BLOG - HOCKEY & HEAVY METAL
April 05, 2014 • 10:37 AM
KISS ALIVE III - THE LOS ANGELES KISS
After a couple months of steady advertising throughout the LA area that increased to saturation level over the last month, the Los Angeles Kiss played their first-ever home game tonight at Honda Center in Anaheim. I ended up getting in on the action by happening to log onto the net within a few minutes of the announcement that the team was coming, and one of the things that got people involved quickly was the offer of a limited number of $99 season tickets, which gets you 9 home games and a free season-ticket-holders-only Kiss concert. I called in and scored the last two $99 seats in the top row of the lower level, in the end zone. The parking cost more than the ticket. I was also very happy to be taking Jarrod Hopfer to the game, as he's as big of a Kiss fan as me along with being the webmaster for this site. He helps out behind the scenes in a huge way around here. Thank you, brother.
The evening was, quite simply, a mind-boggling and relentless mash-up of heavy metal and football. Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are co-owners of the team, the uniforms feature the Kiss logo and colors, and two of them were on hand tonight to welcome the crowd during the pre-game ceremonies. “Shout It Out Loud” was played every time the home team scored a touchdown, and “Rock and Roll All Nite” was played after each home team’s extra point. There was, of course, all kinds of LA Kiss-related merch: jerseys, t-shirts, phone colors, helmets, hoodies, foam fingers, key chains, and so on. (The limited edition silver mini-helmet, priced at a whopping $99, sold out within an hour of the doors opening and were already being listed on eBay for $300 by the halftime of the game.)
But it didn’t end there. Not. Even. Close. Bud. Local cover band turned international 80‘s metal revival stars Steel Panther played the pre-game festivities and again at halftime, and they invited the entire crowd to their album release party after the game. (“All You Can Eat” is available now. It’s not suitable for kids. Like, really, really not suitable for kids.) Renowned metal guitarist Nita Strauss played a metal version of the national anthem and has been hired on as the LA Kiss “in-arena guitarist”, cranking out those cheer-along riffs that used to be played by nice old ladies on organs. (So, I guess Nita is the 21st-century version of Nancy Bea Hefley. Nice one!) During the game there were bikini-clad dancing girls suspended above the field in pods equipped with poles. There was a pair of female aerialists who did a synchronized routine to Metallica’s “Battery”. There was a BMX team that did acrobatic jumps on a large ramp that was wheeled onto the fields twice during breaks in play. There was an “Action Sports Team” of well-scrubbed 20-something men and women who did dance routines. There were also the LA Kiss dancers, who were all female, fit and attractive and did much better dance routines. There were lasers, fireworks, flame pots, t-shirts being thrown into the crowd, and a constant barrage of hard rock, heavy metal and dubstep metal song mashups coming out of the PA all night, at high volume.
Oh yeah, there was a football game, too. It’s like a combination of football and pinball. It moves quickly when it’s happening, but with all the pomp and circumstance the actual game lost momentum at times because it had to compete with all the stuff mentioned above. A lot of scoring happened, and the Kiss pulled out a 44-34 win, but from what I can tell that’s somewhat of a lower-scoring game. It was 4 downs, and seemed to have many of the usual penalties called, but the rules weren’t printed in the free program that was given out (and that would have been helpful). One thing that did get announced is that fans are allowed to keep any ball that ends up in the stands during the game, and I bet 15 to 20 people went home with one last night. Nice touch. Another interesting take on things is that the head coaches for each team actually stand on the field during the game. I’m not sure if they keep statistics on how many times said coaches get steamrolled during play each season, but those numbers would be interesting to know, and as I write this I’m now wondering if there’s a penalty for a players who do this. If so, is the penalty more severe for running into the opposing team’s coach? Just wondering. I could look it up, but for the purposes of making this question stick in your head all day I’m fine with not knowing just yet.
It’s going to be interesting to see what happens at LA Kiss games over the next three months, after the initial shiny-new-toy enthusiasm wears off. I’d guess there were probably about 9,000 people at the game, which is definitely respectable, but definitely not the 13,000 or so they would have needed to call the place a sellout. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the team is off to a 3-0 start after tonight’s victory, and they also have an upcoming reality show to plug it nationally, so that can’t hurt either. I’m in it for this season, anyway, so let’s see how it goes. And once again, the 8-year old version of me would be bouncing off the ceiling if he had been able to see the Los Angeles Kiss back then. And yeah, there’s no way it would have ever been the Pittsburgh Kiss. That’s a (Fort Pitt) bridge too far.
The fourth and final blog for Kiss week here at HHM will be up Tuesday, and we’ll wrap it up with a look at the ongoing controversies surrounding Kiss’ induction to the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.