On Wednesday evening in Halifax, there were a legion of fans who were busy prepping for a night with Sebastian Bach with a blow-dryer and a can of industrial hold hairspray. Many folks who came of age in the ’80s and ’90s, and grew up with a steady diet of Ratt, Cinderella, and Skid Row, were ready to break out those vintage concert tees and jean jackets and head to the Schooner Room at Casino Nova Scotia, to get a hit of those classic cuts from the former front-man of Skid Row.
Warming up the crowd in advance of the legendary metal front-man was a pair of hard-hitting musicians better known as The Standstills. Hailing from from Oshawa, Ontario, the pair of Renee Couture (drummer) and Johnny Fox (guitarist/lead vocalist) recently delighted audiences at Live 105’s Spring Fling which was held within the confines of the Keith’s Brewery, in support of The Lazys. They threw down a high octane set, complete with their then-fresh cut “Wild”, but the duo has returned to Halifax supporting Mr. Bach’s tour. It is always a treat when The Standstills drop in to play their growing catalogue of blues-tinged hard rock, from “Orleans”, “Shotgun”, and “Rise of The Fall”, to the aforementioned track “Wild”.
A ton has been written about the death of rock n’ roll in recent years, but bands such as The Beaches, Gretta Van Fleet, The Struts, and The Standstills may have something to say to the contrary. For a two-piece set-up, the level of bombast and eardrum-shredding guitar work is awe inspiring (think, a heavier White Stripes). Rock radio has embraced this pair readily and whole heartedly, and with good reason. Johnny and Rene are clearly on an upward trajectory, and with an impending full-length debut on its way, and a raucous live performance, you should catch them now, before the world steals them away.
After an extended intermission, the stage crew got the stage prepped for Sebastian Bach and his band. The crowd that attended the Wednesday night show was fired up to watch the fiery front-man hit the stage and regale the masses with a collection of classic Skid Row cuts, in addition to a couple of covers (“Tom Sawyer”, “Cemetery Gates”) and some Sebastian Bach originals. The model train enthusiast and rock n’ roll legend brought along some heavy hitters in Brent Woods (guitars), Rob DeLuca (bass), and Bobby Jarzombek (drums).
It was a set awash in hair-flips, fist pumps, and that signature Bach wail. Sebastian looked genuinely happy to be back in Sunnyvale, err Halifax, and that enjoyment was reciprocated by the appreciative fist-pumping crowd in the Schooner Room on a Wednesday evening. It was an opportunity to throw back the clock, and leave those present day worries back at the office, as the legion of Metalheads and Rock enthusiasts revelled in the throwback stylings of the evening’s headliner, and got to throw up those devil horns in solidarity with the openers The Standstills. If you didn’t leave this night smiling and sweaty, you didn’t capture the essence of the rock n’ roll odyssey that the satiated ones did.