Great White & Slaughter performed at TS
It was another stellar weekend of music for fans of hair metal at the Turning Stone Casino Showroom. Following on from the previous weekend’s Bret Michaels concert, it was the double bill of Slaughter and Great White, two mainstays of the genre of the late 80s and early 90s.
Slaughter hit the stage first. They consist of founding members Mark Slaughter on vocals and Dana Strum on bass, with Zoltan Chaney on drums and Jeff Bland on guitar.
At a time when many bands from the hair metal era have chosen to cut their defining locks, it’s nice to see that Slaughter is keeping it long and luxurious. And if the guys looked familiar to the Turning Stone crowd, that would be because they, minus lead singer Mark Slaughter, performed as Vince Neil’s band in the Showroom last November.
The band tore through a set list of their most popular songs starting with “The Wild Life” and including “Spend My Life,” “Mad About You” and “Real love.” Mark Slaughter can still hit those high notes that were a staple of the genre. He also proved adept at guitar, as he did a quick little solo before “Spend My Life” and provided rhythm guitar on that and several other songs.
Mark also took crowd work to the next level by going into the audience for “Eye to Eye.” He walked up and down the aisles while singing, stopping to take selfies with adoring fans along the way. At one point he climbed up on one of the tables in the back and continued singing.
Zoltan Chaney once again proved to be as entertaining for his antics as he is for his drumming. Chaney can best be described as “if Animal from the Muppets was a real person.” He flails around wildly as he plays without ever missing a beat. Once he had a drumstick in his mouth, one balanced on his head, twirling one in his hand, and working the high hat with one foot on the actual cymbal part. He truly is a sight to behold when he plays.
The band performed an epic version of their hit ballad “Fly to the Angels,” which Mark said was dedicated to loved ones who had passed, including service members who had given their lives for this country. They finished with their classic party song “Up All Night.”
After a short intermission it was time for Great White. They opened it up with the perfect anthem for the night, “Call it Rock ‘n’ Roll.” The band was in top form as they hit the stage. Front man Terry Ilous brought an undeniable energy to the night. He was really getting into it and getting the crowd worked up. Lead guitarist Mark Kendall, in his shades and pork pie hat, is always the coolest guy in a room, even in a room of 700 people. Audie Desbrow and Scott Snyder provided the heavy hitting rhythm section on drums and bass, respectively. Jack-of-all-trades Michael Lardie is the band’s rhythm guitarist, keyboardist, harmonicist, and any other “ist” the band needs.
After a cover of The Angels “Can’t Shake It,” they played “Big Time” the first single off their new album “Full Circle.” Great White isn’t just about the old hits; they can still rock new material as well. The song sounded like classic Great White while still sounding fresh. “House of Broken Love” brought the mood low and bluesy. Even though there are many bands in the category of ‘hair metal’ each one brings different qualities to the genre. Much like how Bret Michaels displayed his penchant for southern rock the previous weekend, Great White has always been rooted in the blues, and nowhere is that more apparent than on this song. Kendall’s blistering solo work on this song showed why he is truly one of rock’s most underrated guitarists.
After a few other rockers such as “Mista Bone” and “Big Goodbye” they capped off the night with two of their biggest hits, “Rock Me” and “Once Bitten Twice Shy.” Each song got huge cheers from the crowd right from the first chords. “Rock Me” with its slow burn and big finish, is a fan favorite. “Once Bitten Twice Shy” is their most famous song, and they didn’t hold anything back. After Ilous got everybody in the Showroom singing along to the final chorus, the band really jammed out the song playing an extended ending. It was a great finish to a hard rocking night of music.
Following the show I was able to have a quick conversation with guitarist Mark Kendall. Bands that have been around for as long as Great White have played their big hits hundreds or thousands of times in front of live audiences. I was curious if there were ever any songs that they get tired of playing. “Not really. We play it a little different every night. We try to keep it unpredictable. Plus the crowd is different every night. As long as we can squeeze in a new song once in a while to keep it fresh. And we have songs like ‘Rock Me’ where if we didn’t play it the crowd would probably riot!”
For more insights from the band, click here to check out the Fuze’s own Eric Hall and his full interview with Michael Lardie.
Great White will be on tour across the U.S. through November and then setting sail on the Monster’s of Rock cruise in February.
James Suits / James Suits Photography / The Fuze Magazine
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