Category: Reviews (page 2 of 63)

Enslaved: The Observatory – Santa Ana, Ca – 3/10/18

Norwegian black/extreme metal band Enslaved released their fourteenth album E in 2017. The title of the album represents the initial letter of the band’s name. To promote the album as well as return to North American soil, Enslaved announced their tour as the headlining act of the 2018 Decibel Magazine tour. The tour also featured Khemmis, Myrkur, and Wolves in the Throne Room. The Observatory in Santa Ana, California would serve as the final stop on the tour on this rainy Saturday night.

The venue had a nice turnout of metal heads that braved the rain and plenty of Enslaved fans were seen in the audience wearing their merch. The lights went out and the crowd went crazy as Enslaved made their way to the stage and started the show with the first track from the new album, Storm Son. A rather lengthy opening song at eleven minutes. Due to most of Enslaved‘s songs being long, they are usually limited to short sets which is why it is often better to see Enslaved on their own headlining tour. The next song played was Roots of the Mountain from their 2012 album, RIITIIR. Another lengthy song at just over nine minutes. Singer/bassist Grutle Kjellson would unleash his growls at the audience with precise to the albums. Kjellson thanked the fans for being at the show and spoke to them about how the band started out in 1991 with guitarist Ivar Bjørnson and himself. To celebrate the occasion, Enslaved played a track from their 1994 debut album, Vikingligr Veldi (Icelandic meaning roughly Glorious Viking Square). That song was Vetrarnótt (“Winternight“). Kjellson also made note on how they had released their previous album In Times and decided to play one of the best songs on the album, One Thousand Years of Rain which was also fitting seeing as how it had been raining all day. Enslaved went back to the new album and played one of the album’s best songs, Sacred Horse. For the majority of the show, the band was plagued by the venue’s red and orange lights often make it hard to see them. As to why the venue thinks it’s a good look for the band for most of the night is a mystery and should be avoided by all venues. With a short set, Enslaved played their most popular track Isa as a finale and even brought out the band Khemmis on stage with them to sing along. Enslaved finished the song, thanked the audience once again for coming out, then left the stage. Enslaved are very talented musicians and lyricists and should be adored by metal heads, especially if you’re a fan of Scandinavian metal bands.

 

Exodus & Municipal Waste: House of Blues – Anaheim, Ca – 2/26/18

 Exodus and Municipal Waste – Adult Swim’s Thrashtacular Evening
 House of Blues – Anaheim, CA (02/26/2018)
Photos & Review by Hugo Juarez
While most weekend warriors are trying to recover from their weekend’s raging, the real spectacle was taking place in Anaheim. On this particular evening, we are granted with only the finest doses of speed, metal, adrenaline and great performances. Thrashtacular, an event hosted by Adult Swim promoting season 3 of the hit animated show ‘Mr. Pickles’ with the presence of Municipal Waste and headlining Bay Area thrashers Exodus. With such a small line up and huge promotion this show was an amazing success despite the fact that it takes place on a Monday evening. Those in attendance definitely came out to have nothing but a great time at the House of Blues, and that they did. Unfortunately due to traffic I was not able to catch the first band who had played but was right on time to see the Waste annihilate their set.

 

Municipal Waste
The boys from Richmond Virginia were about to set the stage and by the looks of how the House of Blues was already tremendously packed, you already knew that we were all in for one hell of a time. Before appearing on stage, a short clip for Adult Swims ‘Mr Pickles’ came on and really hyped up the crowd. Barely kicking off the set and already you’re witnessing crowd surfers and stage divers in all directions. With their fast aggressive angst attitudes portrayed throughout their performance it’s no wonder why they have a massive following. A cross over thrash band such as the Waste brings in different sorts of crowds from metal heads, punks and thrashers who rage to their tunes as one and chant their songs such as ‘You’re Cut Off’, ‘Sadistic Magician’, and my all time favorite, ‘Headbanger Face Rip’. It’s no doubt that Municipal Waste definitely over delivers, I even give singer Tony Foresta credit for screaming the way he does even with a tired voice that this tour has taken a toll on him for. It’s always a privilege to see these heavy titans up on stage live and I know we’ll get many chances again in due time. Currently the band will be touring up until the 8th of March, with 4 shows remaining I know each show is not worth missing out!

Seltlist:
Breathe Grease
Mind Eraser
You’re cut off
Unleash the bastards
Sadistic magician
Bourbon Discipline
Thrashing is my business
I want to kill the President
Black ice 
Poison the preacher
Amateur Sketch
Slime and Punishment
Thrashing of the Christ 
Substitute Creature
Parole Violators
Headbanger FaceRip 
Art of Partying
Born to Party

 

Exodus
Finally the time had come. The night was still fresh and everyone still energetic to keep the floor active. Exodus, one of the pioneering Thrash Titans who have a high reputation in promoting old fashioned friendly violent fun. While both the crowd and the band are in full swing with adrenaline, the band doesn’t spare a single second and they do so by starting off with one of their all time hits ‘Bonded by Blood’.
Perhaps the best part attending a thrash show is the fact that you know you’re in for a good body slamming, fist flinging, hair flying time.
Madness and chaos engulfs the venue as Exodus plays many old school favorites as ‘Fabulous Disaster’, ‘Metal Command’, and ‘Lesson in Violence’. New songs from their Latest Album ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ are definitely a must for this tour. The best part about Exodus, besides the fact that their music is wound excellent, the band carry themselves as very professional and humble individuals who make it aware that while we’re at a show letting out our angry passions on each other, it’s still a brotherhood. Singer Zetro Zausa makes that very clear. If you’re able to pack a venue top to bottom, and have an engaging interaction with everyone in the room you have done only the finest job in doing so. After wrapping up the Adult Swim tour, Exodus is set to do a few shows across Europe in June. If you haven’t already, go ahead and check these guys out before you regret it!

 

Setlist:
Bonded by Blood
Blood In Blood Out
And then there were none
Fabulous Disaster
Body Harvest 
Metal Command
Lesson in Violence
Black List
War is my sheopard
Toxic Waltz
Strike of the Beast

 

 

Exodus

 

Municipal Waste

 

Third Eye Blind 02/11/2018 @ Xcite Center (Parx Casino) Bensalem, PA

Third Eye Blind – February 11th 2018

Xcite Center @ Parx Casino – Bensalem, PA

Words/Photos/Videos – Jay Porks + Mrs. Porks

Every day there are more states legalizing gambling in some form or another. With new casinos opening up, that leaves many an opportunity for glorious concert venues to open inside said casinos. This weekend, an early Valentines Day celebration brought my girlfriend and I to the Xcite Center inside Parx Casino in Bensalem, PA for Third Eye Blind.

I’d never write in a post that I was allowed into a casino with an expired ID, but I will say that the staff at Parx Casino were some of the first authority figures I ran into in life that were actually human. Big screens, awesome lighting-the Xcite Center is open for business and recommended by the fine people at Concert Confessions.

 

Cool thing about Third Eye Blind is that recently they’ve been playing without openers. The times they did recently was Silversun Pickups(!). So the band hit the stage at 8:15, with frontman Stephen Jenkins sporting a shirt that said in all caps WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL. Damn right (#Resist)! They broke out with Losing A Whole Year, followed by Blinded and Faster. For the first time in over 100 concerts attended over the last 8 years or so of this Doctor of Journalism covering shows, I was in the building without a camera not included with my phone. Technology is a cool thing. So I decided it’d be a good idea to livestream Wounded straight to Youtube. The grainy video proof above is the result of that.

A song early on the record button, we went into high energy versions of Semi Charmed Life, Company Of Strangers, Graduate and Back To Zero. More on Back To Zero a little later. 3EB already rolls with some awesome lighting but the Xcite Center did nothing but make those lights look extra cool. I looked in the back after the show to see if Chris Kuroda was there, but I didn’t see him.

Dao Of St. Paul was a late audible, as the setlist originally had Slow Motion in that slot, but was crossed off in favor of Stephen Jenkins doing a solo acoustic version of this beauty.

Underneath the set list below, you’ll see a video of Back To Zero. Remember that this was an early Valentines Day night and there couldn’t have been a better gift I could have received than my girlfriend Amanda grabbing all sorts of content with a better mobile device than I. Incredible.

Set List: Losing A Whole Year, Blinded, Narcolepsy, Faster, Wounded, Semi Charmed Life, Company Of Strangers, Graduate, Back To Zero, Dao Of St. Paul, Deep Inside Of You, Motorcycle Drive By, Crystal Baller, Jumper // Encore: Never Let You Go, God of Wine

I decide to go on Facebook Live for the encore. I mean, are they going to throw me out on the last song? That’s when something different happened. After the first song of the encore, Stephen Jenkins starts saying how they’re a band about work ethic and that they don’t cancel shows. Then, visibly choked up and unable to fight back tears, he mentions his mom. About how in all his songs, she’s a common thread.  He could barely talk as people just screamed out their support and well wishes. It really hit us all hard. We’ve all been there or are headed there. In that moment, Stephen wasn’t the lead singer of a big band, he was our friend that we all wanted to hug. He said he wasn’t sure if he could even sing the final number, we cheered him on as he dedicated God Of Wine to his mother.

Sabaton, Kreator, Exmortus: The Wiltern – Los Angeles, Ca – 2/9/18

Swedish power metal band Sabaton released their newest album The Last Stand in 2016. Their name is a reference to a knight’s foot armor. Since the release of the new album, Sabaton has been actively on tour in support of it. They treated their US fans by announcing a tour and their return since they last came in 2017. They didn’t come alone, tho. They brought with them German thrash metal legends Kreator and Los Angeles-based thrash metal band, Exmortus. A bill stacked like this was sure to please metal fans of all ages and guaranteed to be a good time.


Exmortus started their show at 7pm sharp to an already filled venue. Plenty of fans wearing the band’s merch was seen so you know there were fans in attendance. Exmortus released their newest album Ride Forth in 2016 and have been touring almost non stop in support of it. Exmortus came out and started the show with Immortality Made Flesh from their previous album, Slave to the Sword. A shred-tastic song to kick things off. Foe Hammer was the next song of choice followed by a song from the newest album, Death to Tyrants. Exmortus has been rising to the top with their thrash metal music with their tasty and catchy riffs. They are also heavily influenced by classical music and it is shown as they played a cover of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata (Act 3). Regardless of whether you’re a fan of classical music or not, it is a musical piece to listen to. Next, they played a cover of the instrumental intro of Foreplay/Longtime from classic rock band, Boston. Another beautifully executed instrumental cover. Exmortus bid farewell to the audience and finished their show with Metal Is King. The only disappointing part was that their performance was plagued by the Wiltern’s terrible and dark lighting making it difficult to see them. Exmortus always puts up a great performance so if they ever come to your city, be sure to check them out.

Kreator were up next with lots of fans waiting and hungry for some old school thrash metal. Kreator released their newest album Gods of Violence in 2017. The lights went out and the crowd went wild as the intro track Mars Mantra started and the members of Kreator came out and started the show with Phantom Antichrist. The crowd wasted no time in starting a mosh pit to one of Kreator‘s best songs. Hail to the Hordes is a song from the new album and was received really well with the fans. For the third song, Kreator played another one of their best songs, Enemy of God. Before that, singer/guitarist Miland “Mille” Petrozza made the mosh pit on the floor split in two and on his count of four, to crash together into a wall of death. The Los Angeles crowd did not disappoint with it. Satan Is Real is another song from the newest album and has quickly become one of the band’s most cherished songs and a staple song live. Kreator never slowed down their performance and kept up the energy and chaos as they performed songs like: People of the Lie, Phobia, Gods of Violence, and Hordes of Chaos. Petrozza went backstage for a bit and came back out with a flag with the band’s name on it. Fans of the band knew what was coming next as Petrozza waived the flag and announced it was time to wave the Flag of Hate. Kreator finished the show with Totalitarian Terror then left the stage. The crowd chanted their name and after a few minutes, Kreator came back out to deliver some more thrash metal. The first encore was Violent Revolution. The show came to an end as Petrozza asked the audience if they were ready to kill each other. With that, Kreator played what is perhaps their most famous song, Pleasure to Kill. The audience delivered a brutal mosh pit and gave Kreator a proper farewell.

The lights went out once again and the audience went wild once again as Sabaton came out and started the show with Ghost Division. Right away you’ll notice how the band’s mic stand are covered by old war helmets as well as rifles to show how they embrace their lyrics that deal with war, battles, and history. Ghost Division always makes for a great opening song as it is catchy and always the fans singing along. The next song performed was Uprising followed by Blood of Bannockburn. Sabaton always make sure that the fans are having a good time. The band is always seen smiling and interacting with fans in the crowd  whether it’s fist-bumping, waving, or giving high-fives. Sabaton also tend to joke around on stage with one another which is always comedic to see. One of the highlights of the show was when singer Joakim Brodén announced to the audience that they will not be playing the crowd-favorite, Swedish Pagans. The crowd sounded disappointed, but then proceeded to chant the intro chant of the song. Guitarist Tommy Johansson played his guitar to the chanting of the audience to further fuel how badly the audience wanted the song. Brodén proceeded to call out Johannson by calling him a “motherfucker” and pointed out that the song was not on the setlist which was taped to the floor. Regardless, Brodén asked the audience if they wanted Swedish Pagans. The audience screamed as loud as they could. With Brodén convinced, the rest of the band chimed in and the band started playing Swedish Pagans. Brodén also announced that the next song would be another crowd-favorite, Gott Mit Uns (German for “God With Us”). He asked the audience if they wanted the English version or the Swedish version. In true European metal fan style, the fans obviously chose the Swedish version. Brodén made a joke on how suddenly the fans got to decide what songs Sabaton plays and how they play them. Sabaton would continue to teach the audience about war and battles as they played classics like: Night Witches, Sparta, Primo Victoria, and Winged Hussars. Now that Sabaton had come to the end of the show, it always ends with Brodén calling out a child on stage. This time, a young boy named Kyle was chosen to be up on stage while Sabaton played the final song of the night, To Hell and Back. The show came to an end and the audience stood up and gave them a standing ovation as Sabaton bowed to the fans and left the stage. If any of these three bands come to your area, be sure to check out as they are an amazing experience and you will not be dissapointed.

 

Exmortus

 

Kreator

 

Sabaton

 

Meshuggah: The Wiltern – Los Angeles, Ca – 1/29/18

 

Swedish extreme metal band Meshuggah released their eight studio album The Violent Sleep of Reason in 2016. Since then, they have been actively touring in support of the album. Their band name comes from the Yiddish word meaning, “crazy”. To start the year, they announced a small west coast tour which concluded at the Wiltern in Los Angeles, California. Even before doors opened, loyal metal fans were already in line waiting to get in. Support came from Toothgrinder and Code Orange which served as energetic opening bands as the venue had already filled with metal maniacs even on a Monday night.
The lights went out and fans cheered as an intro track started and the band members made their way to the stage and started the show with the first track from the newest album, Clocks. Right away, you can tell how Meshuggah separate themselves from other bands in that their music is far more complex with crazy 8-string guitars, polyrhythms, and double bass drumming from Tomas Haake that is godlike. Another way to describe their music is called djent, a metal subgenre which utilizes the use of distorted, palm-muting, and low-pitch guitars. You can also hear the distinct bass playing from Dick Lövgren in that you can hear his bass playing that sounds like a rubber band as he plays in unison with the guitarists and is Meshuggah‘s signature sound. Meshuggah‘s music is made to hit you with blunt force so you can really feel the music hitting you and going through you. It’s metal that’s super easy to head bang too and of course, mosh your soul away too. The next track played was the second track from the newest album, Born in Dissonance. Another thing you’ll notice is how Meshuggah has set up their stage. Aside from banners, the band uses some of the most beautiful light shows you will see from any band. From the flashing lights, strobe lights, to the back lights. You never saw the same light show twice. The lights themselves gave you a psychedelic feeling and blended really well with the band’s music. Meshuggah kept up their energetic performance and performed each song to perfection as they played songs such as Rational Gaze, Lethargica, Nostrum, and Violent Sleep of Reason. Frontman Jens Kidman spoke to the audience and thanked them for coming out. for the next song, he said that they should all know this one. As soon as the song started, fans went crazy as they recognized the song Bleed, which is perhaps the band’s most famous song. It is known for Haake’s insane double bass drumming involving triplets that would change throughout the song as well as more insane guitar playing. Meshuggah ended the show with Straws Pulled at Random, then left the stage. Fans weren’t ready to go home just yet and chanted the band’s name for them to come back out. Surely enough, Meshuggah came back out and played the first encore, Future Breed Machine which is another one of their most famous songs and is also a very catchy song. Kidman once again thanked the fans for coming out and left them with the final song of the night, Demiurge. Fans went wild as crowd surfers even appeared aside from all the horns in the air and head banging going. Meshuggah left the stage for the final time and some fans were seen covering their ears as they had just witnessed an amazing and loud band.

 

Avatar, The Brains & More Visit The Regent Theater


Swedish melodic death metal band Avatar released their seventh studio album Avatar Country on January 12, 2018. Avatar wasted no time in announcing a North American tour in support of the album. Along with them, they brought psychobilly band The Brains and a freakshow act known as Hellzapoppin. This show at the Regent Theater in Los Angeles would be extra special because this was the first time that Avatar would be performing a headlining set in Los Angeles. The show started the Hellzapoppin performing magic tricks that had the audience gasping and wowing.
After them, psychobilly band The Brains took the stage which lots of obvious fans in the crowd sporting their merch and dressed in psychobilly fashion. The Brains got a strong reaction from the crowd as they played music to dance to and to rock out too as fans sang along to their music. After a short set, The Brains finished and a curtain fell on the stage to prepare the audience for the headlining act of the night.
   

The lights went out and the fans cheered as the curtain came down and revealed a banner for the King representing Avatar Country. The banner came down as the intro track Glory to Our King from the new album started and the band members came out one by one and the last member to appear was guitarist Jonas “Kungen” Jarlsby who was atop of the stage sitting on a throne and wearing a crown and cape as a proper king does. Avatar started the show with the first track from the new album, Legend of the King. Right away, the band got great reception from the audience as they started head banging and moshing to the music. The first thing you’ll notice from the band is how all the band members are dressed in attire as if they’re circus ringmasters. The second song performed was a fan favorite titled, Let It Burn and it had fans singing along. The third song played was another fan favorite titled Paint Me Red and proved to be one of the band’s catchiest songs as fans continued to sing along with smiles on their faces. To go with the band’s amazing stage presence, they also had an amazing light show that was different to each song played so you never got the same light show twice. It’s always nice seeing band’s have their own lighting rather than the venue’s dull and dark lights. Bloody Angel is one of the band’s most beautiful songs and is even more beautiful performed live as fans sang the song from start to finish as it changed from a heavy metal song to a more ballad-like tone. One of the more interesting moments was just before the song Puppet Show was performed. Singer Johannes Eckerström went to the top of the stage just above drummer John Alfredsson and motioned his hands like a puppet master and Alfredsson would move his arms and hit his drums in accordance to Eckerström’s hand motions. Avatar never had a dull moment in their performance as they played songs such as The King Wants YouTowerThe Eagle Has Landed, and Smells Like a Freakshow. Close to ending the show, Eckerström let the fans know that it was nice to head out on a headlining show instead of being an opening act; even more so because this was the first time that the band performed a headlining set in Los Angeles. Avatar performed The King Welcomes You to Avatar Country and made it an extra fun song as they turned on bubble machines and let out lots of bubbles into the audience and covered the fans in them. To bid the fans farewell, Avatar finished the show with perhaps their most popular song, Hail the ApocalypseAvatar put all their remaining energy into the song and the audience happily moshed to the song. Avatar wrapped up their show as all the band members came forward to bow to the audience as Jarlsby was once again put into his King outfit and walked off stage. It was truly a memorable show whether people in the audience were fans of Avatar or not.

 

From Ashes To New hits Marquee Theater (Tempe, AZ)

Following on the heels of their viral success, upstart rap ‘n’ rock artists From Ashes To New joined alt metal veterans 10 Years on their 2018 How To Live As Ghosts tour, appearing at the famous Marquee Theater in Tempe, AZ. This young power pop group brings to the stage not only a “hometown American boy” story, but a big set full of empowerment and positive vibe to match their uplifting presence and affirmative energy.

When you think of Lancaster, PA, rock ‘n’ roll music isn’t exactly what immediately comes to mind. In fact, most people think the opposite…horses, buggies, furniture, and cheese…but while it’s true that Lancaster is the country’s oldest Amish settlement, it’s also a place where dreams came true for a couple of kids who are now living the American Dream:  Six guys trying to salvage the efforts of various different failing musical projects, putting their heads together to have one more go at this “music thing”, which has turned out to be a rapidly growing success. But while the band has been its own brand of persistence, they cannot take all of the credit for their Cinderella story.

As humanity submerges more and more into the digital world, we are learning to harness the power of unity through electronics. From Ashes To New owes much of their success to their social media followers, particularly on Instagram and Facebook. This is the latest version of Peer-To-Peer networking, where arts and ideas can be shared exponentially with others across devices and platforms at the click of a button. That’s not to say that there isn’t still a lot of work that goes into the creation of such a beast. For something to go viral enough people have to not only approve of the selection, but be moved enough to share it. From Ashes To New began with a humble internet offering of their first song, “Through It All”…just something for friends and local fans to enjoy. The posting made its way to the Octane facebook page, where it was seen by the station’s programming director, who subsequently added it to the rotation. In just a few short years, From Ashes To New found themselves successfully sharing a label with bands like Papa Roach and touring with 10 Years.

The idea that some Unknown can still make a song and hear it on the radio is often overshadowed by the notions of contracts and huge record conglomerates, but From Ashes To New is a modern-day throwback to guys like Johnny Cash and Ritchie Valens, who just did what they did and played what they played, and eventually somebody heard it, grabbed the nearest person by the shirt sleeve, and said, “Hey! You gotta hear this!” Although their success has been like riding on a rocket ship, From Ashes To New maintains their humble beginnings throughout their music and tour appearances. They are still very much connected to their fan base, which is evident in the intimacy of the environment they create, regardless of stage size. They know where they came from, they know who put them there, and their audience is just as much a part of their performance as any guitar or microphone.

While many musicians use the medium to vent their angst and troubles, exploring their darker sides, From Ashes To New puts on an upbeat show on a well-lighted stage. Vocalist Matt Brandyberry also writes the band’s music, and while it may still express negative feelings and emotions, his music encourages its listeners to go one step further than their misery and view their situations from an alternative, more positive angle. The band has also made inclusion a focal point of its music, reminding listeners and fans that whatever their struggles are, they are not alone and they don’t have to feel alone. FATN has created somewhat of a revolving door in its existence…the people like the songs, so they write more music about the people. The band not only has a passion for their craft, but a heart for who they play for. This was felt throughout the theater from the first note to the last song. You won’t find anything in their repertoire about hookers and blow, but what you will find is a band who hates the idea of another kid cutting himself or committing suicide, a band that hates bullying, and a band that really wants to create a life raft for someone who’s hurting.

All photos Copyright ©2018 LivingDedGrrl™. All Rights Reserved. Do not use without permission. Do not remove watermark.

 

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Show Your Scars Festival: The Regent – Los Angeles, Ca – 1/6/18

The annual Show Your Scars Festival has proven to always book some of the heaviest metal bands whether they’re well known or still underground. This year was no exception and what better way kickoff the new year than one of the biggest metal shows for the year. This show was extra special because thrash metal veterans Nuclear Assault would be playing their final west coast show and quite possibly, their final show ever. As expected, this show sold out ahead of time so it was guaranteed to be a wild night. The Regent Theater in downtown Los Angeles was about to be shaken up by the metal community.

Thrown Into Exile are a relatively new metal band from Los Angeles. At 6pm, they came out to nicely packed venue to ensure that they got plenty of metalheads to witness their shredding techniques. They had a very energetic stage presence that would for sure get heads banging and mosh pits starting. For many people in the audience, it was their first time seeing the band. With an amazing performance that the band delivered, hopefully they reach new heights and prove that rock nor metal aren’t dead.

Expulsion is a super group metal band consisting of members from Repulsion, Exhumed, Phobia, Gruesome, and more. They are a newly formed band and had made this concert their second performance ever. They only have one album out titled Nightmare Future and it’s pure grindcore goodness. Expulsion kept the mosh pits going as they played fast, quick, and heavy tracks such as Altar of Slaughter, Mask of Fear, and Funeral Bells. Their performance came to an end when they played a cover of Corpse Grinder by death metal legends/pioneers, Death. The song was originally played together by guitarist/event organizer Matt Olivo and Death frontman Chuck Schuldiner back in the 80’s when Schuldiner was still alive. It was a great way to keep his memory alive.

Evildead are an 80’s thrash metal band that in 2016, reunited for the first time in years. They are set as being an active band once again and are even writing new material for a third album. Even once the band came out, metalheads started moshing and shoving in anticipation for the band. It was around this time when crowd surfers and stage divers were constant for the rest of the festival. Evildead brought the old school thrash with them as they played classic like F.C.I/The Awakening, Napoleon Complex, and even a new song, Word of God. A short set, but they did not disappoint and kept it up all the way to the end when they finished with Annihilation of Civilization.

Toxic Holocaust are a thrash metal band from Oregon. Plenty of fans were in attendance sporting the band’s merch. The trio came out and started the show with War Is Hell and right away, fans kept up the moshing and stage diving. Toxic Holocaust delivers fast and aggressive metal that drove the audience wild. They never slowed down as they delivered thrash-tastic tracks like Reaper’s Grave, In the Name of Science, and Nuke the Cross. Frontman Joel Grind thanked the audience for coming out and finished the set with Bitch ensuring that the fans had one last chance to rock out with them.

Hirax are a veteran metal band that started out in the 80’s, but later broke up. Years later, Hirax reformed and have been active since then with only singer Katon W. De Pena as the band’s only original member. The venue had already been packed to capacity so by the time Hirax came out and started the show with Baptized by Fire, a full blown mosh pit could be seen with little space to move around, yet moshers made their own space to continue the insanity. The band has a very energetic stage presence as De Pena would actively run around on stage screaming his vocals into the mic. He’s a very down to earth and overall friendly guy as he would stop to take pictures with stage divers and even let them sing parts of a song before the fans would dive off stage. Hirax kept the intensity of the show going as they performed blistering tracks like El Diablo Negro (The Black Devil), Hate, Fear, and Power, and wrapped up the show with Bombs of Death. All that craziness, and the headlining band was still to come.

Nuclear Assault was set to play what could possibly be their final show ever. For many people in attendance, it would be the only time they get to see the band. Nuclear Assault came out and started the show with Rise From the Ashes from their famed 1988 album titled, Survive. Right away, fans moshed violently to this classic thrash metal band. Brainwashed was the second song played and is also from the Survive album and is the band’s most popular track. The audience went all out for Nuclear Assault as they moshed during the whole set and stage divers were everywhere. Nuclear Assault thrashed through their set as they played classic like Radiation Sickness, Game Over, and Hang the Pope. Never was there a dull moment in their performance. The show came to an end as Nuclear Assault performed Trail of Tears and gave the audience one last chance to give it their all as Nuclear Assault closed out the Show Your Scars Festival. This show proved to be the start of a great year for the metal world and who knows what the 2019 edition will bring.

 

Thrown Into Exile

 

Expulsion

 

Evildead

 

Toxic Holocaust

 

Hirax

 

Nuclear Assault

 

Davey Suicide Headlines MADE FROM FIRE Tour 2018

While Davey Suicide is no stranger to the stage, their latest manifestation is the culmination of their hard work and determination to make it in an ever-fickle industry. Clawing their way from the pit of Hollyweird, Killafornia, Davey Suicide has done their fair share of time in the trenches from surviving the seedy underbelly of the music world to supporting other up and coming bands. But 2017 marked a significant change in the band’s status in the industry. Always the bridesmaid never the bride, the wait is over. The Made From Fire tour, which spans 2017 and 2018, brings Davey Suicide front and center to finally headline the main stage. You’ve seen them once, you’ve seen them twice….but you’ve never seen them like this.

 

While Suicide fans will already be familiar with the setlist, they should be prepared to experience Davey’s songs and sonnets on and entirely new level. Along with their latest honor as headliner comes a brand-spankin’-new stage plot and set up. No more house RGBLEDs. No more “Time’s up! Get off the stage!”. Nope. Not this time. Now we get to experience Davey Suicide in the way they were meant to be seen…and heard. With full-on light displays, fog, and costumery, Davey Suicide really comes to life in a stunning sonic and visual experience fans won’t be disappointed with. From appearing as the ringleader for the power hit “Too Many Freaks (Not Enough Circuses)” to a heartfelt interpretation of a battle-weary soldier, Davey Suicide invites audience members to take a deeper look into the monster machine by sharing his personal stories, his inspirations, and his aspirations.

 

For me personally, even though I’ve met the band loads of times and shot their shows on several different occasions, all I could think was….WOW! I was entranced by the lighting and effects. I found it both hypnotizing enough to distract me from my camera work and inspiring as a concert photographer. I wanted to stand there and take it all in, yet at the same time I was so in love with the colors and stark imagery and had to restrain myself from just holding down the shutter button and taking a million more pictures than I usually do. The show was well thought out, and the stage plot very well conceived and choreographed to match the tunage. I really enjoyed the warmth that Davey expressed as he spoke between songs, and I really appreciated his openness and candor in sharing this particular part of his life with his fan family.

No matter how many times you’ve seen them in the past, go again and witness the band in this rare form…the result of their many years’ toils and tribulations. The ride has been rough, and there were many times it would have just been easier to give up, but where many artists would have just gone home, this band has persevered and fought hard to rise above their circumstances. They have earned the right to title their headline debut tour Made From Fire because that’s exactly what they are and where they’ve come from on their musical journey. You may already know the songs, but given their change in status the show is fresh and new, and you’ll experience their music as if you’re hearing them for the first time…and in a way, you are. As the band reaches a new level in their career, both old fans and new are embraced with the same love, unfailing energy, and humility as always. If you are a new fan, come see the band in all their glory. If you are an old fan, come and celebrate the band’s musical victories with them.

All photos Copyright ©2018 LivingDedGrrl™. All Rights Reserved. Do not use without permission. Do not remove watermark.

Ozzfest Meets Knotfest: San Manuel Amphitheater – San Bernardino, Ca 11/4/17-11/5/17

The 2017 edition of the metal festival Ozzfest Meets Knotfest proved to be one for the books. Two days of pure in-your-face metal. The San Manuel Amphitheater was packed both days with metal fanatics and people looking to have a good time now that the year was coming close to an end. Both days were stacked with metal bands ready to thrust their way into your ears and fans were more than ready to mosh and drink lots of beer.

Day one was Ozzfest and featured a stellar lineup of bands. Starting early on the day on the side stages were Rings of Saturn, Fallujah, and SoCal natives, Night Demon. Even this early, dedicated metalheads filled the side of the venue where the side stages were being held. Tents with merch were plentiful as well as lots of food vendors. In the afternoon, bands like Suffocation ruled the Nuclear Blast stage and was extra special because vocalist Frank Mullen joined the band which he’s usually not able to do due to his regular job. Havok thrashed it up on one of the side stages. 1349 is a Norwegian black metal band which doesn’t come to the USA too often to it was a great opportunity for the band to reach out to new fans and play a large outdoor venue. Iron Reagan is a hardcore punk band which features members of Municipal Waste. Fans went wild for them as the mosh pits were fierce and crowd surfers were plentiful. Death metal legends and pioneers Possessed are one of Nuclear Blast’s newly signed bands so it was no surprise to see them on the bill. Plenty of Possessed fans were seen in the crowd and they got rowdy as Possessed delivered death metal classics like Pentagram and The Exorcist. High on Fire and Baroness are sludge metal bands that are sometimes referred to as “stoner metal” and they were so much fun to see live as fans raged on. Finishing up the side stage were the German thrash metal legends, Kreator. Earlier this year, they released their newest album Gods of Violence and fans were eager to get wild to some classic thrash metal. Kreator drove the fans wild with mosh pits and crowd surfers as they performed thunderous tracks such as Phobia, Satan is Real, Phantom Antichrist, Enemy of God, and finished up their show as they asked fans if they’re ready to kill each other as they played the grand finale, Pleasure to Kill. Now that the side stages were done, it was time to move out to the main stage where fans had completely skipped the side stages in order to secure a spot up front for the main stage bands. Orange Goblin started the main stage and warmed up the audience. Children of Bodom are a melodic death metal band from Finland and they were ready to bring that crazy metal from Europe that Americans love. They delivered blistering tracks like Needled 24/7, Hate Me!, and Downfall. Deftones are no strangers to the metal community and they are one of those bands that as a metalhead, you either love them or hate them. Fans in the mosh pit seemed to enjoy them as they played classics like My Own summer (Shove It), Shut Up and Drive (Far Away), Digital Bath, and Change (In the House of Flies).

Prophets of Rage are a rap/metal supergroup consisting of members from Rage Against the Machine, B-Real of Cypress Hill, and Chuck D from Public Enemy. Their music consists of covers from all three music acts which is something you have to see to believe. Fans cheered and went wild as the band played RATM classics like Testify, Bulls on Parade, and Bullet in the Head. Other covers were Insane in the Brain by Cypress Hill and Bring the Noise by Public Enemy. Prophets of Rage brought sadness and tears to fans as they performed an instrumental version of Audioslave‘s Like A Stone in Memory of Chris Cornell who sadly committed suicide in May. In Audioslave, Cornell was the singer/guitarist and the other three members were also members of RATM who were also in Prophets of Rage. The show wrapped up when they performed one of the greatest songs in the metal community and surely everyone in the venue knew what it was, Killing in the Name. It drove the mosh pits wild. Ending Ozzfest was none other than the prince of Darkness, Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy came back with Zakk Wylde after he was gone from the band for 10 years. The entire venue erupted into a roar as Ozzy came out and started the show with the classic, Bark at the Moon. This was a very cold night for this festival and lots of plenty were seen shivering from the cold. Ozzy suffered the most as he complained about it and his voice suffered from it too as you could hear he wasn’t at his best. Regardless, Ozzy played plenty of favorites which included Mr. Crowley, I Don’t Know, No More Tears, and Crazy Train. Ozzy is famously known for being the frontman for heavy metal gods Black Sabbath, so it only makes sense that the band also played songs like Iron Man, Fairies Wear Boots, and War Pigs. Wylde is known for his solos in his work and he showed that during an extended guitar solo ending of War Pigs which seemed to go on forever with what sounded like the same guitar notes for what felt like ten minutes straight. Ozzy and the rest of the band partied hard as they finished Ozzfest with what is easily one of the greatest songs in metal, Black Sabbath‘s Paranoid. Everyone cheered and sang along as Ozzfest came to an end.
Day two was Knotfest and also featured some of today’s top metal acts.

Starting the day early were band like Warbringer, Repulsion, Exhumed, and Stitched Up Heart. Just many metalheads showed up for day two of this festival. In the afternoon, bands like Oni, Death Angel, Goatwhore, and The Black Dahlia Murder made fans wreck each other in the pit. The side stage for that day was headlined by the San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal legends, Testament. The crowd was especially wild for them as Testament brought classic thrash metal to the festival with ripping tracks like Rise Up, Practice What You Preach, Over the Wall, and Into the Pit which the band wrote specifically for people in the mosh pit. Daylight Savings really took its toll on the festival as near the beginning of their performance, the sun went down and made it difficult to see the band. Road crew brought out lamps as an attempt to light the stage which singer Chuck Billy made a joke on how the band spared no expenses on their lights. Regardless, it was a great performance by one of metal’s finest bands. Even in almost total darkness, the huge swarm of metalheads made their way out of the side stage area like a horde of zombies and making their way to the main stage. Starting the main stage was Prayers which warmed up the audience. Eighteen Visions is a metalcore band that reformed earlier this year after having broken up ten years ago. A lot of fans were complaining on how the festival was called Knotfest, yet it didn’t feature Slipknot which is who always headlines the festival and are the creators of it. Instead, Slipknot singer Corey Taylor got his other band Stone Sour to perform at the festival so it was close enough. Stone Sour recently released their newest album Hydrograd and have been actively touring for it since. Stone Sour performed many of their classic hits like Made of Scars, Say You’ll Haunt Me, Get Inside, and the band’s biggest single to date and ballad, Through Glass. Shock rock superstar Marilyn Manson was up next. This was his first performance coming back from an accident a couple of months prior where his gun props fell on him which resulted in a broken ankle. In the middle of the show, he made a joke on how he, himself, was a victim of gun violence. Manson mainly stayed strapped to a throne as to not cause more injury to his ankle. He still performed plenty of his hits which included Disposable Teens, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), The Dope Show, and of course one of the most popular songs in the metal community, The Beautiful People. Ending Knotfest was horror mastermind, Rob Zombie. Zombie released his newest album in 2016 titled The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser. The stage was set as a giant boombox was at the center of the stage with monster and clown heads surrounding the stage. Rob Zombie came out with his band and started the show with Dead City Radio and the Gods of Supertown. Zombie himself stood on the top of the boombox while guitarist John 5 and bassist Piggy D stayed on the ground in full makeup and masks. A stunning light show combined with lots of pyro made for an amazing stage presence from the band. The second song performed was one of Zombie’s oldest and best songs, Superbeast. The energy to that song still holds even after all these years and always drives the fans wild. Zombie and his band always put on an energetic performance. They prove this as they performed lots of Rob Zombie classics and newer tunes which included Living Dead Girl, More Human Than Human (White Zombie song), House of 1000 Corpses, Well, Everybody’s Fucking in a UFO, and Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Kroovy). The band took a quick break except for John 5 who performed a nice guitar solo with backdrops specifically for him to showcase his underrated guitar skills. Rob Zombie and the rest of the band came back out with Zombie saying a few words to the audience that for this next song, for people to put away their phones and enjoy concerts like people used to back in the days.

Rob Zombie performed one of metal’s most popular songs, Thunder Kiss ’65 (White Zombie song) and what a wild ride it was and a sigh of relief to not see any phones up in the air. Rob Zombie would entertain the crowd with something different and performed two covers. The first being Blitzkrieg Bop by punk rock legends The Ramones and School’s Out by legendary rockstar, Alice Cooper. To end the show with a bang, Rob Zombie played his most famous song, Dragula. What a show it was with giant tv screens and pyro everywhere. Ozzfest Meets Knotfest 2017 was a very successful metal festival and hopefully the next edition of the festival is also held at the same location.

 

Ozzfest:

1349

 

 

Iron Reagan

 

 

Possessed

 

 

High On Fire

 

 

Baroness

 

 

Kreator

 

Jose Mangin of SiriusXM Liquid Metal

 

Children of Bodom

 

 

Deftones

 

 

Prophets of Rage

 

 

Ozzy Osbourne (Photos courtesy of Stephanie Cabral)

 

 

Knotfest:

 

Goatwhore

 

 

The Black Dahlia Murder

 

 

Testament

 

 

Stone Sour

 

 

Rob Zombie

 

The Arkells Get Their Thrill At Blueberry Hill – 11/04/2017

 

To be honest here I really don’t know a lot about the Arkells and it’s too early and I’m too lazy to google stuff to add here. What I do know is this, they played Lollapalooza last year, they are getting some radio air time, and they were playing a 300 person capacity room. When you can find a band who is playing major festivals, getting air time, and playing a small venue do yourself a favor and GO! As I told someone else mid-set last night enjoy these shows, because more than likely it is the last time you will see the band this cheap and this close.

The day of the show I still hadn’t made up my mind to go. I checked around and found some reasonably priced tickets on the secondary market and bought them. There was a low ticket alert for the show so I didn’t want to chance it at the door with such a small venue.

I hadn’t sleep much the night before so I wisely took a brief power nap, woke up and had a late dinner before heading to the show. We got there at 9:50 just in time for the Arkells to take the stage. Then my lady needed to use the restroom and before making our way down to the basement for the show I stopped and waited for her. Lining the walls to the restrooms is 1000’s, yes, 1000’s of photo’s of the owner of Blueberry Hill with every single music act you could ever think of. From Red Hot Chili Peppers to Marylin Manson to a very young Kanye West and everyone in between. If you visit St. Louis it is worth a stop at Blueberry Hill and you must check out these photos of some of your favorite artist.

We got our wrist bands just as the Arkells we’re taking the stage. They opened with ” Making Due ” off of the album “Morning Report” that was released last August. You could hear/feel the bass through the floor as we came down the stairs and made our way into the crowd.

It was a fun time from the start as the Arkells frontman Max engaged both the crowd and his band mates between each song. One of my favorite moments mid-set was when they talked some shit on Jerry Lee Lewis and said their keyboardist was better than The Killer and launched into a cover of “Great Balls Of Fire”.

Another fun surprise was the story about the Uber driver who talked music with them on the way to the show and that they put on the guest list for the night. It was not on the set list, but they including a 6 minute jam of ” Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder before bringing back the opening act Irontom for a cover of Tom Petty’s “Running Down A Dream” before leaving the stage.

They came back out to the fired up crowd for a two song encore playing the song “My Hearts Always Yours” while remembering a time when they came to St. Louis and nobody showed up. They ended the hour and forty minute set with “Knocking At The Door” before sending us all headed for the door.

 

Overall this was an incredible evening of music. Wish I had shown up a bit sooner to catch some of Irontom‘s set, but I was starving/tired. Catch you guys next time. I really enjoyed the whole set of the Arkells, but the last minute Stevie cover sealed the deal on a very solid performance and evening out at a show. 10/10, do yourself a favor and go see these guys before they start playing much larger venues.

 

Lords Of Acid, Club Red Mesa

For nearly 30 years, Belgian post-industrial techno group Lords of Acid have been bringing sex and sexy to urban nightlife. Lead by original founding member Praga Khan still on lead keyboard, the Lords came to Mesa, AZ as part of their Sextreme Fest Tour 2017. In true Lords form, complete with rocking live instrumentals and blow up dolls, the Lords rocked the Club Red house to a not only a venue packed with EDM fans, but also a stage line-up of ear candy making the band’s current manifestation a powerhouse of awesomesauce. Featuring bassist DieTrich Thrall from Doyle von Frankenstein’s solo project DOYLE on bottom and Pig/Primitive Race guitarist and programmer Joe Haze, a Lords of Acid show promises not only a night of sensual bedlam for the casual fan, but also an evening of InTellectual IT (see what I did there?) bliss for nerds of all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re there to be sexed up or just to bring your geek squad to a fun night of technological frivolity, no one will be disappointed by the Lords’ electric energy.

 

Lords of Acid may be one of the oldest techno bands to ever run in the mainstream, but their presence and sound continue to be fresh and relevant for new and young fans while older constituents will find the band has not sacrificed its top shelf sound that we grew up with, even in their newer music and line-up. Lords is currently fronted by Kansas City native DJ Mea (Fisher), whose pink hair, cat ears, and BDSM wardrobe only elevates the concert experience by adding visual context to her soaring banshee vocals. Being the innovative technology group that they are, DJ Mea is the perfect front woman for the Lords, having changed the face of EDM herself during her beginning solo career. In the early 2000s, DJ Mea made a name for herself on the Chicago house scene by singing live over top of her DJ sets. The resulting sound was an instant success and is the perfect match for a band like Lords of Acid, whose live appearances are often more industrial and musically power-packed than what you would experience on the album. As if her vocals weren’t enough, DJ Mea truly enjoys her center mic position. Backed by En Esch (KMFDM) bombshell Erica Dilanjian, Mea’s passion is electric in its own rite, bringing a surge of energy to a crowded room that rivals any traditional concert.

Synonymous with sex, Lords fans are encouraged to dress for the occasion. Fishnets and stilettos, short skirts and skimpy shirts are the order of the day…er…night, and the more “of the night” you dress, the more fun you’ll have. Regardless of body type and size, all people are sexy when Lords of Acid take the stage. In fact, NOT dressing for the show might even earn you more stares than a pair of lime green fishnets would. However, no matter how sexy no outfit is complete without the signature devil horns that appear on many of the bands album covers. Don’t have any? Walgreen’s says it’s not Halloween? It’s OK. They sell them at the door. Turn your horns on as Praga Khan turns you on with one of the band’s original early 90’s releases, “Rough Sex” from the 1991 release Lust. Lords of Acid take control with a set-list that spans their entire career from the early Lust days all the way up to their 2016 album release Smoking Hot, including the tongue-in-cheek version of the 1928 Hollywood Golden Age hit “Loved By You”, which we now know and love as “Scrooed Bi U” from the 2000 Farstucker album. And if you’re lucky, you can find your way to the stage to dance with the Lords to everyone’s favorite super sexy song….. =^.^=

Lords of Acid headline the Sextreme Fest 2017 tour supported by Erie Loch and the WICCID duo from Sacramento, California along side Christian Death, Combichrist, and KMFDM’s own En Esch.

All photos Copyright ©2017 LivingDedGrrl™. All rights reserved. Do not use without permission. Do not remove watermark.

In This Moment: Riverside Municipal Auditorium – Riverside, Ca 10/25/17

In This Moment is a metal band from Los Angeles, California. On July 21, 2017, the band released their sixth album, Ritual. Just the day before, In This Moment was part of the Loudwire 2017 Music Awards where they received an award from the Century Media record label for their fourth record Blood which was now certified gold after reaching more than 500,000 in record sales. In This Moment is currently out in support for the new album and announced a tour which saw support from Of Mice and Men and Swedish melodic death metal band, Avatar. One of the stops was the Riverside Municipal Auditorium in Riverside, California and their legion of fans were ecstatic to see In This Moment.

The lights went out and the fans went into a frenzy as the curtains opened to reveal all the band members in place ready to get the show started as they opened with one of their most popular tracks, Blood. Singer Maria Brink was at the center of the stage standing on a platform with two of her dancers known as the Blood Girls who wore masks the whole time. The band has a very energetic stage presence filled with head banging, dancing, and lots of smoke. The next track played was a song from the new album titled, River of Fire. Next was Adrenalize and it had the fans singing along while Brink gracefully head banged too and danced along with her Blood Girls. In This Moment is known for their use of costumes and theatrics on stage. you could think of Brink as a cross between Lady Gaga and Rob Zombie with the amount of costume changes she has during the band’s performance. The song Burn was perhaps was one of the best songs of the night as Brink was center stage and when it came to singing the chorus, she would raised the cloths above her head almost looking like she had wings and was covered and red lighting to add effect of being on fire. The lights went out once again and when they came on, all the members were absent from the stage except for Brink who was now on the platform center stage with a keyboard while smoke covered the stage and was being blown in Brink’s direction by fans and gave the song a beautiful sight to be seen as she started to play the last song from the new album, Lay Your Gun Down. A very touching moment when Brink asked the fans to light her up by using their cellphone’s flashlights. Next, Brink to the opportunity to introduce her band mates one by one including guitarist Chris Howorth who is the co-founder of the band including with Brink. She let them loose as the band instrumentally performed two medley covers from Metallica which were For Whom the Bell Tolls and Creeping Death. The band members also exited the stage and left drummer Kent Diimmel, the band’s newest member, to entertain the fans with a blistering drum solo. The band came back out to perform another new song, Black Wedding. On the album, the song is a duet which features Rob Halford from British heavy metal legends, Judas Priest. The stage went dark again as Brink once again came out with her mermaid outfit to do a melancholy cover of Phil CollinsIn The Air Tonight. Nearing the end of the show, In This Moment played Sick Like Me, the first single from their previous Black Widow album. Brink would come out in a black dress and black hat with long yellow nails on her hand resembling the legs of a black widow spider.

To end the show, In This Moment played the first single from their new album, Oh Lord, which is the band’s highest charting single to date, peaking at #6 on the Top Mainstream Rock Charts. The band finished the song, then left the stage. After a little while, A big podium appeared on stage as the band members started to make their way back on stage with Brink taking her place at the top of the podium with a ruler in hand and wearing a dunce cap with the word “WHORE” written on it. Brink talked to the audience how when she was just a girl, she was always made fun of, mistreated, and made feel worthless. The finale of the show was Whore and it was specifically written to those that are suffering and finding our power and taking a stand. Red and white balloons came down from the ceiling and filled he floor. The song ended and the fans kept on cheering. all the people involved for the show came out and bowed to the audience then left the stage for the final time.

 

 

Interview with Erie Loch from Dark Synth Futurepop duo WICCID

Veteran Sacramento songwriter and performer Erie Loch discusses his creative processes, the evolution of IT in the music industry, and his new futurepop project WICCID along with many of his collaborations over the years with such artists as Prong, Ministry, Pop Will Eat Itself, Lords Of Acid, and many more. You can hear the By Design album on Spotify and download the album from Bandcamp. WICCID appears on the Sextreme Fest 2017 tour with Lords of Acid, En Esch, and Combichrist.

 

Check out the WICCID “Torn” single below:

All photos and audio are Copyright ©2017 LivingDedGrrl™. All rights reserved. Do not use without written permission. Do not remove watermarks.

Overkill at Club Red Mesa (9/22/2017)

When you “put your nose to the grind stone”, you are making a statement about the efforts and ethics of your endeavors. When you’re “back to the grind”, it means you’re working hard. And when you release more albums than any other metal band in your class and consistently toured for nearly 40 years, and you’ve earned the right to call your 18th studio album The Grinding Wheel. In support of this, their 2017 album release, Overkill appears as the top act on the Metal Alliance Tour 2017.

What does it take to stay relevant in a world where image is everything? Wornstar Clothing, costumes, Kabuki make-up, multimedia LED displays…whatever you can do to capture the audience’s attention. So,when a 36 year old thrash metal band from New Jersey takes the stage in jeans and t-shirts, they better have something up their sleeves to compete with cell phones, hot chicks, booze, and boobs that often distract concert-goers from a simple stage. If you’re Overkill, that trick is music:   no tricks, no tracks…just good ol’ fashioned rock ‘n’ roll…the kind of music that music cut its teeth on back when you had to be good or go home. While the pomp and circumstance of a well-manicured full-sensory production has its own place in pop culture, it’s refreshing to know that bands like Overkill are still out there, with their noses to the grind stone, making records and selling out shows with nothing but a few light stacks, a bitchin’ frontman, and some thread-shredding guitar solos. For nearly 40 years, Overkill has produced good, solid, pure music.

The lights go down, the crowd chants “O-VER-KILL!”…”O-VER-KILL!”…”O-VER-KILL!”, and the band takes the stage in a fog of flashing lights and Jason Bittner, who joined the band in April 2017, reaches into your chest and your heartbeat stomps along to the beat of the opening drum riff for “Lean, Green Killing Machine”, the first track off the Grinding Wheel album. The unmistakable grit of Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth’s vocals rip through the air like a piece of fine vintage shrapnel. It’s hard to believe that this song is less than a year old because without missing a step, it fits right in with their second opener “Rotten To The Core” off the 1985 album Feel The Fire. And that’s exactly the type of honesty you can expect from a band who forged their sound before computers did it for you.

On stage, Overkill spans nearly four decades of top shelf thrash metal, and although the names and faces of the lineup may have changed, original vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth and original bassist D.D. Verni remain the core of one of the best metal bands to ever grace our blistering eardrums. They are joined by Dave Linsk on lead guitar, who’s quiet charismatic smile and squealing guitar are a perfect compliment to his sardonic stage right counterpart, rhythm guitarist Derek “The Skull” Tailer. Special guest Eric Knudsen from fellow thrash metal group Flotsam and Jetsam brought an already enthusiastic crowd to their feet in a sort of boss level bonus round of songs, sharing the center mic with Bobby. The sound bounces off the walls and there’s not a dry t-shirt in the house…it’s impossible to stand still while they’re playing. Whether you’re 16 or 60, the band still brings the raw energy they did back when we were all wearing worn out acid wash jeans (the first time it was cool).

But for as much shock and raw as the music is, Overkill uses music to focus on a spirit of community in these troubled times. As he leans waaaaaayyyy back on his mic stand, the message Ellsworth brought to the desert this night was that we’re all members of the human race. None of us gets out alive, so we just need to work together and live together…and listen to really good music that brings us together. The band closed out the night with the song “Horrorscope”, the title track off the band’s fifth studio album, which lyrics exemplify the consequences of human conflict resulting in the End Times.

 

All photos Copyright ©2017 LivingDedGrrl™. All rights reserved. Do not use without permission. Do not remove watermark.

 

Scorpions and Megadeth: The Forum – Inglewood, Ca 10/7/17

German heavy metal legends Scorpions and thrash metal legends Megadeth teamed up for the Crazy World tour. Both bands have different styles of music, they still attract almost the same fan base. The Forum in Inglewood, California was on fire as the venue filled up quickly even before Megadeth was set to take the stage. Whether it was the first time fans were seeing Megadeth or not, they were about to see one of the best metal bands of all time.

 

Megadeth released their fifteenth studio album, Dystopia, in 2016. Megadeth came out and started the show with one of their most popular songs, Hangar 18 off their Rust In Piece album which is also one of the greatest metal albums of all time.  The song serves as a great opening song with great guitar work from Megadeth mastermind Dave Mustaine and fellow guitarist, Kiko Loureiro. The second song played was The Threat Is Real, the opening track from the new album. The third song was Take No Prisoners, another classic from the Rust In Piece album. Megadeth has an amazing energetic stage presence. Aside from the band’s amazing musicianship, the stage was also covered with strobe lights giving the band an even bigger stage presence and would often flash following the guitar solos as well as fog cannons letting out fog whenever the moment arose. Megadeth continued the thrash assault with Sweating Bullets, Trust, and Dystopia in which that song earned the band their first Grammy for best metal performance at the 59th Grammy Awards. Mechanix was the next song played off the band’s debut album Killing Is My Business…and Business Is Good which they don’t play songs from that album often these days so this was definitely a treat for old school fans of the band.

Nearing the end of the show, Megadeth brought out the best in their catalog. The familiar sound of a choir started as Megadeth started one of the most popular songs in metal, Symphony of Destruction. Fans love singing along to the guitar riff as they sing, “Me-ga-deth! Me-ga-deth!”.  The song ended and stage went dark. Not too long later, bassist and co-founding member David Ellefson came out and had the audience clap along with him. He used the timing of the clapping and started playing one of the most famous bass lines in all of metal as the rest of the band followed and started playing one of the most widely known songs in metal, Peace Sells. Everyone metalhead in the world knows this song and had fans singing along, air guitaring, and head banging. As a special surprise, the band’s mascot Vic Rattlehead came out to meddle with the band and intimidate the audience. Megadeth and fans became one as they sang in unison, “Peace Sells…but Who’s Buying? Peace Sells…but Who’s Buying!?”. The song ended and the band left the stage. The stage remained dark and after a while, Mustaine came back out to thank the audience for coming as he prepared to play the final song, Holy Wars…the Punishment Due. In the middle of the shred-tastic solo, Mustaine paused to introduce the band members and then finished up the song then left the stage for the last time.

Scorpions are a legendary heavy metal band from Germany and have been releasing music since the 1970’s and have earned themselves a spot as one of the greatest metal bands of all time. A curtain with Scorpions‘ logo covered the stage so fans couldn’t see what was being setup. The lights went out and the fans cheered as the curtain came down and the members of Scorpions came out and started the show with Going Out with a Bang. A nice rock and roll start to the show. The second song played was Make It Real, a classic from Scorpions’ catalog. The third song played was another classic, The Zoo. The song is a fan-favorite because of how guitarist Matthias Jabs uses a talk box for the song instead of a traditional guitar solo. Scorpions have an energetic stage presence of their own as guitarist and founding member Rudolf Schenker would run around using every bit of the stage and often coming out to get a better view of the audience. Up next is the instrumental track Coast to Coast and is another one of the band’s popular songs. Scorpions setup a small acoustic set in front of the stage and played a medley of songs which included Always Somewhere, Eye of the Storm, and Send Me An Angel which is one of the band’s most beautiful songs.

To go back to the regular show, Scorpions played their their biggest hit, Wind of Change. With 14 million singles sold worldwide, it is one of the best-selling singles of all time and holds the record for best-selling single by a German artist. Frontman Klaus Meine took a quick break to talk to the audience about losing his friend Lemmy Kilmister formerly of Motörhead. To help keep his memory alive, Scorpions recruited former Motörhead drummer Mikkey as a permanent member of the band. Scorpions surprised fans as they played a cover of Overkill by Motörhead which was surely appreciated by fans of Motörhead. Dee was given his chance to shine as the newest member of the band as he was given time to do a drum solo which wowed everyone in the audience. The stage went dark and the background was lit up with blue sirens as Schenker came out with a new guitar with smoke coming out of it and the rest of the band continued the show with another one of the band’s biggest hits, Blackout. The show was nearing the end and so Scorpions played Big City Nights where Meine let fans sing along to the chorus of, “Big City…Big City Nights! You keep me burning! Big City…Big City Nights!”.  Scorpions left the stage and it seemed to be the end. The fans stayed and demanded more music. Surely enough, Scorpions came back out for some encores. Scorpions started their encore set with one of their biggest hits, No One Like You. Scorpions showed their love for the fans as the next encore is one of the greatest ballads of all time, Still Loving You. Fans love singing along to this and will for sure remain a classic for all time.

To bring an end to the show, Scorpions played one of the greatest metal songs of all time and the song that helped them rise to fame, Rock You Like a Hurricane. This song is the epitome of rock and metal and anyone who listens to either genre knows this song. Everyone was on their feet dancing, clapping, singing along, and even head banging. A great ending to a great show. Scorpions rocked the house that night and hopefully don’t slow down for years to come. Scorpions was met with misfortune after the show as Meine was diagnosed with severe laringitis and was forced to rest his vocals or risk permanent damage. Due to that, Scorpions and Megadeth cancelled the remaining dates on the tour which is unfortunate for everyone still waiting. However, Meine’s health comes first and Scorpions will for sure reschedule the dates at a later time.

 

Megadeth

 

Scorpions

An Evening w/ Third Eye Blind @ Sands Bethlehem Event Center 10/8/17

An Evening w/ Third Eye Blind – 10/8/2017

Sands Bethlehem Event Center – Bethlehem, PA

Words/Photos/Videos – Jay Porks

This summer, we covered Third Eye Blind as they trekked through America on the ‘Summer Gods’ tour. That tour was in support of a record that is actually still being worked on. Fast forward to the Eve of Indigenous Peoples Day and the boys are back in my area. Well sort of my area. The Sands Bethlehem Event Center is tonight’s swanky venue where my girlfriend and I will take in some more Third Eye Blind action. Still supporting the yet to be released record, this tour with no opening acts is billed cleverly as The Fall of The Summer Gods tour.

Set List: Back To Zero, Narcolepsy, Faster, Wounded, Semi-Charmed Life, Company of Strangers, Dopamine, Graduate, London, Red Star, Don’t Give In, *Slow Motion, *Deep Inside Of You, Motorcycle Drive By, Crystal Baller, Jumper

Encore: Losing A Whole Year, Never Let You Go, How’s It Gonna Be

*Stephan Jenkins solo acoustic

Shortly after 8PM, Third Eye Blind came out to a packed room of high rollers, road trippers and misfits. In almost two hours, the band busted out something for everyone in their career spanning set. Different people here for their own different favorite songs, breaking out in screams when they came.

As an old person these days, I enjoy going to a show where I can hear hits for a majority of the evening. While that was the case tonight, a few surprises were in tow. Before playing ‘Crystal Baller’,  Stephan Jenkins had mentioned that they hadn’t played that song much over the years.

Earlier on an solo acoustic ‘Deep Inside of You’ was a shock to my girlfriend who says after seeing the band five times that that’s the first time she’s experienced that live.

Either my camera is going or the fog machines tonight we’re smoking out like it was Eric Foreman’s basement. Never Let You Go and Red Star were personal highlights of mine. As for everyone else, they were jumping the entire time. Set sent everyone home smiling around 10. Good times had by all.

Shout outs to the crack staff of Sands Bethlehem Event Center for enforcing that “Strict No Video” policy.

Invidia (ex Skinlab, 5FDP) at Club Red, Mesa (9/22/2017)

From Las Vegas, NV comes nu-metal’s latest collaboration of artists, Invidia. Originally fronted by current In This Moment bass player Travis Johnson, Invidia brings to the stage ex-Skinlab guitars Brian Jackson and Marcos Medina, and ex-Five Finger Death Punch bassist Matt Snell. Although the  band enjoyed some brief initial success, Travis Johnson’s decision to leave abruptly to honor his commitment with In This Moment caught Invidia off guard just before their tour began, leaving them searching frantically for a new singer. While it may be Travis Johnson that appears on the band’s As the Sun Sleeps album, it is newly acquired lead singer Evan Seidlitz who now brings his own presence and energy to each performance. As the Sun Sleeps may have been met with mixed reviews when it debuted earlier in 2017, but new people and changing staff always bring new life and fresh perspective to music, and the addition of a new lead singer gives this band a potential leg up to earn a second look from modern metal lovers.

Invidia appeared on this Fall’s Metal Alliance Tour with Overkill, Crowbar, and Havoc, bringing their own sound and talents to the Club Red theater stage. Supporting a lineup of heavy-hitters who have been roaring their way through the business for 40 years, Invidia was welcomed warmly by the Southwest, who was ready to rock, and their set was vibrant and energetic. Evan Seidlitz has a real flair for getting people to participate. For me, personally, I liked the way he was dressed…or maybe it’s because he looked an awful lot like the guy who does all my piercings. Whatever it was, he sang with a lot of expression and had a really personable, engaging presence. Despite being on a highly old-skool metal tour, there were quite a few people who turned out for the set for as early in the evening as it was, and the energy that Invidia brought to the stage made them entertaining to watch. No one stood around with their hands in their pockets like they did for a few other acts.  As the band’s only album was released just six months ago, the set list was limited to the tracks appearing on As The Sun Sleeps, and some of them like “Feed The Fire” and “Marching Dead” were punchy and driving and actually sounded better live than they did on the album, possibly due to a new and different personality on the center mic. Sometimes all a story needs is to be told with a different voice.

Invidia is nu-metal, not old school, so if you are planning to attend the Metal Alliance Tour, you may find that they are somewhat different from the crunchy monotone growling of the co-touring thrash and doom metal bands. Nu metal has a different sound and scream than the darker metals:  You will find Invidia to have a more modern, melodic song structure with a bit more pop mixed in with the intensity. Look for song lyrics to be more romantic and brooding. If we were to describe the tour using alcohol, one might say that the other bands might be just a straight shot of whiskey, neat, but that Invidia is more like a Moscow Mule. Sure, it’s got a little bit of pop in it, and they might be a little trendy, but it still has a bit of a kick…and it’s fun. I would perhaps like to see them a year from now when their new lead singer has had time to infuse the band with his own creative influences and put out an album with his band mates rather than merely singing someone else’s music.

On another note, I do feel that 5pm was incredibly early for a Friday night rock show in the East Valley. In the Phoenix area, rush hour begins at 3:00pm and ends at 7pm, and the freeway system wasn’t designed to convey as many vehicles that use it. It literally takes 2 hours to drive 20 minutes on some days, and Friday happens to be one of them, as everyone wants to get home for the weekend. I live only 9 miles from the venue, but it took me an hour to get there. In order to attend such an early show, concert goers must either request the day off or fall on the good graces of their superiors and request an early release. I do feel that this band was somewhat short-changed with an early start time, as they did put plenty of butts in the seats, but not nearly as many as they could have with a later slot.

 

All photos Copyright ©2017 LivingDedGrrl™. All rights reserved. Do not use without written permission. Do not remove watermark.

 

 

Sublime w/ Rome & The Offspring @ PNC Bank Arts Center – Holmdel 9/12/2017

Sublime w/ Rome & The Offspring – 09/12/2017

PNC Bank Arts Center – Holmdel, NJ

Photos/Videos/Words – Jay Porks

 

School has begun, the leaves are changing and as we wind down to the first days of Autumn we take a step back to enjoy the remaining hours of the Summer. You know what spells Summertime? PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ. Sublime w/ Rome and The Offspring. The lawn is where the party is at tonight and thanks to that crazy Schlesinger v. Ticketmaster class action lawsuit, tonight cost the magical price of zero dollars.

Set List: You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid ,All I Want, Come Out and Play ,(Can’t Get My) Head Around You ,Hammerhead ,Have You Ever, Staring at the Sun, Want You Bad ,Bad Habit ,Gotta Get Away ,Gone Away (Piano),Why Don’t You Get a Job?,Americana, Pretty Fly (For a White Guy),  The Kids Aren’t Alright, Self Esteem

The Offspring kept it pretty concise, hitting all of their big numbers in a span of exactly one hour. The set list is posted above and I’ve got some pretty shaky videos (because, as you know, I’m not very good at anything) for everyone to enjoy.

Let’s talk about what we all came here for and that’s for Dex Holland to sit in front of a piano for “Gone Away”. In all seriousness,  a pretty cool twist on an old classic.  Five years ago, Offspring played with Dead Sara and Dex along with Emily Armstrong sang it as a duet. Click over the sentence to check that out. The Offspring played from 8:24 to 9:23.

Set List: Date Rape, Smoke Two Joints, Wrong Way, Murdera, You Better Listen, April 29th 1992, Panic, The Ballard of Johnny Butt, Badfish, Let’s Go Get Stoned, Doin’ Time, Scarlett Begonias, What I Got, Santeria.

Much like The Offspring, Sublime w/ Rome comes out and plays an hour of songs that I know. I’ve included the set list in this post. The lawn was cloudy. There was plenty of dancing. Beach balls aplenty as we’re really milking this final week of summer for all it’s worth.

Second to last song was What I Got and they brought a little dog named Cheeseball out to Rome (see what I did there?) the stage. I thought that was like the cutest thing and I’m a cat person. It’s funny, I had two extra tickets to this that I was looking to dump off for free and I had a friend laugh at me. That’s cool, but tonight was hours of fun for me at the cost of zero dollars. They were also giving out free, like, tote bag things, which I can use instead of plastic because the planet. I profited on this night.

A Kihnterview With Greg Kihn

Greg will be fondly remembered as an 80’s music icon for his two catchy, chart-topping hits, “The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em) in 1981 and the 1983 smash single, “Jeopardy,” which charted #2 on the Billboard Top 100. Kihn recently released his newest album, Rekihndled, his first new album in 21 years. As you can tell, Greg Kihn made a habit of releasing album titles using puns with his own name and some of those albums include: Kihnspiracy, Next of Kihn, RocKihnRoll, and Kihntagious. We spoke with Greg Kihn about his music career as well as his recent events in life and his music career that is to be…Kihntinued. Check out out interview below!

 

 

– Concert Confessions: You have your new album Rekihndled that just came out. Can you tell me a little about it?
Greg Kihn: You know, I was on the radio for the last 18 years doing the morning show at the KFOX radio show in San Jose. Then we moved up to San Francisco. So, really, for the last 18 years I’ve been getting up at 4 a.m. and doing the morning show and about four years ago they fired me and I just went back to what I was doing before which was to find lots of time to do projects that I really wanted to do. The first project that I really wanted to do was to make this album, Rekihndled. It was very fortuitous because my son is now the lead guitar player in the band and he’s a former student of Joe Satriani and he went to Berkeley school, music in Boston, and he graduated from CalArts in Valencia [California] a jazz guitar major. So this kid can really play, he’s very good and we got a new bass player by the name of Robert Berry. Robert owns the studio that we’ve been recording in, Soundtek Studios down in Campbell, California. It’s been wonderful because we go down there and we kick around song ideas that we rehearsed, but if something happens or we come up with something great, all we have to do is push the record button and we can record it. So, you know, it’s a wonderful situation because if we do something really cool, you know, anything could happen. It’s been a lot of fun working on the album and  a lot of fun working with these musicians. I really love them a lot. But, you know, there were some other things I needed to do also. I’m a novel writer and I wrote two novels during the same period that I really wanted to get done. When you write a novel, it takes about a year. Anything could happen. So, we were just going along on our own pace and, you know, as things developed, it was really easy. I felt like it was something that I wanted to do and I’ve been holding it in for the last 18 years and now, finally, I can get it off my chest and it’s really been great. And then, of course, the touring goes with the album. We did a lot of touring this summer; we just wrapped up a big three-city tour there and I think we’re gonna take a little break and I think we’re probably going to be going back in the fall. There’s a lot of things going on. Oh, and here’s another thing. I’m proud of this one. We’re already working on the next album, believe it or not! We’ve got three songs recorded for the next album. So, I’m very happy about that.
CC: Wow, I can’t wait to hear it already.
GK: Yeah, man. I’m telling you, these albums are so much fun to make. When I was a full time musician, 20 years ago, I used to sweat and really worry about the albums. Then, as time went by, I just started to relax and I started writing things that made sense, that came to me, and really, it was the labor of love to work on that album. I can’t wait, obviously, for the next one. That’s even gonna be  better.

– CC: How does it feel to be coming out with a new album after 21 years?
GK: It feels great. You know, I didn’t do anything for 21 years because I was getting up at 4 a.m. and you don’t really have much of a life. As soon as they cut me loose, I had nothing but time on my hands. The first thing I did was work on the album, then I started working on a couple of novels. It just felt like it was all planned in my head. It wasn’t, but it seemed like I had planned it all in my head. In all, really, it was very easy. I thought that it would be, you know, much more difficult to write the songs for the album. We wrote the songs very quickly; mostly in like 15-20. The first song that we recorded on the album was Big Pink Flamingos. I remember because my son came in, his name is Ry, he came in and said, “hey, check this out, dad!” and he started playing this riff that was gonna become, Big Pink Flamingos. Out of the clear blue sky, I don’t know where it came from, it just popped into my mind and I just started singing, Big Pink Flamingos. I don’t know where it came from and it was like I was channeling it from the air. It worked great, we wrote the song in like maybe half an hour and then we just started recording it right away. It was easy. I know it doesn’t seem posible, but it was easy.

– CC: How has the music world changed from what you remember, say 20-25 years ago, compared to now?
GK: Oh man, there’s nothing that’s the same. Let me put it that way. When I first started, a long, long time ago when my first album came out [1975] and I just remember back in those days, the standard array was two track tape recorders and then you could balance the four tracks down to however many you wanted. That’s how we did the first album. Then, by the second or third album, 16 tracks had come into vogue. I remember the very machine that they got at Fantasy Studios. It was a 16-track, multi-track machine and it used these big two-inch tapes. You remember those two-inch tapes? They were huge.
CC: Uh, that was before my time [laughs]
GK: Ah, it probably was. Anyway, I remember when we started working with 16 tracks, I started saying to the guys, “You know, there’s no way we’re gonna use all these 16 tracks. There’s no way”. We were using four tracks up to this point. Little did I know, you could use 16 tracks on the drums alone, but, you know, as soon as you went to 32-track and 64-track, it was exponential and you could continue. To this day, now that digital has replaced analog and what used to be vacuum tubes that were attached to the tubes became solid-state circuitry. So, nowadays when you put something down on tape, you don’t even put it on tape. You record it to the computer and then you have complete control over it when it’s on the computer. I’m telling you, it’s amazing what they can do now, my god. They can make you sound like [Luciano] Pavarotti.

– CC: This change, has it affected you in a positive way, negative way, or nothing at all?
GK: You know, I think it’s a positive way because I’ve always loved to write songs and it was always a trial and error just to come up with the next song, but, I thought it was much easier because you could just turn on your computer and record your tracks. It was so much easier than, obviously, than tape passing over tape heads. Back in the old days, we used to do edits and the way we would do edits was we could cut the master tape. You would take the actual two-inch master and you’d cut it. Then you’d splice it back together again and it was amazing. Now to do that, you just have to press one button to edit anything and it’s amazing what they can do now because, wow, it wasn’t like that in my time. It would have made it easier for me to go in and do my songs because we didn’t have a lot of things that we had to worry about. We just recorded it and it felt right. To me, you have to always to keep looking ahead. Keep looking ahead for that next break-through. For that next really amazing thing that’s gonna happen with the recording industry because it’s only getting started. Imagine in ten years, my god, what will they be doing? It will be unbelievable.

– CC: With your new album out, can we expect a US tour soon?
GK: Well, we just finished a tour a few weeks ago and we were going all over the country. We went to Montana, we went to Denver, then we went back East, then we played a bunch of stuff in the Midwest. So we pretty much had a whole tour and then when it got done, we came back and took a little rest and we started working on the next album. I hear from the guys that they wanna get back on the road again. They just wanna go back asap. To them, it’s like summer camp. You’re gonna have fun, you’re gonna get on a bus and drive all over the country and it’s just a lot of fun.

– CC: What do you miss about the touring life?
GK: Ohhh, that’s a good question. Well, touring life is partying life, let’s face it. Back when I was a young fellow, I was a partying animal. That was back in the days of cocaine, marijuana, Jack Daniel’s. You name it, we were taking it and we were taking it everyday. We’d always go out and I don’t know what the hell we were thinking, but we had a lot of good times. We would go to these gigs, check out the crowd, and just have a great time. There wasn’t anything    really bad about it, it was all very positive things.

– CC: What was your inspiration or reason for releasing an album after 21 years?
GK: Oh, good question. Well, you know, I had felt very guilty that I didn’t make an album for 20 years. I thought to myself, jeez, that’s kind of pushing it. My son, who was anxious to record and the others in the band, they wanted to get in there and record new material and I didn’t think it was gonna be so easy until we started working again. It turned out that everything we tried, worked. It’s amazing when you try something and it works. Over 20 years without an album and I started feeling very guilty about it. I thought, you know, this is my chosen profession, a musician. So, I gotta go out there and make another couple of albums. Not just one of two, but several. It’s the same thing with writing novels. You wanna get into it. You wanna sink your teeth into it. To me, the finest thing about being a songwriter is you got something new to record and it’s like, oh man, this is wonderful. These things happen; a lot of times they happen spontaneously, but they happen.

– CC: What bands would you want to tour with if you were given the chance to pick?
GK: Ohhh, that’s a really good question. Well, there’s a lot of my old friends like Cheap Trick, The Romantics, Steve Miller, The Doobie Brothers, and a lot of bands like that, that I’ve known for many years. What would I choose? The [Rolling] Stones because they’ve been around for so long? I’m sure they could teach me a thing or two. I like a lot of the new bands. Jack White and guys like that that are doing some exciting new music. Rock and roll has spread across the entire globe now. There’s rock and roll in every country regardless of what they speak and things like that. So it really is always evolving and it’s always being proven true again and again and that’s kind of where I’m at. I was lucky and I was also blessed.

– CC: Do you have any tips or advice for local bands and up and coming bands?
GK: I certainly do. First of all, when your’re writing songs, you should let the song write itself. Don’t get in the way of the song and don’t try to put a lot of things in there. Just let the song write itself. I always say be very truthful and don’t do anything that would spoil the song. I feel like the songs are our children, we have to treat them really well. Let me put it this way: It’s never been easy, but it’s been easier. I can go into studio any week, like this week, for instance, tomorrow I’ll go down to the studio and I’ll just kick a few song ideas and I’ll show the other guys and they’ll say, “Hey! I like that! Let’s try this!” and before you know it, we have a new song. It’s wonderful.
CC: I have a lot of friends that play locally in small clubs and whatnot so they love hearing advice from musicians that have been around for a long time.
GK: Yeah, you let the songs take care of themselves. Just enjoy yourselves and have a good time.

A link to Greg’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/gregkihn/

A link to the classic Jeopardy video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeQDS7IHtUA
A link to Big Pink Flamingos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LssNygRTPJU

Foreigner: Greek Theatre – Los Angeles, Ca – 8/30/17

Rock legends Foreigner are currently celebrating their 40th anniversary tour. For this special occasion, they played nothing but the biggest hits from their 40-year career. Since the band’s creation, only founding member, guitarist, and songwriter Mick Jones remains the only original member on the lineup. Handling vocals since 2005 has been ex-Hurricane singer, Kelly Hansen. Foreigner is known to have a huge fan base in Southern California and to further prove that, the Greek Theatre show had sold out ahead of time. Legendary rock band Cheap Trick started the show and rocked the already packed venue. Foreigner headlined the night and the audience was already on their feet by the time the lights went out.

Foreigner came out and started the show with one of their biggest hits and usual opener, Double Vision. The crowd was on their feet singing along and had their hands in the air. The classic rock hits continued as Foreigner next played Head Games followed by another one of the band’s biggest hits, Cold as Ice. Foreigner had a great stage setup with beautiful lights and effects that always had something new to offer for every song. Foreigner is also known for writing beautiful ballads and it was shown when they played the next song, Waiting for a Girl Like You. Blue Morning, Blue Day was quite the song performed as it started to rain during the song and gave the song an extra boost in the meaning of the title. In true California rain style, it only lasted roughly five minutes and soon the band was back to playing normal without rain. Hansen made note on how it’s incredible that the band is celebrating their 40th anniversary and will now take the fans back to the very first Foreigner song that the fans heard back in 1977 from Foreigner‘s self-titled debut album which was Feels Like the First Time. Urgent is one of the band’s most popular songs and it shouldn’t be surprising since the songs is perfection in every way. From the catchy chorus, to the funky bass during the verses, and of course, no one can deny that perfect saxophone solo played by Thom Gimbel who has been a member of Foreigner for over 25 years. The stage went dark, fog covered the stage floor and set the mood for one of Foreigner‘s oldest songs. That song was Starrider. Back in 2010, Foreigner would dedicate this song to the late and legendary heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio who had passed away that same year due to stomach cancer. The song had a beautiful finish as Hansen sang the final line of “Starriderrrr!” and was backed by a stream of fireworks going from the ground up. The stage went dark once again as drummer Chris Frazier and keyboardist Michael Bluestein performed solos to wow the audience. Little did the audience know they were being distracted from what was really going on. The solos finished and the familiar keyboard started to Jukebox Hero. Hansen was nowhere to be found until the audience realized he was in the middle of the venue standing high up on a pedestal so he could overlook the entire venue. After a while, Hansen came back down and joined the rest of the band to perform the rest of the song. The show came to an end and the band left the stage. Plenty of fans were leaving the venue, but a lot of them still stayed. Surely enough, Foreigner came back out for a couple of more hits. Hansen asked the audience to take their arms and wrap them around the person closest to them whether they knew them or not. All he wanted to do was to spread the love which is what the first encore song was about. The first encore performed was the power ballad, I Want to Know What Love Is and is one of the most beautiful songs you’ll ever hear. It peaked at number one on the Billboard charts in both the USA and UK and is the group’s biggest hit to date. Love was truly in the air. In the middle of the song, the group was joined by the Echo Choir from Los Angeles and sang the choir parts to the song. To end the night, Foreigner played what is the band’s most popular song, Hot Blooded. Everyone was dancing and singing along to the song and everyone was having such a good time even on a Wednesday night. Foreigner finished the song, bowed to the fans, and left the stage once again making sure that everyone had a night to never forget.

 

 

Dying Fetus and The Black Dahlia Murder: The Novo – Los Angeles, Ca – 8/12/17

 

The 2017 edition of the Summer Slaughter tour had a variety of metal for everyone’s taste. For the most part, this year primarily had metalcore bands with a few death metal bands higher up on the bill. This year saw the tour being headlined by melodic death metal band The Black Dahlia Murder and just before them were the death metal legends, Dying Fetus. A show like this was perfect for a Saturday and plenty of metalheads showed up to let off some steam as well as catch up with friends and maybe make new ones.
Dying Fetus released their newest album Wrong One to Fuck With on June 23, 2017. Plenty of fans were seen sporting the band’s merch so you know they were ready to mosh and get crazy. Dying Fetus came out and started the show with Justifiable Homicide. Right away you can hear the heaviness from the band’s music combined with singer/guitarist John Gallagher’s deep guttural death metal vocals engulfing the audience and venue and of course the fans were already moshing to go with the band’s music. Intentional Manslaughter was next on the setlist and it proved to be just as brutal as the opening track. Subjected to a Beating is one of the band’s more popular’s songs from their previous Reign Supreme album and had the mosh pit going just as wild. The trio has a very energetic stage presence as Gallagher and bassist Sean Beasley exchanged death metal vocals showing their musicianship as they worked together to bring metal to the masses. Dying Fetus continued to unleash death metal as they played brutal tracks such as Fixation on Devastation, Invert the Idols, and the title track from the new album, Wrong One to Fuck With. Being that they were a non-headlining band, Dying Fetus had a short set and closed out their show with Killing On Adrenaline. They thanked the audience for coming out and left the stage for the headlining band.

The Black Dahlia Murder was the headlining band for the tour and this was an extra special tour for them because on this tour, they would be performing their third album Nocturnal in its entirety for its tenth anniversary. The lights went out and a background track of crickets chirping filled the venue to match the Nocturnal album. Not too long later, the band members came out and started with the first track from the album, Everything Went Black. The crowd went wild once again with a mosh pit starting and the fast-paced music from TBDM was a great way for fans to enjoy themselves. Up next was the band’s most popular track What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse which got it’s name from a quote from the 1988 video game, Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest. Frontman Trevor Strnad had the fans shake their fists in the air as the band played one of their most popular hits and plenty of crowd surfers made an appearance. Since the band was playing Nocturnal in its entirety, all the other songs performed were from the album which included Virally Yours, Nocturnal, and Deathmask Divine. The band played the final track from the album titled Warborn, then left the stage. All seemed quiet and dark and the fans chanted the band’s name. Surely enough, TBDM came out for a couple of more songs. The band made note that they were coming out with a new album titled Nightbringers later this year on October 6th. To give the fans a taste of the new album, TBDM played the title track of the new album, Nightbringers. Fans seemed to enjoy the song so they will definitely be looking forward to the new album. TBDM finished with I Will Return, thanked the audience for coming out, then left the stage once again while the fans themselves were left with looks of satisfaction, being tired, and of course, plenty of drunk people.

 

Dying Fetus

 

 

The Black Dahlia Murder

 

Behemoth and Lamb of God: The Forum – Los Angeles, Ca – 8/5/17

Behemoth is a blackened death metal band from Poland. Prior to the beginning of the tour, the band’s drummer Zbigniew Robert “Inferno” Promiński stayed home as he was about to become a father to his second child. As a fill in, Behemoth called upon ex-Job For A Cowboy drummer Jon Rice to take over drum duties for this tour.  The lights went out and the already packed Forum erupted into a roar as Behemoth was about to make their way to the stage. All the band members made their way to the stage with frontman Adam “Nergal” Darski being the last one to come out with metal rods in both hands with the ends of them being on fire as to prepare the audience for some truly evil metal. Behemoth started the show with Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer from their newest 2014 album The Satanist which earned the number one spot on Loudwire’s best metal albums of 2014. The band was off to a great start with a fast and brutal song as Nergal unleashed his hellish vocals onto the audience that immediately went wild for the band. The second song was the band’s most popular song, Conquer All. It has a heavy intro that always gets the fans to pump their fists in the air and of course with the heaviness of the song itself, mosh pits quickly formed as Behemoth played one of the best songs of the night.  Behemoth was an opening act for the tour so they didn’t get much set time, but they made sure to their set a heavy one and leave their mark on the audience. Behemoth would play songs such as: Decade of Therion, Messe Noir, and Ov Fire and the Void. To finish their set, Behemoth played Chant For Eschaton 2000 which is their usual closing song. Towards the end of the song, Nergal thanks the audience for coming out and does his speech of, “It was a great honor playing for you tonight! Stay Strong! Hail Satan!”. With that, Behemoth finished up the song, waved goodbye to the audience, then left for the next amazing band to come on stage.

Lamb of God released their seventh studio album Sturm Und Drang in 2015 and the band has been actively touring for it. Lamb of God came out and started the show with their most popular song, Laid to Rest. You could feel the energy that Lamb of God gives off during their live performance and fans reacted to this by jumping and moshing. The show was off to a great start. Lamb of God wasn’t about to slow things down for the next song was another one of their other popular hits and is always dedicated to the men and women in the Armed Forces, Now You’ve Got Something to Die For. This song gets the crowd going just as wild and is always a great addition to the setlist. Lamb of God‘s stage setup was amazing with different light setups and a screen displaying scenes of war. All that plus fog cannons letting out streams of fog whenever it called for it during a song. Frontman Randy Blythe proves to be one of metal’s greatest frontmen as he is very energetic and charismatic on stage never slowing down and always giving it 110% on stage. Lamb of God played hit after hit and who could keep still and not headbang when they play songs such as: 512, Blacken the Cursed Sun, and Still Echoes from the newest album. Nearing the end of the show, Blythe made a quick speech to the fans about everything that’s going on in the world right now and then told them that they could all…Walk With Me in Hell. And so, Lamb of God played the song and once again got the crowd jumping with it’s catchy rhythm. Now that the show had come to and end, Blythe demanded to see the biggest mosh pit of the night as the band finished with Redneck. The two mosh pits that had been going on throughout the night had merged into one giant mosh pit giving Blythe the satisfaction that he was looking for. Lamb of God finished up the song and left the stage as it was being covered by a white curtain making way for the kings of thrash metal, Slayer!

 

Behemoth

 

Lamb of God

Gojira and Oni: Ventura Theater – Ventura, Ca 8/2/17

French progressive metal band Gojira released their newest album Magma in 2016. Since then, they have been actively touring for the album. On this tour, they made a surprise stop in Ventura County in Southern California.  On this tour, they brought with them Oni and Pallbearer. Even when Oni came on stage, the venue was just under halfway full since it was a Wednesday.

Oni came out and started delivering their signature progressive metal sound that made them who they are. With guitarists Brandon White and Martin Andres doing twin lead guitar solos and finger-tapping giving their music a very interesting sound. Another very distinct sound they had to their music was the use of a xylophone/xylosynth from John DeAngelis. The way their music blends, it’s something you have to hear to believe. The music a long with the energetic performance made Oni for a great opening band. Since they were the opening band, they had a rather short set and it seemes to be over just as soon as they had started. Regardless, the audience enjoyed Oni which is what matters in the end.

 Gojira was the highlight of the night with the venue’s bottom floor packed. The stage was already set up with an amazing display of lights and fog cannons. The lights went out and drummer Mario Duplantier went on stage to his drum kit and started the intro to Only Pain from the new album and the rest of the band members came out to play the song. The crowd went wild as fog cannons shot out fog towards the crowd and Gojira played the opening song with precision to the album including the band’s signature pick-squeal sound which sounds like a “chewww” every time guitarist and frontman Joe Duplantier did his pick slide on his guitar. The band immediately got a huge response from a loud audience as well as a mosh pit forming right away right on front of the band. The Heaviest Matter of the Universe was next from their famed From Mars to Sirius album and it proved to be a fast and heavy track with Duplantier’s powerful screaming vocals. Gojira brought out some more new tunes from the newest Magma album and so they played new tracks like Stranded, The Cell, and Silvera which was nominated for Best Metal Performance at the 59th annual Grammy Awards. Gojira couldn’t possible forget about their classic catalog of songs so of course they had to play something for the old school fans. The fans went nuts when Duplantier played the familiar intro to the band’s most famous song, Flying Whales. The pits went crazy and fans sang along to the song. Gojira played another hit Toxic Garbage Island further showcasing their lyrics about the environment, life, death, and nature. After the song, brothers Joe and Mario Duplantier displayed their musicianship by switching instruments for a quick jam. Gojira played Oroborus and left the stage. All the lights were off, but the crowd didn’t seem to budge and chanted the band’s name. Surely enough, Gojira came back out and performed the first encore, Vacuity. Gojira talked a little bit about being a support act for Metallica on their current tour and even played snippets of Metallica songs. Now that it was time for the show to come to an end, Gojira performed a special song. They played a cover of Territory originally by Brazilian thrash metal band, Sepultura. The audience went wild with a huge mosh pit forming on the floor. Gojira wrapped up the show and thanked the audience for coming out before leaving the stage for the final time.

 

ONI

 

 

GOJIRA

Rise Against at Ak-Chin Pavilion, Phoenix, AZ (7/9/2017)

Arizona? Oh, yeah….we go wayyyyy back. For several years, Chicago-based punk band Rise Against refused to play shows in Arizona in protest of Senate Bill 1070, which was a piece of controversial legislation passed in 2010 that segregated citizens’ rights according to ethnicity. In 2012, the prejudicial law which required law enforcement to arbitrarily violate Mexican-Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights and demand on-the-spot citizenship documentation was challenged, and Rise Against appeared at Mesa Amphitheater shortly after. Many artists were part of this state boycott, refusing to entertain fans here in hopes to incite more displeasure at the immigration law in a state whose population is largely Latino. While the band loves their fans, they have their qualms about the legislature and remained reserved in their returns. Rise Against did play UFEST 2015, and in 2016 the State Of Arizona entered into several legal agreements with a coalition of civil rights organizations and imposed limits the over-sweeping carte blanche law had previously bestowed on law enforcement. Whittling away at the overwhelmingly unpopular “show-me-your-papers-or-else” law and undermining several copycat laws in neighboring states was the defeat of long-time racist and minority bully Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was gloriously removed from office in the 2016 General Election. Rise Against once again graced the stage in Phoenix, AZ at Ak-Chin Pavilion, co-headling the show with So Cal’s own Deftones whose own front man Chino Moreno; Chino’s father is Mexican, and his mother is Chinese. True to their genrical form, nothing at a Rise Against concert is ever “just because”. During their portion of the show, Rise Against’s visionary and conceptioneer, Tim McIlrath, said that they weren’t going to pass over Arizona like a “satellite” anymore, which segued into the song selection of the same name, which was the fourth track on the Endgame album. Endgame‘s release in 2011 was the first time the band had officially drawn a line in the sand outlining their stand on human rights issues, particularly pertaining to the LGBT community. Animal and human rights are a largely prominent theme in all of the band’s lyrics.

While RA has been touring to support their new album, Wolves, which was released in June 2017, much of their song selection centered around The Sufferer And The Witness and Endgame…albums from the band’s more outspoken past that carry a much more gritty ear’s-eye-view of the band’s notable social and political stances and more aggressive musical styling than the more mainstream showings of Black Market and Wolves. The show opens with a general wake-up-and-pay-attention anthem “Ready To Fall“, which is off the 2006 Sufferer album, and followed up with the brilliantly worded “The Good Left Undone” from the same album. The band followed along with “Re-Education (Through Labor)“, which is about the sad immortality of Chinese sweat shops. Rise Against has had a long-running partnership with Vans Shoes, all of which are Vegan-safe, which not only means that the shoes do not use any animal products or animal product processes in their manufacturing process, but that the shoes are manufactured according to Fair Trade standards, which prohibits the use of children and exploited labor forces in developing countries where the product may be outsourced. The band continued their all-too-short powerhouse set with “Help Is On The Way“, which is about the debacle that resulted in Hurricane Katrina becoming as much of a man-made disaster as a natural one. Included in the set was a special selection of “Bricks“, who’s lyrics juxtapose the phenomenon of tolerance double speak regarding LGBT community issues. The song ended with the band’s ginormous LED screens displaying a rainbow flag. Half way through the set, front man Tim McIlrath was the lone player on the stage, offering a sad and mournful plea for unity in a solo, spotlight performance of Black Market’sPeople Live Here“, where he talks about how much music has helped Man work through His problems, individually and as a whole, and how music can unify us and help us work together because we all have to share the space. Just as the song says…”people live here”. McIlrath has always had a gift for eloquently turning the problems of society into a poem, and his monologue ends in the band’s exciting call to arms, “Survive“, from The Sufferer and the Witness, whose lyrics reiterate the band’s over all message for the evening:  “How we survive is what makes us who we are.”

Even though Rise Against is somewhat aggressive and immutable in their beliefs and in their message, the concert was warm and inviting. Tim McIlrath is a gracious host, even if you don’t subscribe to all of his tenets. The music is real, it’s live, and even if it does make the occasional disparaging remark, it is not sad or depressing. In fact, it’s just the opposite. The band is exciting to watch and the music is upbeat and engaging. Rise Against is fun with a purpose. They do not use tracks or tricks to produce their set, and over all the atmosphere felt close and intimate despite the vastness of the venue. Rise Against appeared with The Deftones as part of a colossal summer tour supported by Frank Iero and The Patience and Thrice.

All photos Copyright ©2017 JAM Vaughan (LivingDedGrrl™). All rights reserved. Do not use without written permission. Do not remove watermark.

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