[published]: 1986, January 16
[in]: Winnipeg Free Press, p. 18
[article]: Kick Axe Gives Audience as Many Loud Moments as It Paid For
[by]: Frain Cory

If members of Kick Axe were seeking support from their adopted home-town fans last night, they must have been disappointed.

There is strength in numbers. A less-then-grand total of 594 paying customers was not an encouraging sight for the band or anyone who looked in on Kick Axe's first major concert as a headliner in Winnipeg.

The members of Kick Axe were prepared to overlook the vast, crimson wasteland of empty seats in the barely one-quarter full Concert Hall and give the small, predominantly teenage crowd as many loud and crazed moments as they could muster. Perhaps vexed by poor ticket sales, the quintet chose to offer the crowd a scant dozen selections from Vices and Welcome to the Club. With the unnecessary inclusions of guitar and drum solos, Kick Axe's set lasted barely an hour.

Let's face it, $15 is a lot to pay for 68 minutes, let alone a better-than-average heavy-metal band many were watching play local beverage rooms less than two years ago.

Nevertheless, and as it proved last night, Kick Axe is, more often than not, good at what it does - write, arrange and perform solid hard rock / heavy metal music.

Half of last night's material was culled from recently released Welcome to the Club. As with the six songs taken from Vices, half of these were unexceptional attempts to perpetuate the band's irreverent, "partying" attitude - an idiotic musical ideology we've been asked to accept from everyone from Van Halen to Black'n'Blue.

Against better judgement, the band performed its latest single - a hoary remake of Lennon/McCartney's With A Little Help From My Friends to honor the eight winners of a promotional contest. The youngsters were invited on stage to help sing the chorus. Unfortunatelly, we'll never know if any of them could sing, as guitarists Larry Gillstrom, Ray Harvey and bassist Victor Langen drowned them out.

Despite the majestic quality of Gillstrom's Hand Harvey's guitar work on Friends, the song couldn't match the intensity and vigor of Feel The Power and Hellraisers. Although the former featured much more keen word play, both contained novel riffs, Harvey's wild lead guitar and the best examples of Kick Axe's inimitable, harmony vocal choruses.

Unfortunately, local bar band The Die-Hards' opening set put lastnight's non-event in a proper perspective. Opening with a agonizing version of - for what seemed like the millionth time - Steppenwolf's Born To Be Wild and closing with a self-aggrandizing original entitled Me And The Boys, they looked as drab as they sounded.