• Mon. Jun 24th, 2024

Ack! Featuring Special Guest Tod Howarth – Ace Frehley Music on the Vamp’d Stage!

The Ack! Ace Frehley tribute played Count’s Vamp’d on Saturday, May 25, 2024, with special guest Tod Howarth.

You can always count on the Count and Vamp’d to deliver the best rock and roll on the face of the earth. This evening at the venue was certainly no exception, featuring a show from Ack!, Las Vegas’ tribute to the Spaceman himself, Ace Frehley of KISS fame.

Does Ace Frehley’s music really even need an introduction? For a time period in the 1970s, KISS was the biggest thing in the land. The Spaceman is largely responsible for encouraging a generation of young people to pick up the guitar and shred away. And while he faded into obscurity after parting ways with KISS in the early 80s, he resurfaced stronger than ever in the latter half of the decade with his Frehley’s Comet band. Since then, Mr. Frehley has recorded several solo albums, and even reunited with KISS for a brief period in the late 90s/early 2000s.

Ack! Is a locally-based Ace Frehley tribute paying homage to the Space Ace’s career, both in and out of KISS. The group for this show was fronted by Izzy Presley on guitar and lead vocals, Keith Robert on guitar, Mike Campion on bass, and Troy Patrick Farrell on drums. Many of these men have extensive resumes to their name, including gigs playing KISS music, so they’re certainly no strangers to the material at hand. The obscure reference the name of the band makes just goes to show how big of KISS/Ace fans these guys are.

Where I will give this group the greatest praise is in the musical and the stage persona of its members. Izzy Presley even bases his look with the group on how Ace looked in that makeup-free period of the late 80s, and humorously pays homage to Ace’s style of speech between songs. Long a go-to guy for countless bands, including Twisted Sister and Jetboy, Keith Robert (who pulled double duty on this evening!) continued to shred the night away on both KISS and Ace solo tunes. The rhythm section of Mike Campion (who these days plays Gene Simmons in Generation KISS) and the ever-reliable Troy Patrick Farrell held down the low end excellently. The band also gave a shout-out to famed rock media personality Eddie Trunk, who was hanging in the venue and is largely credited with saving Ace’s career by signing him to Megaforce Records in the 1980s. Even legendary guitarist Jake E. Lee was hanging out in the crowd!

But we can’t cover this band without talking about the special guest star for the evening! I’ve heard Ack! Cover Ace Frehley and KISS tunes many a time in the past… but hearing they’d be playing with an actual member of the Frehley’s Comet band had me especially excited. Tod Howarth was Frehley’s fellow guitarist and lead vocalist in the group, performing vocals on some of the short-lived band’s best songs. Howarth’s resume also includes stints with artists like Cheap Trick and Ted Nugent, so he’s no stranger to the rock and roll stage. Even all these years later, he’s still got a great stage presence, and was the icing on the cake when it came to this already-excellent band serving up some killer renditions of classic KISS/Ace tunes, with Howarth taking lead vocals on the tunes he sang with Ace back in the day.

And what about the setlist? Understandably, with Ace’s long and extensive career, it can be tough to put one together. But the Ack! boys did a good job assembling this one. Ace’s classic KISS years were represented in tunes like “Deuce,” “Parasite,” “Rocket Ride,” “Cold Gin,” and “Shock Me.” From Ace’s 1978 KISS solo album, we got opener “Rip It Out” and the cover of “New York Groove.” The solo 1989 album TROUBLE WALKIN’ was represented with “Five Card Stud.” Unsurprisingly given Mr. Howarth’s presence as a guest, much of the set was devoted to tracks from the 1987 debut from Frehley’s Comet, with Howarth taking lead vocals for classics like “Breakout” and “Something Moved.” Ace-sung hits from the record “Rock Soldiers” and “Into the Night” were represented as well. While I would love to have heard tunes like “Torpedo Girl,” “Insane,” “2000 Man,” “Back to School,” and even more recent fare like “Bronx Boy,” There’s no denying they put together as solid enough setlist.

This night also featured a performance by LV/DC, though I unfortunately had to leave early and only caught the beginning of their set. I have, however, covered several other shows from LV/DC over the past year and a half.

I’m glad to see the music of Ace Frehley is being kept alive by Ack!, and that this isn’t limited to just the obvious radio hits. This was a damn fine evening of rock and roll for KISS/Ace fans, and if you’re a fan of the Spaceman, you owe it to yourself to check these guys out.

Visual Portfolio, Posts & Image Gallery for WordPress

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.