Have you ever given thought pertaining to a particular band that released hit songs decades ago that you really dug and wondered where are they now? A group that you once whispered to yourself “these guys are gonna rule the music industry”! Those were my exact sentiments about KINGDOM COME, the metal rock band that seemed to disappear from the music scene just as fast as they appeared following several hit songs, a gold album along with radio and MTV airplay.
Instead of being praised for capturing the sound of LED ZEPPELIN they somehow got a bad rap for it which is a shame considering GRETA VAN FLEET is selling out just about every concert they play. Honestly, I never could comprehend why anyone wouldn’t embrace a band that sounded even a smidgen like ZEPPELIN because I categorize them as the greatest rock-n-roll band to ever live!
When I heard KINGDOM COME was playing at The Rail Club in Fort Worth, Texas I had to check them out. The venue caters to mostly heavy metal had local bands on the bill to open the show. I arrived later in the evening to catch two of the bands I’m familiar with, GENERATOR and BLACKOUT. Both put on heavy, powerful performances.
KINGDOM COME took the stage at 11:00 pm with original band members James Kottak (drums) who is well known for his longevity playing with the SCORPIONS from 1996-2014, Danny Stag (lead guitar), Rick Steier (guitar) and Johnny B. Frank (bass). For years the group had been on and off hiatus and experienced a tremendous turnover in musicians along the way. Former lead vocalist Lenny Wolf was the only constant member since inception and made his departure in 2016. Rounding out the original foursome and voice of the band since Wolf’s exit is Keith St. John, former frontman for the legendary hard rock band MONTROSE from 1998-2012. He is co-founder of BURNING RAIN and was also a member of LYNCH MOB.
This tour is in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the 1988 self-titled debut album as well as select cuts from the 1989 LP In Your Face. So it was literally a musical night of vintage metal material. With a setlist compiled of ten songs they blasted off with some great numbers “Shout It Out” and “Perfect O” which immediately got fans riled up as they cheered and applauded for more. They continued with “Living out of Touch” that included a smooth guitar solo from Rick Steier.
From the moment frontman St. John took the stage I believe the crowd was astonished at not only the uncanny resemblance in appearance he has to ROBERT PLANT but his persona emulates his mannerisms, his stance and most notably the high pitched screaming vocal range he possesses. He exudes confidence as he prances back and forth twirling his body along with his mic stand draped with scarves. He certainly is the total package with the whole rock-n-roll vibe going on and it’s obvious he’s loving this gig just as much as the original members are.
I was stoked to hear my other favorite tune “Do You Like It” and the band was gettin’ down and so were the girls who were dancing like nobody’s watching. Moving forward they delved into “17”, “Highway 6” and “Pushin’ Hard”. In between the big hitters they performed two power ballads “Just Like A Wild Rose” and “What Love Can Be”.
At one point St. John asked for silence and relayed to the crowd he was calling “Sherry” and wanted everyone to sing Happy Birthday to her. These guys may look and sound metal but they have a genuine warmth about them and are fun and very entertaining!
Stag had some fret scorching solos throughout and Frank delivered a booming bass solo. However, it was unequivocally James Kottak who drew the crowd in and captured the full attention of everyone (including me) with his hard pounding, stick twirling, and double bass drumming. His solo contained extremely clean licks that were impressive and he plays like he’s in a stadium packed to the rafters and that’s precisely what everyone wanted to see! His behavior is amusing. He stood up and proudly showed everyone his full back tattoo that reads “ROCK & ROLL FOREVER” and his overall presence is…well let’s just say like the album title…he’s “In Your Face”!
With eyes sparkling in anticipation they finally dove headfirst into the song that everyone came to hear and KINGDOM COME didn’t disappoint! They played an amazing eight and a half minute version of “Get It On” that segued into some LED ZEPPELIN’S “Black Dog” showcasing St. John’s impeccable vocals. With his charismatic personality he encouraged the audience to participate in a singalong and they willingly obliged. Upon saying goodnight they came back and continued performing for at least another 20 minutes. Afterwards they proceeded to hang out with the fans, autograph albums, and pose for pictures. The night came to a close and it was time to rest and these boys did what they do best…GET IT ON!
LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: JANICE SPICER