ZEBRA, the iconic band from the 80’s that was anything but the typical hair-band of the era, made a rare appearance at Count’s Vamp’d in Las Vegas on February 10th for played to a packed crowd of fans. Local favorites Baker’s Dozen got the crowd warmed up with their always impressive set.
As one of those bands that rarely makes an appearance in the area, it came as little surprise that Vamp’d was at full capacity on the evening. ZEBRA has always been one of my favorite power trios with Randy Jackson on guitar and vocals, Felix Hanemann on bass and keys, and Guy Gelso on drums. This line-up has remarkably stayed intact since the band was formed all the way back in 1975 in New Orleans. When I think of great lead guitarist from the era who also happens to handle lead vocalist duties, Randy Jackson will always be near or at the top of my short list.
Because of the timing of their iconic self titled debut album Zebra in 1883, and the successful follow up No Tellin’ Lies in 1984, ZEBRA is often lumped in with the hair-bands of that era, as evidenced by their inclusion on such events as the Monsters of Rock cruise and other festivals filled with hair bands, but as stated earlier ZEBRA was anything but your typical hair-band of the era. The debut album was unlike anything of its time, and the fact that it hit #10 on the Billboard U.S. Mainstream Rock Charts is a testament to just how good it was, considering it was so different from most of the music of that era. The album couldn’t help but give off a Led Zeppelin type vibe, yet it wasn’t accused of being a clone like some other bands were.
Speaking of that iconic self-titled album, one of the best surprises of the night was finding out that it would be played in its entirety for the band's few West Coast dates, celebrating 35 years since its release. Felix Hanemann let the crowd know this just a few songs into the set, and the fans couldn’t wait to hear the band unleash those songs again. Although Randy Jackson is an iconic front-man, it is still bassist Felix Hanemann who does most of the talking to the crowd between songs. It was a pleasure to see the first album played in its entirety 35 years later, and although we may have known what was coming, you still can’t help but to get excited when Randy Jackson breaks out the acoustic guitar and you know he is about to start into the classic “Who’s Behind the Door”?!!
It is always good to see a band appear in town that so rarely makes a live appearance, and ZEBRA surely fits that bill. At the end of the night Zebra reminded us all just how good that self titled first release was and just how talented this trio remains today.
Zebra Photos: Paul Rock Santos / PRSRocktogtaphy
Baker's Dozen Photos: Paul Rock Santos / PRSRocktogtaphy