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Posted 2006-10-25 8:52 PM (#6881)
Subject: Sebastian
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Openers for Guns show get different grades in real-life school of rock
By Leslie Gray Streeter

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

SUNRISE — If there were a real-life school of rock, its motto should be "Show, Don't Tell." And Sebastian Bach and Papa Roach, who provided the first two hard-driving acts in Tuesday night's opener of the long-awaited Guns N' Roses Chinese Democracy tour, would have gotten very different grades.

Bach, the former Skid Row lead singer and erstwhile Gilmore Girls co-star, put his showman skills front and center from the very beginning.

He'd get about a B-plus, barrelling onstage in the requisite skin-tight black leather pants and shirtless vest (sassy!) and tossing the mic stand away from him on stage, like it was made of plastic. Even when the microphone failed during the first couple of verses in the opening number, Bach screamed on until an appropriate instrumental break where he could rush off and grab a replacement without disturbing the grinding groove.

It's not that Bach's chiropractic work-baiting head-banging, blond hair-tossing, constant use of the "F" word as an adjective and tendency to end every vocal phrase with a scream is anything new. It's that he sells that stuff like he invented it, and he never seems to be trying too hard. He and his band sailed through Skid Row hits like Piece of Me, 18 and Life and the excellent nostalgia ballad I Remember You, as well as some new tunes. One memorable title: Love Is A Bitch Slap. The song wasn't particularly notable, but, again, rock vets such as Bach can sell pretty much anything.

Which brings us to Papa Roach, who followed Bach with a set that started out bristling with energy but ended up limping toward a bland conclusion. They'd get about a C-plus on the Show-Don't-Tell scale because, although lead singer Jacoby Shaddix wouldn't stop talking about how the band was here to "(bleeping) rock you," they simply couldn't keep the excitement going.

And that's a shame, man, because the first couple of songs, including the criminally catchy Getting Away With Murder, slammed satisfyingly along thanks to Shaddix's nimble delivery and drummer Dave Buckner's steady beat-keeping. But too many numbers of similar tempo and indistinguishable lyrics sucked the initial fire right out of the set, thus losing the power of Born With Nothing, Die With Everything, To Be Loved and Scars. Last Resort, toward the end, threatened to pick things up, but then the set just ended without satisfaction.

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