Monday, June 19, 2000

Latest Bad Company good imitation of band in heyday

By Chris Varias
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A rock 'n' roll band's name can be protected through contracts and the law, but questionable taste belongs to the public domain.

        English singer Brian Howe, once a wholly owned subsidiary of Bad Company, opened up Annie's new outdoor pavilion Saturday night along with Molly Hatchet and the Georgia Satellites.

        Mr. Howe replaced original Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers in the late '80s, long after the band's heyday. The singer, along with a three-piece band, are legally unable to perform under the name Bad Company, but they performed a few of those good Bad Co. songs during their brief hour-long, eight-song headlining set.

        They were the world's best Bad Company cover band when cranking out faithful renditions of the four Rodgers-era tunes, “Can't Get Enough,” “Feel like Makin' Love,” “Ready for Love,” and “Bad Company,” the encore.

        With Mr. Howe at the helm back in the '80s and early '90s, Bad Company was a standard, competent hard-rock band, and the four other songs — “Excited,” “Walk through Fire,” “Holy Water” and “If You Needed Somebody” — recalled those days.

        Although they had fewer hits than Bad Company, Molly Hatchet turned in a set that was 15 minutes longer than the headliner's, and the crowd seemed to enjoy the Southern hard-rockers just as much.

        From the opening number “Whiskey Man” to the final encore tune “Flirtin' with Disaster,” theirs was a set that celebrated all things macho, carefree and, above all else, Southern. There twin-lead-guitar attack was at times lean and hard hitting, but the overall sound was still a pale imitation of Lynyrd Skynyrd, down to the Ronnie Van Zant-style whistle calls they threw into just about every song.

        The Georgia Satellites were a trio, without singer Dan Baird who, for all intents and purposes, is the Georgia Satellites. Nonetheless, their signature “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” sounded all right.

        It seemed like a successful debut for Annie's new venture. The pavilion sits between the back of the club and the Ohio River. The blacktopped area is fenced off, and vending booths were set up along the fence. The club was open for bar service, bathrooms or shooting pool. It was the second show Annie's has hosted outside after a reggae concert last year, and the first show with the permanent stage and infrastructure.


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