What most people don't know about Accomplice could've filled New Jersey's Dingbatz. Instead it was filled with a horde of loyal rockers keeping the faith as the band smoked the doors off the place! Sean Michael Clegg and his motley collection of crack musicians wielded their instruments and aimed true ... leaving the crowd sprawling in a sea of ecstasy and beer!
By Sherry Thomas
Photos by Ellie Timms
I’m very resistant to change; whether it’s setting the clock ahead for
Daylight Saving Time, having your cool manager transferred to another department and replacing him with the corporate puppet or when
fast food chains took out the bad-for-you-but-tasted-better trans-fat from their products.
I wanted to see Accomplice with Johnny Gioeli (Hardline, Axel Rudi Pell) because he’s a great vocalist and there was always the slim chance that I could be serenaded with
"Hot Cherie," from Hardline’s Double Eclipse album.
When I heard Accomplice was doing a mini-tour of the East Coast, but vocal duties were going to be the job of Terry Ilous (XYZ, The Monsters Of Classic Rock), I suddenly realized that sometimes change is good.
No disrespect to Gioeli because he really nails it on the band’s latest release
She’s On Fire, but Terry Ilous is one of the best singers in the last twenty years. In fact, he’s probably one of the most underrated and deserves more attention than he’s gotten in the past.
The quintet came to Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ. Guitarist Sean Michael Clegg (Cry Freedom/Celestial Winds) and keyboardist Michael T. Ross (Hardline/Angel) came armed to play the first show for this little jaunt with Ilous, Glen Krause (Seventhsign/Marc Diglio Project) on bass and drummer Rigo Amezcua (Agent Steel).
This was a very intimate setting with a few friends and other audience members I quickly bonded with. Many were there to see Ilous without knowing much about Accomplice, but walked out fans. While I would have loved to see more people there to witness the greatness that occurred, it was an honor to be one of the few to say they
The band played tunes from She’s On Fire for the majority of the set, such as the blues infused
"Cry Again," the goodbye-to-you song "Party’s Over" and the rocking title track.
Sean Michael Clegg
Other notable songs performed were "Take Love" and "Everywhere." Additionally, they treated the audience with a few songs from the XYZ library like
"Off To The Sun," "Inside Out" and "Face Down In The Gutter." Ilous had the girls
... and probably a couple of guys ... swooning with the classic "What Keeps Me Loving
Memorable points during the set took place when drummer Amezcua eloquently stated that,
"It’s better to play for five hot chicks than a hundred dudes" and when band members were giving the Joisey accent a good-old college try. Jokingly, I gave them my best Carmela Soprano and said,
"Fuggedaboutit!," because we all know music critics like to get the last word in edge-wise. It was nice for the band and the audience to have such a great rapport with one another.
Sean Michael Clegg has quickly become my guitar hero. He taught himself to play the axe at the young age of eight and went on to classical training, earning his Master’s Degree in Guitar Performance. Michael T. Ross is an amazing keyboardist. He’s one of the most respected and I can honestly say he’s one of the five best in the music business. The rhythm section of Glen Krause and Rigo Amezcua was top-notch.
Of course, I can’t say any more about the vocal power behind Ilous, who incidentally has a brilliant, new release called
Here And Gone, with Ross making a guest appearance. If you haven’t seen Accomplice in concert or heard
She’s On Fire on Clegg’s label, Sonic Vibe Records, you must buy the album and hear why they are superior melodic rock artists.
An unknown person once said about change: "Opportunity dances with those on the dance
floor," and we were all dancing with Accomplice.