I 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 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.
Heart 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.
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!
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.