KISSNATION at The Strand in Providence – February 3, 2024
With the iconic rock band KISS hanging up their boots just two months ago (we were there), KISS tribute bands are left with an even bigger responsibility of flying the KISS flag to fans around the world. After more than five years, KISSNATION returned to Rhode Island, with a show at The Strand Ballroom in Providence.
I’ve seen several KISS tribute bands over the years, and having first seen KISSNATION more than 15 years ago, I can safely say they’ve always been one of the best there is. They faithfully recreate the music of a KISS concert, as well as the spectacle – which one could argue is just as important.
“You wanted the best, you got the best!” The curtain raises up, and KISSNATION performs the classic one-two combo of “Detroit Rock City” and “Deuce.” With large stacks of amps surrounding the stage, and the KISS logo in flashing lights in the background, the stage at The Strand really helped the show have the grandiose feel of a KISS concert.
Frontman Billy May, as the Starchild, has the pipes to sound like Paul Stanley, while also recreating all his moves, as well as the banter in-between songs that Paul is so well known for. With smoke coming from his guitar, Ruby Rinekso pulls off all the flash you’d come to expect of Ace Frehley’s Spaceman. Joe Anastasi holds down the low end as the Demon, spitting blood during his bass solo, sticking out that signature Gene Simmons tongue. Of course without Criss Allen as the Catman holding the beat and providing strong vocals, the show would fall apart. He even recreated Peter Criss’ signature move of handing out roses during “Beth,” as it kicked off the encore.
KISSNATION played a two hour show, with all the KISS hits you’d expect to hear. Favorites like “Love Gun,” “Shout it Out Loud,” “God of Thunder,” “I Was Made for Loving You,” and so many more, made for a great night of music. When the band returned to the stage during the encore, they teased several riffs to see what the crowd wanted to hear, before settling on “Parasite,” off the band’s second album.
The show ended, of course, with “Rock and Roll All Nite,” the ultimate rock and roll anthem. KISSNATION showed why they’re one of the hottest bands in the land, and I only hope it’s not another five years before they return to the Ocean State!