Review of new Warrant line up w/ Robert Mason
Jerry Dixon & Robert Mason
It looks like Warrant has made a great first impression with the new guy.
Warrant Debuts New Front-Man With First Performance In Tucson, Arizona
by Lorri Mitchell – Bandwidth Rock Magazine
Tucson, Arizona, September 9, 2008, Warrant took the stage in the desert. The crowd wondered would this night prove the band could regain control of their sound and present a formidable rock ‘n’ roll show? Would they end the recent bout of turbulent vocals and poor showmanship?
The lights dimmed and there was a hush, the crowd didn’t know what to expect. Quickly, there were cheers and a low roar from a hyped and hopeful audience. A weak front row of fans would swell into 2 full rows standing cheering on the songs they had come to hear. Enter Robert Mason (Lynch Mob and Cry of Love) the fresh face who led the band restoring the vocal integrity of the many Warrant anthems. Erik Turner on guitar, Jerry Dixon thumping bass, and Steven Sweet pounding drums brought the tight and polished sound they’ve had since reuniting.
Mason was eager to please by belting out what was so desperately needed, a clear and on- point vocal. Guitar shreds and pounding beats filled the venue as the band gained the respect and cheers they so justly deserved. There were no gray clouds hanging over Warrant’s head this night – only clear, blue skies.
The first three songs “Down Boys’, ‘D.R.F.S.R,’ and ‘So Damn Pretty’ were unblemished and solid. The band members seemed relieved, often sharing a smile or a head nod. They should be proud; this was Warrant we could identify with. ‘Heaven’ was next on the list, a power ballad, one easily recognizable and Mason pulled it off with heart and convinced the crowd he is worthy. Mason asked, “Can we rock some more?” At this point, the audience showed their appreciation to Mason by responding in a loud roar. The band continued through the hour-long set with “32 Pennies,” “The Hole in my Wall,” “I saw Red,” “Sure Feels Good,” “Mr., Rainmaker,” and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Robert would run the length of the stage with antics of showmanship that brought a fresh and excitable air. Erik strutted the stage seemingly effortlessly and Jerry thumped a mean bass in time with Steven’s massive sound. The show delivered, the audience had been heard singing along with the newly accepted singer, Warrant’s goal was achieved. Mason was magic and as the band walked off stage with satisfaction in their back pocket, “encore” could be heard in loud voices, fans craving more and more and more. We would be dealt one last song in the band’s arsenal, “Cherry Pie.”
Mason pulled no punches, didn’t offer up a lot of verbiage; it wasn’t needed. He needed to prove he was at the helm with unabashed conviction. Mission accomplished.
If you were there, you know you witnessed consummate rock performers who love their jobs. This band is well oiled and has been around the block but this time they’ve added a new kid and he is solid. Tonight, a brighter fire was lit. Kudos to Warrant, the mix is right, the sound is solid, and the show is all rock ‘n’ roll!
Also our friends over at Sleaze Roxx has a review posted HERE.
Well, where do I start? A lot has been said, written, filmed, etc about Warrant in the last couple of months (check the stories and reviews right here on Sleaze Roxx for example, and of course youtube). So, now knowing what we have heard, seen, and/or read…lets go back in time exactly 4 (not 40) days to be exact. Here is a quote on Sleaze Roxx from Warrant guitarist Erik Turner, "We are very excited that we have found an unbelievable voice in Robert Mason (Lynch Mob), an old friend of the band. We have three dates confirmed, come out and judge for yourself…we don’t think you will be disappointed." I will get back to Erik‘s statement shortly, now, onto the review.
Summertime in Tucson is obviously very hot, we are in the desert after all, but it wasn’t too bad this night (mid 80′s at show time). I got to the venue around 7pm (if you’re ever in Tucson and can see a show at Anselmo Valencia Amphitheater, I highly recommend it. It is a beautiful venue with great sound) and grabbed a soda and nachos and was prepared for the show. I never had the chance, be that good or bad, to see Warrant live before. So, on with the show! The house lights go black and a cool mix of Kid Rock‘s "Bawitdaba" and War‘s "Lowrider" prepares us for Warrant.
The band came out looking lean, fit and ready to kick some Arizona ass. The whole band looked really good (like they are in there mid 20′s, but I am guessing they have to be in late 30′s) as they started "Down Boys". I notice only four band members at first, but not for long as busting through the side curtain came new lead singer Robert Mason, looking young, energetic, confident and ready. The band kicks off the set and Robert begins to sing and I am thinking what the hell is going on here? This guy is singing strong and he is actually singing! Notes were in key and held longer and stronger than on album (I came home and plugged in my Warrant CD’s to make sure) and by the end of "Down Boys" he already owned the crowd.
Next up was D.R.F.S.R. Going far left, then coming all the way right, using the stage like a personal playground, Robert‘s confidence was contagious. The front row was screaming and reaching out to him as he controlled the stage and once again his voice was dead on. Following D.R.F.S.R. was "So Damn Pretty", and I am getting redundant here but this guy has a gift! Geez, three songs into the show and I was thinking, why is the band smiling so much? Mason was working the whole stage and then came something new. He threw his microphone stand 15-20 feet in the air and 30 feet away to be caught by a roadie, amazing. The song ended and the Warrant boys looked happy as smiles filled up the stage (I didn’t think I would see that after all I had read about the band lately).
Robert addressed the crowd with a ‘glad to be in Tucson, thank you for coming out’ and even said thank you to the ‘lawn folk’ as he called them, the fans seated way up in the lawn section, which was a very nice touch. Next up was "Heaven" which included incredible vocals by the whole band with Mason leading the way once again with his strong pipes. As "Heaven" ended, out of nowhere the mic stand came flying back to Warrant‘s new frontman, he caught it and made a cool spin to the front row without missing a beat. The band was flowing and tight for "32 Pennies" and everybody was working the stage. You would never have guessed that this was Warrant‘s first show with a new singer…errr, frontman.
During "Hole In My Wall" Mason got the crowd going as they pumped their fists with hair flying and began bouncing around just like him and the rest of the band. Up next was "I Saw Red", and ladies and gentlemen who are reading this, I truly wish you could have seen this. Mason was once again nailing every high note…just imagine sitting at home with headphones on, I was simply awestruck. He then asked the crowd to sing along and of course they followed his lead. Picking up the pace with "Sure Feels Good", again I swear, if I closed my eyes I would have thought I was listening to the CD at home.
The microphone stand went flying again and Robert was working every inch of the rather large stage along with his co-horts. Then it was onto my personal favorite, "Mr. Rainmaker". I am not a singer, but have heard enough albums and been to hundreds of shows, and I was thinking to myself that there was no way Mason could tag the high notes on this song. Wrong! He nailed them all, except with more sustain and substance, as it was absolutely amazing stuff.
Warrant‘s set ended with "Uncle Tom’s Cabin". At this point I was noticing two very distinctive things about Warrant. That they did look happy and that Robert Mason is the best singer I have ever, and I mean EVER, seen live. He has great stage presence and is an awesome showman, a true frontman if there ever was one. Anyway, Mason got the whole crowd singing "Uncle Tom’s Cabin" (me included) and the song ended with him once again heaving his mic stand into the air and across the stage. The show ended and the band walked off stage smiling and exchanging high fives.
We all knew Warrant couldn’t leave Tucson without some "Cherry Pie", so as the chants of ‘WARRANT, WARRANT, WARRANT’ rang through the amphitheater the band came out to huge applause. Robert grabbed the mic and thanked everyone for coming out on a hot Tuesday night. He thanked everyone from the front row to the people all the way in the back, a very nice and what seemed a real heartfelt appreciation for the fans Warrant finished up the set and I saw Jerry Dixon lean over to Erik Turner and say, "Robert is fucking amazing!!" And I must say Jerry that you are absolutely correct, you have got yourself one helluva showman, entertainer, frontman and a singer who sings better live than on albums. As I said before I have been to hundreds of concerts and have never seen any singer sound stronger live than on an album. Well, after witnessing Robert Mason in Warrant I can now say that I have.
So, in closing, Mr. Erik Turner, your quote of "we don’t think you will be disappointed" is 100% correct. I came out, judged for myself, and concluded that Robert Mason is an absolutely great singer and I was not disappointed in the slightest. The new Warrant is a lean, mean, rock’n'roll machine, and I strongly urge you to see them when they come to your town. I think I might even spend the $500 or so dollars and see them in Maplewood, Minnesota, just so I can them as the headliner, doing a full set with their new singer…an absolutely phenomenal singer who also is an outstanding showman/frontman.
I also must add that I was getting text messages throughout the show saying things such as, "new singer rocks", "new singer is amazing", "seen Warrant five times and they were never this good". On an interesting and funny ending note, I dropped off my dry cleaning the day after the show and the girl behind the counter was wearing a Warrant shirt from the previous night. So I asked her what she thought and she said that she was a huge Warrant fan and was blown away by the new singer and wanted to know if they were going to record with him. I told her that I didn’t know, but lets hope they do! Thank you Warrant, you rocked our little town of Tucson and we truly appreciate it…
So Damn Pretty
The Hole In My Wall
I Saw Red
Sure Feels Good
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Looks like Warrant is ready to take it to the next level. Good for them, and good for Robert Mason.
Original singer or not, you have to give props when respect is given – and it will be returned as well. It seems that Robert Mason was well prepared and showed up to not only perform, but respect the fans of the band and his band mates the same. The same can’t be said for Mr. Rainmaker Jani Lane.
Meanwhile back at the ranch there is still no "official" word from the former singer’s camp. There is the rumor of him "not being fired" yet that Jani in fact has "retired" from the band Warrant HERE.