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Sixx:A.M. spreads a message of hope at the Midland

There’s life beyond “Shout at the Devil.”

More than 1,500 fans attended Sixx:A.M.’s concert at the Midland theater on Tuesday, a fraction of the capacity crowd that witnessed Mötley Crüe’s farewell appearance at the Sprint Center last August.

Tuesday’s reduced turnout was nonetheless a respectable showing for the project that’s expected to eventually become the primary focus of Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx.

As a member of the notoriously depraved and enormously successful hair-metal band responsible for raucous hits including “Shout at the Devil,” Sixx was one of the most prominent rock stars of the 1980s. Mötley Crüe’s final tour resumes next month.

Initially formed to create a musical companion piece to Sixx’s 2007 autobiography, “The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star,” Sixx:A.M. specializes in uplifting songs about topics including sobriety and perseverance.

Motley Crue’s music is cartoonish and colorful; Sixx:A.M.’s recordings tend to be bland and beige.

That discrepancy was rectified on Tuesday. Sixx:A.M. was refreshingly lean and hungry during its 80-minute outing. The band sounded robust and looked entirely vital.

DJ Ashba, a guitarist who moonlights in Guns N’ Roses, and vocalist James Michael are Sixx’s band mates in Sixx:A.M. The core trio was supplemented by a drummer and two background singers.

Straightforward rock songs like “Let’s Go” were balanced by the theatrical flair of “Dead Man’s Ballet” and “Miracle,” a dance track during which Sixx:A.M. resembled a muscle-bound version of the pop band Maroon 5.

Michael delivered lines like “we all fall off the wagon sometimes” on the ballad “Accidents Can Happen” with knowing compassion. “Skin,” a song of encouragement that references scripture, was even lovelier.

Even so, the evening’s most beautiful moments belonged to Apocalyptica. The best kind of novelty act -- an unusual ensemble that amuses even as it impresses -- Apocalyptica is a Finnish metal band with three cellists.

“Because we love you, we will punish you with classical music,” Eicca Toppinen said.

His band played a breakneck version of Edvard Grieg’s “Into the Hall of the Mountain King” and a gorgeous reading of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters.”

Apocalyptica’s spellbinding effort was capable of outshining many headliners. Yet the night belonged to Sixx:A.M.

Sixx spoke of using Sixx:A.M. to spread “a message of hope.” His band’s positive message was delivered with unexpected grace and undeniable power at the Midland theater.


Lets Go; Give Me a Love; Relief; This Is Gonna Hurt; Pray for Me; Dead Man's Ballet; Accidents Can Happen; Miracle; Live Forever; Gotta Get It Right; Drive; Help Is On the Way; Goodbye My Friends; Lies of the Beautiful People; Stars; Skin; Life is Beautiful.