Listings are in the opposite order of appearance: headliner is listed at the top, next is the support band(s), and the last band listed is the opener.
Friday Februrary 7
8:00PM doors -- music at 8:30PM
••• 21 AND OVER
alt hard rock, metal, stoner rock
Danko Jones, John Calabrese, Rich Knox
-If you’ve been following the Danko Jones saga at all for the past two decades, then it should come as no surprise that the man’s new album, Wild Cat, opens with a song called “I Gotta Rock.” This is, after all, a man whose oeuvre includes such R-word directives as “Rock Shit Hot,” “Do You Wanna Rock?,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll Proletariat,” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Is Black and Blue.” Just as cows moo and cocks crow, Danko Jones exists to rock. It’s his innate, guttural mode of expression. His daily ritual. His life’s work.
But as “I Gotta Rock” cuts the leash off Wild Cat and kicks into its furious sprint, what strikes you is not so much the self-evident message as the desperation in Danko’s delivery. You’d think that after 20 years, nine albums, world tours with the deities like Ozzy Osbourne, Guns N Roses and Motörhead, and countless main-stage appearances at the world’s premier music festivals, Danko Jones would have had his fill of rocking. But when he declares, “I want it now!,” you can instantly feel the nervous energy his jittery hands, the cold sweat streaming down his face, the hunger stewing in his stomach. It’s as if the electrical shock he experienced when he first heard KISS’ Destroyer as a six-year-old is still coursing through his veins. And by the time the song’s breakneck opening verse explodes into that anthemic woah-oh-oh chorus, you’ve been treated to a crash course in what Danko Jones does so well: He takes the decaying corpse of rock ‘n’ roll, jolts it back to life, and makes you believe it can once again conquer the world. And like any endangered species, this wild cat has only become more tenacious and ferocious the longer he endures.
You could hear that survivalist instinct in full effect on Danko’s previous album, Fire Music (2015), which featured some of his more bruising, bloodlusty songs to date (and fulfilled Danko’s bucket-list goal of providing the theme song for a WWE Royal Rumble with “Gonna Be a Fight Tonight”). And when you consider that the record was Danko’s highest charting to date in several European countries (and also yielded a career-best Top 5 Active Rock single in his native Canada with “Do You Wanna Rock?”), there was good reason not to fudge with the formula. With drummer Rich Knox now firmly ensconced behind the kit for his second go-round with the band, Danko and long-time bass-wielding associate JC once again tapped the production prowess of Eric Ratz, who doused Fire Music in premium diesel.
But, as long-time fans know, Danko has always been more of a lover than fighter. And though Wild Cat boasts its share of riot-starting rave-ups (see: the Van Halen-via-Misfits blitz of “Going Out Tonight”), it’s been a while since we’ve heard Danko sound this unabashedly romantic. He has, of course, flirted with more delicate songwriting in the past—think of My Love Is Bold’s dramatic power ballad “If I Were You,” Never Too Loud’s acoustic-strummed serenade “Take Me Home,” or Rock ‘n’ Roll Is Black and Blue’s arm-swaying anthem “Always Away.” But these always felt like weird, one-off curveballs—surprise displays of tenderness that contrasted sharply with his usual crotch-rock come-ons.
On Wild Cat, however, affection and aggression are no longer mutually exclusive qualities. On the surface, “My Little Rock ‘n’ Roll” may seem like yet another ode to the music Danko loves, but it’s actually a shrine to a bewitching woman built atop the “she’s my little rock ‘n’ roll” hook of the early-‘80s Rolling Stones chestnut “Little T&A” (whose source album is given a further nod when Danko declares, “I’m gonna tattoo you on my shoulder”). And “You Are My Woman” may be Danko’s most reverential act of Phil Lynott worship in a long history of Thin Lizzy love, capturing not just the Irish legends’ gritty riffage and streetwise swagger, but their soulful sincerity, too.
Even Wild Cat’s fiercest strikes get soothed by aloe-vera melodies. “Let’s Start Dancing” charges out of the gate with a metallic chug that feels like a tribute to Danko’s late friend and frequent onstage sparring partner Lemmy Kilmister, but the rapid-fire repartee and cowbell-kissed chorus turn the Motörhead memorial into a joyous wake. And though the title track is a rollicking blues-punk rumble fashioned in the mould of early Danko classic “Love Is Unkind,” it sells its seething sentiment—“she’s a steely, wild cat killer!”—with Beatlesque bonhomie.
You could be forgiven for thinking that Danko Jones exists in a self-contained universe (or, rather, boudoir), with the band’s bone-breaking boogie seemingly immune to contemporary influences or topical talking points. (Back in 1999, Danko’s friends in the Montreal power-rock band Bionic honoured this impervious quality by titling a song “Political Song for Danko Jones to Sing” —a cheeky homage to the Minutemen’s “Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing.”) But Wild Cat’s seismic closing track suggests the anxiety we’re all feeling about the state of the world is starting to weigh on his shoulders. The solution he presents on “Revolution,” however, is not to smash the system, but provide you with the ultimate motivation to do so—once we topple the tyrants, just think of how great the celebratory sex is going to be! Because if Danko Jones has learned anything during his 20-plus years in the rock ‘n’ roll trenches, fighting to uphold the honour of the music so dear to his heart, it’s that the hippies got it all wrong. With Wild Cat, Danko Jones presents his prescription for a better world: make war, then love.
David Roach - Vocals
Jimmy James - Guitars, Background Vocal
Tim Mosher - Guitars, Background Vocals
Todd Muscat - Bass, , Background Vocals
Patrick Muzingo - Drums and Percussion
-from Hollywood, D.C, Austin, FLA
-Eleven songs — raucous, blues-based, uncompromising — mark a triumphant return for "Hollywood" rockers JUNKYARD on their first official album in 26 years via Acetate Records.
While odds and sods have been released over the decades, "High Water" is a firm statement of the band's 2017, and onward, intent. As singer and founding member David Roach explains, in recent years, JUNKYARD had a blast playing "reunion" shows, which quickly turned into mini-tours through Spain and packed gigs across America. New songs began percolating, and JUNKYARD began writing.
"I had no grand illusions of a magnum opus, or that we'd try and recreate what we were 25 years ago," Roach states. "This album is not a departure; it's a rock 'n' roll record from JUNKYARD with songs about life, love, regret, addiction and memories."
JUNKYARD, who hit MTV and radio hard with their self-titled 1989 Geffen Records debut and singles "Hollywood" and "Simple Man", cement the authenticity their first two records on "High Water", such blunt songs as the soul-searching of "Cut From The Same Cloth" to "We Fuck Like We Fight" (politely abbreviated as "WFLWF" for the politically correct) going down as easy as an aged Kentucky bourbon.
Pete Sattari- Guitar/Vox
Sean Boyles - Drums
Greg Lopez - Guitar
Mark Aceves - Bass
-from San Jose, CA
-Making their roaring presence felt in the Bay Area rock scene since 2007 with heavy footprints and sonically indelible marks are San Jose earth shakers ZED. With a sound based on the core principles of blues, heaviness, groove, and feel, this quartet is the genuine article. No bell bottoms, wizard sleeves, or hip huggers for this crew. Instead, it’s a barrage of head-bobbing, air-guitaring, hip-shaking, blues-driven riffage as delivered by the bastards of rock & roll.
From their inception ZED made a name for themselves with their crushing live shows and incessant grooves. Having played together in various projects since 1998, including releasing several albums with the band Stitch for Prosthetic and Metal Blade Records, guitarist/vocalist Peter Sattari and bassist Mark Aceves joined up with guitar wizard Greg Lopez and drummer extraordinaire Sean Boyles in order to create a sound that was uniquely their own, whose sole purpose was to rock. Drawing from their varied influences, ranging from classic ’70s rock to punk and hardcore by way of metal and old school funk, ZED writes music fueled by nasty grooves. The band has been called “a pissed off Led Zeppelin with Chris Cornell meets Ian Astbury on vocals.”
In recent years the bands momentum has exploded, signing to Ripple Music and growing into a household name in the stoner rock community. Their hard-grooving live show has seen the band perform as headliner support at Maryland Doom Fest and numerous SXSW events. Now as ZED prepares to re-issue their classic sophomore record Desperation Blues and release their next full length, they are eagerly anticipating their first European tour, built around what promises to be a benchmark performance at Desertfest London. No matter the consequences, ZED will rumble on!