The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Archive for the ‘concerts’ Category

Heart Concert Review, Austin, TX, November 16, 2014

with 2 comments

heart_dreambutt_fannie_front_coverHeart 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.

untitled-25

courtesy of the Austin American Statesman

untitled-26

courtesy of the Austin American Statesman

untitled-27

courtesy of the Austin American Statesman

useIMG_6795

courtesy of Heart’s soundwoman

Kat, Wendy, Monkey Boy, Alysha.  Photo courtesy of "The Austin 360 A List"

Kat, Wendy, Monkey Boy, Alysha. Photo courtesy of “The Austin 360 A List”

King Diamond Concert Review, Austin, TX, November 8, 2014

with 2 comments

FullSizeRender

It’s tough writing reviews sometimes because I have trouble being objective when trying to talk about seeing some of my favorite bands.

There was something incredibly special about last night’s King Diamond show that I just don’t know if I can put my finger on it or properly describe in words better than just saying, “That was fucking awesome!”

And it was. It was fucking awesome. Really fucking awesome.

I’ve loved King Diamond (KD) since Abigail came out. That album had me delve back in time to quickly get into Fatal Portrait and Mercyful Fate. But Abigail is #1 for me in KD’s catalog.

I’ve see King twice before tonight (’88/2000) and Fate twice (’93/’99).  All of those shows were special in their own ways, especially that ’88 show on the Them tour.  King sounded great in all 4 of those shows.  With it being 14 years since the last time I had seen him, I had concerns that his voice wouldn’t be what it once was.  That thought was quickly removed from my head once they broke into the opener, The Candle.  They quickly kept it running hard and heavy with Sleepless Nights and Welcome Home which went over very well with the crowd.  Everyone knows the “grandma song”.

They mixed it up with songs from Them, Puppet Master and Give Me Your Soul…Please, not to mention 2 Mercyful Fate songs, Evil and Come To The Sabbath.  It was a very metal crowd that was very into the show.  King’s stage set up was over the top filled with a giant goat’s head pentagram and upside crosses.

Andy LaRouque and Mike Wead were shredding it as expected.  Matt Thompson did a fine job handling Mikkey Dee’s drum lines, but he’s no Mikkey Dee.  Few are.  That’s no slight to Matt, he was killer.  Pontus Edberg held down the bass perfectly.  The mix was great, especially for an outside venue.

Highlights for me were Sleepless Nights (love that drum line), Family Ghost and especially Black Horsemen.  That song is the best ending to any album I have ever heard and it was the perfect closer to last night’s set.  It gave me goosebumps last night and I have them again writing this.  It was such a powerful show all the way around.  I did notice, however, that King had a female backup singer that sang some of the high notes along with him.  I tried to listen to the difference in the voices (his and hers) and really couldn’t tell.  There were times that he was hitting the notes perfectly and she wasn’t singing at all, so maybe she was just there for harmony and melody purposes.

What a great fucking show!

Judas Priest Concert Review, Austin, TX, November 7, 2014

leave a comment »

title 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!

John Waite Concert Review, Austin, TX, November 3, 2014

leave a comment »

IMG_6650jwtitle

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.

 

GWAR Concert Review, Austin, TX, October 25, 2014

leave a comment »

gwarIMG_6549

I love seeing GWAR live.  I’ve seen them several times since the 80s and I think they peaked at the Scumdogs album.  Nevertheless, I do try to go and see them still.  They still crack me up.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Dave Brockie died earlier this year.  He was the voice and personality behind the Oderus Urungus,  Dave was a funny guy and cool the few times that I met him.  I have an interview I did with GWAR in 1999 that I need to get uploaded.  It’s hilarious.

The band is now using multiple members as singers and it works with their new storyline of having an epic battle to see who will become the new leader of the band.  Included in that mix was my buddy, Brent, who replaced Corey Smoot on lead guitar after his untimely death a few years ago.  He’s Pustulus Maximus.  I’ve known him for about 10 years from other bands he played with back in Virginia.  Awesome dude and it’s always great to see him.

The band hit the stage during the second annual Housecore Horror Film Festival and there was a video message on the “magic mirror” from Oderus.  It was all strange, but it worked.  He disappears into another dimension or something and all of the new singers bash it out.  The show was enjoyable and Brent’s guitar playing was awesome.  He sang a song or two as well.  Way to go, Pustulus!

It’s always fun watching people get soaked in the pit at their shows.  This past Saturday night, I got hit with a blood cannon.  Totally unintentional but it made me laugh nonetheless.  Good fun all the way around, especially their cover of West End Girls.  I also ran into a guy I knew from Virginia that I hadn’t seen since about 2000.  He was touring with a guitar company that he works for. I also ran into the VoiVod guys who remembered me from a SxSW show a few years back when I got my head cut open by a stage diver.

This show marked the 6th in a row since Monday night.  I was absolutely exhausted by the time it was over.

The aftermath

The aftermath

Pustulus

Pustulus

Written by The Metal Files

October 29, 2014 at 8:10 pm

Hellion Concert Review, Austin, TX, October 24, 2014

leave a comment »

Hellion was a band that was always just in my peripheral in the 80s.  I owned their album The Black Book and liked it, but still never listened to them that much.  When I saw that they were playing downtown on Friday, I had to go.  I was absolutely exhausted from the events of the week with Kelz, who I had dropped off at the airport earlier that day.  I tried to get a nap in before heading downtown but it wasn’t a good one.  Normally I take a ride via Lyft downtown because I know that I’ll be drinking.  I didn’t have the energy or wont to drink that night so I drove my car.

San Antonio’s The Blitz Krokus tribute band played right before Hellion.  I love Krokus and was excited to see that my pal Chris Cronk (Karion/SA Slayer/Fates Warning/Jag Panzer) was on vocals.  They were fun but their set got cut short.

Hellion had a stacked lineup in the band backing Ann Boleyn.  Georg Dolivo from Rhino Bucket on rhythm guitar, Maxxxwell Carlise on leads, Greg Smith (Wendy O Williams/Nugent/Alice Cooper/Rainbow etc) on bass, Scott Warren (Keel, DIO, Heaven and Hell) on keyboards and Simon Wright (AC/DC, DIO) on drums.  This made for some great signatures in the book!

The band was rock solid and Ann’s voice sounded good.  The whole band was great but I was especially drawn to Greg’s bass playing.  That guy is just a beast of a player.   One of the best I have ever seen.  The whole show was fun and after getting the sigs in the book, I went straight home and straight to bed.  Highlight for me was Living In Hell from the Black Book.  Great song.

Raven & Night Demon Concert Review, Austin, TX, October 11, 2014

leave a comment »

As far as NWOBHM goes, much of it is hit and miss for me.  Raven was always the miss.  I could never really put a finger exactly what but I think it started with their look and the lyrics.  It was just a bit too goofy for me.  I had seen them live previously in 2000 and was able to have lunch with the Gallagher brothers and their families that day as we shared a common close friend.  That was a great day and those guys are really fun to hang out with.

I ran into John again earlier this year when I was in Richmond, VA for the Satan show there.  Always polite.  Flash forward 14 years and Raven is doing a 2 month long tour across the USA with my pals in Night Demon (Ventura, CA).  I had met those guys in Chicago earlier this year when Eternal Champion played the Ragnarokkr Metal Apocalyspe.  I had known the drummer for a couple of years prior from his other band that used to come through Austin on the regular.  Great guys.  I was excited that they were coming to town and offered up my house for them to stay after the show.

The night before the show I was downtown in my favorite bar and there was a couple sitting next to me.  The guy was wearing a venom shirt so I struck up conversation.  They were from Chile.  Victor spoke perfect English but Javiera didn’t really speak any.  I speak Spanish pretty well so we all had a nice talk.  She had won a VIP contest to ACL, all expense paid.  Pretty cool.  Neither of them really cared for much of the music at the fest but weren’t going to turn down a free trip.  I asked him if he liked Raven and he said, “Hell yes!  One of my favorites!”  I let him know about the show the next night and they were excited.

On to the show.  Sweat Lodge opened and I’m just not into the hippie stoner rock stuff that much.  I guess they’re good at what they do, I’m just not into it.  Night Demon comes on and blaze through their set efficiently.  Their brand up upbeat NWOBHM inspired metal went over well with the crowd that was there.  They especially got everyone’s ear by playing a cover of Road Racin’ by Riot.  Riot is a big deal in Texas and it was only coincidence that Night Demon played it.  The metal faithfuls loved it.  They gained a lot of new fans that night.

Raven comes on and the crowd loved it.  There were about 10-15 people right up front who all first saw Raven and Metallica in 1983 in Austin and this show was a bit of a reunion for them.  That was pretty cool to see all of them right up front singing every word.  As stated above, I’m not into Raven but they are energetic live and John can still hit the high notes pretty well.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,025 other followers