Wild Life” from the album of the same
name. They played a 10-song set. “Reach For The Sky”, “That’s Not
Enough” and “Spend My Life” quickly followed. Then the band dedicated “Burning Bridges” to Vinnie Vincent. Vincent had been the guitar player that replaced Ace in KISS. Vincent was featured on “Creatures Of The Night” and “Lick It Up”, after those albums he was “dropped” by KISS.
Vincent formed “Vinnie Vincent Invasion” with the people that would eventually become “Slaughter” The “VVI” also ended after two albums, and the boys –sans Vinnie – started “Slaughter”. The song, “ Burning Bridges” seems to be a fitting tribute. The rumor in the metal world has always been that Vincent can’t get along with anyone.
“Eye To Eye” was up next. For this song, Mark Slaughter jumped out into the crowd. He got eye to eye with people and gave them the mic so they could sing. He worked his way through the crowd for the duration of the song. This was the high point of the evening for many in attendance.
After returning to the stage, Mark broke into “Mad About You”. The band slowed down for the drum solo, which rolled nicely until the bass solo cranked up. Dana Strum, who plays bass and founded the band, Mark who is the original singer, and the groups name sake and Blas Elias the original drummer all work so well together. Everyone gets along. At one point during the show, the group stated things were so good they didn’t have to practice They may be BS, I don’t know, but the performance was a 10.
It would be impossible to catch the original line up of Slaughter, because
the founding guitar player Tim Kelly died in a car crash in 1998. Jeff
Blando replaced him then, and is still with the band. Blando is from the Mt. Clemens area and grew up with the Hayloft’s owner. That is the entire reason for the band playing this gig. Jeff sounds great, and he should because this line up has been performing together now for 8 years. They have been out on several “Rock Never Stops” tours between ’98 and ’03. They knock it out of the park live.
“Fly To The Angels” was dedicated to the American troops fighting in Iraq.
The group paused for a moment, to take a break before the last song. I sent a round of Tequila shots up on stage. They knocked those back and hit
“ Up All Night.” They boys headed back stage and cooled down for about 10
minutes. Then one of the longest and best encores I have ever seen occurred. They ripped into such rock and roll tunes as “ Still Of The Night” – White Snake, “Rock and Roll All Night” –Kiss, “Back In Black” – AC/DC, “Iron Man” – Black Sabbath, “ Johnny B. Good” –Chuck Berry, and “Whole Lot A Love” – Led Zepplin. Members of the crowd were on stage for these songs. It just completely rocked! What a performance.
We kicked it back stage for a while with SLAUGHTER, just hanging out.
They returned to the bar area after 2 AM when the place had shut down. We talked, took photos and they signed and drank some beer until 3AM. T-shirts, drumsticks, picks, and the band handed out drum skins – really the usual swag from a back stage experience. But, this was HOURS back stage and talking out through out the evening. There was talk of an all-new studio album being released by the summer of ’07.
This show was well worth the journey to Detroit.
“ Real Love” -- Matt Smith