The Long Hot Summer tour came sizzling to Oddbody’s with the BulletBoys Saturday August 6. For those that came to hear the hits that put them on the MTV map, those that followed their career from ’88 to last years’ newest offering Elefante’ and those that might’ve lost track of them at some point through eight records, a covers release and a live CD Marq Torien and company delivered the goods. The new record was the result of a two year and change effort from the band with Torien taking musical risks and a multi-emotional lyrical journey through each song. The material got Frontiers Records attention, earning them a two-album deal with Torien writing new material for another release, early next year.
Though the BulletBoys came from the era of decadence and may have been lumped into the “hair band” category undeservedly, Torien has said he considers himself a “working class musician.” Though some records may have been under the radar, they’ve continued recording and touring since their longer haired, heyday. Though they still do the songs fans love and remember, Torien has said that he considers Elefante’ a new beginning.
80 Proof started the evening with a collection of classic covers designed to get the crowd warmed up and ready to bounce with the BulletBoys. They began in true metal form playing “Electric Eye” as big brother hovered from the heavens. The fallen saint of metal and godfather of the horns was honored on “Rainbow in the Dark,” as Tony Oliver belted out Dio’s range. The energy and electricity flowed like a Tesla coil and a “Modern Day Cowboy.”
They went Bach to the skids on “Youth Gone Wild.” Another blond haired rebel got his due with a “Rebel Yell.” They told the tale of that special lady that wasn’t exactly pretty or small, but had a “Whole Lotta Rosie.” It was unclear if they did the AC/DC or Axl/DC version.
The priest was back! “You gotta another thing Coming.” They welcomed their new drummer to the show, ending with a Motley combo of “Too Young to fall in Love” and “Shout at the Devil.”
Bridges to Burn came from down south making the multi-hour trek from Nashville to southern fry the stage. Described as a mix of Sabbath, Alice in Chains and Metallica, they’re fairly new with a self-titled EP out. It was a return to Oddbody’s having previously played with Saxon and Armored Saint.
On stage they shared the collective attitude and appearance of seasoned players complete with loud solos, rock star facials and rock and roll bravado combined with a cool, calm southern gentleman’s charm. They displayed the classy, experienced fingers and hard-times swagger of the classic blues players.
“Feels Good” went down like strong southern comfort. It was a set of swampy, electric bayou magic delivered with skilled hands and strong spirits. The next tune was a heavily felt, heavily played tribute to veterans everywhere about the process of withdrawing from combat and returning to regular life, “PTSD.”
Vocalist Mike Thomas said he’d heard a lot of B.S. about metal being dead but looking around, he saw that the congregation was keeping the faith, if you’re into metal welcome to “My World.”
Torien was still the showman, belting out the pipes like it was still the ‘90s, running around stage with wide-eyed statuesque charisma stopping mid-step in freeze frame stance and expression. Moving, bending and twisting with age-defying agility. Father Time has seemingly complimented him for longevity or just forgot about him so Torien could do his thing, from physical comedy, to facials, to Cheshire bravado. He seemed genuinely happy to be there. He still yelled like the loud long haired bongo playing banshee MTV introduced us to, carrying the swagger and flirtatious wild man’s eyes. From the slow smooth blues breakdown jams to slinking around the mic, playing the strings like the old blues legends. There was a mix of youth, new blood and veterans in the band carrying a close chemistry and kinsman ship
They launched into Elefante’ opener and new YouTube video “Rollover.” Torien was all personally sporting shades, smiling and contorting like a possessed method actor straining and squeezing the notes out of his guitar like making a woman squeal that’s hard to please. They went old school quick on “Hard as a Rock” from the first record. “Hell on my Heels” started with a one, two f—k you! Bourbon’s still for breakfast with two packs a day.
As the sweat poured, Torien returned, ready to continue, introducing the band then went to work on the guitar neck playing up some slapstick facials finishing the song.
They cranked out the “Tsunami” of emotions that came with relationships and their varying ways of destruction. Too bad they don’t make a pill for that.
Torien dedicated “Castles in the Sky” to a recent fallen friend who helped them survive in the early days, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away when pterodactyl’s roamed the sky and dinosaurs roamed the earth. He also dedicated it to everyone in the U.S. armed forces.
“Symphony” was played with hope, about all those broken hearts, pulled heartstrings, battle scars and wounds life throws at you, testing resilience.
They saved the best for last, giving the Headbangers Ball generation what they wanted, “Smooth up in Ya.”
The crowd chanted one more song to which Torien and crew graced Sir Elton John with the “Bitch is Back.”
Images by Mike Ritchie