July 19, 2009
WEARING thigh-high platform boots, Starchild face make-up, a kilt and a Gene Simmons T-shirt over massive arms covered in flame tattoos, Brett Kummer was a one-man Kiss army last night. The Halifax mechanic fashioned his concert footwear by gluing some wood to the bottom of old motorcycle boots.

"They're four-inch heels and I'm normally six-foot-two," said the gentle giant who sported a skull and crossbones necklace to the Kiss concert. "It's so I can see the band. A lot of people want to have their picture taken with me, but I just want to see Kiss, man."

Kummer, 39, wore the MacThomas clan tartan kilt because he's a proud Scot who plays bagpipes. "It's Kiss in Halifax, right? I would have brought the pipes but it's raining," he said. "It probably would have wrecked them."

Like a lot of concert-goers, Kummer and his friends donned their Kiss face paint at a pre-concert party just as the sun was crossing over the yardarm. "We started partying and drinking at noon. We had a band together, we were playing some songs and we had a good time."

Kummer bought his first Kiss Album, Love Gun, in 1977. "Back then it was either you liked the Village People or you liked Kiss, and I liked Kiss," he said.

Dan Sanchez was walking two lovely women in low-cut shirts through the concert crowd on leashes.

"We came for Kiss and to get them out of the house," said the 24-year-old Prince Edward Island man. "I can't let them off the leashes; there's laws against that," he said, tongue planted firmly in cheek. One of the women, Krista MacLeod, 26, said she's too young to remember the band's heyday.

"It pre-dates me, but my mom got me into it, so I had to come and see it," said the mother of two young children.

Mark McGrath saw Kiss recently in Montreal and flew to Halifax to catch them again. The St. John's native was sporting Starchild face makeup and a rain poncho to ward off the drenching downpours.

"You don't want to be wet for the hottest band in the world," McGrath said.

Three of his friends drove across Newfoundland and took the ferry to Nova Scotia to don their face paint and join him for last night's concert.

"Kiss is a quarto, right? You've got to be four people."

His buddy, Gerard Warfield, was wearing the Catman make-up made famous by the original Kiss drummer Peter Criss.

"I'm not going to lie, I bought my ticket last, so I had to be Peter," Warfield said. "It's pouring rain right now, so hopefully it stays on."

The 23-year-old engineer chuckled when asked how long he's been a Kiss fan.

"I'm about six-foot-four. So since I've been a foot tall, probably. My old man was a big Kiss fan, too."

Lots of people were sporting plastic bags over their bodies in an attempt to stay dry for the show. But Mark Hunter, 35, used them over his running shoes, too.

"I looked out the window of the hotel room and saw all the rain. We're going to the casino after the concert and I was like, 'There's no way I'm going with wet feet.' So I pulled the garbage bags out of the trash cans and here we are," said Hunter, who drove from P.E.I. with four friends for the concert.

He wanted to see Kiss before they vanish."I figured they'd be around for a while," said Hunter, who has been a fan since he was a kid. But I never, ever thought that I'd get a chance to see them live."

The rain washed off Zarr Livingstone's Kiss makeup long before the band took to the stage. But that didn't seem to dampen his ardour for the hard-rocking band. "I want to hear Christine Sixteen," the 28-year-old Lower Sackville resident sang out several times, delivering his best impression of the Kiss song about an underage woman.

What about the fake blood and pyrotechnics?

"Yeah, that too," Livingstone said. His friend, Ian Brown, 23, laughed when buddies poured water over his head.

"Iím really looking forward to the fireworks and the blood and the guts. And everything about Gene Simmons and his long tongue."

For some, the Kiss concert was a family affair. Stephen Arnold, 36, brought his three children, Cody, 16; Colby, eight; and Chloe, six, to the Commons all dressed in full Kiss regalia. They built the flashy costumes out of old clothes and shiny insulation.

"We did it for Halloween two years ago and it went over so well, and the kids got so into the Kiss music. .. As soon as we heard they were coming to town, it was a given we were going to do it again."

Are the kids all Kiss fans? "They are now," Arnold said.

And Halifax police reported the concert "was very successful from a policing perspective" as people appeared to be more into the music than getting into trouble.