Archive for the ‘concerts’ Category
I don’t think I’ve talked about Twisted Sister on this page much, most likely because I haven’t seen them live since 2004. That 2004 show in Richmond, VA was absolutely incredible. I never got to see them in the 80s which was unfortunate. I also saw Widowmaker and Dee’s SMFs. Both of those shows were great, too.
Twisted Sister and Vince Neil (opening) got booked for the 2013 Republic of Texas Biker Rally. Tickets were $60 ($67 after all fees) which included access to the rally for the whole weekend. While I’ve owned a couple of Harleys over the years, biker gatherings never appealed to me. It’s unfortunate that you couldn’t just buy a pass for the concerts that were happening over the weekend, but oh well. I decided to just suck it up the day before the show and buy it. Twisted Sister is great live and I knew they would deliver again.
We got into the Travis County Expo Center and parked seemingly on the other side of the place and walked through all of the biker madness where the campsites and RV parking were located and saw all sort of debauchery and silliness. By the time we got to the amphitheater, Vince Neil was already playing.
I’ll just say this: VINCE NEIL SUCKS. Period. I saw Crue on the Dr. Feelgood tour and he sucked. I also saw him solo in 2003. He sucked then, too. But the dude can still make a living playing the biker fests and letting the crowd sing half of the lyrics. And don’t get me wrong, I adore those first 2 Crue albums, but Vince sucks live and seemingly always has.
His backup band consisted of Dana Strum on bass who has some serious street cred, shitty Slaughter aside. The dude has been around and been a part of some big things behind the scenes over the years. Slaughter’s Jeff Blando handled guitar duties and was fine. He’s actually a pretty good singer, too. Drummer Zoltan Chaney handled the “drumming” duties. I put that in quotes for a reason. I hate this style of drumming. I consider this guy more of a circus clown than a drummer. But, I understand why Vince has him in the band because he needs a show backing him because he’s such a shitty singer. Zoltan is a very visual drummer that basically acts like a chimpanzee behind the kit. I can’t stand that. I’d much rather have seen Tommy Lee. Tommy’s flamboyant as well, but not to this degree. And Tommy is super solid. Vince played to his crowd with the awfulness of Girls, Girls, Girls and Wildside. I really don’t know what other Crue songs they played as I just couldn’t care enough to pay attention.
Halfway through the set, Vince disappeared from the stage and his band goes into some Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Their version of Heaven and Hell was actually pretty good and thankfully Vince was nowhere to be found. After doing a little research, this seems to be a regular part of Vince’s show. This article gives a little insight and I agree with the sentiments presented in it. I just couldn’t wait for them to finish so we could see Dee and the band.
The crowd thinned out quite a bit and we moved right to the center and just 4-5 back from the barricade. After a chopper giveaway, The Pledge of Allegiance and a salute to the military, Twisted Sister hit the stage.
They opened up with You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll and just crushed it. Dee’s voice was a little rough for the first 2 songs or so, then it was all dialed in. The rolled right in to Shoot ‘em Down and just killed it. Those guys have been playing together since the late 70s and it showed. They were incredibly tight and you can still get the feeling that they all hate each other. But it didn’t matter. They all played incredibly well and the show was awesome.
They rolled through Stay Hungry, Beast, The Price and a track that was a surprise to me, The First Still Burns from Come Out and Play. They also of course played We’re not Gonna Take It and I Wanna Rock as expected. You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll is my favorite album by them and also getting The Kids are Back and We’re Gonna Make It made me happy. The whole show made me happy. I could have done without I Believe in Rock and Roll but oh well. No Destroyer? At least they didn’t play Leader of the Pack! After closing with I Wanna Rock, they took a short break and came out for one more song. Dee mentioned that it was a song they don’t play often and it was fitting for a biker rally and I was getting excited because I thought they were going to play Ride to Live, Live to Ride. Seriously, I was almost in freak out mode until they went into Steppenwolf’s Born to Be Wild. *heavy sigh*. I get it. They were playing to that specific crowd. No worries. They were absolutely incredible as I expected them to be. And I just want to say that AJ Pero is such an incredible drummer. He sounded better last night than in the other 2 times I had seen him play in he past.
Along with Bruce Dickinson, Jason McMaster, and Ronnie James Dio, Dee Snider is in that class of ultimate frontmen. Dee even gave a speech on vaginal dryness and how they licensed We’re Not Gonna Take It to a PMS company for use in their commercials. It was pretty funny.
Jay Jay French spoke that in 1983 on their first US tour, the first show was in Austin, exactly 30 years to the day from last night’s show and that they hadn’t played here since. According to my friend Ben, he saw them in 1984 at City Coliseum a year later. But hey, memories get fuzzy after all those years, eh? The crowd never filled back in for Twisted Sister like the crown Vince had, which was unfortunate. But it also made it more comfortable as it was pretty warm and humid last night. Sister’s tour manager is Danny Stanton who I had met several times over the years as he managed Thin Lizzy and Loudness on their US tours in the late 90s to mid 2000s. He sang for the NY band Takashi. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to say hello this time. Dee also took a couple of good potshots at Vince Neil. It was hilarious.
Dee Snider is 58 and can still rock out like nobody’s business. He’s a beast of a frontman and I really hope to see them again. It was another great concert filled with awesome music and good friends all around.
I’m in a new band called Eternal Champion and last night we got to open for the mighty and legendary and extremely underrated Manilla Road during this year’s Chaos in Tejas. Because of some recent band changes, we had a couple of replacement guys fill in on guitar and drums and the show was incredible…all 3 songs of it! We got a great response, sold all of our shirts and have been getting positive feedback all day. We also released a 2 song cassette that sold out in about a week. There’s a forthcoming 7″ as well. It was easily my favorite show that I have ever played and after 25+ years of being in bands as I’m finally playing the music I’ve always wanted to play: true epic metal. We were also the perfect opener for Manilla Road. Pics and videos from the show coming soon.
Then Manilla Road. After we finished playing, Mark Shelton from Manilla Road showed up and got showered with attention from hardcore fans. I’m a fan of Crystal Logic and especially Mystification. Our singer is a fanatic though. This is his favorite band…EVER. It was great watching them meet. Because of major lack of sleep over the weekend and having to get up early this morning, I could only stay for 3 songs. They sounded incredible. Mark’s guitar playing is great and I really feel like they should have been so much bigger. I got to meet him for a minute and he signed The Book. Another huge signature for my collection.
In between us and Manilla Road were Satan’s Satyrs and Speedwolf. I like Speedwolf. It’s good Motorhead worship.
Hall & Oates came to town last night and played ACL Live at the Moody Theater. I can’t state enough how much I love this venue. I’ve been an H&O fan since I was a kid. Like Chicago, H&O reminds me of listening to the radio in mom’s ’73 Chevy Nova. AM Gold! AM 13 WGH to be exact.
H&O has played Austin a few times since I’ve lived here but for one reason or another I’ve missed them each time. Once I saw that they were playing ACL Live, I had to go. I originally bought tickets on the presale and only got 2nd row balcony because I was buying Iron Maiden tickets at the same time…I do have my metal priorities, you know! The next day during the actual ticket sale, I logged in just to see what I could get and ended up with 2nd rown down front, just off center. YOINK! I knew the show would sell out and selling my other tickets would be easy. Thanks eBay! I made a nice profit.
Before H&O came on, they had DJ Mel on stage. I have an aversion to DJs in general, especially ones who remix stuff. Sorry, don’t play Toto’s Africa or Michael McDonald’s I Keep Frgettin’ and put some scratching in it. ‘wikki wikki wikki’. Sorry. I hate that stuff. Just play the damned record. The mostly “older” crowd there seemed annoyed by it, too.
After just a few songs, his gear gets hauled off stage and the band comes on to a standing ovation. They opened with Out of Touch and went right into Method of Modern Love, which is one of my favorite tunes by them. They had been recently paying Family Man in the #2 slot and changed it up for the show. Otherwise their setlist remained pretty standard to other recent shows.
The band was solid and both Daryl and John’s vocals were great. It was a really fun show, albeit seemingly short even with the 2 encores. No bother, the crowd loved it and so did I. Glad I got to scratch that one off my list.
One really cool thing happened at the very end of the show. I was with my best friend Amelia and her husband Cody who was wearing a Frank Zappa shirt. Oates was waving goodbye to the crowd, looked down towards us, saw Cody’s shirt and gave him a nod and a thumbs up. I guess he didn’t like my Bob Seger shirt. haha
Even from the 2nd row, my iPhone camera and personal camera suck!
I’ll just be up front about it. No one could ever accuse me of being a punk rock fan. The vast majority of it does nothing for me although there are some bands in the genre that I do like such as GBH, Circle Jerks, OFF!, JFA, Agent Orange (first album only), some Reagan Youth and Black Flag. While I can name most of Black Flag’s releases, I can only name a handful of songs. Why? Because I guess I’m not a true fan.
Black Flag was a band that I sort of got familiar with through old friends and bandmates in the mid-80s who skated a lot. Hanging out with them got me familiar enough, not to mention reading their copies of Thrasher Magazine. My favorite by them is the Jealous Again EP and I have also owned Damaged, My War and Slip It In at various times over the years. Jealous Again is the only one I kept.
The latest version of Black Flag features Greg Ginn and Ron Reyes with Dave Klein and Gregory Moore. When I saw that they were touring and opening their US tour in Austin, I had to go. Again, while I’m not the biggest fan, I knew I would at least get some of the Reyes era stuff and hopefully see a good show with lots of energy and be able to see a decent mosh pit…from a distance, since I’m old and not in the mood to get slammed in to anymore.
The show was at a new punk oriented venue in Austin called Multiply Infest which is at the old Antone’s location downtown. My friend, Don (aka Chuck Schick) and I head into town, park, grab some cho (chinese food) and head over to the club. There was a ridiculously long line but we ended getting moved into another line pretty quickly after one of the employees had some of us with tickets move around the corner to a side door. Overall about 15 minutes in line(s) and we were in. Whatever, we had tickets so I wasn’t too concerned and I surely wasn’t trying to be up front.
I saw some good friends, chatted it up for a while. Locals Deadly Reign opened up but I wasn’t paying much attention. Black Flag had a ton of merch which included most of their 12″ and 7″ releases as well as a variety of shirts. Everything was $10 which is a good deal compared to most merch prices at concerts these days. I picked up a Jealous Again shirt.
During Deadly Reign’s set, I see an older gent walking around with a glass of red wine and I nudged Don and said, “Dude, is that Greg Ginn?” “I think so.” I pulled a picture up on my phone to make sure then just walked over, shook his hand and just said, “Thanks.” Didn’t need a photo and didn’t want to draw a lot of attention to him. He thanked me for coming and that was it. The guy has done some legendary stuff, no matter how much of a fan I may not be, I have a lot of respect for him. Apparently he lives just north of Austin now…seemingly everyone is moving here.
His “side band”, Good For You, went on next. I heard several people compare it to the later Rollins era Black Flag stuff as it was slower…and utterly boring. It was the same guys in Black Flag with Mike Vallely on vocals who apparently used to skate pro for Powell-Peralta. The high point was the bass player. That dude was pretty damned good, but the music wore me out and seemed to take a lot of energy out of the crowd.
After a short break and no set change since it was the same backing band, Black Flag took the stage. A small pit ensued up front but never seemed to be a rager like I had expected. I think I have seen better pits at metal shows. Maybe because it was an older crowd? I don’t know and it’s not really important. Ron Reyes sounded great and even jumped in the crowd a time or 2. But overall the band was boring. The sound was awful and surely not loud enough and it seems that the use of AC in the building was kept to a minimum. I guess that’s “punk”? Maybe it was broken? I don’t know. I do know that it was hot and muggy in there. Then the theremin. Greg Ginn was using a fucking theremin. OK, sure, I don’t know all of their stuff but I am pretty sure that they never used a theremin.
I had really low expectations going in and even those were let down a bit. Walking outside I heard a lot of people complaining as we waded through the sea of folks standing on the sidewalk. I did get to hear the handful of songs that I remembered and liked, so that was cool.
Now I just hope that Flag with Keith Morris makes its way through Austin. After seeing OFF! 2 years ago at SxSW, I’d totally be down for seeing Flag.
The setlist below surely has some songs missing. These are just what I remember.
It was 1990 and The Black Crowes were all over the radio and rightfully so. Shake Your Money Maker went multi-platinum. I’m a big fan of their first 3 and like a handful of songs from 3 Snakes and a Charm and By Your Side, but they lost me throughout the 2000s. In 1990 and 1991 I was drumming for a country band because I couldn’t find a metal band that played what I wanted to play. The country band had She Talks to Angels in the setlist regularly and I think we did Hard To Handle a few times as well…of course with a country twang to it. It was an enjoyable gig and I was making decent money as we were the house band in a club for quite a while.
For whatever reason I had never seen them live. It always seemed like something came up that had me miss them. Finally last night I got to see them and it was worth the wait. The brothers Robinson were on their game last night for the sold out show at Stubb’s in Austin, TX. I had been watching the setlists from this current tour and they do like Cheap Trick where every night is a different list. That’s really cool and tough to do, but it keeps the band fresh and they were fresh last night.
About 4 songs into the set it started to rain a little and I looked at the radar on my phone and saw that a huge storm was coming through so I went and stood under an awning. Then the bottom fell out. some folks crowded under the awnings where they could, some just left soaking wet but the majority of the crowd just stood there in the rain. And it kept raining heavily. I couldn’t see the band from where I was but I could hear them perfectly and it was still great. When the lightning started, the band was apparently advised to cut it short. They did an encore of 2 songs and that was it, unfortunately 30 minutes short. Right after it ended, the rain stopped. I met up with some friends who were also there and carried on with our night. One friend I ran into said that they were surprised that I was a fan of the Crowes. For me the explanation is easy. While I’m not a big fan of the blues and bluesy rock, I am a Rolling Stones fanatic and The Black Crowes remind me of them so much. For me it just seems natural to like them.
Fun show. I look forward to their next trip to town.