Sons of Apollo, which consists of Jeff Scott Soto (Journey, Yngwie Malmsteen, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Talisman), Mike Portnoy (Winery Dogs, Dream Theater, Adrenaline Mob, Liquid Tension Experiment), Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Alice Cooper and Black Country Communion), Billy Sheehan (Talas, David Lee Roth, Winery Dogs and Mr Big), and last but not least, Ron ‘ Bumblefoot’ Thal (Guns n Roses, Lita Ford and Art of Anarchy), brought their much anticipated ‘Psychotic Symphony’ tour to the bay area. Originally scheduled at The Regency Ballroom, but later switched to Slim’s for unknown reasons. The change of venue more than likely helped the band more than hurting them due to it was now a more intimate setting for the band to play their epic show.
As I arrived, the Orange County band Sifting was mid-set to an already near capacity crowd playing their signature brand of Progressive Metal to the crowd. Led by frontman Eduard O Gil, who also handles guitar, along with Richard Garcia and Wins Jarquin on Bass and Joey Aguirre on Drums (who at first glance, I thought was Mike Portnoy). To be honest, I am not too familiar with their music, but what I heard I really enjoyed. They are definitely a band to look out for when they come to your town.
After a short 30-minute intermission between bands, Felix Martin hit the stage like a ton of bricks. Felix Martin, hailing from Venezuela, playing his signature and custom-built guitar from Kessel Guitars for his style of double guitar tapping left the audience mesmerized. Backed by the steady rhythm of his band which consists of Javier Sepulveda (Bass) and Victor A. Carracedo (Drums), the band played instrumental progressive fusion for about 30 minutes.
After a quick intermission, the lights dimmed and a recording of ‘Intruder’ by Van Halen was blaring through the monitors, the capacity crowd was getting excited for the band to hit the stage. Sons of Apollo opened the show with the first single off their debut album ‘Psychotic Symphony‘ entitled “God of the Sun“, and the band was in fine form. Billy Sheehan and Bumblefoot were playing their signature double neck guitars throughout the whole night. Jeff Scott Soto proved why he may be the greatest frontman in Rock n Roll (IMHO). The last time I saw him perform was when he was in Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, back in the early 80’s. He has come a long way musically and in his performance since then. He is now a dynamic vocalist, to say the least. The band continued to play all the songs off of their debut album, throwing in a couple Dream Theater songs (“Just Let Me Breathe” and “Lines in the Sand”), and they also did a very stirring and emotional cover of the Queen song “The Prophets Song/Save Me”.
They also did something you do not see much anymore, each of the members – with the exception of Mike Portnoy – had their moments to be allowed to do solos, as the other members of the band left the stage to allow them to blow people’s minds. The most memorable solo was Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal, during which he did the theme of the ‘Pink Panther’, with him and Derek Sherinian taking turns playing the song.
The band finished their set with “Lines in the Sand”. Then came out to tear through the Van Halen classic “And the Cradle Will Rock”, which had Jeff Scott Soto out in the crowd singing the song to the fans, while high-fiving their adoring fans. The final song was dedicated to the Santa Cruz local boy Derek Sherinian titled “Coming Home”, which seemed fitting for this evening that myself and the capacity crowd will not soon forget.
All photos © Scott Martin Photography