Cathouse Live Concert Review, Irvine, California, August 15, 2015
A while back, former MTV host, Riki Rachtman, announced a one day festival celebrating the now defunct (and purely dysfunctional) Cathouse in Hollywood. Let’s be clear, back in that era of the 80s, I was not down with hair bands, silly ballads and much of the stuff associated with that hairspray and makeup. There were a few acts, however, that I did at least like a few songs from. But whatever.
This show was set up with a limited number of VIP passes and I was able to score one for the main purpose of the meet and greets to get my Book signed. Supposedly all bands that were performing were suppose to appear. More on that later.
I got into LAX around noon on Friday the 14th and got my rental car (1.5 hour wait) and headed down to Irvine to get checked in to the hotel. I unpack, grab some dinner and head to a club in Anaheim called Chain Reaction. It’s an all age club that didn’t serve alcohol so no beers for me. I caught the last 3 bands which in order were Tower Guard, Toronto’s Crimson Shadows and Nekrogoblikon. I really liked Tower Guard. Younger power thrash with some good potential. The singer could stand to do less talking between songs, though. Crimson Shadows, while technically proficient musically, were about as boring as I could have wanted. Tight Gothenburg style metal with cookie monster-esque vocals intermingles with clean vocal harmonies from the two shredder guitarists. Nekrogoblikon came on and had a large band and some dude dressed as a “goblin” that runs around on stage. I was totally annoyed less than a minute into the first song and left.
The next day I slept in a bit to save up some energy for the long day ahead. Parking lot opened at noon and I went to get my VIP swag which included the meet and greet wristband. I ran into some friends of friends and hung with them until 2PM when the gate was opened. It was pretty damned hot and I was in jeans, black SA Slayer shirt, denim vest and the shoulder bag that I carry the book. It was hot, but not quite Texas hot. Opening band, Swamphammer, was playing as I walked into the venue. I made a bee line right into the VIP tent and downed 2 bottles of water. I was drying out quickly.
The meet and greets were set at 2 different times to have the later playing bands come out early to meet the fans and vice versa for the early playing bands to come out later. In the early one, I got Stephen Pearcy, Tom Keifer and Steve Riley to sign the book. Riley had been an elusive one for me over the years. Phil Lewis recognized the book and said, “I remember this. You’re carrying this around all day?” Ugh. Yes. Faster Pussycat came out and it was good seeing those guys. Good friends, Dangerous Toys came out and as always when I see any of them around town, it’s just friends hanging out together. Great guys. During this meet and greet, Bullet Boys, Enuff Z’Nuff, Trixter, Autograph, Black N Blue all played. I only got to hear them play and all of them sounded great, Especially Black N Blue and Autograph. I was hoping that Don Dokken, Mark Boals and Mick Brown would come out but they never did. Bummer.
After this, I went down into the VIP pit and watched part of Junkyard’s awesome set and the beginning of Saigon Kick, which bored me as much now as back in the day. I went to the merch/food area to grab a taco and caught some of Pretty Boy Floyd’s set on the side stage. Kristy Krash Majors was back in the band and they sounded pretty good. I moved back to the pit and caught LA Guns, Dangerous Toys and the beginning of Pussycat’s set. They had a bunch of original members join them on stage which was cool.
By this point it was time to hit the other meet and greet. At this one we got Autograph, Black N Blue, Junkyard, Extreme, Sebastian Bach, Bullet Boys, Jetboy and Trixter. I got the 2 guys from Autograph, 2 from Black N Blue and Bach. I didn’t know Extreme had come out until they had already left, so no sigs. I hung with David Roach from Junkyard for quite a while and with my old pal, Rowan Robertson (DIO). Guys from Trixter, Jetboy and others that I had no idea what band they were in signed my VIP pass. I really hated bands like Trixter, Jetboy, Little Caesar, Bullet Boys, Cinderella and Extreme back in the old days. Modern day, I do at least like the old Cinderella.
So let’s get to the band performances that I saw/heard.
- Bullet Boys – I only heard them but they sounded good. I’ve seen them several times in the last year and when their singer saw me he jumped up and gave me a big hug. Nice guy. I got to see their drummer, Shawn Duncan (Odin) briefly and his wife, which is always a pleasure.
- Trixter – Heard them only. They were solid but I just couldn’t care.
- Black N Blue – Heard only but they may be my faves of the day. They were solid, great vocals and heavy. Chains Around Heaven!
- Autograph – Sounded great and I wish I would have seen them to watch Steve Lynch play. He’s a great guitarist. It was cool hanging out with him as we have a good friend in common.
- Junkyard – ROCK AND FUCKING ROLL. They were great. It was hot as hell up there and they rocked their set.
- Saigon Kick – zzzzz
- LA Guns – As solid as ever
- Dangerous Toys – Jason McMaster and company sounded great and the crowd was really into them. Always fun to see live, especially seeing “hometown” boys away from home.
- Faster Pussycat – Sounded great and cool having the originals on stage again
- Stephen Pearcy – Only heard him. It was about like it was last year. He’s having a tough time these days.
- Sebastian Bach – He sounded great as did his band. Great show.
- Dokken – Only heard but they sounded much better than I expected. Having Boals on backing vocals is a good idea.
- Tom Keifer – He sounded great. Utterly impressed.
- Pretty Boy Floyd – Solid. Nothing different than what I expected.
I didn’t catch any of the other bands. I tweaked my back somehow during Dangerous Toys and it got progressively worse throughout the evening, so bad that I left before Extreme came on. That meant that I missed the Gilby Clarke all star jam with Ace Frehley. I was in incredible pain. Absolutely horrible. It was better by morning, thankfully, but not great.
All in all this show was fun and well organized. The bands on the main stage were on a rotating stage and no set times were missed. It was impressive seeing all bands start and finish on time. The only negative thing I can say is that it sucked not getting to meet a few of the bands, but oh well, herding rockstars is like herding cats. I had a blast.