“A 30 year ‘Love Song’ with Tesla at the House Of Blues Orlando”

By on February 28, 2019

Tesla, With Voices Of Extreme and Year Of The Locust

Tesla (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

For the last few years Tesla has been playing to 30-45 minute opening sets for a lot of their tours. 2019 being the 30th Anniversary of The Great Radio Controversy, as well as the soon to be released album Shock, a warm-up slot just wouldn’t do it. This time they needed to electrify the crowd with a headlining set.

Joined by NY band, Voices of Extreme and the always entertaining Year Of The Locust, the show on February 23rd was the end of this segment of the tour, as Tesla heads out on the infamous ‘Monsters Of Rock’ cruise.

Jeff Keith Tesla (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

Opening up to an already packed house of fans that were singing along to the music playing over the loud speakers (as they would be during every break), Voices Of Extreme took the stage. While relatively unknown to those in attendance, they made one hell of an impression.

          Lead singer and guitarist Don Chaffin’s clean vocal work, excellent guitar playing and overall energy is a terrific mesh with bassist Bobby Brennan’s stage presence. Their chemistry on the stage is usually seen in bands that have been touring together for decades. Now that’s not to say drummer Jordan Cannata (who was also celebrating his birthday the following day) is left out of the mix.

Don Chaffin Voices of Extreme (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

Cannata is an energetic and consistent player who helped make tonight a terrific showcase for other people in the audience to become a fan of the band.

They tackled a cover of ‘Rock and Roll’ from Led Zeppelin in a way that would make Jimmy Page proud. With picks showering down onto fans, and consistent thanks to Tesla throughout their short set, you can tell they remember where they come from and are appreciative of where they are now.

Year Of The Locust (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

          Year Of The Locust isn’t new to the scene by any means. Featuring guitarists Tyler Hensely and Billy Grey from Fozzy who filled in for Cody Hyde; bassist Fred Serrell; drummer Dusty Wintertowd and vocalist Scot McGiveron, they engulfed the stage in a manner that left many in attendance devoured by their efforts.

Despite having a relatively short set, they connected with the audience by powering through seven songs in about a half an hour. Songs like ‘Sunrise’, ‘Sorry’, ‘Movin On’ and ‘Stay Alive’ quickly found a deep connection with those in attendance. Scot’s vocals drew people in as he encouraged the audience to sing along with some of the repetitive chorus’ during the set.

Scot McGiveron Year Of The Locust (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

          Yet their ballad ‘Whispers in the Dark’ carried a power to it that stopped you in your tracks. The passion in his vocals combined with a perfect mixture of melodic guitar chords, cymbal taps, and bass strings being strummed feels like something that has been missing from rock music for years now. To hear it live it sends a chill down your spine as you see the band play and it’s crystal clear that this is a track that they have poured their heart and soul into.

Billy Grey Year Of The Locust (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

          While this was the last stop on this tour for them, they will have much more to come if this performance is any indication.  Far too often in music people say ‘I remember when I saw them open for (insert band name.) Well after seeing Year Of The Locust tonight and you see the appreciation for their fans as they reach out to shake hands with fans towards the end of the set and make that special connection, you know this will be another band people say that about.

Billy Grey & Scot McGivern (Photo-Jordan Raiff)
Tesla (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

          After a minor wait it was time to unblock the view of the stage, show off the three MASSIVE LED boards, massive drum riser and crank up the Tesla. As well as introduce fans to a few tracks from their newest album Shock.

Frank Hannah & Dave Rude Tesla (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

          After so many years together, a band truly becomes a single unit. Not just because they know what the other will be doing without looking, but because they can sense it before it’s done. This level of connection is evident when you watch them play. Tesla started out the show with a ‘solo off’ between guitarists Dave Rude and Frank Hannon. They were then joined by bassist Brian Wheat, drummer Troy Luccketta, and lead singer Jeff Keith as they opened the set with crowd favorite ‘Cumin Atcha Live’ from their first album Mechanical Resonance.

Troy Luccketta Tesla (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

          With the deafening screams, it was easy to see why HOB welcomed Tesla two nights in a row, and why this show was sold out. Keeping the fan interactions going with Jeff reaching out to high five a young fan, as well as an overzealous fan who jumped the barricade. This kind of attention to the fans both young and old is not something many newer bands are doing. As the guitar picks began once again flying into the crowd as they had off and on all night, Tesla jammed for over two hours.

Frank Hannah Tesla (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

          With more solos dabbled in throughout the set, their passion for playing live is stronger than I have ever seen before from them. Now maybe this is because it was the first time I caught them playing a full set, or maybe it was just the atmosphere the HOB cultivates, but this energy was on a whole other level. They ended up playing a 15 song set.

Jeff Keith Tesla Tesla (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

          Tesla played other radio singles like ‘Modern Day Cowboy’, ‘Changes’, ‘Edison’s Medicine’, ‘Love Song’, and ‘Lil Suzy’ with them all turning into crowd sing-alongs.

A special moment during the set was when they played ‘What You Give’ with a dedication to the class of 76 and a shout out to Jeff Keith’s classmate Keke who was in attendance. Tesla also played a single song encore; their cover of ‘Signs’ which introduced them to a whole new fan base in 1990.

Another memorable moment happened from up in the balcony as I witnessed something that I’ve never seen before. When Tesla played “Love Song” and an elderly gentleman was thrusting his cane in the air with his other hand sporting the “horns.”

Brian Wheat Tesla (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

          Additionally, Tesla played ‘Taste Like’ and ‘Shock’ with both of them off of the soon to be released album Shock. With a setlist that spanned their whole career, I’d be surprised if anyone left disatisfied with the evening except for the two guys that got thrown out for fighting before Tesla took the stage.

Troy Lucketta Tesla (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

          With reasonable merchandise prices, and a wide variety of it, there is no reason to go to this tour and leave empty handed. Ticket prices are low, the band sounds magnificent, and the setlist makes sitting down impossible. While Tesla is on the Monsters Of Rock Cruise through March 1st, they will play a one off set March 3rd at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, FL before resuming their full tour March 30th in Las Vegas, NV.

Frank Hannan Tesla (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

More Photos by Jordan Raiff

(Photo-Jordan Raiff)
Dave Rude & Brian Wheat Tesla (Photo-Jordan Raiff)
Dave Rude Tesla (Photo-Jordan Raiff)
(Photo-Jordan Raiff)
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