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Non-Prog Concert Reviews

Michael Monroe Band

Live in Portland, Oregon, October 2011

Review by Larry Toering

Getting out to see the Michael Monroe Band wasn't as easy as it could have been, but that aside, it turned out to be a fabulous experience. I'm glad I made it. Arriving just in time, they wasted no time flattening the wildly entertained crowd. The sound was killer and all were in playful form, appearing to be having the time of their lives. There isn't much to say about Monroe, other than he is just about everything a great glam front man is supposed to be, but without the prima donna factor.  He looks as good as he did 25 years ago, and still sings as good as ever. He really is something like an ageless figure that way, and he used the stage catwalk with no fear. I was also particularly impressed with how well the sound was mixed, and it appears the place was perfect for them. Track after track was stormed through like madmen. Not a second could be found where the band was not delivering the goods. There is no trying here, no going through the motions or acting like it, these guys are professionals. They all have extensive backgrounds and all the skills required.

The band were in such fine form that it was amazing to witness their onstage chemistry and unmatched energy. And it quickly dispelled the disappointment that I had due to missing the opening act Earth To Ashes gave me. On the bright side, the Michael Monroe Band came to rock, and rock they did, as they ripped through a killer set.with all kinds of cool surprises and a lot of crowd participation and band interaction. In addition to Monroe, the band featured Steve Conte and more recently added guitarist Dregen (who replaced Ginger) and Sammi Yaffa. Together they are truly something special to witness. The energy Dregen alone displayed was of the spotlight order, yet I was there primarily to see Conte again. I didn't have a clue how impressed I would be with everyone, even already knowing pretty much what to expect from Monroe, although it was the first time I had seen him.  

Larry Toering
Larry Toering

It was a treat to man Conte's corner all night, but there was so much going on it would have been wise to move about from one side to the other to catch every last detail of what was happening. Still, they made up for it by moving plenty around each side of the stage. All of the great stuff from their latest album was on display, as well as the best of the rest, including the expected nod to the Dead Boys, and Stiv Bators, and Cheap Trick. What Michael Monroe show would be complete without presenting the saxophone? He showcased it in the usual style, which is not to be missed. All in all there were no other disappointments besides missing the stage entrance and some of the beginning of the set. They were very well received and very reciprocating of the love shown. This is one hot act and a must see. Being a fan of the bands these guys were in previously (from the New York Dolls to Hanoi Rocks) I was there to support them but got to familiarize myself more with Monroe. I’m so glad I did, and now have the experience to go with his music. In addition, I have a newfound respect for guitarist, Dregen.

Larry Toering
Larry Toering
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