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BACK FOR MORE – Ratt plays a sizzling set at Anaheim House of Blues to kick off the annual NAMM convention in California.

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BACK FOR MORE
Ratt plays a sizzling set at Anaheim House of Blues to kick off the annual NAMM convention in California
By Gerry Gittelson

Metal Sludge Editor at large

 

ANAHEIM — With the annual NAMM convention starting, the evening festivities kicked off with a sold-out concert Thursday featuring Ratt, Warrant and Stonebreed at House of Blues, and wow what a spectacular performance by all three bands.

Ratt put on an 80-minute set geared towards optimum audience enjoyment, as the Los Angeles glam-metal legends did not leave out any of their great songs, and crowd was just going crazy and loving every minute of it.

Stephen Pearcy proved in fine voice, and he was having a good time, as Ratt tore their way through such classics as “You Think You’re Tough,” “Lack of Communication,” “Wanted Man,” “Round and Round,” “Lay It Down,” “You’re in Love” and all the others.

Ratt_HoB_Jan_23_2014_John_Gilhooley_8725Warren DeMartini with his classic snake skin axe
Ratt_HoB_Jan_23_2014_John_Gilhooley_8592Stephen Pearcy & Warren DeMartini

Warren DeMartini played the majority of the solos, and the guitarist just has amazing tone and frenetic speed. His fingers move so fast that it’s a blur, but the sounds coming out are just so beautiful.

Fellow guitarist Carlos Cavazo also adds a lot. The guy still looks so young — how does he do it? — and on “Way Cool Junior,” Cavazo absolutely smoked.

Original bassist Juan Croucier is back, and he is an active performer who likes to roam the stage and do all his quirkly little moves. He also is a fantastic singer in his own right, and often he and Pearcy shared the micophone together.

Several times through the proceedings, Pearcy joked about how the band doesn’t get along, but there was no real sign of it. The band is tight, and they were totally together. There were lots of celebs taking it all in, like John Corabi and Keri Kelli, and oh what fun we all had, not just during the show but backstage afterwards until the wee hours of the morning.

Ratt_HoB_Jan_23_2014_John_Gilhooley_8652Former Quiet Riot guitarist Carlos Cavazo lays it down with Warren DeMartini
Ratt_HoB_Jan_23_2014_John_Gilhooley_8586Rodent vocals by top fuel CEO Stephen Pearcy

Drummer Bobby Blotzer was not available because he’s recovering from surgery, and Jimmy DeGrasso subbed in admirably. The guy can really hit, and it appeared he did not make a single mistake all night.

Warrant was good, too. The band is nearly as popular as the headliners, and the quintet kicked ass with an impressive set of about 10 songs including “Down Boys,” “Sometimes She Cries,” “Love in Stereo,” “Heaven,” “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and of course “Cherry Pie.”

The band features originals Erik Turner (guitar), Joey Allen (guitar), Jerry Dixon (bass) and Steven Sweet (drums).

Sweet, a great backup singer, even broke out the harmonica during “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Not sure if he’s been doing that forever, but it was pretty cool.

Warrant_HoB_Jan_23_2014_John_Gilhooley_8536Down Boys left to right, Jerry Dixon, Erik Turner, Robert Mason, Steven Sweet & Joey Allen
Warrant_HoB_Jan_23_2014_John_Gilhooley_Robert_MasonEx Lynch Mob voice Robert Mason has filled the frontman shoes for Warrant nicely

Robert Mason has been the singer for quite some time now, and he’s a good frontman and an excellent vocalist. Yes, he’ll forever be compared to the late Jani Lane, yet one thing for sure is Mason gets better and better everytime we see him.

The band still looks fit and trim, and there’s a good chance Warrant is going to continue rocking for a good 10 more years or so. There is a lot of life in their ultra-catchy songs, and their music brings back so many good memories.

Warrant_HoB_Jan_23_2014_John_Gilhooley_JoeyRobert Mason and Joey Allen

Stonebreed opened, and the Los Angeles band continues to make a name for itself. With former WASP guitarist Chris Holmes now joined, the group is ready for the big-time.

Stonebreed has a great frontman in charasmatic Carlos Cruz, and with a lot of above-the-line material like the opening “Back Home,” “Judgement Day,” “Last Dollar” and “Whiskey Well,” this is  band that is going places.

The 2,000-capacity venue was already filling up nicely by the time Stonebreed took the stage, and group’s five-song set was a total success. Also featuring co-guitarist Troy Elizondo, drummer Jimmy Patti and bassist Johnny Zell, Stonebreed has opened for a lot of name acts like Cinderella, UFO, Lita Ford and Kix, and it’s clear the band is making all the right moves.

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        Ex W.A.S.P. guitarist Chris Holmes & Carlos Cruz of LA local rockers Stonebreed

Sludge caught up with Cruz backstage.

“We had a great time, and Chris Holmes has added a lot — it’s like night and day,” Cruz said. “He just has a lot of notoriety. He’s bad ass.”

Beforehand, we visited the NAMM convention itself, and the place was a flurry of activity with rows and rows of booths and exhibitions. Quiet Riot’s Sean McNabb and REO Speedwagon’s David Amato were signing autographs at the Dean Markley booth, and through the day we also spotted such luminaries as Billy Sheenan, Richie Onori from Heaven & Earth and even the great Felix Robinson from Angel.

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Faces of NAMM! Sean McNabb and London singer Nadir D’Priest metal horns
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A very beautiful Thuy Ta, Charlie “Kit” Ashley (Big Bang Babies) and August
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Veteran journalist Gerry G with Felix Robinson of Angel

 

Gerry Gittelson can be reached at [email protected]

 

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