Kiss guitarist Paul Stanley took on the crowd at Irving Plaza with an in your face rock performance that was a no frills affair of blasting rock and singalong choruses. Unmasked this time around, the starman cranked out the tunes from his two solo albums and a few Kiss nuggets for the faithful, with a backup band that empowered the originals with a spunky flair.
Castoffs from the TV show Rock Star served as the backup band to Stanley’s extroverted larger than life persona as they added a gritty, hungry edge to the man’s youthful still life’s on teenage lust. Pimple-faced revelries to a time and an era when rock really mattered and the Kiss army prevailed, the band provided the high-octane riffs and party anthems to a generation schooled on Boones Farm Wine and Bud. Check out Detroit Rock City for a humorous take on the era.
Dressed in a leopard skin shirt, blue jeans and boots Stanley was the lightning rod to the band’s overtures of three- chord garage rock. His backup band roared in response to Stanley’s clichÃ©d onstage rants with some tasty driven rock, keeping it simple and smiley for the devoted, yet raucous enough for the inner teen-angst devil in us all.
Opening with “Live To Win,” the show was a mixed bag of tunes from his first self-titled solo album from 1978 and the new one, as well as some Kiss classics. He introduced “Bullet Proof” from his latest, stating it took 17 years between solo albums, and adding that in another 17 the next one might be titled Hope To Live. “Wouldn’t You Like To Know Me,” from his first solo album, was a poppy anthem rocker. Kiss’ “Lick It Up” had the crowd singing along, with beers held high.
The rare one “Magic Touch” from 1979’s Dynasty was an exercise of pounding, bombastic rock. Stanley introduced “Strutter” as a song he’d written while driving a cab around Manhattan, dreaming of playing The Garden, and checking out the ladies in waiting on 42nd St. The band rocked and rattled as Stanley strutted like a proud peacock to the sonic wails of guitarist Rafael Morales who shredded with the ferocity of a hungry lion, quieting the catcalls for “Ace! Ace!” that echoed from the bar at the back of the venue.
“Love Gun” ended the regular set. The band returned for a driving “Detroit Rock City” that was a muscular workout of dueling guitars and metallic thunder. “Goodbye” ended it all, as Stanley promised the crowd that he would return to be with “his peeps” a stone’s throw away from his “old hang-out, the Fillmore East on 6th and Second Ave.”