I REMEMBER YOU. SYDNEY AUSTRALIA
14 September 2006, Selina’s, Coogee Bay Hotel
Written and pics Brat
SEBASTIAN BACH AND BAND tickets went on sale while I was in Europe covering a couple of the summer festivals and seeing the sights. I had given someone in Sydney the responsibility of buying my ticket as this was one show I had no intentions of missing and although Selina’s is a decent sized venue, it’s still sells out regularly. I was a little surprised at the announcement. I didn’t know of anything recently done by Sebastian Bach except Supergroup being shown on pay TV here, but surely that wasn’t the reason for the tour? His new album doesn’t come out until next year.
Sebastian Bach has never been far from my mind and his surprise (to me) appearance on Gilmore Girls brought me out of my lounge chair “whooping” all over the place and further endeared on me the show with the cool, sexy mom who wears a Motörhead T-shirt.
Selina’s, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, practically on Coogee Beach is one of Sydney’s oldest live music icons. Even my 70 year old father used come to this place for live music in his youth. It’s one of my preferred live venues in Sydney but over the past few years seems to have been forgotten by metal promoters. The two level venue holds about 1200 people and with a stage that stands about 5 feet high, everyone gets a pretty decent view. One day I’ll actually remember that the rooms upstairs have been reopened as hotel accommodation and not just used as band rooms anymore and spend a leisurely night at a gig where I can take 50 steps to my room after enjoying an evening free of counting drinks.
Support band for the night was 20 GRAMS—strange considering the band hasn’t really made much of a mark in the live rock scene here, but nevertheless, is full of talented musicians who have paid their dues over the last 15 years. They were probably suited to the older audience that came out of retirement. I saw people I loved and hanged with every weekend in the old days and people I loathed (which was reinforced on the night).
20 GRAMS is the new home of ex-Dungeon guitarist Stuart Marshall (also from 90s band Wishing Tree) together with well-known singer around the covers scene, Marcus Crane (also formerly of Torrent, who are apparently returning to the live scene—big yay!) and keyboardist from the old glam metal outfits Scoundrel and Mr Scary, Ray Martens, drummer Joe and a new bassist from what I can tell (sorry, don’t know anything about these two).
Stu has left the land of power metal and gone back to his roots of (and here’s that hated term of mine) AOR, but unfortunately, maybe that’s the only way to describe their performance this night. I saw 20 GRAMS four months ago and they totally rocked, but tonight they lacked spark, even lacked a hint of lustre.
At first I just thought it was me; the excitement of knowing I would see Bas play again after all these years made me blind and deaf to everything around me. I mean a life-size laminated poster of the man still hangs on the back of my door 17 years later. But, when I heard similar comments from many of my friends and acquaintances, all familiar with the band’s pedigree, I didn’t feel so biased.
Selina’s was at least half full when 20 GRAMS played, so I hope the general public (read people who would be lucky if they saw only 1 band a year) holding their good positions for Sebastian Bach got more out of them. At least applause wasn’t wanting for 20 GRAMS. With the band also supporting Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society in a few weeks, I really hope they were just having an ordinary night, because the Zakk Wylde crowd is going to be harder to please.
After what seemed a lifetime of listening to depressing Evanescence (ok, so it was only one spin of the CD) we were all getting restless and just wanted SEBASTIAN BACH AND BAND to get on stage.
The band started and the man charged onto the stage with a grin ear to ear. Water was flying everywhere (to the detriment of a full photo pit) as Sebastian started his “Slave To The Grind” followed by “Big Guns”.
Bas looked like he was having the time of his life—he just didn’t stop smiling. Considering the crowd was much smaller than the European festivals he’s been performing at these past few years, you’d think the shows in Australia would be nothing special for him, but he knew, as did we that there was one HUGE difference, unlike the festivals with tens of thousands of people, this audience was here to see him and only him.
Sebastian Bach reminisced about the last time he was in Australia in 1993 when Skid Row supported Guns N Roses at Eastern Creek Raceway (not long after the famous and tragic bottle throwing incident) and the first in 1990 when Skid Row wowed us (yes, I was at both) at the Horden Pavilion. I also reminisced, remembering watching all young girls being carried out of the crowd by security guards and handed over to St John’s Ambulance volunteers (first aid providers) and laughed at their audacity to wear “I survived Skid Row live” t-shirts.
He then told us Here I Am (I had no intentions of closing my eyes—who needs Superman!) and one of his solo songs “Stuck Inside” from his forthcoming ANGEL DOWN CD.
An invitation was given, Piece Of Me was sung and Sebastian was straddled by a female from the audience who had been pulled up on stage. There was a green aura floating above the crowd as every female threw darts in the direction of the stage wishing it was them with their legs wrapped around Sebastian’s hips.
“After 18 And Life”, Sebastian introduced his band by saying that this might be his third time in Australia, but it was the band’s first and that he told them how awesome it was here, but they didn’t believe him. He guessed they believed him now.
American Metalhead, written by guitarist Metal Mike Chlasciak (Halford, Painmuseum), was retitled by Sebastian “Tonight this is called Australian Metalhead”. As much as the crowd enjoyed the solo or new stuff, the loudest and most energetic cheers and applause was reserved for the Skid Row songs.
During Bobby Jarzombek’s (Halford, Iced Earth) drum solo, Sebastian had the crowd clapping along and follow him in a “Bobby! Bobby! Bobby!” chant.
All the press releases leading up to the tour announced Steve DiGiorgio (Testament, Sadus) would be on bass. The news was met with sheer ecstasy from many based on the number of text messages I received about it while I was in < ?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = XSSCLEANED_TAG />
Johnny Chromatic and Nigel No-Name were the other members of the band on the night. They both of kept pretty low key on stage, although Johnny belted out some ripper backing vocals!
After The Threat from “Slave To The Grind”, Bas asked the crowd “Are you having a great time?” because he looked like he was having a blast and had no intentions of ever getting off that stage, that was until some ^#%$ through a bottle at him and his question was instantly followed by “Fuck you! Get that cock sucker out of here!”. He seemed to be looking at the guilty party and warned him “If that happens again, I’ll kick you out myself!” to which the crowd roared its approval. I would hope that a person next to the thrower would have singled him/her out.
Sebastian didn’t look happy during the next song—I forgot to write it down in all the commotion. I’d already missed the bottle being thrown because I was trying to write in the dark.
Someone threw a joint on stage—must have been packed pretty good to make it. When Bas picked it up, he cheekily asked “Is that a joint or a tampon?”, threw it back into the audience and wished the catcher good health by telling him/her to “Spark it up dude!” I’m so glad I’m not the only person still using “dude”. He then introduced a song he couldn’t believe he was introducing as coming from his mySpace page (could it have been Believer?).
“Wasted Time”, Sebastian said, was his most requested song and I joined in with everyone to sing along him (‘cause he needed my help, of course). He gave the crowd a big thumbs up for our effort and then made some barb about Axl Rose before launching into the next song.
During Monkey Business, the crowd let go of any restraint they had left and metal salutes filled the air.
Metal Mike’s solo came during Hendrix’s Little Wing (I needed someone to tell me what the song was).
After finding someone special to share the moment, I joined in on an even louder mass karaoke to “I Remember You”. I remembered how hearing that song live made me feel so many years ago. When it was over a warm rush went through my body and all I wanted to do was hear Bas sing it again. A night full of “I Remember You” encores would have satisfied me to no end. One of my best male friends commented “Skid Row ballads are the only ones you can sing along with and not lose credibility”. How true.
While Sebastian was starting to talk about his involvement with the pay TV show Supergroup another bottle was thrown on the stage.
“Now we’re done!” shouted Sebastian as we walked off stage. After he probably took a couple of calming breaths side of stage, Sebastian came back on. He couldn’t understand why someone would pay good money for a ticket only to spend the night throwing things at the band. After the idiot was singled out, Sebastian yelled “Get the fuck out” which caused the audience to launch into an abusive chant of “Get the fuck out! Get the fuck out! Get the fuck out!” until the culprit was yanked from the audience none too gently and the security guards escorted him (instant arsehole, just add alcohol). Well maybe “escorted” isn’t the best word. As they passed by me it looked like one of the security guards had him lifted off the floor to assist him walking, while the other was pushing him to get out faster. It was probably for his own safety as much as punishment, because I know I was disappointed at not being able to lay my boot into him as he passed. (Yes, I know, there’s that violent side of me again.)
No sooner did SEBASTIAN BACH AND BAND launch into “Youth Gone Wild” than another missile was launched at the band and Sebastian was out of there. I really must learn not to blink, because I kept missing seeing what or who was being hit. The band continued to play as the crowd managed to sing about 4 lines but then they must have got a signal to say “he’s not coming back on” and the playing dwindled followed by the voices dying away.
So like in a children’s schoolyard, one selfish person ruined the planned last song for the rest. The timing of these walk-offs seemed a little suspicious—right before the encore song and then at the time the show was scheduled to finish, but I gave Sebastian the benefit of the doubt when crew members mentioned his behaviour backstage led them to believe his anger was genuine.
At his age, you’d hope that Sebastian would be over the tempy tantwums or at least control them better, but I understood his reaction and if he wants to have them, then I will gladly be there to catch his dummy and change his nappies. Throwing stuff at the band shows utter disrespect and how can a band not feel insulted by such treatment.
Age has not taken its toll on Sebastian or his voice as one might expect of someone living a metal god life. Maybe his hiatus on Broadway taught him a few lessons in self-preservation or maybe, he wasn’t as much a youth gone wild 15 years ago as he led us to believe.
His choice of Skid Row songs and plenty of interaction with the audience guaranteed the performance was nothing but quality and even with losing the last song, sad considering it launched Sebastian into the metal spotlight, I still left feeling all my expectations had been met and even surpassed is some ways.
Watching and listening to Sebastian Bach on stage has me throwing an old Skid Row video in the VCR, throwing on a vintage Skid Row t-shirt and sitting in bed typing this review at 3 am just so I don’t forget a moment of the joy I felt tonight.
And to all you milksops out there that still think Skid Row weren’t metal, get up off your diapered butts and get to a SEBASTIAN BACH show.
SEBASTIAN BACH AND BAND were brought to us by Lennard Promotions and the people at RIOT. May the metal gods reward you with long hair and big guns!
The official Sebastian Bach site :