The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Karion Concert Review, San Antonio, TX 04/12/2014

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Two years ago I reviewed Karion’s Iron Shadows release.  Last week I finally got a chance to see them at Papa Woody’s in San Antonio as they are preparing to play the KEEP IT TRUE 2014 metal festival.  I’ll just say this, they are going to go over very well there.

I was extremely tired from seeing a concert in Fort Worth the night before but I had to get off of my ass to go to San Antonio to see this legendary Texas metal band.

Their set was slated to start at 1130 and I was fading fast after I got down there.  Luckily Scott from Texas Metal Underground was there to keep me company as well as my drummer.

The band comes on and is just pounds out the metal…unfortunately to only about 20 or so people.  The 2 previous shows were better attended and also had several of the Texas metal royalty there to support.  I had only seen Art play guitar in his Motorhead tribute band, Martyrhead, but watching him play this stuff was just a pleasure.  He’s a damn killer guitarist.  Chris Cronk’s vocals are still stellar.  I recommend looking up Talisphere on YouTube.  Also, one of the audition demos he did for Fates Warning is up there as well.  Pete Perez put on a bass clinic.  What a truly gifted musician.  If you’ve heard his work with Spastic Ink and Riot, you’d already know.  The drummer isn’t original and is apparently MIA but the new guy holds it down perfectly.  The whole show was truly great and we got the extra bonus of them playing the SA Slayer Prepare to Die EP.

I did get Cronk to sign the book and also ran into Jerry from San Antono’s Death Tripper who are also listed in there.

Can’t wait to see them again!

Michael McDonald Concert Review, Austin, Texas 4/9/2014

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Right after the Ragnarokkr Metal Apocalypse experience came another show that I had gotten tickets for.  Michael McDonald (MM).  I’m a huge fan of his work with the Doobie Brothers (who I had seen a few months earlier), 70s/80s solo efforts, Steely Dan and Christopher Cross.  He’s a talented guy and although the tickets were very expensive, I had to go.

I ended up getting front row center mezzanine at The Paramount Theatre.  It’s an old venue that really needs to upgrade its seats to fit modern day humans.  Even sitting front row, my knees were against the barricade.  No fun.

MM hits the stage and openes with 2 Doobie Brothers songs, Here to Love You and It Keeps You Runnin’.  His voice sounded great and his backing band, of course, was incredible.  He played most of the songs you’d expect and I was of course happy to hear I Keep Forgettin’, You Belong to Me and What a Fool Believes.  Three great songs.

Most of his backing band is based out of Nashville and the bassplayer, Tommy Simms, was the guy who wrote the Clapton hit Change the World.  He sang most of it that night.

One of the best parts of the night was during the encore when Christopher Cross came out on stage and did Ride Like the Wind with MM in the backing vocal spot.  It was awesome and gave me chills seeing it performed live.  One of my all time favorite songs.  Cross sounded great and played a killer guitar solo.  Cross also handled a verse of Takin’ It To the Streets.

Great show but doubtful I’d spent that kind of money to see Michael again.

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Ragnarokkr Metal Apocalypse 2014 in Review

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Holy crap!  What an incredible weekend I just had in Chicago April 3-6 at the Ragnarokkr Metal Apocalypse 2014 fest.  I was planning to attend the show this year but then my band, Eternal Champion, got added to the bill, so that made it a double bonus.  Having Riot V, Grim Reaper and Picture on the bill was enough to get me out of town.  My best friend of 30+ years, Kelz, got the OK from his wife and we started making plans to meet up there.

I got there Thursday afternoon and was greeted at the hotel by Bob B, one of the festival organizers, and David B who had just traveled from Australia for the fest.  They were waiting on some other folks who were on their way in before we headed off to go get some food.  I checked in, freshened up a little, met the rest of the group and off we went in a few different vehicles to grub.  I took Jeremy and Jamie from Heaven and Hell Records with me and also my buddy Dustin who’s drumming for Night Demon now.  I’ve known him for about 3 or 4 years from when his former band, New Liberty, would come through Austin.  I was pretty excited to see him and to share the bill with his band.  Good kid, good drummer.

We went to a place called Marcello’s Father and Son Pizza.  I ordered calamari and a small pizza with Italian beef and green peppers on it…and no, not Chicago style.  I’m a thin crust guy.  I did try a piece of Dustin’s Chicago style and it was good, just not my thing.  Mine was great as was the squid.  Plus they had Peroni on tap.  mmmmmmmmm…Peroni.  We left dinner and went to a cool little bar called The Mutiny.  There were a few venders set up there selling shirts, patches, records, books and CDs.  I kind of went overboard on patches.  I need a new vest to put them on.  My night there was great.  I got introduced to one of Bob’s friends, Mike and his girl Dahlia.  Such awesome folks.  Mike’s got ties to the San Antonio area and it was great getting to know the two of them a bit.  Classic metal was being played the whole night and it was quite incredible having 30+ people singing Running Wild and Warlock songs in unison.  The bar itself was great.  Just an old dive bar that loves metal and punk.  The guys from Riot V showed up later and we all partied down.  Don Van Stavern and I talked for quite a while as we have a lot of Texans in common.  Mike Flynt was hanging with us for a bit, such a super nice guy.  It was getting late and the long day was wearing on me, so I gathered my group and we headed back to the hotel.  Everyone was a bit wiped out plus we needed our strength for the opening of the fest.

One of my favorite things about The Mutiny was meeting the group of guys from Mexico.  Many of them didn’t speak English and it felt good to be able to speak Spanish with those guys.  I think they appreciated as well.

Friday morning came too early and I needed to pick up Kelz at the airport.  Mitchfest!  We went to the hotel, got him situated then went into downtown to get some food.  We ended up at Portillo’s and got the Italian beef sandwich.  I’m pretty sure they put crack in that thing.  It was tasty.  We went back to the hotel after that and chilled out for a little bit.  Now remember, we’ve known each other for over 30 years, so there’s always a ton of smack talk between us.  Tons of abuse.  Mama jokes galore.  At the hotel, we got our gear together for the night.  Him with CD covers galore and me with The Book.  I had purchased a canvas shoulder bag to carry that in and to house whatever swag I bought.

This fest has 2 stages and I’ll run through the main stage bands first.

MetalUSAfer was the “secret opener” at on the main stage at 5:30.  They weren’t my thing.  I think one or some of the guys from this band are in High Spirits who I haven’t checked out yet.

Chicago’s legendary Amulance came on next and just rocked the place.  While I felt that they should have been on later, the fest apparently has a “policy” of putting locals on early, no matter how big they were.  They were awesome and just super nice guys.  Singer Rick Baez made it a point to sign stuff for everyone after the show and wanted pics with the fans for himself.  Super cool.  Guitarist Bob and bassist Chuck were all super cool.

Night Demon is a SoCal 3 piece that now features my buddy Dustin on drums.  Awesome guys and they played a great set.  I recommend them!

Diamond Rexx was up next and I’ve always loved their album Land of the Damned, even if it was a bit cheesy.  They came on with their original lineup and played a mix of old and newer stuff.  They did alright.  I got to meet the guitarist and bassist who both signed The Book.  The singer didn’t stick around after their set unfortunately.  Oh well.

Canada’s Axxion came on next and their mulleted singer delivered soaring vocals over top of great riffs and drumming.  While they were trying a little too hard to be an 80s retro metal band, they did a good job at it and I’d like to see them again.

The Skull features original Trouble members Eric Wagner, Ron Holzner, Jeff Olson along with Lothar Kellar and Matt Goldsborough who was recently in Pentagram.  They were there to play their new new demos which sounded fine.  I had walked out for a minute to get some air when all of a Sudden I hear Trouble’s The Tempter being played live.  I think I may have knocked over a few people trying to get back in there.  The also played Assassin and End of my Daze.  They sounded great and seeing Matt on guitar was a nice bonus.  I had met him when Pentagram last came to town and he’s a cool guy.  Catching up after their set was great.

Picture came up next and played a damn solid set.  I’m not a huge fan but it was great to see some Euro legends on the stage and for their 2 original members to sign The Book.

Finally came Riot V, the version of the band touring after Mark Reale’s death (RIP).  I’ll just say this.  They ruled.  While having Bobby Jarzombek on drums would have been cooler, the touring drummer did a fine job and Mike Flynt did a wonderful job on guitar.  The new singer is no slouch either.  They were the perfect ending to an awesome night on the main stage.

As far as the second stage bands on the first night, none of them really stood out but I did stop in briefly to see NC’s Dogbane and Dark Design.  I can’t say I’m much of a fan but they were both solid.  To be honest I didn’t see any of the other bands on the second stage as the main stage that night was so ass kickingly good.

After Riot V, we went back to the hotel to pass out and to get some energy stored up for the next days sightseeing and festivities.  We bounced around Chicago a little bit but I didn’t want to get too crazy that day as my band, Eternal Champion, was slated to play at 8PM on the second stage.

I started on the main stage again with Salt Lake City’s Visigoth who just got up there and slayed the crowd.  The singer had trouble talking but was able to power through vocally.  The whole band was killer.  Can’t wait to see them again.

Austin-based Witches Mark came on next and played a solid set.  They’re goods pals of my band and it was cool to have another Texas band representing at the festival.

Because we had to play, I didn’t see Axemaster or Crowhaven but did pop in to see Black Death Resurrected, which was just OK.  I was never a fan.  I did meet Sickie Spacek after the show but didn’t have the book with me that night.

I also missed Argus as I was getting my gear situated after we played.  However, I did catch Mexico’s Voltax and those kids are kick ass!  High energy power metal and a singer with pipes of gold.  Amazing seeing him hit those insane high notes.

Steve Grimmett’s Grim Reaper closed out the night on the main stage and feature Nick Bowcott on guitar for the first time in about 25 years.  They played an incredible set and I’m so glad that I got to see them live finally and to meet Steve and Nick.  Steve’s voice sound great.

Now on to the second stage.  To be honest, I didn’t much pay attention to anything going on as I was getting mentally and physically psyched up for our slot.  One of the show promoters kept telling me about the hype surrounding us and that a lot of folks were excited to see us.  That being said, Midnight Hellion came on right before us and played an enjoyable set.

Next up was Eternal Champion.  Us.  This was only our third show since our inception in December 2012.  My local pal loaned us a sword.  During Midnight Hellion’s set, I could see a lot of people filing in presumably to get a spot in there to see us.  We get on stage, set up, tune up, get introduced and blasted through our 30 minute set like a hot knife through butter.  I think because of the adrenaline rush and the reactions from the crowd, I don’t really remember much about the set we played other than it was too fast.  Not surprising really, as we don’t rehearse as much as I’d like since some of us don’t live nearby.  But we make it work.  The crowd went nuts between every song and at the end.  It was sheer madness and some of the most fun I’ve had playing live.

I didn’t really catch anyone else on the second stage.

I just want to say that this little festival is the perfect size as far as the venue and crowd size go.  The promoters treated us like gold and I hope we’re able to come back next year and play the main stage.  I met some awesome people in Chicago and look forward to going back to just hang out.  Also, Leather Leone of Chastain fame was an MC for the show and I got to speak with her several times over those 2 days.  She was awesome.  Very sweet and funny.

Great times!

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I’m still alive!

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For those waiting with bated breath for my awesome updates, there will be several coming this weekend. I’ve been quite busy.

Ragnarokkr 2014
Michael McDonald
Satan(!!!)

Stay tuned!

Written by The Metal Files

April 16, 2014 at 5:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Gordon Lightfoot Concert Review, 2/11/2014 Austin, Tx

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If you’ve paid attention to this page over the years, you’d know I like more than just metal and last week’s concert here in Austin took me down a wonderful carefree highway (pun intended) from my youth.

My mom was a big fan of the easy listening 60s/70s rock and motown and because of that I’ve always had a soft spot for the stuff.  Gordon Lightfoot is certainly high on my list of those golden throated 70′s crooners.

He came to town a couple of years back and I couldn’t make it.  When I saw he was coming to the Moody Theater, I decided to pull the trigger and just go see him.  I’d watched some recent live footage and he still sounded decent.  Good enough to see anyhow.

He came one stage and said, “I’m Gordon Lightfoot from Toronto, Canada and I don’t smoke crack cocaine.”  Nice dig on the mayor of Toronto!  Now let’s just get it out there that Gordon is 75 years old.  That being said, his voice wasn’t what it once was.  He was an octave or so higher and was even a little shaky at times, but the dude stood up the whole time playing guitar and did over 25 songs.  And what’s more, NO TELEPROMPTER!  He wore black jeans a dark blue/blackish crushed velvet jacket in the first set and a red one in the second set.  Cool daddy.

He was energetic, comedic and entertaining giving a few stories here and there.  Before Edmund Fitzgerald, he said, “In 1975 I wrote a song for a folk album that became a rock hit.  Seriously.”

He mixed his hits in with some tracks that I didn’t recognize and even a newer one or two, but it was just a relaxing time.  The highlights for me were If You Could Read My Mind (which got me a little misty) and Don Quixote.  I love his phrasing and he’s a great storyteller with his lyrics.  Unfortunately I didn’t remember the whole setlist, but he split it into two sets with a 15 minute break in between.

Good times.

REO Speedwagon Concert Review, Austin, TX December 13, 2013

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REO is one of those bands that reminds of my middle school years,  They were everywhere…radio, MTV, etc.  Up until last night I had never seen them before.  I can’t say I’m a huge fan because I’m not, but they sure put on one great show last night and I’ve no regrets about going.

I had a spare ticket and asked my friend Rodney (Devastation singer) to come with me.  The Wyldz from Australia opened up.  We only caught the last song and they were ok.  Apparently they’re based here in Austin now.

REO came on and opened with Don’t Let Him Go, Music Man and Take It On The Run all in a row.  Kevin Cronin is 62 now and still sounds great.  As expected it was generally an older crowd and it looked close to being sold out.  As I always say, The Moody Theater is my favorite venue in town.  The sound was perfect.  I bought 6th row seats and they couldn’t have been much better.

Later in the show, everyone moved up to the stage and I stood right up front during the encore.  During Ridin’ The Storm Out, Cronin walks to the edge of the stage and hands me his guitar pick.  That was super cool.  As we were walking out, the sound guy gave me the setlist.  They added in Keep The Fire Burnin’ with just Kevin on acoustic guitar.

It was a great show altogether.  If you’re a fan, even just a little, go see this tour!

 

Megadeth Concert Review, Austin, TX December 11, 2013…and David Ellefson!

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This is a 2 part writeup as I got to meet David Ellefson, aka Jr., on December 10 at his book signing here in Austin.

It’s no secret that I’m a pretty big Megadeth fan, and honestly I’m more into the first 3 albums than anything else seenusethey’ve done since.  Some of the albums in the 2000s have been pretty good but they last 2 have left me flat.  It is what it is.  Last night marked the 9th time I’ve seen them since 1987 on the Peace Sells Tour.  That show is still one of the best I have ever seen.

If you’ve been paying attention you’d know that I had just seen them with Iron Maiden in Raleigh and Austin back in September.

A couple of days ago I had seen an announcement that Ellefson was going to do an interview and book signing in town and I figured it was a perfect time to finally meet him and to get his book and mine signed.  I arrived a few minutes early, picked up my copy of his book and hung out with my good pal Victor that was there.  I had met Mustaine in 2006 and had him sign my book back then.  They had announced that we could get one piece of memorabilia signed along with Ellefson’s book.  Perfect.  Victor didn’t bring anything besides the Ellefson book and got my CD cover for Peace Sells signed for me.

Ellefson spoke for about 45 minutes during a chat with Raoul Hernandez from the Austin Chronicle.  It was a good chat and he spoke a lot about his faith and being clean and sober since 1990.  He wasn’t preachy about it at all.  During the Q&A I had asked him if if his and Mustaine’s religious beliefs keep them from playing some of the darker songs like The Conjuring.  He stated that Mustaine won’t play The Conjuring again because of the history he has with that song and some stuff that had apparently happened when he was toying with black magic back in the day.  Pity.  It’s a great song!  There were about 30 people there and he signed everyone’s book, a few guitars, CD covers and of course, my book.  He was very affable and kept answering questions while signing stuff.  That was that.

I originally wasn’t going to see last night’s show but decided that since I do love to watch Mustaine play it would be worth for the general admission ticket price.  Plus it was at the Moody Theater.  I love that place!  Day of the show my friend Rodney sends a message to ask if I wanted to meet up before the show for a drink and of course the answer is yes.  Rodney rules.  We both get to the venue around 6ish and both stated we didn’t care about the opening bands.  He told me that his friend was Megadeth’s merch manager and we met him by the buses.  This guy was the nicest.  He invited us on one of Megadeth’s buses and out friend Angela hopped on with us.  It was cool hearing the business side of the touring from Mical.  The lighting and sound guys were hanging out and were all fun to jibber jabber with.  We then go grab some food and a few margaritas then head back to the venue.  We get “worker” passes handed to us and walked in the the backstage area.  It was pretty cool back there.  Drover and Broderick passed through as we were sitting around waiting for Fear Factory to finish.  Right before Megadeth went on, we went to the merch booth and got hooked up on some shirts and stuff and then we were walked to the soundboard area and that was our spot next to ‘Deth’s soundguy for the whole show.

They played the same set that they had been doing for this leg of the tour which for me doesn’t include enough old stuff, but again, I love was Dave play guitar.  They scratched their cover of Thin Lizzy’s Cold Sweat due to venue curfews and that was fine with me.  I was really hoping that they were going to add Rattlehead for last night’s show as Ellefson said at the book signing that they’ve been working on it lately.  That would have been cool.

After the set, Brad the soundguy gives me his copy of the setlist with his notes on it.  Good addition to my collection.  We went backstage after socializing with some friends and got to speak to Broderick for a moment.  Mical got us a few guitar picks from the guitar techs.  One of the guys, Fred, is from Pittsburgh and we talked about the yinzers a little bit.  That guy was awesome and obviously would be fun to tour with.    Then Willie G, Mustaine’s tech, came up and commented on Rodney’s OZ shirt.  Willie is pretty legendary in guitar tech circles.  I met him years ago with Shadows Fall.  Mical told Willie that Rodney used to sing for Devastation and Willie says, “Texas Devastation?  IDOLATRYYYYYY!”  Rodney was floored.  As we were just wrapping up our night with Mical, Mustaine and his entourage walk by and I said, “Good show, Dave.  Find a house here yet?”  He turns to me and says, “Thanks, man!  Still looking!” and they walked out.

What a great night and am very appreciative of the impromptu VIP treatment that we got.

 

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