Tesla with support from Kurt Deimer – Northfield, OH – 3/16/2024

There was definitely some concern about how the evening would play out on Saturday night for Tesla’s sold-out show at the MGM Northfield casino.  Social media posts had noted that guitarist Sammy Poller from Kurt Deimer’s band was filling in for Frank Hannon who had left the tour for a family emergency earlier last week.

From what we hear Sammy kicked some butt the prior evenings, but as it turned out, Sammy only had to handle lead guitar duties for one band Saturday. We are happy to report that Frank was back for the show, and we hope that all is well with his family as that is most certainly what is most important.

Shortly after 8 pm, Sammy was joined by Brendan Hengle on rhythm guitar and new additions Marco Pera on bass and Isaiah Perez on drums with local frontman Kurt Deimer’s band.

Kurt Deimer’s debut EP includes “Burn Together,” featuring guest vocals from Geoff Tate. and spotlights Deimer’s cinematic flair with a trilogy of music videos – “Big Toe,” “Burn Together” and “Naive” – that, when played together, form a movie short. The videos are directed by Scottish filmmaker and director Paul Boyd (Sting, Deadmau5, The Cult).

And, before working with producer Chris Lord-Alge on his music, Kurt Deimer directed, produced and starred in his debut feature film, ‘Hellbilly Hollow’ which could be found on the big screen foreshadowing his performance.    Here are a few highlights for the show which included his very first single, a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar,” showcasing the talents of his band mid-set, as well as the aforementioned singles and “Big Toe” and “Naive,” and the sing-along anthem “Hero.”

Kurt also made note of the loss of a team member at the venue following TESLA’s last performance at the MGM and asked the crowd to stand in his honor, and later made a visit through the floor to get up close with his fans.  We also caught Kurt at MGM last September with Skid Row and Buckcherry and at Jergels last fall as well in support of Mushroomhead.  You can check out those reviews in our archives and on our social channels at @ThePureRockShop.   His upcoming solo dates include:

3/22/24 Cosmic Brewing Company – Lincoln NE

3/23/24 Bigs Bar – Sioux Falls, SD

3/24/24 The Marquee – Sioux City, IA

Next up was TESLA, a band whose legacy is alive and well as they continue to record and sellout venues all over the world. This evening was no exception.  There was not an open seat in the vast room at the MGM Northfield, and not a butt in an actual seat as we scanned the huge crowd.

I have to admit, I was feel a bit sentimental watching the show.  Perhaps it was the concern that Frank wasn’t going to be there or the fact that I saw Bad Marriage with their third guitarist Tommy Skeoch the week before, or the fact that I’m just getting older… In fact, someone said to me this weekend, I’ve seen TESLA like four times, they’re really tight, and I responded, I think I’ve seen TESLA like forty times, and yes, they are amazing!

They’ve been with me since I was a teenager.  At one of my first guitar lessons when my instructor strummed “Little Suzi” to our group class at the Community College of Allegheny County and in my room after high school where I played out that cassette of Five Man Acoustical Jam. I can still recite every word frontman Jeff Keith says on that album, but I kid you not, I couldn’t tell you the phone numbers of my children if I had to save their lives!

For those who haven’t been to dozens of TESLA shows, I should point out that the band is the aforementioned Jeff and Frank, who are joined by longtime bass master Brian Wheat, along with Dave Rude on guitar and Steve Brown on drums.

The band performed a set of classics of their own and hits they hit with as singles like their rendition of “Little Suzi” and “Signs,” but the songs that truly move me are favorites like “The Way It Is,” “What You Give,” and that acoustic favorite, “Paradise.”

There were certainly years when the band wasn’t a unit, and I traveled far and wide in support of their various projects from Bar 7 to Soul Motor to Moondog Mane, but the most memorable was when I complained to Jeff that he hadn’t performed “Love Song” at Bar 7’s Pittsburgh show.  And, this was a bold moment as I’m pretty sure this was our first meeting and I was very new to my media role. He could have responded in so many ways, but he chose to sing it just for me as we sat at a table in the old Graffiti showcase.  It is that moment that I remember that moment every time I hear it live, and there are so many other moments that flash through my mind with every lyric, every note, every beat of those classic melodies.

It seems that TESLA is looking back as well as they release a limited edition, double LP, Real to Reel Vol I, that is set to hit the shelves on Record Store Day, April 20, 2024, but rest assured they are also looking ahead as they are recording new music this week including a cut called “All About Love,” that they debuted on Saturday.  Exciting news as I caught myself already repeating back the chorus from the photo pit at first listen.

TESLA’s “Keepin’ It Real” Tour continues with dates that include a return to the House of Blues Las Vegas inside Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in 2024 with their TESLA: The Las Vegas Takeover. Shows will be held on April 5, 6, 10, 12 and 13, 2024, and are scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m.

Apr 5 @ House of Blues in Las Vegas, NV
Apr 6 @ House of Blues in Las Vegas, NV
Apr 10 @ House of Blues in Las Vegas, NV
Apr 12 @ House of Blues in Las Vegas, NV
Apr 13 @ House of Blues in Las Vegas, NV

Check out our review by Taylor T. Carlson and Live Photos from contributor Joe Schaeffer from Tesla’s fall residency and we will see you in August on the Mountain if not sooner!

Additional Tesla Tour Dates:

Apr 18 @ Pima County Fair in Tucson, AZ
May 29 @ Pikes Peak Center in Colorado Springs, CO
May 31 @ House of Blues in Dallas , TX
Jun 4 @ ACL Live at Moody Theater in Austin , TX
Jun 5 @ Aztec Theatre in San Antonio , TX
Jun 7 @ House of Blues in Houston, TX
Jun 11 @ Mission Ballroom in Denver, CO
Jun 13 @ Peppermill Concert Hall in Wendover , NV
Jun 14 @ Peppermill Concert Hall in Wendover , NV
Jul 20 @ Beaver Dam Amphitheater in Beaver Dam , KY (ROCK the DAM)
Jul 25 @ Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort in Worley, ID
Jul 27 @ Canyon County Fair in Caldwell, ID
Aug 25 @ Mountain Music Festival in Gatlinburg, TN (see you there!)

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Watch for more festival coverage from this month’s Monsters of Rock Cruise coming soon as well as local shows including the KK’s Priest, L.A. Guns and Burning Witches show last night.

More coverage with Joe Satriani and Steve VaiFirewind, and the Queensryche and Armored Saint shows coming next month.  And in May, you’ll find us at the M3 Rock Festival in Baltimore.

Coverage by Editor and founder Kara Marie Uhrlen on 3/18/2024.  All event photos by Kara Uhrlen and The Pure Rock Shop.