U.D.O. at The Whisky
U.D.O., Slick N Wicked, Maleki Theory, Blak, The Whisky, 04/23/13
The world famous Whisky on the Sunset Strip was about to be taken over by a metallic force known all over the world as the mighty U.D.O. Fronted by the legendary Udo Dirkschneider (aka the original Accept vocalist), this Teutonic terror was in the Southland, concluding a short but successful tour in support of their various re-releases on AFM Records. Every single one of their masterworks is now available here in the States, complete with bonus material rendering these Anniversary Editions extremely collectible. In addition, a new album entitled Steelhammer is due out in May, and U.D.O. previewed selections from the upcoming release as well. It’s been years since Udo Dirkschneider has performed in the L.A. area, and the wave of excitement exuded by the crowd was tremendous to behold. First there were three opening acts, and even in spite of my impatience to see the headlining U.D.O., the trio of support bands were well worth checking out!
First up on the bill was L.A.’s own Blak, presenting a rousing set of tunes that instantly gained the attention of the early arrivals. Fans of acts such as The Misfits and Danzig have a date with destiny when encountering the dark and demented reveries of Blak. Fronted by the highly charismatic Gypsy Blak (formerly of Elegant Bastards), the band kicked off their set with Private Parts and proceeded to play a wildly impressive first show. Mixing metal with a decidedly punk rocking attitude and drive, songs such as Zombie Momma, My Darling (Why Aren’t You Dead Yet) and Frankenstein Valentine left an indelible impression. In addition to the enigmatic Gypsy Blak, the formidable lineup consists of Gene Migaki on bass, A.J. White on drums, David Garcia on guitar, and Mike DLP on keys and rhythm guitar. It will be exciting to see what the future has in store for this band – the L.A. music underground continues to thrive and prosper thanks to the presence of compelling new collectives like the amazing Blak.
Up next was Maleki Theory, also from the City of Angels, who enveloped the Whisky with their own spirited brand of rock and roll. More on the Alice In Chains and Tool side of the spectrum, Maleki Theory brought in quite an audience, and seems genuinely excited to be opening to the legendary U.D.O. Front man Chris Maleki has a dynamic stage presence and delivers the vocals with a stunning sense of conviction. The rest of the Theory members definitely shined, including Jimmy Silcox on guitars, Chris Lepre on drums, and Darin Kulkens on bass. A thoroughly professional band with the tunes to back it up all up, Maleki Theory has an across the board appeal that should garner them a good amount of new converts – and they certainly won more than a few new fans at the Whisky. Study up on the Maleki Theory and be ready to party it up!
Slick N Wicked
My new favorite Hollywood band has is definitely Slick N Wicked - without question! Playing the much coveted direct support slot to U.D.O. , the club was jam packed when this power trio took to the stage. Describing themselves on their Facebook page as “Three assholes that fuckn rock hard,” Slick N Wicked unleashed a mind blowing set of tunes that really sent the revered walls of the Whisky spinning. It was the Sunset Strip daze of yore brought back with a ferocious vengeance, and the results were absolutely captivating. The showmanship the band exuded was mesmerizing, with selections such as Lost Souls Of Hollywood and the super infectious Senior Citizen Drag Queen gaining a good deal of notice. Even those impatiently awaiting the arrival of Mr. Dirkschneider found themselves intrigued by the rock and sleaze Slick N Wicked unleashed. A fearlessly imaginative set from a band who are not to missed! For a cheap, delicious thrill, let the sensational Slick N Wicked rock your world!
The Whisky was packed to the rafters and beyond when U.D.O. took the stage. Many in the audience had been waiting years to the legendary Udo Dirkschneider in action, and the audience response was explosive. Opening with the title track from their upcoming album Steelhammer, the metal attack was in full force, and the crowd sang along with each and every song. Dirkscheider’s vocals are one of a kind, and he was definitely on fire, delivering a thrilling performance! Rev Raptor and They Want War then commenced, and the sonic devastation sent the Whisky throngs into a frenzy. An old Accept song Screaming For A Love Bite was presenting early on, and sounded absolutely tremendous live, complete with those wondrously impassioned Udo Dirkschneider trademark vocals. Other tunes that blew the roof off the venerable Whisky included Man And Machine, Thunderball, and Animal House.
Longtime U.D.O. collaborator Fitty Wienhold supplied a pulsating low end on bass, a consummate musician to be sure. Francesco Jovino is also a member whose been in the band for many years, and his drumming was skillful and devastating. Andrey Smirnov and Kasperi Heikknen are the two new guitarists in U.D.O., and their sonic wall of sound infused a staggering intensity into the songs. Together, U.D.O. 2013 is a vibrant metallic force, still inspiring and unstoppable after all these years. Those who wanted to hear more old Accept tunes were in for a real treat, as the classics Metal Heart, Balls To The Wall, and Fast As A Shark were unleashed at the end of their set. An unforgettable performance that will be remembered and revered for the metal ages to come. Here’s hoping U.D.O. return to the Southern California post ASAP to devastate the Sunset Strip once again!
(Review and Photos by Kenneth Morton)