We interrupt the Jeff Scott Soto Series to bring you a new concert review for a show I attended this weekend that included Jeff Scott Soto and Jason Bieler. It was Saturday, I guess that makes it alright, so I headed down to the Evening Muse in Charlotte, NC, for another fun evening with the comedy stylings of Jeff Scott Soto and Jason Bieler…oh yeah…there was a lot of music too. What started out as two grumpy old men sitting on stage, ended with two very drunk men practically falling off stage…ok not quite, but they had a lot fun as people kept bringing them drinks all night long…as well as cookies.
The evening started at 6pm for those that bought the VIP package…and yes, I was one of those. Last year, they mostly sang, but this year they did a full on Q&A section. You had to stand up, say your name and where you are from, then the crowd said it back to you. My question was to both of them asking if we would see Solo tours from them anytime. Jason stated that he is working on doing a Baron Von Belski tour later in the year, but wants to make sure it presents those 2 Baron albums the right way. Jeff got all serious and laid down the truth. That truth is No, there will be no tour. He said there is no demand for his solo shows in the States and it would not be cost effective to pull it off. Sadly, I know he is right and that disappointments me greatly. I guess I need to keep writing the Soto reviews as the word hasn’t reached everyone yet.
After the Q&A, the boys played a few songs for us including the Saigon Kick songs “On and On”, “One Step Closer” (I think) and ‘Sgt. Steve”. All classic SK songs and performed beautifully. The two were in rare form, cracking jokes and keeping the audience in stitches and they even lost it a few times (especially Jeff). Sometimes Jeff would laugh so hard because Beiler would go off on these tangents that made no sense, but were funny as hell. After around 30-45 minutes or so, the VIP experience ended, the boys went to eat and then we waited for the show. Oh yeah, I forgot we were given a secret password and any time they said that word, we were to cheer really loudly and get all excited. They said this would confuse those that came in for the show and by the end the would start cheering and have no understanding why. The word was “New Jersey” as there were several people in the Q&A from there.
For my last You Pick It vote, I had a tie between Queensryche’s ‘Hear in the Now Frontier’ and with Saigon Kick’s ‘The Lizard’. Last week reviewed Queensryche and this week, as promised, we have Saigon Kick. Mike Ladano from MikeLadano.com agreed to tag team with me here and he is also reviewing this album so go check it out as it came out today as well. Go to Mike’s Lizard Review here.
Saigon Kick had a problem in 1992. Mis-labeling was their problem. Due to their massive power ballad hit, “Love is On the Way”, they got dumped in to the 80’s Glam Rock scene (or Hair Metal) when in fact, they were not even close to anything that sounded like that. People who bought this thinking it was the next Danger Danger, Trixter or maybe even Bon Jovi were surprised at what they heard. They weren’t Grunge either so they were a band that had no real marketable identity at the time. They were alternative, but to melodic for them and not metal enough for the glam. What a weird place to be. The timing sucked for them as well with the Glam scene dying at an alarmingly fast rate and Grunge taking over, just where did this band fit in the mold.
Saigon Kick’s sophomore album, ‘The Lizard’, was a diverse collection of rock songs that defied classification. The songs were so well crafted, so mature and unlike anything else at the time. The closest band I would say would be Extreme as they were also had a diverse, eclectic set of songs and because of their ballads also got lumped in to the Hair scene, unfairly as well I might add. The band was Matt Kramer (Vocals), Jason Bieler (Guitar, keyboard), Tom DeFile (Bass) and Phil Varone Drums). The bands second album saw Jason step up and produce the album and do most of the heavy lifting with the songwriting as he wrote all the music and had his hand in all but three of the songs on the lyrics. The album was released on June 2, 1992 and sold well, going to #1 on the Heatseekers Album Chart and #80 on the Billboard 200 chart. It did get certified Gold selling over 500,000 copies some time around 1996 though.
I was a fan of that ballad I mentioned earlier, but back in the day, I didn’t buy this album. I didn’t buy it until last year after I saw Jeff Scott Soto and Jason Bieler in concert together. They played mostly Saigon Kick songs and I had forgotten how great those songs were so I ran out and bought the band’s first three albums off Rock Candy. This version of the album has massive liner notes all new for this reissue and a bonus track. To top it off, thanks to the clout of The LeBrain Train show, I was able to snag Jason Bieler for an interview and Mike Ladano and I interviewed him for that show. It was a lot of fun and great diving in to his career.