By Brent Michael, Rock At Night Tampa Senior Correspondent
Venue: The Brass Mug, Tampa, Florida–February 23rd, 2022
Bands (in order of appearance) & Links:
For those of you who tried to come by Tampa’s storied Brass Mug and couldn’t find a parking space, I feel ya! The place has been there forty years, an eternity in the Tampa nightclub scene, and can still draw a crowd on Wednesday night! But let’s not give all the credit to the venue, first up were rising stars Kamenar. A high energy hard rock band from Tampa, formed by twin brothers Sean and John Kamenar in 2015, the band has hit some amazing highs of late. They’re also one of four finalists up for the 97X Funky Buddha Band of the Year, and opening for Bret Michaels and Warrant this weekend! Laying down the bass tracks is Owen Popper, with Sean on drums and John on lead guitar. Did I mention they also opened for Alice Cooper? And that Sean and John are appearing in the Upcoming TV Series: Hunting Jessica and The Gateway? Now I did! Catch these rising stars while you can still get up and personal with them, not have to go through bodyguards!
Next up was LEVEL THE PLANET. Consisting of Sheenah Singh – Vocals, Evol Adam – Guitar/Vocals, Chris Mullen – Bass, and MFD – Drums, they let us know that they were here to rock no matter what the polls say!
BTW, short plug for The Brass Mug: See how the band is nicely lit from the front? It would make life so much better if every venue did this!
LEVEL THE PLANET is from Tampa, FL, playing original rock music with the occasional cover (such as Stevie Nicks‘ Edge of Seventeen, but not like you’ve ever heard it before). After forming in 2019 they have performed at a variety of venues and have made a multitude of public appearances including sharing the stage with REHAB and Steve Harris of Iron Maiden. Vocalist Sheenah Singh has worked with major recording artists and has performed on TV and radio. She has also gained recognition not only in Miami, New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas, but also in Argentina, India, Mexico, Brazil, Columbia, Portugal, and Spain. (One song they did was entirely in Spanish, but a rocker nonetheless). After relocating to Tampa, she joined forces with Adam Riewold aka Evol Adam who has toured with bands such as Pantera and Marilyn Manson. Multi-instrumentalist William James is in charge of hitting things and has a strong background in performing, producing, recording and engineering. Bassist J.D. Donatelli is a seasoned musician who previously had made waves in the northeast Ohio music scene. They have combined elements of rock, alternative, punk, and metal to become a unique force in the Tampa music community.
Like Machines arrived onstage next, like renegades who push any movement forward. Breaking rock down to its elements, then recombining and re-forging those elements over a future-facing flame, the riffs rage, the beats punch, and the choruses stick, resulting in a combustible core. RIFF and Alternative Press touted them among the “10 Modern Rock Bands That Prove The Genre Is Far From Dead,” and the Atlanta-based duo—Andrew Evans [vocals, guitar] and Tanner Hendon [bass (on tour), drums (in studio)]—challenge themselves and rock on their 2021 independent EP, Supervillain.
The pair of lifelong friends first met in their hometown of Atlanta, GA during elementary school, simultaneously developing a passion for hard rock, jamming together, and launching Like Machines in 2019. They shared stages with everyone from Clutch, Avatar (not to be confused with the original name for Savatage – or am I the only one old enough to remember that?), Pop Evil, Crobot, ’68, Hero The Band, and Fozzy in addition to hitting the high seas on the Chris Jericho Cruise. They brought an unidentified but more than competent drummer on tour, as it would be difficult for Tanner to play bass and drums simultaneously! As you can see above, their high-energy set got the crowd going as well!
Last but certainly not least, Nita Strauss hit the stage with a guitar assault that would back off an army!
3 years ago, I saw Nita at another Tampa venue, along with several other virtuosos. That writeup, with accompanying photos, is here.
Making a long story shorter, let’s just say the former guitarist for Alice Cooper, Jermaine Jackson, early MTV darlings Femme Fatale, video game supergroup Critical Hit and popular tribute band The Iron Maidens, has not gained the dreaded “Covid-20” nor slowed down one little bit since I last saw her. She is extremely passionate about health and fitness, and uses her wide social media reach to inspire and educate people about maintaining a healthy lifestyle while traveling on tour – and it shows. Her record CONTROLLED CHAOS made a huge debut on the Billboard charts at #1 Top New Artist, #3 Label Independent, #4 Top Hard Music, #8 Top Rock, #8 Top Internet, #20 Top albums, and #7 on the iTunes Rock chart. The album’s second single, “Mariana Trench” was chosen by WWE as an official theme for NXT Takeover: War Games. Nita immediately followed the release with a successful co-headline tour with modern guitar virtuoso Angel Vivaldi (article above). BTW, she produced the record herself, along with playing both bass and lead guitars on the album.
Nita has been featured on the covers of worldwide print magazines including Guitar World and Guitar Player, and on dozens of albums, trailers, and soundtracks, including Heroes Of The Storm (Blizzard) and Grammy-nominated Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (Konami/ Platinum Games); and is the author of the Guitar World column “Like A Hurricane”. Nita was also the official in-house guitarist for the LA KISS, the arena football team owned by Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of KISS. She is one of the most sought after clinicians in the industry and has done extensive clinic tours across multiple continents. Her consistent touring schedule has shown her to play in front of over a million audience members per year consistently for several years pre-Covid. The audiences are growing again (please, no more variants!)
Wonder who she’s pointing at? That would be Live Machine’s Andrew Evans, brought up for vocals during Nita’s homage to Alice, “Feed My Frankenstein.” Of course, the majority of her set was from her own album, with material for her next? With her motto, “Live Fast, Play Faster,” you know there will be a new album before too long! You can catch her at AFTERSHOCK 2022 along with artists like Slipknot, Judas Priest, Foo Fighters, Kiss, Rob Zombie, STP, and more if you’re going to be near Sacramento…or at many other venues all over the USA before then!
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