KISS Expo '98

Entire article written by Alyson Wallace
Pictures provided by Kevin Riley

Sunday dawned warm and clear here in Glasgow as I prepared for the drive south to DudleyParasite

And the KISS Expo ’98. Not only was this cat looking forward to getting her hands on some cool gear, PARASITE were due to play in the evening as well!! We would all be in for a treat.

Arrived at JB’s nightclub in Dudley, hot, tired and not in the best of tempers from a long, frustrating drive in the hot weather down the M6 – on entering JB’s all that was changed – I was in KISS heaven, for the next few hours at least.

First stop was Nick Smith’s airbrush t-shirts stall. Nick is a first class artist and long time KISS fan (He first saw KISS in 1980 and numerous times since then). He started producing the T-shirts in 1992 and is still going strong. Nick has a standard range of designs comprising of Gene, Paul, Ace, Peter, Vinnie and Eric Carr in their respective make-up. He will also custom design to order (see ad in November ’98 issue of Plaster caster). All members of KISS have been presented with their respective T-shirts. Photographs of the band members are given as part of the purchase price. (cool!). Needless to say, I indulged in a Gene T-shirt (well I would, I guess, being the Gene fan I am) and obtained 5 photos along with it – good value for my 25. The T-shirts are excellent quality, big and a work of art in themselves – too good to wear. Well done Nick.

Next I trawled around the memorabilia stands where I could buy pictures, posters, models, cars, videos, etc. The one thing that struck me at this point was the quality of the merchandise available – KISS may be accused of many things, such as taking merchandising too far, but one thing the products never are is cheap and tacky. Another thing which struck me whilst doing the rounds, talking and taking pictures, was the degree of devotion to all things KISS everyone had. To be surrounded by fellow fans, old and young, who felt the same way I did about the band, was a great feeling and led to a great atmosphere.

Shane Simmons!

Shane Riley (6) was dressed up as Gene and won the prize for best Gene impersonator on stage!

Looking round the hall at this point I could see a mixed crowd of rock enthusiasts, all obviously KISS fans, all having a good time. Some people were in full KISS make-up and regalia. I spied a few Demons, Starchilds, Space Aces and Catmen. A lot of effort put into costume and make-up by those in character, all of which was very effective.

For those who wanted, there was a face painting stand and for a small fee you could be transformed into whichever KISS persona you wanted to be for the night. I was tempted but it was far to hot that evening for make-up to stay put.

8pm arrived fast and as the air of expectation grew "PARASITE" erupted onto the stage to entertain us for the next 2 hours.

PARASITE exploded onto the stage with all the style and tempo of the originals, in full make-up and all the gestures perfect. Launching into the first song (Deuce) with energy and giving the audience the full experience that is KISS….. an audience who wanted the best and were getting it. Though not the real band, they are a dynamic tribute band who did real justice to the music, the legend and the attitude that is KISS. Four guys from Grimsby, UK. Who turned their dream into a reality and have played in the UK and Europe to numerous KISS fans since first coming together in 1994.

"Gene" (AKA Mark) postured throughout and played up to the audience as demanded. He stomped, gyrated, gestured and gave a good rendition of what we have come to expect from the Demon himself. "Ace" (AKA Danny) was dynamic on the guitar and played with all the style and panache of the real Space Ace. The solos on Shock Me, Cold Gin and New York Groove were great. The "Catman" (AKA Carl) was perched behind the drums, pounding away with rhythm and dynamism to match the rest of the band. "Beth" was done with style, including handing a rose to some lucky girl in the audience. Last, but by no means least "Paul" (AKA Darren) strutted, cajoled and made love to the audience throughout, carrying the audience along with the show. His energy was boundless and he provided the perfect foil to "Gene’s" Demon, sweeping the audience along from the first song, Deuce, through such classics such as Firehouse, Strutter, Do You Love me to Rock ’n’ Roll All Nite as a finale.

Shock me featured some brilliant guitar riffs and the smoking guitar very much in the Ace style, which left the audience clamoring for more. God of Thunder was preceded by an excellent blood scene, good enough to satisfy the most demanding vampires in the audience and rival that of the Demon himself.

It was a memorable show by four talented guys who belted out all that is best about KISS with energy and enthusiasm. For me, the magic, the fantasy, the experience that is KISS was created again in that 2 hour period, taking me back to the first KISS concert I experienced in 1976, and all the others along the way.

Overall a good event supported by a great tribute band. Chris Hatton (of "Going blind" fan- mag fame) should be congratulated for all the hard work he and his team put into organizing things. An event that should have been better supported by a bigger audience. Hopefully they will keep the event going and, with some more publicity, next year should be even better. These events need the continued support of the KISS Army if we are to ensure events like these happen and provide a forum for KISS fans to meet, greet, trade and experience the KISS phenomena into the future.

Keep on Kissin’

The Allycat

 

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