-On March 31st, I had the pleasure of attending the Janet Gardner show at Nikki's in Sturgis, Michigan. It was the first time attending a show there so I wasn't sure what to expect from this adventure. The venue was 90 minutes from my home, so I expected a bit of sight seeing along the way there.
Upon arriving, we found a well kept place with lots of available spaces. Entry to the club was easy and there was no wait. The club was clean, with plenty of room to stand, and was well staffed with very friendly people. Emergency exits were well lit and easily accessible if needed. I know that may not be important to some people but with the recent wave of violence and fires, I make it a point to notice it.
The show started promptly with the opening band Meccabone. They were a local band playing a good variety of cover tunes that entertained the crowd and got them dancing. They were very competent and seemed to be well liked by the crowd.
The next band was A Sick World. Let me tell you, this band was the surprise of the night. They played a wildly popular set of cover tunes that not only rocked the place but did so with the absolute precision of a laser. Including songs by Heart, Kix, Jackyl, LA Guns, Queensryche, Ozzy, Judas Priest, Guns N Roses and more, they put on a showcase of how to captivate the crowd! They really made the trip worth it by themselves.
The final opening band was Band of Tara. Again, another very competent band playing cover tunes that entertained and got the crowd ready for the main act.
After a short intermission to clear the stage and get it ready, Janet and gang hit the stage full force! Opening with the tune "If You Want Me", they let us know they were there to rock the joint. Janet was in great form, really engaging the audience in between songs. Guitarist (and hubby), Justin James was also on fire. Justin has a monster, unbelieveable tone that is just built for melting faces on stages everywhere. Janet made the show a real blast to watch, including going into the audience and leading a crowd sing-a-long on the Vixen classic, Cryin'. The band covered a great mix of tunes from both the solo record and Vixen. There were also two entertaining covers: The first featured the bassist, who's name I totally missed (Tony G, I think?) sharing vocals with Justin on the Kiss classic, "Love Gun." The second featured Janet singing the Cee-Lo Green tune, "Fuck You." to the crowd's delight!
I also want to mention how on point the rhthym section of Richie Rivera and the bassist were. The bassist is also an accomplished guitar maker, having made both his bass and Justin's awesome checkered guitar that has been featured in numerous promo shots!
After the show, the bands all hung out and greeted fans. It was awesome to see ALL of the bands stick around until the end and support each other. It was the kind of unity that could really build a scene if more did it!
It was also awesome to have Justin greet me and recognize me from promoting the record on my radio show (without me having to say a word!) It really validates the time spent doing this to know that bands take note of it.
Overall, a killer show that was well worth the 3 hours of driving time.
- Janet Gardner
- A Sick World
- Nikki's Sturgis