Tag: Oklahoma City

Avenged Sevenfold, Deftones & Ghost 10/23/13: Chesapeake Energy Arena, OKC, OK

Avenged Sevenfold w/ Deftones and Ghost – 10/23/13

Chesapeake Energy Arena – Oklahoma City, OK

Words/Photos by Steven Anthony

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Everyone’s got an opinion regarding Avenged Sevenfold. Lots of people hate them, calling them derivative/wannabe rock stars. At the other end of the spectrum, you have the band’s fans, eating up everything the band releases including their latest album Hail to the King which recently topped the Billboard’s Top 100. Touring in support of that record, Avenged Sevenfold stopped at Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena last night bringing along Deftones and Ghost as support. Surely one of the strangest mainstream bills to hit arenas this year, the three bands played to a small yet hugely passionate crowd.

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Sweden’s Ghost kicked things off for the evening, running through a bizarre 45-minute set that seemed to captivate the audience. While it reeked of gimmickry (Anonymous band members? A Satan-worshipping Cardinal figure?), the band was certainly entertaining. Heavy music fronted by a pop-sounding Satan-loving freak? If it works, it works, I guess, and judging by the number of Ghost shirts on the front row (a concert sin), the Swedes have developed a nice little underground following here in America. The band’s set included performances of Per Aspera ad Inferi, Year Zero and Ritual, sadly leaving out their intense Here Comes the Sun cover.

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Deftones were up next, still riding on the heels of last year’s critically successful Koi no Yokan. Chino Moreno still bounces around like an insane person, constantly climbing up on his riser before jumping of or running across the stage twirling is microphone. He’s an engaging performer, to be sure, but last night he seemed to be having a bit of trouble balancing his on stage acrobatics with singing, sounding short of breath more than a few times. After tripping on a platform mid set, it became clear that perhaps he was just having an off night. Luckily he picked himself back up and recovered nicely, smiling before resuming his nonstop dancing center stage. Musically the band sounded tight, delivering solid takes on Rosemary, My Own Summer (Shove It) and Swerve City. Deftones are certainly a different style of music than either Ghost or Avenged Sevenfold, but they seemed to have just as many fans out in the crowd. It seemed odd to have a band so critically respected sandwiched between some Satan-worshipping, relative newcomers and one of the most polarizing bands in American rock, but they made it work.

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After the Deftones wrapped up their set, the crowd’s anticipation for Avenged Sevenfold seemed to reach a breaking point. Soon enough, fire erupted from the stage as the band took their places on stage. Opening up with Shepherd of Fire, the band heated up the arena — quite literally — with insane amounts of pyro coming from seemingly every direction on stage. Critical Acclaim was next, finding vocalist M. Shadows growling over the fairly typical guitar riffs going on behind him. Guitarists Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates played their first of many dual-guitar solos of the evening during the track, throwing out shades of Judas Priest while the crowd pumped their fists in response. The band’s music may come across as inauthentic to some, but for the thousands of smiling faces at last night’s show, it’s clear they have a connection with a large number of people.

The band’s stage, a huge castle facade with a giant skeleton king centered behind the drum riser, served as a great backdrop for all of the pyro and spectacle happening towards the front. M. Shadows and both guitarists all had their own mini-risers at the front of the stage, climbing up anytime they wanted to solo or pop off whatever rock pose they were feeling at that moment. There were so many solos peppering nearly every song that for every vocal hook present during the show, I’d say there were approximately 12 guitar solos. It was a little excessive, but both guitarists are more than proficient so it was never painful.

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The band sounded at their best when things were speedy and had a sharper edge — when they slowed down the show for a heartfelt tribute to their late drummer The Rev, things became a bit rough. While Fiction was a nice way to keep The Rev’s memory alive, M. Shadow’s vocals really seem to have trouble when he lets off his distinctive growl and the multi-layered synth work was a bit over the top. It was a weak point in an otherwise strong and engaging show, and really seemed to throw off the flow of their 90-minute set. It certainly can’t be all solos and all growling for the entire show, but the song sounded incredibly out of place.

The remainder of the night was solid, featuring performances of Nightmare, Afterlife and Bat Country. Shadows thanked the audience for coming out on a Wednesday night before leaving the stage. After a few minutes of “Sevenfold” chants rising out of the audience, the band came back out for a quick two-song encore, rounding out their set with Chapter Four and Unholy Confessions. All in all, not a bad show.

While these three bands have very little common, least of all fanbases, each band delivered in its own unique way. Judging by the size of the crowd, it’s not clear that any of these bands have the draw to fill arenas, but it was obvious that the people who did come out had a great time.

Check out a few more selected shots, followed by a full gallery of all three bands:

Ghost:
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Deftones:

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Avenged Sevenfold:

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Ted Nugent 8/25/2013: Diamond Ballroom, OKC, OK

Ted Nugent – 08/25/13

Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City, OK

Words/Photos by Steven Anthony

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After a handful of decades in the music industry, Ted Nugent has still not stopped. He continues trucking on, bathing in whatever spotlight he can find by drumming up political controversy, spouting out the kind of quotables that make news editors daydream of potential headlines. At his show in Oklahoma City last night, however, the Motor City Madman didn’t spend too much time preaching his beliefs, instead choosing to power through a 90-minute set packed with his biggest hits.

That’s not to say that the Nuge didn’t spout off a number of brief rants — no, quite the opposite. He had no problem telling the crowd to hold on to their guns in case “they” (the government) decides to come take them. That got a lot of cheers… this is Oklahoma we’re talking about. Ted even apologized to the military service members across the world for the fact that while they’ve been serving, Americans have “become so stupid, Barack Obama was elected into office.” Cue more cheers. Repeat similar ideas about Hillary Clinton and a number of other democrat politicians. Predictable, yet obviously in tune with the majority of his fanbase. Oh, by the way, this summer’s tour is called the “Black Power Tour.” Yep.

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The ranting, in total, took up less than five minutes of the show’s total length. The rest of it was filled Nugent’s signature material, from Cat Scratch Fever and Turn It Up to Gonzo and Wango Tango. Regardless of one’s political leanings and beliefs, it’s hard to deny that Nugent’s written some solid material throughout his life, and he and his band deliver the goods live. It’s impossible to deny how powerful the groove of Stranglehold is, even though Nugent introduced it as “the theme song for taking America back.” You so crazy, Uncle Ted.

Ted interjected several times during the show to reiterate just how much he loves hunting. He told stories of shipping venison jerky over to Afghanistan, to make the soldiers “kill more assholes.” Insert applause. Hell, his parting words on stage weren’t “thank you” or “see you next time,” but “God bless, have a great hunting season.” He’s consistent, and damn if the crowd didn’t eat it up. He also noted that “every song” he’s ever written is about hunting and love. Together. Hove? Lunting?

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Ted also spoke at length about his black music heroes, the inspiration behind the tour’s “Black Power” name. Initially the tour name seems like nothing but a way to acquire more controversy and headline filler, but Nugent’s band is certainly well-versed in the blues. During an extended blues segment at the end of Wang Dang Sweet Poontang found the band venturing into Jimi Hendrix’ Red House, seemingly lost on the crowd but played to near perfection. Nugent also spent some time name checking the musicians he has looked up to his entire life.

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Politics and one-liners aside, Nugent puts on a solid show. It’s hard to fault a man for sticking to his guns so consistently (pun intended), even though his ideas are certainly off-putting to a lot of people who could find themselves enjoying some solid 70s rock. Maybe you agree with Nugent’s standpoints — if so, bully for you. If you don’t but happen to be in the mood to hear perfect live renditions of Cat Scratch Fever and Stranglehold, it might be worth shrugging off Ted’s quotes just to hear the show. The choice is certainly yours, but as someone who is about as far away from Ted’s ideals as possible, I can’t deny the man put on an entertaining show.

BoomBox & Ishi 09/19/2012: Diamond Ballroom, OKC, OK

BoomBox & Ishi 09/19/12

Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City, OK

Words/Photos by Steven Anthony

Ishi’s John Mudd

I very rarely, if ever, check out a band live before hearing them on record. I’ve been burned far too many times before, and as any concert goer knows there is nothing worse than being bored to tears at a show.

Regardless, I took the chance and hit up Oklahoma City’s Diamond Ballroom on Wednesday night (my birthday!) for a show headlined by techno/house/jamband BoomBox with support by Dallas-natives Ishi.

Ishi kicked things off around 8:45, immediately jumping into some fairly 80s-esque, synthtastic material that won over the small but enthusiastic crowd. Vocalist John Mudd and his drummer brother JJ Mudd were both wearing neon-glow shutter shades, which highlighted some tribalish facepaint on their cheeks. Musically, the band held their own, filling the venue with a mixture of sexy synth lines and some of the best pop hooks I’ve heard from a band not already on the radio. DiscoQueen was perhaps the most 80s-y track of their set, seeming to get pretty much everyone in the crowd to dance along.

BoomBox’s Zion Rock Godchaux

Shortly after Ishi’s set ended, BoomBox hit the stage. For the entirety of their two hour set, the duo (Russ Randolph and Zion Rock Godchaux) provided a decent mixture of techno, house and yes, even jamband-lite music. The crowd ate it up, spending a solid two hours dancing to the groove laid out by the band. Mr. Concert Confessions himself (Reverend Justito) told me today he felt the band was “techno for hippies,” and after seeing the band tonight I can confirm that is the case. And that’s not a bad thing.

Illuminated by the band’s great light show and inspired by music blasting from the speakers, most in the crowd seemed to greatly enjoy dancing for two hours straight. Many seemed unfamiliar with the band, but if you had to choose between a solid funk/house/jam band and a DJ spinning radio hits — which would you rather break a sweat to?

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Ishi’s music certainly seemed more structured, providing for the more standard verse-chorus-verse style songwriting while BoomBox’s focus was on performing extended jams before and after most of their songs. Overall, both bands put on solid performances that warrant me recommending them to you.

If you have any interest in live house/techno/80s-tastic music, don’t hesitate to either of these bands up. To check on upcoming dates for either band, head to IshiMusic.com or ThisIsBoomBox.com.

Check out the rest of the images from the show below:

The Flaming Lips Announce Free Oklahoma City Concert

The Flaming Lips Announce Free Oklahoma City Concert

The above poster pretty much tells you all you need to know. The Flaming Lips are hosting a free show at the Oklahoma City Zoo Amphitheatre on October 26th. If you live in the midwest, one must assume that this is something you won’t want to miss.

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