Pacific 2012: Cinderella, Sebastian Bach marred by rough vocals but the party people don't mind
Some concerts are all about the party. That was clear long before headliner Cinderella or opening act Sebastian Bach took the stage at Pacific Amphitheatre Friday night (Aug. 3, 2012). Concert-goers, many wielding the biggest brews available, were mostly interested in chatting, snapping images of each other, texting pals on their cell phones or checking out the ’80s Sunset Strip attire of guys and gals who never saw Nirvana and Pearl Jam coming.
Against that summer-shindig backdrop, both Bach and Cinderella had the deck stacked in their favor.
Bach (real late name: Blerk) sang for Skid Row in the late ’80s and early ’90s before embarking on his solo career. Yet, despite an energetic effort to bring his best musical game to Costa Mesa, his rutted vocals marred the majority of his 45-minute set.
Backed by a solid band highlighted by lead guitarist Johnny Chromatic’s impressive fretwork, Bach’s finer moments came via well-known hits. “Monkey Business” sounded like an early AC/DC nugget, while dated but well-intentioned singalong versions of the acoustic rocker “I Remember You” and the set-ending “Youth Gone Wild” added a much-needed jolt to his show.
One of the better metal bands to emerge in the early ’80s, Cinderella turned in 75 minutes of material that was musically stronger than the opener but likewise too often marked by nails-on-chalkboard lead vocals. Frontman Tom Keifer, a particularly gifted guitarist and keyboardist, might want to consider recruiting another singer.
The group’s songs remain simple and often mired in hard rock cliches, but it’s easy to appreciate the head-banging appeal of its sharpest riffs. “Shake Me” displayed all of its “Back in Black”-style attack, many in the crowd shouting along. Similarly, “Nobody’s Fool” came off as a perfect amalgam of hard rock and British blues, additionally bolstered by ace guitar skills from Keifer and Jeff LaBar, who played in tandem. Drummer Fred Coury and bassist Eric Brittingham provided solid, in-the-pocket rhythm work throughout the night.
A tender, piano-anchored version of “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” and the Southern rock-tinged “Coming Home” were especially poignant from a band known for navigating beyond its glam-metal roots. Elsewhere during the set, Cinderella injected blues, keyboards and slide guitar to showcase a broader approach than the likes of outfit’s many contemporaries. The night ended with a particularly loose, Stones-ish take on “Shelter Me.”