Enuff Z’Nuff w/ openers The Blues Vultures & Wildstreet live in Thomasville, PA, USA Concert Review


Date: September 10, 2022
Venue: Racehorse Tavern
Location: Thomasville, PA
Reviewer: Jeff Onorato
Photos: Jeff Onorato

It’s funny how things work out sometimes. The old saying that “everything happens for a reason”, while often an inconvenient truth, is befitting at times in many situations we encounter in life. Not least among those is the ever-important concert calendar. I was originally supposed to see Enuff Z’Nuff in concert back in June on the summer leg of their Glam Slam Metal Jam tour with Pretty Boy Floyd and The Midnight Devils. Chomping at the bit, I made my travel arrangements, booked a hotel — the whole nine yards. With my bags packed, I found out just a day or two before the show that the club hosting the date had abruptly cancelled the concert for undisclosed reasons. A bummer for sure, but things happen, and I try to remind myself and remain cognizant of the fact that many facets within the world of rock n’ roll operate in a very fluid state and can change at a moment’s notice. Fast forward to later that month, a new date was announced for the band to open for Skid Row at the revamped Hammerjacks venue in Baltimore, Maryland. That (in my mind) would be a more than adequate consolation and I marked it down on the calendar without thinking twice. For reasons unknown, that show was eventually put on the chopping block as well. Disappointing, but again, that’s the way it goes.

But as you can imagine, being out on the road with empty slots on the calendar isn’t the most lucrative situation for any band and Enuff Z’Nuff managed to fill the vacancy left on their current itinerary with a pop-up show at the Racehorse Tavern in Thomasville, Pennsylvania. Not exactly a legendary branded club with a marquee as iconic as Hammerjacks, but without question a much better option than hanging out at the Best Western, eating peanuts and watching Big Bang Theory reruns for the night. This was an off night on their tour with The Dead Daisies, and the band’s detour through Thomasville not only gave me a chance to see one of my favorite bands in concert once again but also for the guys to buoy what turned into an incredible night of live rock n’ roll.


I’ve been wanting to see Wildstreet live ever since I picked up their 2021 album III, which is an all-around solid record that sadly didn’t get the recognition that it rightfully deserved. For a myriad of reasons, I’ve never been able to make it out to Wildstreet’s show when they’ve been in my area on the last few tours. You can imagine my surprise when I found out upon my arrival to the Racehorse Tavern that the band had been tapped to support The Blues Vultures and Enuff Z’Nuff for this stop of their tour. With a 12-hour drive between the location of their previous gig and this one, the band burned the midnight oil to make it into Thomasville and that, to me, not only demonstrates a tremendous work ethic but also a relentlessness to succeed.

Following the well-publicized, abrupt departure of his previous bandmates in recent months, Wildstreet mainstay Erik Jayk was left high and dry, and the future of Wildstreet wasn’t looking so good. Following a brief, solo acoustic run with Bliss My Heart, he sought replacement players fast and furiously in the hopes of salvaging late summer dates that were on the books (including an appearance at Rocklahoma) and found salvation at the eleventh hour with guitarist Kevin Cevallos, bassist Mike Goiricelaya and drummer Shawn Vincent. All of whom auditioned and learned the material comprising Wildstreet’s set in a mere matter of days — astonishing. With that in mind, I had no idea how the band would look, sound, or go over with the crowd. In hindsight, I can say that their performance on this night was well-received and pretty much a success across the board. As Dee Snider once said, “You can’t stop rock n’ roll”. Amen to that.

Frontman Eric Jayk appeared menacing as he took command of the stage with his new cohorts behind him. His towering, lanky frame and movements were well-choreographed and synchronized to the guttural, sleazy bars that soon came crashing out of the PA. As one might expect, the band’s setlist was a combination of tracks drawn mostly evenly from their self-titled debut, Wildstreet II…Faster…Louder! and III. I was really only familiar with the band’s more recent material, so for me this was a nice introduction to their earlier works. Chances are, if you’re into the material found on III, you’ll dig the music on Wildstreet’s debut and their second album too. They didn’t set out to reinvent the wheel with this one. While “Set It Off” was actually the third song of their set, it was the moment that I really got tuned in to what they were playing since I’m well acquainted with the song. “Poison Kiss” (apparently a classic amongst Wildstreet fans) followed it and stood out as well, with a subject matter that I probably wouldn’t have initially guessed. Give this one a listen. “Tennessee Cocaine” was up next, and for me the shining star of their performance. It’s a fun, fantastic song that’s anthemic and rocking. It’s perfect to blast your eardrums out to on a Saturday night. “Three Way Ride” is a lot like that one and a greater demonstration of exactly why I love III so much. There are quite a few others on the album that would be choice contenders for the live treatment should the band opt to continue promoting the effort on the road.

In retrospect, I have no complaints at all with Erik Jayk or his current incarnation of the band. This newest iteration of Wildstreet played like well-rehearsed pros and, despite their relatively short tenure in the band, had their parts down as if they had been playing the songs for months. With a few minor tweaks to their image (for cohesion), I see no reason at all that this version of the band couldn’t be the one to carry the name forward. I really dug their set. New guitarist Kevin Cevallos exuded great confidence in his playing, as did all of the members. Several times throughout their set, he took center stage to effortlessly rip through a guitar solo and even left the stage on occasion to step down to crowd level and give fans an up-close-and=personal demonstration of his prowess on the fiddle. It was still early in the night, but I thought that the audience was on the “reserved” side during the band’s time on stage, despite the event being well attended. I’d possibly attribute that to unfamiliarity with Wildstreet’s music. After all, it wasn’t well advertised that they were playing that night. Regardless, the guys didn’t let the distance between the crowd and the front of the stage deter them from giving it their all. All in all, it was a stellar showing by Wildstreet‘s retooled line-up. I’m holding out hope that the masses somehow catch a whiff of the great music found on III and garners the album an afterlife. It’s a cool LP and Golden Robot did a nice job with the packaging of the release too.

Wildstreet’s setlist:
01. Shake It
02. Sleazy
03. Set It Off
04. Poison Kiss
05. Tennessee Cocaine
06. Three Way Ride
07. Cocked And Ready
08. Wanna Get It On
09. Easy Does It

The Blues Vultures

Who doesn’t love an underdog story that ends with the protagonist making a triumphant comeback? Well, you’ve found one. Proving that he’s left the past behind and is looking steadfastly toward the future, former KIX guitarist Ronnie “10/10” Younkins looked and sounded rejuvenated fronting The Blues Vultures. Fans of the guitarist’s former band will find a lot to love in what is now Younkins’ full-time project, having become his primary musical focus of late. With good reason — his soulful, 70’s inspired playing and guitar mastery are at the forefront in this endeavor while also showcasing an attitude-packed bark within his euphonious vocal style. If you’re looking for further comparisons to his former band that made him famous, there really are none to be made. He shares vocal duties in the band with his new-found partner in crime, guitarist Rich Moxley, who takes the microphone for several numbers throughout the Vultures’ set. Countering Younkins’ own vocal style with a streetwise, punky style, Moxley brings another layer to the band’s sound and adds another dimension to the sonic silver platter that the band serves up.

Mixing elements of hard rock and the blues, the band is a throwback to early Aerosmith, the Rolling Stones, [Lynyrd] Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers with even a dash of ZZ Top in the mix. It’s all packaged together with passion, attitude and then uncanned with just the right amount of aggression. Think Nashville Pussy, Hanoi Rocks and Nazareth all rolled into one. “Wrap Yourself In Glamour” even reminded me of Motörhead a bit, with a frenzied intro that kicks the song off before moving into full on rockabilly territory. An essential to any self-respecting southern rock band – the cowbell was ever present on “Can’t Be Lovin’ You”. With their lengthy set encompassing 16 songs, an early standout was the very cool cover of Bo Diddley’s “Pills”, which saw guitarist Rich Moxley take the microphone (as he did numerous times throughout their set) for a fun exhibition of aggression that had attendees on their feet in full attention. The Blues Vultures‘ version is patterned more after the New York Dolls take on the song rather than the original. It’s an absolute steamroller to hear live. In contrast, “Going To Pieces” then followed and was more R&B infused with soulful backing vocals proving that the band is very much a melting pot of their influences. Holding down the bottom end, bassist Clifford Moore and drummer Joe Manfre manifested into a clockwork rhythm section that were as solid as they come and seemingly never out of time. They were notably in tandem on “Too Fast For Angels”, which features various time changes, and a pummelling bass line and big background vocals which they also provide in unison. Nice!

Hit rewind to around 2000, Younkins had a side project with Jeremy White (of The Blessings) called the Slimmer Twins. It also featured Brent Fitz (Union, Slash feat. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators) on drums and was produced by Gilby Clarke of Guns N’ Roses. The final song on their Lack of Luxury album was a mid-tempo, country flavored track titled “Send Me Back Home”. To raise awareness of that album, or perhaps just for the hell of it, the song lives on in The Blues Vultures live show. All told, it’s a nice slowdown that probably gives the guys a chance to catch their breath while shining a light on this lesser-known corner of Younkins’ career. The band had plenty of fun cover songs up their sleeves which they unveiled throughout the show, and a rollicking version of the Rolling Stones classic “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” was turned in with plenty of piss and vinegar, making it sound more like the band’s own creation. Nicely done, and the reverence that this band has for the artists that they cover is easily detectable.

Back to their original material, I’d say that the band has a potential hit on their hands with new song “Electric Stars”. It’s not on any of their albums, so I can only assume that this one is in the pipeline for a future release. Either way, it sounded phenomenal and featured stellar musicianship by the band. With the current revival of classic rock infused bands such as Greta Van Fleet, Dirty Honey, Classless Act, Vintage Trouble and Rival Sons in public scope, The Blues Vultures certainly have a solid place among their brethren but bring an air of authenticity and credibility to the table that has them one-up. Their roots are firmly planted in raw, organic, rhythm and blues soil with a defiant middle finger in the air. It’s great to see Ronnie Younkins looking healthy and back on the concert stage. Keep watching the skies — The Blues Vultures have given Kid Dynamite new wings to fly on.

Blues Vultures’ setlist:
01. Subway To Success
02. Cheatin’ Kind of Woman
03. Can’t Be Lovin’ You
04. Wrap Yourself In Glamour
05. Pills (Bo Diddley cover / New York Dolls version)
06. Going to Pieces
07. Send Me Back Home
08. Don’t Ya’ Bother Comin’ Round Round
09. Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Rolling Stones cover)
10. Electric Stars
11. My Baby Up and Left Me
12. Midnite Hour
13. Too Fast for Angels
14. Leave Me Be
15. Walkin’ the Dog (Aerosmith cover)
16. Spinnin’ My Wheels
17. Can’t Let You

Enuff Z’Nuff

The “Beatles Rock Show” from Chicago rolls on! In a tribute to John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, power pop’s finest quartet since the Ronald Reagan years hit us with Hardrock Nite back in December, and their campaign in support of the disc continues to roll along. Showcasing material from that collection as well as originals pulled from the top of a glistening heap of music that spans 15 (!) studio albums, Enuff Z’Nuff have a more than ample list of contenders in their catalog to draw up a setlist from.  If the recent Hardrock Nite and a slew of new concert dates weren’t enough to keep the band’s fanbase satiated, frontman Chip Z’Nuff released his second solo album back in March titled Perfectly Imperfect and the band is gearing up to release their brand-new album, Finer Than Sin, this November.

Unfortunately, they didn’t sneak any new tunes into the set just yet. However I have it on good authority that the album’s first single “Catastrophe” should be hitting the airwaves any time now. It would have been cool to hear the new song played, but the band then runs the risk of hearing crickets around the room from an unresponsive audience potentially unfamiliar with new music. In light of those developments, the band focused a fair amount of their setlist on Hardrock Nite with a few of their greatest hits and crowd pleasers peppered into the mix. The attention on Hardrock Nite was warranted given that this release has been a popular one for Frontiers and the band is still out there working to promote the LP. Following the conclusion of The Blues Vultures’ set, the floor area around the stage filled in significantly for Enuff Z’Nuff’s arrival, with nary an empty space to be found. It was overwhelmingly apparent that the crowd was loosening up and ready to rock, myself included.

In something of a replay from the last time that I saw the band at this year’s M3 Rock Festival, Enuff Z’Nuff kicked off their show with “Magical Mystery Tour”, “Kiss The Clown” and “Eleanor Rigby”. That was in no way an infraction given that it’s been a mere four months since I last saw the band live. From there, we were treated to “Heaven Or Hell” from their sophomore masterpiece Strength. This is one of my most coveted albums to obtain on vinyl, standing tall within the band’s discography and upholding its relevance throughout the years. Partly due to their inclusion in the band’s live shows, the songs have managed to endure and still stand the test of time today. That’s a testament to the extraordinary songwriting talents of Chip Z’Nuff and Donnie Vie’s creative partnership. Enuff Z’Nuff could play Strength from top to bottom in concert, and it would be sheer joy to my ears. I hold the album in that high of regard. The band did Liverpool proud with their spin on “Live And Let Die”, which Chip introduced by reminding that it’s also covered by Guns N’ Roses on their Use Your Illusion LP. I’d say that while Guns’ version and Enuff Z’Nuff’s versions are very different, both are cool in their own unique way. Enuff Z’Nuff succeed at recapturing the dramatic tempo changes, mellifluous vocals and racing guitar riff for their live take on the song, which can also be found on Hardrock Nite.

Half-time brought about the first of two cool highlights in the show. Following “Baby Loves You”, the band threw down a short instrumental montage that showcased what tremendous (and under-appreciated) musicians the members of this band truly are. Chip Z’Nuff led the pack with a snaking bass groove that gave way to an extraordinary drum pass by Dan Hill, who hits his kit with a machine-like speed, force, and precision that would rival some of the best drummers in the industry. His skills behind the kit easily separated him from any of the competition on hand that night. A linchpin to their live sound, guitarist Tony Fennell looked postured to the gridlocked rhythms throbbing throughout the small club as he was belting out backing vocals concurrently with Chip’s mesmeric leads which ultimately float the band’s trademark sound. For what seemed like the duration of their show, he had his own personal dance troop (of one) in the front row of the audience. Despite the woman’s zany moves, he didn’t seem to allow the comedy of the situation distract him from what he was playing. Remember that episode of Seinfeld where Elaine Benes danced and did her kicks? There you have it.

At centerstage, Chip appeared to be in a state of pure Zen as he harmoniously popped off lead vocals to one hit after another while his fingers danced the strings of his bass like a spider traversing its web. It should be noted that while Chip Z’Nuff handles the lead vocals, the band essentially has three lead vocalists in its ranks with guitarists Tony Fennell and Tory Stoffregen in the fold. Both of them handle lead vocals in their separate side projects (When In Rome, Sneaky Doodle, New Black 7, etc.) and bring those vocal qualities to the table in their work with Enuff Z’Nuff to create the huge harmonies that are a cornerstone of what we hear. Imagine being able to play intricate guitar solos while simultaneously singing along like a bird and making it look easy. That’s Tory Stoffregen in a nutshell.

September 10th was a special occasion to see Enuff Z’Nuff. Try as he may to keep it a secret, it was Chip Z’Nuff’s birthday. Following an abbreviated version of “Tush”, an Enuff Z’Nuff themed cake (complete with sparklers) was brought up on stage as the audience wished him a happy birthday. Following what I jokingly refer to as the band’s contractual obligation to play “Fly High Michelle” and “New Thing”, the true highlight of Enuff Z’Nuff’s show was hearing “Love Train” from their third (and criminally underrated) album Animals With Human Intelligence. This record marked a turbulent time in the band’s history however they rose above the chaos to deliver on of 1993’s best LPs despite a musical climate that, at the time, was not at all favorable to new music by veteran hard rock acts. Cover to cover, Animals With Human Intelligence is loaded with masterfully written pop songs that are cleverly disguised as hard rock compositions. I like the deep cuts, and hearing the album represented in Enuff Z’Nuff’s set was elation for me as a lifelong fan. The same can be said of this experience catching one of my favorite bands in an intimate setting such as the Racehorse Tavern. With the band being relegated mostly to huge festivals, theaters, and package bills of late, this rare opportunity to see them rock a compact club is one that I won’t forget any time soon.

Enuff Z’nuff’s setlist:
01. Magical Mystery Tour (The Beatles cover)
02. Kiss The Clown
03. Eleanor Rigby (The Beatles cover)
04. Heaven Or Hell
05. Live And Let Die (Wings cover)
06. Baby Loves You
07. Instrumental Jam
08. In The Groove
09. Jet
10. Tush (snippet / ZZ Top cover) / Happy Birthday
11. Fly High Michelle
12. New Thing
13. Love Train