As a snotty 16 year old European, I was heavily into British, German and Austrian New Wave and Punk. The other kids running around wearing jeans jackets full of band patches and listening to Kiss, Van Halen, Poison and Motley Crew were not cool. Heck, they were the enemy of good taste in music! Even now, I let other TCM photographers cover those bands when they come to town. But when I saw Hairball was on the Myth’s calendar, I decided to dive into the deep band of the pool and check out all those bands in the same night.
The first band of the evening was Fookey. My investigative journalist skills are failing me – there isn’t much info on the band. I know that Pete Berich (Vikings) and Mark Parrish (MN Wild) are in the band, and Chris Hawkey is on vocals but that’s about it, there’s no web site, no press kit, nada….. Oh I do know one thing: Those guys kick serious ass on stage. Their set covers rock songs of the 80s and 90s and their stage personas match their musical tastes perfectly.
Dare Force (advertised as a Reunion) took the stage next. The original Dare Force got its start in Minneapolis in the late 70s and saw its heyday in the 80. Their set was original songs including a couple of new ones. Personally, I liked their set quite a bit and will keep my eyes open for more of them.
Then it was time for Hairball, and judging by the loud cheers from the crowd when “Blitzkrieg Pop” played on the Myth’s sound system, the fans were ready. Turns out, I was not. The band has several singers that rotate on stage while guitar player Happy, drummer Blake, and bassist Freaky remain on stage through the show. I was not prepared for David Lee Roth storming the stage and unleash a storm of energy that matched (and outdid) everything I have seen of him on TV. And he was gone in a flash (well 2 songs) and replaced by Dee Snider. Steve Perry somehow got past all the metal heads and was on stage for one song and so it went on and on.
All of the tributes were well done, accurate, and oh so much fun! There were jumps, rolls (while playing guitar), tons of smoke and flames. There was Gene Simmons in full costume, and then there finally was the lightbulb that went off in my head. Hairball is all about shamelessly celebrating all the things that made the rock of that time great and fun. The horribly cheesy phrase “All Thriller, no Filler” got stuck in my mind and fit perfectly.
I left the Myth smiling, shaking my head, and promising myself I would not wait another 35 years for a show like that.