Monday, February 24, 2014

George Lynch - A Good Effort But A Too Tame Mob in Sacramento

Keith St. John saved the night. A last minute addition to Lynch's mob, St. John stepped in and did a great job in an otherwise extremely lackluster night at The Boardwalk in Sacramento.

In what seems to have become a recurring theme George Lynch again found himself without a lead singer on the eve of a tour. Whether Tad Gonzales walked, or was shown the door, no one seems to know, but regardless of the details, it certainly doesn't look good, and it doesn't make for great rock and roll. It wasn't that long ago that original Lynch Mob vocalist Oni Logan bailed on the band just hours before a flight, and had to be replaced by LA veteran Chaz West. It begs a few questions, but first, some praise for Keith St. John.

St. John normally fronts Burning Rain, the long running side project of Whitesnake guitarist Doug Aldrich - now that's how it reads for the press, but Burning Rain is actually a very strong entity of its own, and their 2013 album, Epic Obsession rocked as hard as anything released last year. One this evening, St. John stepped up and essentially pulled a performance that would otherwise have been a snooze and made it a rock show. Mind you, George Lynch played great guitar, as always, but the band seemed under rehearsed and I sense no chemistry between its members. This appeared to be West Coast cash run, so maybe the title 'mob' does fit in a sense?

George Lynch is soon to be making big news with his new band, KXM which includes King's X legend dUg Pinnick, and Korn drummer Ray Luzier, and he looks healthy and happy, so I think this jaunt might be excused on some level, but I'm not thrilled to have spent my own money to see this show. Sure, George played great, and Keith St. John put up a tremendous effort, but this never looked like a band on this night. Arrangements weren't always tight, and Lynch and St. John weren't exactly engaging one another. Thankfully there was enough old catalog material to keep the fans satisfied, but there was none of the fist pumping sing-a-longs that we saw here last month with Michael Schenker's Bridge The Gap tour.

KXM will do Lynch a world of good, and while it won't be a full-time band, it will allow him to re-solidify his place as a bonafide guitar god, and hopefully it will give him some time to re-think where he's going and what he's doing with his solo career. No guitar god is an island, God knows we've learned that from Malmsteen, and Lynch needs a solid partner. He's went back and forth for years with original Lynch Mob vocalist Oni Logan, and if they could see eye to eye a reunion would be welcome, but regardless of who fronts George's next band, it has to be a true partnership. It's gotten too hard to make a buck in this game to think that you can throw a rag tag team together and tour more than once. Fans don't have the money they once had, and they are more careful about where they spend what they do have. I heard too many comments as I walked out that there was some disappointment in this evening's performance - sure, half the crowd thought the show just great, but that's a given you can't depend on.

Maybe the best way to frame this would be to say that Keith St. John stepped in at the last moment and did a fantastic job of making this look and sound like a professional top-rate tour, and George Lynch played, well, he played like George Lynch. However, I don't think anyone is helped by peddling bullshit. There's no question, but that if Lynch takes a bit of time and care, he'll be back and better than ever the next time his Lynch Mob makes an appearance, and if nothing else the world has a new rock star in Keith St. John. St. John's pop star good looks and melody filled vocals would work well with Lynch's hard edged rock, so who knows what happens next? My assumption is that it will outshine this evening at The Boardwalk, because this was not the great show it should have been.

Time will tell, but my prediction is that KMX will ignite new fire in Lynch's heart, and the legendary six-stringer will be back stronger than ever the next time around. Everyone can have a rough tour, it builds character, right? Rock Ain't Near Dead, nor is George Lynch - the man was playing great under what was not apparently an ideal situation, and I'm looking forward to many more years of Mr. Scary.

See - I didn't even mention his old band, which did supply the hits on this night and saved the band's fans from disappointment. Maybe George should give Don a call....

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