Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Comedy Steel - Nokia Theatre

Comedy Steel - Nokia Theatre - New York City - January 13, 2007

Welcome to my second concert review for OnThePod.net so let me just say thanks once again to Joe for letting me post on his site. Anyway, on to the review …

In late 2001 NYC Hardrock & Metal Radio DJ Eddie Trunk put on N.Y. Steel, a 9/11 benefit concert which featured hard rock and metal musicians from the New York City area. In addition to getting some great musicians together for a very worthy cause, the concert was the also the impetus for getting the band Twisted Sister back together. Now just over five years later, Trunk decided to put on another event but with a twist: Comedy Steel which would bring together heavy metal musicians and standup comedians in a meeting of minds so to speak with portions of the proceeds going to the charity Cure Autism Now. The show which took place at the Nokia Theatre in the heart of Times Square in New York City, featured comedians Don Jamieson, Jim Florentine, and headliner Jim Breuer. All three comedians are huge fans of metal and have appeared on Trunk’s radio show in the past.

I was lucky enough to get a VIP ticket which did cost twice as much as a normal ticket but it got me into a meet & greet with Jim Breuer before the show. The ticket also came with a complimentary gift pack that included a T-shirt and a signed Breuer concert DVD. After trying to find a good spot in the VIP section of the theatre, I decided I should really be down on the floor and settled near the front of stage left.

The show started with an Ozzy Osbourne impersonator in a wig and athletic jumpsuit (Ozzy’s stage attire as of late) who along with a backing band delivered a spot on version of the song “I Don’t Know” from Ozzy and Randy Rhoad’s live album Tribute.

Comedians Don Jamieson and Jim Florentine from the comedy DVD Meet the Creeps gave enjoyably rude and crude sets. Their material was filled with tons of metal references (especially Jamieson’s) and Florentine sported a vintage Iron Maiden Piece of Mind T-shirt.

In between the comedy sets, came the tunes. The special musical guests included the guitarists Jay Jay French & Eddie Ojeda from Twisted Sister, Bobby Blitz & DD Verni from the band Overkill, and Anthrax bassist Frank Bello. The guys mixed it up taking turns doing cover songs of Twisted Sister, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, and Judas Priest with singer Billy Mira (who also did the Ozzy impersonation) handling all the vocals.

The final act of the almost three hour show was Breuer’s set. Just let me just make something clear here, Jim Breuer is out of his mind. ( And I mean that in a good way of course! ) Backed by a 3 piece heavy metal band, he was clad in full metal regalia : Black leather vest and pants, spikes, and a belt buckle that Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson might have worn during Maiden’s ‘84-‘85 Powerslave Tour. Breuer’s set started with a video that drew us into the story of his childhood indoctrination into heavy metal thanks to the Judas Priest album Screaming for Vengeance. Faced with a choice of listening to a Flock of Seagulls record or Judas Priest, he opted for Priest. After hearing the intro track “The Hellion/Electric Eye”, he was never the same …

A personal highlight for me was the bit that had Breuer doing impressions of James Hetfield, Ozzy & Sharon Osbourne, Brian Johnson, and Angus Young in the merchandise returns line in the department store Sears. He really nailed the accents especially Sharon’s & Ozzy’s. The other highlight for me was “The Wizard” bit. It was about Breuer as a teenager hanging out before a concert in the parking lot of Nassau Coliseum (Long Island) with his friends high on mescaline for the first time. “Whatever you do (the wizard tells him) … Don’t step in the darkness!” Hilarious!!!

To close the show, everyone took the stage for a roaring cover of Twisted Sister’s “We’re not gonna take it” with the comedians handling backup vocals. Twisted Sister was the first band that got me into hard rock and metal when I was a wee lad of 11 years old. It’s been over 20 years for me now and I can also say, I haven’t been the same since …

Everyone involved with the show has a love for this type of music and they really wear that passion on their sleeves. Hard rock & metal usually doesn’t get much respect so it‘s great to have an event where everyone involved is first and for most a fan of the music & they show that affection proudly.

By the way, one more thing about Eddie Trunk. I listen to his weekly Friday night show on NYC’s Q104.3 religiously. He’s one of the last radio DJ’s who still has full artistic control over what he plays on his show and it’s a godsend for any fan of rock music today in this era of radio station consolidation and preprogrammed musical filler. He is a true fan of the music and it shows. Get out & support people like him.

Check out www.eddietrunk.com for more info about listening to his show on the radio or through the internet.

See you on the road,

Erik

eremec@yahoo.com

© 2007 Erik Remec


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