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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Michael Monroe: Rocks Toronto; Videos Available

Finland rock legend Michael Monroe made his long overdue return to Toronto at the Mod Club on Thursday with a typically high-energy show.

Monroe’s band includes frequent partner of (on and off) more than 30 years, bassist Sami Yaffa (Hanoi Rocks, Jetboy, Joan Jett, New York Dolls), plus guitarists Dregen (Backyard Babies, The Hellacopters) andSteve Conte (Company of Wolves, New York Dolls), who – along with drummer Karl Rockfist (Danzig) – quickly got to work on delivering a stellar 80-minute set.

While known mostly for the brief, but brilliant, early career moments with Hanoi Rocks (80-85), Michael’s been quite prolific in his solo career since, with the exception of ‘02-’09, when he resurrected Hanoi Rockswith Andy McCoy, albeit with a different lineup.

For anyone unfamiliar (tut tut!!), one might describe Monroe as Iggy Popmeets David Johansen (New York Dolls), with the energy of Mick Jagger, minus 20 years.

The focus of the setlist was on his well-received new album, “Sensory Overdrive” (which has deservedly seen a worldwide release, the first since 1989’s “Not Faking It”), with six songs played, augmented by four Hanoi tracks…plus solo and related cuts.

From the opener, “Trick of the Wrist,” until the last song (the Hanoi classic) “Taxi Driver,” the band was firing on all cylinders. New tracks included “Modern Day Miracle,” “Got Blood?,” “Bombs Away” and“Superpowered Superfly.”

There were no 'washroom break' moments; the new songs went over as well as the Hanoi classics, with “'78” and “Taxi Driver” being respective highlights from his lengthy career.

Michael’s last Toronto appearance, in January 1998 for a 'celebrity DJ gig', led to plans for a series of live dates in the NYC area using several Toronto-based musicians. The visit resulted in a 'rehearsal' gig at the city’s Velvet Underground club that only local music industry insiders knew about and, while that show was very good, 13 years after the fact…it had nowhere near the impact of the current lineup.

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