Whitford St. Holmes Concert Review
“For the Fun of it”
November 14, 2015
Reggie’s Rock Club, Chicago, Illinois
Good, old-fashioned fun. That, I surmise, is the reason Brad Whitford and Derek St. Holmes, of Aerosmith and Ted Nugent Band fame, respectively, have reunited and re-kindled a side project called Whitford/St. Holmes they had together for an album in the early 80’s.
So the boys, who live near each other down in Nashville, have put the band back together, so to speak, writing and recording a collection of nine songs that make up a new album appropriately entitled, Reunion. The new album (which isn’t available until early 2016, unless you attend one of the band’s shows, where it can be purchased) seems similar to the original, consisting of melodic, guitar driven album oriented rock, or AOR.
The fact that AOR is not a popular genre, commercially, right now is beside the point for the resurrection of this project, as the purpose of it seems to be: Fun. The fun that two longtime friends and musicians have when they get together and write, record and play music for the simple enjoyment of it (and I assume, for Brad, the fun that comes from making and performing music without the constraints of a day job like Aerosmith). And fans of Holmes and Whitford and this type of music are the beneficiaries of this “fun,” because Whitford/St. Holmes have hit the road in the form of a short mini-tour to take their songs, new and old, and rock them out.
The two have put together a band consisting of Troy Luccketta from Tesla on drums, Buck Johnson from Aerosmith’s touring band on keyboards & vocals, and well regarded Nashville session player, Chopper Anderson, on bass guitar. The outfit played on Saturday, November 14th at Reggies in Chicago, which was the group’s 3rd show of this band’s short tour of approximately 10 dates…but you wouldn’t know it by how tight the band was this night and they appear to already be a well oiled rock ‘n’ roll unit. I was surprised then, when I spoke with drummer Luccketta, a hard hitting energetic performer, after the show and he said the tour rehearsals were limited. It definitely didn’t show.
The highlights of the show are the group’s namesakes. Derek St. Holmes’ long locks from the 80’s may be gone, but his vocal tone, power and performing chops, not to mention his guitar playing, are still in full effect and very engaging. It’s also a pleasure to see Brad Whitford’s riffage and soloing front and center, confirming any doubt he is an underrated player.
The band whipped through a number of new tunes (all nine from the new album, which runs about 37 minutes, albeit in a different running order), followed by some from the first album from the 80’s, and then closed with four well known numbers – two from Aerosmith and two from Ted Nugent. Fun indeed!
This short tour wraps up 11/22, so act quickly to catch them. See all the dates on their website: Whitford St. Holmes. But there seems to be talk of more dates once the album is officially released next year.
1. Shake It
2. Tender is the Night
3. Rock All Day
4. Hot For You
6. Catch My Fall
7. Hell is on Fire
8. Gotta Keep on Movin’
9. Flood of Lies
10. Shy Away
11. Every Morning
12. Whiskey Woman
14. Hey Baby (Nugent)
15. Last Child (Aerosmith, sang by Buck Johnson)
16. Train Kept a Rollin’ (Aerosmith)
17. Stranglehold (Nugent)