Marquee - photo by Stacey Rose
Marquee - photo by Stacey Rose

Dirty Deeds – AC/DC Tribute The Stadium Theatre, Woonsocket, RI April 29, 2017

Story and photos by Stacey Rose

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Before we dive into a review of this band, a little must be said about this amazing theater. I adore the architecture and ornate detail in these old structures. Originally built in the 1920s by local industrialist Arthur Darman, the Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket, RI is a gorgeous holdover of the vaudeville era. It was lovingly renovated in 2001 and boasts neoclassical murals and reliefs throughout its grand halls and staircases. You might even find a ghost or two wandering the catwalk and backstage areas as well! Many people have reported seeing the ghosts of Arthur Darman and patrons of yore hanging about. The Stadium Theatre was even featured on Syfy’s Ghosthunters program back in 2009. I have been here a of couple times now and (thankfully) have not seen any spirits floating around or slamming doors, but the spectral aura does hang in the air in this beautiful old theater.

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This particular unseasonably hot evening in Rhode Island at the Stadium Theatre offered not just Dirty Deeds, an AC/DC tribute band, but Lotus Land, New England’s own Rush tribute as well. I will only be reviewing Dirty Deeds tonight for a of couple reasons. Full disclosure: my significant other is the lead singer of Lotus Land, so even though I’ve been a Rush fan since age 13 and have seen Rush close to 50 times, I know my thoughts on a Lotus Land performance, to some readers, can get lost in the personal connection and that’s not fair to anyone! Another reason is that LMNR’s own very talented contributor, Kelly D, already reviewed them this past January at Infinity Hall in Hartford, CT.

Have a look here to read her review and get your Rush/Lotus Land fix:

And now without further ado, for those about to rock, we salute Dirty Deeds! In keeping with the full disclosure theme here, I have seen Dirty Deeds before and already knew I liked them; however, I had heard that there were a couple new faces in the band, so was very keen to see how the change in lineup would pan out for the performance this evening. I gotta say they didn’t miss a beat.

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Dirty Deeds is a full-on rock show experience. They open up with a video collage and AC/DC song samples to get the audience revved up as they burst onstage with “Rock or Bust” straight into “Shoot to Thrill.” Bob Conti plays Brian Johnson better than Brian Johnson. He’s got the look. He’s got the moves. He’s got the voice and leaves all in awe at how he can pull off that well-known gruff scream the whole night without cracking once! That said, he is equally at home with the humorous nuances of Bon Scott (my personal preferred AC/DC voice.) These guys are all over the place too. You’ll find them roaming among the audience almost more than they are on stage!

Randy Mingo as Angus in complete schoolboy getup as you’d of course expect, is jumping on and off the stage running all through the audience and never once missing a note or that Angus signature frenetic vibrato – no one else has that deceivingly small detail down like Randy does, by the way, and it adds so much to the authenticity of the performance. But the spectacle was just getting started! “Back In Black” got the crowd cheering but when they started into the band’s namesake song, “Dirty Deeds,” the fans were treated to an actual bagpipe player! The lovely and talented Marybeth Sullivan-Dowdell on bagpipes was led by Bob through the crowd and onto the stage to finish it all off. That’s not enough? How about an Angus striptease to bring it home?

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These guys never stop moving. There is not a slow moment at all the whole night. Bob waved a Dirty Deeds flag as he marched through the audience while a tech carted a guitar-shredding Randy on his shoulders throughout the theater aisles. It’s a three-ring circus at times with so much going on both onstage and off. At times, you don’t know where to look. Bob and Randy upfront as Brian Johnson/Bon Scott and Angus Young really do command the stage.

You can’t forget the rhythm section though! Chris Rapoza on bass is one of the new guys I’m told and did an amazing job jumping into a well-oiled machine like this. Chris Longo on drums kept that driving beat going all night without a hitch and Mike Joly as Malcolm Young on a gorgeous white Gretsch guitar was impeccable. These guys keep the boat upright for sure. Sound and lighting by Nate Conti and Ben Ferreira should be noted as well as those are both such huge parts of the Dirty Deeds show.

The set list was packed with all the favorites that you would expect from any self-respecting AC/DC tribute continuing on with “It’s A Long Way to the Top (If You Want to Rock n Roll),” “Hells Bells,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll Train,” “Let There Be Rock,” “Money Talks,” “TNT,” “Who Made Who,” “Thunderstruck,” “Highway to Hell,” a crowd-joiner version of “You Shook Me All Night Long”/”The Girl’s Got Rhythm,” and “Whole Lotta Rosie”/”Live Wire.” Randy’s solo was a feverish romp with all the Angus moves, from the duck walk to headbanging all without sacrificing a note of musical precision and punctuated by pulling a random kid out of the audience and hauling him onto the stage with him. Turned out, the kid could play!

The band was as surprised as the rest of us and it added to the party atmosphere of audience inclusion that is a hallmark of this band. That kind of stuff is always fun and even better when you’re surprised by unexpected talent. As they wound down to the close of the show, Marybeth was brought back out for a beautiful bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace” that Bob dedicated to our troops and service men and women, police, firefighters, and emergency workers at home and abroad. It was a very tender moment to remember all we have to be thankful for. And then they brought it home with a raucous rendition of “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” complete with cannons spitting out confetti. If you like AC/DC or you just like a good old rock ‘n’ roll show, you can’t lose with Dirty Deeds. It’s an experience you won’t forget and will come away from smiling.


To submit a review or story for consideration hit us at [email protected]

Check out the Live Music News and Facebook page for more of Stacey Rose’s photos of the show.