As the first snow of the season fell upon us, I couldn’t help reflecting on the enormity of events we attended over the summer, given that two of the amazing axemen from those events were performing at a club in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday Night.
First, there was Brad Lee Entertainment’s Masquerade in Philadelphia. Then, the stadium tour headlined by Def Leppard back home in Pittsburgh, and before Covid hit again, there was Monsters on the Mountain in Tennessee. It wasn’t much later that we headed to Atlanta for a few months (and did our best to catch some amazing shows like Enuff ‘Z Nuff, Bret Michaels, Lit and Liliac while away)…
Ironically, one of the first shows that we caught in Atlanta was Pandora’s Box: The Ultimate Aerosmith Tribute who were performing at a Harley Davidson Anniversary festival nearby. At the time, we were excited to catch up with Resist & Bite frontman Nathan Utz, having just interviewed him for the site in follow-up to Resist & Bite’s performance at Masquerade...We had no idea that the drummer, Michael Foreman, who was rocking us through two sets of Aerosmith favorites that day, would soon take on a new role with Resist & Bite (or that we would catch one of Michael’s first shows with the band as we were heading back to our home in Pittsburgh!)
So, excited to finally check out The King of Clubs in Columbus, Ohio, I arrived at the venue as Truckstop, a modern thrash melodic thrash metal band, was warming up the crowd. I got a quick tour, taking in the atmosphere of the two-story venue, which has a warehouse feel, with standing room on the floor and VIP table seating upstairs (including an owners box – where the venue was donating proceeds to the local Faith Mission Homeless Shelter). While I didn’t get a chance to capture shots of Truckstop (or local opener Hybridnation) in the act, I did sneak a few pre-shots few shots glamour shots of the new Resist & Bite line-up.
Great sound and lighting only added to the atmosphere as Resist & Bite kicked-off a scorching set of originals like “I”, with a few blasts from the past sprinkled in, and even an “Ode to Lemmy,” for all you Motorhead fans.
Their 2021 release was mixed by Michael Rosen, who worked on a number of Tesla albums at Sound Stage Studios in Nashville. Pointing this out because, if you haven’t already checked out our coverage from the Monsters of Rock Cruise last winter, or Masquerade last summer, you may be surprised to learn that the line-up features for Tesla guitarist Tommy Skeoch (as they are trying not to ride on those coattails), but when you hear these guys covering “Modern Day Cowboy” or “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out),” it is hard not to take notice.
Previously mentioned frontman Nathan Utz (Lynch Mob, Blonz) and Pandora’s Box bandmate Michael Foreman are also joined by Steve Stokes on guitar and Brian Powell on bass, meaning that when lefty Nathan brings out his guitar, it’s a ‘triple axe’ situation. And, their live act gets tighter every time I see them. So, we hope that they’ll make their way to Pittsburgh soon.
On the topic of axes and things coming full circle, you may recognize Last In Line axeman Vivian Campbell from that stadium tour last summer or his contributions to the DIO all those band classics that require our horns up for Ronnie. He is joined by drummer and DIO bandmate Vinny Appice, legendary bass play Phil Soussan from Ozzy Osbourne fame and another former Lynch Mob frontman Andrew Freeman who had most recently also fronted Great White before All or Nothing frontman Brett Carlisle took the reigns. Last in Line are touring the United States in support of their brand new EP A Day In The Life and anticipate adding more dates soon.
Their bio reads that Last In Line is a band that ‘seems like heavy metal fan fiction, almost too good to be true’ and when you consider that Vivian was on the big screen at PNC Park the last time I saw him play, it does make you step back. The band formed shortly after the way too early death of heavy metal legend Ronnie James Dio when his former band colleagues and co-conspirators Vivian Campbell, Vinny Appice, and Jimmy Bain came together to jam.
So, when they teamed up with the man with the pipes, vocalist Andrew Freeman to form Last In Line magic happened. These guys were the co-writers on DIO’s albums “Holy Diver”, “The Last In Line” and “Sacred Heart” after all. And, the band evolved after the passing of bassist Jimmy Bain with the addition of Phil Soussan who brought his own historic contributions to the solo work of another Black Sabbath fronman, Ozzy Osbourne.
And now, three years after the release of their second album Last In Line’s first record with earMUSIC was released this past weekend. During the set, we were treated to the heaviest Beatles medley we’ve heard this year, which we hear can be found on a Limited 12” Collector’s EP.
In addition to those new arrangements of Beatles classics, the band performed original favorites like “Electrified” and “Black Out the Sun,” as well as quite a few DIO band anthems. Highlights included “Rainbow in the Dark,” “Last in Line,” and both former Lynch Mob frontman (Nathan and Andrew) delivering vocals for “We Rock.”
For more from Resist & Bite, check out our previous coverage and interview with frontman Nathan Utz, and hit our archives for more Last in Line captures. Also be sure to keep watch for a gallery from the red carpet and this week’s Bowl for Ronnie event benefiting the Stand Up and Shout Cancer fund.
Follow us @ThePureRockShop on Facebook and Instagram for more local show and festival coverage, including a post Thanksgiving party with the Bret Michaels Band at The Palace Theater in Greensburg, PA and Trans Siberian Orchestra in December.