Initial Artists Announced For The 2012 Sunset Strip Music Festival
The Sunset Strip Music Festival is set to return to the streets of West Hollywood on August 16-18th 2012.
The 2012 Honoree will be Sunset Blvd legends The Doors. The festival will also feature its annual outdoor concert smack dab in the middle of the Sunset Strip. Below is the entire lineup as of June 28th 2012.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 16
SSMF Celebrates The Doors at House of Blues Sunset Strip
The Roxy Theatre
The Black Marquee
Diamonds Under Fire
Whisky A Go-Go
Jack Russell’s Great White
Pretty Boy Floyd
The Hard Way
Everyday Feels Like Sunday
FRIDAY, AUGUST 17
House of Blues
Hank III + special guests
RZA with full band
Viper Room (early show)
Viper Room (late show)
Little Miss Nasty
Whisky A Go-Go
Teddy Campbell Band
SATURDAY, AUGUST 18
Outdoor street festival stages
Black Label Society
Far East Movement
De La Soul
The Roxy Theatre
Street Drum Corps
Burning Of Rome
Caught A Ghost
Love And A .38
The Stone Foxes
The Knife Outline
Dim Mak after party with surprise performances
Whisky A Go-Go
Cold Blue Rebels
Brandon and Leah
98-7fm’s “Close to Home” Roxy Lot Stage
Family Of The Year
The Vim Dicta
Jared James Nichols
Saturday, August 18 AFTER STREET FEST (separate tickets required for entrance):
Viper Room (doors at 10 p.m.)
House of Blues
Subhuman Tour (featuring Diesel Boy / Bare – dubstep DJ event)
Additional artists rocking both outside and inside the various clubs that make up the Sunset Strip will be announced at a later date. Tickets for the festival are on sale now and you can click here to purchase.
As of press time we can only start the rumor that Jim Morrison’s Hologram will make an appearance at some point during the weekend.
I believe it started with a tweet, but perhaps it was a text. Regardless of tweet versus text it was a threat declaring that my ass was expected to be at the Key Club in West Hollywood on Friday night. If I was not at the Key Club, there would be serious consequences and repercussions of my action. While this may sound rather harsh, it was for my own good as my soul needed an intervention. A fan of the greats like Tenacious D, 2 Skinnee J’s and of course Ween my life was void of Electric Six for far too long and come high or hell water Steve and Johnny were going to make sure I saw the light.
From unsolicited packages left on my door containing mix CD’s to videos left upon my Facebook page my education of Electric Six beyond “Gay Bar” has been intense over the past 72 hours. Bashed into my brain I was grateful for a brief knowledge of the Detroit based Rock and Roll revival as I made my way into the Key Club well past 10:30pm. Before I was able to consume my first plastic cup filled with PBR the already exciting night was kicked up to a whole new level when I spotted my pal Matthew. One of the last folks I expected to see at the show he was in fine form celebrating the birth of a college friend and Electric Six fanatic. Now it really was a party and when the band walked on stage just past 11pm I knew that they would be the perfect soundtrack.
The group opened with a tasty new jam called “French Bacon” from their soon to be released 8th studio album Heartbeats and Brainwaves. The crowd played it cool as energetic front man Dick Valentine held his microphone stand high above the near capacity crowd. It wasn’t till the third song “Down at McDonnelzzz” that the devoted fan base began to bounce up and down smashing into each other. With the lightning quick delivery of the songs chorus from Valentine paying tribute to the Golden Arches performed perfectly I knew the intervention had worked and I was hooked. Then the band insulted my hometown.
That’s right, before launching into the country number “Pink Flamingos” the group bashed The City and its fans from the night before. As I quickly turned my World Champion San Francisco Giants hat around (I only have a few more weeks to brag, cut me some slack) and pointed to the orange SF the band launched into a song that reminded not so much of country music, but of a classic Bay Area punk band Pansy Division. Despite bashing my town, I had to laugh it off and assume that tonight in Costa Mesa they would bash West Hollywood.
An important observation from the evening that must be mentioned: Yes, fans bounced and gently moshed to classic Electric Six songs like “Jam It In The Hole,” “Danger! High Voltage” and “I Buy The Drugs.” Yet when the band busted out “Gay Bar” and “Gay Bar Part 2” it was the fluffiest straight up gayest most pit I have ever seen. It was more like dry humping rubbing fluffy ballet then a mosh pit and it totally worked. Oh and the one gal in the pit, she took an elbow to the face from a man grinding another man. Dude was so into it he didn’t even realize he connected Charles Barkley style with the gal.
The band had a unique connection with the audience by not connecting at all. At one point Valentine insisted in a daiquiri from the bar, yet when it was presented to him he totally ignored it. Fans up front would raise their hands in hope of a handshake or high five and were repeatedly ignored. The oblivious arrogance worked and made the crowd want the band that much more.
After an hour long set Valentine and friends left the stage to a thunderous applause. They quickly returned and informed us all they had not come here to play twelve songs, but in fact they had three more songs for a grand total of fifteen songs. The six piece tore through solid versions of “Synthesizer” and “We Were Witchy Witchy White Women,” yet it was the final number that the crowd had apparently waited for all night (I say this cause some dude behind me kept saying “I’ve been waiting for this all night”). “Dance Commander” lived up to its name as Valentine and company kicked it up one last time for a still energetic and downright worshipful audience. At the end of the song, Valentine dove into the crowd hugging and celebrating with anyone willing to come over. I watched from a distance as fan after fan walked away smiling from their moment with Valentine. I knew it was best to let all of them have their moment this time around I was not yet worthy. But know that next time I see Electric Six I will go and get my hug.
Last fall we caught a band called Bison b.c. open for the mighty Helmet in Redondo Beach, CA. The boys from Bison b.c. plan to spend fall 2011 on the road in North America supporting their phenomenal 2010 release Dark Ages (one of Reverend Justito’s Top 10 records of 2010). In addition to their current dates with Weedeater, Saviours and Fight Amp, the Vancouver natives plan a headline trek across their native land. Dates for the tour are below and make sure to stop by Indiemerchstore.com for all your Bison b.c. goods. A complete list of tour dates are below.
Tour w/ Weedeater, Saviours, Fight Amp
09/15 Columbus, OH Outland Live
09/16 Grand Rapids, MI The Pyramid Scheme
09/17 Chicago, IL Reggies
09/18 Marquette, MI Upfront and Co.
09/19 Minneapolis, MN Triple Rock Social Club
09/20 Rock Island, IL Rock Island Brewing Co.
09/23 Denver, CO Larimer Lounge
09/24 Salt Lake City, UT Burt’s Tiki Lounge
09/26 Seattle, WA The Highline
09/27 Vancouver, BC The Rickshaw Theatre
09/28 Portland, OR Branx
09/29 San Francisco, CA The Independent
10/01 San Diego, CA Soda Bar
10/02 Los Angeles, CA The Key Club
10/03 Tempe, AZ TBA
10/04 Albuquerque, NM The Launchpad
10/06 Austin, TX Emo’s
10/07 Houston, TX Fitzgerald’s
10/08 New Orleans, LA Siberia
10/09 Atlanta, GA The Earl
10/10 Athens, GA New Earth Music Hall
10/11 Tallahassee, FL The Engine Room
10/12 Tampa, FL The Orpheum
10/14 Savannah, GA The Jinx
Canadian Headlining Tour
10/19 Ottawa, ON Café De Kcuf
10/20 Kingston, ON The Mansion
10/21 London, ON Call The Office
10/22 Toronto, ON Bovine Sex Club w/ C’mon (final show), Burning Love, Miesha and the Spanks
I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt like a bit of a douche today as I stare at a blank word document. If you have followed Concert Confessions over the past 2+ years, then you know that we are dedicated to providing live concert reviews of the bands we love. Any jerk off can head out to a show because he gets a free ticket and make statements such as…
Jade Simonetto’s hit his drums harder than Ryan Dunn’s Porsche hit that tree along the side of a Pennsylvania highway.
But that is the difference between Concert Confessions and other media outlets, we actually take pride in the information we pass along to the fans. So here is where I admit the truth – my knowledge of Hate Eternal is limited at best. It didn’t matter who was playing, with life kicking me in the backside the past few weeks I just wanted to escape into a smelly Sunset Strip club* for a few hours and have my ass handed to me by some loud fucking death metal.
I made my way into the Key Club about ½ way through the set of Vital Remains. Knowing it’s the best policy, I must be honest when I say I can’t tell if these guys are supposed to be funny or not. While categorized as Death Metal, the music felt more like a night with Girl Talk. Sure, I heard elements of Death Metal, but I also heard some thrash, some cookie monster rock, a pretty sweet groove that would have fit perfectly on the Wretch album by Kyuss and then there was that riff that I swear was “Going The Distance” by Cake. While some may feel distractions are welcome to a banner carrying member of the A.D.H.D family, I often found myself focused more on image vs. listening to the music. Vocalist Scott Wiley had those cool “metal singer” leather sleeves made of dead Italian cows. You know the ones; they lace up, have a few spikes on and drive all the pot belly Latinas crazy. Just looking at bassist “Gator” Collier you could tell that dude has seen Phish as many times as he has seen Iron Maiden. It was all in the Fragile Rock head bob. Then again, Mike Gordon and Steve Harris both have that Fragile Rock look, so perhaps it was more Maiden shows than Phish shows. I can tell you this much based off looks alone, dude has consumed massive amounts of good times at both. Then you had the stage right guitarists guitar, a monstrosity so epic I refuse to post instead I shall simply link to it. Don’t get me wrong, the band had some great riffs and the crowd went off big time. Yet with so many style changes and bad metal clichés, I really must wonder if perhaps I missed the joke?!?!?!
The main reason I hit the Key Club was Hate Eternal. I caught them about 18 months ago as part of the All Day/All Ages Metalfest down Sunset Blvd at the Palladium. It was one of those sets where afterwards I was like “Fuck yeah Hate Eternal I’m going to go buy everything they have released” but then days and weeks and months go buy and the cash I would have spent on records ended up going to the dentist, the 76 Station down the street and Target (because cat sand is really fucking expensive, just ask Danzig ok?). So I can tell you they played such hits as “Bringer of Storms”, “Phoenix Amongst The Ashes” and “I Monarch.” I can tell you that despite the fact Rutan was plagued by guitar issues all night, he didn’t allow that to wipe that warm (and very un-death-metal) smile off his face. I can tell you that the pit was solid and the Key Club security did a fine job of clearing a path for some poor Mexican kid who broke his ankle (perhaps just a high sprain, I am not a doctor but I play one on TV). Fact is, Hate Eternal could have gotten on stage and performed Gaga covers and it would have kicked ass. All three members of the band are virtuosos of their craft and a must see for anyone who loves heavy music. Oh and fuck the cats, they can learn to use the toilet for all I care, I am blowing my paycheck this weekend on Hate Eternal albums.
*We love the Key Club and in many visits the place has smelled just fine. However on this the last day of Spring 2011, whomever was crop dusting the entire stage right side of the stage ALL FUCKING NIGHT should really go see a doctor.
Words/photos by Reverend Justito – concertconfessions.com
It took me 15+ years to see my first Helmet concert. I only had to wait 40 days for round two with the criminally underappreciated metal band. A lot has changed in 5 ½ weeks since I watched Helmet destroy Redondo Beach. I was correct in my prediction to Helmet main man Page Hamilton that the 49ers would have won at least one game in that time. However, another major sports feat has gone down and much to my delight it allowed me the opportunity to be booed by the entire Key Club. But before I brag to you about an incredible end to an amazing week, let’s talk about some music.
For a moment I feared not making it into the Sunset Strip venue. I had a spot on the guest list, yet according to the large bouncer outside the door my legal name was not on any list. After showing him my confirmation e-mail and with the promise to buy a drink or two, I was allowed into the venue (thank you). Former Trustkill artist Open Hand had already hit the stage and after making good on my promise I had no problem finding a spot up front. I was introduced to the band from a friend about two years ago who had brought over the demos of what would become the bands most recent record Honey. Within seconds of the music hitting my ears, I was hooked.
With the room 50% full, Open Hand did a fine job of winning over numerous souls consuming their first cocktail of the night. Songs like “You and Me” and “Jaded” got the we are cool, we are Hollywood and it’s too early to stand up front but we will nod our heads because we really fucking respect you treatment from the crowd. However, the highlight of the brief opening set was Open Hand sticking it to the Key Club. Told to get off stage, the bands leader Justin Isham fought for one more song. With an angry stage manager and beefy security on the side of stage ready to pounce upon Open Hand, the band reached backed and bitch slapped everyone inside the Key Club with their self-proclaimed best song “Hard Night.” An epic number that feels much like Hum meets Kyuss while being totally unique – while Open Hand may have managed to get themselves black listed from the Key Club the 200+ folks in attendance were clearly won over on the first Friday in November.
Before Intronaut hit the stage, I knew the band only in name. Someone once told me they were space metal, however I had no clue what that meant. Hell after seeing the band, I still have no clue what it means, but that sure as hell didn’t prevent me from being won over by the “post-metal” band from Los Angeles, CA. For a lack of a better term, Intonaut is a thinking man’s metal band. One part prog, one part jazz fusion with a ton of sludge, doom and death thrown in for flavor, the band has a massive sound that right off the bat made the Key Club feel small and inadequate. They are one of those bands where you wish you knew every song walking in, because watching these guys pull these unfamiliar songs off live on stage was nothing short of incredible. If you are a fan of Tool, Mastodon and Isis then Intronaut is for you.
As I have already mentioned, this was my second time seeing Helmet in 40 days. With the club near capacity, the band took the stage and opened up with the melodic yet rocking “Swallowing Everything.” From there the show was off and running as the band snuck the new song “So Long” in between Aftertaste favorites “Birth Defect” and “Exactly What You Wanted.” I felt the set progressed nicely, as songs from the just released Seeing Eye Dog mixed with Helmet classics. Yet, one look around me and it’s rather obvious a majority of fans only wants to hear the band play songs from Meantime and Betty. It’s the reason a pit of four drunken tools breaks out during “Iron Head” while the very same individuals stand around looking bored during “Welcome to Algiers.”
Where Hamilton and company basically ditched the setlist halfway through the Redondo Beach show, there was no negotiating on this the final night of the bands lengthy North American tour. It actually seemed as if the setlist was designed to fuck with the simple minded masses. Old material was played, however the band refused to play the huge hits the crowd begged for. Cries for “Unsung”, “I Know” and “Biscuits For Smut” were ignored as the band instead decided to rock tight versions of “Black Top”, Repetition” and “Tic.”
For me, the highlight wasn’t the music, as much as it was a rare moment of stage banter. Someone mentioned Hamilton’s Portland Trailblazers sweatbands and he got onto the topic of sports. During this moment he spotted me in my San Francisco Giants hat and as he pointed me out he congratulated me and my team for winning the 2010 World Series. On a high all week long from my teams first World Championship since my grandmother was seven months pregnant with my father I was of course booed by the Dodgers loving Southern California crowd. As I turned from the front of the stage and egged the volatile crowd on a huge shit eating grin crossed my face. How could it not, the Giants are baseball champions of the world.
The band closed their set with a three song encore. After shaking hands with fans up front (and informing many that there was no chance in hell “Unsung” was being played) the band kicked things off with “Crisis King”. From there, the crowd was enthused by powerful back to back action packed powerhouse jams “Wilma’s Rainbow” and “In The Meantime.” Fans got crazy one last time and for Helmet a very long tour came to an end. After the last chord was played, the band greeted fans up front with handshakes and fist bumps. Hamilton and I once again discussed 49ers football (he called the week 7 loss to Carolina the clubs most embarrassing in years) and I thanked him for two truly wonderful autumn nights in the year 2010.
Words/Photos/Videos by Reverend Justito/concertconfessions.com
Growing up in the 1990’s, I spent many hours rocking out in the various muscle cars of Concertconfessions webmaster, Mattchee. We were the second generation of Bay Area thrash metal fans; the kids who were in Junior High when The Black Album ruled the rock world. Metallica opened the doors and turned us onto a whole world of bands who played the fast paced melodies which made us wonder why we ever purchased crap such as Kriss Kross and Vanilla Ice. Knowing they were from our home turf and having once had Metallica’s Kirk Hammett on guitars, how could we not instantly fall in love with Exodus? 18+ years later, I walked into the doors of the Key Club in West Hollywood assuming I, at 31, would be one of the younger individuals in the crowd. Much to my astonishment, most of the over-sold crowd was not even alive when I discovered Exodus twelve years into their career. That was only the beginning of my shock and awe.
As I walked up to the bar to order a drink, Heathen was already killing it on stage. Supporting the just released The Evolution of Chaos record, the band had the full attention of the packed pint-sized venue. I did my best to find a solid spot within the crowd sunk into the mayhem. The band already had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hands by the time of my arrival. With crowd chants of HEATHEN! between songs like “Mercy Is No Virtue” and “Arrows of Agony,” one would have thought that they were the headlining act. Huge circle pits filled the club’s front floor section, as duel axe-slingers Kragen Lum & Lee Altus tore up career-spanning numbers such as “Death By Hanging.” Most of the crowed seemed shocked when the band exited the stage after “Open The Grave.” They clearly were not ready for the band’s set to end, as chants for their return drowned out the bright house lights and Mastodon blasting over the PA.
Billed as a release show for the group’s recent Billboard Top 200 album Exhibit B: The Human Condition, Exodus kicked the main event off just past 11pm. With a world-wide broadcast via Stickam, the five piece band hit the stage like a bag of bricks upside the head. Opening with the Exhibit B crusher “The Ballad of Leonard and Charles,” the building erupted as fans went absolutely ape-shit. Did the band even take a break before heading straight into “Beyond The Pale?” I was more concerned with one of the many kids in the crowd proudly wearing the band’s “Satanic Hispanic” T-Shirt. I was convinced his brains had splattered on the stair case that his head had just crashed into. After some help up from fellow fans, the youngster dusted himself off and was thrashing around in the pit by the time the band was rocking the Exhibit A monster – “Iconoclasm.” After all, Exodus was in town on a Friday night – and this was an event not to be missed.
I felt current vocalist Rob Dukes did a great job of delivering the lyrics from all eras of Exodus, despite the fact that many Internet trash talkers have nothing kind to say about him. “Blacklist” sounded much better than my first Exodus show with Steev Esquivel back in 2004. The duel guitar attack from Gary Holt and Lee Altus (who was working a double shift on this particular evening) was the driving force of the music, sending the circle pit into overdrive on classics like “Piranha” and “Fabulous Disaster.” It didn’t matter which era of songs was recalled — the crowd responded with enthusiastic violence. The band’s open invitation to stage divers did nothing to calm the carnage.
As if the invite to stage dive was not enough, the true crowd highlight of the evening was the wall of death. Led by Dukes during the set’s closing number “Strike of the Beast,” the packed floor did a fine job of finding the space to part. Once Dukes screamed “Go” into the mic, it was pure mayhem as the two sides crashed together forming one solid mob of energy. Bones were crushed and bodies were bloodied as the band bashed out the Bonded By Blood juggernaut.
Chants of Exodus began within seconds of the band exiting for an encore break. After blasting through the song “Bonded By Blood” the band asked for fan requests. With most fans screaming for “The Toxic Waltz,” the band agreed, stipulating that fans promised to cover the entire floor with a circle pit. The fans were happy with the terms of the deal and formed the largest circle of the night. I generally don’t approve of bands closing with a new number; however on this particular late spring night, it just seemed to work. “Good Riddance” declares that the end of the Earth is upon us and perhaps that is just what it will take to end Exodus’s lengthy career. 30 years after Hammett and Holt formed the band, the music is still kicking and is embraced by a very young and very rabid fan base. With Exodus, the music is timeless and the energy created between the band and the audience is truly something special. I have no doubt that when the band does it’s 50th anniversary tour, the pit will be rocking with a base of fans who have yet to be conceived.
Words/Photos by Reverend Justito/concertconfessions.com
(Note: The review was first published by MTV news)
It takes a gang of bad asses to name their band after Marlon Brando’s motorcycle gang in his 1953 film The Wild One. Thankfully, the three men who make up Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (often referred to as BRMC) are not only bad enough to fit the bill, but somehow tender enough that you could bring them home to your mother. Formed in 1998, BRMC is one of the few bands still waving the bad boy rock flag high in a day and age of disposable hip hop anthems and American Idol rejects selling out arenas. Yet somehow they don’t come off as a cheesy imitation rip off like Avenged Sevenfold. BRMC is the real deal. Hell, I think it’s safe to say that BRMC is the only straight up kick ass and take no prisoners Rock & Roll band left on the planet today. So imagine my shock and delight when on Christmas Eve when I found out that they would be playing an intimate club show at the Key Club right down the street from my home. Having had my head bashed in by seeing these guys live everywhere from the middle of Sunset Blvd to opening for legends “The Jesus & Mary Chain” at the Wiltern last fall I added another $70 to the American Dream known as my ever growing credit card debt and got two tickets for what I knew would be something special.
With the club beyond sold out, special VIP sections for corporate sponsors SPIN Magazine, Addidas & JVC filling up seconds before the band kicked into their set, Guitarist/Bassist/Vocalist Peter Hayes took the stage solo around 9:45 and played two numbers to a very appreciative crowd. Decked in a black leather jacket, his partner in crime, Guitarist/Bassist/Vocalist Robert Levon Been eventually joined Hayes along with Drummer Nick Jago for what would be a roller coaster 2+ hour set. The great thing about BRMC is the fact they can play everything from soft blues-esque acoustic rock to full on sonic assault feed back laced hollow body arena rock. Not only can they do this, they do so in such a way that you never know which way you are going next.
The show started out somewhat slow, with softer numbers such as Complicated Situation & Shuffle Your Feet from 2005’s Howl before drifting into fuzz rock distorted anthems like Berlin from last years Baby 81 record and Love Burns from their very first record BRMC. As rain leaked thru the roof of the Key Club onto the stage, the band were in total control of the crowd from the get go. BRMC truly has no single front man, as Hayes and Been switch back and forth not only vocal duties (when they are not harmonizing together) but switch back between Bass & Guitar (that is of course when one is not playing Piano on numbers like Promise or All You Do Is Talk). The second roller coaster build up of the night featured both a sinister version of 666 Conducer and Ain’t No Easy Way which featured Hayes on nasty slide guitar that made you wonder just how long ago these bad boys sold their soul to the devil for such a demonic (yet never ugly) sound that makes you think of everyone from The Verve to The Jesus & Mary Chain.
Hayes and Jago left the stage at one point and let Levon Been sing a few songs all alone. A pin drop could be heard thru the tightly packed club as he soulfully sung 2005’s Complicated Noose. After that, Levon Been lowered his microphone, sat on a monitor and informed the crowd it was time to get intimate with us. He explained how he had one cover in his back pocket, but was tired of it and decided to learn something harder. He then treated the crowd to Bob Dylan’s Vision of Johanna and as with every other things BRMC touched last night, it was sonically perfect.
The band soon rejoined him, and once again built us up to wrap up their set for the evening. American X is a warning shot to our nation that all should hear. Never shying away from political numbers questioning the actions of our government, and clocking in last night at over 10 minutes, BRMC had the crowd eating out of their hands with this massive set closer. As Levon Been’s hands rose up his fret board, strobe lights flickered at a fever pace; the energy of the crowd peaked much like an acid trip could. As the song wrapped, feedback rang thru the house monitors, the band left the stage victorious.
After the typical 3-5 minutes of encore applause we have all grown to tolerate the band returned to beat our senses in just a little bit more. Took Out A Loan from last year’s Baby 81 record kicked off the encore with flash and feedback and forcing the crowd to stomp along in rhythm. For as much as I thought this song would blow off the already leaky roof, it was the last song of the night Whatever Happened To My Rock ‘n’ Roll [punk song] that made me realize all over again what I have known about BRMC for a few years now. BRMC are the savior of rock and roll. They may even be the best Rock & Roll band on the planet today. They make you want to drink whiskey, drive well over the posted speed limit, donate an hour to charity and kick over your neighbors trash cans just because you can. They are everything missing from today rock scene. They are the real deal.
It is a well known fact to musicians that King’s X are the Rodney Dangerfield of Rock & Roll. For 20+ years this three piece has toured the world bringing their muscular mix of metal, gospel, funk and blues to anyone willing to listen. From stealing the show Friday night at Woodstock ‘94 to playing every club/bar across the world King’s X always brings their A game when they take the stage. That’s why it’s truly a shame they have not gotten the respect they deserve after all these years. A fan for 15 years, I was first in line to grab tickets to their show here at the Key Club in West Hollywood, CA, knowing a King’s X performance is something special and not to be missed.
Within five minutes of our arrival, I already had a 50+ year old with a fluffy mullet and faded leather jacket grab my package (this is after I kindly informed her I was married). As offensive as that was, nothing offended me more than the performance by the main support act – Conspiracy of Thought. Wow, words can not describe how horrible this band was. Perhaps it was because they played out of tune? Perhaps it was the fact that their image was a joke (really, a bald front man with devil horns, cut the crap already), perhaps they just want to make me listen to a Paris Hilton record Whatever the excuse, these guys sound about 35 times worse than Mudvayne at their first practice, with a little bit of Static-X after taking 25 date rape pills and washing it down with a large cup of diarrhea. My goal with this site is to not be negative towards bands and their art, but TOC (as their 12 fans chanted between songs) have made me break that rule. During the entire set, I tried to find one nice thing to say about you guys, and you have given me nothing. Heck, ya’ll were even being douche bags during King’s X set, which just shows how worthless you are. I assume ya’ll paid big bucks to get that opening slot, perhaps that cash would have been better invested in musical lessons.
After a lengthy delay due to guitarist Ty Tabor’s having some kind of gear issue, King’s X took the stage just past Midnight. As is tradition at this point, the band opened with the mid 90’s classic “Groove Machine.” A pulsating juggernaut that serves and the perfect musical welcome, within seconds the band was locked deep into the groove and ready to showcase their unique rock and roll masterpieces, both new and old.
Early in the set (when the band was not being further interrupted by one drunk knocking out another) the band took the chance to play some songs off their most recent album – XV. “Alright” was the perfect song to follow “Groove Machine”. It’s a quick and simple rock and roll song, that warms up both the band and the crowd. “Move” felt as if the ground was doing just that. With a super low end bass from Dug Pinnick shaking the club, the song slowly built into a melodic chorus with just enough bite to separate it from all those generic rock radio acts. A bit later, the band performed what is there recent mission statement. Perhaps a bit tired of not getting the respect they so deserve “Go Tell Somebody” encourages us fans to do just that. Consider this your warning.
The band also went deep into it’s extensive back catalogue. Early on we got two songs from their 1992 self titled album. “Black Flag” felt a bit spacier than normal, but was still solid and thunderous while “Lost In Germany” was rich in texture from both Tabor’s delicate guitar playing and rich vocal harmonies. Going even further back was the song “Summerland” (from the timeless record Gretchen Goes To Nebraska). The band didn’t even have to instruct the capacity crowd to sing along. Pinnick just sat back and let the crowd (which included Actor Hal Sparks) finish off the number.
Much like “Groove Machine” always opens the set, “Over My Head” always marks the end of the main set. Both my friend and I who have been to many King’s X shows over the years were shocked at just how quickly that end came. Regardless, we both knew we were in for a long musical journey as Pinnick screamed the songs opening lines into the mic. The song starts out rocking, but after the first few minutes it goes deep into a long jam. Lead by Tabor, the band brings you up only to crash you back down again into a slow slow groove. This is normally where Pinnick takes over free flowing on whatever he so chooses. I have heard how him discuss there is no bad music, only good music. I have heard him talk in depth about his grandmother (who is mentioned within the lyrics of the song) and I have heard him demand the decriminalization of Cannabis. On this night, not only did he call us a rock and roll choir for the rock and roll church of King’s X, but he touched on the importance of loving each other no matter who we are, or what we believe. Fitting for a band who was unfairly dubbed a “Christian” act only to lose a large number of those fans when Pinnick came out of the closet back in the 1990’s.
The band came back for an encore that featured two songs from their “Faith Hope & Love” record. The first one was “It’s Love” which according to Dug they don’t think they play very well, but the fans always ask for it. I thought they played it just fine as did everyone else in the crowd. It is a two way street with King’s X and their fans, energy going both ways, which is why they are still around and why we keep coming back for more. The last song of what appears to be an abbreviated set was “We Were Born To Be Loved.” Know to most as one of the themes Paul Shaffer’s CBS Orchestra uses to go in and out of commercial breaks on “The Late Show” the songs on again/off again riffs influenced just about every Nu Metal band even if those now long gone acts realized it or not.
A majority of the lyrics within King’s X songs showcase a struggle with self-worth and acceptance all while trying to remember to treat each and every single person on this planet with respect (still trying to come up with something nice to say about that opening band). Growing up, King’s X got me through some dark, dark times and seeing them is always cleansing for my soul. I can only imagine these men have been through. Worse than me I am sure, yet they keep on doing what they do no matter how big or small the crowd is. They are a constant reminder to not give up, to not give in and love myself for who I am no matter what anyone else thinks. They have truly helped me over the years. So go check em out. See this tour, buy an album, check em out on You Tube and once you are hooked like me – Go Tell Somebody.
It had been a decade and a half since the classic Bay Area thrashers Forbidden played live in Los Angeles. The City of Hollywood got the long awaited taste of some infamous thrash metal at the Key Club March 26th and surely did not disappoint! Los Angeles was the first stop on a very short California tour that would end up meeting quite a few loyal fans that have awaited a long while to see a piece of metal history. Right beside those that may have been lucky to see them back in the day of the early/mid 1990’s, the new metal generation that I feel who were the smart ones to have attended, seemed eager to see Forbidden to collectively add them to the list of many under-appreciated pioneers of Bay Area Thrash metal.
There were only a small few openers all for which did not have a name that shined as favorable nor sounded as brutal as Forbidden. The first band by the name of Lethal Dossage took the stage @ 7:30 pm to a club that barely held more than 2 dozen people at the time. Attendance was strikingly low for the first 3 hours. I felt that maybe more of the metal heads had skipped across town this night to Orange County to see Destruction who just played the Key Club 2 nights before with an “almost” sold-out and obnoxious crowd. Maybe the competition was too tough? Not in the least. More fans were on their way, but it seemed that the bands prior to Forbidden just couldn’t bevy up enough interest to put asses in the pit at an early time. Remember, it’s been more than 14 years, why not wait another 4 hours? Lethal Dossage could have simply passed as a cool Slayer cover band though no Slayer songs were covered…the lead singer had an eerie likeness of Tom Araya’s voice, so much so, I had hoped for a Slayer tune or two though to no avail, they were just mediocre at best.
The next beating we endured was Elfion. Elfion is Elf language for “stab thy ears”. This band had been reviewed and chewed by me in my blog for Exodus back in December of 2008. Power metal without a doubt, the ball pinching & wincing was sure to make a deaf man hear again so these lads really do have a talent after all if you think about it in a sick sort of way.
Moving on….Letum Ascensus is another Los Angeles band purely Death metal ~ no more, no less. The band leaves nothing to the imagination for which they really do need one to keep the music more interesting. It seemed every song drilled out was an extension of the one before it and then maybe a 12” mix somewhere in between. Boris on vocals could pass as Glen Benton of Deicide, or maybe not, considering the only thing missing from Boris is the upside down cross that has long been branded onto Glen’s forehead. Death metal nowadays is either old rehash or had been crossbred with metalcore with some vegan/ soy bullshit for decoration and bad taste (i.e. White Chapel, Cattle Decapitation, Blood Runs Black, Despised Icon, blah, blah blah). Letum Ascensus wasn’t breaking new ground though they didn’t have the pig squels, which I give them kudos for, they should just stay home next time and play Deicide’s “Deicide” over and over and over again to get the feeling of how redundant their sound was.
At this time @ 9:30 pm, the security for the upstairs dining area informed Matt & I that the club capacity had reached about 151 persons. Disturbing as this seemed, I was almost convinced that the real metal fans stood up Forbidden and had eloped with Destruction to Orange County for a night of beer, bullets and mosh pit bruises. Disappointed and slightly embarrassed, the last band before Forbidden didn’t amuse me either though they did compliment Forbidden’s set well. Their name is Psychosis. Not to be confused with a band by the same name that are from Texas and slightly Christian, this band however, had formed during the early 90’s brandishing a Bay Area sound and stake their claim here in the Los Angeles/North Hollywood metal scene. They are new but then they are not, however, the singer Bruce Hall laid it out to those of us listening that this had been only their 6th live show. For simple metal spirit, I will say that they did a great set considering the randomness and sketchy past the band members have endured. Pychosis did not have many songs to give us but what they did hammer out was worth the listen.
Upon Psychosis finishing up their finale, the crowd started to swell up down below as the headbangers gathered for a night long worth the wait. I was pleased as punch to see that the fans, from where ever they came, took the time and spent the few dollars to come and see Forbidden. Too bad for those that did not, but from what I have learned recently, Forbidden are slated to return to the States for a Fall tour.
Forbidden hijacked the stage at 11pm with the intro: Parting ways. The songs are as follows (Matt was lucky enough to have the sound guy give up the set list at the end of the show!): Parting Ways, Infinite…, Forbidden Evil, Off The Edge, Step By Step, Twisted Into Form, Follow Me, Tossed Away, Green, Out of Body, March Into Fire, Eyes of Glass, One Foot In Hell, and Chalice of Blood. “Off The Edge” gave way for clouds of foul weed, stage divers falling on their heads and moshers colliding. While the immense energy downstairs lingered in the air as though lightning had stricken the stage, the amps started to give out. After the song, Russ Anderson amazed himself at how great the sound was, “Shit’s blowin’ up~must be good!!” If one didn’t know what was going on, a person would have thought Russ may had taken a puff from some Pineapple Express….once the amps were fixed, Russ introduced the band.
Russ sounded good. I’m not one to extend my opinion on a band that I had not previously seen years before but from past film footage and more obviously from listening to Forbidden’s cds that Russ wasn’t hitting the highest of the high notes. This isn’t bad because he did so well that night despite the long absence that any of the albums, namely, “Forbidden Evil” & “Twisted into Form” (more popularly the first two of course) could have been brand new material just recorded and would have passed as thrash classics. Speaking of such, Russ mentioned this seemingly new past time of re-recording older material and asked if just maybe it should be done. More notably for the album “Twisted into Form” ~ his response? “You don’t mess with history….” Point well taken!
Ear candy such as “March into Fire” and “One Foot in Hell” found more and more stage divers crawling up the pants legs of the band members to use their bodies as objects to pursue straight forward thrash metal statements. I had caught 2 to 3 different fans that made it to the stage falling to their knees and bowing to Russ and the guitarist Craig Lucicero as if they were the physical manifestations of Ra, the Egyptian Sun god. I was highly tickled by this and though I certainly do not carry such brass balls to hit up the stage like that, I give the kids kudos in doing so to show their enthusiasm for such great talent.
“The Still Twisted West Coast Blitz” ended 15 minutes early (WTF?) though without an encore (that I could remember) the fans were left salivating for more. Forbidden left the stage never to return that night leaving many thinking they would. We were befuddled but certainly not disappointed! Regardless, idle chatter and background noise gave me the sense that people had a good time. When Forbidden return so shall we, Twisted but still Evil!!
The Key Club in Hollywood is always (in our opinion) the best place to see a Metal show. The Security is cool, the food and drink is delectable (though they recently shortened and changed their dinner menu) and there isn’t a bad spot to stand in to see the mayhem that takes stage. Matt & I have been here many, many times and it’s usually busy. Rarely have there been shows that have been light in attendance. The show for Armored Saint and Death Angel on March 6th 2009 saw a turn out that packed the house to the ceiling (officially SOLD OUT @700-800 bodies) with a personal surprise of a crowd not familiar to the underground metal scene: the lost and unhip middle-aged adult that grew out of regularly attending metal concerts in order to pursue the “American Dream”…not to forget that they also lost the god-given sense to uphold any public etiquette when it came to drinking alcohol.
Matt & I showed up about 6pm to only find nobody in line, however, the die-hard Thrash kids were there hanging about as usual. I’m glad they showed up and we do know a few of them as one shook Matt’s hand and exchanged greetings. This show was not being repeated throughout the United States and as seasoned metal heads, we both agreed that the younger Los Angeles Thrash and Death metal heads should have been at this show. However, there were a handful of smaller underground gigs in the process that night in lower class neighborhoods for which we will not attend due to lack of good security. I like to refer to some of these fans and venues that support the bands as “Ghetto Metal”…for a quick laugh of course.
A survey of the crowd that started to gather behind us added up quickly in our minds as to the demographic that later that night took the Key Club hostage. Quite a few attendees were older than us sporting vintage Armored Angel, Van Halen, and random bar & restaurant t-shirts but mostly plain collared shirts with jackets for the men. Oh, and I can’t forget the bad aftershave cologne added to those tacky threads. Some women were dressed to walk all day at the downtown swap meet while others were dressed too sexy for their age…more like it, the MILF’s, GILF’s and Cougars (one that had a Scorpions “bitch tattoo”) were prowling the premises for ungodly reasons but one random idea could have been because they were dragged there to support their husband’s one night a month out with the guys.
For an unholy long hour in line we people watched and listened to an agonizing cell phone conversation with a gentleman that seemed clueless as to what type of bands that were playing, “Yeah, mom, it’s, mom, it’s heavy metal, yeah, rock n’ roll or something, mom…” We didn’t think this guy was planning on attending Swallow the Sun this Sunday either. “Mom, Jesus loves you and so do I…yeah, mom…” The bouncer needed to open the doors quick before I took my writing pen and shoved it in both ears….
We both made it inside at 7:40pm only to now wait for our dinner reservations which were set at 8:15pm. Matt decided to leave and exchange our tickets he bought earlier for next week’s shows for the sale price printed inside the club on a bunch of posted flyers. These included Forbidden and Destruction. I was left on the floor in a dark corner on a torn up couch watching as the club filled up like a sinking ship in an ocean full of clueless people not knowing where to stand. “Excuse me, is this area reserved?” (trying not to laugh) “No, man, just stand where ever you want, except up stairs”. Most of these people were too afraid to move up to the front. It was like they fell into another dimension and just discovered a new world that was only told of in fairy tales. However, the liquor wasn’t hard to find and the smell was rampant just as it poured from the bottles into the plastic cups. This was going to be one fucked up bunch of people. This thought took me back in time to when Matt & I drove quite a distance to see AC/DC at a 50,000+ show about 10 years ago or so. That was a bad night and though the crowd here at the Key Club was more than 50 times smaller, consumed alcohol + lack of common sense + limited amount of body space = triple threat. It was going to get loud and obnoxious. Matt made it back and on up stairs it was to our dinner table.
There were no opening bands. Good. Nice for a change though the crowd, as unhip as they seemed, would have only yelled for Armored Saint longer until they took stage. The merchandise table was disturbingly weak with Armored Saint t-shirts mainly in black and white, nothing catching our eyes except for some compact discs for which we already have minus one. I had made plans to buy a Dark Angel shirt but only a few were there with the art piece from the latest album on the front, which was sadly printed to look like a blob, lacking detail. The moniker “Prepare to Meet Thy God” was printed on the back. It was a choice of all black or all white and not much else. I declined and we headed back up stairs.
Death Angel hit the stage at 8:50pm. We quickly wolfed down our garlic fries and secured our dinner table. The band sounded great! They were vivacious, aggressive, and loud! The only stage paraphernalia adorned was a large backdrop of the latest album cover artwork “Killing Season”. This is a magnificent cover! The piece is called “A New Divinity” by artist Kris Kuksi. Check out his art on either myspace or www.kuksi.com ~ visually stunning creations! They fired first into “Lord of Hate” then into “Thrashers”. The microphone zapped out of commission during this time and then kept giving the singer, Mark Osegueda, trouble into the third song. After “Dethroned” the Mark went on to address the crowd in giving their gratitude to our presence by giving us a “God bless you guys” line…Matt & I just looked at each other with a “WTF?” written on our faces. Matt claims that the singer did this twice and I wasn’t too thrilled with that. When you aren’t a religious person you don’t understand the personal usage for such English treachery. I would have been more thrilled with “You guys ROCK” rather than “God bless you”. We are highly rebellious and don’t quite see Death Angel being this soft considering how brutal live they are. Ozzy Osbourne says the same shtick at his gigs but it’s unavoidably predictable for him; Ozzy is just nuts. It’s a subtle line of religiousness that doesn’t choke down easily with us. I’m actually disappointed on a personal level.
Mosh pitters were there that kept the older crowd entertained. Of course, the mosh pits were by our beloved Thrash kids that stick to their guns in supporting the old school bands. By the middle of Death Angel’s set, people had been hovering around our dinner table like flies on shit. This pissed us both off to where we had to keep the security guards busy in getting people off our backs. By this time, the alcohol was destroying the few tiny brain cells left in those that should have gone home to take care of their personal hygiene…and to score some better weed because the stank upstairs was wretched!!
Most of the songs that Death Angel played were from the new album Killing Season including “Sonic Beatdown” and “Souless”. One song from Act III “Seemingly Endless Time”, two songs from Art of Dying, “Thrown to the Wolves” and “5 steps of freedom” and a couple from Frolic Through the Park, “3rd Floor” and “Bored”. A hand full from The Ultra-Violence album: “Evil Priest”, “Kill As One”, “Voracious Souls” and the aforementioned above, “Thrashers”. Matt was stoked over the drummer Andy Galeon! This guy killed the drum set and didn’t seem to wince once and could pummel through anything! I was impressed with this band, though I am the Blackmetal fiend, I am glad to have finally witnessed another piece of history live from the Bay Area. Death Angel played an hour and 20 minutes, 10 minutes longer than scheduled. How do I know these things? We always have our dinner table set right above the booth reserved for the audio check. We can look down and watch the sound and lights managers while looking upon the set list, though, they aren’t always available.
Giving peace signs and not the devil horns were another subtle gesture of tonight’s entertainment. Fans gave the “devil horns” but for what reason, I still don’t know…warding off evil spirits as the function once stood for hundreds of years ago isn’t so much the intention today. It really means nothing. I found this night’s concert funny, irritating, sad, embarrassing and a little “kick-ass” all at the same time. Matt & I had ordered our last meal of the evening after Death Angel gave their farewells. Considering what we had endured during D.A.’s set, it was going to be 10X worse. We shoved our sandwiches down our throats and braced for the best!
Armored Saint, we later understood via one of the bouncers, had a grip of friends invited to the show. In between sets, one drunken fellow got in Matt’s face while he was trying to read the menu. The stranger claimed he was friends with the drummer Gonzo and then proceeded to give his two cents on what was good to eat. The idiot completely ignored the fact that Matt wanted him to move away because he kept bumping into him without conscience. (In case you didn’t know, Armored Saint is a local band dating back to the early 1980’s. They hail from Los Angeles, California). We both marveled at the number of people that tried to view over our heads (mind you we are sitting at a dinner table overlooking a railing onto the dance floor/pit and stage). It was annoying to say the least, to have a cock shot right in your face when you turned around to look behind you! Both of us grumbled to no end after Armored Saint crashed the stage(@ 10:50pm) while the drunken forty-something’s broke out into a mutant form of head-banging that neither went with the drum beat nor any chord. It was more to the chime of an irregular heartbeat at best! The stage had “Armored Saint” in logo fashion tied to the ceiling hanging down above Gonzo. On both sides, metal rods each held six long strands of chains while to the left a shiny metal knight stood watching the chaos that ensued on the dance floor. I’m not particularly a fan of this band’s caliber, however, this is a band that Matt was fond of and I had agreed to go for Metal’s sake. I wasn’t disappointed but I do feel that I do not need to see them again…unless the tickets are free, LOL! John Bush did sound awesome and this is the band for him. I’m not a fan whatsoever of the John Bush with Anthrax. That will forever be Joey Belladonna in my humble opinion! John Bush adorned a white t-shirt while looking completely blazed which said “I call Bullshit” that made Matt crack up. John is now bald as an American eagle but still looks Metal! Armored Saint gave forth the first track off of Symbol of Salvation called “Reign of Fire”. After slaying the crowd the set went on with these in order: “March of the Saint”, “Paydirt”, “Warzone”, “Last Train Home”, “Book of Blood”, “False Alarm”, Aftermath”, “Symbol of Salvation”, “Long before I die”, “Chemical Euphoria” (Matt’s favorite) (ENCORE) “Can U Deliver” and finally “Madhouse”. For the fans that know these songs, it is an obvious guess as to the song that should have been played but was left out (for those who don’t, it was “Droppin’ Like Flies”). From what I gather, the set had possibly been cut short as the show ended about 10 minutes after midnight (it was scheduled to 12 midnight). Also, upon saying their good-byes, Gonzo may have strained his right arm as he was given help walking from his drum kit, gingerly flexing his wrist and forearm.
No matter what was left out, everyone seemed to agree that Armored Saint did a fantastic job of bringing back the old school to the new fans and to the ones that may have missed them several years ago. Crowd surfing and stage diving wasn’t forgotten as part of the Thrash etiquette to say the least because A. S. still knows how to keep it brutal.
As for us, we waited till it calmed the fuck down before we could peel our asses off the seats. Most of the crowd did stay and keep the decibel level to 10+ with just their voice box. We finally left and I gave a sigh as the chilly night air hit my face; it was time to go home and regain my hearing once again.
I wouldn’t make it a habit of hanging out with the likes of females that look like they dropped out of a Whitesnake video, some wearing “Mom jeans” swinging their child bearing hips or the typical middle-aged male wearing that touristy outfit only he should wear to Disneyland. We both agreed that the metal crowd that is “in the know” is the speed we cruise in. So, I can safely say that there will never be any potential nor by sheer will for the need to tattoo “Armored Saint” above my ass when I’m 44 years old! Not going to happen…it will be Dimmu Borgir! *cracks a smile*