A slammin,’ jammin’ good time takes me back to the day

INWOOD–Renowned venue Shiley Acres reopened last Saturday amidst a huge crowd, perfect weather and the sounds of hard rock. The first concert bill included local favorites Dirty Deal, Blackmail and Kix, as a tribute to the days of old.

A few changes from the old days were evident. The ubiquitous sea of coolers were replaced by lawn chairs. Coolers are no longer allowed. Beer tickets could be bought after showing identification at a special tent. Food was available on site. Some law enforcement officials were on hand to make sure there were no underage drinking.

Although some changes were inevitable — we live in a different era than the excesses allowed in the ‘70s and ‘80s — the spirit of the concert was evident as soon as Greg Shiley walked out on stage for his customary welcome.

When Shiley bellowed the iconic “Welcome to Shiley Acres!” the legendary pasture in Inwood reawakened after being in remission for 19 years.

With the crowd roaring and fists pumping in the air, the opening salvo of drums, bass and guitar of Dirty Deal marked the beginning of a new era of live music for generations old and new. Their hard driving set included a fretboard-burning cover of the Rolling Stones “Gimme Shelter.” After a scorching encore of Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze,” the band was thrilled to be back at Shiley Acres.

“It feels great. It’s like coming home. It’s been 19 years since we played here with Jackyl. To come back and kick it out and help this thing back up, I am so ecstatic. It’s like home, brother,” said Bryan Kimes, bass player for Dirty Deal.

After opening act Dirty Deal had the crowd pumped up, Winchester-based Blackmail took the stage. Like the Blackmail of old, they brought their hard-driving style of the past to the present. Drummer Kevin Levi had the valley rumbling for miles with his bass drum. Bassist Rick Alger held down the low end like nobody’s business. Searing highs came screaming from the singer and the guitar amp. After a blistering Led Zeppelin medley in the middle of their set, they ended the set like they started.

“It’s been an awesome experience being here at the first Shiley Acres reunion opening up for Kix and having Dirty Deal open for us. We look forward to doing it again,” said Kevin Levi, drummer for Blackmail.

The crowd was fired up and ready when headliners Kix took the stage. Although it has been years since they were on MTV and Billboard, their music sounded decidedly fresh. Frontman Steve Whiteman was his usual, charismatic self. The crowd hung on his every witty remark and sung along with his every word. With the last note, a new era had been restarted in Inwood.

The Shiley family has plans for a variety of shows in the future. Shows already confirmed are Filter and Buckcherry with opening act Silvertung on Aug. 26 and a special Oct. 6 show featuring the Davisson Brothers, Blackberry Smoke and the legendary Charlie Daniels.

Shiley Acres is back and better than ever. Thanks, Greg.

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