Sixx:A.M. in Chicago with Apocalyptica and the VAMPS.

2009 was the last time Sixx:AM has been on tour. In the music business, this could be the end for many bands, but when you have bassist Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue, featuring one of the top guitarist’s in rock, DJ Ashba, along with producer extraordinaire/singer James Michael, you can do this. Since that time, they have released three studio albums, their latest Modern Vintage which debuted #1 on rock charts.

Opening the show was VAMPS from Japan. Just as Sixx:A.M. stopped touring, VAMPS released their first album, VAMPS, in 2009 and last year released BloodSuckers in October. Opening with “World’s End,” off their new album, they set a high standard, which got raised with each band on the bill. The charismatic singer, Hyde and guitarist K.A.Z., gave American fans a 30-minute taste of what has been driving fans in Japan crazy for years.

Apocalyptica have been producing cello metal since 1996 and have, just as of this review, dropped their eighth album, Shadowmaker. As the intro began, the crowd packed in tighter to see this curious band from Finland, which many have heard on the radio but not many have seen live. Apocalyptica’s past albums featured guest vocalists, but with Shadowmaker they relied on Cuban-American Franky Perez to sing tracks on the whole album as well as join them on this tour. Adding Perez to the touring lineup has completed a missing piece to an otherwise great live band.

As the lights dimmed, the intro to “X-Mas in Hell” signaled to the sold-out crowd it was time. Fans waited six long years to sing-along to Sixx:A.M. Opening with “Let’s Go” from the new album, Modern Vintage; throughout the set they played seven songs from the new album. The interaction between DJ Ashba and Nikki Sixx was refreshing to see for artists of their stature to be playing with each other and the sheer joy of sharing the stage together.

James Michael’s voice was in fine form and when paired with two backup singers, created a perfect blend unseen on many rock stages.

Nikki Sixx let the crowd and Yahoo audience know that Sixx:A.M. will be touring heavily in 2016, along with recording a new album. Contemplating retiring after Motely Crue wrap up touring this year, the fan response to Sixx:A.M. has rejuvenated him to continue touring and making music.

Michael sat down to play the ivory on a grand piano as he sang “Skin.” DJ Ashba was sitting on the piano as lounge singer playing his solo; showcasing each other’s talent in perfect unison.

The night ended with “Life is Beautiful” … a track that propelled Sixx:A.M. from three guys as friends not looking to form a band, to now selling out venues and playing with a fearlessness unseen in today’s music.

Sixx:AM
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Apocalyptica
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VAMPS
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The Vic Theater
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