CAN'T STOP THE SHOW: THE RETURN OF KIX DOCUMENTARY PLUS BONUS LIVE CD
Baltimore's finest rockers, Kix chart their return to form in a documentary/live CD/DVD package. Formed in Hagerstown, Maryland in 1977 the band went on to release seven albums and sell 4 million records. After successes with Midnight Dynamite, Blow My Fuse and Hot Wire, the band got involved in various side projects which led to their parting, before subsequently reforming in 2003. Without the band's songwriter Donnie Purnell in the reformed lineup, lead singer Steve Whiteman was insistent that there would be no new songs.
After nearly two decades in the creative wilderness, bass player Mark Schenker became a pivotal force for the band to pool together their songwriting ideas and come up with their first album since 1995. Legendary producer Taylor Rhodes, who had worked with the band on 1991's Hot Wire, jumped on board once it was clear the guys were intent on making a 'quality Kix album' and not just throwing something together that didn't sound like the band. The material may have been fresh, but the familiar sound was still there. The band received their second-highest Billboard chart position for Rock Your Face Off and the album went to the top of the Amazon Rock Chart where it stayed for 4 weeks; not bad for a band who had been reluctant to write their own songs without Purnell.
The 71-minute documentary, Can't Stop The Show, gives a valuable insight into the band's recording process, including archive footage and interviews with the band, Rhodes and celebrity fans Lzzy Hale (Halestorm), Shannon Larkin (Godsmack) and Extreme's Nuno Bettencourt.
The accompanying live CD gives us the aural pleasure of a band who still sound as ballsy, macho and sharp as they did back in 1981. Kix has made sure that they are back with a vengeance and their live show has them sounding at their absolute best. Wheels In Motion, Rock Your Face Off are both expertly placed opening tracks for a band who have been away from the top of their game for so long. Playing to a home crowd at the Rocky Gap Casino in Cumberland was always going to be a riotous night and it definitely sounds like it. The energy levels are wracked up from the start with Schenker's heavy duty slap bass, Jimmy “Chocolate” Chalfant's juggernaut drumming, Ronnie "10/10" Younkins and Brian "Damage" Forsythe's precision guitar work.
Of course, all eyes and ears are on peacock singer, Steve Whiteman, strutting his stuff like Maryland's Mick Jagger. His voice is in fine shape and can easily cope with the demands of screaming rock tracks Love Pollution and Can't Stop The Show. It's definitely a testament to his vocal regime and healthy living that his rock belt is still in good working order when the rock n' roll life has deprived so many other vocalists of their prize asset. Cold Blood has some hilariously bawdy audience participation when Whiteman asks all the 'ugly bitches' to sing – a silence falls over the audience. But when asking 'good-looking guys with little tiny dicks' to participate, there are some brave voices in the darkness. It's an unsubtle, humorous, politically incorrect reminder of what we love about classic rock, and proof that the Baltimore foursome still Kix ass.
Groupie Rating 4/5