The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ Concert Review, Austin, TX, July 20, 2016

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Night two of DnC’s stand in Austin.  The band went on a little later this time, around 945PM and played until 1215AM.  My friend Molly came, which was quite a pleasant surprise.

What another great night.  DnC mixed up the setlist as they’re apt to do every night and played some more deep cuts.  As an added surprise Cheetah Chrome from The Dead Boys joined the band on stage to sing and play guitar on Sonic Reducer and just guitar Out in the Middle of Nowhere.  That was pretty cool.

It was a bit of a smaller crowd and I saw some of the same folks there from the night before.  It felt hotter in there as well.  Sweatin’ it out!  It felt good, though.  Rock and roll feels good.

Written by The Metal Files

July 21, 2016 at 9:16 am

Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ Concert Review, Austin, TX, July 19, 2016

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Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ (DnC) are in town on a 2 day stint and that makes me happy.  A band I was in back in the early-to-mid 90s played a handful of their songs and they became a band that I thoroughly enjoyed.  I didn’t get to see them back in those days and the first time seeing them being only 2 years ago during SxSW.

I was surprised to see that they got booked at The Sahara Lounge in Austin’s far east side.  This is a true dive bar in an area that’s starting to gentrify.  I had only driven by the location before last night.  Nothing was clear online as to when the band would start so I showed up at 8PM and parked.  There were only 2 other cars there and I thought to myself that this was going to be a poorly attended show.

The band rolled in a few minutes after I did and I offered to help them load in along with another guy who had arrived early.  This bar is tiny but has a lot of character and a friendly staff.

DnC took the stage at 930 and played for 2.5 hours straight.  Wow.  It was hot in there, too.  The little wall unit ACs just barely took the edge off of the heat, but I was fine with sweating it out with the band.  The band now features Warner Hodges of Jason and the Scorchers fame and is a top notch guitar player.  The rest of the band, including main man Kevin Kinney, sounded great.  DnC has a lot of material and I’m mostly familiar with some of the earlier stuff, but it all sounds like DnC.  Kevin is a great riff writer and lyricist.

All said and done, I think there may have been 50-60 people there, maybe a little more.  It was a very welcoming crowd as well.  They played everything I would’ve wanted to hear except for Smoke.  It was one of my favorites to cover and I love the riff in that one.  After the show I asked Kevin if we’d hear it at Wednesday’s show.  “We’d have to relearn it, mainly me.  I haven’t played that one in a long time.”  Bummer.  That being said, I’ll be at the Wednesday show as well.

 

Written by The Metal Files

July 20, 2016 at 12:10 pm

Ted Nugent Concert Review, Austin, TX, July 17, 2017

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Ted Nugent.  Just the mention of his name to some, especially here in Austin, sends people’s triggers through the roof.  When the show was announced on Facebook, the SJWs of Austin took to their keyboards in protest.  “I’ll never go to your venue again!” “Boycott the Scoot Inn!”  “Such and such should be ashamed of themselves for booking this asshole!” and blah blah blah.  It was fun to watch.  That being said, I bought a ticket as I’ve never seen Sweaty Teddy before.

Some history…one of my older brothers, Robert (RIP), was a huge Nugent fan in the 70s and 80s and through his fandom, I became familiar with the first 4 or 5 albums.  Just the sight of those records takes me back to being a kid again.  Oddly, the only album of his that I ever owned was Little Miss Dangerous as I liked the title track.  I went back and re-listened to that one a few weeks ago and it’s pretty horrible.

As a musician, the guy is a guitar beast and severely underrated. As a human being, well, I wouldn’t mind meeting him but I don’t think I’d want to be his neighbor.  One thing I learned over the years was that if I based my fandom of bands on the people in the band and their previous transgressions, I’d probably never be able to listen to any band ever again.  Stones?  Bowie?  Sheesh, there goes a chunk of my music collection right there!

My buddy Jason K went with me and we arrived right around 730PM just after the opening band, who isn’t worth mentioning, had finished.  This was an early show with a hard curfew of 10PM.  I was pleased to see the 5 protesters out front and wish I had taken a photo of their signs, but oh well.  Good for them for exercising their First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution.  I applaud that.

Ted hit the stage right at 8PM with his rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and went into Gonzo after that.  I expected long-winded political rants speckled between songs but hardly got anything out of him besides, “The world sucks these days, America just sucks a lot less,” and “I’m from Detroit, the murder capital of America, and that’s only because we’re a better shot,” and burped “Obama.”  Pretty much everything else was about his love of Bo Diddley and Texas.  I was a bit surprised.

Up next was Free-For-All, which is one of my favorites.  Ted handled vocals for the whole show except for Stormtroopin’, another favorite.  Bassist, Greg Smith, sang on that one.  Greg has been with everyone it seems including Wendy O Williams.  I met him 2 years ago when he toured with Hellion.  Great bassist.  It was also good to hear Hey Baby and Good Friends and a Bottle of Wine.  Ted’s guitar playing was top notch.  His trio was rounded out by 21yr old drummer, Jason Hartless, who was perfect all night.

I was told that presales on the show were about 450 and I think the overall number was about 700 or so in an outdoor venue that can hold 1200.  I stayed up on the deck in the back with a couple of friends.  It was a nice evening and even better running into my old friend, Robin, whom I hadn’t seen in some years.

This was likely my first and last Nuge show.  It was fun and I got to see what I needed to see.

 

 

Written by The Metal Files

July 18, 2016 at 8:28 am

Riot V Concert Review, Detroit, MI, July 9, 2016

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And away I go to Detroit.  That was a long drive on minimal sleep.  I booked a hotel while I had stopped for breakfast at a truck stop.  As soon as I arrived to my hotel in Romulus, MI right by the airport, I took a shower and a quick nap.  I had a bunch of things I wanted to do and see that day but was just too wiped out to do them all.  The only thing I did do was to see my old friend Nikki.  We met in 1999 or 2000, went on a couple of dates and just ended up quickly becoming close friends.  We recorded an album together in 2002(?) and had seen each other since about 2004.  It was great to see her and her fiancee, laugh about old times and just be around her.  She’s always been one of the most positive people I’ve ever known.

From there I went back to the hotel to catch a Lyft ride up to the Token Lounge in Westland, MI.  I arrived right when the opener was starting.  I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and was getting hungry.  I noticed a pizza place on the end of the building and as I was leaving to go grab a slice or two, the door guy said, “No re-entry.”  I didn’t notice the sign when I had walked in.  He said to just phone in the order and they’ll walk it down.  I was about to do just that then he said, “Fuck it, there’s no one here yet, just go.”  Sweet.  The pizza place was called “Krustyzz.”  I ordered it to go and took it back to the bar.  They had some hightop tables behind the soundboard in an area that was separated by glass.  It was nice to sit and eat and not be blasted out.  The pizza was greasy but delicious.

The opener was called SixE SixE (Sixe Sixe?).  I don’t know.  They were pretty awful.  Not sure if they were a brand new band or what, but it wasn’t solid at all and the 2 songs I heard sounded like 90s style hard rock.  Glad I missed most of their set.  Terminus was up next.  Unfortunately it wasn’t the Irish band of the same name.  These guys were pure new metal and even covered Lamb of God.  I almost threw up my pizza.  Guitar players were good, though.  Heard a few solos that were impressive.  There came Acoustic Hell.  It was everything you’d think it was with that name.  Three acoustic guitars, a guy 50ish yrs old in flip flops and his hat on backwards and a female backup singer.  They played stuff like Crazy Train, Screaming in the Night and some other stuff that I couldn’t care about.  Luckily my pal Ryan showed up and I hung out with him and his friends on the back patio for the rest of their set.  Wulfhook was up next.  I neither loved nor hated them at Ragnarokkr and my reaction was the same at this show.  I’m not sure what it is that doesn’t quite catch my ear.  Singer has a powerful range, the rest of the band is solid and competent, but I’m just not into them.  Then…THEN, they did an encore version of Powerslave.  Maiden is my favorite band ever and I am picky about hearing cover versions of their music.  They played it pretty well then I heard, “When the life givers die.”  Not just once, but every time that section was played.  WTF.  No.

Riot time.  Thankfully.  They played the same set as the night before, flawlessly.  Such a powerful band to watch.  The crowd was considerably smaller, though.  Maybe a 100 people or so when they took the stage and it cleared out little by little throughout their set.  But I enjoyed it just as much.

After the show, the bar didn’t kick anyone out and we got to hang out.  It was drummer, Frank Gilchrist’s birthday, so we did a shot of whisky together.  I didn’t get to talk to him much at the Chicago show, but we caught up for quite a bit on Saturday.  He’s a good dude for sure.  I also got some one on one time with Mike Flyntz.  I requested Maryanne to get added to the set and he said that it’s the most requested song that they get.  I’d also like to hear more from the Mike Demeo era.  He was super cool as always and thanked me for making the trip.  As I was going over to talk with Donnie, he introduced me to his merch guy.  I saw him in Chicago and thought he looked familiar but couldn’t place it.  It was Giles Lavery who sang for Warlord for a little while.  I was shocked to see him and it was great to finally meet him in person.  What a great guy.  We talked for a while and had a beer.  He mentioned that his main band, Dragonsclaw, had a new album coming out.  It was quite a great night.  That venue is really cool, too.  Medium sized, great staff, great sound.  I’d like to visit the area again and hopefully that trip can coincide with a show here.

Sunday morning I just popped into a record store before heading to an airport.  I got a Paul Stanley shirt which just has the ’77 solo album cover on it with no lettering.  The store was certainly into ICP as their merch was everywhere and even a sign out front stating that they had tickets to the juggalo gathering.  Ha.

Twas a great weekend overall getting to see a band that I love in 2 other cities.

 

Written by The Metal Files

July 11, 2016 at 3:38 pm

Riot V Concert Review, Chicago, IL, July 8, 2016

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I like Riot/Riot V.  All incarnations.  Period.  They’ve never released a bad album.  Some better than others, but never a bad one.

I ran into their bassist, Donnie Van Stavern, at a RUSH tribute show in San Antonio a few weeks ago and asked him about upcoming shows.  He mentioned the Chicago and Detroit shows and I checked my concert calendar and my Southwest account and took the decision to just go.  He said he’d hook me up with guestlist for both shows, so that was an added bonus.

I left for Chicago Friday morning on a direct flight, got there, grabbed my rental car and headed straight to the north side of town to pick up Bob, one of the organizers of the Ragnarokkr festival.  He graciously offered up his place for the night.  We headed first to Metal Haven Grill and I pigged out on their tasty Italian beef and a char polish sausage.  It was entirely too much food but it was delicious.  You gotta go if you’re ever in Chicago.  Their record and CD selection is ever expanding and there is a ton of great original heavy metal artwork on display, mind-numbingly so.  From there we went to one of the locations of Reckless Records.  I didn’t find anything but it was a cool place.  Afterwards we headed back to Bob’s.  I changed clothes and off we went to the red line EL train to Reggie’s.

We got in and I saw a couple of folks I knew from the area that I had met at previous Ragnarokkr shows.  Crusader was the opening act and they played the whole time I was upstairs at Record Breakers store where I bought a bunch of albums to have shipped back to Texas.  Didn’t hear a note of them so I can’t comment.  Scars of Armageddon were on next and they were a proggy/power metal/slight hint of nu-metal band with excellent guitar work and a good singer.  I’d never buy an album by them but wouldn’t be upset to see them again.  Direct support for Riot was a local Judas Priest tribute band called Judas Rising.  Pass.  I mean, sure, they sounded alright although their singer I think would sound better doing a Di’Anno era Maiden tribute.  I don’t know, I just wasn’t feeling it at all.

After a quick set change, the lights go down and you hear the taped live version of Narita and then Frank leads in with the drum into to Flight of the Warrior.  The crowd of 200+ was into it, singing every word.  They then went into Ride Hard, Live Free from the latest album and then Fight or Fall.  I was on the stage left side where Van Stavern and Lance Barnewold (filling in for Nick Lee for this mini tour) we located.  Lance is Nick’s perfect replacement.  Both guys have flawless execution of riffs and solos.  They mix the set up with old and new songs.  The whole band was great.  I also appreciated getting handed the bottle of tequila from Donnie a couple of times.  And just let me say this, Todd Michael Hall is one of the best singers in metal out there right now.  That guy’s range is phenomenal.  He’s really just a freak of nature vocally like Harry Conklin and Mike Soliz.  It was great to hear Black Leather and Glittering Steel in the set as well.  They did 6 from Thundersteel including my fave, Johnny’s Back.

At the end of their set, Todd announced that they’d com out to the merch booth right after a quick break.  Two minutes after that, Reggie’s staff was kicking everyone out.  It wasn’t even 1:30 AM yet.  So we just hung out on the street with the locals friends and then went around to their back door to shoot the breeze with Donnie, Mike and Lance.  During their set, I took a pick of Lance and posted it on NIck’s Facebook page with the words, “Fake Nick is getting it done.”  haha.

It was a great show but I was beat so we hopped on the train back to Bob’s.  We got delayed at one stop because of some dude raising hell at the stand and not letting the doors close.  The guy sitting across from me woke up and said, “Fucking crackies!”  A few moments we were on our way.

I got to sleep around 4AM but I didn’t sleep well at all.  I was up and ready to go by 745AM, said adios to Bob and was on my almost 5hr drive to Detroit.

click fotos

 

Written by The Metal Files

July 11, 2016 at 2:26 pm

America Concert Review, San Antonio, TX, July 2, 2016

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It’s the 4th of July weekend, what better band to see than America?  I missed their Austin show a few months back and was happy to see they booked a San Antonio show.

It’s been a busy day.  I had just had the first rehearsal with my new band and then went to meet Stryper.

My beautiful friend, Margarita, met me at the show and in we went.  The Tobin Center is a great venue.  Absolutely gorgeous and not a bad seat in the house.

I’ve always loved the band since I was a kid.  AM radio gold type stuff.  The band consists of 2 of the originals, Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley.  And as no surprise, the backing band was incredible.

They opened with Tin Man and You Can Do MagicSandman and You Can Do Magic were my 2 faves of the night.  They sounded great, especially Dewey’s vocals.  Gerry’s were a little rough but those harmonies get tough at their age.  The set was mixed with everything from their famous greatest hits album to a few deeper cuts and a couple of newer songs.  It was a great show overall and was sold out.

 

Written by The Metal Files

July 3, 2016 at 10:35 am

Stryper Concert Review, San Antonio, TX, July 2, 2016

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In November 1985 (hard to believe it’s been almost 31 years) I attend my first metal concert ever.  It was Stryper at the Boathouse in Norfolk, VA (RIP). I was 15 and it was a pretty important show for us.  The next opportunity to see them was in 1988 opening for Hurricane at the Hampton Coliseum.  I didn’t go as I was already disinterested in Stryper by then.  My friend Bill and I did cruise the parking lot that night to check out the ladies and haze the posers though.  haha.

To be honest, Michael Sweet’s vocals really grate on my nerves.  He’s the Dennis DeYoung (Styx) of metal.  That being said, the 1985 show was still a big thing for me and getting the chance to meet them and have them sign their photo in The Book was an opportunity that I didn’t want to miss.

Once I got to speak to them, I mentioned that Boathouse show and that it was my first  metal show.  They were pretty much indifferent but Tim Gaines did say that he remember that “dumpy venue.”  Oz Fox was mildly interested in The Book as was Michael Sweet who said, “Ah yes, I’ve seen one of these before.”  Robert Sweet looked like he didn’t want to be there, reminiscent of meeting Scott Ian.  But whatever, I got them in The Book and that’s what was important.  After a quick photo I headed over to the America show.

The Stryper show was sold out and when I got back to the venue, Austin’s The Dharma Kings were on stage.  I missed the other 5 openers completely.  I wish I had missed The Dharma Kings.  While that dude has a decent voice, their songs are pretty uninteresting.  Add to the fact that it was jam packed in there and hot as hell.  I finished their set on the patio enjoying a refreshing beer.

Stryper hit the stage around 10:50 opening with Yahweh (Ya Guey?)then into the classic You Know What To Do.  I had forgotten how much of a shredder Michael Sweet was.  He had been sick during some recent shows on this tour but showed no signs of that last night as he was hitting all of the high notes effortlessly.  They played a few more songs that I didn’t know and then went into Co’mon Rock, a song that I do like and maybe my favorite by them.  The crowd was really into them.  San Antonio loves Jesus and Stryper apparently.  The band sounded fantastic in general.  Backing vocals were perfect.  You often hear about drummers playing behind the beat and i don’t think any drummer exemplifies that term more than Robert Sweet.

They did an album of covers a few years back and played Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell and KISS’ Shout it out Loud.  After the KISS cover, I was done.  Tired, bored and having seen what the setlist was, it wasn’t worth waiting around for the closer, Soldier Under Command.  So I bailed.

It was a good and busy day but I’ll likely not see Stryper again, at least not for another 31 years.

 

Written by The Metal Files

July 3, 2016 at 10:00 am

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