By Tim Schumann
As you know, Covid-19 has put a damper on life in general, especially live music. We have sat home since early March waiting patiently for the numbers to drop, doing our part to get a handle on this virus.
On 29 May, our governor opened all bars here in Texas, in El Paso we opened on 5 June, that means our premiere concert venue was to reopen which of course is The Rockhouse Bar and Grill, this news became the buzz about our West Texas town, needless to say, we were all ready to get back to business as usual.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Matteo Martinez, the owner of the Rockhouse in early June, to get an idea of what shows were on tap for us, to my surprise, he informed me that me had booked a handful of tributes, simply because all huge nationals had opted to wait until 2021 to tour, but tributes were willing to hit the road, with that said, he had an AC/DC, Rush, Led Zeppelin, Godsmack, KISS, Wasp, all tributes coming over the next few months, but to start things off he had a Motley Crue tribute coming on 20 June, they were called Deja Crue, A Motley Crue Experience, once I heard that, I said alright, let’s get busy.
In my tenure as a photojournalist, I do not cater to cover bands, any publication I have worked for this is a set rule, but tributes are the exception to that rule. In my 6 years doing this I have covered two tributes, one was a Led Zeppelin called Led Zeppelin 2 and the other was a Guns and Roses called Paradise City, both were back in 2015 and I was so impressed that I can still remember acute details 5 years later.
Bands that are true tributes, in my opinion, have put in the work, the dress, the mannerisms, the study of the artist you are imitating, down to the hair, the jewelry and of course, the music, there is a ton of work and effort to pull something like this off and after watching and listening to this Motley Crue tribute for over the 2 hours they performed, I was thoroughly impressed, you see I saw Motley Crue in 99, when they opened for The Scorpions in Tampa, these four gentleman from Phoenix are the next best thing to the real deal, take my word for it.
What really caught my attention was they did a lot of B-Cuts, if you will, only true Crue fans can appreciate a set list of this caliber, again, just adding to the validity of a tribute to Motley Crue.
Due to Social Distancing, the venue was cut in half with a table and chairs, which left me with a 20 foot pit to shoot from, no worries, as long as I wore a mask, which of course, I did.
The band wasted no time in delivering one body shot after another of Crue hits, it was if they had a serious desire to inflict maximum punishment to an audience that had been starved for the past 90 days for metal music. In no time the boys plowed through the two page set list and its safe to say, the punishing set left this rabid El Paso crowd breathless.
All in all, this show was a huge success, a superb show full of focused energy with a huge dose of fun thrown in for good measure, what a way to reopen the Rockhouse, Deja Crue made this Saturday night a reminder that metal is alive and well here in the great state of Texas.
After the show, autographs and photographs were in order, I did inform Mikki Seven (Nikki Six) who I was and let’s get in contact, business cards were exchanged and I left the venue truly moved and excited what I had just witnessed.
Two days later, I had the sheer pleasure of speaking with Mikki Seven via the phone for a mini interview, really just some fun facts, I can’t tell you how surprised I was to find out that this El Paso show was the second show to date for the band as a whole. The first was back on 2 March at the Whiskey A GoGo, when asked how cool was it to play on that epic stage, a stage where your idol, Nikki Six stood and played on, Mikki’s response was, It was surreal, an unbelievable experience, as a fan, words escape me, needless to say, any statement would be the understatement of the year, its something, you could never forget.
This band has been a brainstorm effort between Mikki and Mars (Noel Allison) for the past three years, drummers and a frontman have come and gone during this period of time, but recently with the addition of Scott Wilson doing percussion (Tommy Lee) and the key to any band, the front man, Mark Johnson fills the shoes of Vince Neil to the letter, everything he does reflects Vince, not to mention hitting those high notes, outstanding Job, Mark.
In closing, I highly recommend seeing Deja Crue, A Motley Crue Experience, this is an act that never fails to deliver a powerful, high energy performance that serves as a reminder of the vitality found in giving zero fucks.
Full Deja Crue gallery below: