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Sebastian Bach/ Santa Cruz

Date: 5/18/16
Report By: Rich Catino


Note: apologizes for the Sebastian pics. Did the best I could, photographers were not allowed to shoot from inside the barricade and asked to from the sides instead. No reasons were given why.

So unless you’ve been living under a rock, or probably more than likely just stubborn and stuck in the past, the new generation of hard rockers and headbangers have arrived, some making music for the past fifteen years. With that, the revitalized glam style is still alive as well, and Santa Cruz, who released their first album “Screaming for Adrenaline” in 2013, quickly became a popular name from the new wave, with Sweden’s Crazy Lixx (who now have four albums out), Crashdiet, to Reckless Love, Kissin' Dynamite, Hell In The Club, and The Last Vegas. Having released their latest self titled album in 2015, and another scheduled for 2016/17, these Fins will be receiving some much needed exposure in America opening for Sebastian. And props to Mr. Bach for choosing this great young new band as direct support for this tour.

Santa Cruz work within a formula that is anchored in the roots of the first two Skid Row, and debut Guns n Roses albums. But, musically write more contemporary songs, influenced with more of a groove, still basing around big riffs, melodic leads, and those big backing vocals and chorus’. See video tracks like ‘My Remedy’ and ‘Let Them Burn’, to ‘Wasted & Wounded’ and ‘Aiming High’ which is very much rooted in the classic 80s hair metal. Arttu "Archie" Kuosmanen is a much a frontman as a rhythm guitar player, and all four guys are 100% energy always moving around from the first to last song. Even though a European band, seemed like many of the east coast rockers either knew many of the songs, or were instantly sold as fans. Santa Cruz should definitely return sometime soon with another one of their contemporaries (I recommend Crazy Lixx), and take advantage of this successful tour and positive response from the crowd.

Sebastian Bach…former singer of Skid Row, Broadway alum, actor, reality and talent show voice (see his performance on Sing Your Face Off of Lady Gaga), continues to tour doing what he loves, playing hard rock and heavy metal. Having done three solo albums, and multiple guest appearances and other side projects over the years, in 2016 he is calling this tour “An Evening with Sebastian Bach”. Aside from the country song ‘Battle With The Bottle’ (from ‘Kicking & Screaming”) in the acoustic/ballad first set, and ‘American Metalhead’ cover (with guitarist Metal Mike Chlasciak, from Painmuseum who originally recorded the song, joining him on stage), the rest of the show was all Skid Row songs. So, not quite an “evening” with Sebastian since we only got two songs from his solo career, but with the mellow first set guess justifies the tour title, in a way.

As we all know, Sebastian has had his run ins with the press and fans about his voice live. Its understandable, but, I don’t think these people with opinions realize he is not in his 20s, or 30s anymore. A voice changes, and as you get older for a singer not only does it get harder to sing as high as you use to when you were younger, but the voice matures, and gets some more texture to it. Case in point with Sebastian. For songs like ‘Little Wing’, or ‘Breakin Down’, Bach’s mid ranger is great, still spot on, smooth with clarity. Even when he does ’18 & Life’ and ‘I Remember You’, he projects on those verses and chorus’ just like back in the 80s/early 90s.

For set #2 its all electric, and Sebastian hits the stage full on, headbanging, swinging the mic around close to taking a band member or fans heads off if he got a couple inches closer, Lol. Again, for the most part Sebastian still does sound the same and sings in the same key the songs were recorded in, maybe depending on the song a half step lower, if I’m correct. When it is time to hit the higher notes, or the edgier part of a chorus, Sebastian does get up there. It may not be spot on, or have the clarity, because his voice does have a little grit to it at the age of 48. But, regardless, like Rob Halford, Sebastian is putting 100% into the performance, belting his heart out at times almost, or hitting those high notes that made a stamp on so many classic Skid Row songs.

So yes, Sebastian is still bringing it in 2016, and was great to hear ‘Rattlesnake Shake’ dusted off. The rest of the Skid Row guys need to get their shit together, put the past and egos aside and get a reunion with Sebastian (and Rob Affuso) happening before it’s too late!

Santa Cruz setlist:
Bonafide Heroes
Velvet Rope
My Remedy
Bye Bye Babylon
Skydiving Without a Parachute
Let Them Burn
We Are the Ones to Fall
Wasted & Wounded
Aiming High

Sebastian Bach setlist:
Little Wing
Breakin' Down
Battle With the Bottle
18 and Life
Quicksand Jesus
I Remember You
Slave to the Grind
Sweet Little Sister
The Threat
Big Guns
Piece of Me
American Metalhead (Painmuseum cover)
Rattlesnake Shake
Monkey Business
Youth Gone Wild


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