Ronnie Radke's name and face have been splashed all over the internet for years and his story has been told, re-told, torn apart and stitched back together so many times, most reporters don't even try to say what landed him in jail. I'm one of his biggest fans, and even I don't exactly know. All that can be said that I 100% know for sure is true is that Ronnie lost everything in 2008. He was arrested for breaking parole, the parole being issued for his being linked to a crime in which someone got seriously hurt. When he was in jail, and needed help the most, his band, his best friends, Escape the Fate dumped him unceremoniously for Bless the Fall singer Craig Mabbitt. ETF with Craig at the helm then proceeded to trash and tear down Ronnie's image as a martyr and a hero with his devoted fans. Ronnie couldn't do anything but watch as his band took off without him, at his expense, and he could do nothing about it.
So what did Radke do? He got out of jail, re-integrated himself with reality, then sat down in a studio to record all of the songs he had made up in his head while in jail and got himself a killer band, Falling In Reverse. I was one of the many people who stood by Ronnie, believed in him and wrote him letters saying that he was still a hero and that we still loved him. Yes, I am a fan of both Escape the Fate and Falling In Reverse, but I cannot choose between the two, I love both bands way too much to do that.
Ronnie Radke in concert is nothing short of phenomenal. I once said that Ronnie Radke is this generation's Steven Tyler, and my comparison was proven to be 1000 percent true on Saturday night. He kicked off FIR's set with a video of cats. It was funny -- and very confusing -- but that's just how Ronnie works. Then we watched as FIR pulled up in a limo, and scantily clad women spilled out before the (very attractive) members of Falling In Reverse clambered out as well.
Oh my gosh. I thought I had been blown away at Motley Crue, but this was on another level. I'm not talking about pageantry here, I'm talking about full blown, all cylinders on fire, am-I-really-seeing-this-in-front-of-my-face talent. Excuse my fan girl moment here: Oh my goodness, they were so cute! And they were so good! I love them so much! Okay, professional back. I'd been told that Ronnie was out of shape and a terrible singer live to boot. That person is a liar, okay? Ronnie sounds and looks amazing.
Falling In Reverse's lead guitarist, Jacky Vincent -- save this man a spot in the guitarist hall of fame. He's so effortlessly fantastic. I had no idea Derek Jones (rhythm guitar) could scream so well! He sounded awesome. Also, I want to know why Ryan Seaman played his drums in the dark. He's a drummer extraordinaire and he's cute, so put a freaking light on him! I don't know much about the new guy in the group, bass player Ronnie Ficarro, but I loved his playing and his little bass solo.
Three bands played before Falling In Reverse: Let Live, I See Stars, and Enter Shikari. Let Live kept telling us how punk they were. Don't they know that the first rule of Punk is to show not tell? The guitar parts were nothing new, a bit generic, and their singer looked like Pauly D and it made me laugh repeatedly. Just imagine DJ Pauly D flailing around in a Dead Kennedy's t-shirt, screaming his lungs out. Go ahead, try not to laugh. Other than that, they were pretty good, could use improvement, but they had a ton of energy and put on a good set.
I See Stars were the best band of the openers. They performed in the dark though, and that bothered me. I could only see the silhouettes of the members of ISS. I don't know if that's part of their image or if the Egyptian Room was having electrical difficulties again. Their rough vocalist is gifted with his screams and is a hell of a dancer too; and their clean vocalist is really talented as well. I normally hate dubstep and electronicore with every fiber of my being but I admit that it sounded good when paired with I See Stars' talent. I'm not going to say that I'm happy with this shift of rock music into electronic, but I See Stars is a really great band.
Enter Shikari were the most loudly cheered of the openers, and for the life of me I cannot tell you why. Most of their set consisted of them dancing along to their synthesizer, not playing their instruments at all. If I'm not mistaken, the guitarist didn't actually play any notes the entire half hour they offended my ears. The only member who seemed to know his elbow from his microphone was the drummer and he was a substitute for their actual drummer. The singer just should stop singing, screaming and generally talking, because he sounded awful. I happen to be a fairly well informed punk historian, so I knew that Saturday happened to be the 35th anniversary of The Sex Pistols' Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols. If Enter Shikari is the best England has to offer as of late, then good King of the English music scene John Lydon needs to give this travesty of a band a good kick up the arse and send them into hopefully silent obscurity.
Show wrap up: Falling In Reverse: loved them, amazing, one of the best shows I've ever seen; Let Live: has some potential, good set; I See Stars: awesome set, plays dubstep and electronicore that doesn't make me want to shove ice picks through my eyes, tons of potential, great band; Enter Shikari: awful, just a really terrible band.