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Apocalyptic Lovers riding high after Whisky show

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Apocalyptic Lovers lived the dream recently, when the Valley-based hair-metal rockers played the landmark Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles.

“It’s the holy grail for our genre of music,” said lead Lover Dave Hope of the club.

Here’s what happened:

Apocalyptic Lovers was in its first heyday in the 1990s, when they were known as Love and War.

The act – Hope (drums), vocalist Rob Kane, lead guitarist and writer Sean Magee, and bassist Mike Nagy – reunited a few years ago and released an album. They had so much fun back at their album release bash in 2016 that they decided to keep it going.

Which prompted a mission to play the Whisky, which had long been on Hope’s bucket list.

Hope contacted the club’s promoters and managed to get on the bill of an April 20 show with headliner Dokken – which, by the way, was Apocalyptic Lovers’ biggest influence in their early days.

So how did it go?

“Better than any dream we ever had playing with them,” said Hope. “The club was over capacity before we went on, and the atmosphere was just electric. We went on and just kicked butt and the crowd just ate it up.”

Hope said his band even sold a couple dozen T-shirts and 140 CDs, which is incredible.

“ We went over so well, we received an email the following Monday inviting us back,” said Hope. “We plan on having our next full album release party there.”

That new album, which is currently in the works, should be ready next year.

While the members of the Lovers now live far and wide, in multiple states, they plan to keep the momentum going with regular gigs, although nothing is currently on the books in the Youngstown area.

The band also just issued a re-release of its “Redemption” album, which is available at the Record Connection in Niles. The “Redemption” remake, by the way, was helmed by producer Michael Wagener, who produced Dokken’s albums.

TROPIDELIC MUSIC FESTIVAL CHECKED OFF ALL THE BOXES

Monday’s farewell concert by Slayer, with Lamb of God, Cannibal Corpse and Amon Amarth, at Covelli Centre was a memorable night for Slayer’s legion of fans.

But the musical surprise of the weekend was Saturday’s Trop the Block street festival in downtown Youngstown. It was crowded, and it was a blast.

Ticket sales approached 1,000, which created a critical mass of people in the festival zone – a half block of North Phelps Street.

The turnout surprised me, because tickets were $20 in advance ($25 at the gate), which is more than anyone is used to paying for a street festival.

But not everyone was surprised.

“I wasn’t necessarily expecting 900-plus people [to buy tickets], but I wasn’t surprised,” said Brian McCale, who promoted the event. “I’ve been following Trop for a long time, and I know how strong their fan base is.”

Cleveland-based Tropidelic is probably Northeast Ohio’s biggest regional draw, and folks did show up from beyond the Mahoning Valley.

“We had people come in from eight different states, at least,” said McCale. “As far as Florida and Delaware, and a lot from PA and Michigan. We had the [Doubletree] hotel and AirBnBs at capacity.”

The festival seemed to fit perfectly – snugly – on the block, hemmed in by the buildings, but everything you needed was there. The rainy spring weather even took a night off.

McCale said he’s already planning to do it again next year.

Guy D’Astolfo covers entertainment for The Vindicator. Follow him on Twitter at @VindyVibe.