In a beautiful, about 890 seat venue named the Rose Theatre, Brampton ON – Canada, boasted by one of the volunteers as the 2nd largest stage in Canada, not a bad seat in the place, we were thundered with the opening riffs of Long Way to Heaven and Wild in the Streets by “The Hardest Working Band in Canada”.
Aptly named after doing over 300 shows a year for many years and recently coming off the 2017 Sweden Rock Fest, these lads delivered a high energy heavy metal cascade, and, playing all the hits I hoped for, live.
Lead vox Brian Vollmer howled out their best metal anthems like When The Hammer Falls and of course Rock You and Dirty Dog with true vocal precision, the voice not having changed in years, probably due to his professional ‘Bel Canto’ training and living a clean, not so rock n roll lifestyle these days..well maybe a little.
The guitarist duo of Kaleb Duck and Chris Julke hammered their axes with wild abandon, coming up close to the audience and driving their guitars forward at us, showing us that we all have only about 6 Strings, 9 Lives left, so we had best make use of them! Bassist Daryl Gray, sporting the infamous HELIX bass, and drummer Greg “Fritz” Hinz, the backbone of the animal, relentless and thundering with a welcome drum solo that sounding like machine gun fire.
The eventual slowdowns of Deep Cuts the Knife and Make Me Do (Anything You Want) gave them a bit of a respite while getting some avid fans up and moving (I know, NOT the fast tunes?!?) much to the chagrin of the venue’s ushers who were eventually lulled into letting some people rock out.
We were also treated to a rare, archived song Danger Zone, from the-oh so missed guitarist Paul Hackman, days. A sounding rocker and hoping to be on a B-side somewhere!
A host of other hits (in no particular order) The Kids Are All Shakin’, Even Jesus (Wasn’t Loved In His Hometown), No Rest for the Wicked, Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’ and probably their most popular and successful, Heavy Metal Love resounded with cheers and appreciative applause from us old rocks, er rockers.
Awesome metal show lads!
After a brief beertermission, Lee Aaron, The Metal Queen was amazing us with her near identical pitched vox and incredible onstage sensuality that hasn’t changed. She gives women’s empowerment a makeover every time she hits the stage and her songs and career are a testament to that.
While experimenting over the years with metal, blues/jazz and pop rock, she and her tight knit band, backboned by her drummer husband, claimed her roots here in Brampton, writing songs in her basement years ago, to the applause of proud Bramptonians.
Hits such as Tom Boy and Hands On may not be the shrieking metal indicative of our beloved blog but these metal roots are important. Her band was tight and expert and the hammering guitars of Sean Kelly (of Metal On Ice fame) made even pop songs like Whatcha Do To My Body sound metal.
There was a bonus for us that she played a track, unreleased from her new upcoming LP. (Not Fire and Gasoline). Diamond Baby, an amazing soulful rocker that shows her musical adaptability to almost any genre. Check the tracklist!
Lee is happy and extremely active onstage, talks with everyone and is always up for a laugh. She has been getting into music debuts as two male fans were treated to screaming (not badly either) Whatcha Do To My Body at stage left. (I made my debut thusly at Metal On Ice sound check. Story for another time). As well, a longtime female fan of about 30 years got to intro the song, and it was amped!
This was the first time ever seeing Metal Queen live and it was an excellent metal pounder that holds true in the metal world today. A powerful voice propelled it to the back of the theatre and we all sang along.
Lee Aaron has reinvented herself and her band and has exposed many generations to many genres; influencing many including the metal world, even while not intentionally attempting to be “metal”. This performance would do any metal scene justice and the intensity and power of the performance from the entire band was palpable; we all felt it.
Keep up the 10/10 performances, both of you!
Read the interview DutchMetalManiac’s Alessandro did with Helix vocalist Brian Vollmer here.