The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Archive for the ‘concerts’ Category

Winger Concert Review, June 6, 2014, Houston, TX

leave a comment »

It’s cool. Go ahead and make the jokes. I’ve heard them all. Whatever. Winger is a great live band. I first saw them in 1991 with Tangier and Extreme. To this day I still can’t remember why I went to that show, but it was probably to watch Rod Morgenstein play drums. I’ve been a big fan ever since seeing his drum clinic in 90/91. He was also a partial reason why I bought a Premier drum kit in the early 90s, although I didn’t get a white one. That 91 show was great and I was shown that everyone in that band were top notch musicians. Kip caught a lot of grief over the years for being “pretty”, but that dude can play bass and piano very well. He played on 2 Alice Cooper records in the 80s, that speaks volumes about his abilities. I saw them years later with some other hair bands and again, they were great. Oddly I’ve never owned any of their albums, it’s just a live thing for me.

When I saw that they were playing the Concert Pub North in Houston on a Friday, I decided to go. I had no plans that night anyway. I listened to some of the stuff from the new album and was quite impressed. After looking at the band lineup I saw that John Roth was in the band. His name wasn’t familiar but I check The Book just to see if he was in there. Boom! He played on the Medieval Steel debut EP. That solidified me going and for buying the VIP to make sure I got him in there as well as the other guys in Winger.

I got to the show and ran into my buddy, John, who does security for a lot of shows in the Houston area. I first met John through a mutual friends a few years back when he was working with Motorhead here in Austin. Through that meeting I got to have a few drinks with Mikkey Dee. John walks me right by the lines and gets me to the booth to get my VIP creds. Easy peasy.

I sat at one of the VIP tables with 2 cool girls that I met right when I walked in. One of them had just moved to Austin this week and the other was a Houston local. I sat there through both of the openers but neither band caught my ear. Mid-set of the second band the meet and greet happened and I got in towards the end of the line. The band was very nice and personable with each person that came through the line. They signed whatever anyone put in front of them. Kip was inquisitive about the book as most folks are when they see it. Kip, Rod and Reb signed it and I flipped over to the Medieval Steel page and said to John, “You’re not off the hook. You’re in here, too.” “Really?!” He said he was surprised that anyone remembered that band. I didn’t realize that Roth has been a part of Winger for almost 20 years. Reb looked at Kip and said, “What’s Paul (Young) doing now?”

I then pulled out a photo of Rod and me from 1990/91 taken at a drum clinic. He laughed and just said, “Wow! Long time ago.” He signed the photo. For the photo op, I chose to stand next to Rod to try and create the then and now photo below. All of the guys thanked me more coming and that was that. So very worth it. Off to the car to put the book away and enjoy the show.

Shortly after, the band comes on and opens with a new song called “Midnight Driver of a Love Machine.” They were tight and pretty much played all the hits. I’ve always liked Heading for a Heartbreak. Watching Rod play was enjoyable. He’s so damned good. The whole band was great. Kip’s voice sounded great and he had no problem hitting the high notes. Roth and Beach also had great backing vocals.

One cool thing happened at the end of the show. Kip asked if there were any bass players in the crowd and they brought some dude up on stage. “It’s 2 notes, you can do it. Unless you suck. Do you suck?” They closed with Van Halen’s Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love. It was pretty damned cool to do that. The guy was OK, I could have done better. ;)

Journey & Steve Miller Band Concert Review, May 22, 2014, San Antonio, TX

leave a comment »

Let’s just get this straight.  I do not like The Steve Miller Band.  I never have.  I think it was because of high school and everyone played the greatest hits album incessantly.  That being said, I can tolerate Livin’ in the USA, Wild Mountain Honey and Space Cowboy.  To say I was disappointed to see that they were on the bill with Journey is an understatement.

But I bought tickets anyway.  I’ve only seen Journey one other time and that was in 2001 with Frampton and John Waite.  Great show.

Last night’s show crept up on me and the person originally supposed to go with me forgot as well and had other plans.  I asked a few others and with it being last minute, most were busy.  Wait.  A female too busy for Journey?  Certainly their vaginas were not working properly when they said that.  hahaha.  So I called up Margarita in New Braunfels, a friend that I hadn’t seen in a while and she jumped at the chance.  Perfect.  She’s cool, lives on the way and is gorgeous.  Great combo.

On our way down, there’s a bad accident on IH35 on the north side of San Antonio so after sitting in traffic forever, we were finally able to get off of 35 and take an alternate route.  That made us miss Tower of Power who were the first opener.  I wanted to see them just because.  Miller is already on stage when we walk in and is on Space Cowboy.  She likes Miller so we grab a beer and something to eat really quickly and go in for the rest of their set.  Our seats were kind of eprfect in that that our row only had those 2 seats in it.  No worries of having people coming in and out and having to move around a lot.  I’ll admit to not hating them as much in a live setting, mainly because his drummer was kickass.

Then Journey comes on opening with Be Good To Yourself and go right in to Separate Ways (Worlds Apart).  Great 1-2 punch for sure.  They sound great and I expected no less.  Arnel sounds great and he’s all over the stage.  Kid’s got a ton of energy and you can tell how happy he is to be there.  I had seen in previous setlists that Mother, Father was being played on this tour and it’s one of my favorite songs from Escape.  What made this even better was that Deen Castronovo sang lead on it.  MY GOD.  He sounded incredible and that dude’s range is insane.  Add to it that he’s an incredible drummer.  He could easily front that band.  That’s no slight to Arnel.

Journey played pretty much everything you’d expect them to play and added 2 songs from their last album.  I really wanted to hear When You Love A Woman as I love Neal’s guitar solo in that one, but no dice.

Great show and a great companion and worth every penny of the ticket price.  So…when are they coming back?

 

On meeting Cheap Trick (Concert Review), May 16, 2014, Austin, TX

with 4 comments

IMG_4790use

Tonight was the 4th time I’ve seen Cheap Trick in the last 2 years and the 5th time overall.  As always they put on an energetic show and it was a ton of fun.

Earlier this week I took the decision to buy the VIP/meet and greet pass to hopefully get The Book signed.  Immediately after paying for it, I received an automated email stating the details and rules of the meet and greet.  In bold letters, “NO AUTOGRAPHS” was written halfway down.  Wait…what?  It was the WHOLE reason I paid for this.  I honestly didn’t give a rat’s ass about a photo op.  You also get a shirt, VIP laminate, poster and a “special tour gift”, all of which will be mailed.  Upon receiving the email, I fired an email back asking for a refund and got denied.  I please my case one more time and the rep from the company who puts on the meet and greet said, “just bring the book and see what happens.”

Show day arrives and I get to the venue at the stated time and get in the line with the others.  Several folks said, “no autographs, you know” after seeing my bag with the book strapped over my shoulder.  “I’ll take my chances.”  We’re let inside and reform a line by the backstage door and they let us in 5 at a time.  One person at a a time was then let in to stand in front of the band and get a picture taken.  I was the 5th in the first group, walked up to the band, pulled out the book and said, “They said no autographs but I’d forgo the photo if you’d sign this book.”  Rick asks what the book is and I explain that it’s a book about metal bands but they’re listed and pictured in it as a reference.  Robin just smiles and says, “Weird.”  Tom says, “Hey, let’s play one of our metal songs tonight!”  Rick then asks who said no autographs and I told him the rules in the email.  “Well fuck them, they’re not here.   Where’s your pen?”  I hand him the Sharpie and he signs the Cheap Trick page and Robin and Tom sign their picture.  Then Robin says, “Now let’s do this photo, man.”  So we did the photo which I assume will be emailed out.  It was pretty cool.  Before walking away, I asked if they were going to play Southern Girls and Ricck says, “We’re not far enough south for that one.”  I love that song and they’ve played it on the recent tours in just about every city but Austin for whatever reason.  Rick’s son, Daxx (drums), smiled and looked at me and mouthed. “we’re playing it.”  Rick and Tom each hand me a guitar pick and that was it.  Out the back door.  But SUCCESS!  It’s a great addition.

Then the show started.  Austin’s own Ume opened and it wasn’t my thing at all.  I’d seen them before a while back.

Cheap Trick comes on and just does their thing.  They are a well oiled machine that has fun on stage.  Their setlist is different every night and that’s great.  It keeps things a little loose on tour.  They played their hits mixed with other stuff for the hardcore fans as well as a new song from their upcoming album.   The Flame always takes me right back to the 80s.  Tonight one of the Dixie Chicks did a duet with Robin on it.  They’re always a treat and I look forward to the next time I can see them!

 

 

 

Ghost Concert Review, Austin, TX 05/01/2014

leave a comment »

Three years ago I reviewed Ghost’s debut album.  When the second album came out, I found it almost non-listenable.  It sounds like circus music.  BUT…Ghost came to Austin last night and I decided to check them out.  I pretty much knew what to expect which was a bunch of kids wearing Ghost shirts and Xs on their hands.  The band is loved by kiddies/mallrats/hipsters.

They played well.  No gear onstage besides the drums.  The band is riding their schtick and they do it well.  Everyone in masks and robes and the singer in his pontiff gear and skull face.  The crowd loved it and Ghost is loving it all the way to the bank.  Good for them.  While I’d likely never go see them again unless they had a band with them that I liked, it was an enjoyable show.

Written by The Metal Files

May 2, 2014 at 7:02 am

Alice In Chains Concert Review, Austin, TX 04/28/2014

with 2 comments

IMG_4683title

In 1990 the record store I used to frequent and ultimately worked in for a while gave me an advanced copy of  a cassette called Facelift by Alice In Chains.  The owner said something to the effect of, “Check out this new metal band and let me know what you think.”  I had never heard of them and my buddy and I got in the car and immediately popped it in on our way back home.  We heard that voice and just started laughing hysterically.  I think we may have gotten all the way through the album once,  It was wretched.  A week or so later I gave the cassette back to Dave (the owner of the store) and said, “This is awful.  These guys will never amount to anything!”

DERP.

Alrighty then.  I guess they did OK for themselves.  A year later in 1991 I had tickets to see Van Halen on the F.U.C.K. Tour and AIC was the opener.  The day of the show I went to the record store to pick up my paycheck and as I am about to leave, I see a tour bus pull up outside.  It was AIC.  They looked pretty rough…in that I mean like they hadn’t bathed for a while.  Layne Staley was on crutches.  I stopped them and asked if they were AIC and they were nice enough to speak to me for a few minutes.  They asked if I was coming to the show and I said I was.  “Do you have tickets already?”  “Yes, but a backstage pass would be cool.”  “Uh, no.  Good luck with that.”  Cantrell said that laughingly.

That night they came out and blew Van Halen away.  Even if I wasn’t a fan of that album in the least, the band was great live.  Shortly after Dirt came out, the band I was in covered Would? and I bought the cassette and enjoyed it.  It’s a good album but it’s the only one of theirs that I can stomach to this day.

Flash forward 20+ years and both Layne Stayley and Mike Starr are no longer part of this world.  RIP.   When the listing for AIC at The Moody Theater comes out, I buy 2 general admission floor tickets more out of curiosity than anything.  I almost sold my tickets a few days before the show to go see George Clinton.  Glad I kept them.

Last night’s show was sold out but it didn’t feel like it.  My friend and I we just off of the corner on stage right with some other friends that I ran into.  AIC hits the stage with Them Bones and that new singer pretty much owned the show.  He’s a likeable frontman and worked the crowd pretty good.  I guess it’s easier when you have a captive audience full of fans, eh?  But whatever.  The guy could sing (like Layne) and had a good range.  He played guitar quite a bit and even had one solo.  The harmonies provided by Cantrell are still spot on.  I’m sure he feels like the lucky one and/or a survivor since two of his bandmates had died of drugs.

Last night’s set was quite different than what I saw in 1991.  AIC is a well-oiled machine nowadays although there was one false start on Last of My Kind.  I am not sure who was at fault, the drummer or Cantrell.  Seemed that one of the two was confused about which song they were supposed to play.  It made for a funny moment as the band joked about it and moved on.  They were tight and while I still can’t call myself a fan, I enjoyed their set for the most part.  I only knew the “hits” that they played and whatever tracks were on Dirt.  A lot of their stuff sounds the same to me and drones on a little too much, but that’s their sound.

I wondered how many people were there that didn’t realize that Layne Stayley was gone.  I bet there was at least one!  It was also a good show for people watching.

 

Alice in Chains Setlist The Moody Theater, Austin, TX, USA, Spring Tour 2014

Edit this setlist | More Alice in Chains setlists

I guess the sign worked.  There were no incidents to report!

I guess the sign worked. There were no incidents to report!

IMG_4679

IMG_4680

What? That’s not Layne Stayley!

Wishbone Ash Concert Review, Austin, TX 4/27/2014

leave a comment »

Some reviews don’t need to get into a lot of details and this is one of them. Wishbone Ash, which is essentially Andy Powell and friends, played an incredible set at The Roost on far north Austin. The sound was incredible. There may have been 120 people there.

The plus for this tour is that they’re playing all of the album Argus. That album was my introduction to the band sometime in the late 70s through my brother. Just seeing the album cover takes me back to being a little kid sitting by the console unit stereo listening to this album with him. Argus was one of his all time favorite albums and it’s very special to me because of that. Hearing them play the album in order gave me a rush of emotions ranging from pure glee of the moment to sheer sadness in missing my brother. He would have loved it.

I did have Andy sign the book and the cd covers for Argus, Pilgrimage and their latest album, Blue Horizon. The whole band was great.

20140428-002538.jpg

20140428-002549.jpg

Satan Concert Review, Richmond, VA 04/15/2014

leave a comment »

What a whirlwind of shows I have been though in the last couple of weeks.  I’m tired.  So tired.  But it’s a good tired and my music fetish is being well served lately.

So ‘back in the day’ cerca 1984, my friend Daniel (Danile) bought Satan’s Court in the Act and shared it with Kelz, Petey and me and the rest is metal history.  I’ve loved this album since it first hit my ears.  Brian Ross’ vocals mixed with those awesome NWOBHM styled riffs made for a perfect album.  The 4 of us have always been close friends, played in bands together and never lost touch over the years.  We’re bound by metal, friendship, life events (good and bad) and have always been there for one another as needed.

Flash forward 30 years and the 4 of us still adore this album.  When Satan announced a small US tour, there was no way I was going to miss it.  I knew that I’d have to travel somewhere and luckily Richmond, VA was on the list…surprisingly so.  So we started planning the trip.  Kelz and Danile have kids and going out of town on a weeknight was going to be a little more difficult because of family and work obligations but they made it happen.  I’m sure there was some sort of bribery or Jedi mind tricks with their wives.  And that was that.  Another MitchFest was in the works, this time with all 4 of us.  I flew into Raleigh and stayed Monday night with Kelz and the fambly.   Always great hospitality at their house.  Tuesday morning we headed to Suffolk, VA to grab Danile and quickly headed up ti Petey’s house in Richmond.  Unfortunately the wife and kids were out on errands so I didn’t get to see them this time.  The car ride was as expected.  Mama jokes, old stories of our younger years, gushing about metal etc.  Before getting to Richmond, we decided to stop and grab a bite to eat at a BBQ place in Chester, VA.  I love the NC/VA style of pork  BBQ.  I can’t get it in Texas.  My sandwich was perfect, exactly what I needed.

We get to Petey’s and are greeted by his awesome wife, Amy.  He gets home shortly after and after some adult conversation and life and things that matter, the roundtable of silliness begins again.  We’re perpetually 13 years old when we’re all together and it’s a great time.  Now it’s time to get ready for the show.

Satan are playing Strange Matter in Richmond which used to be Twisters and then later Nancy Raygun.  I’ve seen a handful of shows there since the mid-90s and always like the place.  It used to be a bit of a dump, but it had its charm.  It’s been cleaned up quite a bit and I’m glad that location is still doing shows.  Before going in, we park then grub at a pub on the next block.  Just a good time having a meal and a couple of beers with my best friends.

We walk back over to the venue, get our swag out of the car and go in.  I see my pal Tony “Dio” from NC who I’ve known since about 1997 when we met at a Judas Priest show in Norfolk.  I had just seen him the week before at Rangarokkr.  As we’re standing around jibber jabbering, I see John Gallagher from Raven walk in.  How cool is that?  I’ve never been a fan of the band but I did have lunch with him and his brother and their families in 2000 before their show at Jaxx in Springfield, VA.  Nicest guy.  I check out the merch table to hopefully get a Satan shirt, but no luck in my size.  The cool thing was seeing my band’s 7″ on the merch table.  Our label was managing the Satan tour so it was great to meet those guys.

The first band to go on is Salvacion, a band from NC which has the drummer for Volture.  They were OK.  I couldn’t quite gauge exactly what they were going for.  The did a very uncomfortable version of Dokken’s Unchain The Night.  I think I would have enjoyed them more if it wasn’t for the drummer.  I get into that a little bit more when I talk about Volture.

Next up was BAT which features Felix Griffin (DRI) on drums and Ryan Waste (Municipal Waste/Volture) on vocals/bass and Volture’s Nick Poulos on guitar.  They come on and run through a blistering set of thrash/speed metal songs that were all about 3 minutes long.  Old school style.  They were solid and Felix really ripped it up in single bass style on a 4 pc drumset.  I enjoyed it and would love to see them again.

Right after BAT played, I feel a hand on my shoulder and hear a voice say my name.  I turn around and it was a girl that I had dated briefly in 1991 and that I hadn’t seen since right around that time.  She had seen on Facebook that I was in town and just stopped in to say hello.  She couldn’t stay as her husband and kid were outside in the car.  I swear she was only there for about 3 minutes and even paid to get in.  I was floored by the gesture.  The more I thought about it, the more it made sense.  That’s the type of person she always was.  Very thoughtful.  It was a special moment for sure.  I’m still a bit “wow’d” by the whole thing.

Volture comes on next and I hadn’t really paid much attention to them in the past.  There’s just so much out there that I can’t keep up any more.  The members are a mishmash of members from Municipal Waste, Immortal Avenger, Twisted Tower Dire, BAT etc.  I really liked the vocals.  The guy has some great pipes and the guitarists are perfect.  But the drummer…I just can’t take it.  He was doing way too many Rikki Rokkett type moves instead of worrying about keeping good time.  I’m a drummer as well.  I’m hyper critical of other drummers that I see.  When he was just playing the beat and not doing dumb stick tricks, his timing was fine.  But when he’d go into circus mode, the timing would fluctuate, he wasn’t hitting the snare cleanly and it would drop out of the mix and he tended to keep time on his bass drum to where he’s hitting the bass and snare at the same time.  Sorry, it just annoyed me to no end.  Obviously his band has no issue with it, but I would for sure. :)  But again, overall they sounded killer.

And then…Satan…SATAN.  I never ever thought in my lifetime that I’d get to see them live.  Right as Volture ended we made our way to the front of the stage.  Danile and I were right on the barricade and Kelz and Petey were right behind us.  Satan opens up with Trial By Fire and Ross’ vocals are on point.  He skipped the first scream in the song and I though ‘uh oh, he can’t do it any more.’  And then there it was.  His patented high notes came on cue everywhere else in the song and the rest of the set.  I was completely in awe as to how well he still sings.  He sounded perfect.  They ran though a mix of songs from Court in the Act, Life Sentence, a couple of early demos and one from Into the Future of which Brian wasn’t the singer.  They added No Turning Back mid-set which was a nice surprise.  Of course we were hoping to hear the whole Court album but I have no complaints whatsoever about the set.  They were incredible.  Ramsey/Tippins are still a formidable guitar duo and the songs on their latest album prove that.  It was just such a powerful set.  Still blown away as to how good Ross’ vocals are.

After the show, most people leave and we stick around to meet the Satan guys.  Success!   They all come out after a little break and sign swag, take pictures with us nerds etc.  It was especially nice to be sitting between Sean Taylor and John Gallagher listening to them talk about gifts they’ve sent to each others kids and some “back in the day” kinds of things.

It’s been a week since the show and I am still buzzing about it.  Really a once in a lifetime show.  Even more, I got to spend some quality time with my three best friends.  That was as important as the show.  It’s really nice knowing that even if we don’t see each other that often these days, we can always pick up right where we left off.  Love those guys.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,024 other followers