[published]: 1984, October
[in]: Music Express, Vol. 8, No. 83, p. 58
[article]: Caught in the Act (Scorpions/Quiet Riot/Helix/Kick Axe)
[by]: Keith Sharp

If this had been an Olympic boxing match, The Scorpions would have won the gold on a unanimous points decision, Helix and Kick Axe would have taken the silver and bronze respectively for performing well under adverse conditions...and Quiet Riot would have been knocked out in the first round.

Rarely has this critic seen a supposed major band perform so poorly on such a prestigious occasion. As one homeward audience member succinctly put it, "They sucked the joint out."

At no point during their one-hour set did Quiet Riot look like winning over a near comatose audience of some 18,000 headbangers. Quite simply, Quiet Riot failed to spark any line of communication between themselves and the crowd. For the most part, the band's material is average to say the least with only their two Slades hits: Cum Feel the Noize and Mama Weer All Crazee Now, plus the set-closing Metal Health stirring any form of enthusiasm from the masses.

Kevin DuBrow, looking like a real clown in his yellow and black striped pants and red jacket, jumped around like a demented lunatic and support men Carlos Cavazo and Rudy Sarzo supplied the rudimentary rock star poses. The end result though, was puerile and superficial. As their new album title would indicate, Quiet Riot's present condition is indeed critical.

By comparison, Canadian metallurgists, Helix and Kick Axe came through like a fresh breeze off Lake Ontario. Both bands were hampered by limited stage space, no lighting, a dodgy PA, plus having to perform to a crowd that was just settling into their seats after clocking out from work or dragging themselves off the beach.

With guitarist Brent Doerner and Paul Hackman working well with new bassist Daryl Gray, and frontman Brian Vollmer in fine vocal form, Helix set the Metal Force concert off on a promising start. Rock You and Heavy Metal Love drew a particularly responsive reaction and the overall effect was one of a band that is fast maturing into one of the world's top rock acts.

Kick Axe picked up where Helix left off and although their songs lack the structure of Helix, the driving force of Heavy Metal Shuffle, All The Right Moves, Vices and On The Road To Rock were easily digested. The group's ace is vocalist George Criston who not only has a distinctive vocal style, but in the fine tradition of metal bands, knows how to work an audience.

Recovering from Quiet Riot's flaccid display, the crowd was itching for something spectacular - and they got it in spades from The Scorpions. Opening with a lighting sequence right out of Close Encounters, the German rockers showed just what 14 years of experience means in the way of delivering a class performance.

With a clean but effective stage design that allowed for maximum movement and a lighting arrangement that was truly dazzling to the eye. The Scorpions performed as though they are the Royalty of Rock. Klaus Meine has got to be the one of the most powerful, yet melodic frontmen in the business while duel axemen, Rudolph Schenker and Matthias Jabs combine piercing guitar licks with cliched but appealing stage choreography.

Drawing mainly from their Blackout and Love at First Sting albums, Scorpions kept the masses weaving with anthemic material like Dynamite, Big City Nights, Coming Home, Can't Live Without You and their two biggest hits No One Like You and Rock You Like A Hurricane, the power of which was truly awesome.

Kick Axe album 'Vices' at the position 49