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Slaughter/ Autograph

Date: 6/27/14
Venue: Bergen Perfoming Arts Center
Report By: Rich Catino

Been many years since Autograph has made new music or toured, since 1988 and their last album “Loud And Clear”. They were never arena headliners, but opened for many of the big names like Ozzy, Van Halen oddly (ironically) enough given Steve’s tapping technique, and Motley Crue. Original guitarist Steve Lynch and bassist Randy Rand only reactivated the band a year ago in 2013, with new drummer Marc Wieland and Simon Daniels replacing original singer/rhythm guitarist Steve Plunkett. Original keyboardist Steven Isham unfortunately passed away in 2008, and so for the reformation/current incarnation of Autograph, Steve and Randy, at this point, have decided to tour without a keyboard player. The result, with guitars tuned a little lower this is a heavier Autograph because naturally without the keyboards and lower tuning they lost the polish and sheen from the 80s. And its not bad. Daniels behind the mic has a different tone, kinda similar though, to Plunkett, and remains true to the original songs adding accent and screams where need be. Curious to hear what a new album would sound like in contrast to their past. If so, think the keyboard should make a return then or its gonna almost sound like a different band.

Slaughter…I always was a big fan of these guys. Saw them open for Kiss a couple times in the late 80s early 90s. They were (still are) heavy and killer live. Mark Slaughter had a range that could shatter a glass house (I also love his work on the second Vinnie Vincent Invasion album). Since the release of “Back To Reality” in 1999, unfortunately Slaughter have been only active from time to time doing small tours, festival runs over the years. I still try to see them whenever they come to the NY/NJ area, and if not, been keeping up watching clips of Slaughter on Youtube.

With that, in the past ten years or so, Mark’s voice has had its good and bad days/months/years. I’m happy to report tonight he brought down the house in Jersey. Now I know Mark is older and can’t sing an entire song at the range he originally recorded it, but currently he is real close to it, and hits many of the screams. His voice sounds healthier, cleaner, and stronger, much of the raspyness I’ve heard online is gone. Joining Mark, and original bassist Dana Strum, with long time guitarist Jeff Blando, is drummer Zoltan Chaney who is, if possible, even more of a showmanship than Blas Elias who rarely performs with Slaughter (understandably busy in the Blue Man Group). Zoltan was like octopus behind the kit, hitting every possible drum and symbol, twirling both sticks, he had so much energy it looked like he wanted to leap out from behind the kit. The coolest part of the show was during ‘Mad About You’, where like in the video, Mark came out to the crowd and let the fans take pictures (called “selfies” in this current day), sing, and they even brought a little boy on stage to jam with the guys. But, that doesn’t excuse a 50 minute set?? Really?? And while I’m at it, check out their third album “Fear No Evil” and “Revolution” from the mid-90s which they sadly almost never play anything from anymore??? Why,? guys!

Autograph Setlist:
Deep End
Dance All Night
Loud and Clear
Bad Boy
Blondes in Black Cars
All I'm Gonna Take
Send Her to Me
My Girlfriend's Boyfriend Isn't Me
Crazy World
Turn Up the Radio

Slaughter Setlist:
Wild Life
Burning Bridges
Spend My Life
Mad About You
Real Love
Fly to the Angels
Up All Night
Eye To Eye

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