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Win To See Cactus In NYC On 8/31/2013

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The Details: There are many who referred to Cactus as “The American Led Zeppelin” and those are some seriously big words to stand with if you are a band but when you consider the fact that this powerhouse quartet that came to be with members of The Vanilla Fudge, Mitch Ryder’s Detroit Wheels and The Amboy Dukes. The original lineups presence upon the music scene was not that long but their power and sound would resonate for decades to follow and find them influencing the likes of Van Halen, The Black Crowes, Montrose and even the mighty Anvil. In 2013 we find the band featuring two original members with Carmine Appice and Jim McCarty who are joined by the talented Jimmy Kunes (vocals), Pete Bremy (bass) and Randy Pratt (harmonica) and thanks to the fine folks at B.B. King’s, we are going to put some lucky PiercingMetal fans into the show for free. Read below on how to participate.
Continue reading Win To See Cactus In NYC On 8/31/2013

Cactus @ B.B. King Blues Club (4/18/2012)

It’s been a couple of years since we’ve had Cactus come a calling on us in New York City and you know that when they do so that you want to be at the ready for the kind of Heavy Blues Rock that they bring to the table. The show would be at the expected location of B.B. King Blues Club and if you want to see the review and all the photos you can scroll past the logo below to our report on.

Logo - Cactus

Artist: Cactus
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Rickity
Date: 4/18/2012
Label: Independent Artist

It’s been just about two years since I last caught Cactus at the B.B. King Blues Club and while the band has not released any new recorded material since that time, it’s always the kind of smoldering Heavy Blues Rock that makes for a good time on the live concert stage so I had to make sure that I was in the B.B. King Blues Club venue this evening to see them do their thing once more. In 2012, Cactus features drummer Carmine Appice, guitarist Jim McCarty, vocalist Jimmy Kunes along with bassist Pete Bremy and harp player Randy Pratt. Tim Bogert, their legendary founding member seems to no longer be a part of the touring lineup and while Pete does a fantastic job there are many fans that wish he would be a part of these shows just one more time. Here is how the gig went for those who came on down.

The show featured one opening act and that was Rickity, a new band that was comprised of Randy Pratt and Patrick Klein who many might remember as being members of The Lizards at one time. The band was solid and very similar in feel to The Lizards and had a strong Blues base to their strong structure. I would see them again for sure. After their brief set, The Radio Chick or Leslie Gold to her close friends would take to the stage to bring out the guys in Cactus. She first sent a shout out to Dick Clark who had passed away earlier that day of a heart attack. Leslie would also describe the band Cactus as a band who would leave the stage in dust after their performances and this got the crowd riled up and ready for the band to come on out and get down to the practice of doing their thing. With that note, the opening tune of “Long Tall Sally” was started and this has been the bands opening number for the last few times that I have seen them. With no new material, the band focused on their classics and that was good thing to do because their legacy fans are not looking to hear new stuff as much as they are dying to hear the songs from the past once again. We see this often with this kind of band and have experienced similar reaction from the fans supporting Uriah Heep. Songs like “One Way…Or Another” still sound sweet and grooving and when it came to “Bro Bill”, Carmine took the microphone and dedicated it to the memory of Rusty Day, their original vocalist who will have been dead almost thirty years to the day of this show. The longtime fans of the group screamed louder at the mention of his name.
Continue reading Cactus @ B.B. King Blues Club (4/18/2012)

Cactus @ B.B. King Blues Club (4/10/2010)

It’s been awhile since we found the American Led Zeppelin hitting the stage of B.B. King Blues Club and since we know that when they play how all are in for a rocking good time we had to help celebrate their return.  You can check out the full concert report by clicking the logo below, it will take you to the article on the main PiercingMetal.com site.  After that we invite you to enjoy some candid moments from the show by scrolling on down further in this post.

Logo - Cactus

Artist: Cactus
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Funky Knights
Date: 4/10/2010
Label: unknown

This year’s “March Metal Madness” led us into April’s events like a ravaging hurricane and since there were only a few days left to get ones taxes in order, it seemed like the best medicine would be some classic rock delivered with expertise by the one and only Cactus. If you are still in the dark about this band, well please know that they were referred to as the “American Led Zeppelin” by many and were formed by the rhythm section of the legendary Vanilla Fudge (Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice). When this was all kicked into gear back in 1970 the band would release a few albums but sadly they were only active for a couple of years until their many decades long absence was ended in 2006 with a reunion. The reunion gigs found original members Carmine Appice, Jim McCarty, and Tim Bogert back in action, but with Rusty Day being dead since 1982, the vocals would now be handled by Savoy Brown’s Jimmy Kunes. The reunited lineup would tour in an on and off fashion and since that time would deliver a live concert DVD as well as a CD on the no longer active Escapi Music. There were also times when some players would not be present and had fill in members delivering the goods. Tonight we would actually find this being the case as Tim Bogert would not be playing bass and in his shoes (so to speak) would be Elliot Dean.

Tonight the band had the Funky Knights opening up but we would not see them. When we learned how the bassist from The Lizards was a member of the group (one Randy Pratt) we were a little saddened that we did not get to check out what they did. Oh well, perhaps next time. The band hit the stage with a rock solid groove and delivered “Swim” as their first number and this was followed by the classic “Long Tall Sally” which is a song I think that every Blues-based Hard Rock outfit did at one time or another in their career. They were definitely off to a great start and the sound was tight. It was also cool to find McCarty back on guitar as the last time we had done a concert review of them he was not present. Kunes spoke to the crowd often about how appreciative they were for the support and he thanked Elliot for standing in for Tim. Apparently Dean is the CEO of the famous Dean Guitar Company. I had to say that he played a pretty solid bass and did a great job. Also doing a great job as expected was singer Kunes. He does have a different register from that of Rusty Day, but I feel he does great justice to the bands legacy tunes and holds the banner high on their newer material and proves the band can be continued with limited difficulty. For me the highlight had to be watching Carmine Appice do his thing in such a small and intimate venue. OK, so B.B. King’s is not exactly small, but it is intimate and when they have a table setup, there are fewer bodies to have to navigate around. The drummer is now in his sixties and he does not show it when he is slamming it down. The showmanship and skills that he is respected and worshiped for were all there and to witness his talent is to get an education on how to make a career of it. We would get a brief but powerful solo from Carmine as the set reached its inevitable close.

Kunes sent a shout out to the departed Day citing how he is missed by many and I guess this was around the bands classic “Parchment Farm” but I might be wrong. As far as their set list composition this evening, they did keep it to their established classics but would touch upon four numbers from the reunion release “Cactus V”. The band’s earlier releases are very hard to find and fetch a pretty penny so if you sample some of their stuff and enjoy it, we suggest you start scouring the bins at any used CD shop you might happen to know about. The newer album is still easily found but with that record company gone, who knows what will happen when the supplies run dry. The evening would be closed out by “Rock & Roll Children” from their “One Way, Or Another” album and that would be it. I was unaware if the band would come out and meet their fans but there were many folks waiting in the wings with original vinyl albums and photos for them to sign if they happened to do so. It was interesting to learn how Paul Reed Smith was in the house tonight but I didn’t catch sight of him and while this was a little bit of a bummer we did manage to speak to Kings X drummer Jerry Gaskill who was present and enjoying the show.

If you like the kind of stuff that Vanilla Fudge or Beck Bogert and Appice did then its safe to say that you would enjoy the sound of Cactus since while different from each of these endeavors does follow some similar musical themes and has the same fan base. I was happy to see them perform for such a large crowd and I only hope that someone will make their older albums available again with some bonus tracks or live stuff.

Set List:
1. Swim
2. Long Tall Sally
3. Sweet Little 16
4. One Way Or Another
5. Bro Bill
6. Cactus Music
7. Alaska
8. Muscle and Soul
9. Oleo
10. Part Of The Game
11. The Groover
12. Evil
13. Boogie
14. Parchment Farm
15. Rock ‘N Roll Children – encore

It’s always nice to lend a little marquee love to announce what is going on down inside the venue.  This was a pretty decent night as far as the temperature so maybe this announcement would bring a few more people inside for some Blues-based Hard Rock tunes.

The B.B. King's Marquee: Cactus Is Back!!!

Just before the show was set to begin, we caught up with the guys only moments before they were hitting the stage.

Cactus Guitarist Jim McCarty

Jim readies his axe for a night of rocking Blues Hard Rock.  This man does a great job.

Jim McCarty gets Photographed by Arnie Goodman

The man taking the photo is Arnie Goodman from the one and only Elmore magazine.  If you are only just now hearing of that and his work, please do yourself a favor and look more into it.  Especially if you are a Blues fan.

It's Showtime...Ladies and Gentlemen - Cactus!

After the show we took a few candid photos of the guys and their friends and are happy to share this stuff with all of you.  Here’s Jimmy Kunes acting the clown with Carmine Appice and some of their long time friends.

Cactus' Jimmy Kunes, Carmine Appice & Friends

We mentioned how Kings X’s own Jerry Gaskill was at the show and it was great to meet him.  Here is a shot of the drummer and Jimmy Kunes.

Jimmy Kunes & Jerry Gaskill

We managed to get these four guys chilling out after the show and while you know quickly that we have Carmine and Jimmy present and accounted for, you might not recognize the third chap in the photo.  That’s Mark “Weiss Guy” Weiss and he is a long time photographer of the Rock and Roll and Metal scene.  He has been doing this for a long time and is regarded as one of the heavy hitters in the realm.  To his left is Mr. Gaskill.

Carmine Appice, Jimmy Kunes, Mark Weiss & Jerry Gaskill

Here is a solo shot of Mark and Jerry.  Mark was clearly having a blast tonight.

Jerry Gaskill & Mark Weiss

Being in the presence of two great drummers found me with the chance to snare a moment of their time and get this shot.  It was really an honor.  Carmine has long been an inspiration to my own percussive pursuits and who doesn’t like what Jerry lays down on the skins.

PiercingMetal Ken, Jerry Gaskill & Carmine Appice

We left the guys to their friends and family and on the way out caught a moment to speak to Elliot Dean who had played bass tonight.  He did great and we wanted to tell him so.  Plus its not often one gets to meet the CEO of a major company.

Elliot Dean & PiercingMetal Ken

Be sure to check out some of the band’s history via their Wikipedia entry HERE.

Official Website: http://www.cactusrocks.com
Official Website: http://www.funkyknights.com

Cactus @ B.B. King Blues Club (5/2/2008)

Cactus is often referred to as The American Led Zeppelin, and the band that found drummer Carmine Appice and Tim Bogert as their core membership was once again doing their thing at NYC’s favorite venue. PiercingMetal’s Joe Kaufman was on point to deliver the scoop in images and words so to learn more just click their logo below to see the item on the main site.

Logo - Cactus

Artist: Cactus
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Date: 5/2/2008
Label: Escapi Music

Those classic 70’s rockers, Cactus returned once again to kick off the summer at B.B. King Blues Club in NYC with their brand of hard rocking classics in front of an eager hometown fan base. If you had attended any of the bands earlier appearances at this venue then tonight would be a little bit of a surprise to you as there is a slight lineup change to be aware of. Original guitarist Jim McCarty is no longer playing with the band and in his place is the talented Werner Fitzschings. Werner had replaced Jim McCarty back in 1972 for Cactus’s ’Ot ‘N’ Sweaty” album so he is really no stranger to the material and he brought an additional amount of enthusiastic vitality to the band. Another last minute switch in the lineup would be the presence of Pete Bremy who was apparently filling in on bass for Tim Bogert who was not able to perform due to illness. Pete’s bass playing was right on the money and I caught how he was throwing in specific “Tim Bogert-isims” to make it sound more authentic.
Continue reading Cactus @ B.B. King Blues Club (5/2/2008)

Cactus @ B.B. King Blues Club (9/19/2006)

Logo - Cactus

In the annals of Blues-based Hard Rock, the name of Cactus is a well-respected one. They were often referred to as the American Led Zeppelin and their reunion shows are loaded with melody and groove. The band would be returning to B.B. King Blues Club with The Lizards in tow as their opener. Our own Joe Kaufman was on point to bring this show’s highlights to those who could not attend.

Artist: Cactus
Venue: B. B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: the Lizards
Date: 9/19/2006
Label: Escapi Music

My friend asked me what I was doing Tuesday night and I said I was going to see Cactus and the Lizards. He then said, “What are you going to the desert?” I replied, “No, I am going to BB Kings in NYC to catch some Rock with the bands The Lizards and Cactus”.

The night started with the Lizards, a rocking group we have covered at Piercing Metal numerous times. Once again, the Lizards deliver a solid, hard rocking set of original classic rock influenced songs. An expertly executed blend of elements from 70’s and 80’s Hard Rock and Metal. Drummer Bobby Rondinelli (Rainbow, Black Sabbath, BOC) along with bassist Randy Pratt get a great heavy dynamic groove going, while guitarist Patrick Klein lays down the riffs, and highly musical leads. Vocalist and Keyboardist Mike DiMeo also adds some excellent keyboard playing along with his strong vocals. Their set had a dynamic range of songs from riff rockers, funky bluesy rock to dark and moody. A solid rocking band with a classic, yet fresh style. The band is supporting their recently released album “Against All Odds”. It’s a CD that bears checking out.
Continue reading Cactus @ B.B. King Blues Club (9/19/2006)