Alrosa Villa Celebrates 38 Years with the Voice of Queensryche

Alrosa Villa Celebrates 38 Years with the Voice of Queensryche
Since August 1974 Alrosa Villa has been a Columbus tour stop mecca for the world of music to come to entertain, perform and generally kick ass. The Villa’s been a staple of the northern Ohio music scene for almost four decades and continues to bring the best bands on all levels through its historic doors.   Besides hundreds of the best local and regional bands; a who’s who of rock n roll fame and infamy has come to ransack the place and play its hallowed stage. The royalty includes Ace Frehley, Peter Criss, Brian Johnson, 80’s legends/ hair metal kings David Lee Roth, Ratt, Bret Michaels, 90’s goth pioneers Type O Negative, one of metal’s Godfather’s Dio, the legendary Motorhead, masked men Slipknot, the southern charm of Jackal, White Zombie, Suicidal Tendencies, Devil Driver, Mushroomhead, Pantera, Korn, Overkill, Inflames, Lamb of God and countless more.
It’s fitting that Queensryche played a show here in the early 80’s as they’ve brought back the voice that helped propel the band to global success with eleven records, a collection of DVD’s and 20 million records sold worldwide. A man whose voice is one of the most listenable, identified, soothing yet haunting to hear and is responsible for verbal warnings, operating mind-crime, building empires, singing about the Promise Land then another frontier, calling out the tribes for Moore mind-crime and singing for the American soldiers dealing with the chaos. The voice, known as Geoff Tate joined the band, formally The Mob in 1982 after the success of the name changing EP’s title Queen of the Reich. The Metal umlaut aka rock dots above the Y is a Greek punctuation inferring unique pronunciation as they didn’t want a connection with certain parts of Euro history.

His solo work includes the 2002 self-titled disc, guest vocals on Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds on Butchering The Beatles: A Headbashing Tribute, Summerwind on 2011’s Sin-atra and this year’s Kings&Thieves. Alrosa, Columbus and all those who attended had a blast hearing the man whose voice is synonymous with some of the all-time great metal songs/concept records and is Hit Parader’s #14 greatest voice of all time and recently voted That Metal Show’s #2.

The best of the local’s tradition continued as Columbus’s No Reverse Gear started the celebration playing some down n dirty southern jailhouse rock and catchin’ the Southbound railroad train to freedom blues. Backup singer Allix sings the soulful, heartbreaking blues behind lead singer/guitarist/patriarch Rod Knapp, who plays sly with the steel fingered guitar and harmonica. He does his time on stage with a smirk and smile telling us about all of life’s experiences, women and past and present hardships.  It’s time to go Home though the Dinal Festination isn’t clear. Life has No Reserve Gear so speed it up and live it up the best you can. A philosophy spoken by a man who’s band is definitely a family affair.

Straight from the most hair spray soaked, back streets punked out parts of Columbus come the three man band Roxy Mae. Named after a special working lady they’re as red blooded as any American male from Ohio’s capital. Playing a nostalgic aqua gel throwback mix of dirty garage rock, hard hair metal and pissed of punk they’d make anyone from LA Guns to Michael Monroe to Jetboy proud. Too bad they weren’t around in the mid-late 80’s they could’ve given Roxy Blue, Tuff and Britney Fox among countless others a sleazy run for Sunset superiority. The KMFDM wearing bassist Joe Estes is apparently the ‘punk’ of the group while black leather pants/bandanna wearing guitarist Matt Starr sported a gypsy/biker look complete with a time warp hair tease. Somewhere Phil Lewis and Faster Pussycat are smiling. Drummer JJ Kilimchuk has a lot of Joey Kramer in him. Playing their namesake tune, Dirty Girl and a tribute to Poison minus the makeup they showed what the new nostalgia sound of 2012 sounds like.

Next up, one of the nights special attractions, guitar prodigy in the making, rockstar and future headliner in the making 11 year old Louie Owings took over the stage playing a crowd roaring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner showing knowledge beyond his years adding in a bit of Hendrix style. He would’ve done the tricks too but the guitar was almost bigger than him. After the crowd yelled for more, he encored showing off his chops and metal muscle with Highway to Hell. Raising hands for reaction, throwing up the thorns he sported genuine rock n roll prowess, letting out a rebel yell before taking a bow saying thank you and goodnight. Having a built in rock n roll family heritage the kids gonna be a star. Future appearances/autograph signing s and gigs can be booked through the Alrosa staff

Next up is quite possibly the most original cover band…ever. Level 7 play everything from the classics to the most recent and everything in between. They perform with such an addictive/bombastic energy if you didn’t know better you’d think the songs were theirs. In fact, they’re one of the only bands apparently brave, brazen and good enough through performance to play songs by Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Black Crowes, AC/DC and Kiss making them their own. With over 140 years of collective industry experience they are a force in the Columbus scene rivaling any national touring band. While there’s a unique dichotomy within the band as half look like real bonified rockstars fresh from Cali and other half look like the guy next door mowing his lawn on Sunday giving them as a whole, the perfect look. Singer Doug Savage IS a rockstar starting at an early age with a storied local history and major LA and touring cred, rubbing elbows with Ted Nugent, Zakk Wylde and many others. He brings the attitude and over the top rebellious attitude of Sebastian Bach, the flamboyance of David Lee Roth and the look of Bret Michaels. Opening with some serious rock n roll thunder they slam into a bigger than life show and their version of Toys, it was a time travel transplant back to the west coast. They played a Remedy for our ears then made us feel 18 again. Their mega-popularity showed in the crowd though they’d only formed in 2009. If a cover band ever looked like they’d lived a few Behind the Music stories, Level 7 is that band. Though we were nothing close to Cumbersome, they played it anyway the band temporary becoming Level Seven Mary Three. We got some Sweet Emotion; very apropos being it was Savage’s first Alrosa appearance since 1987. I’m sure over the years some serious dirty deeds were done on that stage but for now we get a Jailbreak. They turned Columbus into Detroit Rock City then rocked out a finale like a Crazy Bitch. Guitarist Sean ‘Riff’ Green, a 20 year local hero plays with the intensity and skill of a tour seasoned pro. Guitarist Daryl Wolford brought part of his guitar arsenal, merging sound and solos with Green. Lennard James bassist stood an intimidating sight, resembling a giant metal beast giving fans the heaviest sound possible. Called “a walking definition of versatility” by Modern Drummer Magazine Marty Brasington lived up to the billing in spades.

Many things have been said about Mr. Tate’s voice and four octave range. Though the voice is only one part of the performance, using his hypnotic eyes, body language and motion to convey the deepest emotions in his songs whether, pain, sorrow, happiness, humor or satisfaction emerge. He tells a story with one intense look or stare, one quick motion or convulsion, radiating a unique aura of mystery, sensuality and class, showing off sexuality for the ladies while staying macho for the guys. He encompasses the world renowned global front man he is but also comes across like a regular guy at times. Wearing heart on sleeve he sings the songs he’s known for along with solo material old and new, sipping only the best fine Insania red wine during the show. He smiles along sharing interesting road stories, particular one about being in the heat of New Orleans walking into a large voodoo ritual and ending up discussing taboo subjects with a 70’ish year old lady. He also advised what to do when you get the ‘silent treatment’.  He walks the stage casually playing the every-day kinda guy talking to people having some good natured fun with the ladies. One fortunate lady’s hair got a personally applied douse of authentic Geoff sweat; it may never see shampoo again. Tate reminds us that no matter how high you fly, always keep one foot in the dirt.

Joined by long time collaborator Donny Evola on guitars he appeared onstage dancing to the tribal drum beat persuading us into the murky depths of Forever. We revisit Q2K on Sacred Ground then he leaves us Disconnected in the Promised Land sax in hand. This is real, this is now, and this is the first new Kings & Thieves tune delivering the sexy sax playing, cathedral mix of The Way I Roll. Tonight’s a reminder there are no rules, just open your heart and let it Flood. We’re all Helpless, drawn into the performance. We go back to The Real World from the Last Action Hero Soundtrack dedicated to composer Michael Kamen who Tate met in 1984 and worked on Suite Sister Mary and Silent Lucidity. There’s a few thing’s Seattle’s famous for, coffee, caffeine addictions and lots and lots of rain.  It’s just Another Rainy Night in Columbus. We go old-school on The Killing Words then new school and Take a Bullet for the Dark Money, In The Dirt. Yep, we Got It Bad but we already knew so Say U Love It. We all Walk the Thin Line with A Grain of Faith. He finished up telling a story about an emotional fan telling him about the best song he ever wrote that saved his life. You know, Silent in Tennessee. The night ended on a long trip with the Jet City Woman. Kings&Thieves, other merch, tour info and fine wine is available at

The evening’s celebration was over and another packed house of sweaty, tired, hoarse fans leave the Villa adding their names to the long, ever growing list of satisfied concert goers to the Alrosa guest book. Whether you’ve been there once, twice or you’re an area regular, Alrosa Villa continues to be an intimate alternative to the huge rock arenas where you can actually almost touch your favorite Rock God and despite one tragic night, their reputation’s been solidified on its autographed walls and the streets of Columbus. In other words, they’re here for another 38years… and counting.

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