IS THE SLEAZY SLIMEY SUNDAY 3 LINE-UP BETTER THAN THE M3 ROCK FESTIVAL LINE-UP?
Date: May 6, 2018
Venue: Cancun Cantina
Location: Hanover, Maryland, USA
Photos: Joe Schaeffer Photography
After having seen 24 different artists / bands perform in the last three days, it was time for round four with Sleazy Slimey Sunday 3. This would be my first appearance at a Sleazy Slimey Sunday event given that I had skipped the M3 Rock Festival in 2016 and 2017 and the post-M3 Sleazy Slimey Sunday event started in 2016. I had heard a lot of rave reviews about the Sleazy Slimey Sunday organizer Brad Lee — and even from the man himself — on how his events were executed to military precision and how he operated with integrity, etc. I was definitely intrigued to see how a Brad Lee Entertainment event would unfold. I have to say that out of all the 33 bands that I was scheduled to see perform over four days at the M-Pre Party, M3 Rock Festival and Sleazy Slimey Sunday, I was looking forward to the latter event the most given that there were many bands that I was itching to see.
Sleazy Slimey Sunday 3 had a number of different ticket options from general admission (which I purchased), VIP tickets (which allowed for meets and greets with the various performers) and Ultimate VIP tickets (which allowed for VIP perks and a special acoustic performance from Kix frontman Steve Whiteman and his daughter Carly). Not being a fan of meet and greet events, I purchased a general admission ticket to the Sleazy Slimey Sunday 3 event and at the same time requested a press pass / photo pass from Mr. Lee who advised me in a Facebook message, “I’ll take care of you. See me when you arrive.” I remembered that Brad had advised that I would be taken care of but forgot about the part about seeing him when I arrived. I arrived at the Cancun Cantina close to the first band Old School‘s start time of 3:30 pm and to my surprise, I was not on the list of ticket purchasers. Worse yet, I wasn’t on the list of media people either. The friendly ladies handling ticket and media registration then took my ID and told me to wait while they found Mr. Lee to clear things up. Before I knew it, a tall tattooed bandana wearing individual was standing over me and trying to playfully give me a hard time about getting into the event. Once Brad finally cracked a smile, he handed me my press pass and gave me a quick rundown of the rules and regulations for media people, and off I went. As it turns out, had I showed up a little earlier, I likely could have witnessed the acoustic set from the Whiteman father and daughter duo. An opportunity missed but I’ll know better for my next Sleazy Slimey Sunday event!
At the entrance, I ran into Sarge McIntyre — who many of you may know as the security man for the one and only Ted Poley — and introduced myself to the friendly but imposing man. From there, I walked into the Cancun Cantina venue and was throughly impressed by the almost airport hanger like venue (from the outside). On the inside, the Cancun Cantina was split into three parts. The first part that I entered into was a large open space that included a large round bar and very few people. I then made my way into the separate section which was dark and which had music blaring as the first act Old School was playing. I could also see a third section which wasn’t covered and as it turns out was kind of like a beach oasis with sand on the ground and various vendor booths surrounding that area.
Given that Sleaze Roxx photographer Christopher Carroll was displaying and selling his own photographs for the first time at a vendor’s booth, he wasn’t available to take any photos of the Sleazy Slimey Sunday 3 event for me to use with this review. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would have to take photos myself, which is not my favorite thing to do. As I walked in to the photo pit next to the stage, I was very pleased to see that Joe Schaeffer was attending the event as well as the well respected photographer was already in the photo pit. I quickly said “hi” to Joe and asked if I could use some of his photos for my Sleaze Roxx review. He agreed to do so and I happily returned my camera to my vehicle as I knew that Joe‘s worse photo would in all likelihood be better than my best photo!
For those who are not familiar with Old School, they are a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA premier ’80s covers band that used to play the tailgate party in the M3 Rock Festival‘s parking lot(s) but I understand that the M3 Rock Festival banned this type of endeavour this year. Accordingly, it was nice to see Old School still participating at the M3 weekend by opening the festivities at Sleazy Slimey Sunday 3. Old School played a number of covers and if my memory serves me correctly played Dio‘s “Last In Line”, Twisted Sister‘s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and Ratt‘s “Lay It Down.” These guys play a lot as their schedule for 2018 is already quite booked up based on the group’s Facebook page. When you play so many times in a live setting, you expect the band to be tight and that was the case for Old School who did justice to the various cover songs that they played. Singer Ed “Shakey” Shanks looked an awful lot like Mötley Crüe frontman Vince Neil but definitely has a better voice at least in a live setting! Overall, Old School put on a solid performance and did what they were supposed to do which is warm up the crowd for the original material playing bands.
When Brad Lee announced the initial Sleazy Slimey Sunday 3 line-up, the most intriguing name on the poster for me was Denman. I was expecting many of the late ’80s and early ’90s stalwarts to be part of the event and there of course were many including Babylon A.D., Junkyard and Every Mother’s Nightmare but I was particularly pleased that Denman would be part of the bill. Why you may ask? Well, the group has already released a fantastic EP titled The Life We Live, which came very close to making the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2017. In addition, given that Denman are a relatively new band, they mostly seem to play in or around their Nashville, Tennessee, USA home base so the chances of seeing them play live for me was slim to none until the Sleazy Slimey Sunday 3 event. I hadn’t really thought of how much I was looking forward to seeing Denman play live until I was asked by one of the Babylon Shakes‘ band members (after interviewing them at the M-Pre Party) which group that I was most looking forward to seeing play over the weekend. My answer was Denman.
I made sure to secure a spot right on the stage barrier for Denman‘s set. Most of the band members were dressed old school style in t-shirts, jeans and high top running shoes. They had a very ’80s feel to them. They reminded me of an early Metallica line-up with frontman Ben Denman having a James Hetfield shaped guitar, bassist Robbie Crede looking like Cliff Burton with his height and jean jacket with no shirt underneath, and lead guitarist Dakota Denman looking like a young Kirk Hammett. The early Metallica comparisons are fair game as I understand that the Denman brothers also play in a Metallica tribute band of some sort. Some of their songs on the group’s EP The Life We Live also definitely have some early Metallica influences like the title track. Denman also reminded me of a much lesser known power metal band by the name of Shock that I grew up listening to back in the mid to early ’80s.
Denman started their set hitting the ground running with “The Life We Live” and “One Night Love” from their debut EP. Both songs are faster paced with that old school ’80s feel. Next up was “Miles Away From Home” which showed a more melodic style to the band and which was easy to sing along to. Dakota Denman in particular was very impressive. Can you say guitar God? This guy can really play. Even his brother Ben Denman could only shake his head in amazement as Dakota would simply let it rip on his guitar solos. It was almost unfair for Ben to handle sporadic guitar solos on his end given that he often had to follow Dakota‘s mesmerizing solos. In any case, it seemed that Ben knew that Dakota was the better guitar player and in any case, Ben had his frontman role to focus on. While I later found out from two of the Denman band members that their new full-length album is close to being released (early June if I recall), I was wondering how the group would fill its set given that the debut EP The Life We Live only has five songs. I got my answer during the fourth song as Denman launched into a cover of the Steppenwolf‘s classic “Born To Be Wild.” While the band did a great version of the song, I would have liked to hear another cover than the overplayed “Born To Be Wild.”
Next up was arguably Denman‘s best song — “High Heels And Leather” — which sounded great live. I was surprised — but shouldn’t have been surprised given the numerous early Metallica connections — that Denman chose to cover “Seek And Destroy.” The band played a killer version of the song which conjured memories for me of unsigned Shock back in the ’80s closing their set with their own rousing rendition of the Metallica classic. It was definitely a case of deja-vu for me. It’s not a knock in any way to Denman as their cover of “Seek And Destroy” was a great one and got the crowd singing along to the anthemic chorus portion. Whatever the case, it was fun to relive the past and back in the ’80s when Shock covered “Seek And Destroy”, Metallica weren’t the household name that they are now and the song was more of a cult favorite than an all-time classic. Denman closed off their fantastic but too short set with a new track (which I later learned was called “Prison City”) that sounded really good on a first listen. Overall, Denman put on a great set and I really hope to get to see them play live in the near future again but I fear this may not happen with the band’s headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee and my own busy life. In any event, we’ll see but I am really grateful to Brad Lee Entertainment for bringing in one of the best young rock bands to Sleazy Slimey Sunday 3.
01. The Life We Live
02. One Night Love
03. Miles Away From Home
04. Born To Be Wild (Steppenwolf cover)
05. High Heels And Leather
06. Seek And Destroy (Metallica cover)
07. Prison City
Denman performing “The Life We Live” at Sleazy Slimey Sunday 3 in Hanover, Maryland, USA on May 6, 2018:
Sleazy Slimey Sunday 3, Hanover Md
Another group that I was looking forward to seeing play live was Streetlight Circus. I reviewed the group’s last studio album Needle Down and found it to be a fun mix of sometimes eclectic songs like you might get with Alice Cooper. There is one track in particular — “Ghettoblaster” — that I really like and that is hands down the band’s anthem. Streetlight Circus‘ look surprised me a little bit because in their videos, they give the impression of an almost red neck type band with singer David Shaw sporting a cowboy hat a la Shawn Michaels (if you follow wrestling). Instead, Shaw showed up sporting some scarves and a derby type hat reminiscent of the 1920s. Definitely a more frilly glam appearance for Shaw who looked good with his “new” look.
Streetlight Circus put on an entertaining set. I only recognized two songs — the title track and “Ghettoblaster” — despite having listened to their last studio album Needle Down quite a bit prior to writing my review of it. Then again, my review of Needle Down dates back to end of November 2016, which is probably the last time that I really listened to it so it’s not that surprising that most of the songs played live from that album didn’t ring a bell for me on this night. As it turns out, I wish that I had listened to Needle Down at least once on my way to Maryland as Streetlight Circus ended up playing six songs from the album with the other ones being one track from their self-titled album (which I didn’t know about before but ended up purchasing later that night) and two new songs — “Kisses Like Bullets” and “Grass Is Greener” — which sounded quite good on a first listen. I did end up speaking to Shaw later on that night and unfortunately, a new album appears still far away. The group will be embarking on its first tour of the UK though from June 15 to 23, 2018 so for those in the UK reading this review, make sure you check the band out live.
While I enjoyed all the songs played by Streetlight Circus including the two new songs and “This Ain’t Hollywood”, I was really kind of just waiting for them to play “Ghettoblaster” which they did to close out their set. It was everything that I thought it would be! There were tons of people singing along to the song so clearly “Ghettoblaster” is and will continue to be Streetlight Circus‘ signature song.
Streetlight Circus’ setlist:
01. The Sad Cafe
02. My Lucky Seven
03. Kisses Like Bullets
04. Ain’t No Love Song
05. Just Another Night
06. Needle Down
07. Grass Is Greener
08. This Ain’t Hollywood
Every Mother’s Nightmare:
I am going to assume that for most people, there are always a couple of bands that a person just hasn’t ever gotten into. It’s not that the bands in question are bad in any way. It’s just that you’ve never got into them and whatever you have seen from the group doesn’t make you want to discover much more. Every Mother’s Nightmare are one of those bands for me. I’ve known about them for a long time but have never gotten into their music. I haven’t ignored Every Mother’s Nightmare as they have received regular coverage on Sleaze Roxx in the last two years but I just wasn’t that excited to see the band play live at Sleazy Slimey Sunday 3.
That being said, there were many people in the audience that obviously came to see Every Mother’s Nightmare play because the biggest crowd to date in front of the stage was when EMN were set to play. I did watch a few songs from Every Mother’s Nightmare‘s set and they put on a good show. It felt like there was a bit of a hillbilly element to frontman Rick Ruhl‘s presentation. What I did end up doing for most of Every Mother’s Nightmare‘s set is walk around and check out the various vendors’ booths and say hi to Streetlight Circus‘ frontman David Shaw and Denman drummer Ted Karol. Although I rank Every Mother’s Nightmare‘s set as my least favourite out of the Sleazy Slimey Sunday 3 performances, I admit that I likely didn’t give EMN a fair chance compared to all of the other bands that played that night.
Every Mother’s Nightmare performing “Push” at Sleazy Slimey Sunday 3 in Hanover, Maryland, USA on May 6, 2018:
I would remiss if I didn’t mention what a great master of ceremony that Brad Lee turned out to be. Between bands, the concert organizer would get up to talk to the audience reminding people to buy raffle tickets in order to win a guitar signed by every performer at Sleazy Slimey Sunday 3 and about his various procedures including that no tickets are printed in advance of the event. Although I am not sure whether Brad intentionally tried to be funny when he was up there talking to the crowd as he clearly wasn’t smiling when explaining things, I — and many others in the audience — got many chuckles listening to him deliver his messages. I could definitely see Brad Lee being a stand up comic one day. He would never crack a smile yet make everyone laugh. Overall, I thought that Brad Lee was probably one of the best and most entertaining masters of ceremonies that I had ever seen at a rock concert.