May 8, 2018
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Dave Gray
Photos by Dave Gray
Sons Of Apollo
Sons of Apollo Electrifies Dallas’ Deep Ellum
Six months ago, a quintet made up of some of rock and metal’s finest musicians (from Dream Theater, Mr. Big, Journey, Guns and Roses and more) devised a plan to take over the world. They released their debut CD “Psychotic Symphony”, then took off on a tour of the USA and Europe. They landed in Dallas Tuesday night at one of Deep Ellum’s newest venues, Canton Hall, and blazed into a two-hour set that showcased the talent of all five members of the band.
The band must have an obvious appreciation of Van Halen because the set was laced with a hint of VH throughout the night. They introed with VH’s “Intruder” before breaking out into their own “God of the Sun”. This song is a great show opener with peaks and valleys, melodies and harmonies. It allows every member of the band to perform some seriously heavy riffage and also has that low end to rattle every audience member’s cage. “Signs of the Time” and “Divine Addiction” followed and by then I knew I was in for it, hooked. I have the latest CD and really hoped for a lot from the disc, and was mostly impressed by it, but after the first few songs of the live set, it all now really made sense, the vision was clear. This was electric.
This band is complete. Guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses) was amazing with his double neck guitar, as was Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth, Winery Dogs) with his double neck bass. Both these musicians were finger tapping, using harmonics, and breaking out skilled instrumentalist trickeries all throughout the night. Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater) was a master on the keyboard; deep, dark and heavy, even performing VH’s “Eruption” during his solo (and he has that Jon Lord sound down as well). Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Winery Dogs and more) was usual self, an expert on the drum kit and also sharing backing vocals with Bumblefoot at times. But the surprise to me tonight was the vocalist Jeff Scott Soto. I had never seen him perform live before, but this guy has the pipes. From the opening number he was full of unending energy. Jeff was constantly interacting with his fellow musicians, getting the audience involved and hitting some amazing notes, even some without a microphone. And to boot, he did a Freddie Mercury cover of “Save Me”. A monster on the vox.
Additional highlights were “Labyrinth”, “Lost in Oblivion” and “Coming Home”, the band’s first single. The keyboards, drums, bass and guitar on these cuts are really an earful. There’s always something going to make you think, “how in the hell are they doing that?” The incredible LED lights and superior sound system of Canton Hall also helped the band to fully engage into every song, most tracks giving the appreciative crowd a chance to see and hear what a true talented musician each of these guys are.
The set also included a few Dream Theater songs and a cover of Van Halen’s “And the Cradle Will Rock”, but to me, all the material from the CD (and they played it all) really held its own tonight and gave every audience something to remember. After the encore, the final outro was “Happy Trails” (until we meet again). Let’s hope it’s sooner than later, and by that time, they should be playing on a much bigger stage, they’re just getting started.