Ace Frehley

By Clare McCabe

Artist:  Ace Frehley

Date / Venue:  Saturday April 25th, The Studio, Auckland

First time at the Studio (I know, can you believe it?) and I am impressed. Great sound, great view. And you could even still see the band from the smoking area (read footpath).

Two support bands for our man Ace. And the second one, Hounds of Hell from Wellington, was a huge hit. Short and sharp half-hour set with some great Flying V action. Thanks guys. Do come again.

Then Ace hits the stage with his dark glasses firmly in place and clutching that Gibson. A great big wall of sound begins. And from the start it really is Ace and the band - because surprisingly enough they all get a turn singing on various songs. Even the drummer.

Ace is joined by good pal Richie Scarlet on rhythm guitar and these guys play off each other so well. Richie (with his Noel Fielding-esqe stage persona) is all over the place, windmilling one minute and taking over singing duties as rockstar frontman the next. Love it. We also have Chris Wyse on bass/vocals and Mr Scot Coogan behind the drum kit/vocals.

The setlist is a joy. We're treated to New York Groove (one of my faves) with its fabulous glam rock vibe and the audience singing along. There are loads of Kiss songs (including Detroit Rock City, Love Gun, Deuce, Strutter...) and some great moments from the solo career, even Space Invaderfrom his latest album (clearly showing he can still write the good stuff).

Scot sings a few numbers and spins those sticks, Richie takes over vocals on Breakout and another fave, Too Young to Die. "It's great having four lead singers" says Ace at one stage, in his heavy Bronx accent, " it gives me a break". Remember the guy is in his 60s now.

Even Chris gets a go on singing Strange Ways, after his little bass solo. There is loads of guitar dueling between Ace and Richie and towards the end of the night we get a big fat Ace Frehley guitar solo (along with smoking guitar), which the crowd clearly enjoys.

Nearly two hours of loud, heavy, fun guitar greatness. Ending up with Detroit Rock City and Deuce. As you would expect. No-one could have been disappointed last night with that setlist. Good times.

Sing it people - I'm back, back in the New York Groove...