Trouble – Live in Chicago


Heaven And Hell

Nitecap, Chicago
March 31, 2007

Review by Tim Shockley



I needed this gig bad. Seems like ages since I’ve had one of those classic nights out. You know the drill- deafening, old-school metal, stumbling home at 2:45 am, ears still ringing; dropping your keys in a pitch-black hallway, then dropping the lighter you were going to use to find the keys! Waking up the wife. God, my head hurts today. I live for this…

The first issue that needs to be addressed about this gig is the shameful fact that not one local newspaper or music magazine publicized the show! They’re from Chicago, for crying out loud! The second thing is the Chicago faithful made me very proud by packing the joint to the rafters! Well done. Tip of the cap. Now, on to the show…

Chicago’s Heaven And Hell opened the affair and played a great set of Black Sabbath, Dio, and Rainbow covers. Particularly impressive was vocalist Warren Halvarson who nailed Ronnie James Dio and Ozzy Osbourne to near perfection. But a word of advice, gents- you may want to change your name, as another band by the same name you may have heard about might be contacting you very soon! For more info, go to

D-Connect were up next and immediately the place went nuts! I’d never seen them before, but I was quite impressed. You don’t see mosh pits in small bars that often, especially when you’re trying to maneuver through it carrying two shots of Jägermiester! I wouldn’t necessarily categorize D-Connect as heavy metal, per se, but instead more high energy, dirty rock n’ roll, ala vintage Circus Of Power, Rogue Male, or perhaps, though not as mighty, Motörhead. Their song “Angry” permanently is tattooed to my brain! Singer Russ (no last name) is a great front man, while guitarist Vulgar (ditto) churned out some great lead solos. At one point, former Zoetrope bassist Calvin “Willis” Humphrey jumped onstage to provide backing vocals for the Zoetrope classic “Indecent Obsessions!” But a minor quibble for singer Russ- no one from Chicago refers to it as “Chi-town!” Leave that to the tourists and suburbanites, please! For more info, go to

Now, on to the reason hundreds of diehard metal heads gathered together on a cold, rainy Saturday night- Trouble! I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t seen Trouble in 22 years! Then again, they’ve spent much of that time dealing with record labels and personnel changes. Their last album, PLASTIC GREEN HEAD, was released some twelve years ago. Compounding to all of this confusion more than you can ever imagine was the sudden, tragic death of former drummer, good friend, and one of Chicago’s most beloved musicians, Barry Stern (Zoetrope, Trouble, D-Connect). Trust me, this shocked everyone in the metal scene here and abroad. RIP, brother.

Touring to promote their new album, SIMPLE MIND CONDITION (Escapi Music), Trouble took the stage to the intro music of The Beatles “I Am The Walrus” and ripped into a searing version of “R.I.P.,” played perhaps in honor of Stern. It was obvious from the first note the band have lost nothing in 20 years! They’re still crisp, loud, and heavy as hell!  

Trouble has always been a bit of an enigma. First, they should’ve been much more huge! I know they have a great following in Europe, but you’d think their own market (US) would embrace them a bit more! Second, they’re always referred to as “doom” metal, yet their lyrics are extremely positive! So much for preconceptions, eh?!   

While the majority of the set list was two decades old, none of it sounded dated! This proves that, once and for all, once a good song, always a good song! Seriously, how could anyone complain about tonight’s set list- “Pray For The Dead,” “The Tempter,” “At The End Of My Daze,” “Revelation (Life Or Death),” and “The Memory Garden,” “All Is Forgiven,” and “The Sleeper,” among others.

At one point, guitarist Bruce Franklin teased the crowd with the opening riff of Cream’s “Tales Of Brave Ulysses.” Wagner interjected “Why don’t we do the “A” side, instead?” referring to their single “Assassin” from their first album, PSALM 9.

Trouble also debuted a great new song, “Goin’ Home,” which erased any thought the band was living in the past! Make no mistake- Trouble are back!      

The sweaty, exhausting homecoming ended with the one-two punch of “Bastards Will Pay” and “Psychotic Reaction!” Like I said- Trouble are back!


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