LYNCH MOB ELECTRIFY PACKED HOUSE
Date: June 4, 2016
Venue: The Rockpile
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Lynch Mob were playing two dates in June of last year at The Rockpile and I wasn’t able to make either date since I was attending my family’s annual cabin camping trek that weekend. Having never seen Lynch Mob play live and being a huge fan of their debut album Wicked Sensation, no need to say that I was disappointed last year with not being able to make either show. I was quite pleased this year when Lynch Mob were announced to be playing at The Rockpile on Sunday, June 5th because even though I would be cabin camping (annual family trip remember?) that weekend, I would be back in time for the Sunday evening concert. As fate would have it, The Rockpile eventually announced that the Lynch Mob show was going to change dates to Saturday, June 4th and there you had it again, I would have to miss seeing Lynch Mob play live at The Rockpile once again. Luckily for me, my family cabin camping trip ended up getting switched to another weekend and I would now finally be able to see Lynch Mob play live for the first time.
I pretty much knew right from the start that it would be a good show having seen Lynch Mob singer Oni Logan play with Dio Disciples at the M3 Rock Festival in 2015. This time around, my friend Mark from Waterloo was making the the one hour trek to the big smoke (Toronto) so I was looking forward to seeing him again having not seen him since the Steel Panther show last year. Mark and two of his friends were already at The Rockpile when I arrived but to my surprise were hanging out in the back of the venue where the merchandise was. That’s all fine and dandy but it would be very hard to get near the front of the stage for Lynch Mob‘s set if we stayed there for any further length of time. There is one gentleman who always makes his way to the front of the stage at The Rockpile no matter how packed the crowd will be but I am simply not as bullish as this man to do so. I warned Mark that we needed to make a move towards the stage before the next opening act came on but as a first timer to the Rockpile, Mark insisted on staying back a while longer. There was already a sizeable crowd in the general admission standing area in front of the stage during the end of what I assume to be the second opening act of the night. As I wandered towards the stage, I was able to secure a great spot in front of the stage where presumably George Lynch would be for most of the night based on where he usually positioned himself on live videos that I had previously seen.
Before long, the next opening band was up consisting of a three piece group called SFD (Six Feet Deep). I literally knew nothing about them. In retrospect, I think that I saw SFD‘s tall drummer twirling his drumsticks in his hand while eagerly waiting to get on stage when I first walked into the venue. As SFD launched into their first song “Just Leave”, I was dreading an entire set of grunge like material and felt the urge to leave (perhaps the song’s title was spurring me on) but elected not to with the crowd bunching up a lot more just prior to SFD hitting the stage. Luckily, SFD‘s second song played — “The Fight” — was a lot better and from then on, the group kept me interested throughout their entire set. The group’s enthusiasm was certainly there with drummer Steven Scott really pounding on his drums (and breaking a drum stick within the first two songs) and bassist Les Wheeler looking like he was having a great time.
The one unfortunate incident was the technical difficulties that the group’s frontman (and founder) Brad Black was having with his guitar prior to SFD playing their sixth song of the night. Funny enough, I saw a little knob fall off Black‘s guitar at one point to which he stated “They don’t make them like they used to.” No kidding. Black‘s technical difficulties with his guitar after the group’s first five songs were apparently so pronounced that he suddenly left the stage while Scott and Wheeler held the fort to their surprise. By the time that Black made his way back on stage, the group elected not to play their song “Sorrow” which was on their printed setlist. SFD ended their set with a spirited version of Pat Travers‘ “Snortin Whiskey.”
01. Just Leave
02. The Fight
03. Little Girl
04. Deadman’s Diary
05. Lonely Road
06. Cold Hearted Misery
07. Snortin Whiskey
The Rockpile June 4 2016
Before long, Lynch Mob were up. As I presumed, George Lynch would be playing pretty much right in front of me for the entire night. His guitar tech diligently prepared his two guitars which looked pretty tiny. It was neat to see what a perfectionist that Lynch must be. Prior to Lynch Mob hitting the stage, Lynch had gone over to check on his equipment and he looked concerned with the sound emanating from his guitar. I did not understand why he took out his cell phone as he was looking at all the various controls on his guitar board right in front of me. Finally, I realized that Lynch had previously taken a photo of his guitar board with the knobs turned just right and he was comparing the photo with the guitar board in front of him. Eventually, he turned one knob on his guitar board by a few millimetres and he seemed satisfied to start playing.
Prior to Lynch Mob launching into their first song, I got to say that I was quite surprised to see that singer Oni Logan had a book containing seemingly all of the lyrics that he would be singing. I had seen that only once before when Tim “Ripper” Owens came to town earlier this year but in Owens‘ case, he was playing a set of cover songs and he even advised the crowd that night that he learned, from what I recall, some of the songs in his car on the way to the venue. Logan on the other hand was singing songs that he surely sang many times before. Nevertheless, as the evening wore on, Logan expertly turned the pages of his lyric book with the tip of one of his boots and I only saw him take occasional glances at his lyric book. He did wear sunglasses for at least the first half of the songs played so it could well be that he was looking at the lyrics a lot more than I thought. That being said, the fact that Logan was looking at his lyric sheets from time to time did not deter from his performance on this night. He was always animated while singing his lyrics with his arms strategically flailing while he mostly stood in one spot.
Lynch Mob hit the stage with their song “21st Century Man” which I did not really know and now I know why. The track is from the group’s Smoke And Mirrors album which I really need to pick up and have read great things about. From then on, it was a trip down memory lane with three songs from Lynch Mob‘s stellar 1990 debut album Wicked Sensation. Lynch Mob simply could do no wrong with playing the triple shot of “She’s Evil But She’s Mine”, “River Of Love” and “Hell Child.” Three great songs which had a good portion of the crowd singing along. Logan then announced that the group would be playing a track from the Sound Mountain Sessions which had a few in the crowd screaming for “Slow Drag” to be played. However, Lynch Mob ended up playing the song “Believers Of The Day” from their album Sun Red Sun, which deluxe edition does contain the four songs (remastered) from the Sound Mountain Sessions EP. Next up, Logan asked the crowd if anyone was aware that Lynch Mob had released a new album called Rebel. I’m not a big fan of that album but I got to admit that the one song played from that album (“Testify”) sounded really good.
The Rockpile June 4 2016
I should point out that the entire Lynch Mob crew sounded really good and it was really nice to see the entire band joking with each other during the evening. Bassist Sean McNabb was all smiles for the entire set moving his lanky frame around while providing those flawless background vocals for which I think he is known for. I didn’t really notice drummer Jimmy D’Anda except between songs since his drum kit was quite far towards the back of the stage but his big smile between songs spoke volumes. Logan‘s voice sounded great and for anyone to be able to sing Ronnie James Dio songs (in Dio Disciples) while at the same time handle the classic Dokken songs speaks volumes to what a great singer that he is. Lynch also confirmed the hype about what a great guitar player that he is. Whatever praise that he gets as one of the top guitarists of his era are well warranted judging by his performance on this night. Unlike other guitar greats, Lynch‘s meticulous playing and guitar wizardry never overshadows but rather complements the songs, which is one of the reasons why he was one of my favorite guitarists.
After the first six Lynch Mob songs, Logan announced to the crowd that they were going to be paying tribute to Lynch’s legacy. Dokken have always been one of my favorite bands and one of the only groups for which I have blindlessly bought each released album without hearing any previews. Accordingly, hearing Lynch Mob play five Dokken songs in a row turned out to be the highlight of the night. The Dokken songs that Lynch Mob elected to play were not my all-time favorite Dokken tunes (except for “The Hunter” which I really really like) but nevertheless, it was awesome to hear whatever Dokken tracks they elected to play. It seemed that the rest of the crowd seemed even more energized hearing the Dokken material. Prior to Lynch Mob closing the evening with “Tooth And Nail”, Lynch addressed the audience seemingly for the first time explaining that the group would be heading outside after the next song while waiting for the crowd to chant “Lynch Mob” so they could play one more song. After a scorching rendition of Dokken‘s “Tooth And Nail”, the Lynch Mob band members did indeed go outside (there is a door leading from the stage directly to outside the venue) while the crowd chanted “Lynch Mob, Lynch Mob.” As expected, the Lynch Mob band members returned for the much anticipated evening closer “Wicked Sensation.”
The Rockpile June 4 2016
Overall, Lynch Mob put on an electrifying performance in front of a packed crowd at The Rockpile. I would have liked a longer set since 12 songs seemed a bit short but with Lynch Mob playing 18 shows in 24 days during this month of June, I can understand that they would be pacing themselves somewhat. As far as my friend Mark was concerned, he advised after the show that he ended up what appeared to be a good ten rows back from the stage due to being unable to get any closer by the time he made his way towards the stage.
Lynch Mob’s setlist:
01. 21st Century Man
02. She’s Evil But She’s Mine
03. River Of Love
04. Hell Child
05. Believers Of The Day
07. When Heaven Comes Down (Dokken cover)
08. Into The Fire (Dokken cover)
09. The Hunter (Dokken cover)
10. Mr. Scary (Dokken cover)
11. Tooth And Nail (Dokken cover)
12. Wicked Sensation