When you head to a Stryper show, you already know you’re in for a touch of retro. By touch, I mean “welcome to 1980-something for a few hours, we hope you enjoy your stay.” I expected to go “holy hell I heard this back in….” and then conveniently choose to NOT remember anything else out of respect for my ongoing years. What I wasn’t expecting was for the opening act, Dallas’ own Redline Drive, to steal the show.
Don’t get me wrong – Stryper was as good as ever and Sweets vocals still going strong. We’ll cover that review in another write up – but for this, all I can say is after just a few songs in with Redline Drive, it’s like Déjà vu for the very first time.
For a band that obviously wasn’t around to appreciate the 80s first hand they captured the spirit of it and put a touch of their own style on top. The energy from the show contagious, and I could look into the crowd and see people of all ages either going back in time with a smile so wide you knew they “got it” or those hearing them or this “style” for the first time (at least done right) were quick to realize what made the 80s so much fun.
I could name several bands they “sound like” but you can’t capture a time like this without the influences to guide you – so well done in this regard. When their time on stage recently at Gas Monkey Live was done, I pulled myself out of the photographers pit and wandered back into the growing crowd remembering when this music was a daily occurrence and the bands drew 20k a show, wondering if anyone else remembered it too.
As if on cue, others in the crowd came up to me with smiles of memories on their own minds. It “is” still contagious, it still matters, this déjà vu.
Comments from here were only positive and everyone young to old got into the music as well as the bands high energy show and one had to realize that while rock and roll may be harder to find; odd given our modern technology, it is in fact still alive in well in Dallas, TX with Redline Drive.
Now – to their new release, Friction.
If you miss good old straight ahead rock and roll, you’ll find it right here.
Comprised of Scott Kimes on vocals, Brad McClain and Johnny Stallion on guitars, Carlos Silva ripping it up on Bass and lady’s choice Drew Dye on drums, you have talent that would have played with the best of them in the 80s and could well be leading the way back today.
Starting off the EP show the guys let their Texas roots show and just ask the young ladies to “Cowgirl Up” in true rock and roll fashion. It does a great job setting the tone for the rest of the EP while introducing you to what you’re about to hear.
Following it up in rock and roll anthem style, Kimes lets a young lady know that under no uncertain circumstances, she makes him “lose it”. You’ll hear some Crue, some Van Halen, you’ll hear some great rock and roll.
Sure enough, you didn’t get a CD put out in the 80s w/o a ballad and Redline Drive is no different in this regard. “I’ll Wait for You” is the slow down love song that drove rock as hard as anything and shows this band can certainly do the same and hang with the best.
Back to the power game, Redline cranks it up once more and followed up by Black Soul Woman, you’re coming to the close of this E ticket ride (age check) and you really want the ride to just kick back in again but that’s not the way things works, unfortunately. Sooner or later the ride is over and you gotta bail to something new, but on the way out, Redline Drive does the soulful trip inside their dreams and ends things with Fly, while they think back on their own memories and times.
Can’t think of a better way to end a review of a band that reminds me so much of the best of times “way back when” and while it’s depressing to think that somewhere along the way I got older without a whole shitload of practice, it’s gratifying to know the sound lives on so strong, and so real. Redline Drive will either reignite an old fire in you, or start one all of your own.
Buy the CD, support the artists.