Houston, Texas was Rocking at the Warehouse Live June 25, 2021



Houston Texas did not disappoint bringing the heat in temperature and music! After a long hiatus due to the pandemic, numerous bands came together for 2 days at Warehouse Live in Houston Texas on June 25th & June 26th, 2021.

On day one, the temperature reached an excess of 94 degrees on Friday. It was as if someone had turned on a sauna to maximum and left it on. The sun was bearing down on all of us as we stood outside of the venue. Growing up in southern Georgia, I was used to the heat but living in Minnesota for the past 14 years did not prepare me for the heat and humidity that welcomed me to Houston for both days. I stood outside as I waited to enter the venue and watched individuals standing outside drenching in sweat. Some concertgoers did not sound optimistic about having to stand outside in the heat and wait. However, brave faces were on as they waited with anticipation to enter the venue to see their favorite bands. You could tell that many people were anxious to get in after being gone from the concert scene for so long.

There were a variety of band t-shirts worn supporting their favorite bands. The standard black Rock and Roll clothing was a common theme. Of course, I always wear black when attending a concert, go figure. To my curiosity, I looked up online to figure why black clothing is always a theme. To my surprise, the historical argument is because the audience wants to pay attention to the music and not be distracted. The black and white clothing originated from the practice of the theatrical stage crews wearing black for the same reason. Not to distract anyone during a performance and the focus of the attention is all on the music. Well, who would have known? We just thought it was a fashion statement.

Speaking of a fashionable venue, Warehouse Live is located off 813 Saint Emanuel Street in east downtown Houston. Full of life, downtown Houston is one of the busiest neighborhoods offering a host of nightlife such as bars, venues, and clubs. This one-of-a-kind concert and event venue features a Revitalized 1920s Warehouse to become a flexible location for events and concerts. Space reflects exposed ceilings and gives the overall industrial look while including modern lighting and sound equipment. Interior Space features include an elevated performance stage and accommodations for up to 1,200 patrons. Warehouse Live has been known for its attention to detail in events in the past however there were numerous issues on both days for patrons, staff, and bands. Venue issues included individuals trying to get in for assignments, bands getting in on time for rehearsals, and on stage timely for performances. It seems as if it will take a few for them to get back on track after this hiatus to pull it together, including training new staff.

New Jersey native and SiriusXM Radio personality Eddie Trunk hosted this two-day event. With over 25 years in the music industry, he was a shoo-in for hosting the event. Day one started with Warrant, Lita Ford, and then the BulletBoys. The venue held a capacity of 1200 patrons and every corner was filled. Enthusiasm was in the air for the bands to start performing. It was good to get back in the pit and be a part of a show. Lights, sounds, the smell of anticipation filled the air. The crowd was hungry for the first band to come out. The tension was so thick you could have cut it with a knife. Luckily everyone did not have to wait long or this excited crowd may have taken over the venue.

Many fans including me were ecstatic when the BulletBoys decided to reconcile. With their first live performance on the Monsters of Rock Cruise in 2019, this group has been going hard and strong ever since. This former flamboyant glam metal found success when the band was formed in Los Angeles in 1986. The performance was nothing short of spectacular. A little less glam metal but a whole lot of hard rock. Lead singer Mark Torien’s powerful smooth soulful vocals let the crowd wanting more. This uncensored flamboyant frontman has once again with his fellow band member has reinvented the band. Performing hit songs such as “Smooth Up In Ya” and “For The Love of Money” produced pure human electricity in the venue. As I stood in the pit photographing the band, the expressions on the face of the fans said it all. They had been locked up for so long due to the pandemic, they were there and ready to rock! The energy was a no-show even on stage. Bass player Lonnie Vencent used every inch of the stage to perform. He is not one just to stand around. Vencent is no stranger to the stage. He was known for playing bass in a Hollywood glam band called Hawk during the 80s. After leaving Hawk, he went on to play with former members of King Cobra and then eventually BulletBoys. Several members of the original BulletBoys went on to play with the band Lies, Deceit, and Treachery which was a union of members Sweda, D’Anda, and Vencent. After several years of playing with this band, talks began with the original band members to come back together which include bass player Lonnie Vencent, lead singer Marq Torien, lead guitarist Mick Sweda and Drummer Jimmy D’Anda.

The band was not only was considered glam metal but also had a hard rock blues fusion. These multi-talented members showed their skills and diversity on the stage. Drummer Jimmy D’Anda is no stranger to working with many talented musicians in the industry. Most recently working with George Lynch’s band Lynch Mob, he was sad to leave working with George, but he was also excited to return to the original band BulletBoys after so many years. I have had the pleasure of knowing Jimmy for a couple of years and he never disappoints in his performance. A little bit of sex appeal with a whole bunch of rock and roll thrown in with this gifted drummer. He seems to be the crowd favorite with all the ladies in the audience. Throw in a licked stick and you have some of the women panting. But do not get me wrong, lead guitarist Mick Sweda has heads turning. I had the pleasure of sitting down with him on the Monsters of Rock Cruise in 2019 and having dessert. We talked about their comeback and his excitement for returning to the stage with his bandmates. You could tell the enthusiasm he had for returning to the original band. There was no short of this enthusiasm in this performance. You can see some of his influences in his playing such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Billy Gibbons, and Jeff Beck. Sweda is a master of his own craft and a guitarist to definitely follow. His passion to succeed has driven him over these years and he continues to do what he loves which is playing guitar and we can see that in every performance on stage.



Next up was female rock legend, Lita Ford. This kickass female vocalist and guitarist have been coined the Mother of Metal. With hits like “Kiss Me Deadly”, “Close My Eyes Forever” and “Falling In and Out of Love, she is not foreign to the Rock scene. Trailblazing the 70s, 80s and today, Grammy-nominated artist has given us years of female power. Supporting her with a plethora of talented band members, she continues to outrun any male singer in the Rock scene. In a male-dominated scene, her entire career has been pushing back against the norms and pushing out one billboard Chart after another. Beginning at the age of 16 Ford was approached with an opportunity by manager Kim Fowley about joining The Runaways an all-girl rock band. The group put out four albums from 1975 to 1979 which included hits including “Cherry Bomb”, “Hollywood” and “Queens of Noise. The Runaways produce rock legend Joan Jett who went on to a solo career after the band broke up. Even though Ford had a hard time transitioning her career as a solo artist from 1982 – 1995, in her performances you would never know it. She did take a long hiatus from 1996 – 2007 to raise her children, in which she explained that her music career was less of a priority for her. When she returned to the stage in 2008, just like that, she continued to command the stage. She has a playful demeanor with the audience that has them included in the performance. During her “Kiss Me Deadly” performance, playing on her B.C. Rich Bich white double-neck guitar, the audience sings along as she encourages them to sing out loud and proud. This sexy, raw female vixen banters back and forth with not only the crowd but her band.

Her chemistry with her bandmates demonstrates a compatible yet Superior relationship. Band Member and guitarist Patrick Kennison is the right-hand man when it comes to solo gigs with Ford. There is no denying the chemistry between the two. At times you might not notice the subtleties between each member with each other, but it is very noticeable between the two. Kennison joined Ford in November 2014. He co-founded the group The Union Underground which played Ozzfest in 2001. The band broke up and can I send form a new three-piece with bass player Marty O’Brien and name the band Heaven Below in which he was the lead singer. O’Brien joined Ford’s touring band in 2012. The band toured exclusively in 2012 as an opening act for Def Leppard. Do not let O’Brien’s cool demeanor fool you. He has an impressive professional career. His credits include Live tours with Disturbed, Tommy Lee, Static-X, and many others. He has also recorded with the likes of Lindsay Lohan, Kelly Clarkson, Brian McKnight, Celine Dion, and many others. But let us not forget about Bobby Rock, drummer extraordinary. This high-powered drummer is known for getting his beginning with the Vinnie Vincent Invasion which opened for Alice Cooper in 1986. Rock has been touring with Ford since 2013. His stage presence commanded the audience with every beat. Rock is not only a drummer you talk about in which you can learn from. He is a prolific author of nine books that cover a diverse range of subjects including health and nutrition as a certified fitness specialist, exercise and fitness, and music art and creativity. He has performed and recorded with several artists including Slaughter, Nelson, Scrap Metal, and Hardline just to name a few. Ford has pulled together a stellar band lineup. Their Warehouse Live performance just put another notch in her rock belt as a performance that will go down female rock history.



Closing the show was headliner Warrant, known for their 1190’s mega-hit “Cherry Pie” started the evening. They performed as if they have never left the stage. The performance starter a little slow with a cover of “Train Train” by Blackfoot, however when the intro of “Down Boys” began the crowd came to life. Lead singer Robert Mason’s vocals were spot on, and he never missed a beat. Since taking over the band in 2008 from late frontman Jani Lane, the band has been going strong and they even put out a new album Rockaholic which debuted in 2011. The band continues to tour strong with this dynamic former Lynch Mob lead singer, whom they have a personal history with which goes back to Mason opening for their “Dog Eat Dog” tour with his old band.

Jerry Dixon, a band favorite was missed during the performance and was out for personal reasons. Robbie Crane stepped into big shoes, but brought some badass bass riffs to the stage and was able to match toe to toe. Members of the band were engaging with the audience and photographers. Lead guitarist Joey Allen is always a crowd favorite when it comes to interacting with the audience and photographers. His playful demeanor is always appreciated when snapping photos. Allen and fellow Rhythm guitarist Eric Turner have been together in a band since the early 1980s. They shared the stage for a short time in the band called Kingtmare II, which would initiate a bond that would last forever over their respective careers. Turner and bassist Jerry Dixon co-founded American glam metal band Warrant in 1984. Influenced by bands like Led Zeppelin, smith and guitarist Jimmy Page, and Joe Perry, Warrant was formed from this influence. Over the past 30 years, there has been a lot of change to the members of Warrant. But let us just say, we don’t want any more changes with the current lineup. Historically, music is a big rotating circle. Members of one band can wind up with another band, leave and come back again. It may not start as a plan, but it does wind up the way it is, and it just works. These historic musicians have built a bond like no other which works well for this band. It seems that the band members have had some relationship one way or the other in the past before they became an item together. Drummer Steven Sweet replaced the original warrant drummer Max Asher. But he was with Jani Lane in another band called Plain Jane. Sweet who recently came back within the last two years from recovering from aggressive prostate cancer. Fellow bandmates, fans, family, and friends rallied around the drummer during his fight. After aggressive treatment, it was announced that sweet was cancer-free in 2019. He continues to wow us with his resilience and Milotic beats.

You can tell the audience was engaged as they watched the band take the stage until the time they left. Electricity filled the air with excitement and anticipation. Fans were singing every song and undoubtedly reciting every lyric without missing a beat. I spoke to a couple of concert-goers Lisa Lakey and Krysti Farnam who are regulars at the warrant shows. I asked them what the highlight of Warrant for them. Krysti stated, “The moment Robert Mason jumped off the stage and ran down to where they were in the VIP section and sang to us.” “Warrant proved that live music was back, and they missed the crowd as much as we missed them.” Lisa stated, “The interaction with the crowd is always a plus. The band always makes time to point us out and let us know they see us. We have built a strong friendship with several of the band members”. Ending out the performance would not be complete without their top hit, “Cherry Pie”. The nostalgic photos of Bobbi Brown from the Cherry Pie album surrounding the band and the sweet song were the proverbial cherry on top.



Day two the temperature in Houston 93 degrees and did not let up. I wasn’t expecting the crowd to be more spirited as the day before, but I was wrong. The crowd had grown to what it seemed like more than 1,200 patrons. It was wall-to-wall in every corner, nook, and cranny. The lineup started with my favorite band Tantric. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the guys over the last year. Tantric has been going strong since 1998 when the band was formed by frontman Hugo Ferreira. There has been some changes over the last couple of years with band members. However the current lineup with lead singer Hugo Ferreira, guitarist Sebastian LaBar, bass player Jaron Gulino, and drummer John Loree is a great group of guys. This band never seems to disappoint a crowd. As I looked around at the crowd and saw everyone jamming to every song. Heads bobbing, smiles on faces, and horns high in the air. LaBar, join the band in 2017. He was previously with the Philadelphia band Mach22 with Gulino. LaBar, who is the son of Jeff LaBar of Cinderella has cemented his place on the music scene. He is not afraid to take chances musically and he brought this consistency on stage at Warehouse Live. His fellow bandmate Gulino was instrumental in recruiting him with Tantric. This pair has had a long history of working together and it definitely shows. Good bassists aren’t a dime a dozen and they make a huge difference in a band. This badass bassist brings tones that serve the songs through funky creativity. The band has seemed to blend together seamlessly with the additional add of Jon Loree on drums. I honestly have never seen anybody smile as much as Loree. His positive attitude is infectious as well as his grooves. He has been touring with this national band and he seems to be more comfortable in his music skin on stage. He is also a drum instructor and previously toured with a local band “Triple Addiction” in New Jersey. Ferreira has been a mainstay in the band since the beginning. The Angolan-born Portuguese-American singer is the soul and heart of the band. His soulful deep baritone vocals are like no other. On the stage, you can pick out this mesmeric distinguishing raspy tone. Tonight I think the crowd was definitely not disappointed in the performance with this band and gained even more fans.



The chemistry of the bands and their fans is authentic. The fans can relate to the music, and they support the band by coming back over and over again. These fans support these bands by purchasing music, buying concert tickets, wearing their t-shirt, and memorizing their songs. Most bands fail to set themselves apart from the crowd and other bands causing them not to be authentic. But these bands, have set their selves apart far beyond others. They have fully formed their own visual identity with their approach to their music. Just like many other fans I have found myself as an authentic fan of these bands. Hoping for many more years to come to enjoy their music as well as their camaraderie and which I can bring many more photographed moments in the future.




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