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.
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!
Written by The Metal Files
December 14, 2013 at 12:17 pm
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 they’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.
Written by The Metal Files
December 12, 2013 at 7:26 pm
The Doobie Brothers are yet another band that has been around in my family for as long as I can remember. More than anyone, Mom was a fan. The only album I remember us owning was The Captain and Me. Not sure why the Michael McDonald era albums weren’t around, probably because buying and owning music wasn’t a priority in my family. That could be why it became important to me, who knows?
I was able to catch them last night in Austin’s Paramount Theatre. I bought tickets late and ended up near the top of the venue, but that was OK. Not a show that I necessarily need to be close to the front for.
No cameras were allowed and I was able to get a quick shot right as they hit he stage. The volunteers that work the venue were pretty hardcore about making people put their phones away. It was nice not having those lit rectangles sticking up all over the place for the night.
I brought my best friend, Amelia, with me as I hadn’t seen her much lately. She’s my “go to” for shows when I can’t find anyone else to go with me. She said, “We see all of the old people shows together!” There’s some truth to that. She’s good kid. Late 20s but loves the Doobies, Hall and Oates, Chicago etc. Perfect show date as always.
We climb the stairs and got to our seats, the lights go down and they come out with Jesus is Just Alright, straight in to Rockin’ Down the Highway and then in to Take Me In Your Arms. The Doobies are still fronted by Patrick Simmons, Tom Johnston and John McPhee, all original members and all in their mid-60s. But let me tell you, those guys can still sing and harmonize. They didn’t sound like most rockers in their 60s. Simmons sounded the best of the 3 and his guitar playing was quite incredible to watch. The guy is a damn fine guitarist.
They rolled through a string of hits and one or 2 off of their latest album. I was quite pleased that they played Clear As The Driven Snow from The Captain and Me. Easily one of my faves by them and was never a radio hit.
Something was missing, though. Oh! The lack of Michael McDonald songs! Beyond Takin’ It To The Streets, there were no other songs from that era. Looking back at setlist.fm, it seems they have been neglecting that era since about 2000. That seems strange to me. Apparently there must be a rift between them. Too bad as I really wanted to hear What a Fool Believes, my favorite by them.
But no matter, it was another fun show and I’m really glad I got to see them. If I had a real complaint, it’s the 2 drummer thing. Other than wanting to try it once with some friends in the mid-80s, I’ve always found it silly. It’s impressive as they 2 have to be spot on with each other, and both of the drummers last night were super tight, I just find it unnecessary. Oh well.
Great show! And I couldn’t help but think about the episode of What’s Happening the whole night. Most of you readers under 40 or from outside the USA probably won’t remember or even know of that show and/or episode.
Written by The Metal Files
November 6, 2013 at 8:55 am
Last weekend Austin hosted the Housecore Horror Film Festival which had a bunch of bands and some new and old horror flicks. Other than Goblin being there, I didn’t have much interest in going. Just not worth the price for me.
However, a pal of mine plays drums for Bloody Hammers (and Colossus) and BH was playing during the day on Saturday and got me in to see their set. They were killer live and more palatable to me than their recordings. It was good to see the guy but that’s only an aside to the cool meeting that happen.
One thing that I think that the festival did right was to have all of the merch booths/vendors in public areas so that you don’t have to buy the festival pass. There were some really cool shirts posters and DVDs and all kinds of horror related stuff. As I was about to leave the venue to head to band practice, I see an older gent sitting at a table filled with Cannibal Holocaust pictures and such. Ruggero Deodato, director of that movie, was signing autographs and selling mini posters and stills from the movie. I called my close friend back home and said, “Dude, you like Ruggero Deodato, yes?” “Well, duh”, he says. “Cool, I am standing next to him right now and will get you a signed poster.” He squealed a little.
Deodato is Italian and Cannibal Holocaust is the only movie I have ever seen that grossed me out. His accent was pretty thick and his English was good. Somehow in our initial talk he mentioned that he spoke Spanish and German as well so I switch over from English to Spanish and we continued the rest of our conversation in Spanish.” He thanked me for doing that as he said it was easier for him. He was a super nice guy and someone that I’d love to dine and drink wine with. He seems like he’d be a lot of fun.
Growing up in a house where I had parents who weren’t so keen on me listening to heavy metal, I had to be careful of what I brought home to listen to. Certainly a band called Satan wasn’t going to do me any favors with mom, no matter that the band wasn’t “satanic” at all. I believe I had an unmarked dubbed tape version for years which got me through my teens.
Satan’s full length debut, Court in the Act, came out in 1983 and it didn’t grace my ears probably until about 1984 or 1985 after Metal Blade Records picked the album up for USA distribution. To be straightforwardly honest, Court in the Act is probably my favorite NWOBHM release ever, Iron Maiden’s back catalog notwithstanding. The album was perfect, mainly because of the clean vocal stylings of Brian Ross. Easily one of my favorite singers of all time. After Brian left, they followed up with 2 other releases, Into the Future and Suspended Sentence, and to be honest I thought they were terrible. Looking back, it was the new vocalist that killed it for me.
Court has remained in steady rotation for the last 25+ years and will continue to be. A year or so ago new came out that Satan was reuniting with the original lineup to record a new album. To say I was hesitant about hearing a new album by a band that hadn’t done anything in almost 30 years is an understatement. Typically reunion albums suck.
Satan’s 2013 release entitled Life Sentence, however, does not suck. Not in the least. To be truthful, this album is pretty stellar. I finally picked it up last week and have listened to it at least 4 times.
Ross’ vocals sound great and not over-produced or “fixed”. The album as a whole has a very raw sound. Very natural and a perfect followup to Court. Sure, Brian’s no spring chicken now and hitting those sweet high notes like he used to do isn’t really possible, but it doesn’t detract to a great vocal performance on Life Sentence.
The whole album just sounds like Satan should. Clean, powerful, melodic. True NWOBHM. The songs are catchy and memorable. I am quite pleasantly surprised as to how good the album is. Time to Die, Twenty Twenty Five, Tears of Blood and Another Universe are the standout tracks for me. If I had to pick a least favorite, it would be the title track, Life Sentence. Not a bad song by any means, but just didn’t grab my ear like the rest of the album.
That being said, if you’re even a minor fan of Court in the Act, get Life Sentence ASAP. You shall not be disappointed.
I’ve gone on and on about how one of my brothers was such a huge influence on me in the ways of hard rock and metal, but he also influenced me in some non-heavy stuff, the main one being Elton John. As a kid I can remember sitting with him listening to the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album as much as we did KISS and Jethro Tull or Sabbath. The music has stayed a part of my life to this day and still listen to Elton quite regularly, sticking mostly to his late 60s/70s stuff.
Elton has been to Austin at least one other time since I have lived here and I am not sure why I missed that show. Bummer. When I saw this show announced, I knew I had to go…and I knew I’d pay a hefty price for it. The show was part of a benefit for the Andy Roddick Foundation and they were only selling show seats for the upper balcony. I logged in on sale day and couldn’t get a ticket anywhere in the theater. It sold out so fast and I’m sure that most went to ticket brokers/scalpers. Not once have I not been able to get a ticket to a show there through normal ticketing. Then again, this was a big show. I ended up getting a 2nd row balcony ticket through StubHub for almost double face value and I didn’t care. This was a show I just had to see.
I got to the venue a little after 9 when they opened the doors for us little people, the ones not in suits and gowns who were there to bid on auction items to benefit the Foundation. They had the balcony curtained off during the auction until the last few minutes of it. People were throwing around 1000s of dollars on items like it was nothing. Good for them.
Andy comes on stage and talks for a minute, plays a 3 minute video about his charity then intros Elton. They hug, he leaves the stage, Elton bows, sits behind the piano and says, “Hello again, Austin!” and goes right into Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me. It was just him and a piano and it was perfect. He followed it up with Your Song, another favorite of mine.
I’ll admit to getting choked up when Goodbye Yellow Brick Road started. Lots of emotions and had me missing my brother once again.
With only having less than 90s minutes to play, his set wasn’t that long but it was a decent cross section of his career. I would have been fine without Circle of Life and would love to have heard Madman Across the Water, Seen That Movie Too, The One, but oh well.
Elton’s voice sounded great. A little deeper but still very powerful. He certainly can’t hit those falsettos nowadays, but hell, he’s 66. His piano playing was immaculate. He’s a master. he played a new song called Home Again from the latest album and it sounded great. It was cool to hear I’m Still Standing. I’ve always liked that one a lot.
Before the show I was sitting with some friends at a bar and we were discussing the biggest bands we had ever seen. Elton would be #2 behind the Stones for me. Metallica probably #3.
I hate that I waited so long to see him live, but will not hesitate to go again.
Written by The Metal Files
October 18, 2013 at 10:14 am