Archive for the ‘concerts’ Category
A while back, former MTV host, Riki Rachtman, announced a one day festival celebrating the now defunct (and purely dysfunctional) Cathouse in Hollywood. Let’s be clear, back in that era of the 80s, I was not down with hair bands, silly ballads and much of the stuff associated with that hairspray and makeup. There were a few acts, however, that I did at least like a few songs from. But whatever.
This show was set up with a limited number of VIP passes and I was able to score one for the main purpose of the meet and greets to get my Book signed. Supposedly all bands that were performing were suppose to appear. More on that later.
I got into LAX around noon on Friday the 14th and got my rental car (1.5 hour wait) and headed down to Irvine to get checked in to the hotel. I unpack, grab some dinner and head to a club in Anaheim called Chain Reaction. It’s an all age club that didn’t serve alcohol so no beers for me. I caught the last 3 bands which in order were Tower Guard, Toronto’s Crimson Shadows and Nekrogoblikon. I really liked Tower Guard. Younger power thrash with some good potential. The singer could stand to do less talking between songs, though. Crimson Shadows, while technically proficient musically, were about as boring as I could have wanted. Tight Gothenburg style metal with cookie monster-esque vocals intermingles with clean vocal harmonies from the two shredder guitarists. Nekrogoblikon came on and had a large band and some dude dressed as a “goblin” that runs around on stage. I was totally annoyed less than a minute into the first song and left.
The next day I slept in a bit to save up some energy for the long day ahead. Parking lot opened at noon and I went to get my VIP swag which included the meet and greet wristband. I ran into some friends of friends and hung with them until 2PM when the gate was opened. It was pretty damned hot and I was in jeans, black SA Slayer shirt, denim vest and the shoulder bag that I carry the book. It was hot, but not quite Texas hot. Opening band, Swamphammer, was playing as I walked into the venue. I made a bee line right into the VIP tent and downed 2 bottles of water. I was drying out quickly.
The meet and greets were set at 2 different times to have the later playing bands come out early to meet the fans and vice versa for the early playing bands to come out later. In the early one, I got Stephen Pearcy, Tom Keifer and Steve Riley to sign the book. Riley had been an elusive one for me over the years. Phil Lewis recognized the book and said, “I remember this. You’re carrying this around all day?” Ugh. Yes. Faster Pussycat came out and it was good seeing those guys. Good friends, Dangerous Toys came out and as always when I see any of them around town, it’s just friends hanging out together. Great guys. During this meet and greet, Bullet Boys, Enuff Z’Nuff, Trixter, Autograph, Black N Blue all played. I only got to hear them play and all of them sounded great, Especially Black N Blue and Autograph. I was hoping that Don Dokken, Mark Boals and Mick Brown would come out but they never did. Bummer.
After this, I went down into the VIP pit and watched part of Junkyard’s awesome set and the beginning of Saigon Kick, which bored me as much now as back in the day. I went to the merch/food area to grab a taco and caught some of Pretty Boy Floyd’s set on the side stage. Kristy Krash Majors was back in the band and they sounded pretty good. I moved back to the pit and caught LA Guns, Dangerous Toys and the beginning of Pussycat’s set. They had a bunch of original members join them on stage which was cool.
By this point it was time to hit the other meet and greet. At this one we got Autograph, Black N Blue, Junkyard, Extreme, Sebastian Bach, Bullet Boys, Jetboy and Trixter. I got the 2 guys from Autograph, 2 from Black N Blue and Bach. I didn’t know Extreme had come out until they had already left, so no sigs. I hung with David Roach from Junkyard for quite a while and with my old pal, Rowan Robertson (DIO). Guys from Trixter, Jetboy and others that I had no idea what band they were in signed my VIP pass. I really hated bands like Trixter, Jetboy, Little Caesar, Bullet Boys, Cinderella and Extreme back in the old days. Modern day, I do at least like the old Cinderella.
So let’s get to the band performances that I saw/heard.
- Bullet Boys – I only heard them but they sounded good. I’ve seen them several times in the last year and when their singer saw me he jumped up and gave me a big hug. Nice guy. I got to see their drummer, Shawn Duncan (Odin) briefly and his wife, which is always a pleasure.
- Trixter – Heard them only. They were solid but I just couldn’t care.
- Black N Blue – Heard only but they may be my faves of the day. They were solid, great vocals and heavy. Chains Around Heaven!
- Autograph – Sounded great and I wish I would have seen them to watch Steve Lynch play. He’s a great guitarist. It was cool hanging out with him as we have a good friend in common.
- Junkyard – ROCK AND FUCKING ROLL. They were great. It was hot as hell up there and they rocked their set.
- Saigon Kick – zzzzz
- LA Guns – As solid as ever
- Dangerous Toys – Jason McMaster and company sounded great and the crowd was really into them. Always fun to see live, especially seeing “hometown” boys away from home.
- Faster Pussycat – Sounded great and cool having the originals on stage again
- Stephen Pearcy – Only heard him. It was about like it was last year. He’s having a tough time these days.
- Sebastian Bach – He sounded great as did his band. Great show.
- Dokken – Only heard but they sounded much better than I expected. Having Boals on backing vocals is a good idea.
- Tom Keifer – He sounded great. Utterly impressed.
- Pretty Boy Floyd – Solid. Nothing different than what I expected.
I didn’t catch any of the other bands. I tweaked my back somehow during Dangerous Toys and it got progressively worse throughout the evening, so bad that I left before Extreme came on. That meant that I missed the Gilby Clarke all star jam with Ace Frehley. I was in incredible pain. Absolutely horrible. It was better by morning, thankfully, but not great.
All in all this show was fun and well organized. The bands on the main stage were on a rotating stage and no set times were missed. It was impressive seeing all bands start and finish on time. The only negative thing I can say is that it sucked not getting to meet a few of the bands, but oh well, herding rockstars is like herding cats. I had a blast.
While I like comedy movies, especially older comedies, I’ve never been very fond of watching comedians do standup minus a few exceptions like Eddie Murphy, Mitch Hedberg and Steve Martin. He is my favorite comedian of all time and I love most of his movies. Growing up in the 70s, Steve was everywhere and who didn’t love King Tut?
When I saw that he had teamed up with Martin Short to do a small tour and that they were coming to San Antonio, I had to go. Total bucket list stuff.
Steve comes out after a montage of his and Short’s work on the screen and says, “Thank you for coming to watch me through your cellphones tonight.” Thankfully cellphone use was kept to a minimum. After talking and telling some jokes, Martin Short comes out and it was plain to see that those two are very close friends. They obviously had rehearsed their routine but much of it was ad lib. There were several times that they cracked each other up. Martin did his own set which included some sketch comedy and a musical and it was hilarious. He walked off stage as Steve was coming back on and said, “Top that, mother fucker!” haha.
Steve had his bluegrass band, Steep Canyon Rangers, with him and they played a set. It’s no secret that Steve’s an incredible banjo player and he proved that last night.
Steve and Martin then say that they brought a good friend with them and introduce David Letterman. There was a delay and we all thought they were just pulling a prank…then out walks Letterman. Totally trippy. The three of them are standing there talking and Dave whips out a top ten list about Donald Trump preempting it with, “Trump’s running for president and I quit the entertainment business. I’m the dumbest man on earth.” Or something to that effect. Dave stayed out and told some stories with them for a half hour or so.
It was a wonderful night and I’ve not laughed that hard in a long time. My sides are a little sore this morning.
Make no bones about, I f’n love The Rolling Stones. I’m not shy about my Stones fanboyness ever. They are as big of a part of my early rock and roll makeup as KISS. I saw them 10 years ago for the first time in Charlottesville, VA where a bomb threat interrupted the show.
The Stones are on their 15 date North American Zip Code Tour and booked a show in Arlington, TX and there was really no way I’d miss it. I was able to score a floor ticket near the back of Cowboys Stadium. Not the best viewing but not bad and a bit cheaper than most floor tickets.
Pablo and I drove up from Austin, grabbed some dinner in Arlington then made our way to our reserved lot. We grabbed some merch and made out way to the floor. He had a seat closer to the front. Grace Potter was the opener and we spent most of her set in the downstairs lounge. My foot has been bothering me lately so getting some sitting time was essential. After her set we just stood in the back of the floor area and people watched for a bit until about ten minutes before the Stones’, then we went to our respective seats.
The stadium roof was open, the lights went down and the Stones hit the stage with Jumpin’ Jack Flash and followed it up with It’s Only Rock and Roll. The crowd was electric and I was loving it. Mick sounded great. No surprise, he was all over the stage the whole night. I had seen previous setlists from the tour and they had been mixing it up a bit. The list remained pretty consistent until just after Moonlight Mile where they played a snippet of All My Exes Live In Texas then rolled into Rocks Off from Exile on Main Street marking the first time they’ve played it on this tour. Honky Tonk Women was next which included band intros. Mick left the stage after and Keith took over for Before They Make Run and Happy. He’s got this childish grin that just cracks me up. His voice sounded pretty good, as good as expected. For as old as he looks, he still retains some teenage boyishness about him. Ronnie and Charlie were both great. Charlie’s unorthodox drumming style is difficult to watch, but he gets it done.
The whole band sounded great, just like I expected them to. Look, The Stones aren’t the tightest band in the world, but they never were. But they’re great. They did a heavy rocking version of Miss You that was just great. The whole show was a blast. Surprisingly, I don’t think it was sold out though. It was close. I hope it’s not the last time I get to see them. I would love to have seen Monkey Man and a handful of others, but I’m not complaining. The Stones truly appear to enjoy playing live even after 50+ years of doing it. I can’t speak highly enough about Mick’s voice. There were some high notes that he hit that just blew me away. I honestly didn’t want the show to end. It was a blast. The 4 hour ride home was rough, but we made it.
Long live The Stones.
To call me a punk fan would be the overstatement of the decade but there are a few bands in the genre that I’ve always liked including Circle Jerks, Black Flag, JFA, Dead Kennedys, Reagan Youth, some Sex Pistols and GBH…especially GBH. Not sure how I became a fan but it was probably through a roommate I had in the 90s. I’ve always wanted to see them and that last few times they came to town I just happened to be out of town. That changed last night.
Opening the show was L.A.’s Total Chaos. I had heard a lot of people slagging them prior to the show as being generic. They didn’t do anything for me but the crowd seemed to enjoy them. I caught half of their set and went to another bar for a bit. Local punks Krum Bums came on next and I’ve seen them a few times before. They were solid and are definitely a local favorite. I only caught the tail end of their set.
We got back to Red 7 right before GBH went on and I secured my spot with a decent view of the stage and away from the pit. They came on at full power with original singer Colin Abrahall saying, “We are GBH from Birmingham, England” and went right into their set with a newer song (2010) called Unique then went back to the Leather, Bristles, Studs, And Acne album with Race Against Time. GBH still has original guitarist Colin “Jock” Blyth and the whole band was killer. The show was sold out by the time GBH came on and they rolled through their set with only minor banter between songs. I got to hear all of my favorites and they played most of City Baby Attacked By Rats and the Leather album and a few from the follow up, City Baby’s Revenge. They were solid and I had a great time. Glad I finally got to see them live.