I’ve been going to rock concerts since 1978 and I’ve seen a ton of bands. But there are still some on my list that I’ve not had the opportunity to see. Some are no longer together, others are going to be wiped off the slate this year including, Metallica, who will be playing Rock on the Range.
One of those who are no longer together, and is perhaps the highest on my list of regrets, would be Creed. For whatever reason, they have always eluded me. Like Metallica, I have had tickets in hand them but something always prevented me from attending said performances.
One week ago I finally got my chance to hear the man live and although it wasn’t Creed, it was well worth the wait. Stapp is the new front man for the ‘supergroup’ known as Art of Anarchy and they made an appearance at Diesel Concert Lounge in Chesterfield, Michigan. They were on a short run in support their second album entitled “The Madness”, which was released on Another Century Records in late March and is the first compilation with Stapp in the lead role. He took over for former Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver vocalist, Scott Weiland. Stapp assumed the role after Weiland unexpectedly passed away in December of 2015.
Stapp has taken a totally different approach to the project than that of Weiland who never toured with the group. He has dove head first into his work and put everything he has into the band. That fact can be heard throughout the entirety of “The Madness”, which has a Creed like sound on a slightly heavier scale.
Art of Anarchy is chock full of talent including John Moyer (Disturbed bassist), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (lead guitar, Guns-N-Roses) as well as twin brothers John (rhythm guitar) and Vince Votta (drums). The latter three put AoA into motion in 2011 inviting John Moyer to join in. The foursome recruited Weiland a year later and finally produced the band’s first piece of work, a self-titled release which hit shelves in June of 2015.
Although there was a sparse crowd last Tuesday in the Detroit suburb, Art of Anarchy, left nothing on the stage as they electrified those in attendance with a riveting performance. To say all five members brought their ‘A’ game would be a vast understatement.
Stapp’s work was energetic and flawless. It was as if the CD, which by the way hasn’t left my car stereo since I purchased it, was being blared through the outstanding sound system at Diesel’s. Moyer and Thal, to no surprise, were spectacular on their weapons of choice.
John and Vince Votta were the wildcard in the presentation for me. The twins were absolutely amazing. John meshed perfectly with Thal while Vince and Moyer unloaded a power-laden set that rivaled that of New York street full of jackhammers.
Combined the extremely gifted quintet turned in an outstanding performance that was well worth the two-and-a-half hour journey north. It might not have been Creed, but I can’t imagine that it was any less invigorating or entertaining.
Thal and Moyer were great as usual and the Vottas enhanced the experience with their unbelievable musicianship. Art of Anarchy may be a so-called ‘supergroup’, but I for one hope it’s a band that has the stick-to-itiveness to be around for the long haul.
For We Are Many, a quintet of young musicians from nearby Dearborn, played immediately before AoA and they tore things up with a face-melting set. Ranging in ages of 16 to 19, FWAM performed as if they’d been doing it for years.
Johnpaul Vega (16) is uniquely talented as he pulled off the rarity of handling the percussions but also doing a major portion of the vocal work. He tackled both with relative ease. Logan Trupiano covered the screams growls from front and center. Together the tandem was a formidable force who worked the room with professionalism far beyond their years.
Backing the vocal work of Vega and Trupiano were guitarists Hector Dominguez (lead) and Nathan Tabor (rhythm) as well as bassist, Emilio Flores. All three took turns providing strong backup vocals.
For We Are Many is a name that you should remember. Despite being young, they are very talented and have all the qualifications of making it to the next level and beyond.
Speaking of being talented, Social Impact out of Toledo presented a solid opening set on the main stage. Front man, Travis Barker, was the definition of what a lead vocalist is supposed to be. He worked the crowd with an energetic pizzazz and flare second to none. It also helped that his vocals were spot on.
James Gilliam (drums) and Adam Hall (bass) were a solid rhythm section. Hall made several trips through the crowd to add to the dramatics. Hall’s work behind the kit was crisp and powerful.
Jacob Bacon, the newbie to the band, did an outstanding job of tickling his six string. My only advice for him would be to come out of the shadows a little more often so the fans can see who is laying down the terrific licks and riffs. He is an excellent guitarist who will only get better with time. Like the guys in For We Are Many, Bacon is just starting to make his mark and he will only make this quartet that much better.
Social Impact is a band you should get out and see if you see their name on a bill in your area. Supporting local acts like SI is what makes the music world go round. And with the right push, bands that have the talent like Social Impact and For We Are Many, could be the next big thing.
An unexpected appearance was made by the Marc Vargas Band, a trio out of Detroit that was announced after my preview article. The unexpected can be surprisingly pleasurable and such was the case with this threesome.
Marc Vargas (guitarist) and Ben Moede were equally talented with the guitar while the band’s namesake did a tremendous job on the vocal work. Garrett Ramsden (drums), who looked like the drumming version of Slash, was quite impressive as he brutally attacked the skins.
These guys will be a force to be reckoned with if they add a solid bass player to help Ramsden with the rhythm section. Hell, they’re doing a pretty good job without one.
I would also like to give kudos to the staff at Diesel Concert Lounge for once again doing a wonderful job. They are very professional and eager to help in whatever manner they can. If you have never taken the time to visit the venue, do yourself a favor and take in a show. It’s a very unique layout that is definitely fan friendly. Diesel is located at 33151 23 Mile Road in Chesterfield, Michigan.
Let me close in saying if you haven’t done so, go out and purchase “The Madness” for your library; it’s one of the best new albums I’ve heard.
Until next time this is Big L saying ‘keep those horns up and rock on’!! \m/ \m/