Vain, Eric Martin, Great White and Skid Row. Rocktember Day 1 Grand Casino Hinkley, MN 9/6/18

I love this festival for several reasons.  First, it’s a short drive from the Twin Cities. The outdoor venue is wonderful, great sight lines, no mud, reasonably priced beer and food, clean bathrooms and the weather always seems to be great.  Plus its on the casino grounds with hotels, restaurants, and games. Incredible video provided by Common World Productions always adds a wonderful element to the concert.

First up Vain from Los Angeles. They are uninspiring and everything felt forced.  I think the only original member is the singer.  It felt like I was watching a 50 year old guy who just wont give it up.  He hired a group of 22 year olds to play with him.  He probably drives an Uber in LA when they are not on tour. They put a few records out in the 1980’s that went largely unnoticed.

Next up was Eric Martin who is the original singer of Mr. Big.  He has an amazing voice and did great.  He played his hits and mixed in some oddities like a cover of Cat Stevens “Wild World” which turned out to be a really cool choice.  He had members of the band Trixter backing him up who did a great job as well, the music was spot on.  With a voice like Eric’s its very easy to hear new music and enjoy it.

Great White had vocal issues but they solved that problem last month by bringing in a new singer Mitch Maloy.  Some of you may know him as the guy who was in Van Halen for a few weeks. I have seen this version several times and they usually disappoint.  But not anymore!  They have done a total 180 and are on par if not better than Jack Russels version of Great White. The band seemed to be having fun and looked inspired.  I was so very impressed.  The addition of Mitch Maloy is exactly the shot in the arm that this band so desperately needed! They played all the hits as well as some new music from an upcoming release.

The headliner was Skid Row, I love this band.  Like I have mentioned in the past they finally got the Sebastian Bach monkey off their back with the addition of the singer ZP Theart a few years ago and this band is now unstoppable. They did a jam in the middle of “Monkey Business” that remined me of the jam during “Let Me Go Rock N’ Roll” on Kiss Alive.  It was full of energy and fun to listen to.  Yes they are a hard rock band but they have an element of punk to them. In the middle of the show they covered The Ramones song “Psycho Therapy”, it fits perfect in the set. When toy see them they will do all the hits you expect like “18 And Life”. If you like hard hitting rock, you will like Skid Row.  I highly recommend giving them a listen.

Review and photos by Tommy Sommers