Sebastian Bach

Sebastian Bach Makes Triumphant Return to Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, Georgia, November 9, 2021

 

 

Nearly two years to the day, Sebastian Bach again took the stage at the Variety Playhouse in the hip Little Five Points neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia, this time in celebration of Skid Row’s Slave to the Grind 30th anniversary. Since 1940, this building has been a cornerstone for live entertainment, with an enjoyable mix of raised, theater-style seats set directly behind a general admission floor, giving concert-goers flexible options to watch their favorite artists.

For those that frequent my reviews, you know that my 16-year-old guitarist son is generally my concert wingman. He loves to check out new music, and Tuesday night was no exception, with an opportunity to catch the amazingly-talented Kaleido opening for Bach. Kaleido, hailing from Detroit, burst onto the stage shortly after 8pm, energizing the early crowd.

What was clearly evident by the end of their first song, “Die Tryin’,” is that Joey Fava (drums), Cody Morales (bass) and Drew Johnston (guitar) play off each other like a veteran band, providing the musical nucleus behind their ever-charismatic lead vocalist, Christina Chriss. Chriss’ stage presence is simply captivating, with eyes that draw you in, coupled with a commanding voice that can go from sweet to shriek from verse to verse. I was also impressed by the songwriting Kaleido displayed throughout their 45-minute set, including the very relatable “Panic in a Pandemic” and the tune “Dead to Me” (posted below) — even now I can’t get the chorus of “All my friends are dead, dead, dead to me” out of my head!

As the story goes, Bach hand-picked Kaleido off YouTube to be his opening act on this tour, and that in and of itself should speak to the future of this band. And as for my son – who is now a new fan of Kaleido – his reaction after their set was that “Drew’s guitar should have been turned up more” (coming from a kid that plays guitar!), but his pick design is really cool (as he pulled one out of his pocket to show me).”

 

 

KALEIDO
Christina Chriss – Vocals
Joey Fava – Drums
Cody Morales – Bass
Drew Johnston – Guitar

 

 

Setlist
1.) Die Tryin’
2.) My Rock and Roll
3.) Pretending
4.) My Fire
5.) Dead to Me
6.) Eating Me Alive
7.) My Enemy
8.) Blood
9.) Panic in a Pandemic

 

Once the stage was turned over, and the Slave to the Grind backdrop was raised, Bach and band took over the Variety Playhouse and aggressively launched into the title track from Skid Row’s second release. As a reviewer, I would be negligent if I failed to mention my disappointment in the lower-than-what-I expected turnout Tuesday night, when comparing the crowd to two years ago. Perhaps it was because it was the middle of the week, or it was the proof of vaccination requirement, or maybe ten other reasons (but not the weather, as it was a beautiful Atlanta night) — but frankly, those absent fans missed out on a real treat. Bach couldn’t have sounded better, for a guy that kept reminding the crowd that he was 53 years old!

My fellow All Music Magazine contributor Chris Pamatian covered Bach’s show in Orlando on Sunday night (review link here), so rather than rehash my similar show experience he already conveyed, let me focus on the one question everyone always asks — can Sebastian Bach still sing? I can affirmatively claim, without question, yes. You just have to remind yourself, as he did, that he is 53 and not 23. Bach even commented mid-set that he “had a good night sleep” which helped his voice.

The expectation when I go to see Bach perform is that if I close my eyes, do I HEAR these Skid Row songs as they are meant to be heard, rekindling memories of my youth cruising to arenas to see them open for Bon Jovi. I was not disappointed two years ago when Bach came through Atlanta on the self-titled Skid Row release anniversary, and Tuesday night just reinforced my continued appreciation for Bach’s voice and stage persona – not to mention the stellar band behind him of Brent Woods on guitar, Rob De Luca on bass, and Jeremy Colson slamming the crap out of the skins.

In the end, the evening was a nostalgic appreciation of a really great Slave to the Grind album – and my son thoroughly enjoyed Bach’s rendition of his favorite song, “Wasted Time” – mixed in with, as expected, Skid Row’s other familiar hits. Do yourself a favor and try and catch Bach – and Kaleido! – on the road during the second half of this fall tour; you will be glad you did.

 

 

 

SEBASTIAN BACH BAND:
Sebastian Bach – Vocals
Jeremy Colson – Drums
Rob De Luca – Bass
Brent Woods – Guitar

 

 

Setlist
1.) Slave to the Grind
2.) The Threat
3.) Big Guns
4.) Sweet Little Sister
5.) Quicksand Jesus
6.) Psycho Love
7.) Beggar’s Day
8.) 18 and Life
9.) Livin’ on a Chain Gang
10.) Riot Act
11.) In a Darkened Room
12.) Creepshow
13.) Mudkicker
14.) Wasted Time
15.) Monkey Business
16.) I Remember You
17.) Youth Gone Wild
18.) Get the Fuck Out

 

 

 

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Elliott is a music photographer covering shows in the Atlanta, Georgia and the surrounding area. The highlight of his photography career was back in the early 90s, selling Neil Diamond the rights to his negatives from a show and purchasing a set of tires for his 1979 280ZX during college with the money.

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