Hair Metal Mansion

Concert Reviews: Stephen Pearcy & Bang Tango in Battle Creek, MI


Where to begin? To say that this past weekend was fun, would be the biggest understatement ever.




It all began on Friday, met up with my friend Jill, went back to her place (where I would be staying for the weekend) and hung out there for a while until it was time to roll. Planet Rock or the Planet Live Music Factory is located in Battle Creek, Michigan and although it may be a small venue (holding a max of about 350), it had a cool atmosphere and look to it on the inside. With band logos and names all over the walls and things like that. The staff turned out to be cool as well. Stephen Pearcy's solo band would be headlining the night, but there were 5 opening bands. Hopefully I remember the right order, if I don't how are you guys going to know anyway? LOL.

First up was Circus Asylum... a local band led by a young redheaded girl who I thought could even be younger than me... but she rocked! Very strong voice. 


Up next (if I remember correctly), was a band called Lykin. To be honest, it was not my kind of thing at all, they were more of a nu-metal, screamo type of band. Not into the cookie monster type of vocals like that. But, after their set, the lead singer came through the crowd and we got to chat with him for a minute... surprisingly, he seemed to be a very nice guy. So that is the positive thing I can say about him, cool guy, just not my type of music. He actually gave Jill and I copies of their CD, "American Nightmare". If anyone out there wants it though, it's yours, haha. 


8 Foot Grimiss hit the stage next and they were a band that I liked quite a bit. Maybe my favorite of the openers that night. They had a funky-rock style to them, with grooves that got the place jumpin'. I liked them enough that I went back and bought their demo CD myself. They were followed by another local band called Daktal...Jill and I got to chat with them outside on the deck earlier in the night). Wasn't sure what to expect from them, but they put on a heavy, rockin' performance..led by the guitar work of Greg Santora, who is now a member of this site! Thanks to Jill, for handing out the HMM "business cards" that she made. 


The last of the opening bands took the stage, Sevin. While their set wasn't bad, I honestly don't remember too much about it. Is that a bad or good thing? The singer did sound a little like Metallica at times, I think. 


Anyway, now on to the headliner... Stephen Pearcy and his "Rat bastards" as he called them!

But I am getting ahead of myself here... because what happened in between was the most memorable part of the night for me. While Sevin was playing, we looked behind us and what do ya know, it was Scott LaFlamme and Lance Eric from Bang Tango! We greeted each other and shook hands, but couldn't hear too well... but after Sevin was done playing, we followed them back to the bar and that's where we found the other members of Bang Tango... Joe Leste and Trent Anderson! They knew of my site and were just the absolute coolest and most down to earth rockstars you cold meet. We hung out and chatted for quite a bit, I felt like a fly on the wall when Joe was talking to another guy about various music subjects and stories. Was able to get a pic with all of them, too.


We heard Stephen Pearcy's band starting up, so we made our way closer to the stage. I also should add, that the place was PACKED. You could hardly move without bumping into someone. Pearcy opened up with a surpise, "Dancin' with the Angels" from the Arcade album...which I thought was cool. For some reason, like Jill mentioned to me, it seems like there were some sound issues throughout, but the crowd was still rockin' and I enjoyed hearing all of Ratt classics live for the first time! I can't remember the exact order of the setlist, but some of the songs he played were; Sweet Cheater, You Think You're Tough, U Got It (from the debut EP)... along with staples like Wanted Man, Lack of Communication, Back For More, Lay It Down, You're In Love, Slip of the Lip, Body Talk, Way Cool Jr. and Lovin' You is a Dirty Job. They also did a cover of the Judas Priest anthem, Heading Out to the Highway and then of course... closed off the set with Round and Round. 


After that was done, we chatted with Bang Tango a bit more, told 'em that we would be there to see them perform the following night and then headed back home. 




After havin' a fun day hangin' with Jill and crankin' some tunes at her place, we headed out early to meet up with Bang Tango at their hotel! Yes, you read that right, we got to just chill and hang with Joe Leste and Lance Eric in their hotel room...also a funny note, is that they got a little lost on their way back to the hotel after soundcheck.

Joe is a really funny dude, and was cool as hell. We talked about everything from Bang Tango stuff, Jason McMaster/Dangerous Toys, where they were headed the following night, to what he was going to do with his hair! As Jill and I were leaving to go to the venue, Joe wanted to get something out of a vending machine, but didn't have the right amount of change. So guess who lent him a dollar?! haha.. ;) 


We got to Planet Rock, got some drinks, walked around and chatted with some people for a bit. 

There were 4 opening bands scheduled to perform for Bang Tango... I was hoping that they wouldn't get lost again on their way to the venue! Anyway, a young band called Gunship Radio kicked the festivities off. They had a different kind of sound, wasn't into the vocals, but they did crank out some memorable jams and solos. Up next was Backlash....the band mixed originals with some covers of Crue, Ozzy, Maiden, and Priest... but Jill made it quite clear to me that she wasn't digging them at all and I wasn't into them either. No real energy or charisma from the frontman. But enough about them, up next was Slap Maggy. They absolutely rocked it and I became a fan that night! Sleazy rock n' roll with killer beats and guitar work. I went to buy their CD "Damage" after they were done, but one of the guys from the band was cool enough to just give me a copy! You will be hearing them on an upcoming edition of the HMM show.


Then, up next it was Gods Of Kansas! Jill and I were both highly anticipating them and were not disappointed! I seen them once before, when they opened for L.A. Guns back on January 19th.. so I knew what to expect, high energy, balls to the wall rock n' roll! Frontman and bass player Reo Youngs was full of attitude and kicked some ass. I like their originals, they also did covers of GnR's Nightrain and WASP's Wild Child..both fitting their style perfectly! One of the memorable moments of their performance was when Reo came into the crowd while they were doing a song, running around and rocking out. He actually went outside to the deck where all the smokers were, then ran back in, went up to an unsuspecting blonde and gave her a kiss! She was pretty shocked and was not expecting it at all! She went from shocked, to a little mad, to looking at her friend and laughing it off. Good times!


After not too long of a wait... it was finally time for Bang Tango to hit the stage! The lights dimmed, and the opening riffs of "Ready to Go" filled their air and got the crowd into a frenzy! Although there were not as many people as the night before, they didn't let it effect their performance and gave the crowd one helluva show! The setlist included Attack of Life, Breaking Up a Heart of Stone, Love Injection, Untied and True, It Ain't Easy and a couple brand new ones from their upcoming album.

I think they might have done Dancin' On Coals as well, but not positive. Also I have to mention that it was the 25th anniversary for the people who owned the club... Joe called for the older lady to join them on stage for a cover of AC/DC's Highway to Hell. It was kinda funny (but cool), to see the older lady up there.. but she rocked out and sang along! It was a nice gesture for them to invite her on stage. They closed the set off with their hit, "Someone Like You" and left the crowd wanting more... at least Jill and I did anyway! Because it seemed like a bit shorter set than originally planned... but still, they sounded really good live and were my favorite performance of the weekend! Joe Leste is the true definition of a rockstar on stage... with tons of energy and good crowd interaction. Bang Tango are truly one of the most severely overlooked and underrated bands from that era!


So as much as I enjoyed the performances themselves, what made it even better was being able to rock out side by side with Jill! I would like to take this time to thank her for EVERYTHING... for her hospitality, bringing me to the shows, passing around the HMM business cards and just being there with me. Jill, you are the best and the weekend wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for you! One of the most memorable times of my life. Can't wait to do it again with ya Jill... Slaughter is March 4th at the same venue, Planet Rock... so I hope you are recovered in time! lol ;)


You can check out a few photos below. (Update: Just added some more). 


*Andrew and Bang Tango*


*Jill and Lance Eric of Bang Tango*


*Jill and Joe Leste of Bang Tango*


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Nice Andrew,, your passion of the metal/rock scene shines through..  Glad yas had a good time, and keep on posting.. One of things Ive found about doing all these shows(especially in the smaller venues)   there are still some really cool bands out there (HALESTORM HALESTORM)  that get it, appreciate the fans,,  and dont have there heads up there asses..    Keep up the good work.... and Way to go Jill   ;-)  he sounds like he wasnt too currupted.. 
Tried... haha.. but he didn't bite!

Yes Andrew it was most definetly a weekend I will always remember..

AND a pleasure for my part in having you have a much deserved ROCK'N weekend!

I am glad you have a sponge for a brain and helped me relive how the weekend all played out with bands and their songs.

I could not have remembered all that so well.. Young minds... pffft!!

I TOTALLY DUG ALL the LOCAL Bands.. except for ... yeah that one.. Xit18!

The locals bands were well worth the money spent in my book..

Pearcy was just ok in my book.. but being a HUGE BangTango fan and having them in the house when Pearcy was on stage was a bit distracting for me..

And with the continuing fall in and fall out of the band 'Ratt'...takes  me away from the Ratt fan I used to be.

But hanging with the BT boys and getting to know them was great.. Friendly.. Funny..Fabulous Fookers they are!!!


Hearing Joe Leste sing.. was WoW for me..!! He sounded better than ever with his BangTango sound..

Yes indeed.. Bang Tango is totally under rated and deserve sell out crowds at each and every venue they play at.


So.. Slaughter is in less than 2 weeks.. and Bang Tango is coming back w/ Jani Lane the end of March.. YAY!!!!


P.S. To the chicka's reading... seeing 11 bands on stage this weekend..

YES .. the Long Hair .. guitar playing HOTNESS was awesome eye candy.. They were EVERYWHERE!!!

HellYeah!! I am still in La La Land!

AWESOME review Andrew!!!! I wish I could have joined you!!! So glad that you had a great weekend!!! \m/
Wish I could have been there rockin right along with you Andrew!
Great review!  Glad you and Jill had a great time!  I haven't seen Bang Tango live, so I hope they make is somewhere close.  And I'm jealous that you get to see Slaughter.  Have some fun for me, too, please!
Sounds like both of you had an awesome time!! Great review, it put mine to shame, AND makes me wish I had been there!!!
Oh, Andrew, very nice, dude! I loved it. Obviously your weekend was unbelievable, Bango Tango, my friend. What more can I say. Congrats.
Awesome review Andrew!  Sounds like a blast!!!
That sounds like an awesome time!  Great review and pics!

Here's a video of Stephen Pearcy from the show that I found...


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