In memoriam to Dio, S.F. metal band Space Vacation dedicates their show tonight at the Hemlock to the beloved singer, saying he had "a voice so powerful, that I never realized I was maced when I saw him play at Metal Masters!"
With their arena rock harmonies, dramatic vocals, and a tendency for guitar-god clichés, Space Vacation lauds the ways of Queen, Van Halen, of The Darkness even, with their power chords and pop hooks, their harmonics and tuning. Lyrics like "And I never thought I'd die heavy metal / with my guitar in my hand" seem irreverent (and purposely so) but not unholy. Singer Scott Shapiro's vocals open up, operatic at times, and he shows off his range, proving the band is more sincere than screwy.
Theirs is a sound that truly eases my longing for 80s metal, testifying that classic rock is not a relic relegated to the middle-aged. Playing tonight at The Hemlock (9 p.m., $6):