Chickenfoot hits the Middle East

A review of Chickenfoot at The Middle East Downstairs on May 26, 2009

, Managing Editor

Chickenfoot, the newest supergoup to emerge on the scene, made the Middle East their coop on Tuesday night, packing the people in and cooking up a good, old-fashioned rock show.

The band, which consists of Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony of Van Halen, guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani, and drummer Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, rolled into town with a trailer the size of the venue. With their big reputations, the group rolls large despite the cozy sites they’ve chosen to test out their new stuff. Hagar was most likely telling the truth when he looked out at the crowd early in the night and joked, “My hotel room is bigger than this!”

The show started off great with a showcase of some of their best work, kicking off with “Avenida Revolution” which was a clear example of what the fans were going to hear all night- loud, in your face rock n’ roll. Satriani made his guitar squeal, while Hagar and Anthony took to harmonizing in the same mic like the old buddies that they are. “Soap On A Rope” followed, played to perfection, as the band already seemed to be in a groove. It was also quite apparent how much fun the band was having as Hager played with the crowd and a smile was glued to Smith’s face.

The band got “down and dirty”, as Hagar liked to put it, on “Sexy Little Thing”. The crowd once again joined in singing along with the group’s catchy hooks, chiming in on the “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!” part. As a testament to the band it was clear after just the first couple songs that the fans had come to hear Chickenfoot and not just in the hopes of hearing the rockers’ past musical works.

The first half of their set flew by with great energy. “Oh Yeah”, the band’s first single, had the fans in awe as Satriani ripped a screeching solo that culminated in him playing with his teeth. He once again showed off his mastery with his fingers blazingly running up and down his frets on “Get It Up”. Hagar took the song’s title literally as he madly jumped around the stage like Tigger with a microphone. The energy continued to soar all the way through the funky, jam-out ending of “Down the Drain”.

Going in another direction, next came “Bitten By the Wolf”, a blues romp with a hint of country in the lyrics. The song didn’t go over well and came off a little cheesy despite Satriani’s best efforts to save it with his exploit of a double-necked guitar. Wisely, the band left that one off the album. Next, Hagar preached about the tough life of single mothers, supposedly the theme of their song “My Kinda Girl”. However, leave it to Hagar to try and be sincere and then follow with lyrics such as “she gets down and dirty once a week”. Another sub par attempt came in “Learning to Fall”, a ballad that fell flat (pun intended). However, the ‘Foot’ got back on track with “Turnin’ Left” when the energy from the start of the show finally reappeared. This set up the encore nicely as the band returned to play the last original song of the night, “The Futures In The Past”. Hagar’s “Bad Motor Scooter” followed with the Red Rocker grabbing an axe himself to start off the tune with some slide work. The band paid ode to their classic rock roots with a cover of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” to end the evening.

The night was an interesting experience seeing such huge stars sweat it out, both literally and figuratively, on the small stage. This tour may be just a test before they move on to bigger and better things but the effort they put into making the evening a great time was much appreciated by the fans that waited and sweated in anticipation of their heroes. Chickenfoot proved to be a band of genuine fun as the four accomplished musicians that it consists of showed that now matter the size of the room they come to party. Unlike most other supergroups, they deserve some respect, even if their name is incredibly goofy.

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