|Kix - 'Live in Baltimore' (Frontiers Records)|
|Written by Gaz E|
|Monday, 13 August 2012 04:00|
If recent comments from Halestorm frontwoman Lzzy Hale heaping praise on the vocal coach who worked with her when she was 17/18 years of age had rock aficionados of a certain age punching the air and younger fans of her band scratching their heads, then the return of Kix couldn't have been better timed.
That vocal Yoda, a certain Steve Whiteman, has returned with his rockin' band of brothers and inked a deal with Frontiers Records that will see a brand new Kix studio album, the band's first since 1995's 'Show Business', surface in 2013. To keep all fans of the Maryland mofos keen after such a fantastic announcement, however, is the CD/DVD combo 'Live In Baltimore', set to tide things over in exciting fashion with a multi format release that includes a bonus track-packed digital edition and, of course, the band's first digital versatile disc.
The Kix line-up of 2012 is the same one that reunited in 2003 to play some reunion shows - the band had initially knocked it on the head in 1995 - a year later. Whiteman is joined by guitarists Ronnie "10/10" Younkins and Brian "Damage" Forsythe, and drummer Jimmy "Chocolate" Chalfant from the 'classic' Kix line-up, bass duties now handled by Mark Schenker (who played in Whiteman and Chalfant's Kix offshoot Funny Money) who replaces founder member Donnie Purnell. And, it has to be said, it is good to have the band back on the stereo: the appearance of the promo copy of the 'Live In Baltimore' audio disc causing more than a ripple of acceptance through the corridors of URHQ.
The band's recorded live return - their first since 1993's simply titled 'Live' which, classily, is also known as 'Contractual Obligation Live' - opens with the great 'No Ring Around Rosie', the first of five tracks from 1988's 'Blow My Fuse' which accounts for the bulk of the dozen tracks on the audio-only disc; the DVD offers five extra songs and a trio of solo spots. The opener is barely into the second track, 'Atomic Bombs', the first track off 1981's self-titled debut album, before you realise that within the space of a few minutes you've been transported back in time with an ass-kicker of a band who should really have broken bigger than they ultimately did: whether the glass ceiling of their career came as a result of not being good looking enough in a time when image mattered most, or possibly being in the right place at the wrong time, matters little when 1985's 'Midnite Dyamite' is pillaged for the cool 'Lie Like A Rug', another tune welcomed back into my life like an old friend.
A typically crazed piece of banter from Whiteman precedes the appearance of the band's hit ballad 'Don't Close Your Eyes', which sends goosebumps to the arm holding your lighter aloft just as it did when it crept off its platinum selling home almost a quarter of a century ago, before the fantastic 'Girl Money', the only tune from 1991's 'Hot Wire', slays with its "long legged Rosie from Baltimore" lyric raising the roof. Things cool down, in titular sense only, with a one-two of 'Cold Blood' and 'Cold Shower', the latter needed after the dirty noise of full-on audience participation on the former.
'She Dropped Me The Bomb' is another one of those songs that still kicks like a mule no matter when it was written: there's still a primal part of me that loves the fact that all that was needed for a great '80s rock lyric was a basic euphemism and a fistful of bad chat-up lines. 'Blow My Fuse' follows, sung more by the audience than Whiteman, and is just one of those four minute time capsules that stings the eyes: if you've ever seen the old man's face in 'Amelie' when he is reunited with the toys of his childhood then you'll know exactly what I mean.
Encore time arrives with the debut album double delight of 'Kix Are For Kids' and 'Yeah, Yeah, Yeah' bookending the mammoth 'Midnite Dynamite', the wanton crowd lapping it up like the cool kids that they are.
Steve Whiteman turns on the audience in fine, hilarious style - the mid-section of the album's final track bordering on comedy gold - at every available opportunity and the band plays great: as this is an album rooted in the '80s I refuse to accept any knowledge of studio tampering and enhancement, preferring to just rock out and enjoy the songs like my mulleted teenage self did.
Kudos to hair metal re-animators Frontiers Records and to Kix themselves because this live album is red hot (black & blue).
To pick up your copy of 'Live In Baltimore (CD+DVD)' - CLICK HERE