Tag: heavy metal

Nita Strauss and Kore Rozzik

Almost everyone in the rock n roll community and beyond has heard the name Alice Cooper at some point. He’s a legend in metal and rock n roll history having played thousands of shows and released many well known albums and singles. However a lesser known name up until recently in Nita Strauss. Nita is the current guitarist for Alice Cooper and is rapidly rising as one of the most talented metal and rock guitarist in music today. I came across Nita through a close friend and fellow guitarist who also admired her amazing skills. However, playing with Alice Cooper is not the only performing the Nita Strauss does. She also writes her own music with her own self titled solo project and has just wrapped up her tour with the New York City band Kore Rozzik. I was lucky enough to get the chance to shoot one of the stops of this tour when they made their way through Baton Rouge, LA. They played a small theater called the Varsity Theater, which is within only steps from the campus of LSU.

The Varsity Theater in Baton Rouge, LA is one of the few small town venues left in the area for live music. Regardless of how small it is they always seem to draw big name acts such as The Black Dahlia Murder, Cannibal Corpse, Gwar, and Black Label Society. Being a concert photographer and fellow metal head I’m always looking for great acts, local and big name alike, to shoot. The Varsity Theater is one of the few good venues left that not only book amazing acts but also allow cameras without a press or photo pass. However, like many small venues, the lighting at most shows is less than ideal for photographers. Never the less, Nita Strauss and Kore Rozzik tore the house down.

Supporting Nita on this tour was a New York City band named Kore Rozzik. Fronted by a singer known by the same name, Kore Rozzik took the New York City music scene by storm and rapidly rose among artist in the area. Also known as “The Bastard Child of New York”, he and his fellow band mates have created their imagery and stage presence based off of influences from such idols as Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and Megadeth. This band, however, was unknown to me before this show and I was skeptical upon first glance. With the face paint, props and outfits I was unsure about them until they began to play. All members of this band are very talented and showcased their talents from the start to the finish of their set making all of my questions vanish. This band is most definitely worth checking out for anyone who likes this type of metal.

If any of my fellow metalheads reading this article are looking for a new act to catch live or some new music to listen to I highly recommend checking out Nita Strauss and Kore Rozzik.

 

 

 

 

GWAR Invades Utah, Souls Stolen 04/10/12

GWAR w/ Municipal Waste, Ghoul and Legacy of Disorder 04/10/12

The Great Saltair – Magna, UT

Words/Photos by Meredith

 

When aliens come to your town, you apparently pile the family in your car and go see them. That’s what about 800 Utahns did on Tuesday April 10, 2012. The invaders, GWAR, stopped in Utah on their Return of the World Maggot Tour . Along with them they brought guests Legacy of Disorder(all the way from New Zealand), Ghoul, and Municipal Waste. Each band did their job in riling up the crowd that was more than happy to come out on a Tuesday to The Great Saltair and get gooey.

The openers, Legacy of Disorder, were very amped and brought a lot of metal energy to the slowly forming crowd. They performed a short set, and the lead singer even stepped off of the stage into the crowd for a song. After they finished, things got pretty interesting. The band Ghoul took the stage. Four guys with bloody shirts covering their faces, a blood squirting voodoo chicken and jokes about eating babies? Sure, why not. Afterall, if you’re going to the show, you know damn well what you will be seeing.

Ghoul played a very unique set, including dark banter and limited thematic horror. At one point, one of the band members commented “I’m so hungry, I haven’t eaten a baby in hours”, to which another member quipped “I found a deli tray in the back that was also satisfactory, you should try that”. I’m pretty sure there was a plastic chicken that was sacrificed on stage, complete with a squirting wound that the audience lapped up. They also had a giant pepper-spraying robot come out(fake red spray of course). Oh yeah, and you know, a sub-human creature that pulled its own intestines out and choked band members while they played….including a member of Municipal Waste that came out for a song.

And this is when it got NUTS. Municipal Waste came out and played rousing hits like “The Thrashin’ of the Christ”, “Peer Pressure” and the ever-popular feel-good hit “Insurance Fraud”. The singer mentioned he was having throat issues but that didn’t seem to dampen his spirit. During the second to last song, he called for a “Wall of Death”. Do you know what that is? I do, now. He asked members in the audience to take sides, and when the music hit to run full force at each other and try to get to the other side.  You know how I said you pile the family in the car and head to see the aliens? Well, there were quite a few children present. Glad to see dear ol’ Dad throwing 10 year-old Sonny Boy into the pit and scream “REGULATE SON”. I’m not even kidding.

After Municipal Waste cleared out, limping fans regrouped and the room got really thick. Oh and I missed the memo on the dress code, I wore all black. Apparently white pajamas, no underwear, the largest white shirt you can find, and Grandpa’s belted jumpsuit would have been more in line. It was about 45 minutes before the Ozzy tunes stopped and the lights dimmed for GWAR. I must admit, being one of only three photographers there(all chicks I might add, ROCK!) I was a little nervous. I had reserved my poncho to wrap my gear bag, and had my camera condom all snugged up and ready for action.

 

A cloaked creature opened the show with a quick explainantion on the deed he possessed to the castle of hell that GWAR would be performing from. A skeleton-headed character appeared. The next thing I saw was Oderus Urungus swing his big ass sword and cut the head off of the skeleton. This kicked off the first of the gore and the first song. Yay, right? Yeah…it was really cool. The now-headless torso took aim and showered the audience with blood. I used my proficient ninja skills to shoot this and duck the blood, which worked a few times. Then, the torso got wise and just dumped on me, twice. Mmmm, cold bloody water! Haha. I was a little shocked because of the chill, but kept on shooting.

GWAR tells a story. They present this live stage act that honestly had me missing the Ninja Turtles LIVE stage show I saw when I was 6. I was waiting for Shredder to make an appearance. Despite the gore, including yes, you heard it here, a satirical dismembering of Snooki(part of that “Jersey Shore” novelty act), they know how to throw an invasion. The crowd could not be more elated to take it in the face(yeah I said it) from GWAR. A large dinosaur-ish creature dubbed the Jagermonsta was cut limb from limb as well.  We had the delight of a necrotic Nazi coming out and throwing a bucket of radio-active guts on us as well.  He pointed right at me, I swear, but the middle of the crowd got his prizes, not me.

I was particularly amazed at the elaborate costuming that these dudes have to wear. Take Balsac The Jaws of Death, for instance. He stands in goat legs, complete with hooves that have to be at least 6-10 inches alone. He walks all over the stage, sings and plays guitar at the same time. Even if you don’t like the content of the music, the talent is definitely there.  Beefcake The Mighty, the giant trojan fellow, didn’t move around as much but was clutch on the bass. I couldn’t really see much of drummer Jizmak Da Gusha, but he drove the songs as the drummer has to. In case you didn’t know, GWAR has been nominated for two Grammys, but has lost. *The More You Know*.

This was my first GWAR experience. I enjoyed it. I thought that they were amusing, engaging, frightening and funny at times. Oderus did mention that the prompter wasn’t quite working and only had one hiccup waiting for it. That was the only moment that I realized they were “normals” under there. Other than that, the dismembering, blood-thirsty aliens commanded the attention of all. I had a great time ducking blood from the Blood Cannon, headless torso, Snooki’s guts, and just the general horror that ensued that night. They covered their normal setlist for this tour. Please enjoy the photos below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Halford Baltimore, MD 11-29-10

Ozzy Osbourne w/ Halford 11/29/10

1st Mariner Arena – Baltimore, MD

Words/Photos by jjp3rd

 

Heavy Metal titans Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Halford and their respective bands descended on Baltimore’s venerable First Mariner Arena Monday for their first U.S. tour date after a brief Canadian jaunt, and treated a surprisingly (relatively) sparse crowd to a several hour metal music manifesto. And throughout both acts’ performances, Halford and Ozzy expressed their gratitude to the crowd for coming, which struck me as a testament to why, besides their music, these two class acts (and Metal icons) continue to succeed and maintain such a loyal following.

Rob Halford Performs "Made in Hell" at the 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore, MD on 11-29-10

Co-headliners Halford opened the show, providing those in attendance with a selection that included a powerful selection of songs from singer Rob Halford’s illustrious career as a soloist and as a member of Judas Priest. The set list included, in no particular order: “Locked and Loaded,” “Jawbreaker,” “Nailed to the Gun,” “Fire and Ice,” “Cyberworld,” and others.

As the opener, Halford was limited to roughly one hour—and in that abbreviated timeframe, the band was able to deliver a resounding performance that, though leaving Judas Priest fans yearning for more classics (where’s my British Steel?), left no doubt that Mr. Halford has maintained almost all of the vocal power that has positioned him near the top of the Heavy Metal pantheon, as supported by his nickname, Metal God.

Backed by a solid rhythm section and flanked by shredding guitarists Mike Chlasciak and Roy Z (also a phenomenal producer who’s produced the likes of Bruce Dickinson, Yngwie Malmsteen, Judas Priest and many others), Halford seemed in his element, walking the stage and thoroughly thrilling the crowd. In fact, with the two guitarists playing their flying vees, one couldn’t help but to note the resemblance they bore to Judas Priest.

Locked and Loaded in Baltimore

Halford Performs

And, on that note, in addition to illustrating a distinct mastery of Halford band material such as the title track from their latest recording, Made of Metal, the band did a great job with the Judas Priest songs, accurately performing the tunes just as they were performed by the band in its heyday. One of the crowd favorites was “Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown),” which one might be surprised to learn is not a Priest original, but rather a Fleetwood Mac song from the Peter Green days. If you have yet to avail yourself of early Fleetwood Mac featuring Peter Green, do so—you will be surprised at the sound of that early material, especially in light of the “Don’t Stop” poppish sound that later became the standard Fleetwood Mac fare.

Of note—while “Manalishi” was a crowd favorite, it also was the only chink in Halford’s vocal armor that night—and while it was a slight waver of the voice during the chorus, it was perhaps telling nonetheless that time eventually has its way with all of us.

That aside, and as mentioned at the beginning of this review, Rob Halford still can bring a bombastic vocal assault, ranging from the high-pitched vocal screaming in Son of Judas to the low growls in Diamonds and Rust. And this, coupled with the dynamic energy of his supporting cast who clearly were enjoying the night, made for a very satisfying experience.

The only thing that could conceivably follow such a fantastic performance would be a great performance by The Prince of Darkness…and Ozzy and his crew delivered a blistering show as well. I continue to be amazed at the energy that artists such as Ozzy and Rob Halford put into their live performances. Years ago (too many years), if someone had told me that some day I’d be watching a 61 year-old Ozzy spray the audience with foam while his band simultaneously drowns them with a deluge of drums and guitar, I’d have laughed at them. But here we are, in 2011, and the acts we loved then are seemingly just as good, if not better, today.

Ozzy’s set, like Halford’s, was filled with classics and also featured some new cuts, too. New Guitarist, Gus G., was up to the task, doing an excellent job of representing the 3 amazing guitarists who preceded him at Ozzy’s side, while also maintaining his own identity in the process. The thought of filling 3 large pair of shoes is daunting, and Gus most certainly seems to have made this transition with ease. Kudos.

On to the show—Ozzy and his band opened with a great rendition of “Bark at the Moon,” and then after a short hello played “Let Me Hear You Scream,” from the latest release, Scream. This song I had heard a number of times on the radio or being played by my brother on the CD player (incidentally, he accompanied me on this show, and this was at least his 12th Ozzy show. He ranked it among the top Ozzy performances he’d seen since 1985). Up until hearing this live performance, though, I was not overly impressed with the song; however, on this night the band brought it to life for me and really changed my opinion of the tune. It’s always interesting to me how sometimes I don’t “get” a song, and suddenly something clicks, whether an internal or external cue, and my opinion is changed. This is one of those occurrences.

With the requisite “I love you all” and “you are number one” phrases repeated throughout the show with a tone that I interpret as genuine (as noted, both Ozzy and Rob Halford portray a real affection for their audiences), the band then careened through “Mr. Crowley” and “Faeries Wear Boots,” with keyboardist Adam Wakeman picking up a Les Paul-style guitar to provide even more oomph to this all-time Black Sabbath classic.

My standards may be too high, but on this night, I felt like the band did not quite fire on all cylinders on all of the Sabbath songs—they also played “Iron Man” and “War Pigs.” This might be due to the slightly different arrangements and/or effects they used in the presentation of these classics, or just the fact that I yearn to hear a picture-perfect performance and my standard is set way too high. Something seemed just a little off on these songs, but overall, I still grade the performance of them as above average.

Tommy Clufetos rocks out, while his image looks on from the big screen.

Speaking of Sabbath, the instrumentalists had a chance to shine as well in what I would characterize as a modified arrangement of Electric Funeral. This served as a showcase for the talents of new members Gus G. on guitar and Tommy Clufetos on drums. Both were very talented (they’re keepers, for sure) and provided the audience with memorable solos, Clufetos’ performance replete with hydraulic lifts under the drum platform and giant gong for emphasis. He is a very capable drum with boundless energy and exhorted the crowd, almost angrily, to get into the moment. Indeed, throughout the show, he was the driving force behind the band as they deftly dashed through Ozzy classics “Crazy Train,” “I Don’t Want to Change the World,” “Shot in the Dark” (keyboards were a little heavy on this one), “Suicide Solution,” “Road to Nowhere,” ”I Don’t Know,” and “Suicide Solution” (not in that order).

 

Ozzy is a truly genuine performer who gives his all in every show, and though I feared that perhaps the smaller crowd might put something of a damper on his exuberance, I could not have been more wrong.And while he may have lost a bit in the vocal department (not so much as to be a detractor from the performance, from start to finish, Ozzy performed as if he was playing in front of 100,000 fans—with energy, humor, and class.

http://picasaweb.google.com/John.Purcell.3rd/HalfordAndOzzy#5545861940534098354

It always strikes me how antithetical his “Prince of Darkness” moniker is; if ever there was a person through whom the light was shining, it is Ozzy. And if one studies the early Sabbath lyrics from songs such as “After Forever” and others, or if one read his recent memoir and/or interviews supporting said memoir, that person would see the true Ozzy, the one who is on-stage for his fans, night after night. It’s a shame that people judge performers based on clichés such as clothing, stage accoutrements, etc. People can like making or listening to heavy music, wear tattoos, and still be good people.

http://picasaweb.google.com/John.Purcell.3rd/HalfordAndOzzy#5545861359078468610

Ozzy and his team historically have done well in surrounding him with a group of uber-talented (and younger) musicians. For that matter, so has Halford. And on this night, they both drew energy and support from their fellow musicians, as well as their loyal fans, and provided an amazing evening of entertainment.

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