|ESP (Eric Singer Project) - April 21,
Sydney, AUS - The Marquee
We arrived at the Marquee club in Sydney early to a bunch of fans already lined up waiting patiently to enter the building. While waiting I had the pleasure of catching up with friends that I had not seen in years, which was awesome. Upon entry into the club I realized that I wasn’t really a fan of the venue. This was my first time at the Marquee so I was eager to check out the surroundings. The bar was placed to the right with a small walkway which people used to order their drinks. This same walk way was the only way to get to get down the hall to where the toilets are situated. In the middle of the dance floor there is a huge pole which is perfect if there are strippers on but not for any rock/metal gigs. I can bet top dollar that there have been some injuries in the past because of that. Quiet surprisingly the sound in the venue was awesome, honestly though I will be happy to never see another band in this place.
Melbourne outfit Six Hours (formerly known as Stand) kicked off the show in true rock form opening with brand new tracks from their debut album. Mid set Six Hours were joined onstage by the one & only Bruce Kulick who plays lead guitar on one of the new Six Hours tracks. Bruce approached the mic and proceeded to tell the crowd how the guys came to record together which was pretty cool. During Six Hours set they also delivered a great cover of the Kiss classic ‘Is That You’ which was no doubt a crowd favorite. The band had a great stage presence and musically sound like a mix between Kiss, Matchbox Twenty and Bon Jovi breathing eighties style rock into the lives of an audience that never got to witness or remember much of the eighties.
Earlier in the afternoon E.S.P. had a few technical difficulties during sound check which manifested into slight frustration and made for an explosive performance. E.S.P. is in every way an All-Star band featuring Eric Singer (Kiss/Alice Cooper/Black Sabbath) on drums & vocals for Kiss classic’s ‘Nothin’ to Lose’ and ‘Black Diamond’. Eric once again delivered an outstanding performance both visually & musically, something I have always enjoyed when seeing Kiss & Alice Cooper live in the past. Chuck Garric better known as “Hell-vis” (Alice cooper/Dio) took on bass duties & vocals for stand out Kiss tracks such as ‘War Machine’ and ‘Watchin You’ which was one of the best songs performed on the night in my opinion. Fronting E.S.P. was none other than the heavily tattooed & dread locked John Corabi (Motley Crue/Union/Ratt) who sounds as amazing live as he does on any album I have heard him singing on. For the majority of the night John belted out classic tracks from the seventies and the odd Motley Crue & Union tracks. To round out the group, last but certainly not least is Bruce Kulick (Kiss/Union/Grand Funk Railroad) on Lead guitar & vocals. Bruce who was not in the best of the moods still delivered an outstanding performance and proved that his guitar playing is above and beyond anything that he was allowed to do with Kiss. Listening to Bruce’s lead solo’s in Kiss’ The Jungle I realized how much better the song sounded live then anything Kiss gave us on compact disc. Bruce was playing like an animal that couldn’t be tamed and I loved hearing every minute of it. Unfortunately there were two minor problems onstage where John’s mic kept moving and had to be taped up & Bruce had snapped a string mid song, otherwise the guys rocked the marquee.
Opening with the Union track ‘Do your Own Thing’ I was pleasantly surprised to see the crowd so into it and I was hoping to hear more Union tracks played during the course of the night. To my surprise only one other Union song made its way onto the set list. ‘Love (I don’t need it anymore)’ which is probably my favorite song off the first Union album so as happy as I was to hear it I was a little disappointed that more Union tracks weren’t played. I honestly thought everyone was only at this show to hear Kiss songs, looking into the crowd I seen many fans that always turn up to the Conventions, cover band gigs & Kiss concerts. I was very pleased to see much of the crowd into the Union tracks for those who weren’t familiar with those songs go and buy the albums you will love ‘em.
For those Motley fans eager to hear anything from John’s one & only album with the Crue, only one was played from John’s time in the band, ‘Power to the Music’ which was fuckin’ awesome to hear live with Corabi belting out vocals & backed by such talented players such as Bruce, Chuck & Eric. Here is also where I insert my apology to the blonde women who was in front of me down the front. During the intro to ‘Power to the Music’ my head accidentally connected with the back of hers & I do apologize sincerely for that. Being such a huge fan of John’s work with Motley Crue I was really disappointed that they didn’t do more songs like ‘Uncle Jack’ or ‘Hooligans Holiday’ but I was happy to hear what I did & I’m sure the women in front of me was probably happy about that too. John & the boys also treated us to Motley’s version of the classic ‘Smokin in the boys Room’ which had the crowd going off and sounded very cool and a little rockier than what I have heard the Crue do in the past.
The guys really played a set list that was for each and every person in the crowd, covering songs from Kiss, Motley Crue & Union’s catalogue, I have to say I was honestly surprised that not one Alice Cooper track made the list? The guys did however play some amazing covers of seventies classics such as ‘Free Ride’, ‘Four Day Creep’ and Grand Funk Railroads ‘American Band’.
The biggest surprise of the night for me was hearing the Alice in Chains hit ‘Man in the Box’. This was a song I was never expecting to hear and ultimately was probably one of the highlights of my night. Looking at the crowd it was obvious to me that only a handful of people there knew the song and for those of us who did we can all agree that John Corabi would fit into the Alice in Chains line-up very well. Being a huge Alice in Chains fan I have always said it would be hard for them to find a replacement for Layne but after hearing John doing ‘Man in the Box’ I am certain that they can look no further. Corabi is a clear contender and would be welcomed by A.I.C. fans!
Another highlight for me was Motorhead’s ‘Born to Raise Hell’. I’ve gotta say that Chuck Garric vocally delivers on tracks such as this one. It was also great to hear Bruce take lead vocals for a verse in this one too. Truly my head banging highlight of the night.
As the song ended “Hell-vis” went up to the mic with what I will class as quote of the year & said “Motorhead are like Chicken Soup, both are good for you”! The crowd responded with screams & applause that was well deserved after playing such a kick ass song & then that statement.
The guys closed the show with Kiss’ I love it Loud and as much as I love this song on cd I have never been a fan of it live, in saying that, the guys did a great job with a song that is always going to have crowd participation and be a favorite amongst the punters.
All in all, the sold out show was truly amazing. It has been a long time since I have seen a band live & loved every song that was in the list. E.S.P. certainly played what I wanted to hear & threw in some surprises that just topped off the night. After the gig the band stayed around to do a meet & greet and was happy to sign anything that was put in front of them. Unfortunately I didn’t stay around for this but did run into John in the toilets and spoke with him briefly.
I’m not too sure how often the guys play these kind of shows in America and Europe but if you ever get the chance to see them take it. You will not be disappointed. Kiss say “you wanted the best you got the best” well honestly that should be the E.S.P. motto because unlike Kiss they did give us the best. Horns up all the way for this show!
Reviewed By: Cameron Edney