Steve Whiteman of KIX

KIX Rocks Charlotte’s Face Off at Amos’ Southend July 24 2021



KIX, with Special Guest Prowess | Amos’ Southend | Charlotte, NC | July 24, 2021

The line to get into Amos’ Southend last Saturday started early, with headliner KIX set to appear at this sold-out show with special guest Prowess, a North Carolina band that made it’s live debut at this same venue back in 2016, generating a strong local interest for this bill.

Amos’ Southend is an intimate venue, nestled on a popular neighborhood street in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. From what I was told, between the main general admission floor and the VIP balcony area, capacity is around 600 — but even being sold out, the place seemed to be well-staffed. I never saw a long wait at the bar nor at the merch table. Finally, while it was obvious that the crowd demographic had gracefully aged along with the band, there were a handful of teenagers along for the ride, including my own.

Now before I get into the review, in full disclosure. I have seen KIX play dozens of times over the years — from small club shows to being the supporting act on arena tours. I grew up in the Northern Virginia area in the 1980s, and KIX was considered our hometown band — and let me offer up a quick thanks to those in Charlotte that appreciated my Hammerjacks t-shirt! Hammerjacks was the Baltimore club where KIX was basically the house band, before and after the MTV glory days. My perspective on Saturday night is from the lens of a fan.

Prior to KIX taking the stage, local favorite Prowess started the show to nearly a full house. They were high-energy, punctuated by a gritty mix of artistic sounds that cross 80’s bands like Cinderella and LA Guns. But, with the ability to also pull off a sweet rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Saturday Night Special.” Lead singer Dalton Bowes — who can also play guitar, which I love out of a singer — has a ton of onstage charisma. Guitarists Scott Roby and Brian ‘Curly’ Staples (who does have some amazing hair!) were joined by Kenny Keeler on bass, with Brandon Chinn rounding out the band on drums. Prowess released their first full-length album, “Blacktop Therapy,” in 2020, which they are now finally able to support as live shows continue to come back. I highly recommend checking out their single, “Lookin’ for a Bullet,” which is a catchy tune that highlights the musical talents each of these guys bring to the band.




Dalton Bowes – lead vocals & guitar
Scott Roby – guitar & backing vocals
Kenny ‘Mange’ Keeler – bass & backing vocals
Brian ‘Curly’ Staples – guitar & backing vocals
Brandon Chinn – drums


Following a fairly quick stage turn, I had a momentary moment of nostalgia as KIX readied to launch into their first song of the night; gone was their 1812 Overture walk-on music I had remembered fondly from year’s past. Instead, guitarist Brian “Damage” Forsythe causally walked across the stage to cheers in order to ready his guitar, while his fellow band mates were a few minutes behind him, walking down the clearly visible rear staircase behind the stage. Once the band was set, the unmistakable first few chords of “Midnite Dynamite” blared out, to the delight of the sold out crowd.

If you have never seen KIX live before, you are really missing a treat. Lead singer Steve Whiteman — who is only a month short of his 65th birthday! – never lacks for energy, colorful outfits, or witty mid-set banter, and Saturday night in Charlotte was no exception. Whiteman, donning a red shirt, black vest and multi-colored flamboyant jacket, followed “Midnite Dynamite” with two more fan favorites off the same 1985 record, “Lie Like a Rug,” and “Sex.”

At a pause between songs, Whiteman reflected upon the irony that the last show KIX played prior to the pandemic shutting everything down was in fact at Amos’ Southend back in March 2020. The crowd erupted in their support of the band, until Whiteman proceeded with the notion that live music is back because of the COVID-19 vaccine, to which there was a murmur of boos in the venue, to his visible surprise. Rather than engage further in that discussion, he gave a more whimsical “whatever” bodily response, and soldiered on with the set.

Reaching back 40 years into their catalog to their self-titled first release, the crowd sang back the chorus parts to “The Itch,” which is typical at any KIX show, followed by the band peppering in a few of their more well-known 80s tracks — “No Ring Around Rosie” and “Get It While It’s Hot” off their platinum-certified album “Blow My Fuse.” At this point in the show, Whiteman was honest with the fans as to why guitarist Ronnie “10/10” Younkins was absent, reiterating that he has battled addiction issues for many, many years and is still currently in rehab. He also highlighted the fact that traveling as a four-piece with Forsythe being responsible for all the guitar parts wasn’t a fair ask, so they have currently replaced Younkins with a long-time friend of the band’s, Bob Paré. Personally, I thought Paré looked and sounded great, and played off Forsythe without any song suffering from this personnel change.

Showcasing the band’s longevity, Whiteman gave some historical anecdotes as a preamble to the next song on the setlist, “Scarlet Fever,” which has only recently been added as they look to support the 35th anniversary of “Midnite Dynamite.”  As his story goes, after remixing “Blow My Fuse” for it’s 30th anniversary, Beau Hill approached the band about remixing “Midnite Dynamite” as well. During that process, they found a renewed appreciation for “Scarlet Fever,” which Whiteman joked was originally not one of Forsythe’s favorite tunes. I am glad they added this song to their live set, as I have always found it to be a catchy tune with a chorus that you can’t get out of your head all day.

The set continued on with the staple of “Girl Money,” and the more recent “Love Me With Your Top Down,” before the fans heard the familiar keyboard introduction to KIX’s biggest hit, the power ballad “Don’t Close Your Eyes.” The entire venue sang along with Whiteman, bringing an emotional charge to the night from a tune that at its peak was in heavy rotation on MTV.

KIX then turned to the high energy tune, “Wheels in Motion,” following the closure of “Don’t Close Your Eyes.” It is worth noting that this song, along with the earlier “Love Me With Your Top Down,” were both off their 2014 release “Rock Your Face Off,” which marked the first new music from KIX in almost 20 years. For an established band planning their night across a deep catalog, I am sure there is always that balancing act of managing fan expectations between “old songs” and “new songs;” however, my opinion has always been that if you are there to support the band — especially after all these decades — just take in the moment and appreciate sharing the evening together, regardless of the set.

Having taken a peak at the setlist taped to the stage floor, I knew the show was slowly cresting towards its end, with the final three songs still to be played. First up, the ever-obvious “Cold Shower,” always given away by Whiteman brandishing an oversized KIX umbrella on stage (which was also for sale at the merch table!). This song has been part of the setlist for decades, and gives Whiteman the opportunity to harmonize the opening verse with bassist Mark Schenker, as well as sing along to other parts of the song with both Paré and Forsythe. This rounded out the fifth song played off the “Midnite Dynamite” record, which just shows the staying power of songs recorded 35+ years ago.

The penultimate tune of the evening was the hard-rocking “Cold Blood,” the second single released from the “Blow My Fuse” album back in 1988. Forsythe’s recognizable opening guitar riffs of this popular song really amped up the energy of the crowd, with everyone signing along at the top of their lungs with the band.

As it was clear the evening was drawing to a close after “Cold Blood,” Whiteman took a pause and joked with the crowd that “this is the encore. We aren’t wasting time walking off, only to come back. We are going to play the last song now,” to which a fan yelled out, “play five more!” Whiteman laughed and said, “You are lucky to get one more! I am old!” Then he launched into the expected … “Are yoooooooou ready to blow my fuuuuuuuuuse?” shout out to the crowd. KIX ended the night with a high-energy rendition of the title track to “Blow My Fuse,” running around the stage with their instruments while Jimmy “Chocolate” Chalfant pounded on the skins, clearly having a good time soaking in the crowd’s adulation.

To thunderous applause that seemed much louder than the 600 people crammed into the venue, the band came to the front of the stage for a collective exit bow — where Whiteman also humorously invited everyone to visit the merch table because they “had only played three shows in like a year and a half, and we need your money! And don’t forget to pick up my new solo album, ‘You’re Welcome,’ too!” 

KIX’s dedicated fan base has always appreciated them as the simple, honest, hard-working rock ‘n roll band from Maryland that gives 100% live without fail, and this Saturday night in Charlotte was no different. I’d love to come up with something witty to conclude the evening, but instead I am going to defer to my 16-year-old son’s reaction to finally crossing KIX off his “live show” bucket list — “that was great.”




Brian “Damage” Forsythe – guitar
Ronnie “10/10” Younkins – guitar (*currently in rehab)
Steve Whiteman – lead vocals, harmonica, percussion
Jimmy “Chocolate” Chalfant – drums, percussion, effects, backing vocals
Mark Schenker – bass, backing vocals

Current touring member

Bob Paré – guitar



Setlist (7/24/21, Amos’ Southend, Charlotte NC):

  1. Midnite Dynamite (Midnite Dynamite, 1985)
  2. Lie Like a Rug (Midnite Dynamite, 1985)
  3. Sex (Midnite Dynamite, 1985)
  4. The Itch (KIX, 1981)
  5. No Ring Around Rosie (Blow My Fuse, 1988)
  6. Get It While It’s Hot (Blow My Fuse, 1988)
  7. Scarlet Fever (Midnite Dynamite, 1985)
  8. Girl Money (Hot Wire, 1991)
  9. Love Me With Your Top Down (Rock Your Face Off, 2014)
  10. Don’t Close Your Eyes (Blow My Fuse, 1988)
  11. Wheels in Motion (Rock Your Face Off, 2014)
  12. Cold Shower (Midnite Dynamite, 1985)
  13. Cold Blood (Blow My Fuse, 1988)
  14. Blow My Fuse (Blow My Fuse, 1988)




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