While they came into existence as the 80's were closing their doors it was during the early part of the 90's that Warrior Soul really came into prominence. To the world at large they were a New York City based band that was doing things a little differently from their competition and while the Grunge Rock scene was brewing and delivering the discontentment of youth to the people, Kory Clarke and Warrior Soul were preaching socio-political cognizance in their brand of Metal meets Punk. It was unique for its time as few other bands dared to brave rants against The System and since the words made sense they sparked the listener into levels of awareness. Clarke was not far from the soapbox preacher that one ran into on the corner of a typical street and with the band he would sing against injustices and also deliver down and dirty tales of life on New York's Lower East Side. They released five albums in total but never seemed to build up more than the devout cult status and eventually disbanded. I admit that I lost track of Clarke for a few years and it wasn't until his association with the New York Hard Rock band Dirty Rig that I caught him in performance again. He would record the bands "Rock Did It" album and they would gig extensively, but in early 2007 he would rebuild and tour with friends under the Warrior Soul brand and eventually move on from the Dirty Rig project. The rebuilt Warrior Soul features no original members outside of Clarke and since this gig at New York City's Ace Of Clubs was billed as the only area appearance I knew I had to get myself down there to report on it. Here is what went down should you have heard about this and missed it for some reason.
The gig was supposed to start a lot earlier but there was another booking at this very intimate venue that is located beneath a favored restaurant on my list, so while I waited I had a couple of pints upstairs at Acme. I was surprised to meet singer Ray West at the joint and you might remember him as a member of another NYC staple act from around the same time as Warrior Soul, the one and only Spread Eagle. These days Ray is working in a band called Hostel Inc. and I am sure that we will catch them soon. Kory was mingling upstairs as well but headed down into the club to play drums with the guys in The Stoned. I wouldn't catch this part of the evening's fun as I was purely in Soul mode and went down into the depths to see them when they were set to perform. As I got my spot secured I noticed that about another 100 people or so had also showed up for this midnight matinee of pure NYC rock. That's a great amount given the space of The Ace Of Clubs, as it is not a huge club to begin with. The downside would be the almost intolerable heat inside the club and very limited AC. We were in the beginning of the Summer weather outside so that was not much more a break but once the band hit the stage we quickly forgot about how hot it was since the heat of Rock and Roll coming off the stage was far more intense. The band was definitely tight at the material and apparently knew the stuff well enough to come off like a clone of the original players and when Clarke arrived onstage it was like a long absent hero had returned to them.
The set tonight was a long one and featured a number of Warrior Soul classic tunes from across the bands back catalog. They did more from the first album "Last Decade, Dead Century" which was fine by me as I loved that release and still find myself playing it so many years after it was first released. I had to give the guys credit for bringing it on with the music tonight as I detected no flaws in any of it. The combined guitar work of Johnny H. and Rille Lundell worked fantastic together and made the sound all the more full. Those new fans to the band might not recall that older Warrior Soul material featured only one guitarist. I had to say that Clarke's voice has held up pretty well over the years and still maintained that gravelly tone that made him unique in the first place. He was also rather energetic on the stage this evening and if you have never seen this club before you should know that the stage of the Ace Of Clubs is rather close to the audience level of eye view and there is no barrier between the fans and the band so you are able to be right in the face of your admirers. Depending on the band this is not always a good thing but tonight it would be one of the positives. During the set Kory would prompt the crowd to sing along with him and he would frequently hold the microphone over their heads to make them scream even louder. Everyone in the club complied without argument and that made for a very memorable night. They did leave out "The Loser's" which disappointed me just a little because it was one of the most powerful numbers in the bands repertoire. They did treat us to one new tune which was "Bad News (Rock n Roll Boyfriend) and for a new song it really kept the traditional sound and feel of the band that was back in the day.
One might question the relevance of Clarke touring with a Warrior Soul made up of completely new members but before criticizing we should first remember that Peter Steele currently tours with a rebuilt Carnivore while Axl Rose does the same thing with his new brand of Guns 'N Roses. This is just one of the ways that this is done nowadays and needs to be accepted by fans of the songs or simply bypassed by those who cannot comprehend such a practice. At least they sounded good and did the material justice and since I supported them so long ago I can safely say that I would see them do this again when the opportunity arose. As mentioned earlier, the full Warrior Soul back catalog of albums were remastered back in 2006 by Escapi Music and they can be purchased via many online retailers. Clarke has been quoted as saying this lineup will record new material and continue to tour and they had also recently released a live album called "Live In London" which was available at the show for those who wanted a copy. He has also been named as the new lead singer for the legendary Doom Metal outfit Trouble replacing Eric Wagner. At the time of this writing there were no area gigs or recorded music from this collaboration but I am sure that it will be interesting. Clearly tonight's gig was a great beginning to a Summer that was loaded with amazing shows.
Band Members: Kory Clarke (vocals), Johnny H (guitar), Rille Lundell (guitar), Bobby "Stevo" Stephenson (drums), and Janne Jarvis (bass).
3. Love Destruction
4. I See The Ruins
5. Lets Get Wasted
6. The Drug
8. We Cry Out
9. Republican Party
10. Charlie's Out Of Prison
12. Bad News (Rock n Roll Boyfriend)
13. Shock Um Down
14. Wasteland - finale
Official Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warrior_Soul