The title of Sebastian Bach’s latest album is Kicking and Screaming. It’s a phrase that would also accurately describe his band’s performance at the Capital Ex on July 29. They kicked it into high gear on the last night of the fair, with Bach singing – and screaming – his way through a 75 minute set that was heavy on the hits.
The band opened up with the Skid Row classic, Slave to the Grind, an appropriate, high-energy track from the 1991 album of the same name. There was plenty more Skid Row material to follow, including Here I Am, Monkey Business, and of course the biggies – I Remember You, 18 and Life and set closer Youth Gone Wild, all culled from Skid Row’s self-titled, five-times platinum 1989 debut.
Bach made a name of himself in the late 80s and early 90s with the New Jersey-based Skid Row. A native of Peterborough, Ont., he was “discovered” by Skid Row’s manager playing a club show in Toronto. He was eventually booted from Skid Row in the mid-1990s, but has kept his career in rock music going with a string of moderately successful solo albums and high-profile tours, most notably being a regular opener for Guns and Roses.
Bach reminded the crowd several times that he was Canadian – referencing his love for salt and vinegar chips, Tim Horton’s, Labatt’s Blue, and other Canuck favourites. He changed the lyrics of American Metalhead – from his 2007 solo album, Angel Down – to Canadian Metalhead. At one point, he even suggested 18 and Life should be considered Canadian content, though surely he must have been joking, considering it was his Skid Row bandmates Rachel Bolan and Dave Sabo, not him, who wrote the song.
You have to give Bach credit for being a real pro – a showman, full of boundless energy. He put on an arena rock show on the midway. He handed out bottles of water to kids in the audience, and warned one little girl – who was hoisted on her dad’s shoulders – never to date guys like him, adding later that, for a heavy metal singer, he is actually a “good guy.”
Bach poked fun at another fan who threw a homemade placard on the stage that urged him to play Skid Row classics, including “I Remeber You.” Bach held up the sign and pointed out to the fan that he forgot the second ‘m’ in remember. He then proceeded to sing the chorus a capella… “I reeeem-beer you,” and urged the fan not to become a tattoo artist. Of course, it was all in good fun.
Bach played several other tracks from his last two solo LPs, including the title track from Kicking and Screaming, Tunnelvision and As Long As I Got The Music, all of which received an adequate response, but more importantly, served as a reminder that Bach is not simply a nostalgia act – he’s still making, what is arguably, relevant music.
Missing from the mix Sunday night was Bach’s hotshot guitarist, Nick Sterling, who wasn’t allowed into the country for “being a bad boy in Arizona,” Bach explained. While it would have been nice to see Sterling play, and the sound of another guitar would have rounded things out nicely, Bach’s second guitar player did a good job holding down the fort.
In a Tweet prior to his performance, Bach wrote, “Oh Canada! Our home and rocking land!” Bach definitely brought the rock Sunday night.
Four out of five devil horns!
Disclosure: This post was written by Frank for Sheri of This Bird’s Day. I am featuring the Capital Ex as a lifestyle blogger and I received media passes to some events and other areas to complete my post. The opinions expressed in my posts for the Capital Ex are the writer’s own.