Review: Sixx:A.M. rocks at the Royal Oak

Nikki Sixx and James Michael perform Tuesday, April 21, 2015, with their band, Sixx:A.M., at Royal Oak Music Theater. Photo by Ken Settle

ROYAL OAK >> We can now be assured that Nikki Sixx has something to fall back on after Motley Crue says its final farewell at the end of the year.

As if we really needed to worry about that.

In the midst of the Crue’s Final Tour — which plays a third Detroit-area date on Aug. 9 at The Palace of Auburn Hills — the bassist brought his other band, Sixx:A.M., to town Tuesday night (April 21) at the Royal Oak Music Theatre as part of its first-ever headlining tour. The group, formed to provide a companion album to Sixx’s 2007 memoir “The Heroin Diaries,” has hit the road before, as part of the 2008 Cruefest tour, but with three albums behind it now, and a couple of hits in “Life Is Beautiful” and “Stars,” Sixx:A.M. showed itself to be tight and polished, bolstered in particular by the experience of Sixx and Guns N’ Roses guitarist DJ Ashba.

And with Michigan-born frontman James Michael, in Billy Idol-style peroxide blonde, Sixx:A.M. displayed an arena-worthy swagger during its 17-song, 90-minute show, which gave Tuesday’s intimate setting a considerable dynamic wallop.

The show’s focus was, not surprisingly, on Sixx A.M.’s latest album, “Modern Vintage,” although it drew just as many tracks from 2011’s “This is Gonna Hurt.” Hitting the stage after opening sets from Japan’s Vamp and the Swedish cello act Apocalyptica, Sixx:A.M. charged right into the big-beat glam of “Let’s Go,” the urgent rock of “Give Me a Love” and big-melody punch of “Relief” — a wham-bam opening that was certainly steeped in Motley Crue’s blend of catch pop and heavy rock, but with less punk and more pomp — the latter especially evident in the dramatic arrangements of “Dead Man`s Ballet,” “Gotta Get It Right,” “Goodbye My Friends” and the power ballad “Accidents Can Happen.”


The night’s only miscues were the “Modern Vintage” disco-funk track “Miracle,” which was too far out of step with the rest of the show’s offerings, and a cover of the Cars’ “Drive” which didn’t quite work in Sixx:A.M.’s adrenalized treatment.

Backed by a touring drummer and two female backing vocalists, Sixx and company were clearly stoked to finally be out on tour — and each of them made sure to tell the Royal Oak crowd that during the course of the show. Sixx in particular seemed energized and excited as he offered a discourse about Sixx:A.M.’s accidental birth and promised more in the future — including another album and world tour in 2016. “We’re gonna stick around,” he said, and on Tuesday he certainly had a theater full of fans who were happy to hear it.