Review/photos by Thomas S. Orwat Jr.
Depew, NY – Drum Wars, featuring the legendary Appice brothers, Carmine and Vinny, kicked off a short tour of the North East to a very appreciative crowd on a rainy Monday evening. This concert was unique, and unlike any other, because the drums were the focal point of this show, with a full kit for each brother set up right in the front of the stage. But, as advertised, this was not a drum clinic. This was a concert showcasing the two brothers drumming talents, with many incredible solos and drum duels throughout the evening. But, in addition to the flashy rhythmic fireworks, this concert also featured songs from some of the many bands that the brothers were once members of, including Black Sabbath, Dio, Ozzy, and Rod Stewart.
Accompanying the Appice brothers were three top-named local musicians from the popular band, Hair Nation: Jim Crean– vocals, Chris Daley– bass, and Jeff Duke– guitar. Crean has already played many dates in Drum Wars, and will continue to do so for this entire tour, with both Daley and Duke joining in as well.
The 75-minute long show kicked off with a slamming version of the Dio-era Black Sabbath classic, “The Mob Rules.” It was clear at this point that the vocalist, Jim Crean, was certainly the perfect man for the gig. Not only did he deliver a perfect Dio vocal rendition, but he had the mannerisms and nuances down, as well. Crean would have been the perfect vocalist for Vinny Appice’s new band- Last In Line, which also features other original Dio members, Vivian Campbell and Jimmy Bain.
Surprisingly, the set list of this show was really heavy on Dio, Ozzy, and Black Sabbath. While Vinny Appice was certainly an important part of Dio and Black Sabbath during the Dio years, Carmine has many more musical accomplishments in his vast résumé than his one year with Ozzy in 1984. He did an outstanding job, however, when he took over lead vocals for the Rod Stewart classic, “Do Ya Think Sexy.” This version was much heavier than the original, to the delight of the crowd.
Another highlight of the evening was when guitarist, Ethan Brosh, who was one of the opening acts, joined in for the Ozzy song, "Bark at the Moon." Brosh met Crean in the center of the stage while displaying a lightening-fast guitar solo that would make even the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen a bit envious. Brosh is destined to be a big star, and he is signed to Carmine Appice's- Rocker Records.
This was a very entertaining musical event. Not only did you see two of the world's most famous classic rock drummers in their true element, but you got a great evening of classic Black Sabbath, Ozzy and Dio gems performed by some outstanding musicians in an awesome sounding club. While this may have been billed as a “War,” everybody survived, returned home happy and are eager for the next Drum War.
Special thanks to Jim Crean for allowing us to cover this event. For more info. on Jim Crean, check out his site at www.jimcrean.net
Also, thank you to Dana Kaiser.