On Sunday night we (myself and Mr. Paul Wilkins, who took these killer photos!) got a real treat in the form of a guitar hero’s return. The vastly underrated man who gave us one of MY favorite OZZY albums in The Ultimate Sin, Mr. Jake E. Lee made his way back to the concert stage with new band RED DRAGON CARTEL. And where did this take place? Why, at Trees Dallas of course, DUH!! At this point I’m going to have to stipulate in my will that upon dying my ashes be scattered in the place, I do love it so. There was a good crowd and great moods all around for a night of hard rockin’ metal.
First on the bill was GENERATOR, local boys who I had never heard of, but best believe I’m a fan now. It took me a song or two to get into them, but it really felt like by song three they hit their stride and were firing on all cylinders. I got to talk to lead singer Landon Uys at their merch table while buying their EP and found him to be a very cool, laid back, but enthusiastic dude. We also bonded over our mutual love of another local band VOLUME DEALER. In fact we were both wearing their damn t-shirt!! Next time you see that either of these bands are playing by you, GO! I was busy moving around and handling some business so I missed a lot of the next two bands’ sets, something I hate but couldn’t be helped. I will say that A JURY OF ROBOTS intrigued me so hopefully I catch them again.
Now it was time for the man, the myth, the legend to hit the stage! Opener “The Ultimate Sin” from that album was totally unexpected, but one hellacious way to get the party started. Jake was on fire with that same delicious tone I fell in love with all those years ago, and singer D.J Smith did a bang-up job on that one as well as their own song “Deceived” from RED DRAGON CARTEL’S self-titled debut. And here’s the funny thing: “War Machine” was one of my least favorite songs off the record, right? I say “was” because since Sunday the friggin’ song has been stuck in my head, especially drummer Jonas Fairley’s back-up vocals, so now I’ve reversed my stance on it. You got me, guys!
Let me also say for the record that I’m not much of a BADLANDS guy. They just never did it for me. That being said, “High Wire” is a fucking awesome song and this live version was excellent, the band making it look easy and bassist Ronnie Mancuso laying down some fat lines throughout. It was back to the OZZY stuff with “Rock N’ Roll Rebel” before one of my favorites from new album in “Shout It Out” lit the place up and had folks moving. After a couple more BADLANDS tunes the guys tore into first single “Feeder” to end the regular set. Sung by CHEAP TRICK’S Robin Zander on the album and done very well live by D.J., THIS is a great song and I’m so glad I got to hear it in person.
For the encore it was none other than OZZY’S “Bark at the Moon” with that instantly recognizable Jake riff and sound which brought the evening to a rip roaring conclusion. I was so tired all day, but after that show I was bouncing off the walls when I got home. RED DRAGON CARTEL came and rocked the balls off Trees, ‘nuff said. Check and see if the tour’s coming your way, you’d be a silly person not to go.