SIXX:A.M. & APOCALYPTICA Review @ The Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL

SIXX:A.M. & APOCALYPTICA Review @ The Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL

April 20, 2015

By GMPlanell

Opening the show was a progressive metal band from Helsinki, Finland. APOCALYPTICA. Three words….. Oh … My…. God! You have to witness this. Here’s how I’m going to describe it: classical, middle eastern, sometimes death, heavy metal cello band! … a serious thrill to my metal ears. Created in 1993, this metal ‘trio’ ripped up that stage way before Sixx: A.M. arrived. Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Lotjonen and Pertuu Kivilaasko exchanged rhythmic, cello chords so fast, as if it were gun fire!

The audience was clearly shocked and hit by the blasts! Unbelievable! Their 8th album, Shadowmaker is currently available and just released this year. They, as well as SIXX: A.M. are with Eleven Seven Music. They completely sent Metallica’s, ‘Nothing Else Matters’ into a cathartic, classical monster. Blistering, exotic, beautiful, tranquil, haunting and sexy: each song sent you into another universe! …. they finished their set with ‘Suicidal Symphony’. Mikko Siren on drums and vocal giant Franky Perez beat the mesmerized audience into complete submission. WOW!

SIXX:A.M. administered a hazardous rock show to a sold out crowd at The Vic Theatre in Chicago on 4/20 🙂 As a matter of fact, Yahoo! Live did an unprecedented LIVE stream from the venue which was presented flawlessly. There were very minimal, if any interruptions or lost feed. The bad part of listening to a LIVE feed is that the visual, energy exchange from the artist to the audience and back again is lost. This, I have come to realize, is MY addiction.

Speaking of addictions, the entire concept of SIXX:A.M. was based off of Nikki Sixx’s autobiography, The Heroin Diaries: A day in the life of a Shattered Rock Star released in 2007. His journey to recovery and from his proclaimed madness was at the center of this paragon of a lineup. Creating songs with lead vocalist, James Michael and guitarist impresario, DJ Ashba is what led to this enormously successful execution of heavy rock/songs of the heart. Apparently, they are on to something substantial and intriguing since their songs are being requested over and over on the airwaves; thus the sellout crowd waiting to hear their heart rendering jams this evening.

Selling over 100 million records worldwide is a small indication of what, I think; this band is capable of achieving. It’s happened before with Motley Crue. It’s my opinion also that Nikki Sixx is and remains the driving force.
DJ Ashba consistently performed clean, precise leads within each and every song. It was a pleasure to watch his fingers move effortlessly up and down the fret board. It had gotten to a point where I waited to see what was next.

Vocalist, James Michael, was very remarkable with his ability to distribute songs continuously in a range that was rather…impossible… he played piano at times and gave the crowd exactly what they wanted to see. This became a high energy show with several moments of awestruck music lovers.

Nikki Sixx, co-creator of this enigma, was selfless. He gave it all away. His funky bass lines were tasteful and polished. He is a creative, lovable, thankful individual and his music provided passion with a serious exchange of appreciation to the crowds watching him in complete adoration.

Opening their show came a Modern Vintage piece, (their 3rd album released in October, 2014); “Let’s Go”, followed by “Give Me a Love”, “This is Gonna Hurt” (self-titled 2nd album). I knew it was ‘starting’.
“Accidents Can Happen” and “Miracle” with DJ’s gorgeous, sparkling black, Les Paul and Nikki’s unconventional bass lines lead the way.

DJ Ashba thanked the diehard fans and admitted that he was from the Midwest. He revealed to the audience that his dream came true with this band. He encouraged everyone to follow their own dreams, no matter what it takes.
James Michael then entertained at the piano with nostalgic hit, Drive by The Cars.

It was time for Nikki’s message. He told the crowd that there is always “hope. A light at the end of the tunnel . We (SIXX: A.M.) wanted to unite people with hope, beauty and honesty.” “I thought I was going to retire.. but f*ck that sh*t, our 4th album is coming next year.” With that, he thanked the audience for their devotion. This Motley Crue artist confirmed that he would not retire with MC at the end of that scheduled tour; (December 31, 2015 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles). I’m not sure how he could, honestly.

Entering into “Help is on the Way”, followed by bombshell, “Lies of the Beautiful People”, while the audience sang the chorus and vertically filled the venue to capacity with the meteoric verse. He was having a blast!

“Stars” was an amazing song as the crowd was blessed with star confetti. Finishing the show of course with favored, ‘LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL!’

They left the crowd with an inspiring, uplifting message and feeling of hope with a clear message of courage in the face of adversity; a directive of creation out of despair. You’ve just witnessed the evidence of a real, live phoenix- if you were one of the privileged to see the show. From the ashes a miracle … outstanding!


APOCALYPTICA photos by Janelle Rominski


SIXX:A.M. photos by Janelle Rominski

Gina Planell (a.k.a 'Sweet G') has literally been an eternal supporter of local music in Chicago. As a youngster trying to earn money to get into college in order to pursue a career in journalism, she became a popular area promoter and photographer as a result of her good skills and work ethic. Learning to type-set flyers, posters and other pressed promotion items was something she became good at not only as a means to reach a goal, but because of the fact that she had a true, unadultered love for music, which in time started making an impact within her music community and scene.