October 2, 2008
Heart Love Alive
with Queen Nation
By Cynthia Mell
There are those that would tell you that Rock and Roll is dead. Who can blame them with all the teen stars and reality TV show contest winners crowding the music charts, occupying spots once held by bands such as Van Halen, Boston and Journey. Rock fans need to not give up hope but to look at the thriving tribute band scene to see that rock and roll isn’t dead but alive and well. On any night in Southern California, in any club or bar you can find bands paying tribute to the bands that have gone before them. Atomic Punks, Lights, Wild Child, just to name a few, are bands out there playing the music that inspired them. They are embracing not only the spirit of their favorite bands but of rock and roll itself. That Rock and Roll spirit was in full force Friday at The Canyon as two talented bands took the stage.
The free and rockin spirit of Queen was captured perfectly by Queen Nation! From the moment the band hit the stage, the crowd was entertained! Singer/Keyboardist Joe Retta struts across the stage, oozing the same energy and sex appeal of Freddy Mercury! He and guitarist Mike McManus play perfectly off of each other! McManus holds his own as he is an exceptional guitarist. His work in “Sheer Heart Attack” and “Under Pressure” prove that he is more than capable of filling the shoes of Brian May. The bands amazing harmonies started out acapella in “Fat Bottom Girls” but it was the driving rhythm of Pete Burke on drums and Parker Combs on bass that had the crowd up and bopping their heads to the beat. Queen Nation has that fun spirit of Queen but when they add their own talents, they form a band that rocks!
Heart Love Alive hit the stage Friday as well, rockin The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills with a spirit all their own. Led by Patricia Morales and Jeannie Austin, Heart Love Alive share their namesakes ability to move between lush ballads and straight ahead rockers with ease. This is due in no small part to the multi-talented band members. Austin plays guitar while sharing lead vocal duties, taking the lead on “These Dreams”, giving it the dreamy feel of the original. Keyboardist Stephen Scarr switches between the keys and guitar with seemingly no effort. However, it’s the charisma and powerful voice of Morales that draws the crowd in. When she lead the band into crowd favorite “Barracuda”, very few people were left in their seats! Another crowd favorite, “Crazy On You” showcased Austin, Scarr and Chad Quist on guitars and with the rhythm section of Richard Graham and Adam Leon, the band delivered the power rocker with the same “balls to the wall” spirit that drove Heart’s debut single and made it one of their signature songs! The crowd, already pumped up after Queen Nation, loved the mix of ballads and rockers and Heart Love Alive had no problem giving the crowd what they want!
If you are one of those that think rock and roll is dead, check out these bands next time they play near you! They are talented, energetic and bring the spirit of rock to each song they play. They both put on a show that will have you waving your fist and lighters in the air just like “back in the day”. You won’t be disappointed.