Venue: Tribeca Rock Club (New York, NY)
Label: Independent Tribute Artist
Although this particular concert had taken place a few months before I would become one of those online scribes that inform the world about music happenings on this side of the world, I wanted to share it with people because it was a pretty solid warm up to the whole idea when it came down to it. To those friends in the real world, my love for all things KISS is not something new and given the many interesting tributes to their musical body of work I decided to check out one of the more prominent ones to see what they were all about with some friends. The band was called KISSNation and I had met a few of their number at a book signing that Gene Simmons was doing not too long ago. They were walking around and dressed to the nines in character. The faux Gene stalked the avenue and flashed the occasional tongue while the drummer was decked out in his Eric Carr best. I liked that since it was much more different than those bands that only feature Peter. Their gig this evening would be at the Tribeca Rock Club, and while I thought I had seen some local friends perform at the space, I was not 100% certain.
KISSNation arrives to the conventional KISS intro of “You Wanted The Best” before they hit the stage and it really incites some frenzy into the fans of which there were many tonight. They appeared to be suited up in the “Creatures Of The Night” era garb for the most part and that worked for me since it was immediately different from what I had expected to see them do. One would think that a KISS tribute was lock themselves into one particular era such as the “Love Gun” years, but fortunately for the fans, the guys in KISSNation mix it up as often as possible. The band is made up of Paulie Z (Paul Stanley), Ruby Rinesko (Ace Frehley), Carlos Espada (Gene Simmons) and Joey Cassata (Eric Carr) and each of them proves to be capable players in their own right. The set began with “I Stole Your Love” and that is always a good way to begin and as they played into the lengthy set I was happy to find not a bad number among the choices. We would get every hit that you would want to see the real KISS performing in concert and I was impressed with Paulie’s rendition of Paul’s very recognizable voice. He was really playing up the banter to the audience and doing his best to recant a lot of the Starchild’s own concert comments.
The faux Gene ala Carlos was impressive as well, and I am sure that being a good Demon is paramount to any KISS tribute band based on just how important that role is to the actual band. As Gene he was a man or monster of few words and only glared at the audience unless they offered him sufficient tribute which would elicit a light grin and nods of approval. He was also handling the vocal duties pretty well as songs like “Doctor Love” and “Deuce” proved to our ears and while the stage effects were limited to effective lighting and strobes, the band was really showing that they knew how to entertain an audience. If the lack of bombast in the stage show was bothering anyone I hardly noticed, but this had to be the case based on our being in a small ceiling kind of club setting. The stage itself was only about a foot off the floor level and the audience was right up in the bands faces for the most part. Continuing on with the show, it was interesting to find Eric Joey singing “Beth” because I had never seen the real Eric do this when he was alive and really was not sure if he had ever done that in the first place. They were delivering a wide gamut of tunes for the crowd and did touch upon a number of great surprises like “Heaven’s On Fire” which KISS themselves have brought back into the set even though this tune was penned during their non-makeup years. We would not get the fire breathing since again we were in a small space but he did spit the blood before “God Of Thunder” which would have got all over you had you been too close to the action. A great guitar solo was found in “Shock Me” and Ruby did the trick. I liked how Joey was using an Eric styled drum kit, as it was a massive brushed silver, double bass kit with many tom toms around it. There was a lot for the drummer to pound on and he did this with skill. He also would do a drum solo which was very reminiscent to the way Eric did one. As the night drew to a close we got “Black Diamond” and this would soon lead us into “Rock and Roll All Nite” which is usually the end of the night at a KISS show. With this in mind, it would be reflected in the KISS Tribute sense as well.
I would have liked to see this done outside on a larger stage so some more effects could be tried, but who knows if the guys even have access to this kind of stuff. They play a lot of the KISS conventions and also make special appearances at other KISS related events. I will see this group again and suggest that if you love what KISS is all about that you should do the same. I would be seeing the real KISS who would be partnered up with Aerosmith in November over at Madison Square Garden and believe me this show only warmed up my engines for their tunes all the more. The countdown begins.
Note: It would not be too long in happening but eventually both Paulie Z. and drummer Joey Cassata would leave the KISSNation lineup and focus their energies on the band ZO2. The group was planning to release their debut CD in early 2004 which is going to be called “Tuesdays and Thursdays”. I wish them the very best for success in this exciting chapter in their musical life.
For A Full Photo Gallery Of KISS Nation click HERE
Set List (partial):
1. I Stole Your Love
3. Detroit Rock City
4. Heaven’s On Fire
5. Do You Love Me
6. Shout It Out Loud
7. Calling Dr. Love
9. I Love It Loud
10. I Was Made For Loving You
11. God Of Thunder
12. Love Gun
14. Cold Gin
15. Shock Me
16. Black Diamond
17. Rock and Roll All Nite
Official Website: www.kissnation.com
Editor’s Note: This article was written for another medium prior to the 2005 launch of PiercingMetal.com and has been added to our content for your enjoyment.