Dec 20, 2014

Jake E Lee's Red Dragon Cartel - Fish Head Cantina

By Bob Suehs


December 20, 2014

Fish Head Cantina

Baltimore, MD

I was honestly surprised to see this club show packed because the show itself received very little promotion outside of what local openers Ghost of War did. The room was filled with a crowd that had probably see Jake back during the “Bark at the Moon” tour because no one was young there!

Ghost of War sounded great but I missed most of their set due to my interview with Ethan Brosh. Ethan took the stage about 20 minutes after my interview with him and his band performed an all instrumental set which sounded amazing BUT was a hard sell to the crowd.

When you see an artist performing an all instrumental set what usually happens is that it’s interesting for the first few minutes & then it starts to get boring because no matter how amazing the musician is....without vocals it gets boring after a certain point!

Ethan sounded amazing, his band were superb and for the record Ethan had a better guitar tone than Jake E. Lee did! The tragic thing about Jake E. Lee is that he should have just retired from music because when you see him up there at this point, when compared to a shredder like Ethan....Jake lost alot of his style over the years.

Red Dragon Cartel: I’ve seen the band twice now and wasn’t impressed with either performance and I’ll explain why. Jake’s guitar tone was too much, he had so much volume that he sounded muddy and his overall playing has diminished over the year. Jake used to do stand alone solo’s in the middle of his shows that were an amazing mix of blues, rock & shred....these days they are gone. Jake’s work on “Bark at the Moon” & “Ultimate Sin” made him a memorable player yet in 2014 he’s just not that good.

Jake’s singer is another subject that I’m on the fence with as well. In person I was annoyed on every level with his vocal performance...those who were drunk seemed to love him but being a sober guy at this show I didn’t “feel” his performance and what’s interesting is that watching back some videos from this show he actually sounds decent on film BUT live & in person I just didn’t think Jake chose a great singer or backing band.

“The Ultimate Sin” opened the show & what was odd was how the band just took the stage with no intro and the lights didn’t even dim! Jake & co. started the song as if it were a sound check! There were 3 Badlands songs thrown in and they were probably the best moments of the night. “Bark at the Moon” sounded iffy at best and closed out the show.

Funny side note, I saw Jake’s guitar tech drop one of his Charvel’s face first on the drum riser and everyone but Jake saw it...that guitar hit hard too!

Setting atop Jake’s amp was a silver flask which he took swigs off every few songs and overall I hate to say this but I wasn’t impressed with Red Dragon Cartel and felt like Ethan Brosh blew him off the stage on every level! Red Dragon Cartel are a band that sounds way better on Youtube than they do in person.

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