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Doro heats up her metal at Whisky

June 22, 2007|Greg Burk | Special to The Times

Doro Pesch probably thinks that after a quarter-century of metal campaigning, she deserves more American plunder. Wednesday night's Whisky foray left no room for argument.

Hair supply? Fans of the '80s scene that Doro exemplified with the band Warlock achieved follicular climax as the compact German vocalist charged onto the boards, her flying blond tresses flanked by the dark and light manes of longtime bassist and guitarist Nick Douglas and Chris Caffery. Though her auxiliaries (including keyboardist-guitarist Oliver Palotai and drummer Johnny Dee) lacked nothing in thunder and sweat, it was the Xena-garbed battle queen's radiant choppers, aggressive crowd interaction and distinctive voice that riveted attention. "Let me hear you scream!" Don't mind if we do.

The only hint of Pesch's childhood tuberculosis was her rapid vibrato, which augmented her high, penetrating melodies with an appealing touch of vulnerability. She never flagged during 100 minutes of pure rock.

Pesch (generally called just Doro) has turned the spotlight on her whole career with the star-studded, aerodynamic new DVD, "20 Years -- A Warrior Soul." Delivering lean songs designed for maximum punch -- broken up with an entertaining drum solo by the goofily confident Dee -- the Whisky show reflected that range.

There was a palpable sense when she sang, "You're my family, the only ones I love," that she meant it -- sad, though, if true. For the encore, bearded wild-man guitarist Tommy Bolan, once of Warlock, stepped up to flay his ax.

The band of Caffery (formerly of Savatage) preceded Doro with his melodramatic, prog-tinged rock. He shredded guitar equally with both units, but considering that his metier was melodic metal, he couldn't sing much.

Incongruous on the bill, though not half bad, were a pair of thrashy outfits: Rusty Eye, showcasing blond drummer-throatster (and Britney Spears look-alike) Miss Randall; and twin-guitar twiddling Rattlehead, fronted by the maxi-haired and hunky Nick Baranov.

Long night. Good night.

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