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Black ‘N Blue Live in Hollywood -- Photo Gallery

By Frank Meyer, Contributing Editor
Sunday, August 31, 2003 @ 1:14 PM


Black 'N Blue Live at Club Vod

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Hollywood-by-way-of-Portland ‘80s hard rock kingpins Black ‘N Blue recently announced they have reunited and are cutting a new album called Hell Yeah sans original guitarist Tommy Thayer, who is busy being Ace Frehley in Kiss. Original members Jaime St. James, Jef "Woop" Warner, Patrick Young and Pete Holmes are now joined by guitarist Shawn Sonnenschein, who made his live debut last week at Club Vodka in Hollywood as the band kicked off it’s first reunion tour.

Other than a one-off reunion gig in the ‘98 that yielded their live album One Night Only, the band has been dormant since their breakup in ’89. Yet ya never woulda known it when the band tore into “Autoblast” from their self-titled Geffen debut. They sounded as tight as ever and were bubbling over with energy. Frontman Jamie St. James’ pipes have never sounded better, as he effortlessly hit all the high notes and screamed his guts out like Roger Daltry never existed. Looking every bit Robert Plant’s wicked stepchild, his blonde mane having not receded and sturdy frame looking fit and trim, St. James worked the crowd like a seasoned pro, jumping on cue and dropping to his knees for maximum effect. Heartthrob bassist Patrick Young looks like he hasn’t aged a day and played and sang as good as ever, he being the backing vocal secret weapon of the group. OG guitarist Jeff "Woop" Warner stalked the stage like an angry leopard on the prowl, dagger-eyeing the crowd and leaping on the monitors with abandon, while double-kick-ass drummer Pete Holmes smashes and crashes behind him. New kid on the block Shawn Sonnenschein looked a little nervous and did not exude the confidence of the rest of the group, but did play his tail off, hauling off fiery lead after lead.

The set spanned material from all four of their albums and included fan favorites such as “School of Hard Knocks,” “Wicked Bitch,” “Stop The Lightning,” “Heat It Up, Burn It Out, “ “Live It Up,” and “Nasty Nasty.” “I’m The King” hauled ass like a runaway train, and “Chains Around Heaven” was as heavy and headbangable as ever. The crowd was lovin’ every minute of it and the band seemed delighted by the response.

Being their first gig in years, the band was a tad rusty in spots. There were no glaring errors per se, just some occasional tuning problems and bum notes. No biggie though, as they played with passion and power. Hey, rock ‘n’ roll generally sounds better when there’s a little dirt underneath the fingernails anyway, right? By the time they hit their anthem “Hold On To 18” (which is currently receiving massive play on VH1’s Metal Mania), the band was cruising in full-power mode and tossing off riffs, tricks and moves like they’d been playing arenas for the last decade and a half.

The band returned for an encore and played the unreleased gem “Violent Kid,” my personal favorite tune by them (which is funny, considering it never got released!) Their punkiest tune by far, this number rocks like Sweet meets Kix meets the Ramones, and displays the band’s raw power roots. They closed with “The Strong Will Always Rock” and did indeed rock our collective socks off.

With a new album on the way, more tour dates and renewed vigor and enthusiasm, Black ‘N Blue could very well make a major comeback. They may not get added to KROQ anytime soon (what real rock band is?), but they could easily sell some records and get on a major metal package tour, where they would likely blow the headliner off the stage every night… just like the old days.










(Photos by Frank Meyer/KNAC.COM)


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