Concert Review: Ace Frehley

“Ace Frehley Tour 2016”

Ace Frehley, Simo
Saturday, September 24th 2016
Magic City Music Hall, Binghamton, NY

Our Score: 4 out of 5 Stars

The original Space Man himself Ace Frehley landed in Binghamton, NY on September 24th to perform at the Magic City Music Hall. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is out in support of his most recent studio release titled “Origins Vol. 1” a collection of covers handpicked by Ace himself. Though Ace had not performed in the Binghamton area since 2000 the Broome County fans certainly hadn’t forget about the man from Jendel.

Starting of the night were the blues tinged jam band Simo. Hailing from Nashville, TN the group performed a writhing 35 minute set which helped get the night underway. Front man JD Simo didn’t waste much time interacting with the crowd as he and his band mates let the music do the talking. The power trio all seemed quite well versed in their instrumentation as each song the band performed featured lengthy solo areas that each member filled in with ease. The band closed out the set with an energetic rendition of Joe Cockers “A Little Help From My Friends” which easily garnered the largest applause from the assembled crowd. After a momentary set change Ace Frehley and his band would hit the stage as echoes of Ace’s song “Fractured Mirror” played over the PA system. The band kicked off the night with “Rip It Out” from Frehley’s 1978 solo album setting the tone for the night’s adventure. The set touched on almost all of Ace’s solo works as wells as some of the material he wrote during his days with Kiss including “Parasite”, “Rocket Ride” and “Strange Ways” which features bassist Chris Wyse on vocals. Another highlight of the nights was “2 Young 2 Die” from Ace’s “Trouble Walkin’” album featuring guitarist Richie Scarlett on vocals.

Despite a few out of key moments and a couple tempo issues the band still put on a solid performance which the audience in Binghamton seemed to really enjoy. With the chances of Ace returning to Kiss growing slimmer and slimmer with each passing day the 65 year guitarist is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon as a solo artist, Nor should he as he is still able to get up on stage and put on an entertaining show night after night. There are still just a few more chances to catch Ace this year so if he is coming to your town or one nearby I highly recommend you get yourself a ticket as soon as possible.

Ace Frehley Set List:
(Fractured Mirror Intro)
1.) Rip It Out
2.) Toys
3.) Emerald (Thin Lizzy Cover)
4.) Parasite
5.) Love Gun
6.) Snowblind
7.) Sister
8.) Rocket Ride
9.) Bring It On Home (Willie Dixon Cover)
10.) Rock Soldiers
-Bass Solo-
11.) Strange Ways
12.) New York Groove
13.) 2 Young 2 Die
14.) Shock Me
-Guitar Solo-
15.) Cold Gin
16.) Detroit Rock City
17.) Deuce

Live Review: Ace Frehley, F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes Barre, PA

Ace Frehley, KillCode

Date: April 15, 2016
Venue: F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, Wilkes Barre, PA

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley made a stop at the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes Barre, PA on April 15th, as part of a 12 show east-coast run promoting his latest album release titled “Origins Vol.1” The night was a series of ups and downs which at one point had the near capacity crowd on their feet cheering and the next moment had them scratching their heads while leaving the theater to a slow din of boo’s.

Being a huge fan of Ace I was certainly well aware of the fact that when it comes to the “Spaceman” you never know what you are going to get and, this night was certainly a testament to that. The show kicked off with the NYC based band KillCode whose modern rock tinged sound was met with a warm response from the Wilkes Barre. This could have been attributed to the fact that one of the bands guitarists was from the rural esque town or possibly that their performance was the most consistent of the night. Either way the band seemed well rehearsed and fit the opening slot well. After a brief set change and following the sounds of “Fractured Mirror” which played over the P.A. Ace and his band consisting of drummer Scot Coogan, guitarist Richie Scarlett and bassist Chris Wyse would take the stage. The group kicked off the set with one of Ace’s signature songs “Rip it Out” which gave way to several Kiss classics such as “Rocket Ride”, “Parasite” and “Love Gun”. It was at the start of “Parasite” that I began to notice that the night was in for an awkward turn. The songs tempo shifted back and forth as it seemed Ace and the rest of the band were clearly on separate pages. Thankfully after a bit of back and forth things leveled out and songs like Thin Lizzy’s “Emerald” and “Rock Soldiers” sounded great. Towards the end of the bands set Ace began to move less and less and at one point he was even sitting on one of his speaker cabinets. After a lackluster solo and his signature smoking guitar trick the band quickly ran through the Kiss/Ace staple “Cold Gin” before immediately leaving the stage. Previous shows on the tour featured a two song encore which the fans were anxiously waiting and cheering for. After several minutes the house lights came fully on and music began playing over the P.A signaling the show was over. As fans made their way out the doors loud boos and other un-pleasantries filled the air. With a set a set that ran just under 90 minutes there was certainly cause for such reactions.

Fast-forward about 12hrs. to when it was announced that immediately after the Wilkes Barre show Ace was rushed to a nearby hospital and treated for exhaustion and dehydration. (As a side note the last show of the tour scheduled for 4/16 was canceled) I understand people get tired and things happen but when you are at the level Ace is at and have been performing as long as he has shouldn’t steps be taken to prevent these types of avoidable occurrences? Especially on a tour consisting of only 12 dates! This however is the typical type of Ace behavior which partly makes him so entertaining yet which has also plagued his career since his early days in Kiss. Will it ever change? That’s very hard to say. What I can say is that on 4/15 Wilkes Barre was treated to classic Ace all the way.

Set List:

1.) Rip It Out
2.) Toys
3.) Rocket Ride
4.) Parasite
5.) Love Gun
6.) Snowblind
7.) Sister
8.) Emerald (Thin Lizzy Cover)
9.) Rock Soldiers
10.) Bass Solo/Strange Ways
11.) New York Groove
12.) 2 Young 2 Die
13.) Shock Me/Guitar Solo
14.) Cold Gin

CD Review: Ace Frehley “Space Invader”

“Space Invader”
Ace Frehley
Tracks: 13

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Original Kiss guitarist and recent Rock and Roll Hall Fame inductee Ace Frehley is back with a brand new full length studio album appropriately titled “Space Invader”. The album is being released via eOne Entertainment and features 11 brand new tracks along with Frehley’s beefed up rendition of the Steve Miller Band classic “The Joker”.

Over the past few years Ace has seemed to have gone through a period of career revitalization. First was the release of “Anomaly” in 2009, which was Frehley’s first solo release in over 20 years. Shortly after that was the release of his first autobiography titled “No Regrets” and of course we all know about the controversy surrounding Kiss’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This brings us to Frehley’s newest musical offering “Space Invader”. The album takes a much grittier approach than Ace’s previous release yet is still classic Space Ace all the way.

Tracks such as “Space Invader” dominate your speakers with groovy rhythms and snappy vocal passages that are reminiscent of Frehley’s early solo works. As the album progresses Ace continues to prove that even at the age of 63 he is still more than capable of bringing rock and roll to the masses. The track “Change” was probably my most favorite off the album as it features a really big sound complimented by one of the better solos I found on the record. Another notable track worth checking out was Ace’s rendition of the Steve Miller Band song “The Joker”.

Even though I have heard countless covers of this song Frehley’s interpretation was fresh and fun making it a great summertime song to throw on at your next cook out. Both Kiss and Non-Kiss fans will want to check out this release as it’s a fun listen that has a little something for everyone.

Track Listing:
1.) Space Invader
2.) Gimme a Feelin
3.) I Wanna Hold You
4.) Change
5.) Toys
6.) Immortal Pleasures
7.) Inside the Vortex
8.) What Every Girl Wants
9.) Past the Milky Way
10.) Reckless
11.) The Joker
12.) Starship