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Metal/Prog Metal Concert Reviews

Black 'N Blue

Benefit for Annette Holmes in Portland, Oregon June 2018

Review by Larry Toering

Pete Holmes of Black ‘N Blue has been through it all, including stints with artists like Michael Schenker and Ian Gillan, and now drumming for Ratt since this benefit (for his wife Annette who has cancer and is now in remission). I can say this with confidence and no bias even though I consider him a friend, the proof is in the pudding, and the relationships you build are everything. Those are just a couple of pieces of advice he’s given me over the years, for which I am grateful. And I’m also grateful to Tommy Thayer for pulling out all stops to make this benefit a success, raising $25,000 for the cause.
This was all done with a VIP section which was roped off in one of Portland’s nicest little clubs, and there was still elbow room to spare about the entire venue. You don’t get that every day, regardless of how unique this show was. As a VIP, it was great to meet yet another Thayer bother, Jim Thayer. That makes three of the four brothers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting over the years. I can attest that this family are world class people and as good as they come. It’s always a great opportunity for the right fans to hang out together, and it was both casual and honorable. It really was a first class event, and everyone there can vouch for that.

I could name a lot of names from the DJs Iris Harrison and Bob Ancheta, to the stage hands and so many I knew by name. The opening band was Nervous Jenny, and they were simply fantastic. So that seriously warmed everyone up for Black ‘N Blue, the second (and headlining) band. This isn’t the first post Tommy Thayer Black ‘n Blue show where I’ve seen him play. It is worth noting that I’ve seen them times numbering in the double digits,  because they’re originally from the area.

Larry Toering
Larry Toering
Larry Toering
There is something much different about the band now, though, and that is the recent addition of guitarist Bob Capka. It was cool to see how they played with him, as well as Brandon Cook who's been in the band long enough to be called "permanent." To see them with Thayer is not going to be an-every night thing. I consider it a rare performance and it leaves me wondering what’s next. This band just keeps going and bringing more with them as they dp. Brandon Cook in-particular, is important because he’s a savior of the band. He’s a killer musician with a lot more going on than BNB.

This is essentially a live entity, and Cook maintains it with the utmost integrity and faithfulness to the originality of the band. He also brings a vibrant attitude and character that’s forged the band into a new phase. And on this night everybody played as tightly as ever, but the atmosphere was loose and massively enjoyable. They pulled out a few surprises with Thayer making some fun set list choices. The whole thing just rocked as one for the books. It included Thayer stopping early in the set and managing to auction off a Paul Stanley guitar from the stage. Annette Holmes was there in spirit, and I know she’s grateful.

Larry Toering
Larry Toering
Larry Toering
This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at:
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