WARNING: This review may piss you off, you may not agree with certain things, you may not like my writing style, you may not get my quirkiness and/or you may question my loyalty to Jani. I will not change my opinions or writing style & NEVER EVER question my loyalty to him! He was all for being yourself and free thinking so because I digg Warrant w/ Robert is as Bobby Brown sang (not the “Cherry Pie” girl!) “My Prerogative”!!!
Swing it! A week ago, I traveled to Dodge City, KS. to accomplish three things…..
1 – Take singer Robert Mason of Warrant out for coffee & interview him! (Keep an eye on LRI towards the end of next week for our interview!) CHECK!
2 – Watch my buddies’ band Thief open for Warrant & enjoy my first Warrant show with Robert Mason on Vocals! CHECK!
3 – Enjoy the evening with my brother Josh, nephew Andrew and my better half, Stefanie! Judging by the horrible selfie below, we had a ball! CHECK!Since I had gotten off at 8am on July 29th, I left work to make the trek to Dodge City so I wouldn’t be late to the coffee house to meet Robert for some java and an interview. Much to his dismay, he must have thought I was sub human but I just indulged in water. I’m not one to keep up with the Jonses’ so java ain’t my thang but thanks for the offer Robert! Through the entire drive, I was ridin’ high out in the sticks as I’d been a fan of Robert since his Lynch Mob days.
I’d seen him with Lynch Mob and Big Cock but I’d never met him or seen him front Warrant. (From this point forward, I will refer to his former band, Big Cock as “BC” as I just feel odd typing it. It’s ok, Robert was laughing during the interview every time I brought up the band because I’d check to make sure someone wasn’t listening, considering my “day job, I need to save face out in the public. It was Robert who suggested I refer to them as “BC” so a local didn’t get offended! Good call, Mr. Mason!
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a HUGE fan of the late Jani Lane, was fortunate to become friends with him and his sister in 2007. I remain friends with his sister Vicky to this day. I conducted three published interviews and one (forever) unpublished interview with Jani between 2007 and two weeks prior to his SUSPICIOUS death on August 11, 2011. That is MY opinion based on info I have and will never believe certain “family” members explanation of his last days & tragic death. Don’t believe what certain large foreheaded members of the press want you to believe about his death, his ratings whore self needs to go into a crawl space and never come out! Enough about the song and dance man & back to Warrant!
After our big talk, the rest of the down boys made their way into Cup Of Jo-nes (the coffee shops name) for their morning fix of heaven. We exchange pleasantries, chatted for a bit then I split to run errands before my brother, nephew and sweet cherry pie arrived from out of town. I took of only to get stuck behind a few train train and Lincoln’s, Mercury’s & Ford’s on 14th Street.
We made our way over to Central Station Bar & Grill at 6pm to have dinner with my friends in the opening band, THIEF. I must give the owner of CSB&G, Albert Vazquez Soto a tip of the hat for the top notch operation he runs. Their food and drinks are superb, service is ALWAYS solid and his live entertainment is run professionally. It was GREAT to see a national Rock N’ Roll act brought in for once, I hope Albert makes that a regular feature of CSB&G! Nobody else in Dodge City can touch CSB&G on quality of food, drinks and entertainment so if any of LRI’s faithful readers ever make it to Dodge City, check ‘em out.
***[NOTE]*** Prior to the start of Thief’s set, my cameta completely quit working. IT IS 100% DEAD! Thankfully, my brother Josh brought his little Canon so I was able to get a few worthwhile photos as you will see in the gallery at the bottom. [END NOTE]***
Alrighty, the show must go on! Thief kicked off their hour long set and never let up. Thief is a four piece featuring three guys and a lady. Bonnie handles lead, background vocals, tambourine and on-stage social media duties when one of the guys have the mic. They are rounded out by Eric is on bass, Patrick on drums and Corey on guitars. All four split up the lead vocals. The band has played around Kansas for ten years. Their sets are heavy on cover tunes from the 1970’s to today, Rock N’ Roll of course with a few originals thrown in.
After a quick set change and some scrambling to secure the on stage screened graphics from the every present Kansas winds, Warrant kicked the night into fifth gear by launching in to the first of sixteen tunes. Within’ the first verse of “Big Talk”, I knew Erik, Jerry, Steven and Joey had made the right choice in selecting Robert to carry on the legacy of the songs Jani wrote & take the band into the next chapter of their career as a touring band. I really digg “Rockaholic” so I knew Robert was a great fit on CD but he blew me away live. He is such a showman as well as a top notch vocalist. How has he not KO’d the band or himself when twirling the mic stand around like a ten inch baton used in competitions? I imagine the answer goes a lil’ something like this. Unlike a certain Sebitchian The Clown who likes whippin’ the mic and cord around like a helicopter blade with no regards for his band or crowd, Robert is a professional who pays attention to his surroundings and practiced the art of twirling a mic stand. Take notes, Bozo!
Over coffee, I’d asked Robert if “Mr. Rainmaker” would be in that evenings set. He asked why. I told him it had been my brother Josh’s favorite Warrant tune since its release in 1990. He said he’d make sure it was and he kept his word. I’d also asked about “Song & Dance Man” being in the set or not. Once again, Robert asked why. I explained to him a personal story between Jani and I in reference to the song. Plus, Jani had it tattooed on him. Sho’ Nuff, they performed them both and knocked them out of the park!
The band is super tight. I can only speculate that they are as cohesive as they are because before Robert they had to be because either Jani was unreliable or unpredictable depending on his sobriety status or just didn’t fit as the lead singer of the band, no disrespect to Jaime St. James but he DID NOT do the “classic” Warrant material justice.
Much like Mitch Lafon, I’m not a fan of going to a concert and having super long & self-indulgent solos crammed in my earholes. Thankfully, any solo spots are quick and serve as an intro to the song or are in the middle of the song. No wankfests for Joey or Erik and no ten minute percussion experiments for Steven. It was 16 song assault with all the fat trimmed off. Just 90 minutes of one catchy tune after another. It was a helluva ride!
If you’ve never noticed, pay close attention to drummer Steven Sweet’s background vocals. He is very underappreciated and unheralded as a drummer & vocalist, IMO! Besides “Mr. Rainmaker” and “Song & Dance Man”, I especially dugg the inclusion of material from “Dog Eat Dog” & “Rockaholic” plus some tunes that weren’t HITS. My only insignificant gripe is I would have dropped any ballad but “Heaven” and added another song or two from the “Dog Eat Dog” & “Rockaholic” albums.
I look forward to seeing the Robert Mason fronted Warrant anytime they’re in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska or Arkansas. It would be well worth the mileage and motel costs. Thanks to Albert at CSB&G and everyone in the WARRANT camp for their hospitality!
If you are in the Detroit area on August 6th, head out to Chene Park Amphitheater and watch Lita Ford, L.A. Guns & Warrant tear up the stage! Also, any females reading this that are going to the Chene Park Amphitheater gig, it is ROBERT MASON’s 21st birthday! Make sure to show him what you’re blessed with, throw your lacey panties at him or buy him a shot of Tequila!
Warrant Live Photos from Central Station Bar & Grill in Dodge City, KS. on 07/29/2016.
***Banner photo courtesy of Warrant & J. Price (photographer)***