Meister's Metal Mayhem


Rock Rag #17-Coney Hatch 2TORONTO, CANADA, Dec. 13—Canadian hard rockers Coney Hatch formed in Toronto, in the early 80s, consisting of vocalist/guitarist Carl Dixon, guitarist Steve Shelski, vocalist/bassist Andy Curran and drummer Dave “Thumper” Ketchum.  Coney Hatch (rumoured to be named after the Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum in London, England), working with producers Kim Mitchell and Max Norman, issued three albums, Coney Hatch (1982), Outta Hand (1983) and Friction (1985), before calling it quits and moving on to other careers. (A compilation called Best of Three was released in 1992.)

In a twist of fate, Carl Dixon, while in Australia  in April 2008 assisting his daughter and writing music for a television show she was working on, was the survivor of an absolutely horrific automobile accident. During his coma-induced state in the hospital, Carl’s wife held the receiver of the telephone to his ear while friends, family and his former Coney HatchUntitled1 bandmates bestowed words of encouragement upon him. Coming out of the coma, something that stuck with Dixon were Andy Curran’s words: “Get better quick. We have a lot more rocking to do with Coney Hatch!” and that’s exactly what the Canucks are doing today!

After a benefit show in Dixon’s name in October 2008 featuring fellow Canadian artists such as Helix, Brighton Rock, Russ DWaRf (of KiLLeR DWaRfS) and Andy Curran, Coney Hatch fully reunited with the original members for the first time in some 15 years. Fronted by a fully healed Carl Dixon, August 2010 saw them onstage in Toronto for a reunion concert, followed by an appearance at the Firefest Festival in Nottingham, England, in October 2011.  A record deal arose out the Firefest appearance, and in October 2013, with several more successful shows under their belts, they unleashed the incredibly aptly titled Four, with the CD release parties taking place on back-to-back nights at The Rockpile East on Friday, December 13 and at The Rockpile West on Saturday, December 14 in Toronto.

Rock Rag #17-Coney Hatch 3Opening act Mortal Fear stormed the stage, delivering a plateful of thrash-flavoured old-school heavy metal, serving up songs like the Internet sensation “Inject the Fear” and “Left to Die.”  Looking a little like Rob Halford with the long goatee and shaved head, vocalist Ken Munro doled out the lyrics in his gravelly growl. The rest of the band was obviously a tight unit, which was not surprising, since this band originally formed in 1985!  Now with original members Ken Munro (vocalist), Steve Turrer (guitars), Pete Turrer (bass), joined by drummer Steve Scott, Mortal Fear are supporting their self-titled debut CD, released in 2012.

In a display of awesome showmanship, the next band, J’nai, absolutely owned the stage.  Amid aRock Rag #17-Coney Hatch 4 shroud of dry ice smoke, frontwoman Jeanette Ricasio captivated the crowd, offering some sultry moves standing atop a case of stage gear. Guitarists Stephan and Richie successfully performed their guitar switch trick (accomplished by flinging their instruments at each other midsong). Dave Alcordo delivered the thundering bass lines for their original, alternative-tinted compositions such as “In the Light,” “Defeat Them All” and “Skipping Stones,” along with their cover versions of Rainbow’s “To Kill the King,” GNR’s “Welcome to the Jungle” and the fan-requested Heart’s “Barracuda.”

Coney Hatch has not lost a step from their youth. That was certainly apparent as they Rock Rag #17-Coney Hatch 5blasted onto the stage around midnight, opening up with “We Got the Night” (from their 1982 debut), followed by the awesomely quirky “Stand Up.”  Coney Hatch has the unique distinction of possessing two very talented, but very different, vocalists in Dixon and Curran, and these first two selections perfectly displayed that. “Don’t Say Make Me” and “First Time For Everything,” both from the second release, came next, before we were treated to six cuts off the new Four record with: “Blown Away,” “Boys Club,” “Down & Dirty,” “Connected,” “Keep Drivin’ ” and “We Want More.”  Slowing things down a little, they served up “To Feel the Feeling Again” before they played a crowd request.  “Thanks to Debbie from Connecticut for requesting ‘Some Like It Hot,’ ” Carl announced as they ripped through it, and into the radio hit, “Hey Operator.” Coney Hatch closed out the night with a double shot from the debut record in “Devil’s Deck” and “Monkey Bars”—probably two of their best-known songs. The audience Rock Rag #17-Coney Hatch 6wouldn’t allow that to be the end, and the cheers enticed The Hatch back to power through a rousing version of the AC/DC classic “Sin City,” to finally close the evening. The Hatch is back, and thank God for that, I’ve missed you so!


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