Over the summer months our own stalwart adventurer Kat Electric was visiting Deutschland for studies, family time and some glorious Rock & Roll. One of the concerts that she attended was the always awesome Cactus and her report on the gig at the Musikkafee Rex in Bensheim follows below the logo.
Artist: Cactus Venue: Musikkafee Rex (Bensheim, Germany) Opener: n/a Date: 5/16/2017 Label: Sunset Blvd. Records
So I get off the plane in Frankfurt, the heart of Germany’s banking center, and what interesting sites there are to greet me! An unshaven, bloated and greasy haired driver who speaks in strange post Brooklyn via Croatia “engrish” and who doesn’t seem to understand a word of German gives me a three tooth grin from under his hand scrawled sign : Katerina Vilson of Spinal Pap : Deutchlund velcomes yoo! “Welcome in Germany! We love Bush!” My driver says. I purposely fail to mention that we are eight years into the Obama administration – what would be the point, and ask to be pointed to the car. He goes on to discuss his auto repair abilities and shows evidence of such every time we hit a bump. “Wheel not perfectly square but Drago make it work just good. . .” He dropped me off a block away from my less than 5-Star where I reserved a single, but am informed it won’t be ready so early in the day – it is 4PM – so, I wait. Shortly after I arrive my parents and younger brother stroll in from their day at the market and we all sit down to some wonderful schnitzel and kraut. Interesting first day to say the least but it will all be worth it if only this summer of concerts that I have planned comes off.
First day in the country, and first up was the legendary Cactus. My dad and I had this show on our calendars since its announcement. Pop had never seen them and I knew they put on a show well worth ignoring the jetlag. We arrived at 7PM to find a sizable crowd ready and geared up for the show well in advance of the 10PM set time. These normally reserved Germans are very serious about their rock ‘n roll. Stoic faces and with arms crossed as they stand and stare at the stage, but when the lights come up – it is all arms flailing and voices at node breaking level for the rest of the evening. Continue reading Cactus @ Musikkafee Rex (Bensheim, Germany) – (5/16/2017)→
The geography of music is changing a little bit as it was recently announced that Carmine Appice was reinventing the band Cactus after the departure of bassist Pete Bremy and retirement from touring duties by founding guitarist Jim McCarty. Read the full statement and inside scoop below. I’ll return at the close with some thoughts.
The Press Release:
Coming off a very successful US tour and the release of its first studio album in 10 years, Black Dawn, the time has come for founding member and world renown drummer Carmine Appice to re-energize and rebuild Cactus. The band was once heralded by critics as America’s answer to Led Zeppelin.
Appice announced today two new members to the legendary band’s line-up: bassist Jimmy Caputo and guitarist Paul Warren. Caputo replaces bassist Pete Bremy, who has left Cactus to pursue other projects. Warren, best known as lead guitarist for Rod Stewart, Tina Turner and Joe Cocker, will be the band’s new guitarist for touring, taking over for founding member Jim McCarty. McCarty remains a writing and recording member of Cactus but unfortunately is unable to tour with the band due to health reasons. Lead vocalist extraordinare Jimmy Kunes and harmonica wizard Randy Pratt, both of whom joined when the band re-grouped in 2006 remain in the line-up.
“Nearly five decades after I formed this band, the time has come to re-invent Cactus once again,” says Appice, who also still drums for Vanilla Fudge, The Appice Brothers, and The Platinum Rock All Stars. Adds Appice: “The music remains the same and Cactus is still a ‘hot and sweaty’ band. The level, quality and consistence of the band’s musicianship is as strong as ever.”
“I saw the original Cactus live a few times, and they absolutely killed it,” says guitarist Paul Warren. “That was one of the great bands of the era, and they are still a great band, today. I am excited, and honored, to play with such an historic band!” Warren, who has his own successful solo band, is a native of Detroit and who considers Jim McCarty as one of his biggest musical influences. “”Filling in for Jim McCarty will be a challenge. Not only is he a founding member of the band, he is a brilliant guitarist and one of the best to ever come out of Detroit. Jimmy could never be replaced. I plan to honor and pay homage to his work with Cactus while still bringing some of my own ‘Detroit attitude’ to the legendary music of this band.” Continue reading Carmine Appice Presents: Cactus “Redux” w New Band Members→
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→
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.
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Funky Knights
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.
2. Long Tall Sally
3. Sweet Little 16
4. One Way Or Another
5. Bro Bill
6. Cactus Music
8. Muscle and Soul
10. Part Of The Game
11. The Groover
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.
Just before the show was set to begin, we caught up with the guys only moments before they were hitting the stage.
Jim readies his axe for a night of rocking Blues Hard Rock. This man does a great job.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here is a solo shot of Mark and Jerry. Mark was clearly having a blast tonight.
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.
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.
Be sure to check out some of the band’s history via their Wikipedia entry HERE.
Artist: The Lizards Title: “4.2.11” Label: Hyperspace Records Release Date: 9/23/2008 Style: Hard Rock/Blues Rock Rating: 4/5
“4.2.11” is the title of the live concert DVD that captures one of the hardest working Rock acts that I have seen in a few years – New York’s own The Lizards. I’ve been fortunate enough to have caught the band in performance a number of times over the past three years and based on their gigs as opener for Cactus, Zebra and UFO, they have managed to build up an impressive following of their own with their tasty Hard Rock meets the Heavy Blues. Their sound is instantly gratifying to those who long for the more traditional style of Rock and Roll as opposed to what is packaged as it for today’s mainstream marketplace and with the four members being excellent at what they do, the entire performance will keep you interested from the moment it starts until it runs its course. If you don’t know about them, well The Lizards are indeed a New York area band whose membership features singer Mike DeMeo (formerly of Riot), guitarist Patrick Klein, bassist Randy Pratt (who also delivers some harp for Cactus) and drummer Bobby Rondinelli (Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath and Rainbow). DeMeo has a super powered Blues voice with some solid range and while at moments he seems to easily hit the heights of someone like Robert Plant, there are moments where he is subtle and reserved like Paul Rodgers. During the set he also offers up some wonderful keyboards and this makes tunes like “Hyperspace” come to bigger and brighter life. Pratt by the same token makes sure to present some of his harmonica skills which bring the Blues aspect of this band to a much deeper level. The first seven numbers of the film come from the bands opening set for Cactus, and we appear to get the full performance from that night as well. Guitarist Klein impresses on every number with one of the purest and cleanest sounds I have heard from a Rock act at this same venue. Clearly he knows not only what he is doing on the guitar but also how to work best in a room like the venerated B.B. King Blues Club and Grill, which is where this part of the footage comes from. Between the sets we find casual band commentary that will enlighten their fans a little bit more about their own lives as musicians and how they have worked together for the benefit of Rock and Roll. The title of the film seems to be a slight nod to the band Spinal Tap, whose amps went to “11”, and my guess is that the “4” references the fact that we can enjoy four different setting of the band in action. Continue reading “4.2.11” by The Lizards→