Upon browsing through last Thursday’s Extra section, I noticed a listing for a band I’d never heard of, Side Show, who were playing at a venue, Growlers American Grill and Venue, with which I am more than a little familiar. The listing said the band was an 80’s metal cover band, so your intrepid blogger decided to attend. Five bucks is kind of a lot for one band, but I loves me some GN’R, Motley Crue, and Judas Priest, etc so I went expecting to bang my head and down some cold ones.
The listing said the show would start at 9:30 pm, but for undisclosed reasons it ended up being after 10. The first song Side Show launched into was Poison’s “Nuthin’ But A Good Time.” While yours truly is not a fan of Bret, CC, and co., I can appreciate a party when I hear it. The exact set list has escaped my memory, but it consisted of standards by Bon Jovi, Poison, Def Leppard, Autograph, and even Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean.” While not all of the songs were “my bag,” it can still be good to turn off one’s brain and go with the atmosphere.
The band played for nearly 3 1/2 hours, covering a surprising number of songs with which your intrepid blogger was previously unfamiliar. They did throw in a few quick AC/DC and Crue nods, including a faithful rendition of “Home Sweet Home” complete with keyboards. Side Show itself is a five piece, including a well defined rhythm/lead guitar duo. The singer and lead guitarist both came out into the audience several times each, dancing with a few of the women and making them swoon in doing so.
The band commanded a large sized crowd; many including yours truly surrounded the stage and danced, bopped, threw horns, sang, cheered, and whatever-else-came-to-mind-ed for the majority of the performance. They took two or three short breaks, during which I had the chance to speak to several of the members. Turns out they have been playing for about 3 years; I asked them if they do any originals but they do not. All of the members have day jobs; playing in a cover band is just something they do for fun.
I can say I was “somewhat” disappointed in the song choice; it was surprising not to hear any GN’R, and Poison and Bon Jovi are two bands I never warmed up to. Plus, although I enjoyed dancing to “Billy Jean” I outright hated MJ during his heyday, and the song itself did not seem to fit the rest of the set. However, the performances of these songs and others over the long set were top notch. The lead guitarist was smokin’ hot all night, burning up and down the fretboard on more than one solo. The rhythm section was tight, the singer dead on, and the guys themselves more than hospitable. If you want to “rock out with your cock out” to some “old school cock rock” Side Show could be the way to go.