It was the year 2018, but felt like 1984 when Leathürbitch took the stage. In another amazing Mike Thrasher Presents lineup, Portland’s throwback “sleeze speed metal” favorites took the stage. Thirty years past the decedent time when they would have ruled the world, Sebastian Silva and his band put on an amazing show. Looking like a cross between Spinal Tap and Cinderella, but sounding like a cross between Raven and Ratt, Leathürbitch are absolutely fun to watch. They transport you back to that easier, simpler, sleezier time when big hair, tight leather pants, and boots were totally normal. I’d seen Sebastian play earlier that week with his other band, Silver Talon, and took notice right away on his amazing playing ability and energetic stage presence. While the other guitarist and bass player were a bit more demure, their playing ability was top notch. Vocalist Joel Stair was on point, never missing a note, and drummer Meshach Babcöck actually looked like he was from Spinal Tap.
There was confusion as the stage was cleared and Geoff Tate’s band’s equipment was set up void any obvious alterations for “Til Death Do Us Part.” I knew this band featured Emily, Geoff Tate’s daughter, but the majority of people did not. There was a hum in the room that generally whispered, “Did the second band cancel?”
Ms. Tate and her European band (which would also be half of her Dad’s band we’d soon learn) came out with a vengeance. She can never be mistaken for anyone but Geoff Tate’s daughter, she often moved as if a puppet master was harshly controlling her limbs, something I’ve seen other bands try to do but fail. She was confident, and sultry, and personable and funny. “Some of you may know me…I’m Geoff’s daughter,” and while she didn’t need it, she received instant authenticity from the crowd. The deliberate sexual tension between Tate and Kieran Robertson, the flamboyant guitarist from Scottland, was playful and effective. Robertson’s energy was often overbearing, but nothing overshadowed Ms. Tate’s talent. While she can ride on the coattails of her famous father, she doesn’t need to; she is a talent in her own right.
The crowd of 40 and 50something fans crammed tightly together both in the general area and in the bar, and the elation when Geoff walked to the stage was audible. Wearing a vest with no shirt, black pants and sandals, he looked like he was happy to be there.
Tate commanded the stage and reminded us all why we love the music he made. As one of the most respected and regarded singers of that style, Geoff’s voice only seems to get better with age; much like a fine wine.
We had the privilege of interviewing Geoff prior to the show. Topics included the tour, song selection, venues closing, modern technology, and love.
You can hear that interview here: