Jack Russell’s Great White Still Going Strong

Review and Photos by Eric Pefley

Great White
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Saturday night was quite an evening at the Cultura Event Center in Tacoma. I did not catch the whole event, but there were several bands, a couple of comedians, a few delays and a concert that did not end until 1:44 AM! I managed to catch two acts in their entirety. They were Sin Circus and of course the main reason I was there, Jack Russell’s Great White.

Let’s start with Sin Circus. I had never seen or heard of them before Saturday night. The more I learned about them and after talking a bit with their lead singer I was surprised they had slipped by me. The founding members of Sin Circus are Derek and Devon Unger who are the sons of Metal Church bassist Steve Unger. These guys bring their high energy pure heavy metal sound like a ton of bricks. Their set was great and they are highly talented. Hailing from Puyallup, WA they have already toured the country as a support act for Metal Church and will be going out with Jack Russell’s Great White on his next big tour. If you like pure American heavy metal come out to a show and check them out. I know I will be attending another show soon. The future looks very bright for this local heavy metal outfit.

Jack Russell’s Great White was the headliner for the night. On Friday night they played a show in Florida and here they were the next night in Tacoma! You might think that would lead to a pretty low energy show, but you would be wrong. They hit the stage jumping all over the place and Jack Russell was swinging his mic stand around like crazy. Jack Russell has lived a hard life, but has made a lot of changes and has been clean and sober the last two years. He has also had a lot of health issues, but none of that slowed him down on this night.

This is the 30 year anniversary of the LP Once Bitten and they featured a lot of songs from that album. Early in the set we were treated to “All Over Now“, “Lady Redlight” and “Fast Road“. This was one of my favorite metal albums of the 80’s and the band and Jack Russell sounded great. They will be re-releasing this album later this year as an acoustic album. Jack Russell said it turned out better than he could have imagined and can’t wait for everyone to hear it. He also has a book coming out that will document the history of Great White. All of this on top of a new album he recently released called He Saw it Comin’. When they played the first single off the new album called “Sign Of The Times” I was blown away by how much it sounded like late 1980’s Great White. I can’t wait to pick up a copy and give it a full listen.

Robby Lochner has been Jack’s guitarist and tour manager the past six years and is a fantastic talent in his own right. His guitar work all night was very impressive. He even mentioned to a few of us in the front row that he could play better, but was still a little tired from the flight. It did not show in his playing however as he was a treat to listen to and to watch. Tony Montana who was Great White’s bassist in the late 80’s is also in Jack’s band, but now he plays guitar, keyboards and harmonica. He obviously has a great grasp on the music having been with the band at their most popular time. Another great musician in the band that can do it all.

As the show continued the hits kept coming.  Great White classics like “Save All Your Love“, “House Of Broken Love“, “Rock Me” and the set closer “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” all sounded great. Jack Russell was very humble all night thanking the crowd for attending and staying so late. He said the fans are what keep him going and he does not care if he is playing in front of a hundred or one hundred thousand people, he was just grateful people showed up! It was very refreshing to see a musician who was very appreciative for what he has. I was not sure what to expect on this night, but Jack Russell really delivered an enjoyable show that I highly recommend attending. It was a fun night that took me back to the 80’s with one of my favorite bands. Sometimes when you go see one of your favorite bands from the past it does not live up to expectations, but this show certainly did and I hope Jack Russell keeps rocking for a long time.

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