Rock Never Stops, featuring Ted Nugent, Night Ranger, Quiet Riot and Slaughter

Riverport Amphitheatre; Sunday, Aug. 22

So: Rock never stops. Is that a promise or a threat?

It sounds like both to me. But because one person's rock icon is another one's geezer, this is a show that should help you figure out which side of the line you're on. These days, Ted Nugent is known better for his extramusical activities — spewing right-wing cant on the radio and mowing down four-legged animals with his crossbow. On the other hand, you can't claim he's not a responsible nut — he preaches conservationism and gun safety and does, after all, eat what he kills. Less controversial than his offstage persona is what he's accomplished as a rock & roller. The Nuge's '70s albums Ted Nugent, Free for All and Cat Scratch Fever — recently reissued with bonus tracks and extensive liner notes — are enduring classics of rampaging guitar madness and fire-breathing intensity. Overall, he's recorded 29 albums and sold more than 30 million albums worldwide. Nugent's later efforts (such as his records with the dread-inducing "supergroup" Damn Yankees) may be negligible, but this is a guy with such classics as "Journey to the Center of Your Mind," "Stranglehold," "Dog Eat Dog" and "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang" to his credit. Plus, he's armed to the teeth, so it's best not to quibble with the quality of his accomplishments. You the man, Ted. Now put that thing down.

Also on the bill are Slade revivalists Quiet Riot, hair-metal heavies Slaughter, and Night Ranger, a group that earns credit for reuniting even before nostalgia for '80s acts came into vogue thanks to VH1's Behind the Music. Unfortunately, their recent albums Neverland and Seven have failed to reach the standards set by early hits like "Sister Christian," "Don't Tell Me You Love Me" and "(You Can Still) Rock in America." You know, if that last tune's title was a constitutional amendment that Nugent backed, some meaningful dialogue might be possible here.

 
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