Photos and Review by: Darren Eagles
It’s hard to believe that L.A. rockers Sixx: A.M. have been at the game as a group since 2007, and only now have embarked on their first headlining tour. The intimate confines of the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto was the battlefield chosen to unleash 8 years of pent up ol’ fashioned rock n’ roll fury on the sold out crowd of seasoned fans. Clearly, some had come to pay tribute to one of the architects of the machine that is Motley Crue, sporting all manner of Crue regalia. But this night was all about Sixx: A.M. and their three albums worth of material that needed the full show treatment.
Opening the show was Finnish metal cello masters Apocalyptica, with their long blond locks banging and the wall of varying degrees of distorted stringed mayhem in full force. Their set got the crowd primed and ready for the main event that was years in the making.
Sixx: A.M. hit the stage drawing largely on their most recent 2014 release, Modern Vintage, and the set started with a screaming guitar intro piloted by rock’s journeyman extraordinaire, DJ Ashba, one of the three founding members of the band. Straight ahead rockers, “Let’s Go”, “Give Me A Love” and “Relief” kicked off the 90-minute show and set the tone for the night. Frontman James Michael, with his shock of white hair and rockstar stage swagger, crooned the material like he’s been waiting a lifetime to let it out to the world.
The veteran certified rockstar in the band, Nikki Sixx, was on his game right out of the gate. With his signature White Schecter bass wailing, his stage presence and that road worn look, he commanded his place as the storied character that he is. Touring with the band was local drummer Dustin Steinke from Bleeker Ridge. And it looked like he might have put a little more pedal to the metal for his main event homecoming show. He played the part of big time rock drummer with finesse and fury.
Other tracks from 2007’s Heroin Diaries and 2011’s This Is Gonna Hurt filled out the set. “Dead Man’s Ballet” featured ASHBA playing the piano intro that he pulled off as well as his guitar skills. “Miracle” featured an 80’s glam infused chorus that showcased the pair of writhing female background singers who added a welcome dimension to the sound. “Gotta Get It Right” might be one of the best songs off the new album, and translates into a bouncing, fist in the air stadium anthem.
Michael’s piano/vocals on The Cars’ cover of “Drive” added a long off familiar vibe alongside the Sixx: A.M. material. Ashba’s blistering guitar lead was reminiscent of his latest band, Guns n Roses’ “Sweet Child ‘O Mine”.
NIKKI SIXX took time to address the crowd for what felt like a one on one conversation. He mentioned the beginnings of the band with ASHBA and MICHAEL as his partners in crime, with their discovering themselves in writing diaries about their triumphs and struggles. On this tour, he discussed that it felt like they had finally become a band. And he also declared: “I ain’t fucking retiring!!” to the roar of the room. In reference to Motley Crue’s highly publicized final tour which ends later this year, it looks like SIXX has a lot more music to give the world with Sixx: A.M.
Give Me a Love
This Is Gonna Hurt
Pray for Me
Dead Man’s Ballet
Accidents Can Happen
Gotta Get It Right
(The Cars cover)
Help Is on the Way
Goodbye My Friends
Lies of the Beautiful People
Life Is Beautiful