The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

BulletBoys Concert Review, Austin, TX, November 21, 2014

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usetitleI will go on record to say that most of the music from this genre of hard rock/metal didn’t do it for me in the 80s.  I found the hairspray and makeup quite silly and still do.  There were a few bands that did stand out and I took a liking to, but BulletBoys were not one of them.  Smooth up in ya?  Puhleaze!  That over the top, bombastic pretty boy type stuff just made me want to puke.  I had even seen them a few years ago when from pal in Arsis was in town on tour and freaked out knowing that BB was playing next door, so I subjected myself to it and didn’t pay any attention to the show at all.  “Another shot please!?”

Fast forward to 2014.  My friend, Shawn Duncan, who plays drums for DC4 and Odin (yes, that Odin), let me know that he was touring with BB this year and that they were coming to Austin and Houston.  Shawn’s one of the nicest dudes out there and I was stoked to be able to hang out with him again.  We didn’t get to hang out on my last couple of trips to LA so I was happy to get to see him here in Austin.  He let me know that for the Austin and Houston shows, Odin bassist, Aaron Samson, was also playing.

I work near a Guitar Center and the band’s manager had asked me to pick up some sticks and strings for the band if I was near one.  Luckily I work right around the corner from one so I grabbed their stuff and went right downtown after work to catch them at sound check and to try and grab dinner with them.  There were several issues related to the promoter in getting an actual backline, hotel, food etc and the band decided to just go back to their hotel until showtime.  Fine by me, I needed a nap anyhow!

After getting some rest, I catch my ride back downtown and get ready to see the band.  Again, I am not a BB fan and was only there to hang out with Shawn and Aaron.

But I got surprised big time.  I thoroughly enjoyed the set besides Smooth Up In Ya and For the Love of Money.  Those still give me an MTv hangover.  But the band was as solid as they could be.  Marq Torien’s voice was strong and he handles most of the guitar solos these days.  Homeboy can play and he’s a really good front man.  I love watching Shawn play drums.  I always get a Cozy Powell vibe.

There were about 50 or so people there, with a lot of them being fans of the band singing every song.  That was good to see and I could tell that the band was having a good time.  I had a great time as well and would definitely go see them again, even if my friends aren’t in the band.  I’m still tired as that was night #1 of 3 straight shows.

Chrissie Hynde Concert Review, Austin, TX, November 19, 2014

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usestockholmChrissie Hynde rolled through Austin, TX last night at my favorite venue, ACL Live at The Moody Theater.  I was able to score front row balcony tickets and brought a friend who was back in town visiting her friends and family.  The show was dubbed as “A Night With Chrissie Hynde”, which would make one think there was no opener.  Ultimately, The Rails, which features her guitarist, opened up.  We decided to skip them and just be there for the 9PM start of her show.

I’m a moderate Pretenders fan but have always liked her voice.  I’m that guy who is basically only familiar with whatever I heard on the radio over the years, all of which I liked but not enough to buy the records.

Walking in and right before she hit the stage, they were announcing that no photos we allowed, which was fine by me.  It’s nice not to look at a bunch of phone screens during a show.

She went on promptly at 9PM and right into the first song, someone in the front row pulled their camera out and she walked to the edge of the stage and wagged her finger in disapproval.  That seemed to end it.  She opened with 2 Pretenders songs, Don’t Lose Faith In Me and Biker, neither of which I was familiar with.  Her voice sounded great and her backing band, as expected, was very good.  She played 8 songs from her new album, Stockholm, 13 Pretenders songs and a Kinks cover of I Go To Sleep.

They played some of the radio hits like My City Was Gone, Back On The Chain Gang and Don’t Get Me Wrong (a favorite of mine), but left off Brass In Pocket and Show Me (my favorite of theirs).  There wasn’t a lot of talking between songs and she played rhythm guitar most of the night.  Early in the set there was a guy in the front row with a tambourine and she finally said to the guy, “Is there a story to go with this?”  She waved the guy to the end of the stage and he told her that she had given that to him during a show 31 years ago.  She said, “I don’t believe you!”, laughed and signed it and handed it back to him.  About a song or 2 later, he was playing it along with the band and she motioned for him to stop.  haha.

It was a fun show and about 3/4 through the set, the floor crowd ended up just rushing the stage and she was cool with it.  Before the first encore, some woman jumped up on stage to get one of her guitar picks that had been dropped and tried to peel the setlist off of the stage.  Security grabbed her quickly and rolled her off the stage.  Before the second encore started, some other woman crawled on stage and tried to get a pick from the guitarist’s stand and quickly got rolled off of the stage.  WTF, people?  STAY OFF OF THE FUCKING STAGE!

Anyways, it was a good show and worth seeing if you’re even mildly a Pretenders fan.

Goodnight!

 

Slayer Concert Review, Austin, TX, November 18, 2014

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usetitleIMG_6819Whew!  What a whirlwind it’s been the last month with all of the shows and there’s no sign of it slowing down yet!  Last night was not slow.  Exodus, Suicidal Tendencies and Slayer were in town to play a sold out show at the Moody Theater (aka ACL Live).  I still can’t believe a show like this got booked at such a classy venue, but I’m glad it did and hope that it opens the door for more metal there.  Let’s get right into this…

Exodus hit the stage promptly at 7:30PM with Black 13 and Blood In, Blood out from their latest release of the same name.  They were fast, tight and Steve Souza sounded great.  They only got 30 minutes for their set which is by far too short for a band with such a back catalog.  They rolled right into Blacklist from Tempo of the Damned then gave the crowd what they wanted in the form of Bonded By Blood, Toxic Waltz and Strike of the Beast.  I’m in the minority when I say I don’t like the Bonded By Blood album.  I’ve bought it several times over the years and it just never caught on to me.  However, I do love Fabulous Disaster and Pleasures of the Flesh.  Gary Holt is doing double duty with Exodus and Slayer and he and the whole band sounded great.  Tom Hunting is always the highlight for me in seeing Exodus live. He’s got such a unique style and watching him play last night was certainly a treat.

I’m not the biggest Suicidal Tendencies fan but do love that late 80s pre-funk ST stuff.  Last night I became a bigger fan, at least in a live setting.  Mike Muir hit the stage looking healthy and just sounded clear and coherent all night.  The show I saw a few years back was pretty awful.  The backing band last night was totally kickass too.  Especially the drummer.  Holy shit that guy was a beast.  They opened with an extended version of You Can’t Bring Me Down and went right into Freedumb from their 1999 release of the same name.  They mixed the set up with songs from Join the Army, the self-titled LP, Lights Camera Revolution, How Will I Laugh and 13.  The crowd was completely into it and there was a decent pit most of the time they were playing.  Highlights for me were War Inside My Head and How Will I Laugh Tomorrow .  Again, Suicidal brought their best game last night and blew me away.

Up next…SLAYER!  I’ve been a big fan since Reign In Blood, main reason being Dave Lombardo’s drumming.  Well, Dave’s not in the band anymore and it’s completely obvious, at least to me it is.  More on that later.  Slayer opened up with World Painted Blood and flowed right into Post Mortem.  They only played 5 post -Seasons era songs and that was fine by me.  They sounded great early in the set but it seemed to deteriorate ever so slightly as the set progressed.  They are an intense band and I can’t imagine playing night after night with that intensity, but if it was my job, I’m sure I’d make it work.  Araya’s voice sounded great and was actually better than when I saw the Seasons anniversary tour.  For me what was brought the show down a notch or two was the lack of Lombardo behind the kit.  He brings a certain intensity (I know I’m using that word a lot but it fits) to Slayer and it was missing last night.  This is no slight to Paul Bostaph who is a damn fine drummer in his own right, but he’s no Lombardo.  Few are.  Slayer is like the Rush of thrash metal.  Rush fans want to hear all of Peart’s fills and Slayer fans, especially yours truly, wants to hear Lombardo’s stuff played properly.  Bostaph did a good job and that’s why he’s in the band.  But there were just some little things that made it hard for me to totally enjoy him and the band last night.  His double bass work in some songs wasn’t very consistent.  Maybe he was having an off night, I don’t know.  I remember when I was gigging regularly as a drummer that off nights happen.  Sometimes you’re just not in “the pocket.”  None of this is to say Slayer put on a bad show, I’m not sure that they could, I’m just saying that I miss Dave behind the kit and the band just seemed out of sorts last night.  I went so far as to rename them “Slower”, but that’s probably not too fair.  I do need to mention that Kerry King was as solid as ever and I loved his Raiders/Biletnikoff jersey.  Gary Holt did fine playing Hanneman’s parts.  Holt is a good guitarist all the way around.

In the unlikely even that he comes back to the band again, last night was probably my last Slayer show (that I’d pay for).  The setlist was good and I’m really glad I got to hear At Dawn They Sleep, Chemical Warfare, Hell Awaits and Die By The Sword.

Long live Slayer and RIP Jeff Hannemann.  It was a good night.

Heart Concert Review, Austin, TX, November 16, 2014

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heart_dreambutt_fannie_front_coverHeart was great last night.  I’ve been a fan since the 70s and it started in Ellwood City, PA in my grandma’s basement.  My awesome aunts Dianne and Debbie were big fans and I have good memories of spinning Dreamboat Annie, Dog and Butterfly and Little Queen down there.  The limited time I spent up there yearly was filled with music in the basement with my cousins and aunts.

Oddly, I never went to see them until last night.  I especially love the 80s MTV-era stuff.

Heart opened with a slow-ish version of Barracuda and rolled right into Heartless and Magic Man.  Ann’s voice was stellar.  She’s 64.  She sounded so damned incredible and I was completely blown away by the power she still possesses in her voice.  Nancy is 60 and neither of them looked their ages at all.  They are still both beautiful.  I was amazed as to how tiny/short the sisters are.  I don’t know why I thought they’d be taller.  I would have hugged both of them if I had been given the chance.

The whole band was tight as expected.  The setlist was a decent cross section of the 70s and 80s hits.  I will admit to getting all choked up during Dreamboat Annie.  A few tears rolled down.  Not sure why.  I love that song and all, but it just moved me a bit last night.  We were 5th row center for the show.  Right after Dreamboat was played, the lights were turned on the crowd for a moment and I had the horns up in the air.  Standing at the edge of the stage, Ann caught my glance, gave me a wink and a thumbs up.  I was already smiling and that just made me smile even harder.

I will say that the show was damn near perfect except for one thing…the abundance of cover tunes.  I know they’ve been playing Zeppelin covers for years, but for the entire three song encore?  I’m not a Zep fan at all, but Heart does it well.  They also did a Wings cover.  I went to the bathroom on that one.  I’m no McCartney fan in the least.  They did, however, cover Robin Trower’s Day of the Eagle and that sounded cool.  But when you’re already playing what I thought was a short set, fill it with originals.

But overall, it was a great show and I wish I hadn’t waited so long to see them.

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courtesy of the Austin American Statesman

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courtesy of the Austin American Statesman

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courtesy of the Austin American Statesman

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courtesy of Heart’s soundwoman

Kat, Wendy, Monkey Boy, Alysha.  Photo courtesy of "The Austin 360 A List"

Kat, Wendy, Monkey Boy, Alysha. Photo courtesy of “The Austin 360 A List”

King Diamond Concert Review, Austin, TX, November 8, 2014

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It’s tough writing reviews sometimes because I have trouble being objective when trying to talk about seeing some of my favorite bands.

There was something incredibly special about last night’s King Diamond show that I just don’t know if I can put my finger on it or properly describe in words better than just saying, “That was fucking awesome!”

And it was. It was fucking awesome. Really fucking awesome.

I’ve loved King Diamond (KD) since Abigail came out. That album had me delve back in time to quickly get into Fatal Portrait and Mercyful Fate. But Abigail is #1 for me in KD’s catalog.

I’ve see King twice before tonight (’88/2000) and Fate twice (’93/’99).  All of those shows were special in their own ways, especially that ’88 show on the Them tour.  King sounded great in all 4 of those shows.  With it being 14 years since the last time I had seen him, I had concerns that his voice wouldn’t be what it once was.  That thought was quickly removed from my head once they broke into the opener, The Candle.  They quickly kept it running hard and heavy with Sleepless Nights and Welcome Home which went over very well with the crowd.  Everyone knows the “grandma song”.

They mixed it up with songs from Them, Puppet Master and Give Me Your Soul…Please, not to mention 2 Mercyful Fate songs, Evil and Come To The Sabbath.  It was a very metal crowd that was very into the show.  King’s stage set up was over the top filled with a giant goat’s head pentagram and upside crosses.

Andy LaRouque and Mike Wead were shredding it as expected.  Matt Thompson did a fine job handling Mikkey Dee’s drum lines, but he’s no Mikkey Dee.  Few are.  That’s no slight to Matt, he was killer.  Pontus Edberg held down the bass perfectly.  The mix was great, especially for an outside venue.

Highlights for me were Sleepless Nights (love that drum line), Family Ghost and especially Black Horsemen.  That song is the best ending to any album I have ever heard and it was the perfect closer to last night’s set.  It gave me goosebumps last night and I have them again writing this.  It was such a powerful show all the way around.  I did notice, however, that King had a female backup singer that sang some of the high notes along with him.  I tried to listen to the difference in the voices (his and hers) and really couldn’t tell.  There were times that he was hitting the notes perfectly and she wasn’t singing at all, so maybe she was just there for harmony and melody purposes.

What a great fucking show!

Judas Priest Concert Review, Austin, TX, November 7, 2014

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title The shows just keep coming. I’m tired but musically satisfied and it’s always completely worth it. Priest is an odd beast for me. Been a fan since the 70s and prefer that era much more than the 80s to now stuff. When Rob’s voice started leaning towards screeching for vengeance instead of the clean falsettos of the 80s, I was turned off. I first saw Priest in 1998 with Tim Owens on vocals.  Blech.  Didn’t like his albums or his Anselmo like stage presence, but the band sounded great.

Flash forward to 2008 and I went to the Priest/Heaven & Hell/Motorhead/Testament show but left before JP came on.  I had seen footage of Rob from that tour and it was awful.  Immobile, hunched over, a slave to his teleprompter, much like when I saw Halford (solo) in NYC.  I didn’t want to see how much the mighty had fallen so I left.  I sort of regret it but oh well.

Flash forward again to 2014 and Fun Fun Fun Fest announced that Priest and King Diamond would be headliners on their black stage.  I wasn’t going to miss Rob this time. I got to the venue around 7PM and the line to get in was about 3hrs.  I did a little hocus pocus and only waited about 15 minutes to get my will call wristband.  Hung with some friends until Priest went on and then we rocked out. They opened with Dragonaut from the new album.  I’m not a fan of the newer stuff as stated previously but it sounded fine.  Then right into Metal Gods, Devil’s Child and Victim of Changes.  Overall Rob sounded pretty good.  He avoided the notes he knew he couldn’t hit.  Some of them he got pretty good when he tried like in Victim.  There were some instances where he did try and failed, but whatever.  It was what it was…a great metal show.

They played 4 tracks from the new album.  A decent mix of the older stuff.  Of course my setlist would have been totally different.  Richie Faulkner is sort of the star of the show now.  He’s out front most of the time and handles all of KK’s old leads just fine.  He’s good.  The band was very solid as expected.  Hard not to be when you have the human drum machine Scott Travis keeping time for you. Beyond The Realms of Death was the highlight for me.

So many childhood memories listening to that one as a kid.  It was a fun show but when it ended all I really cared about was going home and going to bed.  I went downtown for one beer and could barely drink it.  Pure exhaustion.  Today I rest up for King Diamond tonight!

John Waite Concert Review, Austin, TX, November 3, 2014

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This won’t be a long review.  John’s played here several times in recent years and I kept missing it for whatever reason.  I almost missed tonight’s show as I neglected to add the show to my calendar.  Luckily a friend on FaceBook posted about it.  Then I couldn’t find my ticket.   Then found it.    Show was set to start at 8 and he was to pay 75 minutes.

I’m tired and have been since the marathon of shows 2 weeks ago.  Seems that I have been going non-stop since then and there’s no slowing down for November.

John came on just a little after 8PM with a trio of songs by The Babys.  His voice sounded great.  He’s a bit of a wiry fella and moves around a lot.  Told some quick jokes and was pretty affable with the audience.  He played a mix of some newer and older solo songs as well as Bad English’s When I See You Smile.   Best of What I Got was slated to be played but they didn’t do it.  Apparently this was a one off show in between his normal opening duties for the current Pat Benatar tour.  They also played a Vince Gill cover as well as All Along the Watchtower.  The encore was Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love.  I’m not a Zep fan in the least but I gotta say that John belted that out so impressively that he should contact Jimmy Page to do a flurry of Zep shows.  Holy crap the dude has the pipes.

His bassist was a complete badass as was the drummer.  One of the hardest hitting drummers I have ever seen but was as solid as could be.  The guitarist however, not so much.  Sloppy, choppy and for me, painful to listen to.  His riffing was fine, but when he went into his solos, it was just painful.  Either you can play those licks or you can’t.  Maybe he was having an off night.  I don’t know.  But overall the show was fun.  It looked like maybe 100 people showed up.

 

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