The last time I caught former Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach live, he was the supporting act for Guns N’ Roses back in 2006. Last Friday night’s show at The Plaza Live in Orlando paled in comparison to that of the larger, arena-sized production I saw him on years earlier. But despite the rather small turnout, those who were actually in attendance seemed to at least be having a good time.
Young Canadians One Bad Son kicked off the night, ushering themselves onstage with the theme from “Rocky” before ripping into their set. Their style ranged from traditional heavy metal (“Scarecrows,” “Lost All Control”), to mainstream mediocrity (“It Ain’t Right”). Despite some of the most awkward silence I’ve ever witnessed at a live show in between songs, the band truly got it right towards the end of their set with a cover of the Talking Head’s “Psycho Killer.”
Prong/Madonna (yes, you read that right) guitarist Monte Pittman (who the band gets it’s namesake from) was up next. It wasn’t until about halfway through their set I realized Pittman had devised a super-group of sorts, featuring Holy Grail bassist Eli Santana, as well as former Slayer/Testament drummer John Dette.
Pittman offered a wide range of various rock genres; from metal numbers worth banging your head to (“Changing of the Guard,” “Everything Undone,” “Skeleton Key,” etc..) to even acoustic numbers like “Depth of Perception.” All in all, Pittman’s set was one of the surprising highlights of the evening.
Finally, former (though not “original” – die hard fans will remember that title actually belongs to Matt Fallon) voice of Skid Row, Sebastian Bach, took stage some time after the 11 o’clock hour, appropriately kicking off his set with one from his ex-band’s glory days, “Slave to the Grind.”
The current lineup Bach has assembled for his band offers its own rock royalty as well, with current UFO bassist Rob De Luca and Riot/Fates Warning drummer Bobby Jarzombek rounding out the rhythm section. Newcomer Brent Woods handled guitar duties admirably (though at one point he threw handfuls of guitar picks into the crowd in what appeared to be out of anger).
More tracks from both his work with Skid Row, as well as his solo catalog, quickly followed, such as “Piece of Me,” “Dance on Your Grave,” “18 and Life,” “Here I Am,” and “The Threat” (a personal favorite of mine that I don’t recall him playing the last time I saw him, and was definitely not expecting to hear this time around!) before getting into the “big guns” (literally).
Once Bach and his band went into the massive 1989 hit “I Remember You,” fans were screaming for more. Which they quickly received, as he then broke out with a couple more from Skid Row’s debut album in the form of “Big Guns” and “Sweet Little Sister.” But Bach somewhat lost the crowd with a poor joke (the punchline, “Motordead,” should give you an idea of what it entailed) before introducing the song “All My Friends Are Dead.”
Thankfully he was able to recover with the hard-hitting “American Metalhead” before lashing out some more classic Skid Row cuts in the form of “Monkey Business” (in which the band briefly segued into a nice cover of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” mid-way through), “Rattlesnake Shake,” and the classic anthem “Youth Gone Wild,” which would have made for more than a perfect ending to the night. But Bach hit the already-exhausted crowd with one last solo song (which the name of completely escapes me at the moment) before finally calling it a night.
Unfortunately this time around any and all material from Skid Row’s Subhuman Race album was completely omitted from his set list (if memory serves me right, he at least played “Breakin’ Down” that first time I caught him back in ’06). And while it’s good seeing Bach still up there singing classics from his heyday with his former band, his performance on this particular occasion had somewhat of a Spinal Tap-type quality to it that didn’t quite measure up to the last time I saw him live. Even so, I’m glad he’s still out there giving it his all night after night.