November 17th, 2008 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pa.
by Steve Trager
After eight years out of the public eye, Australian rockers AC/DC have finally returned with a well-polished record titled Black Ice. The music still has that signature testosterone sound that can only come from front man Brian Johnson himself. Every song sounds fresh and well written, yet the new collection of songs still captivates that good old fashioned signature guitar riff – power cord anthems from Angus Young.
Since the release date, this album offered alternate logo colors which were offered as limited editions. For some that is considered a collectable cover which not many bands these days actually do any more. This all new album offers fresh material for any hungry AC/DC fan but yet still possess that one of a kind sound that only AC/DC can truly hold as a band. We have been fortunate enough to have AC/DC record their “Money Talks” video right here at the Spectrum which could be seen back in the day when MTV actually ruled with music videos.
There is nothing quite like an AC/DC concert, filled with the best classics spanning more than 30 years. This heavy hitter rock band proves that only AC/DC can hold up with two fists simultaneously. This signature sound often echoes throughout rock radio right here in Philly on a daily basis.
The Black Ice Tour which embarked just two weeks before it hit Philadelphia, had nothing but rants and raves of how this was the best show anyone had seen as far as production, lights, and sound that AC/DC put together in preps for the tour; there was much more than just anticipation for them to hit Philly’s Wachovia Center. You might think AC/DC would come back around at least once, maybe twice on a tour, but if you don’t get a chance to see them when they come one time you’re just simply out of luck. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember, seeing them back in 1990, so it basically is like a spread of every four years — a new record, a new tour, one time here in Philly and poof.
We have always expected a power punching high level decibel type of show from this band and we get that, time after time, year after year, like the true definitive band that they are. AD/DC featured a hand full of new well-polished random tracks from Black Ice that including the current single that dominates rock radio “Rock and Roll Train” along with the usual hand full of hits that come from the last several albums that have become a staple in their live shows. Even at AC/DC’s peak in their career as a band they seem to still pack a punch, with Angus Young still tossing himself around the stage and working the fans into frenzy. Yeah he’s getting older like anyone yet, he still can kick it like a youngster.
You enjoy the music but you also notice certain things as time moves along, Angus Young has tamed himself with less rock abuse during a show where as say during the first three or four songs he’s already worked up to a point that he’s out of control. Much of the show’s pure entertainment, but it’s nice to just see him stand there center stage with the lights gleaming down and him working his magical fingers to the power chords of every song throughout the entire show, sometimes stopping and holding out his ear or tossing up his heavy metal horns over his head during the assault of the performances. Every show is like a true domination to the naked eye as Angus performs solos and does his infamous “Strip- tease” routine which he ends up mooning the crowd halfway through the show.
I definitely miss the piggyback ride that Brian used to do with Angus as they would march through the floor towards the end of the show. However, having a cat-walk leading out halfway into the arena where Angus is lifted over the fans during one of his solos while running around it sideways is always a kicker. I don’t think there was a fan who hadn’t sat down for a brief moment during such performance of this recent AC/DC show at the Wachovia Center. Even if Angus seems to be the center of attention like always, Brian Johnson strutted down the cat walk and slapped hands with fans and lifted his hat and looked out in the sold out show and you could feel the warm embrace much like feeling at home. A lot of bands rant and rave about Philly as being one of the loudest loyal fans ever and that’s true a defining sound ranging from squeals, cheers, and whistles during this show, representing loyalty hands down. Besides watching a great show as always, nothing is complete in an AC/DC show with the two–ton bell that gets lowered down during “Hells Bells” and having Brian Johnson swing from side to side which seems to be a favorite in the beginning of the song and is certainly a trademark..
Set List – Rock and Roll Train – Hell Ain’t a Bad Place – Back in Black – Big Jack – Dirty Deeds – Thunderstruck – Black Ice – The Jack – Hells Bells – Shoot to Thrill – War Machine – Anything Goes – You Shook Me – TNT – Whole Lotta Rosie – Let There Be Rock Encores Highway to Hell – For Those About to Rock
This show not only demonstrated that AC/DC is still one of the best live touring acts of today, it proves to the fans no matter how long it takes to make a album it still proves that the best never slow down and the best never fall short of greatness in the classic rock genre. AC/DC proved that in 2008 with Black Ice. Many missed another great stellar performance this year with this band; you might just have to wait another four years for them to come back around.
January 31, 2009 at Perron 55, Venlo in The Netherlands.
by Edwin van Hoof
Vengeance are on a roll — the rock and roll. Celebrating their 25th anniversary, the riff rockers set the date for their official CD presentation in the south of The Netherlands with a release party in two weeks. When we meet the band’s vocalist Leon Goewie, you instantly feel the vibe and enthusiasm this party brings along. In the backstage area we catch up on the band’s past and present while Jan Somers (g.) joins in with the charismatic fronter for a spontaneous jam. Soul Collector gets an acoustic make over with Leon enthusiastically tapping and slapping to the beat, while bass player Barend Courbois clearly enjoys the good spirit of his band mates. It will be an upbeat towards a gig packed with power and Vengeance freewheeling through the highlights of their career raved by a nearly exploding pack of fans from all over Europe.
Opening for the power rockers are the home playing team of Sun Caged, currently in the midst of recording their third strike. Limited to a minimal stage setting the band is firing their fiery progressive hooks onto the slowly growing audience. Though not fitting the genre of Vengeance’s straight forward powerful rockers, Sun Caged provides an edge and depth which is captivating. Marcel Coenen’s jaw dropping skills in combination with the craftsmanship of his fellow bandmates make this band one the finest in the genre. We get lectured 45 minutes of progressive joy and get given a teaser for the new record with a bunch of brand new songs. “Shades of Hades” kicks off the introduction to their new sound, with “Driftwood” and “New 12” both easily matching the band’s high standards. Fans of the band however are eagerly awaiting the band’s more classic tunes such as “Fair Trade” and the amazing “Departing Words” with Coenen truly shredding up things. His skills in combination with the swirling keys create a dynamic overhaul bonded together by Villareal’s excellent vocalwork. This makes Sun Caged one of the best outsiders in the genre.
Vengeance is not of this earth. Taken the stage by storm and piling one hymn onto the other, this quintet could easily open for luminaries such as AC/DC enabling them to reach out to a larger fan base. They have the quality and skills to smash the market with their energetic and powerful presentation. Leon Goewie takes his fellow band members by the hand and drags them through a 90 minute history stroll. With the club being packed, it will be a night of celebration, fun and alcohol. The gripping “Wait until the Sun goes Down” kicks off the party and sets the pace, followed by another Collector’s song, “Cross in the Rain”. “Rock and Roll Man” has the band charged to the max with Leon doing his voodoo all over stage and interacting with his fans and friends. Drenched in Four Roses, the charismatic shouter still parties hard like in his prime. “Dream World” is my favorite Vengeance track of all time atmospherically performed with dignity, even though Leon let’s his lyrics slip, like always. It simply can’t ruin a party like we get presented!
“Take me to the Limit” is head on and heavy showcasing the excellent guitar work of father Jan Somers who makes way for his son Timo, shredding it up to the max. The youngster clearly enjoys the spotlight and performs like it is his second nature. Swinging his Les Paul head high up in the air, he fires his riffs and excellent solos into the audience. The tandem fires each other up with loud riffs and great solos flying back and forth. “Take it or Leave it” follows paving ways for the absolute Vengeance hammer “May Heaven Strike me Down” instantly creating a mosh pit front stage. Leon takes his beer pitcher upside down on the head; classic! Drenching the entire front row in beer, his fans celebrate with him.
One of the best tracks on “Soul Collector” by far is the jaw dropping semi ballad “I never felt that way before”, a quick breather in the energetic setlist. The party breaks lose again with the German ‘hit’ “Rock ‘n Roll Shower”. The tremendous energy onstage reflects from the crowd as well judging the excellent atmosphere and ditto interaction. Somers smiles ear to ear and even Courbois is caught laughing. New drummer Erik Stout is laying down a rock solid foundation with dynamic double bass playing and hard hitting power drumming, on which Barend builds up the first floor of this rock solid fortress. The low end from the low lands pays tribute to his name and fame with some amazing bass loops.
A mid Eastern recognizable riff makes the crowd goe wild as “Arabia” is announced with fists flying in the air. “Dance,” “Rip it Off” and the excellent “Planet Zilch” build up more power towards the end. “Down and Out” pumps loud with Andrew Elt (Sleeze Beez, Gin on the Rocks, The Moon) watching from the side of the stage before the new title track puts an end to this party.
“Rock and Roll Band” is the encore with Leon once more emptying a three liter bottle of Jack Daniels on himself and a dancer heating him up a bit more. It’s the firework needed to make this release party a true festivity for fans and media, with a band on their top.
A shame curfew calls it a night so early …
by Curt Hauff
For those of you unfamiliar to the Kottonmouth Kings, they are a tall drink of water. Horrible pun aside, the Kings are a time-tested band. Having formed in 1994, The Green Album marks the band’s 11th album.
Stylistically, the Kottonmouth Kings sound like Snoop Dogg, Luniz or House of Pain. Many of the tracks have a slow, groove dance beat. The entire album probably gets huge play in the urban dance clubs. It’s easy to visualize a floor full of sweaty bodies bumping and grinding to “Rock Like Us”, a track that even promotes its popularity with the club scene in the opening line “Brand new shit for the club”.
With album titles like Rollin’ Stoned, Fire It Up, High Society and Hidden Stash I, II and III, there should be no surprise as to what the Kottonmouth Kings’ main song subject is. In fact, there may not be another band in existence that writes more songs about the green than these guys.
Even the most hardcore hemp huggers might get tired of hearing about puffin’ the cheebah. Over half of the songs on this album are about smoking weed. If you include songs about drinking and having sex, you’ve got about three songs left. Ironically, there aren’t any songs about having the munchies.
2. Blaze of Glory
3. Rock Like Us
5. Pack Your Bowls
6. K.O.T.T.O.N.M.O.U.T.H. Song
7. Don’t Give a F*ck
9. Where I’m Going?
10. Puff N Tuff
12. Super Hero
14. What U in 4
15. Sex Toy
17. So Cal
18. Green Grass
20. Plant a Seed
Hardrock Haven rating: 6.2/10