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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.

Iron Maiden in Phoenix, AZ (6/28/2017)

As the Golden Age of music draws to a close, we are constantly saddened by the frequent passing of not only our favorite musicians, but the musicians who made the music what it is. They were the dreamers and the game changers. As the twilight falls around us, the magic ages. After decades of touring, many of those bands we coveted as kids are slowly winking out, losing their exuberance to age, health, and change. But there is one band who defies the laws of God and nature, gives the finger to cancer, and refuses to go away…refuses to give up…and refuses to give an inch of ground to the fade of mediocrity. While everyone else is winding down, they’re winding up.

The only fade you’ll ever get from Iron Maiden is when the lights go down just before a ginormous blast of a pyrotechnic display, which is exactly how the show opens. Shrouded in fog, a dark figure hunches over a cauldron atop a giant Mayan stone wall. The mains rumble with the dark, eerie lows of orchestral strings. The crowd is silent. The mournful wail of a synth flute wafts down from the rafters as a hooded figure stirs the pot rolls the fog down over the stage. A lone voice cries out, “Here is the soul of a man. Here in this place for the taking…”. As the voice finishes its soliloquy, the stage suddenly erupts in fire; there is a burst of music. The hood is thrown off and the figure of Bruce Dickinson, in his usual cargo pants and boots, runs down the wall, and catches some superbig air, landing just in time to spin his microphone stand and sing the chorus of If Eternity Should Fail, the band’s opening number. You can barely hear it over the roar of a sold-out crowd of 18,000, and I thought to myself that, in all my years of concerts and photography, this may very well have been the first and last time I wished I had my earplugs, but not because the band was too loud….but because a crowd loved a band enough to drown them out.

Much of the setlist was in support of the band’s Book of Souls album. From If Eternity, the band ran right into the head bobbing, more cowbell, 80’s metal-esque Speed Of Light off the same album. It’s really hard to hold the camera still. I can’t decide if I want to rock out or take pictures. There’s just so much energy, and it isn’t until later that I realize that my 4k video of this song’s performance has me howling along with Bruce in my own metal-opera voice in a rousing chorus of “Shadows in the stars…We will not return…Humanity won’t save us…at the speed of liiiiiiiiight…”. I think there’s even a hair flip in front of the camera. Oh, well. The lights are just going crazy. Spotlights float over the GA floor crowd. People are starting to crowd surf. Security isn’t happy, but it’s Maiden. The devil doesn’t make them do it, Eddie does.

Talk, talk, talk…..shhhhhhh….Steve Harris time. Steve Harris is the brain-child behind much of Maiden’s music. One of the most brilliant bass players to every walk across a stage, the opening bass riff from Wrathchild thumps over the mains, and I’m a happy girl. I might have let out a little squee….just a little. Wrathchild is track two in the wayback machine, from their first major studio album (when Adrian Smith joined them on guitar) released back in 1981 when Paul D’Anno was the singer. The cover is a gnarly yellow Eddie with a slimy hatchet in his hand getting his lapels pulled by the begging hands of his unfortunate victim. It’s my favorite incarnation of Eddie. I’m even wearing a dress that’s made out of the album cover art. I like all Maiden, but the early cuts are my jam. The kids in the audience get a little quiet. This one is before their time, but that just opens up the dance floor in front of our seats for us old folks to cut a little rug. But that’s OK! Because as the song comes to a close, Bruce wants to have a word with the “youngers”, and by youngers he means everyone born after 1982. Surprisingly (or not), literally half of this crowd is Generation Y and Millennials, and they’re VERY loud. 1982 was the year that launched Iron Maiden into the spotlight to make them one of the biggest powerhouse bands that music history has ever known. 1982 was the release year for the band’s first big studio album The Number of the Beast. Not only did Number reach No. 1 on the UK Albums chart, but it was the band’s big introduction of their new lead singer…the man who would become a legend in rock ‘n’ roll, noted for his tireless, unwavering energy, his NBA-worthy jumps, his never-ending voice, and his knack for transforming his personal passion for history and literature into song…Mr Bruce Dickinson. Ironically, after addressing the vastness of the younger crowd, Bruce ends the segment Dickinson suggested that 1982 was, of course, the year everyone began having sex to Iron Maiden songs (wink wink), though citing that it’s very difficult to have sex to an Iron Maiden song because “even though they’re long, they just sorts of stop and start and stop and start.” In keeping with his tongue-in-cheek monologue, and the band performed Children of the Damned, which was a track from that year’s album.

The show went on. Bruce went on and on and on, and little Nicholas the drumset teddybear held on and on. Sprinkling the past with the present, the band took the audience all the way back to the beginning and brought us forward. In between classic selections were no less theatrical highlights from the Book of Souls album, including one Bruce Dickinson bouncing about on stage in a monkey mask dangling bananas in the face of Dave Murray during his Death Or Glory guitar  solo. Steve Harris slayed The Trooper from 1983’s Piece of Mind album. Bruce donned his Red Coat and waved a tattered Union Jack from his post top the big stone wall, draping Janick Gers with it during the guitar solo that everyone who listens to rock music can sing note for note. The lights went green, the backdrop changed to a new Eddie, and the crunchy guitar chug-chug-a-lug chugga-lugga of Powerslave (1984) began with Bruce leaping around the stage in the essence of the Luchadore mask he wore for that specific occasion. A towering Eddie appeared on stage to challenge a dueling Dickinson for his heart during the title track performance from Book of Souls, and later, a touching moment came when the lights went down and the audience came together to sing “Ohhhh” and sway along to the hollow, haunting guitar verse of Fear of the Dark (1992), which, of course ended abruptly with Nicko-coordinated flame bursts. The band ended the official set with a line drive all the way back to their very first release Iron Maiden, the title track off the self-titled album Iron Maiden from 1980.

The band’s appearance at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Downtown Phoenix was part of the band’s Book Of Souls world tour. The stop was an installment in the Part 2 of the band’s longest  tour since their Somewhere On Tour run in 1986. The Book Of Souls tour, which began in February 2016 and is still running strong into the summer of 2017. In 2017, this particular tour found the most iconic metal band in all of music history debuting their performance in Beijing and Shanghai China and also in El Salvador. The concert in El Salvador went on record as being the country’s largest event in its history, and the band received a special Thank You from the Ministry of Tourism there. At the end of the show, Bruce triumphantly announced that when this tour is over, “We’re not going to stop!”

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

Ghost at Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, AZ

Swedish heavy metal band, Ghost, opened for Iron Maiden at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Downtown Phoenix AZ on Wednesday, June 28.  Referring to themselves as “the clergy”, their 2016 single, “Cirice”, landed them a Grammy for Best Metal Performance. In January 2017, Ghost became the first Swedish heavy metal band to ever peak the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart with their Popestar single release “Square Hammer”, which opened the show with its iconic Munster-esque organ anthem reverberating through the rafters. Taking the stage as five Nameless Ghouls and an archtypal anti-Pope, Ghost delivered a set of heavy visuals and if-ABBA-married-Anton-Lavey melodies, including fan favorite “He Is“.

The show opens with what would be, in keeping with the band’s theme, a call to worship. The slow chant and mystic music of Jocelyn Pook’s “Masked Ball“, from the Stanley Kubrick’s film Eyes Wide Shut, plays over the mains, announcing the arrival of the band to the stage. From there, parishioners of music are treated to a church/horror themed rock show in which lead singer, stage named Papa Emeritas III, occupies the stage in his papal vestments creating a striking visual to accompany the catchy and toe-tapping rhythms of the music. The five Ghouls, who have no names, represent the 5 Elements: Water, Earth, Fire, Wind, and Either. While the Ghouls wear identical masks and costumes, their elemental designation is represented on their instruments. Fire (Alchemy fire symbol.svg) plays lead guitar. Water (Alchemy water symbol.svg) plays bass. Wind (Alchemy air symbol.svg) plays keyboards. Earth (Alchemy earth symbol.svg) plays drums. And Ether (Aether symbol.jpg) plays rhythm guitar. The band prefers the anonymity of the musicians, including Papa Emeritus III to allow fans to more easily enter the dark church fantasy that Ghost creates on stage, which is brilliantly executed and results in the treating of fans to an altogether immersive experience.

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

Third Eye Blind w/ Silversun Pickups 6/25/2017 Festival Pier @ Penns Landing, Philly

Third Eye Blind w/ Silversun Pickups – 06/25/2017

Festival Pier @ Penns Landing – Philadelphia, PA

Words/Photos/Video – Jay Porks

The Summer Gods Tour rolls on into Philly in what was an almost perfect Sunday for the beach. This tour came through the PNC Bank Arts Center on Friday and for a video heavy recap you can just hover over this sentence and click to check it out. That venue that’s been featured in several concert confessions. Tonight it’s Festival Pier @ Penns Landing in Philly. Penns Landing is a waterfront venue along the same lines as Williamsburg Waterfront or the Stone Pony Summerstage.  Simple venue concept: slab of flat ground in front of a stage. The stage set up did have that 2PM side stage at a festival type feel. Making up for it is a sweet breeze and sand on the ground as we’re literally on the beach. So we ended up here after all. On time too, so we made it for Ocean Park Standoff and the entirety of Silversun Pickups set as well tonight.

Ocean Park Standoff opened up the night at 6:45. They have a female guitar player doing the heavy lifting, so I googled and it’s Samantha Ronson, sister of Mark. It’s a big world. After a couple songs I made a note: this slot they’re in is where I usually unfairly give a band the cold shoulder just because I’m really douchey. But no! All of their songs had sweet melodies and someone in this group can write catchy songs. The band released their debut EP in March and are already opening up on a major tour. Guess I’m not the only one that doesn’t hate them. They went off at 7:10.

The Silversun Pickups! Wow, you want to talk about making it count, that’s what this band does. Unlike Friday, we’re on time today and can watch the full scale of SSPU set in action. Songs we know, songs we don’t, songs we didn’t know we knew. In that hour, Silversun Pickups slayed the dragon that was an ugly “festival” stage, flat non elevating stand room and the high school basketball team situated right in front of you. They made me forget. The Royal We, Substitution both early in the set headbangers. Shocked some life into the crowd of bros who all shared an outfit. Really hope the world is in a place where the Silversun Pickups are back out there touring regularly again. How hasn’t anyone told me how good this is?! Panic Switch, Dots and Dashes and Lazy Eye ended their night at 8:30.

Third Eye Blind came on at sharply 9 and by this time the jam packed crowd has tightened up towards the stage. They opened with the same sheet gimmick as Friday (and is assume on this whole tour). They play Summer Gods behind a curtain and then drop it, but tonight the sheet malfunctioned a bit and didn’t all come down on queue. Nothing tops the live concert experience.

Pictures and video were tough on this night as the standing room doesn’t elevate or anything towards the back. I planned ahead for that and got all the hits on Friday. So for the first time in a while, I also brought words and sentences to the table. #Journalism. Stephen mentioned how this is the first night of the tour without seats. “I hate seats” he says. I get it. It’s a rock show. But tonight, my sciatica is acting up so I personally miss the comfort of seats. At least for this one night.

Such an extensive list of awesome songs. Some may call this band a one hit wonder. They are not that. And they’re not even a band with two hits that sound exactly the same. Even after the other night I still popped for Never Let You Go to lead the encore. By that point it feels like there’s no way they got another banger. As the set progressed, I noticed a benefit of not having seats. A sea of heads rockin on a beach was a scene to be had. I may judge the process, but you can’t argue with the results. For example, Jumper tonight had like a little singalong portion that was absent from the show up in PNC. Maybe the beach vibes. The set was the same exact set songs wise as Friday with playing the entire self titled debut record and all, but I couldn’t have underestimated more how awesome of a time Third Eye Blind could be live.

The handful of decent photos can be chopped up to Amanda Porks, who you can follow on twitter here. Set list lays below. If the Summer Gods tour is coming your way, it’s a fun night out that’s highly recommended.

Summer Gods intro

Company Of Strangers

Horror Show

Wounded

Queen Of Daydreams

Shipboard Cook

==Break==

Losing A Whole Year

Narcolepsy

Semi Charmed Life

Jumper

Graduate

How’s It Gonna Be

Thanks A Lot

Burning Man

Good For You

London

I Want You

The Background

Motorcycle Drive By

===Encore===

Never Let You Go

Alright Caroline

God of Wine (yes that’s on the first record. They save it for the encore)

Third Eye Blind w/ Silversun Pickups 06/23/2017 @ PNC Bank Arts Center

Third Eye Blind w/ Silversun Pickups – 06/23/2017

PNC Bank Arts Center – Holmdel, NJ

Words/Photos/Videos – Jay Porks

Third Eye Blind have kicked off a tour in celebration of 20 years since the release of their self titled debut record. Billed as The Summer Gods Tour, Stephan Jenkins and Co. have enlisted very special guests the Silversun Pickups. Roughly two weeks into the trek, the tour makes a stop off in Dirty Jersey at the PNC Bank Arts Center.

Silversun Pickups went on early. We barely were in our seats when Panic Switch hit.

Audible roars of the crowd on the lawn were heard during the duration of their set, especially during Lazy Eye. People were still filing in, but the entire lawn was jammed pack. Wish we would have known Silversun Pickups were going to be playing that early. Their set ended at 8 freaking 30.

It’s been 20 years since Third Eye Blind debuted with their self titled debut record. Let’s all allow that to sink in for a minute and realize that we’re old.

The night opened with Summer Gods. Opening up with a handful of hits before we jump into this record. Company of Strangers, Horror Show (aka “Heroin”) and Wounded followed. Crowd was getting loose at this point where dancing in aisles began to occur. The seats were pretty much pack out at this point, with the exception of the top sections.

Queen of Daydreams and Shipboard Cook finished off the non album cuts as the band ducked off for a second for a tiny break before coming out to play the record.  That’s where we went into video mode:

London, Thanks A Lot and Burning Man garnered the most noise from the PNC crowd other than the big hits.

After a 2nd tiny break they came back to kicking off this encore with Never Let You Go

which by this point I had forgotten about in the sea of awesome songs tonight. Alright Caroline and God of Wine closed out their fairly epic set crisply before 11.

Davey Suicide Returns To Mesa 6/16/2017

For three days, now, there has been a song stuck in my head. All day long I hear, “She’s got the eyyyyyyyyes of an angellllll….”. It happens every time I come home from a Davey Suicide show. The more I get to know them, the more I like them, and it’s not just THAT song that sticks in my head. After the show, I had the chance to pick up their latest album Made From Fire, and there are quite a few catchy tunes on it. I run to keep fit, and I’ve already added the entire album as the soundtrack for my street beats. It has a nice, overall uptempo feel with a good, driving beat to keep you moving forward, which goes along perfectly with the name “Suicide”. The name “Suicide” came from the notion that unless you stop yourself, there’s no reason you can’t achieve whatever you want in this life.

Davey Suicide came back to Mesa on Friday, June 16, and they sounded just as good live as they do in my headphones. They have a warm and engaging stage presence and plenty of energy…so much energy that despite their support position in the tour, it was their music that followed me home in my head and stayed there for the next few days. As a concert photographer, it is fairly easy for me to separate myself from the music and objectively cover the event for publication, but damn if Davey Suicide doesn’t make it hard to not get caught up in the moment! Getting a great, solid, sharp photo means standing still, taking a deep breath, slowly exhaling, and squeezing the shutter button. These are things I have done routinely for many years, yet when it comes to a Davey Suicide set, I have to literally tell myself to stop bouncing…stop nodding your head…stop singing. It’s infectious, and they are as sincere as they are theatrical. The sound invades your whole body. Their energy makes YOU have energy. Whether you want to or not, you can’t help but get caught up in their moments.

Davey Suicide appears as part of the Doyle “Abominate The World/As We Die” tour 2017.

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

Interview with Doyle & Misfits Guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein

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Blackest of the Black: Oak Canyon Park – Silverado, Ca 5/26/17-5/27/17

The 2017 edition of the Blackest of the Black Festival was held in the mountain area of Oak Canyon Park in Silverado, California. The festival is the brain child of Misfits’ legendary frontman Danzig and always proves to have a variety of metal bands to suit everyone’s needs.  This festival was two days of pure madness from every corner and was a great way to start Memorial Day weekend.

Day one featured some of the more popular metal bands today and was started by industrial metal band 3Teeth that got the audience started on this Friday night. Los Angeles natives Butcher Babies were the second band to perform and by now, the venue had started to fill up to a nice amount to where it didn’t feel so empty. With female vocalist’s Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepherd taking control of the show, it was nice to see the festival getting started with a bang and more was still to come. Deathcore giants Suicide Silence have recently released their newest self-titled album so it was no surprise to see them as part of the lineup. Vocalist Eddie Hermida would alternate between clean vocals and the band’s signature high-pitch screams depending on the song. Hermida would also come out to the audience to sing to them so the fans got a more personal experience. Austrian blackened death metal band Belphegor were set to play this festival as well, but were forced to cancel their appearance due to flight issues coming to the USA. Instead, post-rock/black metal band Deafheaven took their place. Deafheaven has a very atmospheric feel to their music as if even without vocals, the music alone would be music to anyone’s ears. Frontman George Clarke had a very energetic stage presence as he would head bang and move his hands around almost in a dance-like motion. Discharge is perhaps one of the first bands to play hardcore punk since their formation in 1977. With fast and thrashy guitars and shouting vocals, it was hard to just stand around and so of course the crowd was moshing throughout the show to keep the energy of the show going. Corrosion of Conformity is a hardocre punk/sludge metal/heavy metal band that have been around since the 1980’s. Their music offers a wide variety of sound from slow-paced bluesy music, to a more faster and aggressive heavy metal and hardcore punk sound. Fans enjoyed their set and were happily headbanging the night away and moshing when it came to it.

 

Headlining day 1 of the festival was the legendary hardcore punk/crossover thrash metal band, Suicidal Tendencies. Plenty of fans were seen wearing merch so they were obviously one of the main attractions of the night. Suicidal Tendencies came out and started the show with their usual opener, You Can’t Bring Me Down. Legendary frontman Mike Muir was very energetic throughout the night as he ran around and in between songs he would give quick motivational speeches saying that it doesn’t matter how many times you fall down in life as long as you get back up and to believe in your dreams. Suicidal Tendencies played many classics in their setlist which included: I Shot Reagan, War Inside My Head, Subliminal, and Trip at the Brain. The band’s performance was only made better with the addition of legendary metal drummer Dave Lombardo formerly of thrash metal legends, Slayer. During Possessed to Skate, Suicidal Tendencies invited female fans on stage and quickly turned into and all-female mosh pit and even a young boy joined in on all the fun. Suicidal Tendencies finished their set with Pledge Your Allegiance and so day of the Blackest of the Black festival came to and end. The music was over, but the night was still young. Those not ready to leave yet were treated to Danzig‘s new Black Laden Crown being premiered for the first time. Other fans were hanging around the movie screen and were watching classic movie monster movies. Many fans left the venue simply to rest up for the next day.

For fans not interested in certain bands, other entertainment at the festival included Castle Danzig which was filled with freakshow performers. Fire-breathers, fire dancers, half-naked women bathing in fake blood, sword-eaters, a man putting hooks in his eyes and wires into his nose and out of his mouth, a large man putting mouse traps on his nipples, and jugglers. A variety of carnival rides were also available for some fun. Plenty of clothing vendors and food trucks were also available.

Day two of the festival featured more more metal bands that fans were more familiar with and had the superior lineup. It was set to be a long day of festivities. The first band that played was the black metal band, Ritual. Most fans still hadn’t arrived or were being let in so if they choose to, they had to listen to the band while in line. Still, a small amount of people showed up in time to enjoy the band.

The next band up was the metal macabre band only known to mankind as Ghoul. They brought disgusting and putrid thrash metal with them and plenty of fans showed up early for them and were prepared to be bathed in the blood and juices that Ghoul squirts out. A man in a costume came out to insult the fans, but his speech was cut short when another man came out and cut off his arm and started spraying fake blood onto the audience. Ghoul started their show with Ghoulunatics from their newest Dungeon Bastards album. Nothing but pure thrash metal with deep growls to get the festival and mosh pit going. Ghoul had a variety of cast members come out which included a witch doctor biting the head off a fake chicken and dumping blood on fans, a future soldier with a water gun shooting water at fans, and even two mecha robots battling it out on stage. They are truly a spectacle to witness. Other songs played included: Shred the Dead, Off With their Heads , and Wall of Death. Combichrist was next and was another industrial metal band. They started with What the Fuck Is Wrong with You? and showed their industrial metal fans how it’s done. Fans loved hearing songs such as Throat Full of Glass and the ever-satisfying Shut Up and Swallow. American groove metal band DevilDriver also had plenty of fans in attendance and were very energetic on stage as fans headbanged and moshed the whole time. Swedish black metal legion Marduk made this festival a special appearance for the band. They were one of the main attractions of the night as they played black metal goodness like The Blond Beast, Of Hells Fire, and Panzer Division Marduk. The band was often cloaked with fog machines which gave the band a proper black metal appearance. Venom Inc also made a special appearance for this festival and had a surprise in store for fans. Venom Inc is a reincarnation of legendary British thrash metal legends, Venom. It involves original Venom members Jeffrey “Mantas” Dunn and Anthony “Abaddon” Bray. On vocals was Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan who replaced original Venom singer Conrad “Cronos” Lant when he left the band at one point. Venom Inc brought old school thrash metal and played lots of Venom classics like: Live Like an Angel (Die Like a Devil), Don’t Burn the Witch, and Leave Me in Hell. Venom Inc made a special announcement about signing to the Nuclear Blast record label and were working on their first album Avé due out on August 11, 2017. As a special treat, the band played a new song from the album titled, Avé Satanas. Mantas made a small speech on his on how thirty years ago, he wrote a song that apparently started its own genre of music. Fans of the band knew what song it was and so Venom Inc started playing one of the most popular songs in the metal scene, Black Metal.

 

Atreyu is an American metalcore band and were most definitely the oddball of the lineup. Regardless, the band put lots of energy into their performance. To no surprise, vocalist Alex Varkatzas had to often tell the audience to jump, get crazy, etc because they seemed uninterested in a band like this. Oddly enough, the band seemed to get the biggest response when they played a cover of Bon Jovi‘s You Give Love a Bad Name. Vamps are a rock band from Tokyo, Japan that have reached stardom in Japan and were looking to gain stardom in the USA as well. Their most noticeable fans were the female Japanese fans up front who were going wild for the fans and even made flags and banners for the band to see. To no surprise, a lot of the band’s song titles and themes involve blood. One of the final bands of the night were the industrial metal pioneers and legends, Ministry. The band was led by Al Jourgensen and is one of metal’s most recognized faces. Ministry came out and started with one of their most popular songs, Psalm 69. The band was often covered with fog from fog machines and along with the flashing lights gave the band a proper industrial metal feeling. Jourgensen had a mic stand with skulls and a pentagram and would often jerk it around while he sang. Jourgensen made note that the band was getting ready to release a new album titled AmeriKKKant out in the fall of 2017 and treated the audience to the live debut of a new song titled, Antifa. Nighttime was approaching and all the fog and lights during Ministry‘s performing gave the band a great look. The energy was off the hook with fast-paced industrial metal being played.

Other songs performed were: LiesLiesLies, N.W.O, and Just One Fix. Jourgensen thanked the audience for coming out and to end the show, played one of the band’s most popular songs, Thieves. The main highlight of the night was obviously the man himself, Danzig. Everyone had gathered around to see the legendary Misfits frontman. Danzig came out and started the show with SkinCarver. Danzig had the best stage setup with lots of lights, fog, gargoyles, and different backdrops. Danzig fans were seen moshing and singing along to the music. It was the 25th anniversary of Danzig‘s third solo album titled Danzig III: How the Gods Kill so Danzig made sure to play several tracks from the album including How the Gods Kill, Godless, Left Hand Black, and Dirty Black Summer. The fans went wild for Danzig. Since Danzig had released his new album Black Laden Crown, it was mandatory for him to play new songs. the only two new songs performed were Devil on Hwy 9 and Last Ride. The show seemed to come to an end when he played his most famous song, Mother. Danzig left the stage and fans started to exit the venue. Danzig came out after a few minutes to perform two encores for those that chose to stay. Those encores were She Rides and Am I Demon. Danzig once again left the stage. Fans were clearly tired after hours of being at the festival, but wore nothing but smiles and walked out with new friends memories that would surely last a lifetime.

 

Day 1:

 

 

Suicide Silence

    

 

Deafheaven

 

 

Discharge

 

 

Corrosion of Conformity

 

 

Suicidal Tendencies

 

 

Day 2:

 

 

Ghoul

 

 

 

Combichrist

 

 

 

DevilDriver

 

 

Marduk

 

 

Venom Inc

 

 

Atreyu

 

 

Vamps

 

 

Ministry

 

 

Festival Grounds

 

MMRBQ 2017: Godsmack, Live, Bush, The Pretty Reckless @ BB&T Pavilion – Camden, NJ

WMMR 93.3 FM is Philly is a rarity in this time: A terrestrial radio station with a rock format. Every year they put on the MMRBQ, a summer show in Camden, NJ. This year’s lineup features Godsmack, LĪVE, Bush, The Pretty Reckless, The Struts, Zakk Sabbath, Rival Sons and Dinosaur Pileup. It’s an all day event, with doors opening at 12 I believe. Excuse my tardiness tonight as there isn’t a bus that goes the full three hours from Staten Island to Camden directly. Still found ourselves on the Lawn (The Lundy Lawn!) by the time the Pretty Reckless was about to hit the stage.

The first I heard of The Pretty Reckless was on Concert Confessions and judging by their set I’m glad I did. Taylor Momsen is from Gossip Girl, but we’re not going to hold that against her because her band rocks. They can range from twangyish to shreddyness (yes, both of those words are made up) on the turn of a dime. You’ll notice there’s not a picture of the band above this. That’s because I believe I was actively sabotaged by some dude living the #VapeLife and blowing thick clouds of smoke in front of my camera. Jersey. At the end of their set, they covered “Like A Stone” for Chris Cornell. You could see Momsen wiping tears from her face throughout the rendition.

You ever see a band you like and leave saying “Wow, that was way more fulfilling than I thought it would be?” Well that’s Bush. Man do I miss Bush. In so many more ways than one. Came out with a blistering ‘Machinehead’. I caught that on the rail as I made my way around the massive (Lundy) Lawn trying to find good angles (which apparently never happened) for pictures and stuff. I moved back to the side to record ‘The Sound of Winter’ before I headed back mid-lawn to my peeps. While there, Bush continued to kick ass. I managed to find my way back to the far side to tape an amazing ‘Comedown’. I hadn’t been checking the set lists but Bush covering REM was pretty neat. Mixed in a Black Hole Sun tease. Was really good. I must have slipped into some sort of alternative universe when they played ‘Glycerine’ because I can’t quite remember when they played it.

Live and Ed Kowalczyk have kissed and made up. They’re back together. Slotted between Bush and Godsmack here in the one of the homicide capitals of America, Live managed to come out and kill it in their allotted time on a long day with tons of bands and moving parts involved. Opened things up with ‘All Over You’, Live was out here with tons of energy on a quickly cooling Camden evening. All the big ones tonight: ‘Selling The Drama’, ‘I Alone’ had the entire (Lundy) Lawn jumping. They explained how they’re kind of local, being from a “little town in Pennsylvania known for the Peppermint Patty among other things”.

Highlight of the evening was Live covering Audioslave’s  ‘I Am The Highway’ in honor of the late great Chris Cornell. This has been a tough week for all of us. It’s cool that bands pay tribute to their peers and allow us fans to partake in those moments. When Live did this, when the Pretty Reckless did ‘Like A Stone’ earlier in the night, those were precious moments that we as fans needed to help us see some hope in this strange thing called life and who is taken from us and who gets to stay on this earth. Seeing that was well worth the price of admission alone. They closed with ‘Lightning Crashes’.

If you would have said to me a year ago “Hey Jay, you’re gonna be at the Godsmack concert next year” I would have told you that you’re crazy. Then again, there’s a lot of things you could have told me a year ago that would be happening now that I wouldn’t have believed, the world is a crazy place.
If you were starting a band specifically to fit the tastes of Beavis & Butthead, that band would be Godsmack. They  opened their set up with a monstrous “I’m Awake” that included some cool pyro. It only took about two songs for me to turn to the people to the left and right of me and think “Yo, Godsmack freaking rocks!” The thing about Godsmack is that they have enough hits to keep a simple mind like mine entertained for the duration of their 75 minutes (or so) while simultaneously keep the Jersey fist pumpers pumping and doing that bald-headed head bang you see all the time. Fortunately, we didn’t see any mosh pits break out on the lawn. The Lundy Lawn.
You’ll notice I keep saying the Lundy Lawn. There’s a law firm that sponsors the venue called Lindy Law. So they call it the ‘Lundy Lawn’ as a play on words. Personally, if I was a lawyer, I don’t think I’d want to take on the liability that weekly rock concerts contained drunk and high people listening to heavy music would bring. I’ve seen too many episodes of Law and Order.
 
.
  Checking in as songs I actually knew before tonight is ‘Voodoo’. They mixed in a medley of covers. Had a big spot with two drummers going towards the end where they flips sticks and beat the heck out of stuff. It was rad. Covered the Beatles “Come Together”. Godsmack. Covered the Beatles. That was a thing that happened. Ended the night with lots of crowd participation for ‘I Stand Alone’ in which my camera died during filming.  A very enjoyable day of music. MMRBQ does it again.

Meat Puppets w/ Mike Watt + The Jom & Terry Show and Grant Hart – Brooklyn Bowl 05/10/2017

Meat Puppets, Mike Watt + The Jom & Terry Show w/ Special Guest Grant Hart

Brooklyn Bowl – 05/10/2017

Words/Photos/Videos – Jay Porks

In 1985 label mates at SST Records embarked on the road in what was dubbed “The Tour” and it featured the likes of Husker Du, the Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Saccharine Trust, and SWA. Fast forward to 2017 and we have some of the ol’ gang hitting the road together again as The Meat Puppets have embarked on ‘The Tour Tour Two’ co-headlining dates with Mike Watt (Minutemen) + The Jom & Terry Show. Not only that, but a handful of dates here on the East Coast feature Grant Hart (From Husker Du) as a special guest opener. We’re at the Brooklyn Bowl for this one, which in case you’ve missed it, is a active bowling alley/concert venue hybrid and it’s the best thing to hit Williamsburg since IPA or CitiBike docking stations.

If you’re a fan of unique personalities, I’d like to introduce you to my new close and personal friend Grant Hart. Hanging around the venue incognito before he opened his set at 8PM with a booming Colorado. Real cool dude and as later discovered, nice enough to autograph stuff for fans who asked during the night. His set was about a half hour of glorioussness. You’re the Reflection of The Moon on The Water” is off 2009’s Hot Wax before the token Husker Du track Never Talking To You Again got resounding cheers. Or maybe it was someone rolling a strike at one of the lanes. Those folks seemed jacked to knock over pins with a ball. Two people behind me were talking to each other during the set. Overheard: “This guy, maybe he’s famous? A lot of people watching.” Yeah, he’s famous. As he said after the set “yeah man we worked hard back in the day on all this stuff so people can have our songs as their fucking ringtone.” Fantastic set.

Also, right before ducking off. Grant said something: “Home of the brave, not home of the chicken shit! We gotta do something man. Let’s shut the mother fucker down!” Damn right Grant, damn right. #Resist

Mike Watt has been bringing his Pedro twang to the scene since the 80s. He’s been in so many bands, so many different projects and is integral to every one of them. A set of assorted covers would blast out our eardrums over the next hour.

Tonight Mike Watt is with the Jom & Terry Show, comprised of Tom Watson on guitar and Jerry Trebotic. Need to be good to keep up with the pluckin’ and peddlin’ of Watt and these dudes are up for the task. Portions of the night had me in awe of Tom Watson’s guitar expertise.

Songs were running into each other without pause at times, like the notion of playing 48 songs in 43 minutes wasn’t so far out of the realm. Some songs contained long break downs at the end where Watt would run wild with the bass. Incredible vibes flowing through the Brooklyn Bowl on this night. Right after he said goodnight Mike Watt screamed out “John Coltrane!!!” then put his yellow backpack back on and headed off stage. Perfect.

The Meat Puppets had a little extra kick in their step tonight as they hit the stage at 10:15. Maybe it’s playing with old friends, maybe it’s the vibe of Williamsburg fueling the fire on stage. Legends to put it lightly, this is personally my 19th time seeing the sun scored desert rockers.

That said, it was exciting to hear a couple songs that haven’t been busted out most of those times. When Flaming Heart hit, it was so hard to contain squeals of excitement. They sang the harmonies on the chorus differently than the version found on Too High To Die, more low key. It was delightful.

Sam, Coming Down, Oh Me and Plateau had preceded. The Meat Puppets Facebook page had a live video going for the evening’s opener of Sam. How cool is that? And what do the comments read on that video? Well, they critique the abilities of the person taking said live video. The direct reason we can’t have nice things. Sidenote: I envy Cris Kirkwood’s beard.

The last time I saw The Meat Puppets play Severed Goddess Hand live, to my knowledge (fact-checking encouraged) was back in 2008 when they opened for Build To Spill with Dinosaur Jr sandwiched between them. The grainy pictures from my blackberry make me sick to this day. Sick in a different way was yet another gem from one of my favorite records of theirs.

Not exactly the same as the version that Metallica plays, Whiskey In The Jar is always a fun time live.

Mockin’ Bird Hill was the two minute break from the ear-shredding that we all needed. Sweet little diddy and gave everyone a chance to catch their breath. This calm in the air would only last one minute and forty four seconds.

ATTACKED BY MONSTERS!!!!!!!!!! How awesome!? It’s a freaking headbanger full of fuzzy guitar genius. Only time I’ve seen them do it is 2009. This was sick. Upset this isn’t one of the songs they chose to extended jam on, but the night isn’t over.

Up on The Sun had to have clocked in at over 10 minutes. It can’t be said enough about the Meat Puppets. It’s a trip you take. These mid-song space jams, it’s like being elevated into some sort of craft and you return to earth when they come back into the song eventually. They always come back. Curt didn’t pull out the slide til late in the evening. The Brooklyn Bowl got smoked by the old guard of SST tonight. And it was phenomenal.

Sam

Coming down

Oh, me

Plateau

Flaming heart

Lost

Severed Goddess Hand

Monkey And The Snake

Mockin’ Bird Hill

Whiskey In The jar

I’m ragged but I’m right

Touchdown king

Seal Whales

Lake of fire

Attacked by Monsters

Up on The Sun

Encore: Climbing

 

Blood, Lust, Death Tour 2017 feat. Dope, Combichrist, Davey Suicide, and September Mourning 4/8/2017

 

 

 

As if the desert couldn’t get any hotter, Saturday night in Mesa proved everyone wrong when the Blood, Lust, Death Tour 2017 came to town at Club Red Mesa. While it may seem that the venue is small, the walls are only there to protect music lovers from all ages from the soaring temps and searing sun of the Valley of the Sun. There is no shortage of butts in the seats when a tour like this comes to town. For this tour, Club Red opens up the BIG room, and they have to because a line-up like this brings industrial metal fans of all ages who line up outside and down the block even before the doors open. They’re here to rock, and they’ll go home tired…Dope, Combichrist, Davey Suicide, and September Mourning will see to that.

First up for the night was nu metal underground artist Davey Suicide. If there was ever a hero story, this would be it. The music industry has its problems, but it does our hearts (and our ears) good to hear that when bad things happen to good music, that doesn’t have to be the end. Music has always been a vehicle for transforming thought into action, and recent events in the Davey Suicide timeline have added their story to the “Never Give Up, Never Surrender” chapter of Music History. It was heartbreaking to hear him talk about the struggles he’s had to bring the music that people want to hear. You want so badly to be able to help somehow, but then you realize that you’re there. At his show. You ARE helping. The performance he delivered to a full house gave the finger to every suit and tie that ever did him dirty. The setlist for the evening revolved around his latest album Made From Fire, which was his “going to war” album, with a sound like Marilyn Manson meets Motley Crue, inspired by his struggle to survive in the face of adversity, and his performance of the album’s single Resurrection let everyone know that Davey Suicide can take all comers.  He’s been quoted as saying that he’ll never get the last five years of his life back after a long, arduous battle with his record company, but the intensity of his voice and the fire in his eyes says he’s going to at least make up for it…and it kinda felt like he was going to make up for all five years in just 45 minutes.

Next, on a dimly lit stage, the story of unfinished destiny unfolded as Mesa, Arizona became part of one woman’s war between worlds. For the unsuspecting soul, September Mourning is a transmedia creative project that combines story into song of a journey into darkness and purgatory. Beginning as a dark fantasy comic and graphic novel, September Mourning uses song and print to advance concept and character. Portrayed by creator Emily Lazar, herself, September Mourning is a half-human, half-reaper hybrid with no past and a dark present full of voices. Her songs tell the story of a tormented being torn between two worlds, charged with reaping the souls of the broken and escorting them to meet Fate, who has turned against humanity and now secretly plans to gorge himself on the souls of the worthless and destroy the world. Struggling with the balance of dark and right, September is charged with bringing the souls to Mortem, the netherworld where Fate lies in wait in his tower of shadow and stone. Learning of his twist, September tarries the souls in her Hotel Sanctuary, helping them to complete the last unfinished deed from their life which releases them from their impending destruction. This infuriates Fate who sends The Dark Man and his minions to find her. Aided by the voice of her Skullfly tattoo, September stands against Fate to give the world a second chance. On the stage, Emily Lazar appears as the half-reaper September come to life straight from the illustrated page. Flanked by a band of Fate’s reaper minions — Riven, Wraith, Shadou, and Stitch — September Mourning sings through her own struggle between worlds with the songs Skin and Bones and Before the Fall. As she absorbs the energy of the audience, September becomes the embodiment of the stories of her souls in such songs as 20 Below and Eye of the Storm, which are about finding release from cycles of abuse and violence through encouragement and inner strength.

I’m not sure what’s in the water over there in Scandanavia, but whatever it is, those Norwegians can crank out some fantastic metal that rival much of what the 90’s left behind. Combichrist is no exception.  Combichrist is the nominal incarnation of a 90’s punk rock messiah fanzine character created by Andy LaPlegua, and the music very much lives up to the character’s name and attitude. The band is a punk/industrial crossover, blending the heavy industrial techno beat with aggro punk-style guitars and lyrics, fueled by the corrosive beats of not one but TWO drummers on stage. Drummer Joe Letz never disappoints, donning hot pink pigtails complete with bikini top and tutu while tossing sticks back and forth and with co-drummer Nick Rossi. While the two bang away at your heartbeat, frontman LaPlegua raises the room to mosh pit riot status with his searing vocals and menacing stares. “Can’t wait to get back on the road in the US and actually play a full show for all of you again. Hope you’re all ready to party, because shit’s getting serious. We are packing the set full of old classics as well as our new favorite tracks”, said Andy LaPlegua, prior to the tour’s start. This is definitely not a show to bring your breakables to, and maybe not your best leather, either. Even if you don’t participate in any of the rougher expressions, Combichirst will still turn the air into cottage cheese and raise the temperature with their smiles and energy by about 15 degrees. You will sing. You will sweat. You will go home happy. On the Blood, Lust, Death 2017 tour, Combichrist is co-headlining with Dope and will play a full set.

Wrapping up the evening was long running nu metal band, Dope. Edsel & co never fail to bring a certain realness to the stage. He likes to talk between songs, and when he talks, you hear how much he genuinely loves his fans. Fans are family. The more times you see Dope, the more you feel like you know them even if you’ve never met them. Dope is a balanced blend of hip hop and old skool metal that you can listen to even if you don’t particularly like or the other. On the set list was Debonaire, which was featured in first The Fast And the Furious movie along with selections from their latest album Blood Money. Going to a Dope show is like being inside a music video. When the music starts, there’s a lot of supporting imagery playing out behind the band on large LED screen. So, you see the graphics and hear the music just like you would if you were sitting on your couch at home, and then he talks to you like you’re old friends. And then you all sing a rousing chorus of long-time fan favorite Die Motherf*r Die.

The Blood, Lust, Death 2017 tour wrapped up its public performances for the season at Club Red in Mesa, AZ and completed the tour with a private viewing at the Regent Theater in West Hollywood, CA.

 

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

 

Davey Suicide

 

 

September Mourning

 

 

Combichrist

 

 

Dope

 

The Reaper Comes To Phoenix: September Mourning at Club Red – 4/8/2017

It was a clear desert night when the stage became the page, and a house packed full of souls was saved by the songs of the reaper, September Mourning. On a dimly lit stage, the story of unfinished destiny unfolded as Mesa, Arizona became part of one woman’s war between worlds.

For the unsuspecting soul, September Mourning is a transmedia creative project that combines story into song of a journey into darkness and purgatory. Beginning as a dark fantasy comic and graphic novel, September Mourning uses song and print to advance concept and character. Portrayed by creator Emily Lazar, herself, September Mourning is a half-human, half-reaper hybrid with no past and a dark present full of voices. Her songs tell the story of a tormented being torn between two worlds, charged with reaping the souls of the broken and escorting them to meet Fate, who has turned against humanity and now secretly plans to gorge himself on the souls of the worthless and destroy the world. Struggling with the balance of dark and right, September is charged with bringing the souls to Mortem, the netherworld where Fate lies in wait in his tower of shadow and stone. Learning of his twist, September tarries the souls in her Hotel Sanctuary, helping them to complete the last unfinished deed from their life which releases them from their impending destruction. This infuriates Fate who sends The Dark Man and his minions to find her. Aided by the voice of her Skullfly tattoo, September stands against Fate to give the world a second chance.

On the stage, Emily Lazar appears as the half-reaper September come to life straight from the illustrated page. Flanked by a band of Fate’s reaper minions — Riven, Wraith, Shadou, and Stitch — September Mourning sings through her own struggle between worlds with the songs Skin and Bones and Before the Fall. As she absorbs the energy of the audience, September becomes the embodiment of the stories of her souls in such songs as 20 Below and Eye of the Storm, which are about finding release from cycles of abuse and violence through encouragement and inner strength.

September Mourning appeared as part of the Blood, Lust, Death 2017 tour with Dope, Combichrist, and Davey Suicide.

 

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

Mac Sabbath, Metalachi, Krammpstein, Okilly Dokilly: 4/8/17

The Monstrosity tour is perhaps one of the most bizarre tours of the year. Headlining the tour was Mac Sabbath, the world’s only Drive-Thru metal band. Along for the ride was Metalachi and Okilly Dokilly. A strange lineup, but something you’d have to see to believe. To super size the show, a very special guest was added. It was non other than Krammpstein, a Rammstein tribute band where the band members dress as Krampus and other Alpine demons. The historic Regent Theater in downtown Los Angeles had a nice turnout on this Saturday night and it would prove to be a highly entertaining show.

To start the show, up first was Okilly Dokilly. If you’ve watched the tv show, The Simpsons, then you know the character, Ned Flanders. This band is a tribute to him where the lyrics are 75% quotes from Ned and the other 25% are other characters and original lyrics. The band debuted their first album Howdilly Doodilly on November 2016 and is readily available for anyone that’s interested in listening to their music. Okilly Dokilly came out and started the show with They Warned Me from their debut album. Their music has different elements of hard rock, metalcore, and even punk. Okilly Dokilly played all songs from their album except for one. Those songs included: Vegetables, Flanderdoodles, You’re a Jerk, and Press Destruct Button. To add to the comic relief, the band brought out an assortment of objects for laughs. Some of those objects included Ned’s head in the style of the popular video game Minecraft and a giant inflatable donut during the performance of Donut Hell, and even the suit from the “Stupid Sexy Flanders” scene. Okilly Dokilly finished with Nothing At All and left the crowd hungry for more. Fans of The Simpsons will surely enjoy this band for what they are. Stupid Sexy Flanders.

 

Krammpstein is a Rammstein tribute band where all the band members dress up as everyone’s favorite Austrian Alpine demon, Krampus. The band members came out and started with their Rammstein cover of Waidmanns Heil (Huntsman’s Salute). Rammstein fans could immediately fall in love with the music as it was played to perfection. The only difference is that the band changed Rammstein‘s lyrics to match the folklore of Krampus. Fans could be seen headbanging to the music, especially those familiar with Rammstein. Other songs played during this macabre performance were Ich Tu Dir Weh (I Hurt You), Sonne (Sun), Du Hast (You Have), Pussy, and Amerika (America). To match the folklore, Krammpstein brought out objects to match the band’s theme. Some of these items included Krampus’ ruten, a bundle of birch branches that was used to swat children with and a basket full of stuffed figures depicting children that Krampus would catch and were thrown for the audience to have. Krammpstein finished the show with Wiener Blut (Viennese Blood) and then left the stage. The concert was only halfway through and fans were still wanting more which they were about to get.

 

Metalachi is the world’s first and only heavy metal mariachi band. The theme if this band is silly, yet satisfying. They take famous classic rock and metal songs and cover them using mariachi instruments. The thought of that sounds far-fetched, but a quick YouTube search will reveal plenty of live material to check out should their description peak your interest. The band’s attire is an interesting blend taken from acts such as GWAR, KISS, and Rob Zombie, but still maintain a classic mariachi band look. The members themselves take stage names and personas. They go by: Vega De la Rockha (vocals), El Cucuy (trumpet), Paco Halen (guitar), Kyla Vera (violin), and Nacho Picante (bass).  Metalachi came out and started the show with their cover of Ozzy Osbourne‘s Crazy Train. Hearing a trumpet play in the place of a guitar takes some getting used to, but eventually you get the hang of it and you realize that Metalachi‘s concerts are always a party. The band stayed very energetic throughout the show as to not bore their audience and in between songs would often taunt each other on stage as well as tell personal life stories of the adult kind. Some of the other songs played were: Ace of Spades (Motorhead), Welcome to the Jungle (Guns N’ Roses), Holy Diver (Dio), and Caught In a Mosh (Anthrax).  Halfway through the show, one of the band’s highlights takes place. They bring a random female fan on stage and then Vega and El Cucuy would serenade her by singing Fuck Her Gently as made famous by Tenacious D. If that wasn’t enough, Vega would give the female fan a lap dance and then surprised when Kyla would give her a lap dance as well. After all that, it’s possible that the fan is pregnant with triplets. The world may never know. Kyla Vera displayed her electrifying violin skills and played a violin solo which consisted of snippets from J.S. Bach and metal acts Metallica and Iron Maiden. The show came to a bloody conclusion when the band performed Slayer‘s Raining Blood and kept up the mosh pit that had been going on for a few songs. Metalachi always puts on one of the most entertaining shows and is highly recommended if you’re looking to let loose and have fun at a show.

 

For fans that were looking to gorge themselves with the ultimate value meal, the best was yet to come. Mac Sabbath is exactly what you think it is. They are a Black Sabbath tribute band that dress like characters from McDonald’s and change the pyrics to match fast food. Those band members include Ronald Osbourne (vocals), Slayer MacCheeze (guitar), Grimalice (bass), and the Catburglar (drums). It’s something you have to see to believe. The stage was blocked by a giant red and yellow curtain so fans couldn’t see the stage being setup. The lights went out and the fans went wild as the curtain came down to reveal three of the four members on stage. They started the show with a cover of the song Black Sabbath, but renamed to Black Sandwich. One of the first things you’ll notice is how precise the music sounds. It’s as if you’re attending an actual Black Sabbath concert, but in the form of fast food. Eventually, Osbourne came out in a strait-jacket and sang part of the song before finally removing the strait-jacket. To being the next song, Osbourne turned on the grill that was on stage and picked up a beef patty, ate it, then proceeded to puke it back out into a bucket. I guess that patty wasn’t….Sweet Beef (Sweet Leaf). The band proved to be comical on stage as well as keep their Black Sabbath personas in check. Osbourne did a great job of copying Ozzy Osbourne’s movements on stage. From the way he jumps while on stage to his accent and the way he talks to the audience. Plenty of shenanigans were held on stage as Osbourne brought out plenty of trinkets literally not knowing what tricks he had up his sleeves. A huge straw was pulled out from inside his costume and then beer was poured from one end and Osbourne would be at the other end drinking it. Light up chicken nuggets would be eaten. Even water being squeezed out of ketchup and mustard bottles at the audience gave everyone a laugh. Other super-sized songs included: Lord of the Swirl (Lord of This World), Supersize (Supernaut), Chicken For the Slaves (Children of the Grave), and Organic Funeral (Electric Funeral). Frying Pan (Iron Man) was one of the songs near the finale and Osbourne brought out a frying pan and set it on fire. To add to it, he brought it the batwich which re-creates Ozzy’s infamous bat story. The show seemed to come to an end when they played Pair-a-Buns (Paranoid) and Osbourne decided to do some crowd surfing, or clown surfing as he called. The band left the stage and all seemed quiet. After a few minutes, the lights came back on to reveal the band members from all four bands came out to help Mac Sabbath perform the grand finale of More Ribs (War Pigs). It was truly a spectacular sight seeing Mac Sabbath, Metalachi, Krammpstein, and Okilly Dokilly all sharing the stage to play a song. The song ended and everyone bowed to the fans. The fans could all be seen with smiles leaving the venue. Full of cholesterol, but happy.

 

Okilly Dokilly:

 

Krammpstein:

 

Metalachi:

 

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Cattle Decapitation and Goatwhore: Belasco Theatre – Los Angeles, Ca – 3/8/17

Metal Blade Records was celebrating their 35th anniversary as one of metal’s biggest record label. For the occasion, the label gathered a few bands and put them on a tour for the anniversary. The bands included in this tour were Whitechapel, Cattle Decapitation, Goatwhore, and Allegaeon. One of the many stops on the tour was the Belasco Theatre in Los Angeles, California and metal fans were eager to see a lineup like this even on a Wednesday night.

Goatwhore is a extreme/blackened death metal band from Louisiana, USA. Plenty of fans could be seen in attendance sporting the band’s merch, so it’s safe to say there were one of the main bands that metalheads came to see. Goatwhore came out and started the show with An End to Nothing and in classic metal style, fans started moshing to some pretty extreme metal. The band was lit up with some beautiful lights to give the band a very appealing appearance, but the stage itself was rather dark so quite often it was difficult to see the band.

Frontman Louis Benjamin Falgoust II was very energetic during the band’s performance as he would actively run around on stage and interact with fans. Other songs included on the setlist were Alchemy of the Black Sun Cult and Sky Inferno. The mosh pit was wild during the band’s performance and it only got faster and crazier as Goatwhore performed one of their popular songs, FBS (Fucked By Satan). Since they were an opening band, it was time for them to call it a night. The band was set to finish the show with Apocalyptic Havok, but guitarist Sammy Duet ran into some technical problems with his guitar so after a quick switch, the band went into full frenzy with the finishing song and the mosh only seemed to get bigger. Goatwhore finished up the show and made room for the next brutal band of the night.

 

Cattle Decapitation is a death metal/deathgrind band from San Diego, California. They were another one of the bands that fans were there to see. Despite their rather grotesque and disturbing band name, their songs protest the mistreatment and consumption of animals, the abuse of the environment, and touch subjects such as misanthropy and genocide of the human race. Cattle Decapitation came out and started the show with Manufactured Extinct, the opening track from their newest album, The Anthropocene Extinction. Right away, you’ll notice that frontman Travis Ryan’s vocals are some of the highest shrieks you’ll hear from any singer. It made for some truly brutal singing and fans in the mosh pit stayed active the whole night. The next song was played was The Prophets of Loss followed by the fan favorite, Your Disposal.

The band had a very energetic presence as the band was active on stage and would run around. Ryan has a peculiar way of entertaining the audience. He would shoot snot from his nose then lick it back up from his hand. It gave the band a sense of humor which the fans got a kick out of. Other songs included in the band’s setlist was We Are Horrible People, The Burden of Seven Billion, and Forced Gender Reassignment. Since they were also an opening band, they had a rather short set time. Fans were sad to see them go, so Cattle Decapitation made sure to go out with a blast. The final song on their set list was Pacific Grim. Cattle Decapitation gave it their all and the fans gave it their best in the mosh pit. Cattle Decapitation finished the show and left the stage.

 

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Cattle Decapitation

2017 Experience Hendrix Tour – Northern Quest Casino, Airway Heights (Spokane), WA

2017 Experience Hendrix Tour – Northern Quest Casino, Airway Heights (Spokane), WA

Review and Photos by thenaturalstoner

Last night, The Slurry Baron, my fiancée, and I trekked up to Spokane, Washington to see the 2017 iteration of the Experience Hendrix tour at the Northern Quest Casino.  In its second year, this tour brings in all kinds of guitarists from different genres to pay respects to one of the Greatest of All Time, Jimi Hendrix.  This years lineup was pretty unique, so the Baron and I hopped online, scored our front row tickets, and decided to rock out with our lineup of Dweezil Zappa, Billy Cox (the last survivor from the Band of Gypsys), Buddy Guy, Zakk Wylde, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jonny Lang, Keb’ Mo’, Chris Layton (drummer from Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble), Mato Nanji (from Indigenous), Noah Hunt (singer from Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band), singer/MC Henri Brown, The Slide Brothers, Scott Nelson (bassist from Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band), and Tim Austin (drummer from Buddy Guy’s Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues Band).

I came into the show pretty much only to see Dweezil.  While there are certainly other good names on the lineup, Frank Zappa is my guy, and I have always wanted to see Dweezil perform.  Although this was not a “Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the Fuck He Wants” show, finally seeing him rip the guitar (from the front row no less) in person was a definite bucket list moment.

 

I was surprised with how long this show was.  3 hours over two sets, with only a small setbreak in between.  The rotating artists each got a ‘couple-to-a-few’ songs each, and then rotated in occasionally throughout.   Like I said earlier I was there to see Dweezil, so when the show started and the trio of Dweezil, Billy Cox, and Stevie Ray Vaughan drummer Chris Layton came on stage to open with “Freedom”, I was pumped.  It didn’t hurt that Dweezil picked one of the five microphones closest to me and my gang to stand and rock in front of.

Mato Nanji would be the next guitarist to come on stage, and was one of the big surprises of the night for me.  This dude can rip Jimi!  Mato probably played the most songs out there all night, except for Layton (while he did a fine job, he was fairly stoic during the show) and the bassist from Kenny Wayne Shepherds band who were pretty much the house band.  The Slide Brothers and Henri Brown then came out, obviously bringing more of a blusier side to the set.

I finally got to see Keb’ Mo’ perform, an artist I have been interested in for almost 20 years, and I didn’t realize how good of a guitarist he was.  He held his own up there with The Slide Brothers, I was surprised.  After a few songs everyone left the stage and Zakk Wylde came out and did some solo stuff that was loud and awesome.  His portion of the show was my favorite part of the evening, quite a bit to my surprise.  His “Manic Depression” was killer, as was “Little Wing” – the clear highlight of the show.  Wylde owned an extended version of this jam, including going out into the crowd to play most of his solos.  This was pretty much the only time all night anyone went deep into the crowd.  After Wyldes main portion of the show we got a quick setbreak to catch our breath and take a leak!

 

I was surprised this was a two-set show.  Frankly, I thought we would get ninety minutes and out, so set two was pretty neat.  Jonny Lang opened the second set, with Layton and Scott Nelson still the primary rhythm section, and would eventually be joined again by Wylde and Nanji.  Jonny was fine, but not necessarily my cup of tea on this night.  The Spokane crowd seemed to enjoy it fine.  Kenny Wayne Shepherd finally came out and was awesome on the guitar.  I had no idea Kenny could pull off such a Jimi, he played him well.  After several songs out there, Shepherds rendition of “Voodoo Chile” reverberated throughout this little casino in Spokane.

 

Billy Cox came out one more time to help close out the show, which ended with Chicago legend Buddy Guy finally coming out to perform.  At 80 years old, Buddy can (unexpectedly) still hit those notes!  We got a few songs with Buddy, including a lengthy “Red House”, again with Mato Nanji, that was really fun.

 

After three plus hours the show finally ended with multiple group bows on stage and the Spokane crowd on their feet.  This show exceeded my expectations… I finally got to see Dweezil and Keb’ Mo’, it was cool seeing some living legends in Cox, Guy, and Layton, and I got a greater appreciation for Wylde, Shepherd, and Nanji on guitar.

FYI if you are going, next to the primary merch table is a table where Billy Cox does a meet and greet and you can get stuff signed for $20 before, after, and during the show.

Would go again!

Mayhem: The Observatory – Santa Ana, Ca – 2/7/17

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If you’re a metal head and whether or not you listen to black metal, chances are you have heard of the Norwegian black metal legends, Mayhem. Mayhem is one of the most influential black metal bands and were also one of the founders of the black metal genre. Their 1994 debut album De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (Latin for “About the Mystery of the Lord Satan”) alone paved the way for many black metal bands and is widely considered one of the best black metal albums of all time. Mayhem may have been influential, but their history is far from cheerful. Mayhem is also considered the most controversial metal band in history. Their controversy begins with the suicide of the band’s vocalist Per “Dead” Ohlin in 1991. Former bassist Varg Vikernes was arrested for the infamous church burnings in Norway. In 1993, Vikernes murdered fellow band member, co-founder, and guitarist of Mayhem, Oystein “Euronymous” Aarseth. All of this happened before their debut album’s release. Decades later, people still talk about the band’s controversies with both Dead and Euronymous seen as black metal icons. 23 years after its release and Mayhem‘s debut album is still going strong. Mayhem announced a US tour and on this special occasion, they will be playing their entire debut album in its entirety.

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The Santa Ana crowd at the Observatory was hyped up to see one of the greatest black metal bands of all time. Waiting on stage was an altar with a skull and two lit candles. The lights went out and the members of the band came out one at a time and they started the first track from the debut album, Funeral Fog. All the band members came out wearing cloaks that hid their identities. Frontman Atilla Csihar came out last and started unleashing his black metal growls onto the audience. The fans responded positively by moshing and shoving against one another and even crowd surfers started making appearances right away. The second song played was the band’s most famous track, Freezing Moon. The crowd knew this song by heart and went wild when the familiar guitar riffs started. In the middle of the song, Csihar approached the mysterious bassist and pulled back his hood to reveal that it was none other than Jorn “Necrobutcher” Stubberud, one of the band’s founding members. To keep up with the band’s atmosphere, the stage was primarily kept dark most of the time with only a few blue lights lighting the stage and keeping the band members mostly in the dark. Longtime drummer and legendary black metal drummer Jan Axel “Hellhammer” Blomberg was nearly impossible to see as lights rarely shined on him and was often either covered up by his drums, or was covered by the band’s fog machines. Csihar kept his own face hidden by his hood and would occasionally pull it back so his face could be see and you could tell he was wearing a mask depicting rotting flesh. The band kept their show going without slowing down and fans kept actively moshing and crowd-surfing the whole night. Csihar made no speeches during the show and kept strictly to singing the songs. The rest of the album was played and fans enjoyed other fan favorites from the album such as Pagan Fears and Life Eternal. The band seemed to leave the stage for a second before the backdrop to the stage changed and revealed the album’s cover. It was time for the album’s finale, the title track De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. Hearing the song leaves a chill up and down your spine hearing Csihar sing using his now more haunting vocals while waving the skull from the altar in his hands. The show came to an end and the band members came out to greet fans and wave goodbye to the audience. It was truly a haunting, yet beautiful experience.

 

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Metal Allegiance: Grove of Anaheim – Anaheim, Ca – 1/20/17

The Metal Allegiance is a special show where musicians from different bands all gathered to pay tribute to fallen musicians from the last couple of decades. Some of the musicians included in this group include: Chuck Billy (Testament), Alex Skolnick (Testament), Mark Osegueda (Death Angel), WWE Superstar Chris Jericho (Fozzy), Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater/Avenged Sevenfold), David Ellefson (Megadeth), Gary Holt (Exodus/Slayer), and Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs). On August 2016, Metal Allegiance released an EP titled Fallen Heroes and included three cover songs. Metal Allegiance announced a show at the Grove of Anaheim and it was all put together by Mark Menghi (plays the red bass). For this special show, the opening acts were chosen to be Martyrd, Gus G (Firewind/Ozzy Osbourne), and ex-Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman. Even early on, the venue was packed with metal fanatics just waiting to see what surprises awaited them. The show was even live-streamed via metal publication site, Loudwire.

Marty Friedman made his mark on the metal world as the former guitarist for thrash metal legends Megadeth from 1990 until his departure in 2000. He has released 12 studio solo albums including his newest Inferno album in 2014. In 2015, after living in Japan for many years, Friedman made his very long-awaited return to the USA with a solo tour. Now in 2017, he looks to continue to tour the USA after a successful run the first time. Friedman came out with his band to an already packed venue and they received a very welcoming applause and cheers. Friedman’s band is unique in that it’s strictly instrumental with no vocals. Friedman lets his guitar work do all the talking which is more than enough to keep the audience entertained. Bassist Kiyoshi would slap the bass guitar with great technique and an almost funk-like sound. The drummer was absolute madman as he pounded away at every opportunity making faces and having lots of fun on stage. Friedman played a variety of songs from his huge catalog of music. His setlist included songs from his solo albums such as Elixir, Devil Take Tomorrow, and Forbidden City. He also played a special snippet from Megadeth’s Tornado of Souls which of course drove metalheads wild to hear the solo performed by the original guitarist.  With a short set, Friedman played as much as he could, yet left the crowd in awe with his amazing guitar skills.

Metal Allegiance started with a quick intro about the project before the first batch of musicians came out and started the show with Pledge of Allegiance. Phil Demmel from Machine Head stayed on guitar duty the whole night while joined by other rotating guitarists. Can’t Kill the Devil was next and let Chuck Billy handle the vocals while joined by his Testament bandmate, Alex Skolnick. For the rest of the show, it was time to bring out the covers of songs that the musicians had worked so hard on just for this show. The first cover was Suffrage City by David Bowie. Mark Osegueda made note that they wouldn’t be covering just metal songs so it was a nice twist to hear non-metal songs being performed. One very special guest for the show was Ray Burton and he’s the father of the late original bassist for Metallica. He was getting ready to celebrate his 91st birthday in a couple of weeks and so the band brought out two cakes for him and the audience sang Happy Birthday to him. To celebrate the life of the late and great Randy Rhoades, Chris Jericho came out to sing vocals for the cover of Ozzy Osbourne‘s I Don’t Know. Other covers included in this crazy night were War Ensemble (Slayer), 5 Minutes Alone (Pantera), Stone Cold Crazy (Queen), and Bonded By Blood (Exodus). Metal Allegiance founder Mark Menghi came out to talk about how Cliff Burton from Metallica is the reason why he started playing bass and on this night, Ray Burton allowed Menghi to use Cliff’s personal black bass guitar while he and the rest of the band performed a cover of Metallica‘s Disposable Heroes. Megadeth bassist David Ellefson spoke to the crowd talking about how he still remembers original Megadeth drummer Gar Samuelson and how he still feels sad about receiving the phone call on May 2016 that another former Megadeth bandmate of his Nick Menza had passed away after suffering heart failure. To celebrate both of their lives, Ellefson, along with the rest of Metal Allegiance, played the intro to Rust In Peace…Polaris and then jumped into Megadeth‘s most famous song, Peace Sells. Other musicians that joined Metal Allegiance were Mike Inez of Alice In Chains performing We Die Young and Mikkey Dee of Motorhead performing Iron Fist. Deep Purple‘s Space Truckin’ made for the near end of the show celebrating the life of Jon Lord. The show was getting ready to come to an end and of course you can’t forget about one of the greatest voices in metal, Ronnie James Dio. Dio drummer Vinny Appice came out to join Metal Allegiance for a cover of Dio‘s We Rock because that’s what the band was doing. Rocking their hearts out. To bring the show to a close, Metallica‘s Seek and Destroy would serve as the show’s finisher and for this occasion, every musician involved, even the opening bands, came out to jam for this song and seeing all the talent playing together was truly a moment that could only be felt by those that were there or were watching live. The show was set to end at 12:15 a.m., yet the party kept going until the venue’s curfew at 1.a.m. That’s when you know the show was good.

 

Marty Friedman

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After A Long Creative Hiatus, Orgy Returns to Club Red Mesa, AZ 1/25/2017

 

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Bands change lineups like they change their socks.  Humans, however, are creatures of habit:  resistant to change and afraid of the new and untested. So, when the bands we know and love disappear and suddenly resurface with completely new lineups, their reception is often the same as that of a sequel to a good movie. Yet every now and then there is a stroke of brilliance in that sequel’s conception, and the second act defies our resistance, proving to be as good or better than the original. After a long hiatus, Orgy’s creator, front man, and visionary Jay Gordon has created such a sequel.

 

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I remember picking up the Candyass album back in 1998. I gotta admit, I really only bought it because of Blue Monday, but I ended up liking the whole thing. It became an instant favorite of my collection. Good, solid Orgy from the late 90’s and early 2000’s is still on the rotation for my ears when I go to the gym. It was a good time for heavy metal innovation, and Orgy was part of the new industrial/sci-fi metal movement. I was disappointed when I learned of their dissolution shortly after the release of Vapor Transmission in 2000, but….it happens. In 2012 it was announced that Orgy would make a return, however, Jay Gordon would be the only original member. It takes more than one person to make chemistry, and the sound of only one member out of 5 can make the idea of a comeback “iffy”.

 

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It’s  been a bit of a slow climb for the band, but as of 2017, we can officially say that Orgy is back…Orgy 2.0, if we follow with the digital protocol theme. If you liked Orgy in the 90’s, you will love how the band has evolved as if they never went away.  If you have never heard of Orgy and you are looking for some new music, you, too, will love the sound and feel of this industrial metal powerhouse from L.A. In 2015, the band released a brand-spankin’-new album, Talk Sick, with its new lineup. 2017 is turning out to be a stellar year for Orgy as they co-headline the Set To Stun tour with Powerman 5000 in support of Talk Sick and an additional coming attraction called Entropy, another full-length LP due to release in a few months. Fans old and new will appreciate the unwavering passion that Jay has put into this band and its creative process and resurrection.

 

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At Club Red in Mesa, AZ, it was impossible for the audience to not be captivated by the lights and sounds of the Orgy metal sci-fi experience. They played the stuff you loved to hear, and they played it with all the feels you remember hearing it with. From past favorites to present releases, the digital computer undertrack that gives Orgy their industrial power kicked up the heartbeats of the crowd. It was exciting, and it was impossible to stand still. The band’s makeup and stage presence iced the cake and matched the sonic digital experience. They showed up to rock and made it look like they’d been here all along. There was some new music I hadn’t heard yet from their upcoming album. It was well-composed, matching the style and energy of their past accomplishments, and it fit into the set list like it was just another one of their Greatest Hits. It was a fun show even if you didn’t know the words. Jay Gordon is a front man with a commanding presence on the stage, knowing exactly what to say to connect with his audience and keep them engaged. If you were a casual fan waiting for Blue Monday, they had something for you, too. Orgy finished their performance with audience participation as Jay cruised the audience floor handing his microphone over to ecstatic fans to help sing lines of Blue Monday. It was fun like family, so much so that the supporting bands also joined the Orgy crew on stage for a rousing final chorus of their most famous hit song.

 

 

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

Brujeria, The Casualties, Pinata Protest: Regent Theater – Los Angeles, Ca 1/7/17

The Regent Theater in Los Angeles hosted the yearly underground metal festival known as Show Your Scars. This year’s lineup was no exception to the extreme lineup of bands ranging from local acts to the more popular bands. Some of the bands that played were death metal bands Exhumed and Repulsion which made their only appearance for the year at this festival. To no surprise, the event sold out ahead of time and so it was guaranteed to be a great and crazy time. For this review, I will focus on the tour that headlined the show which was Pinata Protest, The Casualties, and Brujeria.

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At first glance, a band called Pinata Protest is hard to imagine exactly what they sound like. Once you see the band, you will see their singer comes out wearing a Mexican hat and plays an accordion. Luckily, the band is exactly what you think. They’re a heavy metal/punk band blended with accordion to sound like a traditional Mexican band with speed. A little strange for new listeners, but if you’re open minded, you’ll find yourself dancing, moshing, and headbanging to their music. The band members themselves would run around and jump on stage just so they could join fans in all the fun. Pinata Protest played songs like Vato Perron (“Cool Guy”), Life on the Border, La Cucaracha (“The Cockroach”, traditional Mexican song), and even a cover of Tragos Amargos (“Sour Drinks”) from famed Mexican accordion player, Ramon Ayala. All done very well with the band’s style of Tex-Mex punk. The band was very fun overall and is further proof that metal and punk doesn’t need to always be serious and you can have fun with it.

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The Casualties are no strangers to the punk and even the metal scene. They are one of the longest-standing punk bands since their inception in 1990. Just about every fan of punk will tell you that they are a fan of The Casualties. It was very odd seeing a punk band at a metal festival, but plenty of punks could be seen amongst the crowd and plety of metalheads are also fans of The Casualties.

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The Casualties took the stage and right away, the crowd went into a frenzy and a mosh pit formed in classic punk rock style. The band members have everything that makes a punk band, punk. Mohawks, fast music, ripped pants, and of course, alcohol on stage. Frontman Jorge Herrera would regularly speak to the audience and mess with them just for the laughs. The Casualties played plenty of old material to keep their fans happy. Tracks like Chaos Punx, Made in N.Y.C, For the Punx, and Ugly Bastards all kept the fans going with mosh pits and crowd surfers were also keeping security on guard. Even with 40 minutes on stage, The Casualties delivered a crushing set in true punk style that left plenty of empty beer cups on stage and on the floor. The fans already looked tired and beat up, but the best was yet to come.

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Brujeria (Spanish for “Witchcraft”) is a death metal/deathgrind band from Los Angeles even tho they show a lot of Mexican heritage. The band was formed in 1989 and has since only released four albums with the newest album released on September 2016 titled Pocho Aztlan (“Wasted Promised Land”), their first new album in 16 years. Plenty of fans were seen in the audience sporting the band’s merch so you knew they were ready.

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Brujeria came out and started the show with Brujerizmo (“Witchcraft”) from their 2000 album of the same name. Right away, you could make out the aggressiveness of the band’s music with death metal growls from singer Juan Brujo. One of the first things you’ll notice is how most of the band members wear bandannas across their face as if they were drug lords hiding from the FBI/police.  The band also consists of band members from other well-known bands. Their drummer is Nicholas Barker formerly of British extreme metal band Cradle of Filth and Norwegian symphonic metal band, Dimmu Borgir. Their current bassist is Shane Embury from British grindcore legends, Napalm Death. Past members include Jeff Walker from British death metal/grindcore band Carcass, Dino Cazares from Fear Factory, and Billy Gould from Faith No More. Brujeria sings all their songs in Spanish, but even then fans were going absolutely crazy with a very aggressive mosh pit going on and crowd surfers happening non-stop. The band’s lyrics consist of Satanism, anti-Christianity, Sex, immigration, narcotics smuggling, and politics. Brujeria continued to deliver a brutal performance with tracks like El Desmadre (“The Excess”), Seis, Seis, Seis (“Six, Six, Six”), Viva Presidente Trump! (“Long Live President Trump”), and Marcha de Odio (“March of Hate”). Juan Brujo had no problem showing his hate for President Trump as a man dressed as him with a mask came on stage while one of Trump’s speeches about building a wall was played over the speakers. He was quickly silenced and chased off stage by members whom were wielding their signature machetes. The show was coming to an end and so Brujeria started playing their best songs. Matando Gueros (“Killing White People”) is the band’s most famous song and of course due to the nature of the title and lyrics, has caused controversy with the band. This song drove the audience absolutely insane and the mosh pit became even more violent and multiple crowd surfers were making their way to the front of the stage. People near the front were surely getting the pummeling of their life. Brujeria was enjoying themselves and would thrust and slice their machetes in the air and on the stage itself. To end the show, Brujeria played a very comical song called Marijuana which is actually a parody cover of the popular hit song, Macarena. The lyrics were changed to reflect the lifestyle of being a stoner and is actually a really fun song to sing along to. The band finished up the song and then left the stage. This festival as a whole was an incredible night and surely everyone went home satisfied, happy, and drunk.

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Photos:

Pinata Protest

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The Casualties

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Brujeria

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2016 Best Of Photos by Misael Ruiz

2016 was another successful year for concerts for me. I got the opportunity to photograph some of my favorite bands as well as finally see some bands for the first time that I had been waiting to see. Along with that came lots of incredible photos I got while photographing bands. I tried to downsize it to 15, but after staring at my screen for 10 minutes, I just couldn’t decide on what to get rid of so I stretched it to 16. Because what’s one more photo? So with this article, I’ll be taking what I consider to be my favorite/best photographs I took from the whole year and write my thoughts on the photo. So, let’s get started:

Dani Filth – Cradle of Filth (England)
February 17, 2016
Mayan Theater – Los Angeles, CA

I was originally supposed to see COF back in 2013, but I didn’t since the tour was cancelled due to Visa issues with the band. So naturally when this tour was announced, I jumped at the opportunity to see this band that I had been wanting to see. I ended up getting this great show of Dani that I still like to look at. His makeup and outfit look amazing. The only downside to the show was the venue that had a tiny photo pit for photographers so I stayed in the same spot for the whole show. At least it was a good spot.

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Dave Mustaine – Megadeth (California, USA)
February 28, 2016
Hollywood Palladium – Hollywood, CA

Thrash metal legends Megadeth are one of my favorite bands and now that I was much more experienced with photographing bands, of course I wanted the opportunity to photograph them. Getting a photo pass no easy task, but I succeeded so I made sure to do a good job on it. The lighting was beautiful for the show and it was my first time photographing the Hollywood Palladium too so it was double the experience. I got this shot of Dave which I really like the colors too and how his face is partially hidden by his golden locks. I hope to have more opportunities to photograph them again in the near future.

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Eric Bass – Shinedown (Florida, USA)
March 9, 2016
Mayan Theater – Los Angeles, CA

Going to see a band like Shinedown was way out of my comfort zone. Normally I don’t listen to these types of bands, but I did this show as a favor plus I thought I’d give them a chance to change my mind on them. The result, let’s just say that I desperately wanted to leave the show since I have had enough of the mainstream radio rock going through my ears, but I couldn’t leave just yet since I can’t review a full show with just witnessing half the show. At least the majority of the audience were women ranging from my age to the slightly older fans. The one thing that really annoyed me was that for some reason the venue wanted us photographers to shoot from the side of the stage rather than use the photo pit that I had previously used from other shows. Security said that it was the band’s decision for that, but oddly enough I had literally been to this venue the day before for Cannibal Corpse and had been told the same thing. CC is more understandable because security would need the space to catch crowd surfers and such. Regardless, I ended up getting this nice shot of Eric jumping around as he had done throughout the show so I didn’t leave the show completely empty handed.

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Floor Jansen – Nightwish (Finland)
March 12, 2016
Grove of Anaheim – Anaheim, CA

Nightwish is another one of my favorite bands and since they had come back from their 2015 tour, I was more than excited to see them once again with their energetic live performance. Compared to the Greek Theater last year, this time they played the Grove in Anaheim where they earned themselves a sold out show so it was definitely about to get wild. Btw for those wondering, Floor Jansen is Dutch so her name has a different meaning than what us Americans are used to. I got lots of good shots from this show, but I was mainly fond of this one. The light is perfect and Jansen’s stance is perfect so you can see her outfit in full and her eye makeup she put on specifically for this show. I had a lot of fun singing along to the music and also met several new people I still talk to to this day.

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Kerry King – Slayer (California, USA)
March 25, 2016
Rabobank Theater – Bakersfield, CA

Slayer was another band on my list of bands I have to photograph. Surely enough, they announced a tour in support of their new Repentless album and I couldn’t wait to see where they would make a stop. Oddly, there was no Los Angeles date of any kind and my city was literally stuck in the middle between going to the San Francisco show or Las Vegas with both being six hours apart. Luckily a show in Bakersfield was announced two hours from me which was really weird, but I didn’t care as long as it meant not needing to drive to SF or LV. I love this shot of Kerry King that I got which was just perfect as you can feel the intensity of the photo. Only a concert like this would give me a reason to drive out to Bakersfield.

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Abbath – Abbath (Norway)
March 28, 2016
Regent Theater – Los Angeles, CA

As you could probably tell, yeah I had a lot of concerts in March which oddly was a very busy month for metal concerts. Especially for someone like me with a wide variety of metal genres. I ended March with this year’s Decibel Magazine tour and it was headlined by the popular and completely hilarious Abbath now formerly of Norwegian black metal legends, Immortal. For a lot of people at this show, it was their first time seeing Abbath perform including myself. Abbath released his self-titled debut album at the beginning of the year and wasted no time touring for it. Known his comedic acts, Abbath put on a lot of funny faces and did his traditional crab walk across the stage that always keeps people laughing at his performance. This show was extra special for me because during the performance of the second song Winter Bane, Abbath comes to the edge of the stage, slips, and ends up falling on top of me while I’m recording a video of their performance which officially makes it my greatest concert moment ever. I’ll attach the link to the video to viewed here you can watch the whole song or skip to 3:55 and watch it happen. In the end, I got plenty of photos of Abbath making his funny faces and got this one which has him with a very strange look to his face which is comical to look at.

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Johan Hegg – Amon Amarth (Sweden)
April 7, 2016
House of Blues – San Diego, CA

This was the first time I drove out to San Diego and what better band to photograph there than the Swedish melodic death metal vikings, Amon Amarth. They were a lot of fun to shoot and got this beautiful shot of Johan. If you enjoy vikings, tales of Norse gods and mythology, Amon Amarth is your go-to band. On top of that, they’re super nice guys to meet after the show. I can’t wait to see them again next time they come around and hopefully photograph them again.

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Adam “Nergal” Darski – Behemoth (Poland)
May 7, 2016
The Observatory – Santa Ana, CA

Behemoth is another band I love seeing live. Such an incredible stage presence. I managed to get in to photograph the show and apparently a lot of other photographers did too because the photo pit was packed to where I couldn’t move from my spot and was elbow to elbow with other photographers. Photographing this show was tough because not only could I not move, but lighting was very dark and so a lot of my shots came out dark so I needed to heavily edit them to make them look nice. One of the few good shots I got was this one of Nergal swinging the thurible back and forth for a bit which I was hoping to get a good shot of. It’ll probably be a couple of years or so before Behemoth comes back since they haven’t released an album since 2014’s The Satanist. Hopefully next time it won’t be so crowded with photographers and the lighting is better.

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Randy Blythe – Lamb of God (Virginia, USA)
May 28, 2016
Fox Theater – Pomona, CA

I really wanted to photograph Lamb of God on this tour since I wasn’t able to get a photo pass earlier this year in February with Anthrax. Getting a photo pass wasn’t easy, but ultimately I got my wish and was super excited to finally be able to photograph them. They were fun to photograph with Randy actively running around and jumping. This shot right here was my favorite as you can see Randy showing the ferocity he puts into his performance. Such a great shot and it still amazes me as to how good it came out.

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Hoest – Taake (Norway)
June 11, 2016
Regent Theater – Los Angeles, CA

For the first time ever, Norwegian black metal legends Taake (Taw-ke) played in Los Angeles so it was no surprise to see a huge turnout for the band on this night. The first part that was annoying was that their tour was part of the Sound & Fury fest to which Taake’s show was the after party and therefore started late with Wolvhammer the first opening band starting at 10:30pm and Taake not starting until just after 1 a.m. and by then, a lot of people were fed up with staying out so late for a show. For me, photographing the show was a challenge because there was no photo pit, but I got there early enough to where I was up front for the whole show with no song limit to stop me from photographing. The stage was dark most of the time and fog machines would regularly release fog so it made for both taking interesting photos and annoying as well. I ended up with this shot of Hoest staring right at me while crucifying himself with the mic stand. It made for an awesome photo. The show only got worse as the band’s set was cut short due to it being 2 a.m., right before the band was supposed to play Myr which was supposed to be awesome because it featured the use of the banjo and fans had been demanding that banjo to be played. Talk about that venue keeping its terrible reputation.

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Jonathan Davis – KoRn (California, USA)
July 24, 2016
Irvine Meadows Amphitheater – Irvine, CA

Korn is one of the most fun bands I’ve ever photographed so of course I was super excited to photograph them again as well as Rob Zombie for the first time and In This Moment all in the beauty of an outdoor venue during the daytime. One of my main focuses for photographing Korn was when Jonathan Davis headbangs while holding his microphone to where his dreads fly all over the place. The result was this photo which is what I was looking for. I got lots of good photos and this is one of my favorites from that night.

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George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – Cannibal Corpse (New York, USA)
August 12, 2016
The Novo – Los Angeles, CA

Cannibal Corpse can be a fun and challenging band to photograph. For the second time this year, I was able to photograph them. This time I had full use of a photo pit being in front of them compared to shooting them from the side of the stage at the Mayan Theater back in March. I was aiming to get this shot of Corpsegrinder doing his infamous head-spinning with the band’s lit up logo in the background. The lighting was a bit challenging to work with, but I made it work and got this shot which I’m happy with. Most of the band members are also hard to photograph because their long hair gets in their face a lot so you really have to get in the right angles to gte shots of their faces.

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Dennis “Seregor” Droomers – Carach Angren (Netherlands)
September 21, 2016
Regent Theater – Los Angeles, CA

Carach Angren is one of my current favorite bands. With me being a horror fanatic, it was easy for me to be attracted to their music and have become a huge fan. I even saw them on their first USA tour in 2013 before I knew anything about them. since then, I’ve become a full fan of their and always looking forward to their haunting and energetic performances. Being at this venue, I was once again cursed to not have a photo pit for this show which also included Greek black metal legends Rotting Christ so I knew I was in for a good pummeling from fans around me. Even then, I beat the odds and got some good shots of the band and even got this shot of Seregor in mid-scream. I hope to see them again in the near future with the use of a photo pit so I’ll be able to get even better photos of the band.

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Papa Emeritus III – Ghost (Sweden)
October 18, 2016
Riverside Municipal Auditorium – Riverside, CA

To those that have been following my work, it’s no surprise I love Ghost. They came to Southern California for three shows and I went to all three. The first stop was in Riverside which I had only been there one other time in 2014. I picked to photograph this show because it has a photo pit for photographers whereas the Wiltern shows in Los Angeles, their photo pit is 20 feet from the stage which is hard to get up close photos even with a telephoto lens. Papa Emeritus proves to be very photogenic as he posed for photographers and caught him in this pose. Perfect timing for me. Ghost has only gotten better with their music and live performances and I will definitely be seeing them as many times as possible.

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Simone Simons – Epica (Netherlands)
November 19, 2016
Regent Theater – Los Angeles, CA

I was originally supposed to see Epica for the first time towards the end of 2014, but that whole tour with Machine Head and Children of Bodom was cancelled. They made another in the fall of 2015, but had to drop out after a few dates due to Simone having a family emergency in the Netherlands. Finally this year I got my wish and got to see the beautiful redhead in all her glory which was hard to keep my camera away from her. I know she head bangs a lot when she’s not singing so I used those opportunities to try and get good shots of her. I ended up with this photo which was completely unexpected. Her face and body is clear as day with no blurriness and I perfectly captured her hair waving in the air. Talk about right place, right time. I hope they come back soon instead of waiting another few years so I can see them again.

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Alexi Laiho – Children of Bodom (Finland)
December 6, 2016
The Observatory – Santa Ana, CA

This was the second time this year I got to see and photograph the Finnish legends Children of Bodom. Only this time it was a headlining set and the lighting was slightly better. It was still challenging to photograph them with so many dark lights being used. Somehow, I ended up with this shot. It was purely accidental. I just aimed at my camera at Alexi to focus it and snapped some random photos and wound up with this shot which I freaked out about once I scanned through my photos. Another perfect shot where I was at the right place at the right time. Children of Bodom themselves loved this photo so much that they shared it on their Facebook page which is always an honor having bands share my work. This was the last show of the year I photographed so I have a break for sometime until the first week in January 2017 when I get back on track with shows already lined up.

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Sonata Arctica: The Grove – Anaheim, Ca – 12/4/16

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Finnish power metal band Sonata Arctica released their ninth album The Ninth Hour on October 7, 2016. The band embarked on a North American tour and made their SoCal stop at the Grove in Anaheim, California. With them, they brought Finnish melodic death metal band Omnium Gatherum and German-Norwegian symphonic metal band, Leaves’ Eyes. Even for a bill as big as this, sadly the turnout for this show wasn’t very big even for a Sunday. Still, there was a decent amount of fans showing up supporting their favorite bands.

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Sonata Arctica came out and started the show with the first track from the new album, Closer to an Animal. The band was met with cheers from fans as they sang and cheered as they finally saw the return of the band even though they were last here in March with Nightwish. The second song played was the next track on the new album titled, Life. For the third song, Sonata Arctica went back to their previous Pariah’s Child (2014) album and played The Wolves Die Young. Now that the band had gotten some of their newer material out of the way, it was time to bring out the classics that everyone wanted to hear. In Black and White was the first of those classics and lots of fans were super excited that they were playing that tune as many of them could be seen cheering and singing along. After that song, it was time to slow things down just a bit as frontman Tony Kakko sat down and song one of the band’s most beautiful songs, Tallulah, where more fans could once again be seen singing along. The popular hit FullMoon was next and the band came back to life full of energy with the song’s fast pace. Fans were singing, dancing, and Kakko would hold the mic to fans’ faces so they could sing the chorus for him. The band ran around with smiles on their faces and put 110% into every song they play. When it came to the end of the show, Sonata Arctica played their longest song in their catalog titled The Power of One clocking in at 10 minutes and 40 seconds. The band finished up the show and left. Fans didn’t seem ready to leave and stayed a bit longer hoping for the band to come back out. Surely enough, the band came back out for a couple of encores. The first encore was I Have a Right. To finish the show, Sonata Arctica played the usual show finisher, Don’t Say a Word, but not before thanking the audience for coming out. This was the last chance for fans to get wild as a mosh pit broke out in the floor area and the band themselves remained energetic for the whole song. Now that the show had come to an end, the band got together, bowed before their fans, shook hands, with fans, and then left the stage. Fans were left speechless and smiles on their faces as they too exited the venue waiting to see how long it’ll be before the band returns.

 

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Avatar’s Big Top Freak Show Rolls Into Phoenix – Joe’s Grotto, 10/21/2016

 

I haven’t been to the circus in a VERY long time. So, I caught up with Avatar in Phoenix at Joe’s Grotto. It looked like a freak show, it sounded like a freak show…it even smelllllllled…..like a freak show.

Avatar is a highly theatrical melo-death metal band from Gothenberg, Sweden. Making their way around the States to show off their latest outstanding Feathers & Flesh album, Phoenix was their first introduction to the American Southwest. Phoenicians know good music when they hear it, and the evening with Avatar was no exception. With a venue packed to the gills, the band put on a spectacular show, debuting their latest singles – Night Never Ending, The Eagle Has Landed, and For The Swarm – in a performance that transported fans into a dark carnival realm straight out of a Ray Bradbury fantasy freak show novel.

 

The show opens with a circus cage draped in big top colors, a big blast of confetti, and the ride is a carousel of madness from the first note to the last breath. Matching Olde World circus costumery, complete with twisted kabuki clown make-up and freak eyes, fog, lightening strobes, Avatar presents a stunning visual experience in addition to their sonic genius. Sprinkled with subtle Scandanavian cultural overtones, Avatar offers a unique, refreshing musical alternative in a daily barrage of “sounds like”. Avatar “sounds like” Avatar, and that’s pretty much it. Even though their music isn’t over the top or overly ornate with grandiose technicality, there is no shortage of instrumental mastery. It is a fine balance of melodic old school twin axe attack and modern active thrash – the perfect marriage of classic metal the older fan can appreciate  while the kids bounce to the heavy bass. Singer Johannes Eckerström emcees the show, elegantly ringmastering the polite melodic vocals before transforming into a figure of roaring, dark metal vox with his signature wild eyes and psychotic smile, pulling the audience into a twisted mirror maze of sight and sound. Eckerström’s villainesque banter vaguely channels that of everyone’s favorite Dark Knight bad guy, completing the overall circus creep show experience. Despite their appearance and antics, Avatar was quite a personable and engaging band, treating fans like family…maybe more like the Addams Family, but family just the same.  Move over Ringling…there’s a new Greatest Show on Earth.

 

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

 

Blind Guardian: Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles, Ca – 10/4/16

German power metal band Blind Guardian made their return to US soil after a successful US tour last year. On this special tour, Blind Guardian is performing their entire 1995 Imaginations from the Other Side album in its entirety. The Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, California was just over half full, but still made for a fun show for the metal community.

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    The lights went out and the crowd cheered as the members of the band came out one by one. They started the show with The Ninth Wave from their newest Beyond the Red Mirror album. A rather lengthy song at nine and a half minutes, but was a nice start to warm up fans. With the second song Welcome to Dying, fans got a chance to sing along to the chorus and sped things up a bit. The third song performed was the fan-favorite, Nightfall. Fans really loved singing along to this song and the whole venue could be seen singing along to “Niiightfaaalll!”. Fly was the next song and kept the fast pace going as fans were riled up and a large mosh pit could be seen staying active the whole night. After four songs to warm up the crowd, it was time to start the main setlist of the show. And so, the first track of the album was played which was the title track, Imaginations from the Other Side. Frontman Hansi Kursch still hit those high notes required for this song even 20 years after its release. Fans enjoyed songs from this album that the band hasn’t played in a long time and even songs never performed live before. Songs like: I’m Alive, The Script for My Requiem, Mordred’s Song, and Born in a Mourning Hall were welcomed by fans and fans in the mosh pit enjoyed themselves in their own way. Bright Eyes is another one of the band’s biggest hits so naturally the audience knew this song by heart and happily sang along. The album came to an end with And the Story Ends and the band left the stage after thanking everyone for coming out.

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The fans weren’t ready to go home just yet as they stayed behind chanting for the band to come back out. After a few minutes, Blind Guardian came back out to play a few more hits. The first encore of the night was And Then There Was Silence, a thirteen minute long masterpiece that any Blind Guardian fan should listen to if they haven’t. The next encore was Valhalla and features the classic speed and guitar harmonies that makes power metal what it is. At the end of the song, Blind Guardian had the fans repeat the final chorus of “Valhalla, deliverance, why’ve you ever forgotten me” which made for beautiful singing from the audience. Acoustic guitars were brought out and longtime fans of the band knew what was coming next. The Bard’s Song (In the Forest) is one of the band’s most popular songs and is an absolute favorite to sing along to. Fans would even “whoa” a long to the intro guitar section. The chorus of the song was especially sang along to and combined with the melody of the song made for some beautiful music. It was time for the show to come to an end and for such an occasion, Blind Guardian played Mirror Mirror, their most popular song. In true power metal style, the guitar were fast and heavy, headbanging was everywhere, and people in the mosh pit once again went into a frenzy and let out whatever remaining energy they had. Blind Guardian wrapped up their show, bowed to the fans, and left the stage. Plenty of happy faces could be seen and fans would be left wondering how long would it be before they came back.

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Deftones: Greek Theatre – Los Angeles, Ca – 8/24/16

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       Since the 90’s, Deftones have been making an impact in the music world. No matter what genre of music you listen to, chances are you’ve heard of them. On April 8, 2016, Deftones released their eighth studio album, Gore. It is the third album released by the band since the accident and death of longtime bassist, Chi Cheng. With the release of Gore, Deftones has set out on a massive tour which also involves festivals around the world. This current tour was focused on the USA and for this specific date, the Greek Theatre was the choice of venue where longtime fans and newer fans got to see one of rock’s biggest bands.
The lights went out and the venue erupted into a roar as the members of Deftones came out and started the show with Rocket Skates from their 2010 album, Diamond Eyes. The band has a very energetic stage presence as frontman Chino Moreno would actively run around on stage and jump whenever he got the opportunity. Geometric Headdress from the new album was next and helped give fans a taste of the new album live. The fan-favorite Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away) from their highly successful Around the Fur album was the third song of choice and old school fans could be easily seen singing along. Moreno has a very versatile voice as he would alternate from clean singing to growls and of course his famous high-pitch vocals. Deftones fans clearly love the band as just by being present at the show, you could feel the strong bond between the band and the fans. Moreno displayed more of his musical talents by also lending a hand on rhythm guitar duties on tracks like Digital Bath while still performing the high-pitch vocals on the track. Moreno’s guitar even had a sticker of the late rapper, Eazy-E. It seems no matter what song Deftones played, the fans responded with a positive attitude. Classic tracks like Kimdracula, Knife Party, or Rickets were praised. Newer tracks such as Swerve City, Gore, and (L) MIRL were also welcomed by fans whom have yet to hear the new songs live. The show was coming to an end and Deftones made sure to give their fans their all. Deftones started playing Change (In the House of Flies) and it being the band’s most popular song, the whole venue went crazy. The fans loved singing along to, “I watched a Chaaange in you”. It was truly one of the most powerful songs performed that night. Deftones finished their set with their hit Passenger and left the stage. All seemed quiet and the fans had yet to leave the venue as they wanted more. The band listened and came back out to play a few more tracks.  My Own Summer (Shove it) started playing and with it being one of the band’s biggest hits, the whole venue lost their minds and enjoyed screaming along with Moreno as he screamed out the lyrics, “Shove it, shove it, shove it!”. Head Up was the next encore followed by Bored which was introduced with a snippet intro from Prince‘s Purple Rain. The final song of the night was Engine No. 9 and Deftones mixed it up a bit by throwing in the chorus to Cypress Hill‘s How I Could Just Kill A Man. The show came to an and fans could be seen with smiles on their faces as Deftones said their goodbyes. Whether you’re a huge Deftones fan or even a casual fan, they are surely a band to see live as they never disappoint.

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Cannibal Corpse and Nile: 8/12/16 – The Novo – Los Angeles, Ca

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The Summer Slaughter tour is one of the most brutal metal tours of the summer. Metal bands ranging from local acts, to rising acts, to some of the biggest names in metal. This year was no exception as the tour was headlined by the biggest death metal band in the world, Cannibal Corpse! Playing before them were the tech-death metal giants, Nile! Other acts on the bill included Suffocation, After the Burial, Ingested, Krisiun, and lots more. This huge metal show took place at the recently re-opened/renovated Novo which was formerly known as the Club Nokia. This show was a good way to blow off steam on a Friday night except for plenty of fans whom turned up late to the show due to work schedules and typical LA traffic. Either way, it was set to be a wild and crazy night.

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Nile are no strangers to the metal community with their release of eight studio albums including their newest What Should Not Be Unearthed album released in 2015. With lyrics inspired by ancient Egypt, It’s hard not to appreciate such a talented band. Nile came out to a huge cheer from the crowd as they started the show with Sacrifice Unto Sebek. With the ferocity of their music, a mosh pit amongst fans on the floor broke out. Frontman Dallas Toler-Wade would unleash his death metal vocals into the audience while ripping on his guitar. Guitarist Karl Sanders would also do backup vocals, but deeper to give the band an interesting blend of death metal vocals. Behind them on the drum kit was the Greek drum God George Kollias whom has gained recognition as one of the best and fastest drummers in the world. His double bass drumming technique is so fast that the Anubis designs on his bass drum heads would appear as a blur. Nile would play songs like Kafir, Call to Destruction, and Evil to Cast Out Evil. As Nile laid waste to the audience, the fans would respond with continuous mosh pits and even crowd surfing. With limited time, Nile sadly had a short time slot. To end the show, Nile played Black Seeds of Vengeance. To make this extra special, Ricky Myers from Suffocation came out to perform dual vocals with the band. Nile finished the show and left as they paved the way for the death metal legends.

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Cannibal Corpse is one of the most popular metal bands in the world. With thirteen albums, you cannot deny their success or their hard work within the metal community. Lots of Cannibal Corpse fans could be seen in the audience and were more than ready to let loose. The lights went out as the crowd once again erupted into a roar as the members of the band made their way to the stage. The band started with Evisceration Plague. A bit of a slow song to warm things up, but that feeling would be short-lived. To speed things up and really let loose, Cannibal Corpse continued the show with The Time to Kill Is Now. Fans went crazy in the mosh pit and crowd surfers made an early appearance. Scourge of Iron was next and is one of the songs where frontman George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher was able to display his infamous head banging technique with hair flying everywhere. Cannibal Corpse is notorious for their grotesque album covers and song titles. With song titles like: Stripped, Raped, and Strangled, A Skull Full of Maggots, and Icepick Lobotomy, it’s hard for the average non-metal fanatic to irk or look away in disgust. For metal fans, they are absolutely brutal tracks to rock out to. Fisher took one of his quick break to talk to the audience and cracked a few jokes for good measure. Fisher went on to say that the next song was a love song and that it was about shooting blood from your cock! The next song was one of the band’s popular songs titled I Cum Blood. Or in the growling style of Fisher, “I…CUM…BLOOOOD!”. Fans went extra crazy for this song and proved to be one of the best songs of the night.  Now that the show was coming close to an end, it was time for Cannibal Corpse to bring out the heavy artillery. Up first was Make Them Suffer, a fast and brutal song that always has crazy mosh pits and crowd surfers. All while Fisher would belt out the chorus, “MAAAKE…THEEEM…SUUUFFERRR!!”. The show was coming to an end and Fisher asked the audience if they wanted to hear more than one final song. The crowd seemed to be a bit silent as Fisher looked disappointed with the response. He asked again, but this time the audience gave a huge roar. Fisher replied saying that after carefully thinking about it and taking it into consideration….it’s still the last song! Then he proceeded to call himself a heartbreaker. For the final song, Fisher introduced the band’s best known song and one of the best known songs in metal….HAMMER…SMASHED…FAAAACE!! Hammer Smashed Face begins and surely enough, the whole venue went crazy. Mosh pits and crowd surfers were everywhere with even a mosh pit in the non-floor area was taking place. The song finished and right away, Fisher asked if they wanted one more song. The fans cheered and so the band played the final song of the night which was Devoured By Vermin. The band raged on for the final song and soon the show came to an end. The band said their goodbyes and left the audience very satisfied to what was a very crazy and intense tour.

Nile:

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Cannibal Corpse:

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Meat Puppets @ Wythe Hotel 08/05/2016 Brooklyn, NY

Meat Puppets – 08/05/2016

Wythe Hotel – Brooklyn, NY

Words/Photos/Video – Jay Porks

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Some people get a clown at their birthday party. Some people get bouncy houses and face painters. If you’re a special kind of cool, you get the Meat Puppets.

A private party in Williamsburg featuring the Meat Puppets at the luxurious Wythe Hotel across the street from the Brooklyn Bowl. The spread was phenomenal- some of the best burger sliders I’ve had in some time. Open bar. I have no idea what has happened to my life.

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Kicking off at intimate set shortly after 8:30 with a rad version of I Can See Clearly Now,  and I notice I’m standing next to the birthday boy for Whiskey In The Jar. Everyone is coming up wishing him happy birthday and stuff. Made sure to mention to Cris Kirkwood (the new King of Beards) that my birthday is in December, you know, so I can have a cool party too.

Covers galore tonight. And this small acoustic set is just fantastic. Hitting all the right parts of my ears tonight. Tennessee Stud was killer. My videos may be a little dark. That’s because this isn’t a “concert venue” per say. Their lights lighten the room, not exactly a light show with multiple colors bouncing towards the stage. But the sound in here isn’t slacking a bit. I’ve been to places that are owned by Livenation that didn’t sound this good.

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Plateau, Up On The Sun, Climbing, Oh Me, Lost, Monkey and The Snake to name a handful of their own stuff that filled out a mixed bag set with lots of cool covers. Keeping things low key tonight. I can dig it.

George Jones is a theme tonight. Color Of The Blues was sweet. Where Does A Little Tear Come From built off that. It was just overall great times here tonight at the Wythe Hotel. Really glad I was able to be inside the building for this.

The Monkey and The Snake closed out the night a little after 9:30.

Happy Birthday Doug!

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