Ross The Boss

Kansas City, Odense - 2023

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

It was the 35th anniversary of Manowar’s seminal heavy metal album Kings Of Metal, and ex-member and co-writer of the album, Ross ‘The Boss’ Friedman, was touring with his band to celebrate this magic event.

Ross The Boss was playing in Kansas City, a cool club in Odense, where the atmosphere was just right. He’d brought two support bands along, Sanhedrin and Savage Existence, the former especially with a great deal of humour. Both bands did what they could to get the crowd going, but it was clear that those who had shown up were here for one reason only, and that was to celebrate the songs of Manowar with the band’s guitarist.
Thus it was that when Ross The Boss and his band of merry gentlemen, consisting of Marc Lopes (Let us Prey, Metal Church) on vocals, Sean Elg (KK’s Priest, Nihilist) on drums, and Dirk Schlächter (Gamma Ray) on bass, took the stage, the entire crowd moved forward as one person and joined them at the very edge of the stage. Some even with a foot on it - it wasn’t a very high stage.

Wanting to kick things into gear from the get go, the band had opted to open with Blood Of The Kings, and fists were immediately in the air, and people were happily headbanging along to the song. Lopes got a bit too enthusiastic in the crowd participation however, and when he pointed the mic towards the audience in order to support a proper sing along, he was met with a resounding silence. Apparently, some warm up time was still needed; thankfully, it only cracked him up for a second, and then we were on with the show.
A mass of 14 songs were played this evening, with only one original, Denied By The Cross, was added to the otherwise varied Manowar setlist, pulling songs not only from the aforementioned Kings Of Metal, but from almost all of the albums Ross The Boss was part of - only excluding Into Glory Ride for some reason. Then again, pulling from that back catalogue, you know there was bound to be songs you wanted to hear that would be missed.

I honestly didn’t quite know what to expect from the band going in, but it didn’t take many seconds for them to assert themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Lopes delivered the most Eric Adams-y vocals not performed by Eric Adams himself (more in some ways, as Adams don’t go for those extreme high notes anymore) I have ever heard, giving perfect justice to the old songs, and he was fun to behold, being very lively on stage, and involving the crowd every chance he got (crowd participation did grow immensely from that first hiccup); Elg was clearly having fun as well, often standing up and sticking his drum sticks into the ceiling above him when he wanted to show his metal horns or otherwise engage the audience.
Schlächter showed great skill in doing Joey DeMaio’s style of bass playing, using a variety of basses to play on, most notable probably being the eight string he used for the more melodic parts.
And Ross? Well, he was just the Boss, wasn’t he? It was nice to see him sneak some keyboard playing into the set at appropriate times.

I did mention that the crowd participation grew, and not only a little; I mean truly, exceptionally grew!
After getting warmed up by a good dose of beer fueled headbanging, the local crew was ready to sing along to the songs Ross The Boss delivered, and even request extra songs. The Crown And The Ring (Lament Of The Kings) was the number one request, and when the show reached its inevitable end without having seen this song sung, the rowdy crowd sang it themselves for the band instead. The whole song, though and through. What an experience, one that surely entertained the band as well.

Ross The Boss (the band) delivered an amazingly entertaining show from start to finish, far exceeding any expectations I might have had. The crowd ate it up, and it truly looked like the band had fun as well, supported by the fact that Ross went into the crowd afterwards, spending a whole lot of time talking to the fans, signing stuff, and having his picture taken.

Setlist:

Blood Of The Kings (Manowar cover)
The Oath (Manowar cover)
Sign Of The Hammer (Manowar cover)
Thor (The Powerhead) (Manowar cover)
Dark Avenger (Manowar cover)
Wheels Of Fire (Manowar cover)
Kings Of Metal (Manowar cover)
Denied By The Cross
Black Wind, Fire And Steel (Manowar cover)
Heart Of Steel (Manowar cover)
Battle Hymn (Manowar cover)
Kill With Power (Manowar cover)
Fighting The World (Manowar cover)
Hail And Kill (Manowar cover)
The Crown And The Ring (Lament Of The Kings) (Manowar cover, sung by the crowd)

Ross The Boss

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