Wednesday, July 21; Sunshine Theater (all ages, 8 p.m.): Of all '80s hair metal band leaders, Blackie Lawless ranks among the minute few who've retained almost all their integrity following the decades and trends that have come and gone since they were at the top of the commercial heap. Once known more for controversy and shock value than musical prowess, W.A.S.P. are about to surprise the metal community.
Lawless, the band's only remaining original member, has expanded his horizons over the past 20 years to the extent that he's taken an incredibly bold risk with The Neon God: Part One—The Rise (Sanctuary), W.A.S.P.'s latest platter. It's a conceptual piece that rocks mercilessly through a story line that's devoid of even a hint of the juvenile odes to sex, drugs and excess that made the band famous.
In short, Lawless has managed to achieve a bona fide metal masterpiece while most of his contemporaries are content to tour the casino circuit or package themselves with other washouts in the interest of a quick buck. Expect the best metal show you'll see this year.