Pierce Memorial Field
East Providence, RI
July 13, 2018
NYC based KISS tribute KISSNATION returned to Rhode Island for the first time in several years. Headlining Friday night of the Heritage Days festival in East Providence, they brought the full sound and energy of a KISS concert, with a set clocking in at just over two hours long.
“You wanted the best, you got the best….” As soon as the crowd heard those words announced, they screamed with excitement, ready for the show. Unfortunately, as the band came out to “Detroit Rock City,” and though the band hit top speed, the sound was still moving much too slow. It became most apparent that there was a problem with the mix during the harmony solos of the song, when there was very clearly only one guitar to be heard. Once they ended the song, frontman Billy May stopped the show to address the sound engineer. It seems the sound was not only bad in the audience, but on stage, also. After a couple minutes of working with the crew to get problems fixed, we’re movin’ fast doin’ 95, and now the real show can begin.
If you’ve ever seen a KISS show, the fact that the next song was “Deuce” won’t be a surprise. Now that the mix was better, you could really appreciate the details that KISSNATION puts into their show. From the music and vocals, to the costumes, stage props and antics, you get a feel of what it was like to see KISS play smaller shows in their early years.
Every member puts their all into the show. Billy May as the Starchild sounds so much like Paul Stanley, both singing, and talking and doing Stanley’s trademark banter in between songs. Spaceman Ruby Rinekso plays all of Ace’s solos, complete with guitars with smoke, lights and fireworks. He also sings lead vocals on “Shock Me” and “2000 Man,” just like Ace.
Since we last saw KISSNATION, five years ago at Rhode Island Comic Con 2013, they’ve added two new members. Joe Anastasi plays the part of the Demon, breathing fire and spitting blood, while holding down Gene’s basslines, and singing songs like “God of Thunder” and “War Machine.” Finally the Catman is played by Criss Allen, rocking a beat, providing strong backup vocals, and singing leads on “Black Diamond,” and of course coming up front to sing “Beth.”
By the end of the show, the sound problems from the start are but a distant memory. KISS’ best songs keep coming one after another; “Love Gun,” “Strutter,” and of course they finished the show with “Rock and Roll All Nite.”
KISSNATION continues to show why they are one of the best KISS tribute bands in the land. It is a show not to be missed