As people started heading for the door at Amos’ Southend on a recent night, there were still piles of empty beer bottles and plastic cups scattered all over the floor. I looked to a friend of mine and said, “if someone were to walk in here right now and see that, they’d know a kickass rock ‘n’ roll show had just ended.” That was in fact what a few hundred fans, including myself, had just experienced. With three bands on the bill that are known for putting on a great show every time they step on a stage, I knew this was going to be a memorable night. Skid Row was back in Charlotte again and local rock groups 21st Century Goliath and Beyond the Fade were there to add to the excitement.
As people were still piling in the doors and trying to squeeze their way through the crowd to the front of the stage, the lights went down and cheers filled the room. I stood with the guys in Beyond the Fade at the side of the stage as they were about to go on, you could tell by the look in their eyes they were ready to tear the place down. As the intro came to an end the band ripped into their first song, “Trend,” the lights came up and officially started this night off. The guys were full of energy as they ran around, consumed by the music and the cheers of the crowd. This group has an edgy modern hard rock sound that can please fans of today’s rock, as well as the fans of the old school. After a set filled with great original tunes the guys launched into a cover of “Rebel Yell” by Billy Idol that had the audience dancing and singing along. They finished strong with the fan-favorite original tune, “Bad” and you could tell they had pleased the dedicated fans that were in the house, and had won over plenty of new ones judging by the loud cheers at the end of their set. Be on the look out for an E.P. to be released by the band soon.
The hard-rocking crowd were ready for more as soon as Beyond the Fade was done, so it’s a good thing they didn’t have to wait long before 21st Century Goliath arrived on stage full of adrenaline and rock ‘n’ roll spirit. This outfit is fits right in with the Skid Row crowd, with an old school, riff-driven, crowd-pleasing sound similar to bands from the ‘70s and ‘80s. Their energy and showmanship demanded the full attention of the audience and earned them a great reaction from the crowd. The band filled their set with songs the longtime fans of the band love and sing along with, new tunes to be released later this year, as well as a couple of covers like “Mama Kin” by Aerosmith, and “Let It Rock” by Chuck Berry. The later included a dueling guitar solo between guitarists Scott Roby and Kip Wilson that featured Roby leaping from the stage to the middle of the crowd to rock out with the fans. The group saved their best for last as the guys belted out their most well known track “Life’s a Bitch” and a new one called “Welcome to the Darkside”, which I have no doubt will be a fan favorite very soon. They are releasing their second album Back with a Vengeance on December 5th, as well as having an album release show at Amos’ Southend on the same day.
The audience in attendance were now anxiously awaiting the headliners of the night as chants of “Skid Row, Skid Row…” started up. This was one of the most rockin’ bands to come out of the ‘80s, and they proved that they still had the ability to get up on stage and melt faces. With three of the ‘80s era members still a part of the band, guitarist Snake Sabo, Scotti Hill, as well as bassist Rachel Bolan, it still feels like you’re seeing the real Skid Row (unlike so many other bands from this time with only one original member, making it seem more like a cover band). Although original vocalist, Sebastian Bach, is no longer with the group, his replacement and longtime frontman, Johnny Solinger, keeps all the great songs alive with a very similar voice and style. The fans that only know the bigger hits were probably lost in the set until about a quarter of the way through when the opening riff from “18 and Life” caused a loud roar to fill the venue. The guys seemed like they were playing for the fans that knew even the deepest of cuts as well though, hammering out greats like “Psycho Love”, Riot Act”, and “Piece of Me” among others. Despite being a band that’s been on the scene for over two decades, their passion for their music shines brightly as ever. They smiled, jumped around the stage and delivered their songs with just as much enthusiasm as they did twenty years ago when they were starting out. Of course they made sure the well known tunes got into the set as well, with “I Remember You”, “Youth Gone Wild”, “Monkey Business”, and “Slave to the Grind” all causing the audience to go nuts. They even included a cover of “Surrender” by Cheap Trick into their encore, showing tribute to the ones that influenced them.
Skid Row, 21st Century Goliath, and Beyond the Fade, as well as the fans all came to party when they took over Amos’ Southend. Rock ‘n’ roll should do that though, it’s the kind of music that enables you to forget about work, school, or any stress you have and just get lost in the music for a few hours. Make sure to check out each band for shows coming to your town, each of these groups are well worth the price of admission. For the fans that made it out to this show, it’s one I’m sure they won’t forget for a long time, I know I won’t.