Three Nights Of ROCK

By Kurt Clark /

On Thursday March 29th I got a call from Jeff Bridges of Lipstick Metal.

“We’re doing a show in Tacoma tonight,” he said. “Can you come down and shoot it?”

That phone call started what came to be known as Three Nights Of ROCK!

I was scheduled to work early the next day. But I don’t stay up late too often during the week, so I said yes then grabbed the stunning Mrs. Clark to join me at The Great American Casino in Lakewood WA.  I had already seen Jeff in Arena Kings and RATTs, so I was looking forward to seeing his new female-led band doing metal and rock covers.

Lipstick Metal ruled the stage!

The band’s musicians are T Lipps on Lead Vocals, Rage also on Lead Vocals, Stardog on Lead Guitar, Rulz on Rhythm Guitar, Sparks on Bass and Vocals, and Stixx on the Skins.

Lipstick Metal specializes in metal and rock from the 70s and 80s, giving their songs a unique twist on the vocals with T Lipps and Rage.  Stardog sweeps the fretboard with precision and speed, while Rulz backs him up with a solid rhythm guitar.  Sparks keeps the low-end heavy and punctuates his stagecraft with numerous smiles and facial yoga.  Stixx pounds heavy and leaves the audience sweaty.  Together these musicians put on a show that brings out the dancers for songs from artists like Judas Priest, Motley Crue, AC/DC, Ronnie James Dio, Lita Ford, Pat Benatar plus many others.

The show ended after 11pm – and we were faced with an hour’s drive home. But Sherry and I left smiling, and happy to have heard such wicked classics performed by this fun-loving band.

On Friday, March 30th – the NEXT night – Sherry and I headed to The Pickled Onion in Renton, to see The Kennydales play!

This band is comprised of Charlie Beck on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, John Pagano on Bass, Bonzo Fibonacci on Drums and vocals, Abel Ames on lead guitar, and
Roy McDowell on keyboards and vocals.

The Kennydales are a different kind of cover band.  Their shows specialize in “one-hit wonders,” and hits the audience hasn’t heard in years.  At The Pickled Onion that night they played “Moonlight Feels Right,” and “Funeral For A Friend / Love Lies Bleeding” in their diverse music sets.  Charlie’s vocals are smooth and practical; I first crossed paths with him four years ago, when he was playing guitar with Tommy Gunn and The Damage Done.  John Pagano is a busy veteran musician and plays in a band virtually every weekend of the year; I’ve known John since the days when he played bass for Villains Of Yesterday.  His style adds little nuances to the music here and there – while providing a firm background for guitars and drums.  Abel Ames is a fantastic guitarist, a man who transcends styles and adapts to a diverse musical set like no one else.  Look for him and his brother Dave, in their other band – Elizabeth Better.  Bonzo is a true showman, despite being placed in back behind the drums.  He helps on vocals and provides a consistent beat through even the longest music sets.  Roy’s stack of keyboards served him well, and his work keeps the band’s sound full and well layered.  It takes a band and musicians with true guts to pull off an Elton John instrumental. And they did it well!

The Kennydales play a lot of shows each year, and they’re easy to find on the playbills around Renton.  Their fan base is loyal and animated.

Since attending shows two nights in a row didn’t seem like enough, the stunning Sherry and I then headed down to Louie G’s Pizza in Fife on Saturday, March 31st, to see Patitude and Fever 103 the following night!

Patitude is a Pat Benatar tribute band that consists of Sarah Pinzon on Vocals, Dave Farrell on Guitar, Mark Hopkins on Bass Guitar, and Rico Ybarra on Drums.

These are seasoned performers.  Sarah’s voice is strong and well matched for Benatar’s music and singing style.  Sarah lives in L.A. and flies up to do these shows with her band mates; back at home Sarah also sings with Black Sabbitch, an all-female Black Sabbath tribute.  Dave’s guitar work with exceptional, and he brought his solos right to the edge of the stage for admirers to get close and feel the music.  Dave also plays in Third Stage, a Boston tribute, so he’s a busy man.  Mark, who is also “Spark” in Lipstick Metal, brought his heavy bass lows and bright smile to the stage – moving around, playing in tandem with Dave, and going back to back with Sarah during solos.  Rico is a powerhouse drummer – hitting hard and keeping time like only a pro can do; he also plays with The Royal We – featured here on Nehi Stripes last January. Patitude played a solid set that included all of the fan favorites, done in a signature style with high energy and showmanship.  They also performed my top choices – Heartbreaker and Promises In The Dark.

The crowd was enthusiastic and diverse in age, proving that Pat Benatar’s music crosses generations well.

After Patitude’s set, Fever 103 came to perform their Foreigner tribute.  The band includes Steve Fournier on Lead Vocals, Dalina Thrift-Viveros on Vocals Sax and Keyboards, Daryl Williams on Drums and Vocals, Eric Close on Bass, John Passareli on Guitar, Ron Leonardi on Keyboards, and Tommy Steinley on Guitar and Vocals.

With a band this large, the quality of the music they play is guaranteed by the intricate layers that so many musicians can provide.  Foreigner music has always been a personal favorite of mine.  The first three albums are some of the best vinyl listening experiences I have.  Since I never saw Foreigner live, watching Fever 103 perform classic songs like Cold As Ice, Double Vision and Blue Morning brought them alive for me.  But their best song in my mind is Love Has Taken Its Toll (off the second album), and I was thrilled to hear them pull it out of the gig bag late in the set!

What a phenomenal night, filled with legendary music and good times.

When our Three Days Of ROCK was over, the Sherry and I looked at each other and smiled.  We heard classic tunes done by top-notch musicians.  We had done so at three different venues, endured late nights, and even consumed fantastic food.  We were worn out.  We smiled through it all.  Did we regret seeing bands three days in a row?  Not a chance.  Would we do it again?