By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy, Photos by Matt “Rabit” Martinez Red Hare Images
KISS has been one of the most successful and beloved rock ‘n’ roll bands for over 45 years. Thunder, Rabit, and I were all fortunate to catch them one last time in New York and Anaheim respectively. When we saw them in our own hometowns, they brought the houses down with their theatrical hard rock and heavy metal. While Tommy Thayer thrashed it up on guitar, it was not the same without hearing the iconic riffs from the original Spaceman, Ace Frehley. Having been out of KISS since 2002, Frehley continues to show off his righteous riffs as a solo artist. Probably the only member of the original to achieve a successful solo career, he has recently embarked on another solo tour to celebrate his long loved career as one of music’s most cherished riff masters. One of his stops was in Pasadena, Calif. at the Rose, so Rabit and I rushed over to check out Space Ace, who originally claimed to be a plumber. Hahaha!
After the opening act The Hots warmed up the crowd, the venue goes dark and out walks Ace Frehley the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame guitar genius along with his rag-tag bandmates. They got their evening started with “Rocket Ride.” Ace was donning his Aviator shades while he was pumping out the lightening-hot riffs that made him a legend. His bandmates include the guitar duo of Ryan Cook and Jeremy Asbrock, bassist Philip Shouse, and drummer Christopher Williams, all of whom gelled together really well. While Ace was belting his guts out on the microphone, each member had a turn singing lead on each song that was performed, and they each sound really good. What surprised me the most about the show was that a majority of the set list was KISS songs. From “Parasite” to “Hard Times,” “Watchin’ You,” “She,” “Strange Ways,” “Rock Soldiers,” and “Shock Me,” Ace delivered a dynamite performance that was full of nostalgia and excitement. He was playing his endless supply of Gibson Les Pauls’, including one that had strobe lights and the other had smoke coming out of the fret during his long-extended solo. He also played his classic hits from his KISS solo album that included “Rip It Out,” “Snowblind,” and his top 20 hit, “New York Groove.” Of course, the show would not be a true Ace Frehley if he did not perform iconic KISS tunes like “Love Gun,” “Cold Gin,” “Detroit Rock City,” and “Deuce.”
Full Ace Frehley gallery below:
Pasadena wanted the best, well they got the best out of Ace Frehley. While he may have gotten older, his guitar licking has not lost any of its potency. The New York guitarist gave Pasadena a taste of how he did it with KISS back in the good days of the 70s. I wish he played some stuff from his recent solo material, but he wanted to give us a night of KISS. The crowd was not as energetic as I thought they would be, but then again, the Rose is mainly a restaurant performance venue. Still, that did not stop the Spaceman from having fun and blasting us into the atmosphere. To Ace Frehley, I salute you. Horns up!!!