Ace Frehley in Ardmore? That’s what exactly what I thought when I first heard that original KISS guitarist was headlining a show in support of his latest album, Origins Vol. 1. Even Ace himself commented that same thought when he thought he was playing Philly and recognized that he wasn’t. Space Ace played The Ardmore Music Hall this past Sunday and left us all wanting more.
The night started out with lines going down Lancaster Ave, then once inside, lines forming at the bar. Some people paid for priority seating, while others had general admission. I remember thinking, who wants to sit down at a rock concert because you know you won’t be sitting long. The look around the room was your typical atmosphere from young ambitious fans to the young at heart fans that grew up along with the spaceman.
The stage lights go on and here comes Jacky Bam Bam (WMMR radio jock) introducing one of Philadelphia’s break-through bands, Mach 22. Jacky is definitely the right man for this job and his knowledge of music is outwardly obvious. He knows everything from legendary rockers to the local unsung heroes just making their name. The house gets quiet as the band enters the stage; the pause was intense just before (Lamont) Caldwell breaks into song.
Now I have seen this band emerge throughout the years and to witness their growth spurt before my eyes was just amazing. This wasn’t their first big opener as they previously were local support for Gene Simmons (KISS), Brett Michaels (Poison), Bon Jovi and last year’s Gun N’ Roses reunion. So opening for someone of Ace’s stature is obviously the perfect choice for these guys. And there was no short of a performance at all, they gave it their all and the crowd was definitely not disappointed. Folks throughout the audience seemed to have been more than impressed. Side note, I can’t wait to see where these boys go from here, only up I would imagine.
The only downside about the show was the LONG wait between Mach 22 and when Frehley finally came out. Hitting the stage in order was Richie Scarlet (Frehley’s Comets, Mountain), Chris Wyse (The Cult, Ozzy), Scot Coogan and of course, Frehley. Opening the show with a KISS classic, “Parasite” went off without a hitch. The roar of the audience as he continued to play “Toys” and “Rip it Out” from his previous solo records which were such a crowd pleaser for sure.
As the night continued on they performed songs from Origins, his solo hits, “New York Groove” and “Rock Soldiers” as well as other KISS classics “Love Gun”, “Shock Me” and ending with “Cold Gin”. Just when you think the night was over, they return to the stage with encores of “Detroit Rock City” and “Deuce“ which literally made the crowd instantly go insane. To say that the show was good is an understatement, these classic rockers showed us all where their place is in the world.
Time and time again I like a band that sounds great until I see their live shows then I just fade in the back with disappointment. It’s a shame that a lot of the musicians today do not know how to entertain their audiences. It’s more than the music we come to watch a show, it’s the performance. We want excitement as we sing along to their songs that we connect with. We want a band to get us up and that is exactly what Ace Frehley and band did to us. They made us feel the music and not just fade into the back.
Frehley will be joining Gene Simmons in St. Paul, MN tomorrow for a show benefiting victims of Hurricane Harvey then joining Alice Cooper’s tour in Australia and New Zealand. If you ever get a chance to see the band, I strongly urge you to go as you never know when he will join KISS again for another tour. Maybe I am just hoping, or am I?
Show review by Brian Cronin
Rating: BAD ASS