LÖVE RAZËR TOOK EVERYONE BACK TO THE GLORY DAYS OF THE SUNSET STRIP
Date: August 16, 2019
Venue: The Casbah
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Aaaah. Löve Razër! Where have these guys been? After being spoiled mostly in the second half of 2016 with Löve Razër playing (by my count) ten shows in a span of seven months in the greater Toronto area, the sleaze rockers never played again in Toronto and only a handful of times in nearby cities in more than two and a half years. What the hell happened you might ask? Well, you’ll have to ask the group but I do know that half of the band (singer Sydney Snow and guitarist Micky Bonez) is busy playing in the rather active hair metal tribute band 80s Gone Wild that play a lot more shows than Löve Razër. The reality is that it’s not realistic to expect Löve Razër to come and play in Toronto ten times, or even five times, in a span of seven months when the group is at least four hours away (in regular traffic conditions) and coming from Windsor, Ontario near the Motor City (i.e. Detroit, Michigan).
As it turns out, the traffic getting from Windsor to Hamilton (which is “only” three hours away in regular traffic conditions) was seemingly disastrous as I briefly chatted separately to three of the four band members and all three mentioned how bad the drive was when I asked each one about it. Lead vocalist Sydney Snow even mentioned that they did not move at one point on Highway 401 for one stretch of 30 minutes during their drive to Hamilton. Nevertheless, all of the band members seemed to be in good spirits and I was quite excited to see Löve Razër play live after more than 31 months since the last time that I had seen them live. There were two opening acts playing before Löve Razër would take the stage and I was able to find out in advance that the “Border City Rebels” were scheduled to go on stage at Midnight. This late start time was good and bad for me. Good in that I could get my house in order prior to leaving for the show (i.e. get all the kids to bed) but bad in the sense that it would be a late night since I had a good 45 minute drive to do after Löve Razër‘s set and an early wake up time regardless of what time that I got home. Whatever the case, you only live once so I had no hesitation to forego a little sleep to be able to catch one of the hottest new bands around in a live setting once again.
I can’t remember exactly when I arrived but its was sometime after 11:00 pm and an enthusiastic ’80s tribute band by the name of Moonlight Desires was playing. The group apparently takes pop rock hits from the ’80s and heavies them up a little bit for its live show. Moonlight Desires played a lot of songs that I had not heard in a long while such as Corey Hart‘s “Sunglasses At Night”, Steve Perry‘s “Oh Sherry” and Kim Mitchell‘s “Patio Lantern.” Moonlight Desires‘ best song of the night was when they got — I believe — their bassist to come up and sing one song which turned out to be a very spirited version of Duran Duran‘s “Hungry Like A Wolf.” Wow! That guy was very animated and really into it! Overall, Moonlight Desires put on a fun but kind of long set, which pushed Löve Razër‘s start time well past Midnight. I was expecting a friend — who will remain nameless — to be at The Casbah (since he had previously stated that he would be there) but it was apparent after looking around the venue, and sending him a yet to be replied text message, that he would be a “no show” on this night.
Before long, it was time for Löve Razër to go on. Given The Casbah‘s set up with the stage (which is only about one step above the floor where patrons are milling about) at the back of a large room, the Löve Razër band members had to make their way to the stage from the room’s entrance (the “green room” was located near the room entrance). Although I’ve never been to the Sunset Strip and definitely did not experience it in its heyday, it felt like I was seeing a band starting out and fresh off the Sunset Strip back in the early ’80s. There is no doubt that the Löve Razër band members dress the part and it was obvious that The Casbah stage was way too small for their stage production. Case in point, the flashy Löve Razër sign that should have most likely been placed in the centre behind the drum set was tilted to the side of bassist Metal Mike‘s (not to be confused with Sleaze Roxx writer Metal Mike) side of the stage. In fact, the Löve Razër sign was present during the opener Moonlight Desires‘ set as well. There were two “old style” televisions with scrambled screens that I assume were brought by the Löve Razër camp and added some cool atmosphere. It really felt like if I was seeing Mötley Crüe when they were first starting out.
Although Löve Razër released their debut full-length studio album Border City Rebels back in April 2018, I had actually heard many of the songs from that record back when I saw the band perform live five different times in 2016. I have to confess that I like the band’s three-song debut EP Rock ‘N’ Roll Addiction (released in 2016) a lot more than the full-length Border City Rebels. There just seemed to be more hooks and melodies on Rock ‘N’ Roll Addiction than on Border City Rebels. However, on this night, I really enjoyed the songs from Border City Rebels in a live setting and almost as much as the three songs played from Rock ‘N’ Roll Addiction.
Given that it had been more than two and a half years since I had seen the band live, I really felt that there was a lot of growth performance wise from lead vocalist Sydney Snow and guitarist Micky Bonez. It’s not that the both of them were bad in any way when I saw them perform back in 2016 but this time around, there just seemed to be this quiet confidence in each of them as the band ripped through its set. I will note that I believe that they are the two youngest members of the band so it really felt like they had matured quite a bit since I had last seen them. It also felt like the group was getting better and better as the night wore on. While Snow, Bonez and bassist Metal Mike mostly had their “game face” on throughout Löve Razër‘s performance, drummer Crissy Stix‘s smile throughout most of the show spoke volumes about how he felt while performing. The group threw a couple of cover songs in their set, which frankly I didn’t think were necessary at this point (since the band has two albums under its belt) but provided the crowd with easy to sing along to material. Löve Razër‘s cover of the Skid Row classic “Monkey Business” was particularly fun to listen to given Snow‘s higher pitched vocal take of the song. The band threw in one new song titled “Call of The Wild” which sounded very good on a first listen and if I remember correctly, had a stronger chorus than the material on Border City Rebels.
For the ballad “Stuck Under You”, Snow played guitar which reminded me a lot of when I saw Rusted play live more than five years ago with their singer Tony Rust strapping on an acoustic guitar for his band’s ballad. In terms of the Löve Razër show, thecrowd seemed to get more enthusiastic as the night wore on to the point that there were loud cheers for “One more song” for, I believe, when the band finished its regular set and again when the group played its one planned encore — a spirited cover of the Steppenwolf classic “Born To Be Wild.” Usually, I am sick and tired of hearing that latter song but Löve Razër‘s version of it was quite good. With the crowd loudly chanting “One more song” after Löve Razër‘s encore and the music from the PA system playing and signalling that the show was over, the Löve Razër band members got into a seemingly football like huddle to perhaps discuss playing one more song. That eventually didn’t happen but whatever the case, it was a great concert overall! I have to say that I really enjoyed Löve Razër‘s concert and really hope that they make it out close to the Toronto area sooner rather than later in the future.
Löve Razër’s setlist:
01. Turn It Up
04. Partied Out Freak
05. Trip To Nowhere
06. Monkey Business (Skid Row cover)
07. Stuck Under You
09. Call of The Wild
10. First Class Bitch
11. Live Wire (Mötley Crüe cover)
12. All Time Sleaze
13. Born To Be Wild (Steppenwolf cover)
Löve Razër performing live at The Casbah in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on August 16, 2019:
Filmed By: Sam Tamberelli