Archive for the ‘2010’ Category
Back around 1985/86 one of the guys from my church had given me and a few of us metalhead kids some records to listen to. It was jazz stuff. The 2 that stood out for me were John Macey’s Eclipse (would love to
find this somewhere) and Mahavishnu Orchestra’s Birds of Fire. Bird’s of Fire quickly became an album near and dear to my heart and still listen to it often. I really like a lot of that early 70s jazz/fusion stuff and thanks to Pat, it opened my mind up to some other music outside of hard rock and metal. Hell, just throw some distortion in some of this stuff and it would be metal.
About 2 or so years ago I saw an advertisement on Stubb’s website for John McLaughlin and freaked out. I nabbed 2 tickets and the day of the show Doug and I were walking up on the venue and noticed that the crowd was very young. I was a bit perplexed. Why would all these kids want to see John McLaughlin? Then I saw the show poster stapled on the outside wall. “Jon” McLaughlin was playing that night. Some young kid and an acoustic guitar. D’oh! I felt pretty stupid. What a monkey! We ended up just giving our tickets to someone in line. They were pretty inexpensive so it was no big deal. The 2 kids were appreciative.
A month or so ago I was fortunate enough to see Mahavishnu’s Billy Cobham at the beautiful One World Theatre. It was quite awesome as was the venue. Even prior to buying my Cobham tickets, my guitar player had snagged us 2 tickets to see John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension. In case you didn’t know, John created Mahavishnu Orchestra after playing with Miles Davis (Bitches Brew). Miles told him to form his own band and he did. What a band he formed!
We get to the theatre around 7 and hang out for a bit. It’s pretty rare for this venue to have an opening act on stage but they did for John’s 2 night stand. It was 2 Argentinian brothers who call themselves Seis Cuerdas (6 strings in English). They played a short set of latin/flamenco/jazz/almost metal stuff on 2 acoustic guitars. They were pretty damned good but I was there to see John and his band.
The band comes out to a standing ovation and John greets the crowd an the music starts. My God. For as blown away as I was by Cobham’s show, this was even more intense. John’s playing was awesome and having never watched any video of him before, I was blown away by his playing style. His fretting and picking style reminded me a lot of Tony Iommi in that it was very limited motion. You hear a lot of things being played but you don’t see them. No wasted motion. It was quite awesome to see. John didn’t talk much between songs nor did he need to. The music surely did the talking.
His backup band was great as well. He had Etienne Mbappe on bass. This dude was awesome. First time I had seen a bass player wear gloves. There were some great moments where he and John were playing off of each other and playing the same runs together. Just awesome. Gary Husband handled the keyboard duties and did a great job. He also did some drums trade-off stuff with main-drummer Mark Mondesir. Holy hell, this dude was quite possibly one of the most incredible drummers I have ever seen live. It could have easily been a clinic in power-jazz drumming. He was awesome and I enjoyed his performance even over Billy Cobham’s. This guy is just awesome and seemingly can play anything. I recommend looking him up on YouTube. For as awesome as the bands was as a whole, Mark’s drumming made the night for me. I’ll always be a drummer on the inside even if I am unable to play them nowadays. Just awesome.
I was really hoping that they would do a meet and greet after the show like Cobham did, but no luck. It was another great experience watching a stage full of great musicians doing their thing. Next up there for me is Al Dimeola. That one will be my “freak out” show. Al is in my top guitar players of all time. Having only seen him with Return to Forever a few years ago, I am pretty excited to see him up close (2nd row center aisle seats…same ones for Cobham and McLaughlin).
My history with Celtic Frost goes back to about 1986 as noted here. I am a fan. While Monotheist is probably my least favorite album, it’s not bad. A year or so ago Tom G. announced that Celtic Frost was done and he had a new project called Triptykon…which uses the Frost script in one their logos. Tom seems to have some deep seeded issues with carrying on as Frost.
Triptykon was announced to play Emo’s and I was in. I mean c’mon. It’s Tom G! I bought the meet and greet pass mainly to get his signature in the book.
Per my normal routine I walk to the venue early and happen to catch Tom G. walking the streets. I talked to him for just a few moments and headed over to the venue. The pre-sale on this show was 60. SIXTY! I was able to get in early via a friend who worked there and got to catch the soundcheck. They did Usurper and for whatever reason, Tom was smiling and laughing the whole time. This was the last show on the tour as they canceled the Houston show. It is my understanding that the tour attendance had been pretty light. Last night’s show had Triptykon playing before the headliner. The tour included Yakuza (Chicago) and 1349 (Norway) on the bill. Local band Mammoth Grinder opened but I missed them.
At the end of soundcheck Tom G was asked if he needed more monitor. Tom G responded with, “I can hear myself enough. Doesn’t matter, we’re just playing Austin.” Ouch! C’mon Tom G! Show a little love!
After soundcheck I hung outside talking with a few friends before the quick meet and greet. Only 7 people (including me) bought the pass for it. Two guys drove up from Monterrey, Mexico for this. That was cool. They brought each member of the band some gifts from Mexico which mainly consisted of tequila. Very cool. I had Tom G sign the book which got the usual reaction from bands…”What the hell is this?” He read through the Celtic Frost section and signed it. We all snapped a few pictures and that was it.
I left there to drop the book off back at the house and went to a bar for a beer. I missed Mammoth Grinder and caught most of Yakuza’s set. Not my cup of tea at all. Sort of avant-garde metal with lots of saxophone. Their slower mellower stuff was alright as background music but they aren’t something that I would want to listen to regularly.
Triptykon cam on next and I was glad to see the place fill up a little. There may have been 150 people there but I think that’s pushing it. They opened up with Frost’s Procreation of the Wicked. This band is tuned
down a bit and it’s weird hearing this song in a lower key. Overall they were good, solid. Tom G is no guitar wizard by any stretch of the imagination, but he does write good riffs. The Triptykon stuff sounds like where the music from Monotheist left off. Slow, plodding, dark. I enjoyed the show quite a bit, though. How many more times are we going to see Tom G in the states, ya know? They also plays Circle of the Tyrants and Usurper with the singer for 1349 handling vocal duties.
I was tired and didn’t stick around for 1349. I’m really not that big of a black metal fan. I saw what I wanted to see.
- Crucifixus (Intro)
- Procreation of the Wicked
- Circle of the Tyrants
- Abyss Within My Soul
- The Usurper
- Synagoga Satanae
- The Prolonging
- Winter (I think they did this)
(all images clickable)
My shitty vids from the show. The lighting was terrible.