Chickenfoot helps Vancouver forget all about Van Halen

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At the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Tuesday, June 5.

Chickenfoot vs. Van Halen: now there's a rivalry for ya. There's never been much love lost between those bands' respective singers, Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth. Then there's the fact that Chickenfoot's bassist, Michael Anthony, lost his cherished spot in Van Halen when VH shots-caller Eddie Van Halen brought in his own teenage son, Wolfgang, to unceremoniously replace him. And as far as six-string match-ups go, Chickenfoot guitarist Joe Satriani is one of the few axemen who could give the venerable Van Halen a run for his money in the guitar-hero game.

Throw in the anti-Eddie trash talk that Hagar dished out in his 2011 autobiography, Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock, and--with both groups out on tour at the same time--the stage was set for a good old-fashioned rock-off. Vancouverites got to see what Van Halen had goin' on last month at Rogers Arena, and last night at the Queen E. they witnessed Chickenfoot's best shot. Performance-wise, the latter act easily emerged as champ.

Unlike Roth--who stunk up Rogers Arena with lame-ass vocals--Hagar can still sing. He's not in Montrose-era shape, vocally, but at 64 he can still muster up an impressive howl. It also helped that he seemed to be having a ball up there, truly enjoying the company of his mates. There didn't appear to be any such connection between Roth and the Van Halen clan.

"It smells pretty good in here!," declared Hagar after blasting through "Last Temptation", one of the top tracks from Chickenfoot's second album, the strangely titled Chickenfoot III. "Is dope legal in Vancouver?," he wondered aloud, before commenting on the apparently pissed-up state of his bass player. "You're fucking ripped!," he chided Anthony, who countered with: "I do some of my best work when I'm ripped!"

If any of the Chickenfoot members were indeed pounded, it didn't seem to be affecting their performances. Particularly impressive was drummer Kenny Aronoff, who's best known for his work with John Mellencamp and John Fogerty. Aronoff handles the kit when C-Footer Chad Smith is on tour with his full-time band the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which--as everyone knows--is a much better band than Chickenfoot.

Although the iffy sound quality in the Queen E. didn't help, Chickenfoot came off much better last night than it did during its Vancouver debut at the Commodore three years back. That was just before the release of its self-titled debut, which was rife with substandard tracks like "Soap on a Rope" and "Oh Yeah". The followup--which was coproduced by Vancouver's Mike Fraser--boasts much stronger material. Not that it would make my Top 10 or anything.

My general disregard for Chickenfoot's music aside, I must say that the foursome put on a pretty decent show last night. The crowd was on its feet the whole time, lapping up Hagar's nonstop party vibe. And it definitely didn't hurt that the band ended the night with the rifftastic stomper from his Montrose days, "Rock Candy". If anyone has the drum chops to nail Denny Carmassi's original slamming on that timeless track, it'd be Aronoff.

You can follow Steve Newton on Twitter at twitter.com/earofnewt.

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Ktron

Jun 6, 2012 at 3:45am

Party vibe. lol

AZ

Jun 6, 2012 at 6:56am

Everyone knows Roth can"t sing, where have u been the last thirty five years. Its all about Mr. van Halen.

Dippy

Jun 6, 2012 at 7:44am

Yeah the 500 people in the crowd loved Hagars cat by the balls vocals.

Jamie Cosco

Jun 6, 2012 at 8:50am

Pease, Its all about hits. VanHalen played all their hits throughout the Roth era. Chickenfoot? no hits :) Unfamiliar with all the songs..... Sorry VH wins! again :)

Cockrock Ricky

Jun 6, 2012 at 8:52am

While it's hard to take a band named Chickenfoot seriously this band was all business last night. Hagar and Anthony had more than enough chops to keep it from becoming a "Joe Show " and the drummers timing was perfect. Where they get this guy from?? Satriani contained himself but still burned up the fretboard. Super loud and just a great rock show. Was impressed by the vocal work and the lighting wasn"t too shabby either. A disappointing small but enthusiastic crowd. Don't miss this band next time. Van Halen just got schooled big time.

MichelleW

Jun 6, 2012 at 10:08am

Chilli`s better than the Foot...I don`t think so!! I saw VH and Chickenfoot this year. Both were great shows. Sammy`s vocals were far better than Dave`s (always was and always will be). For VH it was all about Eddie and Alex and they killed it. Joe Satriani is one of the best guitar players in the world and he was amazing.

Mike D

Jun 6, 2012 at 11:21am

Hahahah, surely you jest. Chickenchoke does not compare to the mighty VH.

Ken M

Jun 6, 2012 at 12:26pm

I love both VH and Chickenfoot. I passed on the VH show at Rogers since it was Roth singing which was never actually singing just talk. Hagar gives the people what they want! A party atmoshere! I still love VH and always will. But I just want to rock with people enjoying life and they want to include you! Head to Cabo in October and join the birthday bash to see and feel what I'm talking about!

julie roth

Jun 6, 2012 at 1:15pm

van halen is an epic fail it will not last much longer there is trouble in the van halen force

A musician

Jun 6, 2012 at 1:46pm

THe concert last nite was EXCELLENT! those guys can play and they did that last nite for sure. joe satriani in my mind is by far a better guitar player as he isn't limited to just one style . as for the drummer, bang on and powerful. he's good! Anthony on bass was the driving force that gives the band there "you just want to dance" sound. Hagar well for his age he did very very well. all in all a must see band for me if they return

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