Archive for the ‘concerts’ Category
ZZ Top is one of those bands that I can’t say I love or dislike. They’ve always just been there. If you were around in the 80s, you couldn’t get away from them because of MTV and radio play of megahits Gimme All Your Lovin’, Sharp Dressed Man and Legs. Eliminator was a huge album for them. HUGE. Their 70s stuff was prominent as well but that MTV era blew them up and they changed with the times by writing straight forward bluesy rock and roll pop hits, quite different from he previous decade. I’m not telling you anything new here.
I’d never seen them and when the show was announced for Austin’s ACL Live/Moody Theater, I decided to go and get them struck off the list of legendary bands that I hadn’t seen yet. ZZ Top and Austin have a long history, especially with them being from Houston. A guy sitting next to me last night was talking about seeing them in for the first time in 1971(?) at the now-defunct Armadillo.
As I generally do, I bought 2 tickets on the presale and got my favorite spot in the venue, which is front row, center balcony. The show sold out quickly. My friend Mariana quickly accepted the offer to join me when I asked a few weeks before the show. When we arrived at the show I liked the shirts that ZZ had and decided to buy one for myself and Mariana. We ended up with the same styled shirt and I swear that it was brown and not black. The vendor said it was black and compared to the black shirts on either side of it, it wasn’t…seriously. I ended up trading it in for a truly black one as seen below.
I didn’t realize there was an opening act until we sat down. When I saw a washtub and washboard, I wasn’t too excited. It was Joppa, MO’s Ben Miller Band. Americana/bluegrassish/hipsterish music. In general they weren’t that bad. I’d never heard a washboard played with a wah pedal and flange before, so that was interesting. Everyone in the band was multi-instrumental and that was impressive. That type of music, for me, is better heard and not seen.
ZZ Top came on a little after 9PM opening with Got Me Under Pressure. They smoothly ran through most of their hits and really threw out no surprises. Like a lot of older bands are doing these days, the setlist is set and very coordinated and ZZ’s performance was no different. They were obviously playing along to synched up tracks and that’s fine. It made their show a well-oiled machine.
Billy Gibbons made the statement that these 3 guys have been playing together for 4 decades…and the “same 3 chords.” Pretty funny. He’s been a huge influence on a lot of guitarists and the guy still has it. Get beyond the beards, hats, choreographed stage motions etc, and you’ve got one bad ass guitarist. Minimalist style that is about as flawless as you could want. Dusty’s solid bass lines provided the perfect bottom for the show. Frank played his steady styled beats while it was pretty obvious that his drums were triggered. He didn’t need to hit hard at all. The sound went out on the drums for a few seconds in one song and while I could see him hitting drums, you couldn’t hear any of it. He seemed to be the one most worn from the years of touring, but he played fine.
It was a fun show and while I wanted to heard Beer Drinkers and Heard It On The X, I’ve got no real complaints at all.
Last night Iron Maiden made their presence known in Austin the only way they know how…by getting on stage and destroying anything in their path and still being one of the greatest live bands ever.
They played at the Austin360 Amphitheater which is part of the new Circuit of the Americas racetrack on the outskirts of Austin. Megadeth has been the opener for this leg of the tour. What an incredible venue. No real covering over the pit or the seats and gives it a really awesome feel. The setup was really good overall.
I just saw this tour a week ago in Raleigh, NC and knew what to expect. But it didn’t matter. I love the band and would go see them every week if I could. Last week’s show was pretty special mostly because of the non-concert stuff that happened around the concert weekend. Last night’s show was special in its own way as well because again I got to see my favorite band with more of my closest friends.
Automatically when the show got announced I decided to join the Iron Maiden fan club just to get presale tickets. We were only allowed 4 tickets on the presale and I had my 3 spares easily picked out. Don, Pablo and Marco. Three of my closest friends in the area.
We met up at my house to each have a bottle of the Trooper Ale that I had picked up last week. I’m liking the beer a little more each time I have it.
We then took the quick ride to the venue and parked in the premium parking as I had prepaid for a pass. We scooted passed the line of cars and easily parked. We brought some extra Trooper beers with us to have a little parking lot celebration while waiting for my friends Jason and Morgan. Upon their arrival we went in.
I didn’t get an event shirt in Raleigh as they had sold out of my size. I decided to wait in the merch line during Megadeth and got the shirt I wanted. We were able to catch the last few ‘Deth songs and them mulled around the venue talking with other friends. Everybody was there it seemed. Maiden brings everyone out.
Maiden comes out and plays the same set they’ve been riding for the last year plus. I still wish they’d leave out Afraid to Shoot Strangers and Fear of the Dark and bring back Infinite Dreams and Still Life. Jannick Gers was slightly less annoying last night than in last week’s show.
I can’t state enough how great and energetic this band still is. Bruce Bruce sounded awesome and the band still fires off all cylinders. Nicko’s right foot is still that of legend. It was high in the mix last night, too. Guitar solos were still a bit buried as they were last week.
I hope we get to see them again and I’d gladly see them again at this venue. Well done, COTA.
Up the Irons.
Written by The Metal Files
September 11, 2013 at 2:38 pm
Iron Maiden announced a few months back that they were going to add an additional short run of dates to play some cities in the USA that they rarely played, if ever. Opening night of this leg was Raleigh, NC. After discussing with Kelz who lives in Raleigh we decided to set up another “MitchFest”.
What is MitchFest? It’s what Kelz and I call our meet ups to see shows. We’ve done several over the years…Foetus, Sabbat, Loudness and a few others. We tried to get some other friends from our home state of Virginia to come in but not everyone could do it. I joined the Iron Maiden fan club to get presage tix for next week’s Austin show and realized I could get 4 tix for each of the other USA shows. I have Kelz a club code for Megadeth and we got 8 seats all together. The final group was Kelz, his wife and 2 kids, Petey, Wade and Baird. Kelz, Petey and I all met 30+ years ago and have been close since. I was in a band with Wade in the early 90s. Baird is Wade’s nephew who I hadn’t seen since he was a toddler. That kid is all grown up now.
Through Facebook I saw that some other old friends were going to be there and I was pretty excited to be able to see them.
But we’re not done with MitchFest. For what ever reason Kelz and I have called each other bitch monkey for years. That morphed into Mitch Bunkey and ultimately into just Mitch. Hence MitchFest. Got it? While we were walking around looking for the record store, we walked by Mitch’s Tavern. Really? On the way back to Kelz’ house we went by Bunkey’s car wash. No, really. You can’t make this stuff up.
My trip started with flying to Virginia to see my dear Mom and brother and to hopefully catch up with some folks in Virginia that I hadn’t seen since I left in 2006. Success! It was a quick trip but a good one.
I drove from Norfolk to Raleigh on Monday and got to Kelz’ place around 3. We’re in touch pretty regularly so there’s not much to catch up on. We hung out with his wife and kids and went to get some grub. I needed some NC style pork BBQ and got my fill. After some more jibber jabber and a beer or 2, we all crashed out. His kids had school the next morning.
On the day of the show, Petey was driving in from Richmond and Kelz and I went into town to hit a record store or 2 and grab some food. After finding the record store we wanted to see, we were going to head back to the house as Petey was 30 minutes away. Walking out if the store Kelz points across the street and it took me a second to see what he was talking about. Maiden Lane! What a coincidence. So if course we nerd out and take pics. As we’re driving back, see Smallwood Drive. What? Really? For those not in the know, Rod Smallwood has been Iron Maiden’s manager forever. Another weird coincidence.
Petey arrives, we nerd out some more and hang out with Kelz’ family until show time. After a quick bite to eat we get to the venue and meet up with Wade and Baird. We all go in and I run into some old pals that I had known since middle school. I also ran into a guy, Ben, that lived a few miles down the road from me when we were kids. I hadn’t seen him since around 1991. Mid show I ran into Ben Hogg who sang with Beaten Back to Pure, a band that My old band did several gigs with in the early 2000s.
Megadeth hit the stage promptly at 730 and went through their set pretty fluidly. I’ve seen Dave and company a few times in recent years and was neither blown away or bored by the set. Of course I only want to hear songs from the first three albums, but such is life. My main complaint is that their current drummer just isn’t that good. I’m still not sure why Dave keeps him around. I mean seriously, the double bass at the end of peace sells is that that difficult. GET IT RIGHT ALREADY!
After about a 30 minute set change, UFO’s Doctor Doctor starts playing and that’s the cue that Maiden is coming up next. We’re all excited even knowing that the setlist hasn’t changed in 2 years. It’s Maiden. The favorite band of Petey, Kelz and myself. We were there together and that’s what mattered.
Now, the three of us all saw Maiden together for our first time in 1988 so that made this reunion even more special. Maiden hits the stage with Moonchild and run through their set with ease. Bruce was as energetic as ever and the band sounded great. The mix could’ve been better as Dave and Adrian’s solos seemed low in the mix. We were just off of center not far from the soundboard. Steve was low as well. I’m still amazed that Nicko can play like he does. His right foot is just as awesome as it ever was. Adrian’s solo were great but Dave’s seemed a little off. Seems like he’s decided to change some things up over the last few years. Of course Jannick Gers is still in the band much to my dismay. I’ll say it again that I can’t stand that guy. Whatever. Bruce’s vocals were really strong and clear. The only time I saw him struggle was at the scream in the end if Aces High. He knew he couldn’t hit the note and just winged it. No bother. The dude has still got an incredible set of pipes unlike most if my other favorite older singers. Bruce still can do it live. No surprises in the show. It’s the same setlist as before, which is a bit unfortunate. I understand that their set changes are choreographed, but hell, just throw in some odd numbers and not worry about the big corresponding backdrops.
But the show was incredible. Yes, we got to see our favorite band again but all of us being together made the night and the whole trip even better.
I’m seeing the band again in Austin next week with some more great friends and already excited about it.
One thing about the show, and most shows in general these days, is seeing the people who go to these shows and just get obliterated. I saw so many people on the verge of passing out, puking and just acting like utter bumbling idiots. Don’t get me wrong, I like to party and get some beers in me seeing shows, but I also like to remember the show. Especially when spending $100 on a ticket, ya know? Maybe I’m just getting old and curmudgeony. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
Again, whatever. It was awesome and I can’t wait for the next show and the next MitchFest!
Written by The Metal Files
September 4, 2013 at 12:17 pm
Posted in 2013, adrian smith, bruce dickinson, concert review, concert reviews, concerts, dave murray, dave mustaine, heavy metal, iron maiden, megadeth, nicko mcbrain, north carolina, raleigh, the metal files
Steely Dan was in town last night at the Bass Concert Hall on the campus of the University of Texas. I got tickets during the presale and scored stage left balcony, 7th row. The rows were angles and the view was absolutely incredible.
I’ve been a big Steely Dan fan since I was a little kid. That primarily came from my brother Robert (RIP) and Mom who were both big fans. Their work in the 70s is absolutely incredible. Lots of folks dub them a lounge rock band, and that’s not really far from the truth. But the musicianship this band has displayed since day one is something to note, not to mention the hotshots that have been part of the band throughout the years.
In tow with me for the show were my best friend Amelia, her brother and Billy Milano. Yes, THAT Billy Milano. I met Billy shortly after moving to Austin and we’ve been pals ever since. He’s a good dude and absolutely hilarious. He’s also a huge Steely Dan fan. When he saw that I had one spare ticket, he said to me in his still thick NY/Nj accent, “Sean…you better hold that fuckin’ Steely Dan ticket for me!” Yes sir!
I got to the venue first and while hanging out talking with some folks who were looking for tickets, one of the guys said, “Hey, that dude was Christopher Cross.” I said ‘sure enough’ and just walked up and said that I was a big fan and asked if we could do a quick photo. “I’d love to.” Click! He asked if I had ever seen the band before and I said no, but have wanted to since I was a kid. “You’ll love it.” He’s originally from San Antonio and has been doing a lot of stuff around Austin in the last few years. I need to go check one of the shows out for sure. I truly am a fan of his first few albums and the “yacht rock” genre in general.
My friends arrived right after that, we walked in, grabbed a drink and found our seats. There was a little jazz blues trio called the Deep Blue Organ Trio and they were solid, primarily playing covers as instrumentals. They closed with a fantastic version of Sinatra’s The Way You Look Tonight.
After a quick set change, Steely Dan’s backup band dubbed The Bipolar All-stars opened up with an instrumental then Donald Fagen and Walter Becker walked out and they went right into “Your Gold Teeth” from Countdown to Ecstasy. They played a good cross section of their hits and deeper cuts as you’ll see in the setlist below. It was a great show and Fagen’s vocals still sounded pretty good for age 65. Becker wasn’t doing a lot of soloing but when he did he sounded good. They had another kick ass player on most leads. But I have to say what took the cake for me was the drummer, Keith Carlock. That dude was absolutely incredible and to be honest stole the show.
If I had to say I was a little disappointed it would be that they didn’t play Deacon Blues. Mom always said that song reminded her of Robert and it does that for me, too. Not just in the last year after his death but throughout my whole life. If the song came on the radio she’d say, “There’s Robert’s song.” It’s probably good that they skipped that song for the Austin show as I don’t know how well I would have kept my emotions in check. They also didn’t play “Do It Again”, which is one Billy really wanted to hear. Finally, if I was able to pick the setlist, Green Earrings would have been in there. That’s my #1 by them. “Don’t Take Me Alive” would have been awesome to hear as well.
Overall, the show was 10/10 and the Bass Concert Hall is a phenomenal place to see a show. The sound in there is absolutely stellar. Another great concert in a great town with great friends.
Militia is back! If you weren’t at Multiply Infest (the former Antone’s) last night, you missed a speed metal/thrasher’s dream show. The Texas metal legends played their first show in about 4 years to a crowd of 100 or so metalheads.
Militia released Strength and Honor last year and I think it was a killer release. The band had suffered a slight personnel change with Phil Achee’s departure. Mike Soliz handled drum duties on the album and did a fine job. For last night and hopefully on a permanent basis, Mike Botello is handling drum duties. Botello and Soliz have some quality Texas metal history as they were both in Assalant together.
When I last saw Militia, 2009, they were great and I expected last night to be the same. To be honest, they were better. This was my favorite of the 4 shows I’ve seen since 2008. Mike’s vocals were stellar. He recently turned 50 and I am amazed that he can still hit those insane high notes. The whole band was tight and Botello’s drumming was a perfect fit. Tony and Jesse’s guitar work and Robert’s bass work was as badass as it has ever been. I really enjoy watching him play.
Militia mixed the setlist up with 7 classic songs and 7 from Strength and Honor. They were solid and the crowd was totally into it. It was great seeing some other Texas metal legends from Devastation and Solitude Aeturnus come to town to see the show.
I’m looking forward to more shows from them. Long live classic Texas metal, I only wish I would have been here in the 80s to have experienced it first hand.
And make no mistake about it, no matter how many great metal bands there are in Texas these days, Militia is ruling the roost once again.