It’s been far too long since the last time I’ve been out to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg, FL for a show (probably since the late ’90s), but it’s been even longer since a band like Ugly Kid Joe has made it down to south FL to play, having not fully toured the U.S. in well over two decades (they’ve only really played some sporadic shows and festivals since reuniting a few years back).
My usual photographer/wife Brooke was unable to shoot this past Sunday, June 4 for various reasons, so for the first time ever, I allowed my teenaged son Jacob – who has apprenticed under Brooke a few times in the past – photograph the show from start to finish. It was a decision that we’re now both beyond glad to have agreed on (a couple of old friends of the Rewind It family, Kurt and Kevin, were also in tow for the evening).
Newcomers Pistols At Dawn were the first to grace the stage on Sunday night, and I was immediately put at ease by their youthful appearance, which I think helped to put Jacob’s nerves somewhat at ease prior to stepping up to bat for the first time in the photo pit. The band came on and ripped through an admirable set of hard rock/metal tracks with titles such as “Gauntlet,” “Fly,” “Cold,” and “The Truth.”
A cover of the Alice in Chains staple “Man in the Box” was decent enough, despite the track being overly played-to-death by this point. But the biggest highlight perhaps came in the form of a solo that saw guitarist Will utilize a lighted guitar to get his point across. Hopefully we’ll be seeing much more of these guys in the future.
Next up on the roster was Fozzy, who emerged after a brief intro of Journey’s classic “Don’t Stop Believin'” played on. While the rock fan in me is no doubt able to appreciate their old-school sound, the main draw has always been the appeal to the wrestling fan in me, with former ECW, WCW, WWF/WWE, and now AEW star Chris Jerchio at the vocal position (it also doesn’t hurt that Stuck Mojo guitarist Rich Ward and more recently, Trixter bassist P.J. Farley are also both in the lineup now).
Jericho and co. wasted no time to rip through tracks like “Sane,” “Lights Go Out,” “Do You Wanna Start a War,” “Nowhere to Run,” a cover of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax,” “I Still Burn,” “Burn Me Out,” (seeing a theme yet?) “Spider in My Mouth,” “God Pounds His Nails,” “Purifier,” “Enemy,” and of course, “Judas.” It was clear Fozzy were all about having a good time, which was no doubt punctuated when Jericho brought out a smoke gun and sprayed it above the crowd’s heads, all in good fun.
Another band that’s never been accused of lacking fun has always been Ugly Kid Joe. As a fan since their first album going all the way back to the early ’90s (when I was still a little scamp), it was great to finally get to cross them off my list, even with some considerable lineup changes (adding former The Sisters of Mercy/Ghost guitarist Chris Catalyst and Harvey Danger/Loaded’s Mike Squires on bass were indeed wise moves though).
Frontman Whitfield Crane (who also briefly served time in Life of Agony, and is still accompanied by original UKJ guitarist Klaus Eichstadt by his side) and company definitely came out swinging with “That Ain’t Livin’,” “V.I.P.,” and “Neighbor.” It was around this time that Crane pointed down at the photographers in the photo pit (including Jacob) and motioned for the two of them to come up on the stage. I watched in awe as my child fully embraced the moment and promptly ran to the stage, where he positioned himself for the rest of the night!
It was no doubt easy to enjoy the rest of the show from then on out, as a handful of classic tracks like “C.U.S.T.,” “Jesus Rode a Harley,” and “Panhandlin’ Prince” preceded a group of newer songs in the form of “Dead Friends Play,” “No One Survives,” and “Devil’s Paradise.” The classics “So Damn Cool” and their massive cover of Harry Chapin’s “Cats in the Cradle” had the crowd going at full steam by that point.
“I’m Alright” found the band and audience literally jumping throughout, while “Goddamn Devil” was probably the most welcomed surprise of their entire set (hearing Crane hitting the Rob Halford parts live was admittedly pretty awesome). Then instead of leaving the stage, the band asked their audience scream for its encore of either one or two songs (the loudest of course winning).
Then to everyone’s surprise, they actually broke out with three more tracks; “Come Tomorrow” (the one and only “weak” moment of the night in my book, which I would’ve much rather heard replaced by the likes of something like “God” or “Tomorrow’s World” instead), an intense cover of Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades,” and obviously, the immortal “Everything About You” (at this point I saw Jacob actually photographing from above the spiral staircase behind the band, at which point I could only shake my head once again in disbelief!).
After the show, Jacob and I were able to meet and personally thank drummer (and unsung hero) Cam Greenwood for the awesome moment the band just allowed a young photographer like Jacob to have (it should also be noted that various members of the band “checked” on him throughout the night, giving him fist bumps and pats on the back to show encouragement). Having covered many shows over the years and having similar experiences myself was nothing compared to being able to finally share something like this with my kid, and my heart’s filled with joy as I type this all out. I can’t thank the guys from Ugly Kid Joe enough for giving this father and son duo such a truly special moment to bond over, and a memory that won’t soon be forgotten.
Rewind It Photographer Jacob Striewski (left) with Ugly Kid Joe drummer Cam Greenwood after the show.