Santa Cruz Plays Sunday’s Rock on the Range

Santa Cruz Plays Sunday’s Rock on the Range

The young and hungry hellraisers from Helsinki came early Sunday morning to open the Jager stage and wake up the eardrums of the wide-eyed and groggily assembled. Whether you were on hangover number two or still on hangover one from Friday the day began loud with a retro-active 80’s splash of attitude and metal via the sunset strip. Which was closer to the stage then Helsinki, by a ‘few’ miles. The boys of the Cruz proved just how far, loud and long the influence of the LA scene had spread and still present today. They looked the part and had the moves to be your mother’s next, worst nightmare. No need to bring your daughter to see Slaughter, this ‘Santa’ makes house calls year round.

The four brothers Cruz, Archie (guitar, vocals) with Johnny (guitar), Middy (bass) and Tazzy (drums) all doing backup vox formed in the hot-licked Helsinki summer of 2007 wanting to play to the bleeding ears of the world, kick a little ass, get a little… drunk and live the dream. Inspired by the legends and decadence of Guns N Roses and Skid Row among others, they brought the raw destructive power and chemistry building their own ‘to be written’ legend.

After getting the semifinalist spot in their homelands 2009 national band competition they released two demos. The second Another Rush of Adrenaline received considerable hype with word of mouth spreading about their high voltage rock n roll shows. They earned their press, playing 150 shows and then some as an independent, unsigned band. The Anthems for the Young ‘n’ Restless EP with namesake video earned them the attention of Spinefarm and a record deal in 2012 with the release of Screaming for Adrenalin.

They played all over Finland with tours of Britain, Germany and Belgium. In 2014 they came to America and played for the New York Spinefarm execs. No pits or crowd surfing but it was a packed room. The second record hit in March and one and a half months later, they stood in the warm Columbus morning sun, as the rain came.

The new bred youth gone wild needed “Bonafide Hero’s” to idolize. Archie offered the middle finger of love and respect to the crowd as they ripped roared into the six song set. He’s got a little Michael Sweet and Chris Jericho in the lungs, though Fozzy probably grew up on Stryper and the Crue. With Roth and Neil charisma in his flowing locks he and Johnny scorched the frets with some CC DeVille soloing adding some modern flavor. “My Remedy” was the new Bad Medicine.

They “Let them Burn” to the ground, going out in a blaze of glory. In the crowd, in the pit or on the road, the boots were on. “We are the ones to Fall” the martyrs, the scapegoats, the ones to blame for anarchy and change. They help destroy the status quo, with an, eh oh, eh oh. The call came out screeching through the speakers for the “Wasted ‘n’ Wounded.” Can you feel the decay of the innocence? They finished revving the motors, speeding down the highway into the sun like their SoCal hero’s did back in the day. Reaching for the sky, their own LA guns locked and loaded, straddled on their electric gypsies, with a touch of hairspray. With some bottled electric lightning, they finished “Aiming High.”

Images by Mike Ritchie

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