April 29, 2015
By Jeb Wright
Long Stick Goes Boom | American Woman | Hoodoo Woman | Winning Man | Rock City/Better than Sex/Dog Song | Hellraiser | Heatstrokes | Easy Rocker | Eat the Rich
Headhunter | Quinn the Eskimo (Mighty Quinn)
Krokus is: Marc Storace (vocals), Chris von Rohr (bass), Mandy Meyer (guitar), Dominique Favez (guitar) and Flavio Mezzodi (drums)
Krokus is back in the USA, cranking up their Swiss brand o’ metal and loving every minute of it!
The band has always felt a kinship to the US of A and remain grateful for the success of their most popular albums One Vice at a Time, Headhunter and The Bltiz. On this night, however, there was to be nothing trotted out from the more pop oriented The Blitz, an album the band sees as the beginning of the end of their true selves along with the pressures of the record company to be something they are not. Other than the omission of the huge hit “Midnight Maniac,” it mattered not, as Krokus cranked out the music that is closest to their soul.
The concert was an event in and of itself, but I, along with Classic Rock Revisited honorary rock godz Kelly Borror and James Rozell, had no way of knowing what a fun day it would be!
As I was at the hotel front desk, I noticed Krokus manager and friend of CRR, Peter Waelti, on the phone in the lobby. He was attempting to get a cab as there was, as usual with a touring rock band, a situation of dire need that had arisen! Krokus founding member and bass player Chris von Rohr had fallen victim to the dreaded broken suitcase!
Classic Rock Revisited to the rescue!
We told Peter he didn’t need no stinking cab and we whisked Chris and Peter into Kelly’s SUV and headed to… WAL-MART! It doesn’t get any more American than a Wally-World in the Middle of the Midwest!
On our quest for a replacement suitcase, Peter played tour guide to Chris who had asked why we had so many malls, what Gordmans was and who would ever eat at a Church’s Fried Chicken! Once we got to Wal-Mart we took the boys to the luggage row and let the professionals handle it from there, although, CRR, again saved the day by picking up Chris’ cell phone he had left on a box of goods!
With suitcase literally in hand, we were heading back when it was decided to stop for dinner at the Olive Garden for spaghetti and wine (I had tea as I had to give up the good stuff years ago). The only problem was vocalist Marc Storace was not in the vehicle.
Marc is a longtime friend of Classic Rock Revisited, and there was no way we were going out to dinner without him. As we came to a stoplight at a busy intersection in Kansas City, it was decided that Chris, James and I would go get a table while Peter and Kelly went back to the hotel and found Marc. What was not expected was for von Rohr to jump out of the car into oncoming traffic! Damn rock stars! I followed and we hurriedly crossed the intersection and headed to the restaurant, as Kelly and Peter drove away.
We waited for some time, as Chris ordered spaghetti (with two meat balls, mind you), complimented the waitress on her beauty, and sampled the wine. Finally, the rest of the crew showed up. We discovered Marc had tired of waiting and walked to a Hardee’s and somewhere along the line even ate a few tacos! That didn’t stop the dynamic singer from enjoying an Italian salmon dish. We were then treated to a solo performance of the classic “On Top of Old Smokey!” After dinner we discussed Krokus coming back to the USA, their career ups and downs and even Kelly’s appetite!
We drove back to the hotel, dropped the band off so they could get ready for the show and headed off to the venue called The Scene.
The Scene is a throwback to the good old days of a live rock ‘n’ roll dive bar. The scenery ain’t pretty, the place is small, the stage is cramped but the beer flows non-stop. While this was a long way from the type of venues in which Krokus is performing on their current tour, they sucked it up, crowded themselves on stage and went for it.
The Scene was sold out and those in attendance were Krokus’ biggest fans, as one could feel that anticipation in the air as we waited for the band to take the stage! Other than a bit of technical difficultly to replace a malfunctioning monitor, the show went off without a hitch.
Krokus started the evening off with one of their biggest hits, “Long Stick Goes Boom” which contained a bit of The Who’s classic “Pinball Wizard” in the middle. They followed up with another song off of the same album, One Vice at a Time, in their version of the Guess Who classic “American Woman.”
Krokus has never been afraid to perform a cover song and they are a rare band that can take a cover tune and make it as good or even better than the original. “Hoodoo Woman” from the band’s 2010 album Hoodoo shows they are still kicking ass all of these years down the road. This is a power-packed tune that is as good as anything they wrote and recorded in back in their glory days.
The album Hardware pre-dates much of their America success, but the band brought out three songs from the album. “Rock City” is a great live song and was mixed in with two tunes from their newest album, 2013’s Dirty Dynamite, “Better than Sex” and “The Dog Song.”
“Easy Rocker” from Hardware is one of the best songs in the Krokus cannon and the band cranked it up while the crowd responded both loudly, and with surprise, when the song ended with an instrumental snippet of the UFO classic “Rock Bottom.” The other tune from Hardware performed on this night was the infectious “Winning Man,” a Krokus tune that actually resurfaced later in 1988 on their album Heart Attack.
The band’s next album, the hard rocking and heavy Metal Rendez-vous was given a tip of the hat when the band played the first song designed to get them noticed in America, titled “Heatstrokes.” As good as this was, however, the crowd responded the loudest to the songs performed off of their biggest selling LP, Headhunter.” “Screaming in the Night” is a song that is very special to anyone who grew up with the music of Krokus. The band kicked this one in the ass and had everyone singing along with fists in the air. The main set ended with fan favorite “Eat the Rich” as the crowed was happy to sing along, or maybe we should say shout along the classic line “out of the palace and into the ditch!”
Krokus followed “Eat the Rich” with the title track from Headhunter as the first of their two-song encore. This is the heaviest tune the band every created, and remains one of their best! The evening ended on stage with a remake of “Quinn the Eskimo (Mighty Quinn)” a tune written by Bob Dylan, made famous by Manfred Mann. The rousing chorus was the perfect way to end a great evening of rock and roll.
As the band left the stage, the lights came up and the PA system blasted out “The Bright Side of Life” by Monty Python—Kelly putting on a performance that rivaled Eric Idle’s!
This version of the band is tight and sounds great, and this was more than apparent as multiple Marshall Amps blasted these tunes out into the tiny club. This was Krokus 2015 up close and personal!
Guitarist Mandy Meyer showed off his lead skills while his six-string counterpart Dominique Favez (who was huddled on the other side of the stage, barely able to be seen by the audience due to the tiny stage) held his own nicely. Drummer Flavio Mezzodi was spot-on and loud, while Chris von Rohr led the musical pack with his low end thumping and rock star stances the entire night. Vocalist Marc Storace put on an amazing exhibition of vocal prowess. This man’s voice is every bit as strong as it was the day Headhunter was released. He commands the attention of the audience and delivers big on each song. He was the star of stage for sure!
The set list was a grand mix of the old and the new and even saw the band bring out the little known “Hellraiser,” from the 2006 album of the same name. Krokus is true to their musical roots and history, coming across 100% genuine.
It was refreshing to see a group of old-school rockers still at the top of their game and giving it their all. The day may have been peppered with meatballs, tacos and suitcases, but when push came to shove, all the really mattered was the music… which, on this night, took center stage.
The following morning we ran into Chris von Rohr in the parking lot of the hotel. He was happy with the previous evening’s concert, and as a parting word told us, “See you in two years” leaving hope that this is not the last time Krokus makes a trip to the new world!
Special thanks to Peter, Marc, Chris and that cute waitress at the Olive Garden!