Archive for October 2010
My history with Celtic Frost goes back to about 1986 as noted here. I am a fan. While Monotheist is probably my least favorite album, it’s not bad. A year or so ago Tom G. announced that Celtic Frost was done and he had a new project called Triptykon…which uses the Frost script in one their logos. Tom seems to have some deep seeded issues with carrying on as Frost.
Triptykon was announced to play Emo’s and I was in. I mean c’mon. It’s Tom G! I bought the meet and greet pass mainly to get his signature in the book.
Per my normal routine I walk to the venue early and happen to catch Tom G. walking the streets. I talked to him for just a few moments and headed over to the venue. The pre-sale on this show was 60. SIXTY! I was able to get in early via a friend who worked there and got to catch the soundcheck. They did Usurper and for whatever reason, Tom was smiling and laughing the whole time. This was the last show on the tour as they canceled the Houston show. It is my understanding that the tour attendance had been pretty light. Last night’s show had Triptykon playing before the headliner. The tour included Yakuza (Chicago) and 1349 (Norway) on the bill. Local band Mammoth Grinder opened but I missed them.
At the end of soundcheck Tom G was asked if he needed more monitor. Tom G responded with, “I can hear myself enough. Doesn’t matter, we’re just playing Austin.” Ouch! C’mon Tom G! Show a little love!
After soundcheck I hung outside talking with a few friends before the quick meet and greet. Only 7 people (including me) bought the pass for it. Two guys drove up from Monterrey, Mexico for this. That was cool. They brought each member of the band some gifts from Mexico which mainly consisted of tequila. Very cool. I had Tom G sign the book which got the usual reaction from bands…”What the hell is this?” He read through the Celtic Frost section and signed it. We all snapped a few pictures and that was it.
I left there to drop the book off back at the house and went to a bar for a beer. I missed Mammoth Grinder and caught most of Yakuza’s set. Not my cup of tea at all. Sort of avant-garde metal with lots of saxophone. Their slower mellower stuff was alright as background music but they aren’t something that I would want to listen to regularly.
Triptykon cam on next and I was glad to see the place fill up a little. There may have been 150 people there but I think that’s pushing it. They opened up with Frost’s Procreation of the Wicked. This band is tuned
down a bit and it’s weird hearing this song in a lower key. Overall they were good, solid. Tom G is no guitar wizard by any stretch of the imagination, but he does write good riffs. The Triptykon stuff sounds like where the music from Monotheist left off. Slow, plodding, dark. I enjoyed the show quite a bit, though. How many more times are we going to see Tom G in the states, ya know? They also plays Circle of the Tyrants and Usurper with the singer for 1349 handling vocal duties.
I was tired and didn’t stick around for 1349. I’m really not that big of a black metal fan. I saw what I wanted to see.
- Crucifixus (Intro)
- Procreation of the Wicked
- Circle of the Tyrants
- Abyss Within My Soul
- The Usurper
- Synagoga Satanae
- The Prolonging
- Winter (I think they did this)
(all images clickable)
My shitty vids from the show. The lighting was terrible.
Sometime in the mid-80s, I think, a friend of mine turned me on to some jazz stuff and the one band that stuck with me was Mahavishnu Orchestra. Their album Birds of Fire remains the greatest jazz/fusion album I have ever heard. Part of the reason, a big part really, was because of the drummer, Billy Cobham. He was a very musical drummer and I loved his work on his first solo album, Spectrum and the Miles Davis albums Bitches Brew and Live-Evil. He’s just a man-beast of a drummer in his chops, but he plays such a light fluid style.
That Mahavishnu album is very special to me. When I was still drumming (84-2000), I used to practice along with Birds of Fire quite often. No, I wasn’t able to play a lot of the stuff he was doing on there, but I tried my damnedest to play along and keep up. It was good practice.
When I saw that he was playing at the One World Theatre here in Austin, I had to go. I was able to score second row seats on the center aisle. Doug Morrison came along. I’d never been to this place but Doug mentioned several times how small and awesome it is. He was right. You almost feel like you’re in your own house watching a band with perfect acoustics. The place is pretty awesome. The sound was great.
Billy’s band consists of all foreigners, including Billy. I never knew he was Panamanian. The whole band was just great and one would expect no less. But then there’s Billy. I’ve never seen such a big drummer with such a soft style. He proved all night that power drumming has absolutely nothing to do with how hard one hits. He was so fluid and solid. He did hit harder for accent in spots, but it wasn’t his main thing. It was quite awesome to watch how he was conducting things from behind the kit. Normally he’d play with his eyes closed, but when they were opened, it was usually to give someone a cue as to what was coming next. In one spot he looked over to the bassist and guitar player and just said, “four” and they just nodded and smiled. Some of the stuff they played really had that early 70s Mahavishnu feel to it.
He is so musical of a drummer and it really took me back to my playing days. It made me miss it badly. Not that I was even remotely a jazz/fusion style drummer, but I did try to be a little musical about it instead of just keeping the beat. Both Doug and I sat there in awe. For 64 years old, he is still incredibly awesome.
After the show Billy was doing an autograph signing and I didn’t bring anything as I didn’t expect him to come out and hang out. I did have him sign my ticket and he was gracious enough to do a photo with me. They didn’t allow cameras during the show so I have no photos of the band. Pity. But I do have the awesome shot below!
If this tour comes anywhere near you and you even remotely like jazz/fusion, you will not be disappointed. Just go! I’m even more excited about seeing John McLaughlin, Colin Hay and Al Dimeola there in the coming months.
I was fortunate, very fortunate to see Sanctuary on the Refuge Denied Tour in May 1987 while they were touring with Megadeth and Warlock. Sanctuary is definitely one of my favorite bands from that era and were very unique. Unfortunately I missed them on the Into The Mirror Black Tour with Fates Warning.
When I read that Warrel Dane and Jim Sheppard had formed a new band I was pretty excited. Nevermore, eh? OK, I’m in. I really only cared about hearing that patented screech of Dane’s. But it wasn’t there. I didn’t really dig the debut album or follow-up but did enjoy Dreaming Neon Black quite a bit. The last one that I really gave a chance to was Dead Heart In A Dead World, but still couldn’t get into it.
In 1997 I did go see them at Twisters in Richmond, VA on the Politics of Ecstasy Tour. They were great live and Jeff Loomis’ and Van Williams’ playing stood out more than anything in the band, even over Warrel’s
vocals. I hung out with them a bit before and after the show and they were very nice laid back dudes. I went to see them again in June 1999 at the same venue while they were touring for Dreaming Neon Black. I believe Iced Earth and Destinys End were also on the bill. It was a really cool night in general. I had just started Acacia Music (online music store) and both Century media and Metal Blade gave me free access to all of their bands who came through, including interviews and filming of the shows when possible. I was doing a dorky little cable access show that only aired in my hometown and filmed all 3 bands that night to be included on the show. I need to find the interview that I did with Warrel as it’s pretty humorous. I was such a doofus. haha.
For the next few years, when Nevermore came to the Washington, DC area, I’d film their show and bring them VHS cassettes of the previous shows that I filmed. We became pretty good pals for a few years and it was always a pleasure seeing them and hanging out. The last show I did with them was in 2001 at the930 Club in DC (I think) and hadn’t seen them since. I had lost interest in the band, I closed my music business and was just into other things for a while so I lost contact with those guys.
So now, 400 words later we get to present day. When I saw that they were playing 2 blocks from my apartment I had to go and reconnect. I bought the VIP meet and greet pass to ensure that I’d get to say hi.
They had about 20 folks there for the meet and greet. I was fortunate enough to be able to go into the club early thanks to some folks I know that work there and just hung out at the bar and chatted with some pals. Once they started signing and stuff, I hung out until the line was done and just sat down with them and reintroduced myself. Warrel said, “Dude, that was a long time ago. I’ve still got those tapes.” and blah blah blah. So I offered to take the band to dinner before their set and they obliged. Jim Sheppard was nowhere to be found and they said he was “sick” on the bus.
Dinner ended up being Van Williams, Jeff Loomis, Attila Vörös, their road manager, their 2 roadies and myself. Warrel had an interview commitment and missed dinner and as stated, Jim was “sick”. I asked Loomis about the whole Sanctuary reunion and who exactly was a part of it. He said everyone but Biosl. Sweet! But…there will likely be no tour. So far they are only booked for Power Prog Festival and the 70000 Tons of Metal cruise. Dinner was a blast and it was the
first official meeting of the Gentlemen’s League of Extraordinary Margaritas, or G.L.E.M. (pronounced gleem) for short. It was a funny conversation and the Austin chapter is now taking applications. haha. The guys were talking about Jim’s recent antics. Seems that the dude has gone off the edge a bit and it was apparent during the show.
After dinner and drinks I walked them back to their bus and headed back to Jackalope for a beer with Angela and Laura. It was Metal Monday and T.A. and Sarah Kay were playing the goods for sure. Attacker, Agent Steel, Maiden, Mercyful Fate, Krokus etc. Seeing Laura sing along to Nuns Have No Fun is priceless!
It was drawing near time for Nevermore to go on (1145 start time) and we headed back to Emo’s. I missed every opening band as I am just not a fan of any of them. Locals Vesperian Sorrow opened followed by Blackguard, Hatesphere and Warbringer. Sorry, just not interested.
Nevermore hits the stage and do their thing. Jim Sheppard looked terrible. Emaciated, run down, tired, sick, drunk, etc. I almost didn’t recognize him. It was sad to see. Warrel looked pretty worn out as well. During the set the 2 of them were having words. It was pretty wacky to see. A few shoves, middle fingers and words and Jim ended up standing behind the mains for much of the set, just hiding and acting like a little kid. He was obviously out of his head for the show. It was sad. At one point as a song ended he walked off stage and went to the bar after asking people in the crowd to buy him a drink. It was pretty pathetic to watch,
especially coming from a band that I always regarded as being pretty professional. In the final song Jim just stopped playing halfway though, handed his bass to someone in the crowd and walked off stage, out the door and onto the bus. A few times during the set, Warrel was trying to make nice with him to at least get through the set. The whole thing was pretty surreal. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jim out of the band soon if he doesn’t get his act together. You can’t let stuff like that happen during a show.
As always, Loomis and Williams were on top of their game. I consider Van Williams to be metal’s best kept drumming secret. The guy is absolutely incredible and has a unique style to his playing. The new guy, Attila, did a fine job playing rhythm guitar and the few solos he did were good. Super nice guy as well, very funny. Warrel’s voice sounded a little tired to me but not bad. I will say that I’ve heard him sound better, but again I haven’t seen him live in 9 years. I’m sure it was difficult for him to perform as well with Jim’s antics. Jim threatened a few times to push Warrel into the crowd. Everyone could hear the ridiculous banter between songs.
Seems that most other recent shows got to hear Sanctuary’s Taste Revenge. We didn’t get it. Damn!
After the final song finished, they came straight off the stage and onto the bus. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sheppard got his ass beat last night. He was certainly asking for it. The attendance was pretty light. I figure maybe 100 people were there with the majority of them being under 30 years old. Lots of minors as well. But that’s cool. Everyone seemed to like the show and everyone just shook their heads over the nonsensical stage antics. Here’s hoping that they got everything worked out. It would be a shame for it not to.
There’s really something special about listening to vinyl. One of my all time favorite records to spin was Uriah Heep’s Demons and Wizards. The record was a hand-me-down from my brother who was a pretty big Heep fan. I believe it was the very early 1980s when he exposed me to this band. As I was converting my CD version of this album to MP3 today, it really made me realize how much I missed spinning records. This is certainly one album that is best heard through a needle. Sure, the CD sounds good but there’s just something about this album that screams to be heard on vinyl.
I sold off most of my record collection years ago. Sometimes I regret it, but generally I don’t think about it too often. But today I am certainly missing it. Sometimes you just need that hit of nostalgia, ya know?
Demons and Wizards was Heep’s 3rd album and the 2nd of what I call their Holy Trilogy. Look at Yourself and Magician’s Birthday being the other two. That was a good run of albums!
I’d say the only song on this one that I don’t care for is All My Life, but I never skip it. When anyone ever asks me to recommend a Heep album to them, this is the one I tell them to start with.
So, if you don’t own this and you like classic prog and psyche rock, this is something you should check out.
Who couldn’t love this song?
And this may be my fave from the record: