Friday, September 20, 2013

Remember When: Rockers KISS Hit The North East

 www.chroniclelive.co.uk

They were the rock stars dressed like Marvel comic book heroes who took America by storm – and a band which also made waves here in the UK

Formed in New York City, Kiss combined a modicum of musical talent with a prodigious work ethic to become one of the biggest rock acts of the 1970s – and beyond.

Their stock in trade, of course, would be their outrageous and outlandish stage-wear and black and white painted faces, plus a stunning stage show that featured blood-spitting, fire-breathing, guitars that fired rockets, and pyrotechnics.

Albums like Destroyer and Alive were massive sellers, especially in the US, while singles like Crazy Crazy Nights and God Gave Rock And Roll To You would bring them major hits in Britain.

But on this day in 1983, with their career somewhat on the wane, Kiss appeared for the first time without their make-up on that recent innovation, MTV.

A little over a month later, the foursome were on tour and in the region at a packed Newcastle City Hall.

Our reviewer was impressed, but first up, he dealt with the band’s new look.

“Even without their make-up – or should that be especially without – these guys could never win a beauty contest, but their music is something else.

“Their banks of speakers blasted out exactly what the crowd wanted – some of the sweatiest rock around – so loud that my ears were still numb the next day.”

Despite the new image, it was clear Kiss could still put on a trademark over-the-top show.

“The stage was decked out like a giant tank, with a massive drum kit perched on the turret, a huge illuminated ‘Kiss’ sign as a backdrop, and with lighting and smoke-effect rigs on the stage and overhead.”

The review concluded: “Make-up or not, Kiss left a lasting impression and many happy memories.”

In May 1992, they were back in the region and totally unaffected by the recent movie satire on the world of heavy rock that had become a classic cult film.

As our reporter declared: “In many ways it was the gig Spinal Tap never had.

“Kiss took to the Whitley Bay Ice Rink stage last night from the mouth of a sphinx; a guitarist breathed fire; and bombs exploded like the Blitz.

“Other bands may have been shamed into toning down their on-stage antics by the Tap spoof movie – Kiss seem positively rejuvenated by it.”

The band’s last appearance in the region came at Newcastle Arena in 2010 where the make-up and pyrotechnics were still an integral part of the show.

With founder members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley now 64 and 61 respectively, they show no sign of letting up.

As our reviewer at Whitley Bay in 1992 concluded: “The day that Kiss get deep and introspective is the day they’ll have to quit.”

See original story HERE: http://bit.ly/1ewbfZX

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