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Britny Fox, Enuff Z’Nuff, Cry of a Drowning Man in Southbridge, MA

By A Headbanger, Do You Bang Head?
Sunday, July 1, 2007 @ 10:07 AM


At the ADC Performance Center

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Reviewed by George Trippe

While perhaps lesser known than the original line-up, the second Britny Fox line-up never received its just due, with a superior third record (“Bite Down Hard”) that was somewhat hard to find even upon its initial release on East/West Records in the grunge-tastic early-90s. While original vocalist Dizzy Dean Davidson copped from Cinderella’s Tom Kiefer, the band’s second singer, Tommy Paris, offered the same raw-throated screamers with a lot more versatility – funk (“Black and White” notably), ballads, rockers – the guy does it all.

This second Britny Fox incarnation was further star-crossed as it re-launched around the new millennium, with an awesome live CD having its legs cut under it from an abbreviated two-week tour, and a studio followed (“Springhead Motorshark”) that was recorded and distributed poorly to a fan base collectively scratching its noggin about the odd, somewhat-experimental hybrid mix of tunes.

At its best, Britny Fox drives straight ahead, fueled and building upon the likes of Aerosmith, Cinderella, Narazeth – hard, blue-based heavy metal. And, so the latest Britny Fox line-up, set for a long tour route throughout the US and Europe into Fall 2007. With founding bassist Billy Childs and Tommy Paris now joined by guitarist Tommy Krash and a new drummer (announced new sticksman, Greg D’Angelo of White Lion fame, did not appear to be the man behind the kit), the band ripped through all of its catalog (sans Springhead Motorshark) in a 60-minute set on the third date of a run with Enuff Z’Nuff. Held a comparatively new venue in rural Southbridge, MA (a converted mill factory), Britny Fox opened with the frenetic “Six Guns Loaded” and focused the early portion of the set on the Paris era of the band, included outtakes found on CDs distributed only from the band’s Web site. While somewhat missing the thump off Johnnie Dee (now touring with Doro) and the fluidity from original guitarist Michael Kelly Smith (sitting out this tour), this version of Britny Fox is more street-ready and, if possible, less subtle than its predecessors.

Playing in front of a sparse crowd, the band could’ve “big time’d” it, but instead focused on doing justice to the Davidson era (the ballad “Dream On” and the seldom-heard “She’s So Lonely”), to the “hits,” (“Girlschool” and a roaring-jet “Long Way to Love”) and to some choice covers (“Sweet Hitchhiker” and “Hair of the Dog”). The new guys have bought into the mission, and Paris’s leather-lunged vocals have lost nothing in the years since the band lasts’ run-through. Billy Childs remains laconic on stage, chatting up fans from the edge of the stage and goofing around on a night that could’ve put off other bands (i.e., low turnout, sound mix issues). Paris was likewise amiable, grabbing drinks from strangers and gulping from them before returning them to their owner, and complimenting the delivery of some of the more lubricated fan requests. Britny Fox is no nostalgia act, and you should plan on heading out to see how its done.

Enuff Z’Nuff likewise delivered a career-spanning set in a well-received opening spot. Still sans vocalist Donnie Vie and long-time drummer Ricky Parente, Monaco (redubbed “Johnny” Monaco in Chip Z’Nuff’s accolades) handles guitar and vocals, doing justice do Vie’s melodies and with a greater sense of exploration into the band’s catalog. While focusing early on the first record (“Indian Angel” and “Kiss the Clown”), Monaco also tackled “Right by Your Side” and “The Way Home.” In addition to holding down the beat, new drummer Randi Scott should be commended on his strong backing vocals. With Z’Nuff and his ability, there’s no need for backing tapes. The band closed with spirited versions of “Fly High Michelle” and “New Thing.” This was a very well-delivered set of music tied closely to the original recordings, but with more spirited solo’ing, improvisation (Monaco doing a bit of MSG’s “Desert Song” at one point), and band interplay than that characterizing the latter Vie years.

The three-piece Boston-based Cry of a Drowning Man opened and held their own, with a somewhat more grunge-based, melodic sound. The band is scheduled to open other shows at the ADC Performance Center, including MSG.



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