Flashback Loudness Concert Review April 2, 2006
Flashback to July 1986. I’m 16 years old and decided to use some of the money that I made from bagging groceries during my Summer job to buy a cassette. So I go to Roses department store and am just flipping through their stuff and I see Loudness’ Lightning Strikes tape. I had read about them in Circus magazine a time or two and thought I’d try em out. So I pay $7.99+tax and I am on my way out the door.
Not so fast…A plain clothes police officer grabbed me by the arm and said, “Come with me.” So I called to my older brother who was a few steps ahead of me to come back. So as this police officer was walking me to the back, I am raising hell with her. “What the hell is this all about?! I’ve done nothing wrong!” etc etc. We get to the back room of the store and she starts questioning me about my shoes. “What about them?” She accused me of stealing them from the store. They were a pair of Converse Chuck Taylor high tops off white in color. Apparently someone stole a pair of the same size and color from the store earlier that morning. Oddly enough, I bought this pair that morning but from another store in the same shopping center. She wouldn’t let it go (no pun intended for the Loudness fans in the room). Kept asking me for a receipt. So I told her to call my house, ask my mom to look on my bed and the receipt will be there. So she called, the receipt was there, the Chief of Police got a call shortly thereafter from my mom. That day started my love affair for Loudness.
Fast forward to last night in Fayetteville, NC. This is a huge military town and many parts of it reminded me of Norfolk. The main drag leading into the base was nothing but titty bars and pawn shops. I get to my hotel around 2:30PM and my best friend who lives in Raleigh got there shortly thereafter. So we hang out and decide to go get some food and jibber jabber and catch up. Another friend of mine was supposed to go with me but he got sick the night before. I sold the spare ticket I had to another friend I ran into there.
The venue opened at 7 and the first band was to start at 8. We hung out with a few folks we both knew and I saw Danny Stanton walk in and walk to the merch table. So I go back up and shake hands with him as I have known him for a while. He has been the tour manager for Thin Lizzy, WASP and Twisted Sister and other over the last 5-6 years. He also used to be the singer for NYC metal band Takashi in the mid-80s.
So the first band comes on promptly at 8. HellRazor. I was told that they have only been together for a few months and it showed. Sloppy, horribly sloppy. All original pseudo-thrash. They did a cover of Ozzy’s Breaking All the Rules and it was an absolute train wreck. I was glad their set ended quickly. Frexon Zo was supposed to open but not sure what happened to them. I think they would have been a bit more interesting.
Anyway, Widow played next. I had seen their disc on a few websites and saw they were on the same label as Tim Aymar’s Pharoah. Here’s the CD cover:
Yes, female fronted. And yes, that is the actual album cover. The cover is horrible! Ugh. I’m not a fan of 99% of the female fronted metal acts. To my surprise, she was booted out of the band about a month ago and the 2 guitarists. So they start and I was thinking they would decent from what a few folks have said and judging by the label they are signed to. Needless to say I was not impressed. The one guitarist who sane the clean vocals sounded good voice-wise, but his guitar kept crapping out. The drummer was obviously a huge fan of Robert Sweet and Scott Rockenfield and it showed from his drum set up. He had great backing vocals. The bassist was good. Overall I wasn’t impressed. I mean
they weren’t terrible, but I would not go out of my way to ever see them again.
Up next…Loudness! What a shock it was to see them on stage. I never realized how tiny they were. Minoru and Akira may have been 5’1″ at the most. Masayoshi was about 5’5″ and Munetaka was the tallest at about 5’8″. I have a few DVDs of them playing in the 80s with the over-the-top hair and such and they came out last night just wearing track suits and such, short hair and Akira looked like he was raised in Compton. He bounced around the stage like he was in RUN DMC. They played 16 songs and played them well, but the stuff from the last 5 years is a lot different. They tuned down as most bands from that era have to do to allow for the singer to sing in key to the music. Minoru’s voice still sounded pretty good and he was pretty funny when speaking between songs. “Being from Japan, trying to pronounce some English words can be difficult. I’ve been working on this one all day: North Car-o-lina.” He then went on to say, “I don’t even know what I am saying in Japanese half of the time.” Funny stuff. Masayoshi’s bass playinog was top notch. We were on his side for the evening and he made it a point to give my friend and I a bass pick each when the show ended. Very cool. Munetaka did not look comfortable behind the kit and it appeared that he was in pain. He seemed to play very conservatively.
Now we get to Akira. He’s always been one of my favorite guitarists and last night definitely solidified his place in my rankings. I can’t say I have ever seen anyone who is so comfortable on a guitar and seemingly be able to make it do exactly what he wants. He can be so fast and precise and then switch gears and hit some notes that just ooze with feel. Absolutely incredible. He only used Killer Guitars, which I believe are owned by EPS now.
After the show, some of us just hung out in the club as it was still early, only 11:30 or so. The Loudness guys all came out for some drinks and met and signed stuff for folks. I got to have some good conversation with all of them and they were so very gracious.
The downside to the show was that only about 90 people showed up. Fayettevile is not the most central location and this club does no real promotion. It would hold about 400 on a full night. They sold out Jaxx the night before.
There were about a dozen Japanese folks there who were behind us singing all of the Japanese parts along with Minoru, which was pretty cool.
All in all, it was a great time and well worth the 20 year wait to see them.
Photos from the show can be viewed here.
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