The Hatfields and McCoys, Red Sox and Yankees, Great White and Great White…you can now add Great White to the list of famous American feuds. Since the split of Jack Russell and Great White in 2011, the two entities have been embroiled in a legal battle over the band name, and on July 16, 2013 a California court made it official. We now have “Jack Russell’s Great White” and “Great White.” With all that legal mumbo jumbo behind them, Jack Russell’s Great White kicked off their Pirate’s Life Tour on July 19, 2013 at Hollywood’s Whisky A Go-Go, to a packed and adoring house. Taking the stage with the energy and enthusiasm of a band half their age, and with something to prove, the band immediately ripped into their one-hour and forty-five minute set with All Over Now, Desert Moon and On Your Knees. Joined onstage by cohorts Robby Lochner (guitar), Matthew Johnson (guitar/keys), Derrick Pontier (drums) and Tony Montana (bass), Russell belted out the lyrics with precision and passion, never shying away from a note. The band was so solid that you would never know the return of longtime Great White bassist Montana happened just a couple of days before the show.
Straight out of the gate, the band had the crowd right where they wanted them, pressed up against the stage, fist pumping, ass shaking and singing along to such classics as Face The Day, Lady Red Light and Mista Bone. Lead by Lochner’s shredding guitar solos and energetic stage presence, the entire band seemed to feed off one another. There are few bands of their era that are able to excite a Whisky audience such as they did, but over the last couple of years Russell has seemed to forge a solid, almost personal relationship with his fans, and they came out in full force. Ranging in age from hotties to notties you got the sense that this diverse crowd had Jack’s back, and wanted to make that clear. Ending the show with a final encore of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song, Russell made it quite clear that he has not missed a step or a note in spite of his past medical issues. There are few singers who would dare attempt that song and even fewer who can pull it off—Russell falls into the latter.
With any great band feud, you’re going to have fans choosing sides—Roth vs. Hagar—and any purist will tell you Roth, hands down. Jack Russell vs. Great White? Well that’s up to you, but let there be no doubt about it, Jack Russell is the VOICE of Great White. With two Great Whites now terrorizing the seas and gobbling up fans old and new alike, be warned, before entering the waters make sure you know which great white is gnawing off your leg.
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