Motley Crue Fest Review PNC Bank Arts Center 8/23/08

One of the stereotypes about New Jersey is that most of the guys walk around looking and talking like one of the Sopranos. It’s taken my entire life living here to finally admit that it’s not all that far fetched. Fortunately, I’m not at all reinforcing that stigma but for some reason many of the guys at last night’s Motley Crue concert WERE. Cruefest, a rock festival tour, is the creation of Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue. It made it’s stop at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ last night. This is where I finally closed my case.

If you aren’t familiar with Guidos then you can click here and here for an explanation. They are guys who overtan, over spray on their cologne, and oversweat. They also work out (take steroids), sport ridiculous blown out hair cuts, and have lame tattoos. Oh and as you can see here, they usually they dance like idiots. These guys were piss drunk and launching themselves over the rows of chairs. They kept hugging each other and checking their cell phones. It was a living breathing stereotype right before my eyes. Every time they looked at me or my girl it felt like they were raping us with their eyes. I was completely creeped out. It wasn’t just them. They seemed to be in all the rows surrounding us. If zombies ever take over Jersey or New York, they’ll most likely be Guido Zombies.

One of the problems with this shitty venue, PNC Arts Center, is that they have VIP sections that are permanently bought by certain rich folks and companies. The companies might get a string of ten seats and give the tickets away to business partners and employees etc. The real true fans who want to get a hold of these seats can’t because Joey Stugots from Staten Island has a cousin who is doing a construction job for the company who has the VIP seats. The construction guys are more apt to give a better price if they’re schmoozed with some Motley Crue tickets. That’s just a for instance. You could imagine how many different scenarios there are. But that’s how it is living in Jersey. You could even make deals with teachers, cops, and Dunkin’ Donuts employees. Everyone’s corrupt here. So what made me realize that guidos don’t belong at fucking Motley Crue concert is this:

This blazing idiot was doing the tomahawk chop, you know the one fans do at a Braves or Chiefs game? Every time there was a thumping Tommy Lee beat banging or Vince said “I Wanna see those fists” this guy breaks out his tomahawk chop. THE ENTIRE CONCERT! Talk about inappropriate. While we’re all fist pounding this guy is shaking his hips back and forth while chopping the air. Give me devil horns, give me the middle finger, or even spirit fingers…not the friggin’ tomahawk chop!?!?! You’re at a MOTLEY CRUE SHOW not at a RAVE party asshole. What a fool. Go do that dance down the shore, at the capital of guidoville. Believe it or not, we’re not all like this but it really is a shame that all the stereotypes are true. And apparently Tommy Lee was digging us as he commended that “We’re all gangstas.” He sat on the edge of the stage and had a heart to heart with us. He was shocked by the fact that the parking lot was filled with cars and trucks with their trunk opened as everyone tailgated and got bombed. I always thought all people got wasted before a concert, not just in Jersey and especially a 5-five band festival.

OK, believe it or not, now I’ll actually review the concert:

The openers, Trapt, still known for their 2002 hit “Headstrong,” released 2 albums since then and haven’t been able to replicate that success. In comparison to the bands that followed, it looks like Trapt need to find themselves more personality and a more diverse repertoire of music. I won’t discredit them because they are talented and Chris Brown is a likeable front man. They just really come off as completely generic. It’s no wonder though, since they hit the rock scene at a time when new rock bands were pretty generic. They were opening Cruefest for a reason and let’s leave it at that.

Nikki Sixx’s side band Sixx A.M are immensely talented. It’s almost as if they belong at “A Very Special Concert with the Trans Siberian Orchestra” or something. Lead Singer, Michael James is not only a fantastic, engaging, and cool looking front man, but he’s also a well known writer, producer, and musician. Nikki really lucked out when he started working with him and guitarist DJ Ashba (formerly of Beautiful Creatures.) The Sixx AM team is actually responsible for writing and producing Motley Crue’s latest album Saints of Los Angeles. Wouldn’t you think Tommy, Vince, and Mick would want to write some of the songs too? It makes me gain that much more respect for Sixx AM. The songs they performed from the Heroin Diaries are more serious, and introspective than that of the ballistic, sleazy rock Motley Crue is known for. That’s most likely due to the subject matter. The songs are based on chapters from Nikki Sixx’s book The Heroin Diaries. “Pray For Me”(video posted below) and “Life Is Beautiful” were standouts.

Papa Roach won me over. I wasn’t on the bandwagon with much of the rock scene in the late ‘90s and early 2000’s. It seemed as if rap and rock would be forever married and I grew frustrated. I wanted to like “Last Resort” and it was good song, but deep down I still yearned for at least a touch of bombastic hair metal. I wrote off Papa Roach with a lot of other rap-rock and nu-metal bands like Linkin Park. Everyone was so angry and brooding. It was like grunge but without the ripped jeans. What were they still pissed about? Papa Roach has mentioned in interviews that they don’t rap in songs anymore. According to a Wikipedia article that credit’s an interview with the Dallas Music Guide, lead singer Jacoby Shaddix says “I just want to be a rocker.” That’s all I need to hear. It was actually 2004 when I began to appreciate Papa Roach’s music with their single “Getting Away with Murder.” Since then, WWE Raw, a show that I’ve watched since its inception in 1993, named “…To Be Loved” their theme song last year. So that’s a double whammy for me. Jacoby ventured out into the audience for “Time is Running Out” and they finished up with “Last Resort.”

Some girl in the front row tossed Jacoby a pair of little black panties, so he did what a guys usual reflex is when that happens. He put them on his head and covered his mouth and nose with the “good part.” Mid-song he stops, inhales, and proclaims “Hey…these smell good!” If you’re a guy there’s a 99% chance that you’ve done that before and enjoyed it too. He’s entertaining and crazy to say the least.

Buckcherry or “Buckberry” as the PNC Bank Arts Center program refers to them as were up next. We don’t know how to rock out, and apparently we can’t spell either.

You were probably disappointed if you’re a fan from the start like me, material from Buckcherry’s first two albums have gone almost completely abandoned. Most of their performance consisted of songs from their last album 15. Even though they picked up a few new members, they’re still the raw and sexual band they established themselves as. Some highlights were their new track “Too Drunk” from their forthcoming Black Butterfly, “Next to You,” and “Crazy Bitch.” You can check out footage of their performance at our You Tube channel:

During Tommy’s amusing Titty Cam segment, to encourage boobs to come out of hiding, he said “C’mon, this ain’t a Bon Jovi concert.” Unlike other bands such as Bon Jovi and Poison who emerged in the ’80s, Motley goes into a concert with a different mindset. They definitely want the audience to have a good time but they do what they’ve always done and that’s fuck shit up with no regard. When you see Poison they show a parental advisory warning on the screens but there’s actually no adult content. At Motley, there’s no warning but tons of explicit content! There’s naked girls on the screens and plenty of sexual situations. Instead of turning the place into a party, they want to destroy the place with their hard rock anarchy. There’s something about their music that remains edgy and dangerous til this day. It’s much like Guns N Roses Appetite for Destruction. There’s music on that album that will always sound like these guys must be wrongdoers. Parents hated Motley. Bon Jovi and Poison on the other hand were less threatening and thus more mom-friendly. Motley seemed like they’d bash through your front door wearing all their demonic gear with smoke pouring in, they’d try to bang your mom, steal all your liquor, beat the shit out of your dad, and then break anything expensive in your house. That’s Motley. If Poison and Bon Jovi came over we’d all probably gather around a bonfire in the yard and sing Kumbaya. That’s not to say that I don’t love them, cause I do! There’s just always been a different vibe running through Motley’s show and they come off as ballsier, and more focused.
Motley was on point, and LOUD! The only minor flaw lies within Vince Neil’s performance. I think Vince sounds better than he did say, 4 years ago, but obviously not as good as he did 20 years ago. There’s many instances where the audience is singing for him and other times he’ll only sing the last few words of each line. Overall though, not much has changed with Motley. Motley blasted through their signature songs with reckless abandon. They played all their classics like Kickstart my heart, Wildside, Shout at the Devil, and Dr. Feelgood. After Mick’s guitar solo, Tommy hopped in with some beats and played a few seconds of Voodoo Chile. During the band’s encore Home Sweet Home, the screens showed a montage of all vintage Crue clips.
Whenever the lights went out I squinted to see the outline of Nikki up there and I felt like it was the ‘80s all over again. He still looks basically the same even with all he’s been through. But this was no nostalgia show because The Crue was out there to prove that their new album rocks. Hearing the tracks from Saints of Los Angeles live sound just as brash and defiant as their classics. Their performances of Motherfucker of the Year and the title track SOLA blew the people (and guidos) in the packed amphitheater right onto the parkway and then gave them the finger.