December 23, 2009 by Publisher
December 13, 2009 at the Garage in London, England
by Alissa Ordabai
Watching the fist-pumping, sweaty and riotously jubilant crowd chanting along to the band’s bravure lyrics at London’s Garage last week, you’d never guess that all this exhilaration was taking place right bang in the middle of a dark, gloomy city hit not only by freezing temperatures, but by the worst recession it has known in the past 50 years. But then again it was Sabaton on the stage – a band capable of transforming any reality, no matter how mundane, into a fantasy of epic proportions. A band that believes in its own artistic realities so passionately, it’s difficult not to be swept over by the sheer intensity and conviction of the message they transmit.
A vision of WWII as unsophisticated as it is idiosyncratic, their act over the last five years has managed to win legions of fans the world over from their native Sweden to as far as South America, all undoubtedly due to the sheer power of Sabaton’s zeal and sincerity. Their material may be not the most complex or deepest of songs ever written about war, and having a fantastically good time while singing about one bloodbath of a battle after another may seem a bit odd to those who always look for things to moralise about, but this band has never been about introspection or attempting to analyse difficult issues. Sabaton were in London to entertain, and entertain they did.
Singer Joakim Broden, the focal point of the band, connected with the crowd from the word go, and “Ghost Division” from their latest album followed by “Art of War” were all that the audience needed to get fully involved in the proceedings. Clapping along, chanting and responding with vigorous shouts every time Broden addressed them, the crowd throughout the set presented a textbook lesson to any artist wishing know how to engage with their audience while remaining spot-on on their chops.
Despite Sabaton’s relentless emphasis on positivity, on bravado and on bringing together people of different convictions in an act of partaking in the good times, it would be wrong to dismiss them as just another clichéd act relying on fist-pumping tunes and a well-honed knack for working the crowd. Behind simple melodies and a clear “let me entertain you” message there is exceptional musicianship, a shed lot of charisma from Broden and virtuosic chops by lead guitarist Oskar Montelius whose leads are at once so exalted and so muscular, you sometimes wonder how he hasn’t been pinched by Ozzy for the post recently vacated by Zakk Wylde.
Not immediately obvious in his brilliance, Montelius could indeed well be the main force behind this outfit, capable of extending Sabaton’s message beyond the simple formula and giving it an undercurrent of poetic but at the same time powerful, dynamic musicality which is essential to turning a good band into a great band.
With the new album currently in the works, we are now probably one step closer to finding out if this Swedish quintet is capable of the transformation. Their 2001 hit “Primo Victoria” which finished the set to a riotous applause certainly showed that for years there have been seeds of future greatness germinating within this band waiting to fully sprout given the right chance and the right set of mind.
December 16, 2009 by Publisher
December 10th, 2009 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO.
by John Kindred
On a cold winters night the KISS Army invaded Kansas City. Thankfully the invasion wasn’t for another “tribute band” or a convention but to see the mighty KISS circus in its entire splendor.
With a career the spans four decades the self proclaimed “hottest band in the world” carry the torch of angst for the youth rebelling against tradition. This “youth” now spans through several generations of fans who joined the “army” in the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s and are still signing up today. Youth can be timeless as you can be young at heart forever if you never let them break your spirit.
Entering into their forth decade as the traveling rock n’ roll Cirque du Soleil. Can’t make the comparison? Ya right. Then you don’t get what KISS brings to the table each and every night they perform before their legion of fans.
Pyrotechnics, furious decibels of sound, spectacular lighting production, incredible video presentations and a mammoth video screen are the center piece to the audio and visual assault on your mind. And all this would be pointless without the music. KISS again rewards their fans with songs that don’t languish on political or socials themes, but instead delivers the party-rock-vibe of sexual innuendo laced fist pumping rock anthems.
In this age of the “internet” even YouTube videos can’t capture the magic of the “live” setting. Even if the script of the show follows a familiar theme, those newly indoctrinated would not know this, the energy and spectacle of it all ultimately strikes you with a sensation of awe.
What bands these days perform for over 2 hours? What band has the catalog of music to even come close? Truly only those with a legacy built on the foundations of the ‘70s. And of those bands few are still young enough at heart and physically healthy enough to tour. Only one of them can bring such a visual exhibition that gives fans a true rock n’ roll show.
The KISS Alive/35 Tour celebrates the release of the bands first live album Alive!, as well as promotes the release of their latest studio album Sonic Boom. KISS is a band that set the bar for the most spectacular, bombastic live concert you are ever going to see. Not many can follow in their footsteps.
KISS Set List:
Let Me Go Rock n Roll
Hotter Than Hell
Modern Day Delilah
Gene bass interlude
I Love It Loud
Rock n’ Roll All Night
Shout It Out Loud
Lick It Up
Detroit Rock City
KISS Photo Gallery
KISS Video Gallery
December 8, 2009 by Publisher
November 19th, 2009 at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA.
by Deb Rao
Christmas is just around the corner and what better way to get into the Holiday Spirit than listening to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Every Christmas season, TSO comes to the DCU Center in Worcester, MA. This year I thought it was time to check out the rave reviews that I have been hearing about the Holiday mega-event. Prior to the event, it was announced that the TSO concert was sold out. It was no surprise with the caliber of musicians that are featured in the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. There are two different touring entourages for the East and West Coast event. The East Coast entourage is listed below.
Some of the musical guests included ex-Savatage guitarist Chris Caffery who was featured on guitar along with Alex Skolnick of Testament. James Lewis was on vocals and Jeff Plate from Machines of Grace and ex-Savatage was one of the featured drummers. Plus an amazing orchestra led by featured violinist Anna Phoebe.
The evening started out with a Narrator, who set the stage for Christmas Eve. In which the stated was the most magical night of the year. The event featured a state of the art sound system dynamic pyro, lasers, flash pods, snow, and magnificent lightning. The arena was lit up like a Christmas tree. The music was overwhelmingly beautiful as the first part of the show consisted of Christmas Carols. The spirit and true meaning of Christmas was displayed with great passion, as the musician played and sang every note with much conviction.
Part two of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert consisted of selections from their latest album Night Castle. After the concert, there was a meet and greet, and I had the to talk opportunity with drummer Jeff Plate. Plate commented about the tour and new Night Castle album, ”The shows have been full. We’ve have had some very great and excited audiences. We had our fingers crossed this year knowing the people are having some difficulties. Non-the less the venues have been full. The new Night Castle CD is out. Which I am sure has generated some more interest in and brought some newer people into the audience. So far so good. The show is once again way over the top. They have added some more production. They have changed some things; the show is certainly different than last year and much better in many respects.”
“There are several songs on there which come from the old days and the old Savatage catalog. One of them is “Believe,” which we actually started doing this song live last year finally when the CD was finished. There is another snippet of the old “Prelude to Madness” is now called “Mountain.” It is an instrumental piece. There are certainly other instrumental parts and pieces from some old Savatage stuff that has made its way into the TSO music.”
TSO East Coast Line-up
Robert Kinkel – Keyboard, Music Director
Luci Butler – Keyboards
Chris Caffery – Guitar
Alex Skolnick – Guitar
Johnny Lee Middleton – Bass
Anna Phoebe – Violin
Jeff Plate – Drums
Bryan Hicks – Narrator
Steve Broderick – Vocals
Rob Evan – Vocals
Alexa Goddard – Vocals
Tim Hockenberry – Vocals
Jodi Katz – Vocals
Danielle Landherr – Vocals
James Lewis – Vocals
Jay Pierce – Vocals
Valentina Porter – Vocals
December 7, 2009 by Publisher
November 28th, 2009 at 4th and B in San Diego, CA.
by Deb Rao
The holiday season got off to a rockin’ start Thanksgiving weekend as Dokken/Lynch Mob hit the West Coast for a special performance at the 4th and B in San Diego on Nov. 28. This was my first time in the Bay City and I was excited to check out the city and concert tonight.
Dokken has been touring non-stop this year. The band recently performed in Japan at the Loud Park Festival. Also, on the bill that night at Loud Park was Lynch Mob. At the end of Dokken’s set in Japan, George Lynch joined Dokken onstage for the encore “Tooth And Nail.” So when the West Coast shows were announced with Dokken/Lynch Mob, I knew I had to see history in the making once again when singer Don Dokken told me George may join the band onstage once again at the West Coast shows.
There were two opening bands before Lynch Mob hit the stage at 9:30 P.M. If you ever have been to the 4th and B, if kind of reminds me of the Channel in Boston with seats. The venue had folding chairs in front of the stage and a balcony. The rest of the club was general admission on the side and holds about 900 people. Tonight the show was packed to see Dokken and Lynch Mob.
It has been 12 years since I have seen George Lynch perform. Hitting the stage at 9:30 P.M. Lynch Mob gave a strong bluesy 60 – minute performance. Highlights of the set included “River Of Love” and “Wicked Sensation,” and George’s “Mr. Scary” guitar solo. Lynch Mob also has a new album out called Smoke And Mirrors and performed two songs off of it including “Revolution Hero” and “21ST Century Man.” George seemed kind of quiet sporting his baseball hat at the end of the stage but things warmed up rather quickly as the set rolled on.
Anticipation filled the air, as the Dokken logo was unveiled. Many fans were wondering if George would perform with Dokken tonight and soon the question was about to be answered.. Dokken hit the stage at 10:30 P.M. for a blockbuster 75 – minute set filled with many surprises. Opening with “Just Got Lucky”, Dokken main man Don Dokken dressed in black, sporting a beard and sunglasses took full command of the stage. Dokken performed a vast array of all of their hits including “The Hunter” and “Alone Again.” Don commented, “You shouldn’t be at a Dokken concert if you don’t want to sing.” Don also played guitar on “Into The Fire”, and “Breakin’ The Chains.” Although Don and Mick Brown were suffering from the flu, the band gave 100 percent. In show business, you don’t get a day off and the show must go on and Dokken did not disappoint tonight.
Guitarist Jon Levin was smokin on guitar. He performed with much enthusiasm and precision. It has been amazing how the band has grown so much in twelve years since George Lynch has left Dokken. One of the highlights of the concert was the performance of the new song, “This Fire.” This song is one of the best tunes off of Lightning Strikes Again. One of the other highlights of the set was the jam on “It’s Not Love” as the medley of the song turned into the old Free hit,”Alright Now.”
Dokken performed hard and heavy on the last song of the evening, “Tooth And Nail.” As the band walked off stage the fans were wondering was George Lynch going to perform on the encore? Tonight in San Diego, history was made once again. It has been twelve years, 1997 to be exact since George Lynch performed on the same stage with Dokken. As the band walked onstage sure enough George Lynch walked out too. As Dokken began to crank out “In My Dreams”, it was so great to see Dokken guitarist Jon Levin and George Lynch performing dueling guitar riffs. I hope this double bill is a prelude to a summer concert tour with both bands next year. In this sagging economy, the fans here tonight got more bang for their buck with the double bill. It was inspiring to see two of the ’80s top bands performing together once again.
Just Got Lucky
Kiss Of Death
Breakin’ The Chains
Into The Fire
Too High Too Fly
Tooth And Nail
In My Dreams
December 5, 2009 by Publisher
September 14th, 2009 at Backstage Studio Productions in Kingston, NY.
by Joe Mis
To the fullest extent of the cliché, it was a dark and stormy night in upstate New York on Sept. 14, 2009. The weather kept the crowds down, and that may have been the best thing. There is no better way to enjoy a live club show than with a peaceful, small (but appreciative) crowd. In the beautiful lounge of Backstage Studio Productions in Kingston, the handful of fans were treated to a fabulous doubleheader of progressive music – Elysium Theory from the prog metal side, and the Eppard Brothers from the prog rock side. While neither act is a household name (yet) even among the rock faithful, both were tight and professional, and both sets were enthusiastic and well done.
Elysium Theory is a local upstate New York act on the verge of releasing their first CD, so for the moment, they are still unknown outside of the Hudson Valley, but they have a bright future ahead. The Eppard Brothers, on the other hand, may be better-known performers – Joey Eppard is the guitar virtuoso, vocalist and driving force behind the prog rock band 3, and brother Josh is the former drummer for 3 and Coheed & Cambria, and currently of Weerd Science as well as the Eppard Brothers.
Elysium Theory kicked off the show with a 10-song set. Most, if not all of the songs performed will be on their debut CD (tentatively titled Modern Alchemy) due for an early 2010 release. If there is such a thing as “blue-collar” progressive metal, this five-piece band is the epitome. Formed in 2006, Elysium Theory is not a bunch of kids, and it is obvious from their technical skills that they’ve been playing their chosen instruments for a while. All well established in other careers, the members of the band got together and seem to stay together because of their love of music and performing. Influenced by Dream Theater, Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree, Elysium Theory blends elements from each into a cohesive and well-structured whole without being a “sound-alike” or copy band.
Dan Peterson sings lead, and has a solid range and good stage presence. His voice does remind one of Dream Theater’s James LaBrie tuned down a few steps – which works well with their music. Tim Reid (guitar) and Benny Reyes (keyboards) are both fine players, and both know how to take the lead and when to fade into the background as the music dictates. Ted Feeney (drums) and Jeff Fister (bass) make a great bottom end, and both get their chances to show off and have turn driving the music.
Elysium Theory’s songs are put together well and musically solid. Toss in some metaphysical lyrics, and you have a new band that is ready to take the next step. Highlights of their set were “Modern Alchemy,” “Blacklight Reflection,” “Chaos” and “The Source.” The only negative of their performance was probably due to the acoustics in such a small place – at times, it was difficult to clearly hear the vocals over the rest of the band. All in all, this was a great set by a band that with just a little more experience will be ready to dance with the big guys.
Prog Metal fans – check ‘em out at: http://www.myspace.com/elysiumtheory
The Eppard Brothers took the stage and began a totally improvised set of music. Based in Woodstock, Joey Eppard and his brother Josh have been making music together and apart for a number of years. Founding members of 3, they’ve played with some of the biggest names in modern rock – everyone from Coheed & Cambria to Scorpions. 3 has always been a unique band, and in their own wordsk, they are “known as a band apart: Dark yet uplifting, spiritual without connection to religion…” Their music is difficult to describe; blues-based progressive rock maybe. For this gig, Josh and Joey were joined by longtime 3 bassist Daniel Grimsland.
The Eppard Brothers put on a great show. Joey’s voice was in top form – and something very special happens when this man picks up a guitar. He moved from acoustic to electric and back during the course of the show and used his very unique fingerpicking style throughout. His intensity, as usual, was scary – he gets into a “zone” in much the same way as does a pro athlete at the top of their game. Joey plays with the same focus whether he’s in front of thousands at a festival, hundreds at a theater or dozens at a club. Josh played killer drums, and gets an amazing amount of sounds from and extremely small kit – a bass drum, one snare, one tom, a single cymbal and a hi-hat. He plays with incredible enthusiasm, and you can’t help but wonder how he simply does not knock over his gear. Daniel Grimsland brought his five-stirng bass, sense of humor and backing voice, and gave the trio some great bottom end.
The Eppard Brother’s set was unrehearsed, so they spent a good deal of time interacting with the crowd, taking requests, and having a good time in general. Thus the set was a varied one. They went back to some early stuff and played a good deal of 3’s music without missing a beat. Once they decided on a song, they played it at 100 percent and put on a fabulous show. Highlights were “In America,” “Paint By Number,” “Broadway Alien” and “Lay Down The Law.” Joey wrapped the show with his trademark guitar solo “Bramfatura” – an unbelievably complex piece that will astonish anyone who’s ever picked up the instrument (check it out on YouTube – search for JOEY EPPARD BRAMFATURA).
The refreshing part of this whole show was the intimacy of the club. Both bands were there not to sell merchandise or promote themselves, but to make music for their hometown friends and families. The Eppards were hanging out in the crowd during ET’s set, and the guys from ET did likewise while the Eppards were on – a great show of mutual respect and support. If you have the opportunity to catch either of these bands live, you will not be disappointed.
November 24, 2009 by Publisher
November 14th, 2009 at Uptown Theater in Kansas City, MO.
by Gary Dean Ash
Ron Zombie’s first headlining tour since ’07 in support of the forthcoming release of The Hellbilly Deluxe 2. Zombie’s longtime bandmates–guitarist John 5, bassist Piggy D and drummer Tommy Clufetos– join him on the trek, as will Nekromantix and Captain Clegg & the Night Creature, who open all shows.
Rob Zombie 2009 Photo Gallery
October 12th, 2009 at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, PA.
by Steve Trager
Perhaps KISS is one of those bands that can send a chill down your spine with all their pyrotechnics and eye-popping stage productions that has outshined more then 35 consecutive years as a band. There is that unmistakable introduction to each and every show, “You wanted the best … You’ve got the best!” KISS is the hottest band in the world.
KISS always has been about their live shows. It doesn’t matter how many albums have been recorded, how many singles they have collected or how many line-up changes they have undergone, it still is and always is KISS. It seems like just yesterday KISS entered the rock world in the late ‘70s and has acquired fan after fan with their unique style of creativity as a unit. You never can grow out of a legendary band like KISS, no matter who comes along in the music world these days. With a new CD, Sonic Boom, in the stores the band continues to prove their relevancy.
The Alive/35 Tour celebrates the release of the bands first live album Alive!. The tour is about one of the most celebrated live albums of all-time. Alive! is an album that set the standard for all other live records released by other artists and bands to be compared to. This tour features more “bang for your buck” as Paul Stanley puts it … dozens of pyrotechnics throughout the entire show, along with furious decibels of sound and a great lighting production that only KISS can deliver live. Kiss performs a majority of the songs that appeared on Alive! as well as the new song “Modern Day Delilah” and the classic “Love Gun,” “Cold Gin,” “Lick It Up,” “Shout It Out Loud” and “Detroit Rock City.”
It was a great show as fans were treated to the antics of fire-breathing and blood-spitting stage theatrics along with a nice drum solo from Eric Singer. It is always a nice treat to hear those great classics that included ‘80s epic classic “Lick It Up.” Just under two solid hours, KISS delivered yet another stellar performance in Philadelphia on the Alive/35 Tour. Each performance is like none other; louder, brighter and more explosive then before. Even with a pricy ticket to this show, it’s still a great, in depth treat to reminisce of the older KISS gems that span almost four decades worth of material.
KISS Set List:
03. Modern Day Delilah
04. Hotter Than Hell
05. Come On And Love Me
06. Watchin’ You
07. Got To Choose
08. I Love It Loud
11. 100,000 Years
12. Black Diamond
13. Rock And Roll All Nite
14. Shout It Out Loud
15. Lick It Up
16. Love Gun
17. Cold Gin
18. Detroit Rock City
Kiss with Buckcherry 2009 Photo Gallery
Thu 10/22/09 Sunrise, FL BankAtlantic Center
Sat 10/24/09 Birmingham, AL BJCC Arena
Mon 10/26/09 Atlanta, GA Philips Arena
Wed 10/28/09 Nashville, TN Sommet Center
Thu 10/29/09 North Little Rock, AR Verizon Arena
Sat 10/31/09 New Orleans, LA New Orleans City Park
Fri 11/06/09 Chicago, IL United Center
Sat 11/07/09 Minneapolis, MN Target Center
Mon 11/09/09 Winnipeg, MB MTS Centre
Tue 11/10/09 Saskatoon, SK Credit Union Centre
Thu 11/12/09 Calgary, AB Pengrowth Saddledome
Sat 11/14/09 Vancouver, BC General Motors Place
Sun 11/15/09 Seattle, WA KeyArena At Seattle Center
Tue 11/17/09 Portland, OR Rose Garden Arena
Thu 11/19/09 Sacramento, CA ARCO Arena
Sat 11/21/09 Fresno, CA Save Mart Center
Sun 11/22/09 Oakland, CA Oracle Arena
Tue 11/24/09 Anaheim, CA Honda Center
Wed 11/25/09 Los Angeles, CA Staples Center
Fri 11/27/09 San Diego, CA San Diego Sports Arena
Sat 11/28/09 Las Vegas, NV Pearl Concert Theater
Tue 12/01/09 Glendale, AZ Jobing.com Arena
Wed 12/02/09 El Paso, TX University Of Texas
Fri 12/04/09 Austin, TX Frank Erwin Center
Sat 12/05/09 Houston, TX Toyota Center
Sun 12/06/09 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
Tue 12/08/09 Tulsa, OK BOK Center
Thu 12/10/09 Kansas City, MO Sprint Center
Fri 12/11/09 Council Bluffs, IA Mid-America Center
Sun 12/13/09 Pittsburgh, PA Mellon Arena
Tue 12/15/09 Sault Ste. Marie, ON Essar Centre
October 23, 2009 by Publisher
October 9, 2009 at Highbury Garage, London, UK
by Alissa Ordabai
Continuing to road-test their new album Pine / Cross Dover released earlier this year, the godfathers of desert rock Masters of Reality have played this current tour’s London show on October 9 at the Highbury Garage. The 700-capacity venue was full on the night with the crowd giving as enthusiastic a response as a UK crowd can ever give on a murky English autumn night.
Despite the 5-year break which separates the new record from MOR’s previous release, the 2004’s Give Us Barabbas, the show has proven that this band’s approach to making music hasn’t changed. The new album presents the same trademark mix of blues, indie rock, ’80s pop, ’60s surf guitars, minimalist synth-driven prog-rock, trippy psychedelic and the same penchant for stoner blues riffs repeated ad infinitum. Plus Chris Goss’ voice hasn’t changed one bit. To this day it sounds remarkably fresh and young, which in a live setting provides for an extraordinary contrast between Goss’s craggy stance of a weathered bluesman and the bright, unsullied, at times deceptively amiable sound of his voice.
MOR’s message remains the same too – sombre and with a tendency to obsess over simple harmonic ideas, it still unifies the band’s disparate influences into one distinct whole through sheer determination and single-mindedness of their focus – a remarkable achievement for a band whose inspiration sources have always been more diverse than the crowd that came out to see them on the night.
The Garage on the night was heaving with punters ranging from pony-tailed beer-gut biker types to svelte indie kids of both genders, all giving an equally enthusiastic reception both to the new material and the old hits which included “Lover’s Sky,” “100 Years,” “Deep in the Hole,” “Third Man on the Moon,” “She Got Me” and the epic road-trip that is “V.H.V”.
It takes a special kind of musician to hold the crowd’s attention for long with an expansive blues jam workout, but Gross is exactly that kind of performer – someone who is able to create his own environment without putting on airs and to take his listeners on a journey which is at once phantasmic but at the same time utterly compelling.
“V.H.V” is, of course, one of those songs and on the night this multi-layered, infectious slowburner was performed perfectly. Its familiar propulsive blues groove – at once ominous and hypnotic, became the perfect platform for Goss to tap into the well of Morrison-esque shamanism – weary, dark and frayed, before building the piece up to a crescendo and going into a climatic guitar solo. And this was a perfect opportunity for him to show what he is capable of as an instrumentalist and what lies at the heart of his musicianship.
Goss’s guitar parts are arguably the best and the most unique feature of him as an artist, at privileged moments providing the direct immediate connection to his personal musical vision like nothing else does. This time it was all about muscular, unvarnished, at times deliberately grisly and sludgy and at times sublime guitar craft. Almost a revelatory moment, it made you realise that beyond all of MOR’s received musical forms and Goss’s gift for to turning them into a personal form of expression, it is still his guitar solos where he is at his most authentic self and where he is most compelling.
Despite the band’s conflicting urges which take them from guitar pop to blues and from there to moody avant-garde electronica, no matter how wild or how contradictory things get, they always manage to find focus amid the maelstrom while at the same time entertaining their audience. A lot of it is down to the band’s laconic, uncluttered powerhouse of a rhythm section propelled by John Leamy’s hard-hitting, full-bodied drumming. This is what makes those extrapolations possible, and what floats Goss confidence, which becomes evident live.
To sum up, if anyone is left wondering if after 23 years we should still care about Masters of Reality or if this band is still relevant, the answer is a resounding yes. For as long as people are not afraid of surrendering to music which is capable of taking them to weird, unexpected and mystical places, there will be a place for bands like Masters of Reality. And as long as they carry on making music authentically and sincerely, this is all they are going to need to remain in demand.
October 20, 2009 by Managing Editor
by Derric Miller
If you want to experience some good times at the gates of hell, you’d best be driving a ’76 Firebird, drinking insatiably and cranking Zero Down. In the studio, this Seattle-based band has released two blackout-inducing efforts that begged the question: could they pull off this manic energy live? If you were at the Oct. 16 show at the El Corazon in Seattle, Wash., your answers were flung back at your melon with a resounding “hell yeah!” and then some …
Opening for Faster Pussycat and playing before a few other bands, Zero Down warmed up briefly (as opening acts are cursed to do) and with little ado, and rammed “Loud, Proud & Evil” down your throat. Speaking of throats, frontman Mark “Hawk” Hawkinson is almost King Diamond-like in the flexibility of his vocal delivery. It’s typically a heavy yet melodic lower yelling style, like a more melodic and talented Billy Milano, or this insane falsetto that certainly couldn’t be screeching from this big dude’s maw. But it was … and it was awesome.
Being a local act, they were a little more attended than the opening acts, but Zero Down took the braver route and played four new tracks instead of relying on their past draw. So, while the crowd cheered and guzzled along, it wasn’t until they hit “Good Times at the Gates of Hell” that crowd participation reached its peak.
“Good Times at the Gates of Hell” is taken from their ’04 release, the title track. Maniacal, infectious, hilarious yet 100 percent Metal, the band shredded the stage and new guitarist Matt Fox (since February) showed exactly why he was in Zero Down. While bassist Ron Banner, guitarist Lenny Burnett and Hawk mugged for the crowd with honest and playful metal glee, Fox tore into frenetic and expert leads while drummer Tyler Lyndsey somehow rose above the characters and the guitar-hero to steal the spotlight. One thing you are going to stumble away thinking after seeing a Zero Down live show — Tyler is one powerful drummer.
“Firebird ’76″ is probably their biggest hit song, even if it’s not a “radio” hit. It’s really a clinic in Metal 101 songwriting, with fierce and memorable vocals and melodies, wicked guitar leads and thrummingly sexy bass line, and of course, the bludgeoning and precise drum blasts. If you haven’t heard Zero Down yet, at least check out this song on their MySpace page.
They closed their set as professionals, thanking Faster Pussycat numerous times, thanking the crowd, and launching into their one cover, Van Halen’s “Everybody Wants Some.” For the most part, they followed the song perfectly, with Hawk shrieking out those rabid Roth squeals and Fox nailing the complicated guitar solo.
The El Corazon, although a smaller venue, is a renowned Seattle rock club, and those attending could appreciate seeing a real metal band play. No gimmicks or false bravado, just kick ass and fun heavy metal, that’s what Zero Down delivers, live and in the studio. If and when they play around your parts, you’d best check them out.
Loud, Proud & Evil
Fistful of Dynamite
Year of the Rat
Knock Out Brigade
Good Times at the Gates of Hell
Everybody Wants Some (Van Halen cover)
(Note: To whoever stole my half-drunk beer from my table as I was taking pictures, I always backwash everything I drink, and I had trenchmouth at the time. So enjoy …)
October 10th, 2009 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO.
by Mike Allen
Staind put on a great show at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., on Oct. 10, 2009. Aaron Lewis and his band were on fire throughout their set, bringing the crowd of about 7,000 people to their feet. The opening song, “Spleen,” while sounding a bit “Death Metalish,” certainly set the tone for the band. Lewis, while not big on posing, certainly holds his own vocally. A no-nonsense rocker, Lewis always keeps a very serious look on his face, doesn’t talk much between songs and communicates more through attitude and lyrics. It was a pretty “dark” and raw set, which was very much the opposite of the band they were supporting. Highlights of the Staind show were, “Right Here,” “So Far Away,” “It’s Been Awhile” and the show closer, “Mudshovel,” which is a very grungy and heavy rocker.
This writer’s favorite part of the show was when Lewis took center stage. He sat down on a chair with a spotlight on him and his guitar while leading the crowd through a very melodramatic version of “Outside” as the crowd swayed in back and forth, singing aloud. It was something Lewis definitely appreciated.
Set List: Spleen, Falling, Fade, Right Here, This Is It, So Far Away, For You, Outside, All I Want, It’s Been Awhile, Mudshovel.
As headliners, Creed took the stage, the tone of the evening changed dramatically. Fire lit up the back of the stage and the cutting, balls-to-the-wall shredding of guitar virtuoso, Mark Tremonti let loose. The crowd went completely ballistic as Stapp jumped on stage. “We’re Back!” Stapp yelled out, which was followed by an eruption of fire, explosions and pyrotechnics that lit up the entire Sprint Center. Creed was tight and on fire as they blazed through “Bullet,” the show’s opener.
The band sounded extremely tight and polished. The mix was perfect; everyone could be heard very distinctly. That’s a great thing, until you notice that there is Stapp had a tendency to fall out of tune pretty consistently throughout the night. He sounded very strained.While this writer likes Stapp’s voice, it seems as though Stapp may have had a problem with his in-ear monitors. If the band was tuned to 440, then Stapp was tuned to 439! He was falling flat throughout the night. When he sang quietly, he was right on, but more often than not, throughout the entire show, Stapp was straining and singing too loud to fit the songs.
Stapp fits the role of a rock star, as he is very buff and has outstanding stage presence. The camaraderie Creed shows on stage gives the impression that the band has moved beyond their past and is having fun.
All that said, Creed still delivered a very energetic and uplifting show. Lyrically, vocals, arrangements, light show, effects, you name it, were uplifting. This had all the makings of an incredible rock and roll concert. Even with being distracted at times with Stapp’s inability to stay in key, his distinct style and delivery more than made up for his weakness.
“What If” was probably the best-performed song of the night. This song allowed Tremonti to ad-lib with Stapp and do a little shredding, something that he did more of in his other band, Alter Bridge. Creed had a second guitarist who played mostly rhythm during the set, and even he had a chance to shine and play off Tremonti during their little jam.
An electric mandolin was a nice surprise at the beginning of “Are You Ready.” The song sounded very sonic, and the crowd was pumping their fists throughout the number.
Hits like “My Sacrifice,” “One,” “One Last Breath” and “What’s This Life For” went over nicely.
They played three new songs, “Overcome” (which again, Tremonti is finally allowed to FLEX his playing ability!), “Faceless Man” and “Rain.” Rain had a very cool backdrop with sparks falling down over Stapp and Tremonti while they played, standing over the drum riser. Creed has one of the best light shows. The show is a must-see for fans of hi-tech pyrotechnics.
A Thousand Faces
Are You Ready?
What’s This Life For?
With Arms Wide Open
One Last Breath
October 8th, 2009 at The Underworld Plub in London, England.
by Alissa Ordabai
London’s Underworld club to this day remains the epicentre of London’s rock scene, throughout its 20-year history having hosted a plethora of rock’n’roll luminaries – from Smashing Pumpkins to Sepultura – and still continuing to showcase the best of established as well as newcoming talent. Given the recession, however, full house at the Underworld these days is a rare occasion. But Richie Kotzen has still managed to sell out the first date of his current UK tour last week with fans desperately walking up and down the street even after the show has already started, begging scalpers for tickets – a strange and at the same time exciting sight which confirms that Kotzen to this day remains not only one of the most respected of the guitar heroes of his generation, but also an international phenomenon with as varied a following as you could imagine.
The audience on the night showcased almost the entire spectrum of London’s rock community: young aspiring musicians, guitar geeks, blues fans, metalheads, teenage music fans, and women in their 30s clad in animal print who to this day count themselves in as fans of glam metal. Having played in London five years ago, Kotzen could, perhaps, not quite predict who would turn up to see him this time around, and maybe the audience equally didn’t know what to expect. What the show in the end became, turned out to be illuminating in more ways than one.
Promoting his new studio album Peace Sign on this tour, Kotzen presented himself, first of all, as a composer whose songwriting style continues to develop as he delves deeper into explorations of funk, blues and rock. On the other hand, his guitar playing on the night put through messages that went beyond any premeditated songwriting form, beyond verbal lyricism, and even beyond his highly commendable singing. The way Kotzen is able to channel the purely intuitive magic while he plays his improvised solos remains the pivotal and the most important aspect of him as a musician, the golden nugget at the centre of his well-balanced act.
Throughout the show Kotzen put a lot of feel, weight, and thought into the guitar leads of practically each composition he played, but his most expansive, most richly articulated guitar messages emerged on “Fooled Again” and “I’m Losing You”. Those were the moments of a pure force of nature taking over, that primary impulse, that intuitive magic which is at the heart of all improvised music. You can’t put a price on these flashes of artistic insight, especially these days when they are becoming increasingly rare in live situations, in rock music especially, so the audience – some on an intuitive level, some very consciously – instantly recognised those spontaneous gems and responded fabulously, welcoming Kotzen with the best response an English crowd can give.
In terms of sheer all-around virtuosity the highlights of the show have been many, including the perfectly crafted, instantly memorable songs from the new album (“Paying Dues” and the title track “Peace Sign”) which received as much applause as did his all-time crowd favourites “You Can’t Save Me” and “Remember”.
The set list has been eclectic, based mostly on the material Kotzen released this decade but also including covers of his 1960s heroes including Dylan’s (or should we say Hendrix’s?) “All Along the Watchtower,” the Yardbirds’ “Shapes of Things” and the Four Tops’ “Reach Out I’ll be There.”
“All Along the Watchtower” initially sounded like a disappointment, stalling for the first few verses, but when time to came for the solo, Kotzen really let it rip with fretboard fireworks that lit up faces all across the room – a completely unexpected, raw-edged interpretation of the classic that showed that when used with real artistic purpose, lightning-fast chops to this day remain as indelible a requisite in an arsenal of a certain type of guitar player as being able to strum chords.
Kotzen often says that to him his guitar playing and his singing are equally important components of his art, but while they are both, certainly, essential to the presentation of his act as a unified whole, what Kotzen is able to achieve through his guitar playing in terms of spontaneous gestures of the spirit, bears an altogether deeper message than his perfectly honed vocal chops.
At the same time, the appeal of Kotzen’s music is so wide-ranging that those in London who would never have come out to watch just a guitar shredder did come out on the night to hear the tunes, to hear Kotzen sing and, last, but not least – watch him perform, because despite the small stage allowing little space for manoeuvre, Kotzen came through as an elegant, graceful visual performer, adding a subtle but still indispensable visual element to his act which to this day remains as entertaining and as authentic as ever.
September 25th, 2009 at The Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, MO.
by Mike Allen
Shooting Star is a band that always packs a punch and never lets the crowd walk away disappointed. Their level of musicianship is so high, that they were, by far, the most professional and talented band of the evening. From the opening of “Tonight,” to the ever popular radio hit, “Last Chance,” each song was played with energy and excitement. Although they’ve been performing more than 30 years, they sound like a band that still has a lot to prove. From every aspect of their show, they keep it alive. Van McLain, who recently had surgery on his left hand, played like he hasn’t played since his early days with Shooting Star. His licks were precise, fast and full of energy.
Janet Jameson, the band’s violinist who has been in the band for a little more than a year, is such a welcome addition to the band. She is the newest member of the band, yet she plays like she’s been there since its inception. The way she and Van are able to “duel” is incredible and a complete eye-opener. Not only that, she has incredible stage presence. She also adds a lot to the depth to the background vocals. Her playing on “Flesh and Blood” is nothing short of phenomenal. She and Van pull off duels during their shows, but last night, they really hit it hard and heavy. During the middle of “Hang on for Your Life,” as they were dueling, it was apparent that Van was sort of challenging her. Van even threw in a riff from “Cat Scratch Fever,” and without missing a beat, Janet mimicked him right back with a smile and a “one up” riff back at him!
Ronnie Platt, who’s been singing with Shooting Star for more than two years now, just gets better with every show. He’s certainly at the level of guys like Steve Perry and Kevin Chalfant. Platt is starting to own the songs that he was once merely covering with Shooting Star. He throws in his own little twists now and then but keeps it totally respectful in his approach, so he doesn’t take away from the originality.
The song “You’ve Got Love,” which is a timing nightmare for anyone trying to air drum or air guitar to, was pulled off with ease. Steve Thomas, who sounds like he’s doing the work of at least three drummers, always manages to lay down an incredible groove with this number.
Dennis Laffoon’s keyboard solo last night was something to remember. He plays voice sounds instead of keyboard sounds, and makes it sound like a really jazzed-up choir. Not only does Laffoon play keys, he’s also the bass player with an incredible left hand. Capping off the show was Ronnie Platt playing the timpani drums up in the balcony of the stage; this brought a standing ovation from the Kansas City audience. All in all, Shooting Star owned their hometown crowd last night.
Shooting Star 2009 Photo Gallery
September 28th, 2009 at The Beamont Club in Kansas City, MO.
by John Kindred
DragonForce headling tour in support of their latest studio release Ultra Beatdown made it’s stop in Kansas City. The fall tour runs through October 11 and makes it’s final stop in Philadelphia. This will probably be the band’s final U.S. tour in support of their most recent album, Ultra Beatdown.
With Sonata Arctica, as well as DragonForce labelmates Taking Dawn, opening the show, metal fans are sure to enjoy several genres of metal. That being heavy, progressive and power metal. Dragonforce’s latest power-riff fueled opus, Ultra Beatdown, was unleashed upon the world last August. With the support of Roadrunner Records the band continues to deliver it’s music to the world.
Sonata Arctica’s new CD, The Days Of Grays, was just released on Nuclear Blast Records.
Dragonforce/Sonata Arctica 2009 Photo Gallery
9/29/2009 Cabooze On The West Bank Minneapolis, MN
9/30/2009 House of Blues Chicago, IL
10/2/2009 Sound Academy Toronto, ONT
10/3/2009 Le Medley Montreal, QUE
10/4/2009 Theatre Imperial Quebec City, QUE
10/6/2009 The Fillmore New York At Irving Plaza New York, NY
10/7/2009 Rams Head Live Baltimore, MD
10/9/2009 The Palladium Worcester, MA
10/10/2009 Chance Poughkeepsie, NY
10/11/2009 Theater of Living Arts Philadelphia, PA
September 25th, 2009 at The Backyard Beamont Club in Kansas City, MO.
by John Kindred
With autumn at our doorstep, Tesla stopped in Kansas City to play the Backyard at the Beaumont Club. The outdoor venue is an intimate setting that could probably hold a little more than 1,000 people. With a stage set up on a flat-bed, 18-wheel trailer, the venue truly is standing room only as there are no seats; just concrete, grass and dirt.
Battling the possible threat of a down pour of rain, Tesla took the stage to perform what felt like an accelerated set. Touring in support of their latest studio album Forever More, the band took the stage and opened with the self-titled song the also opens the new record.
Jeff Keith and company; drummer Troy Luccketta, bassist Brian Wheat and guitarists Frank Hannon and Dave Rude, brought their A-game and served up their signature roots-laden, ‘70s-inspired hard rock upon the crowd. Tesla performed for nearly and hour and half and beat the ominous, suspected down pour of rain. That really turned out to be a light rain shower beginning three songs before the end of their set.
The band played several songs from the new album “Forever More,” “I Wanna Live,” “Breaking Free” and “So What!” The music fit in amongst their hits and fan favorites; “Love Song,” “Modern Day Cowboy,” “Hang Tuff” and, of course, their cover of “Signs.”
The showmanship and musicianship of Tesla is not lacking on any front. Guitarist Rave Rudd appears to not only fill the role left by Tommy Skoech, but now after recording and touring, he has become an integral part of the band. Together, Hannon and Rudd play off each others riffs and rhythms with ease and fluidity. They performed harmony solos to perfection. Also impressive was their acoustic guitar work that opens up “Love Song.” With Rudd playing a bluesy lead and Hannon playing a classical arrangement underneath, they showcased the melodic softer side of the band.
Keith’s voice may not be as sharp as it was in the ‘80s, but he still had enough edge to deliver the new and older material with purpose. Luccketta’s drumming is loud and powerful, and he and Wheat provide the bottom end and pulse of the band.
Obvious crowd favorites included “Modern Day Cowboy,” “Paradise” and “Love Song.” The new material appeared to be known to the audience as they sang along in a spirited frenzy. The set never seemed to hit a lull as the band rocked whether doing their hard, faster songs or slower mid-tempo songs.
Fans probably wanted more music, but considering the venue and the weather, all in all, the fans got their money’s worth.
I Wanna Live
Modern Day Cowboy
Into The Now
Comin’ Atcha Live
Tesla 2009 Photo Gallery
September 19, 2009 by Publisher
September 15th, 2009 at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.
by Chris A.
They are arguably the most important and influential heavy metal band of all time. In the 25-plus years they have existed, Metallica have achieved unimaginable success and have experienced the ultimate depths of despair. From death of original bassis Cliff Burton in a tragic vehicle accident in 1986 and most recently rebounding from the tumultuous “St Anger/Some Kind of Monster” period of touchy-feely introspection and “quasi-experimental” music, the classic heavy metal Metallica fans remember and worship seems to be back.
The 2008 release of the bands highly regarded new disc Death Magnetic has Metallica focused on making quality metal and getting back to basics. On tour for the past year, the band recently returned from massively successful overseas junket. They are ow back in North America on the “World Magnetic Tour 2009” which runs through Dec. 12 with 30-plus dates in the US and Canada.
On Sept. 15, the monolithic band was in the “Queen City” of Ohio, Cincinnati, at U.S. Bank Arena. Supported by French rockers Gojira and well established rockers Lamb Of God, these bands made certain the crowd would be fired up for their performance. The stage configuration was very fan friendly, especially for a large arena performance. While somewhat of a misnomer, performing “in the round” is typically the term used to describe the stage configuration. At approximately 100 x 50 feet in size, the rectangular stage was positioned in the center of the arena floor providing the audience a 360 degree view of the performance. Stage gear and amps were also kept to a minimum to reduce viewing obstructions. Hanging above the stage was the custom lighting and sound rig featuring silver caskets fitted with lasers and assorted illumination devices. The PA system was entirely elevated, again, affording fans in every seat an unobstructed view of the band.
Opening with “That Was Just Your Life”, the stage remained dark but for a single upward spotlight on vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield projecting an evil, menacing appearance. Backlit by green lasers firing from all points of the stage it was a great start to what was certain to be an incredible performance. Over the remainder of the concert they performed new cuts from the Death Magnetic album plus mandatory classic tunes like “One” and “For Whom The Bell Tolls.” As expected, the sound quality was exceptional and the band was animated and very attentive to the audience.
What more can one say? It’s Metallica, they are back and sounding better than ever. For more information on Metallica visit www.metallica.com you’ll find news, information, Metallica gear and much more.
Metallica 2009 Photo Gallery
Metallica – 2009 Tour Dates
September 14 Nashville, TN Sommet Center
September 15 Cincinnati, OH US Bank Arena September 17 Indianapolis, IN Conseco Fieldhouse September 19 Montreal, QC Bell Centre
September 28 San Antonio, TX AT&T Center
September 29 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
October 1 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Bank Atlantic Center
October 3 Tampa, FL St. Pete Times Forum
October 4 Atlanta, GA Phillips Arena
October 12 Winnipeg, MB MTS Centre
October 13 Minneapolis, MN Target Center
October 15 Cleveland, OH Quicken Loans Arena
October 17 Charlottesville, VA JPJ Arena
October 18 Charlotte, NC Charlotte Bobcats Arena
October 26 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
October 29 Ottawa, ON Scotiabank Place
October 31 Quebec City, QC Colisee Pepsi
November 9 Grand Rapids, MI Van Andel Arena
November 10 Buffalo, NY HSBC Arena
November 12 Albany, NY Times Union Center * November 14 New York, NY Madison Square Garden December 5 Las Vegas, NV Mandalay Bay
December 7 Boise, ID Idaho Center
December 8 Sacramento, CA ARCO Arena
December 10 Anaheim, CA Honda Center
December 12 San Jose, CA HP Pavillion
August 29, 2009 at the The Wolf Den in Mohegan, CONN.
by Deb Rao
RATT proved they are “Back For More” on their Out Of The Cellar Tour at a recent sold out appearance in The Wolf Den at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut on Aug. 29. Many fans were turned away from the free show that featured ’80s platinum recording artist RATT in a rare upclose and personal setting.
RATT featuring Stephen Pearcy on vocals, Bobby Blotzer on drums, Warren Demartini on guitar, Carlos Cavazo on guitar and bassist Robbie Crane performed a vast array of many of the classic RATT hits in a 90 – minute set which included “You Think You’re Tough”, “Wanted Man”, and “Way Cool Junior” before launching into performing their classic hit album Out Of The Cellar in its entirety.
Singer Stephen Pearcy commented to the sold out audience,”We are going to perform Out Of The Cellar for you tonight. Is that OK? I don’t think many of you here tonight were born yet when it was released in 1984. We will be heading back into the studio to finish recording our first album in ten years. It should be out soon. I hope you all buy it.”
Opening with “Tell The World”, RATT frontman Stephen Pearcy held the audience in the palm of his hand. RATT unleashed hit after hit. You really don’t realize what a popular extensive catalog that the band has until you witness the live show. Mostly every song has been heard on FM radio or MTV at one time or another. It was great seeing the band having fun onstage. The Wolf Den is the perfect venue to see a band perform in an upclose setting with perfect acoustics.
The theme of the evening was centered around the guitar solos that Warren Demartini unleashed. Also, Carlos Cavazo is a welcome addition to the band. The rhythm section of drummer Bobby Blotzer and bassist Robbie Crane held down the funky grooves, as guitarist Warren Demartini laid down the bluesy riffs on “Way Cool Junior.”
It was exhilarating to hear Out Of The Cellar performed live. It is quite an accomplishment for a band to be able to perform an album back to back with every song sounding as great as the record with songs that have survived the test of time 25 years later. Highlights of the Out Of The Cellar catalog were “Wanted Man,” “Back For More,” and “Lack of Communication.”
RATT Set List:
Tell The World
I Want A Woman
Nobody Rides For Free
Lay It Down
You’re In Love
Way Cool Jr.
You’re In Trouble
Back For More
Lack Of Communication
In Your Direction
She Wants Money
The Morning After
Scene Of The Crime
Round And Round
August 29, 2009 at the Midland Theatre in Kansas City, MO.
by John Kindred
The parody metal band Steel Panther return to Kansas City was to a sold-out concert at the majestic Midland Theatre in the Power and Light District. Sponsored by the local radio station, 98.9 the Rock, Panther’s return was in celebration of local DJ Johnny Dare’s birthday.
Steel Panther has a history as L.A.’s Sunset Strip cover band and have gone by such band names as Danger Kitty, Metal Shop and Metal Skool. Soon to release their debut studio album Feel the Steel, the band has turned its local cult following into commercial, national success in the U.S. and Europe.
The band comprises of Michael Star (former vocalist for the L.A. Van Halen tribute band, Atomic Punks), guitarist Satchel (former member of Rob Halford’s band Fight), bassist Lexxi Foxx and drummer Stix Zadinia (both of whom may or may not have any real claim to fame; it’s unclear).
Taking the Spinal Tap approach to having a laugh at the excess of the ‘80s hair-glam-metal music scene, they literally turn the genre into a joke. The Spinal Tap band couldn’t see the comedy in their act, whereas Panther fully embraces the fact that they are the joke.
In fact, the show should have been dubbed as a stand-up comedic act. More emphasis was spent on the jokes than the music. Covering a wide range of taboos; from sex with women; sex with men; sex in jail; hookers; blow, pot; drugs; etc., Steel Panther certainly made a huge play for juvenile outlandish behavior that worked well for Andrew Dice Clay (plug VH1’s Where Are They Now here) but not so much for these musicians-turned-comics.
The audience was more than happy to take the abuse. From comments about Asian women to Panther vocalist Michael Star pointing out a lone black man in the audience as, “only coming to the show to pickup white women.” The band took a rock ‘n’ roll show and turned it into a very long night.
So eager to parody the music of the ‘80s, Steel Panther took the stage with so much bravado and energy that they must have forgotten most of their equipment. In fact, the layout of the band’s equipment looked quite tiny on the massive stage. There was no banner back drop, no walls of stacks or towering drum riser. It was more like a po’ boy band on a budget. Nothing was more excessive in the ‘80s than the use of smoke machines. Let me tell you, the stage was quite clear. No smoke machines in sight. At least with smoke, the lack of “equipment” (pardon the pun) would have been less evident.
Although the band’s set had moments of clarity, especially when performing Van Halen’s “Panama” or Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” it was hard to move from the jokes and get back to the music. Satchel’s guitar solo was entertaining as he performed a portion of Eddie Van Halen’s “Eruption” and played a montage of metal classics, hammering the bass drum of Stix Zadinia drum kit with his foot. The encore “Death to all but Metal” is truly one of the band’s best songs and a lot tamer lyrically than Panther’s other original material.
Conceptually, Steel Panther and its label have hit on a golden concept as the music of the ‘80s has resurged in popularity again. The parody bit could be a true-to-life Spinal Tap moment if the comedy was real and not manufactured. Throw out the adolescent vulgarity and just play music! Give us the towering speakers, walls of sound, smoke, fire and blood! Give us those spontaneous comedic moments that always happen in our daily lives. Or maybe, we should save our money and go see KISS.
1. Eyes Of A Panther
2. Band Intros
2. Asian Hooker
3. Fat Girl
4. Stripper Girl
5. Guitar Solo
6. Girl From Oklahoma
7. Party All Day
8. Sweet Child of Mine – Guns And Roses cover
9. Happy Birthday Johnny Dare
10. Don’t Stop Believing – Journey cover
11. Community Property
12. Panama – Van Halen cover
13. Death to all but Metal
Steel Panther 2009 Photo Gallery
August 12, 2009 at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City, MO.
by John Kindred
The latest super-group incarnate stop in Kansas City put the limelight on four veteran rockers. Chickenfoot features the legendary Sammy Hagar alongside former Van Halen bandmate Michael Anthony, guitar wizard Joe Satriani and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. Playing to a packed house, the band performed their new album in its entirety, added a song not on the studio release and closed the set with two monster classic rocks songs.
The band name certainly confounds. It leaves you scratching your head. It’s certainly not forgettable once you tie it to this formidable foursome. The consummate frontman, Hagar directed the mayhem. With the potential for the clashing of egos, the musicians seemed focused, and all clearly were enjoying themselves.
The band treated the audience to music that pulled in elements from each band members’ past efforts. Clearly the obvious pitfall was how Satriani’s guitar style would gel with the overall sound of Chickenfoot. By no means does his instrumental style get lost within the context of the band.
Live, the band delivers an energetic show. They bring the showmanship and the musicianship to the table, and as a fan, you feel that they are there to provide rock-solid entertainment. Without a doubt they are in command of the stage. For the venue, though, they certainly overpowered the hall. The volume was extremely loud and could have been pulled down a bit.
Fans who expected a greatest-hits concert of Van Halen or Hagar-era songs were sorely disappointed. The new music had taken its grip on many of the concertgoers. They were familiar with the songs and sang along while hammering their fists in the air.
Highlights included “Oh, Ya,” unreleased song “Bitten By The Wolf,” “Down the Drain” and “Future In The Past” in which Hagar finally played along on guitar. The encore featured Hagar’s slide work on Montrose’s “Bad Motor Scooter.” And the band brought down the house with their cover version of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star.”
In all, Chickenfoot performed a solid two-hour set. It will be interesting to see if the band delivers a sophomore release as the music of the band grows and evolves.
Chickenfoot: Sammy Hagar (vocals); Joe Satriani (guitar); Michael Anthony (bass guitar); Chad Smith (drums).
1. Avenida Revolution
2. Soap On A Rope
3. Sexy Little Thing
4. Oh Yeah
5. Running Out
6. Give It Up
7. Down The Drain
8. Bitten By The Wolf
9. My Kinda Girl
10. Learning To Fall
11. Turning Left
12. Future In The Past
13. Bad Motor Scooter (Montrose)
14. Highway Star (Deep Purple)
Chickenfoot 2009 Photo Gallery
Chickenfoot 2009 Video Gallery
August 7, 2009 at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ
by Steve trager
Fans of pure metal have found themselves with the newest edition of summer festivals simply called Mayhem Festival. It is similar to one the greatest tours ever to roam across America, which is “Ozzfest.” Mayhem Festival certainly has kept the doors opened to one of the best-known genres in music, which is Heavy Metal. Last year’s initial run with Mayhem was an indication that we can still rock out in the hardest way with some of the greatest bands on three stages for one decent priced ticket.
This year’s Mayhem Festival definitely cranked up the word “Heavy” with a brutal line-up that turned most pits into total chaos during such sets like Cannibal Corpse, Behemoth, Trivium and God Forbid.
The nice feature about Mayhem Festival is that you have three stages, loads of music, and rockstar bling for those who always want to make a fashion statement to the rest of the world. Last year’s festival had a great line-up that could have very well been just a one-time slot of Mayhem. But the response from last year brings us to the second annual Mayhem festival. It featured great sets from well-known artists like veteran thrashers Slayer and the rock shock anti-Christ himself, Marilyn Manson, who closed out the main stage.
For most of us who endure the heavier side of metal, there were bands like Job for A Cowboy, WhiteChapel and Behemoth that can grab your attention once the music kicks in. Everyone likes something different when it comes to music in general. While I might dislike some of the bands that played on the Hot Topic stage, it still was an incredible experience to see a long list of bands that certainly hold the record for mosh mayhem.
Perhaps each set could have been longer for bands like God Forbid, Trivium, All that Remains, and Bullet for My Valentine, which opened the main stage, the fans still get the packing punch we have always come to expect at a metal show.
I still have to give props to Killswitch Engage for their stage attire at a metal show. Even dressed slightly unusual for head bangers delight, front man Howard Jones still has that voice that can go through you like a lighting bolt. I especially enjoyed Dio’s “Holy Diver“ cover, which was filled with anger and great guitar work and the balls-to-the-wall vocals makes that ‘80s classic truly come alive as only Killswitch can do so well live.
Slayer also out did a great show, captivating their finest works as an old-school thrash band that they are. Slayer is a true metal band that has never changed its sound and never has sold out for radio success but has kept a cult following all these years in the true genre of pure metal. Even Manson played a great quick set; however, I am not much of a big fan. Music fans always like something different, and that makes them unique. This is an indication that Mayhem Festival will be around for a long time (we can all hope).
The Great: Bullet for My Valentine, All That Remains, Killswitch Engage, Trivium, God Forbid, and Slayer.
Hot Topic / Extreme Metal Stage:
Black Dahlia Murder
Job for A Cowboy
Jagermeister Music Stage:
Beyond The Star
All That Remains
Rockstar Energy Drink Main Stage
Bullet For My Valentine
Mayhem Festival 2009 Photo Gallery
August 4, 2009 at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, Mass.
by Deb Rao
The 2009 Rockstar Energy Drink invaded the Comcast Center in Mansfield, Mass., on Aug. 4. As temperatures soared into the high 80s, fans gathered early in the parking lot to witness the most cutting edge event of the summer. 2009 Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival is a modern day festival designed for today’s music fan with many diverse booths that included merchandise booths and tattoo booths. 2009 Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival showcased the top talent in the music industry today, and also featured one of the most iconic bands in metal history Slayer.
The Boston 2009 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival featured three stages: Main Stage, Hot Topic and Jagermeister Stage. What was clearly exciting to witness was the wide age span of fans that gathered for the event. The bill featured a vast array of musical talent and styles, which included on the main stage Marilyn Manson, Slayer, Boston’s Killswitch Engage, and Bullet For My Valentine.
The Hot Topic and Jagermeister stages featured cutting-edge bands that are truly making an impact in music today. One of the first bands I checked out was Behemoth at 3 p.m. Behemoth hit the Hot Topic stage for an energetic 30-minute set and capped their performance with “I Got Erection.”
Behemoth Set List:
Slaves Shall Serve
At The Left Hand Of God
Ov Fire And The Void
Chant For Exhaton 2000
I Got Erection
The Boston Mayhem Festival featured a special Boston homegrown ambiance appeal this year with the homecoming of two New England bands that are making an impact in the music industry today, All That Remains and Killswitch Engage. Also while checking out the All That Remains set, I ran into Shadows fall vocalist Brian Fair, who informed us that the new Shadows Fall release Retribution will be out on Sept. 15. ” Shadows Fall will be doing a special signing at the Mayhem Festival at 3 p.m. on Aug. 8 in Hartford, Conn., at the Comcast Theatre. I can’t wait for the release of Retribution. It is aggressive and awesome. After the album is released, we will be setting up some New England dates,” Fair said.
All That Remains is a band that hails from the Springfield, Mass., area. ATR hit the Jagermeister Stage at 4:30 p.m. and performed an exhilarating 30-minute set to a huge crowd of Boston fans that featured three new songs off of their latest release, Overcome including “Chiron,” “Forever In Your Hands,” and “Two Weeks.” Lead singer Phillip Labonte cheered the crowd on, as he yelled,”We are from the area.”
Bassist Jeanne Sagan commented to me,”It is always bittersweet to play Boston and come home. I have been on the road most of the year. It is pretty amazing playing at the Mayhem Festival this year. We are from the Springfield area.
“Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall are all around the same area also. We just put out a second single ‘Forever In Your Hands’ that is being added to radio now. We are going to shoot a video for it during this tour actually in a few days. On Overcome, we concentrated more on writing songs rather than parts. We kind of put stuff together and took a step back and looked at it and how does this make this song catchy for people so people can grasp onto to rather than a lot of just filler in the song. So that is pretty much how we went about it.”
All That Remains Set List:
Forever In Your Hands
The Air That I Breathe
Killswitch Engage hit the stage at 7:25 p.m. and managed to the get crowd pumped up for Slayer. Singer Adam Dutkiewicz, wearing a Red Sox cap, gave reference to the band’s heritage in Boston through out the entire set and joked as he commented, “Our drummer is a Yankees fan,” and inspired the Yankees chant to begin. Killswitch Engage took the stage amidst a blast of pyrotechnic opening with “My Last Serenade.” The highlight of the set was “Rose Of Sharyn.”
Killswitch Engage Set List:
My Last Serenade
Fixation On The Darkness
Rose Of Sharyn
A Bid Farewell
The End Of Heartache
At 8:30 p.m., one of the first bands that put metal on the map, Slayer took the stage in true metallic thunder. Anticipation filled the air, as the crowd waited patiently all day to witness the legendary metal band.
Opening with “Darkness Of Christ” the Slayer set spanned their extensive career and also showcased some of their older classic songs. Slayer will be releasing a new album later this year entitled, World Painted Blood, and they performed a new song off of the upcoming album entitled, “Psychopathy Red,” which re-enforced the old-school metal roots of the band.
Singer Tom Araya belted out the songs with much passion. It was clear to see that Slayer was there to destroy and inflict their powerful fury onto the masses as guitarist Kerry King relentlessly unleashed skull-crushing riffs. Highlights of the Slayer set included “Ghosts Of War” and “South Of Heaven.”
When I asked Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo about the rehearsal preparation of the Mayhem Tour and his thoughts on the challenge of performing live versus recording in the studio and the upcoming release World Painted Blood, drummer Dave Lombardo said to me,” It is only challenging like the first maybe two or three days in rehearsal, where you are shedding all of the cobwebs that you have accumulated probably in six months of not touring. But then we were in the studio but that is not the same.
“So the hardest part is the first couple days of rehearsal. There really is no challenge. World Painted Blood is absolutely amazing. I have never been behind a record as much as I have been for this one. I am very proud of it and very happy. It’s all good. Hope everyone’s goes out and gets it,” Lombardo said.
Slayer Set List:
Darkness Of Christ
Born Of Fire
Ghosts Of War
Dead Skin Mask
Angel Of Death
South Of Heaven
Marilyn Manson capped the evening performance. It was great to see a lot of Marilyn’s fans show up early for the concert. It was a long day for them. I spoke to two young fans who braved the heat and traveled an hour and arrived when the gates opened to see the performer. Marilyn’s set included three new songs off his latest release The High End Of Low, as he opened the set with “We’re From America” and capped his performance with “The Beautiful Creatures.”
Marilyn Manson Set List:
We’re From America
Irresponsible Hate Anthem
Four Rusted Horses
The Dope Show
Rock Is Dead
The Beautiful People
July 31, 2009 by Publisher
July 17, 2009 at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ.
by Steve Trager
The annual summer caravan simply known as The Vans Warped Tour recently has celebrated 15 years as one the longest running festivals with more than eight hours of endless performances on multiple stages throughout the entire day. This year, some veterans returned such as NOFX, Anti Flag, and Bad Religion are among the long list of new additions to the lineup. It is also nice to have metal bands thrown into the mix alongside the punk and emo-screamo bands featured year after year. Even with just one main stage this year, the Vans Warped Tour still gives the music-obsessed fan the best opportunity to catch up-close performances of their favorite bands all day long, even though for the last several years there hasn’t been a bunch of “A” List band(s) placed somewhere on the roster. This type of momentous event still seems to be the best for your dollar. With not only bands performing, but there are meet and greets, BMX competitions on the half pipe and endless tents with rock wardrobes to fit any style.
As always you can’t actually see every band over the course of the day. However, Black Tide was enjoyable to watch, performing some great Metallica covers during their set. In This Moment, who toured with OzzFest in 2007, was enjoyable as well. Escape the Fate, who has performed on a few past Vans Tours, were great to see live. A new Band called Versa Emerge sounded great with a hot chick at the wheel.
The Good: The Newcomers; Black Tide, Versa Emerge, In This Moment, and The Main. Veterans; NOFX, Bad Religion, Anti Flag and Flogging Molly.
The Bad: There were long lines at the concession stands and over-priced food and drinks, which included bottled water. However you actually price it, it was still a day out that you’re going to shell out some bucks if you didn’t want to die of starvation and become dehydrated for hours on end. There also were overlapping stage performances. Every stage was going all at once, and heavy rain fell toward the later part of the evening. The circle pits, crowd surfing, and the bored fans in between sets were tossing filled bottles toward the stage like torpedoes (where you might get hit in the head if you weren’t looking ). And lots of roaming from stage to stage made you feel like you were ready for an endless hike across America.
Overall, for what the Vans Warped Tour is worth for the hard-working dollar these days, we, the fans, are still getting a decent-priced ticket, a full day of music, loads of ear – piercing decibel guitars and a fun day out.
12:55 Devil Wears Prada
1:55 Anti Flag
4:55 Less Than Jake
5:55 Flogging Molly
6:55 Bad Religion
Vans Warped Tour 2009 Photo Gallery
July 27, 2009 by Publisher
July 24 & 25, 2009 W.H. Lyon Fairgorunds, Sioux Falls, SD.
by Derric Miller
4:00 pm JUKEBOX ZEROES
5:00 pm GOODBYE THRILL
6:00 pm TALON
7:00 pm ESCAPE
8:00 pm FAR CRY
9:00 pm DRAW THE LINE
10:00 pm HEAD EAST
11:15 pm APRIL WINE
10:00 am PAISTY JENNY
11:00 am APPETITE FOR DECEPTION
12:00 pm ESCAPE
1:00 pm TANGO DOWN
2:00 pm ENUFF Z’ NUFF
3:05 pm BOMBAY BLACK
4:10 pm L.A. GUNS
5:25 pm DRAW THE LINE
6:30 pm FIREHOUSE
7:45 pm DOKKEN
9:00 pm SKID ROW
10:15 pm BRET MICHAELS
The second annual Dakota Rock Fest—aka Eastern South Dakota’s Biggest Rock Formation—stepped up its draw this year by bringing one of the hottest musicians/TV stars on the planet to Sioux Falls, S.D. Bret Michaels closed the festival on Saturday night, and his star power brought tens of thousands of spectators—those who love him for his numerous hits as Poison’s frontman, and then, those who want to do more than love him for his cable TV smash hit “Rock of Love.”
Like last year, Dakota Rock Fest 2009 featured area acts (Jukebox Zeroes and Nebraska’s Paisty Jenny), new Hard Rock bands carrying on in the tradition of Poison, Motley Crue, Ratt, etc. (like Tango Down, Bombay Black, Far Cry) and then multi-platinum ‘80s giants like Dokken, Firehouse, Skid Row, and Bret Michaels.
The promoters also signed on tribute bands for Aerosmith, Journey, and Guns and Roses. By far, the GNR tribute band Appetite for Deception lived up to their namesake, with the other two struggling to mirror their heroes.
Dakota Rock Fest went even farther back than the ‘80s, closing out Friday night with Head East and April Wine. It was obvious that Saturday’s/Bret Michaels’ crowd was a bit more spritely than those who stayed to see April Wine on Friday.
The organizers (Leisinger Entertainment) welcome feedback and actually listen to their customers, so this year’s VIP access was even better than last year. For $150, it’s all you can drink and eat, while having access to mingle with the bands in the VIP area. It’s by far one of the better priced festivals in the nation.
For some reason, the bands that truly seemed hungry and happy to be playing this year were the lesser-knowns, like Far Cry, who blew the crowd away with their songwriting, musicianship and live energy. Tango Down did the same, offering up a mix of Firehouse and Ratt-like compositions that pulled the crowd in even if they didn’t know the songs. As always, Bombay Black owned the masses with their blend of infectious, snarky, heavy and fun Hard Rock. Paisty Jenny one-upped them all, bringing on three gorgeous bikini-clad women (see pictures below) to dance around and wake up the crowd as they sang “Jack/Coke a little bit of Bud Light!” on the track “Take It Like a Shot,” while their somber “Better Man” showed another facet to this talented foursome.
Unfortunately, maybe because of a tech glitch at the start of their set, the band who seemed the most uninterested was Dokken. They opened with “Breaking the Chains,” and lead singer Don Dokken stopped the set and said, “Trust me, this song sounds a lot better when you can hear the guitar.” While he tried to slough it off, professionals have short fuses, and by the time the guitar was back in the mix, Dokken was forced to nix a song or two from their set. After that, Dokken seemed comfortable singing an entire octave below the original melody line on some of the songs, making them sound droning. Without Jeff Pilson in the band to match the harmonies and backing vocals the great Dokken hits mesmerized with, and with Don himself comfortable sleepwalking through the harder vocals spots, Dokken as a band struggled mightily, and the crowd echoed the lack of energy accordingly.
The biggest surprise was L.A. Guns, who now have Jizzy Pearl on lead vocals. Just thinking about it, Pearl makes sense. Forget his hired-gun status in Ratt; Pearl sang the best drinking song of all time, “Black Out in the Red Room” with his band Love/Hate, and he’s the perfect mix of sleaze, grit and melody to replace Phil Lewis. They played a new original song, and it may have been the highlight of the set, although “Ballad of Jane,” “Sex Action,” “Show No Mercy,” etc. were all highlights. Traci Guns is a talent, and with Pearl able to once again record new music, look out for the newly invigorated L.A. Guns.
Bands like Skid Row and Firehouse are incapable of playing a bad live set, no matter the circumstances, and the crowd ate up their stage time. Enuff Z’Nuff, while excessively talented and armed with some of the most melodic Hard Rock you’ll ever hear, followed the combustible Bombay Black, so their set lacked a bit of energy in comparison.
By Saturday eve, the crowd seemingly doubled in size from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., and a large number of those attendees were female. If you needed proof that Michaels’ name alone can fill up a festival, well, should have been there. Regardless of how you feel about Michaels, he is a performer first and foremost. He mixed his set with hits from his new solo album and of course the Poison mainstays. He always lays it out for the crowd, he’s a consummate showman, and his set capped off Dakota Rock Fest to perfection.
Dakota Rock Fest 2009 Photo Gallery
Photos by John Kindred/Derric Miller.
Dakota Rock Fest 2009 Video Gallery
(Congratulations to Leisinger Entertainment for another successful Dakota Rock Fest and thanks for bringing quality Hard Rock outdoor entertainment to Sioux Falls.)
July 8, 2009 by Publisher
July 7, 2009 with Whitesnake at Comcast Center in Mansfield, Ma.
by Deb Rao
Judas Priest is celebrating the 30th Anniversary of their 1980 hit album British Steel and performing the album in its entirety. The British Steel Tour featuring Judas Priest and Whitesnake with opening act Pop Evil rolled into the Comcast Center in Mansfield, Mass. on July 7.
Judas Priest is one of the first British bands that spearheaded the British Invasion into the U.S. As the curtain donning steel factories and the logo The British Steel Tour fell to the stage, die-hard Judas Priest fans were on their feet in anticipation of the Metal Gods that once ruled the charts in the 1980′s. Judas Priest hit the stage at 9:30 P.M. performing a 90 – minute set that did not disappoint. The band sounded tight and at the top of their game.
Rob Halford was in great shape dressed in black leather and sunglasses, as he spun circles around the stage, unleashing his powerful vocals to such hits as “Breaking The Law,” and “Living After Midnight.” The green laser show was spectacular and the lighting was very bright and illuminating.
Guitarist Glen Tipton and K.K. Downing shredded out the classic hits with a vengeance. I last saw Judas Priest last summer with Heaven and Hell at the Mohegan and tonight’s performance seemed more exhilarating. Maybe it was the aura of being at an outdoors arena Priest show, but you could tell the band was really into performing “British Steel” live. Halford was very active onstage and gave a stellar performance.
Highlights of the set were “The Ripper” and “Victim Of Changes” and the new song “Prophecy.” Judas Priest ended the night with “You Got Another Thing Coming”.
Judas Priest Set List:
Breaking The Law
You Don’t Have To Be Old To Be Wise
Living After Midnight
Rock Hard Ride Free
Victim Of Changes
Diamonds And Rust
You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
Opening act Whitesnake hit the stage at 8 P.M. performing a 60 – minute set of all of their classic hits. Although the cast of characters has changed since the heyday of the band Reb Beach and Doug Aldrich held down the fort with their amazing guitar duos.
Opening with “Bad Boys,” Whitesnake took the metal crowd down memory lane performing all of the MTV hits. The bluesy vocals of David Coverdale sounded good, as the band launched into “Fool For Your Lovin”, and “Slow And Easy.”
Singer David Coverdale remarked, “Here we are in Massachusetts on this lovely night. Thank God the rain stopped.” Actually the only disappointment tonight was the weather factor that kept many fans away as flood warnings were posted earlier due to severe thunderstorms that embraced the area.
Do you remember when guitar solos ruled the ’80s? Well, tonight in Mansfield, guitarists Reb Beach and Doug Aldrich wowed the crowd with their dueling guitar mastery before the song “Crying In The Rain”. Also the band has New England roots, as Providence native bassist Uriah Duffy performed with the band.
Highlight of the Whitesnake set was the singalong to “Here I Go Again” and “In The Still Of The Night”.
Fool For Your Lovin’
Love Ain’t No Stranger
Slow And Easy
Lay Down Your Love
Guitar solos from Reb Beach and Doug Aldrich
Crying In The Rain
Is This Love
Give Me All Your Love
Here I Go Again
Still Of The Night
July 8, 2009 by Publisher
July 3, 2009 Taffy’s, Eaton, OH.
by Chris A.
Many in the crowd at the sold out Johnny A. performance at Taffys in Eaton, Ohio had no idea whom or what they were about to see and hear as Boston’s tone-monster guitarist stepped forward. 90 Minutes later it was all over and Johnny A., supported by his exceptional band, left the crowd shaking their heads in awe at the incredible performance they had just witnessed.
In less than two hours, the namesake of the Gibson Custom Shop Johnny A. Signature model guitar had created another army of fans. Signed to Steve Vai’s guitar-god heavy label “Favored Nations,” Johnny A. is acknowledged as one of the finest guitarists to ever plug in. Influenced by the likes of Hendrix, Beck, Bloomfield and others, his talent, touch, soul and ability to extract incredibly emotive tone from his instrument and gear is legend among savvy guitar players and “in-the-know” music lovers.
A true contemporary of guys like Stevie Ray Vaughn, he’s worked with and shared the stage with guys like Peter Wolfe, BB King, Aerosmith and Eric Clapton. Seated on his trademark stool playing a trans black model of his signature Gibson guitar, he wowed and the Taffys crowd with original compositions like “Two Wheel Horse” and “Tex Critter”. His ability to merge the diversities of rock, jazz, blues, country and rockabilly into a single entity and then “JA” them together with his shimmering Bigsby vibrato, well, it never fails to impress and is the essence of the “Johnny A. sound.”
During his performance of his original composition, the soulful blues filled “Krea Gata,” he demonstrated what dynamics in music are all about. Taking his guitar from a quiet, mournful pitch he slowly built up to a crescendo of sound that was moving and crushing in its intensity. Sophisticated in their appreciation for fine music, the Taffys audience rewarded the musicians with rapt attention and enthusiastic exclamations of approval. Supported by two exceptional musicians, drummer Ron Stewart and bassist Jesse Bastos, Johnny A., knows he can cut loose and let it rip with these two professionals behind him.
From aesthetically pleasing original compositions to outstanding, imaginative covers of Beatles classics through his show ending “Jimi Jam”, (Mr. A’s tip of the hat to the late, great Jimi Hendrix,) one could easily argue that he is one of the most talented individuals to pick up the iconic instrument we call the guitar. Johnny A. is currently on tour in the United States and if you love guitar music this is the guy you need to know. You can learn more about this incredible guitarist, his music and his gear at www.johnnya.com
You can also find video and information about Johnny A. on YouTube.