After seeing Tesla perform the night before at House of Blues Orlando I was beyond impressed (read the review here). 33 years of rock and they looked and sounded better than ever. So to get the opportunity to review their second show the next evening was a huge thrill. Tesla is out on a headlining tour in support of their 8th studio album, Shock, that was released on March 8th. And after getting the chance to interview with Tesla’s guitarist Frank Hannon (listen and read it here) he was absolutely right in the shows lived up to the hype based on Friday’s performance. I was certain that this show would do the same.
Saturday night was a sold-out show at House of Blues Orlando. Literally, shoulder to shoulder everywhere in the building, the general admission floor was mobbed with fans trying to squeeze in as close as they could, and even the balcony had every seat filled. Tesla fans were excited and ready for them to rock. I felt the exact same way.
The curtain was already pulled back with instruments set up on stage as the crowd waited for the show to begin. The opener that night was Voices of Extreme from New York. The band’s history dates back to 2004 and they have released 3 albums titled Hypocrite, Breaking Silence, and Mach III. They have opened for the bands Kix, Metal Church, and multiple times for Tesla. Consisting of Don Chaffin (vocals, guitars), Bobby Brennan (bass), and Jordan Cannata (drums), they came on stage excited, all smiles, and absolutely ready to rock.
After seeing them rock the House of Blues the night before, I knew this crowd would absolutely love them. Once again, they kicked off their set with “Martyr” which has a smooth grooving guitar and bass line. The whole band seemed more energetic than the previous evening and the crowd’s loud cheering was feeding them to rock even harder. “Landslide” was an awesome rock song with a hard drumbeat, bass riff, and some great sliding guitar riffs. Jordan was ripping away on the drums and Don was smoothly belting out vocals. “Tell Me What It Takes” was a great ballad from the band keeping their hard rock in tune with a slower song. I truly enjoyed their Friday night performance and this one was even better. As I said in the prior review, Voices of Extreme is a little bit Tesla and a little bit Led Zeppelin. Their stellar cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” is so well done and the fans on the floor were jumping and bouncing around with the music. The crowd was screaming, applauding, and cheering loudly for Voices of Extreme. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future brings for this band.
You can check them out at voicesofextreme.com. Their setlist that night:
- Call My Name
- Tell Me What It Takes
- Lovers and Losers
- Rock and Roll (Led Zeppelin cover)
Next up was Year of the Locust (YOTL). The band lists themselves as a “motley collection of personalities from the American Northeast”. YOTL has released 1 studio album titled Devolver and released a self-titled EP. The hard rock band consisting of Scott McGiveron (vocals), Fred Sorrell (bass), Tyler Hensley (guitars), and Dusty Winterrowd (drums) were ready to rock the House of Blues. Billy Grey, the guitarist from Fozzy, was filling for YOTL guitarist Cody Hyde. The band stepped out on stage opening up with “Sunrise” their latest single. The Friday night crowd didn’t seem as into the band that evening, but Saturday night’s crowd absolutely loved what YOTL was doing on stage. “Sorry” opens up heavy and slows down into a ballad. Scott crooned out the lyrics beautifully and the crowd appreciated it. Dusty was ripping out drumbeats at the chorus while Fred, Tyler, and Billy were tearing out riffs. The crowd was getting more excited with each song they played. YOTL was on fire that night.
You can check out the band at yearofthelocust.com. Their setlist that night:
- Broken Now
- Movin On
- Stay Alive
- Line Em Up
Finally, our headliners, Tesla, were ready to take the stage. The band from Sacramento, CA founded their roots back in 1981 but it wasn’t until 1986 when they adopted the name of Tesla and released their first album Mechanical Resonance. That album immediately put them in the spotlight with the well-known singles of “Modern Dary Cowboy”, “Little Suzi”, and “Changes”. Their follow-up album The Great Radio Controversy did very well for them with memorable songs such as “Love Song”, “Paradise”, and “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)”. They followed up a year later with the live album Five Man Acoustical Jam which was a recording of an acoustic tour the band did in 1990. That album produced their cover of “Signs” originally released by the Five Man Electrical Band. After two more albums, the band decided to take a hiatus in 1996 and then came back together in 2000. After releasing 3 additional albums, Tesla is now ready to release their eighth studio album Shock to be released on March 8th. Jeff Keith (vocals), Frank Hannon (guitar), Brian Wheat (bass), Troy Luccketta (drums), and Dave Rude (guitar) were ready to rock out for the second time.
Frank Hannon came up to the stage first, which caused the crowd to go wild, yelling and screaming as loud as possible. He began to play some speedy guitar riffs showcasing his amazing skills. Then Dave Rude entered on the other side of the stage and performed some quick guitar riffs on his own. The two went back and forth for a minute before the rest of the band took the stage and opened with “Cumin’ Atcha Live” from their very first album Mechanical Resonance. The crowd loved it and the extended the guitar solo in the middle with Frank and Dave tearing it up on stage. It was absolutely mind-blowing and that was just the start of the show! Frank had told me in the interview the two setlists for the Orlando shows would be different and he kept his word. They followed up with “Modern Day Cowboy”, which is always a crowd pleaser. Once again, Jeff’s vocals sounded absolutely amazing and he was all smiles with this sold-out crowd. Brian once again rocked out with Dave and Frank at one point but mostly kept a stoic face all night strumming away on the bass. Troy was hidden behind the high drum riser but there was no doubt he lit up the drumset with every clash, thump, and bang that was whipped out. When I thought Tesla was amazing the night before, this performance was even better. Tesla had the crowd eating out of their hands.
While they made some changes to the setlist from Friday night, they still played the well-known songs of “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)”, “Changes”, and “Love Song”. The new songs to this setlist included “Taste Like” from the new album Shock and “Caught in a Dream” from the fifth studio album Into the Now. Once again Telsa put some great use to the monitors sitting behind them that evening. While performing “Edison’s Medicine (Man Out of Time)” they displayed a number of images relating to the Nikolai Tesla and Guglielmo Marconi over the invention of the radio. And my favorite part of the evening is when they performed “What You Give” from Psychotic Supper displaying all black and white photos of the band from various on-stage photos to candid photos. My favorite was a close up of Troy playing on his drumset the photographer looking up at him.
The band wrapped up the evening starting with “Little Suzi”, which is a cover by the British band Ph. D. They released that version on Mechanical Resonance. Tesla’s final song that night was “Signs” with Jeff coming out with his hair tucked under his hat as he sang “And then sign says long hair freaky people need not apply. So I put my hair under my hat and I went in to ask him why.” Jeff was having a lot of fun on stage with the song and the band was all smiles as they played. When Tesla finished the crowd hollered, hooted, cheered, applauded and made as much noise as long as they could while they thanked the crowd and walked off stage.
You can pre-order their new album Shock at their website teslatheband.com. Their setlist that night:
- Cumin’ Atcha Live
- Modern Day Cowboy
- Be a Man
- Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)
- Breakin’ Free
- Taste Like
- Miles Away
- Caught in a Dream
- What You Give
- Edison’s Medicine
- Love Song
- Little Suzi (Ph. D. cover)
- Signs (Five Man Electrical Band cover)
The second evening of Tesla, Year of the Locust, and Voices of Extreme was better than the first, even though I didn’t think that was possible. All three bands had amazing performances that evening. If Tesla is coming to your town, don’t miss out on this tour. You will love it.