The Spill Magazine


Metal_On_Ice_03Metal On Ice

@ The Opera House, Toronto
May 10th, 2014

Sean Kelly’s love of the Canadian hard rock and heavy metal heroes who inspired his own successful music career were his inspiration for his book “Metal on Ice: Tales from Canada’s Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Heroes.” An accompanying CD project was also released and received high praise including this previously published review by The Spill.

A slot in the esteemed roster of shows featured at Canadian Music Week 2014 was the next natural step in honouring the influence of Canada’s metal scene. The concert was at Toronto’s The Opera House and featured Sean Kelly on the axe accompanied by his Metal on Ice band and a few of the rock legends themselves: Brian Vollmer (Helix), Carl Dixon (Coney Hatch), Darby Mills (Headpins), Lee Aaron and Nick Walsh (Slik Toxik) who performed new versions of classic songs from the ‘80s.

Earplugs were necessary as these rawk legends tore the place apart. Age did not seem to be an obstacle for any of these performers; they brought it and delivered the goods. Vollmer entertained with the classic “Heavy Metal Love” and brought the audience to a frenzy with the crowd-pleasing “Rock You”; a great audience participation number. (Gimme an R! “R!” O! “O!” C! “C!” K! “K!” Whatcha got!? “Rock !” And watcha gonna do!? “Rock you!”) This song is considered an ‘80s metal anthem amongst other adrenaline jolters like Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health (Bang Your Head)”, Motley Crue’s “Shout at the Devil” and Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock”.

Metal_On_Ice_02Darby Mills equally satisfied with two Headpins’ classics, “Don’t It Make You Feel” and “Turn it Loud”. The beautiful and very talented Lee Aaron absolutely levelled the place with her songs “Metal Queen” and “Whatcha Do to My Body”. Carl Dixon amazed with his guitar prowess on Coney Hatch’s “Hey Operator”. Nick Walsh proved that as a showman, he’s in the same league as Sebastian Bach of Skid Row and David Lee Roth (in his prime) of Van Halen. His stage presence, swagger, incredible vocal range and audience-engagement are second to none. Walsh belted out Kick Axes’s classic “On the Road to Rock” as well as a tune from his former band, Slik Toxik, “Helluva Time”.

Okay, we’re blown away. Now what’s next for the Metal on Ice project? A movie, perhaps? We hope so. With a music scene seemingly stuck on low-fi indie snoozers and dancing auto-tune fakers, this show reminded us that the world needs a rock revival. Kelly’s efforts could be a lynchpin in bringing this about.

– Michael Filonienko
(photography by Anita Shuper)

© Copyright 2014 The Spill Magazine

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One comment on “The Spill Magazine” …

  1. Great review! I was there and had VIPs to the show’s soundcheck. Ill start with Lee Aaron signed MY boobs AND…gave me a shot at stardom by hitting the chorus to “Whatcha do to my Body” on the mike.

    Yes I said signed my boobs, well ok, my shirt then. I was stage left (strategically placing myself to the stage left entrance) and she saw me rocking out like a 50 year old madman on his way to die of a heart attack; Lee Aaron being the the last beautiful thing I see. (That actualaly is my beautiful girl, but anyway…)

    She was SO nice and simply awesome. She even said I had a Tony Bennett thing goin’ on with the vox; me, yes, I sound like someone playing the cat-pipes. Her smile and look conveyed years of experience knowing when good fans are good fans. She saw my shirt which, was not a Metal on Ice shirt, but a benefit shirt from another Metal on Icer’s journey in life, Carl Dixon. On the front it read: “I survived the 80’s”…she signed: “Me too!” with a heart and XOXO…I don’t think there has ever been a better gift to any fan from a rocker!

    My girl video’d and picced it and no you cant see them. They’re all mine!

    But wait! Before the soundcheck, we snuck around the back of the Phoenix Concert Theatre and lo was Nik Walsh! I rudely (in a Canadian sort of way) caught him and hoped for a pic op adn started talking to him of watching Slik Toxic’s shows at The Inntowner in Thunder Bay, Ontario – Canada. He immediately guffawed and recounted several incidents of hilarity and we..were…sharing. Awesome pics, awesome guy; some of those are on my Twitter @zipbolang.

    Darby Mills of Headpins. Wow and more Wow. Powerful voice amazing stage presence and just all around cool. My girl Linda (same name as Vollmer’s wife!) was impressed at the Women of Rocks’ voices and talent, having not heard much female Metallions(Judas Priest terminology) in the spotlight over the years. I soon introduced her to Girlschool and Lita Ford after…

    Now with Darby, I slipped backstage and introduced myself quickly, telling her of my friend Sheila Barker who got was killed and taken from my life in car accident many years ago. I had my journal (yes I keep a diary; if you think I’m a girly-boy come talk to my 310 pound martial artist frame about it…lol) with Sheila’s pic in it and told Darby that she used to sing “Afraid of the Dark” all the time when things were tough and that Headpins albums, cassettes and cd’s were always part of the car’s functioning systems. Darby totally teared up, signed the pic and gave me a hug. I wished her a broken leg and off she went.

    Carl Dixon. I’m dubbing him the Nicest Guy in Rock. I’ve met him pre and post accident (check his website and especially his book “Strange Way to Live”) and have been a Coney Hatch fan, album, cassette and cd, for years. That group’s music is stepping on cornflakes powerful and is a sight to behold.

    Again, he partially knows me from meets and my activeness on his Twitter and his numerous signed cd’s I’ve ordered but when I (again) snuck backstage after he was done with his soundcheck, he IMMEDIATELY greeted me with a hug. I was officially brought to tears. He saw my shirt and wavered a bit himself and signed it Metal on Ice 2014 which was the whole point of us wearing our shirts; sorry my love didn’t get hers signed but she opted out of sneaking backstage to freak performers out…yea, this is the girl that nearly got us kicked out of a Sting concert and a Tom Cochrane concert….yes, more later!

    Then, we went to get some eats and we needed a bigger memeory card due to Linda’s bionic photog-finger, and I had a feeling…

    It wasn’t the pulse-wrecking tempo I was keeping at near 50 years of age, pounding back (I like saying things old school instead of just “50 years old”…it makes me sound fucking old) pitchers of draft, tequila and some kind of fish paralyzer I was ingesting, to the savage amusement (Scorpions album) of my incredible girl, no, it was a vibe, an omen, a…something.

    The second we left the restaurant, Brian Vollmer is RIGHT there, passing by on the sidewalk.

    Having met Brian several times, I like to tell people “we kinda know each other”. I can only hope, but Helix have favourited me! Again, check my tweets but I’ve rocked to Helix and Vollemer’s bel canto vocal style(check their website for Vollmer’s singing lessons and YouTube for his excellent explanations on his singing with this style) for a long time.

    He always has time for his fans and was awesome but we had to let him go – he had a show to put on! I was nearly brought to tears by his cordiality and thankfulness of having such fans. He signed our shirts (yes I ALWAYS have a Sharpie..don’t you?) posed for pics and went.

    There was no Russ Dwarf, sadly, but his signature is still in the book and I saw the Killer Dwarfs soon after that, and had the Dwarfs sign my Carl Dixon benefit shirt (Russ Dwarf was there along with Brighton Rock, Andy Curran and Soho 69, Helix, Jerry Mercer of April WIne, and Carl)

    Then there was the actual show.

    VIP center seats, up in the balcony, just a few people around us, right beside Vollmers wife and friends, Brian coming up to say hi to them and giving me a rockstar’s nod, more beer, and me slamming the balcony with all I could muster, trying to bring the house down like the performers were so aptly doing.

    I’m hoping Sean will put Metal on Ice 2 together!

    All the best you guys, thanks for the rock, we will see you again!


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