Slaughter Delivers the Hits at Batavia Downs
Left to Right: Will Hunt, Dana Strum, Mark Slaughter and Jeff Blando
I had July 23rd marked on my calendar for months, as Skid Row was scheduled to come through town and perform at Batavia Downs Gaming and Raceway as part of their summer concert series. I have yet to see them perform with former Dragonforce vocalist Z.P. Theart and I was excited to check them out. So, it's easy to understand why I was a little bummed when their show was canceled. Fortunately, in the same announcement, Slaughter was announced to be filling in for the same date, which immediately took the edge off.
This show was an exciting one for me, as Slaughter was previously scheduled to perform in Western, New York earlier in the year, before the tour became another casualty of the COVID pandemic. Needless to say, I was excited for the chance to enjoy some live hard rock again! Furthermore, it was an added bonus to show up and see Will Hunt (Evanescence, Black Label Society) on the drums!
Batavia Downs has been hosting live music for a few years now, but they've really made an effort to be a destination for touring acts this summer. This was the show that finally got me out there to check out what they have going on, and I must say, it's a really nice environment for a show. Parking was a breeze, entry was quick and easy. I'm really looking forward to some of the other shows heading there this summer, largely due to how great this evening was.
"...they performed with the tenacity of a band of hungry teenagers trying to break out."
Shortly after the sun had set, Slaughter took the stage promptly at 8:30 and opened with "Mad About You," "Burnin' Bridges" and "Spend My Life," a trio of popular songs from their 1990 debut, 'Stick It To Ya." They broke into a great cover of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" to change things up for a minute before diving straight back into the hits with "Eye to Eye" and "Desperately", the later of which seems to be getting a heavier-than-usual rotation on Hair Nation lately.
Next, they dove into the title track of their 1993 sophomore album, 'The Wild Life' before jumping into another cover of Van Halen's "Ain't Talkin' bout Love." This was the very moment, for me, that it was abundantly clear that Slaughter was out to prove something. Don't get me wrong, the show had been a ton of fun already. At no point, was this a band simply going through the motions. From the moment they took the stage, they were evidently having a great time and had shown up to entertain. This song though...watching them cover one of my absolute favorite Van Halen songs; they performed with the tenacity of a band of hungry teenagers trying to break out. This was a faithful rendition and everyone on the stage was having a blast. I'm positive they turned a few heads in the crowd, too.
Slaughter kicked off the home stretch of the evening with "Days Gone By" and Real Love," a pair of tracks from 'The Wild Life.' The final run of the night included classics "Fly to the Angels" and "Up All Night" before finishing off the night with a great cover of The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again."
I always head into a show with an open-mind and try to take in every performance at face-value and just enjoy the moment. Slaughter made this easy for me, and I'm really glad I made the trip out to Batavia Downs to cover this one! The band just crossed the 30-year mark since the release of their debut album in 1990, but they're performing to win over new fans every bit as much as they are catering to their life-long followers. It's with that in mind, that I've just marked down April 1st, 2022 on my calendar when Slaughter returns to Western, New York to perform at the Showplace Theater. Click here for ticketing information to that date.
A huge thanks to Slaughter for a great evening and for putting on an impassioned performance. There's truly nothing greater than watching an artist pour their heart and soul into a performance, and it's not so easy to come by anymore!
Mad About You
Spend My Life
Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin cover)
Eye to Eye
The Wild Life
Ain't Talkin' bout Love (Van Halen cover)
Days Gone By
Fly to the Angels
Up All Night
Won't Get Fooled Again (The Who cover)