The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Archive for March 2011

Odin! Odin! Odin! Odin! pt 2

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I am a happy boy right now.

Odin is doing a rare show on August 27th, 2011 at the famed Whisky A Go-Go in Hollywood.  I’ve been a fan since 1986 and wanted to catch their last reunion show but missed it.  My concert ticket is bought and now I just need to book my flight and I’m set.  This has been a long time coming.

If you like some great hard rock, I also recommend Shawn and Jeff Duncan’s band DC4.  It’s killer rock and roll by a great bunch of dudes.  You can read about my trip to LA to see DC4 from 2009 here.

Damn, I’m a happy boy right now.

Serpent Throne

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White Summer*Black Winter

I like a lot of instrumental bands but I’ve always found it difficult to find quality instrumental rock bands that didn’t write their stuff to sound like they were writing around having a singer.  Philadelphia’s Serpent Throne satisfies my instrumental craving perfectly.

I met the two guitarists, Demian Fenton and Don Argott, at the premier for the movie Last Days Here during the SxSW 2011 Film and Music Festival.  You can read my review of their movie here.  They are the guys behind the production/direction of the movie and in talking with Demian after the flick, he mentioned that he was in a band and I had forgotten about it until a few days after seeing the movie as I was wrapped up in a lot of SxSW activities.

Since then I have been spinning their stuff practically non-stop.  Metal has a lot of sub-genres and these guys would typically be classified in the stoner rock and doom categories.  To call them Black Sabbath worship is too easy.  Pretty much all metal bands worship Sabbath whether they know it or not.  Serpent Throne take it to a bit of a different level in my opinion.  They use lots great dual guitar harmonies that are reminiscent of Thin Lizzy in places.  I hear hints of Trouble (S/T LP era) in there as well, intended or not.  There are some cool hints of 70s Scorpions as well as Uriah Heep and Wishbone Ash.  Maybe some Cactus too.  It’s a nice blend of great rock and metal without sounding like they are just ripping off all of the classic bands.

I think it’s pretty tough for an instrumental band of this genre to continue to write stuff and keep it interesting and Serpent Throne has done that

The Battle of Old Crow

with all 3 of their albums: Ride Satan Ride (2007), The Battle of Old Crow (2009) and White Summer*Black Winter (2010).  I highly recommend picking up all of their stuff.  Battle of Old Crow and White Summer*Black Winter are available for download from Amazon and iTunes.  I had to buy the CD for Ride Satan Ride and convert it to MP3 myself as it’s not available for legal download.

Hopefully I’ll catch these guys live sometime, even if it means heading to Philly for it.  Would be cool to have them hit Austin for a show sometime.  I think they’d do well here, especially if they were in on a SxSW gig.  So, nice work, guys!  Hope all good things come out of Last Days Here as well.

Concert Review – Naam 3/18/11 SxSW

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I first caught Naam last year when they were on the bill with Voi Vod at SxSW 2010 and instantly became a fan.  Their breed of space rock, stoner rock, metal, psyche rock or whatever other monikers you want to give it really set well with me.

A month or 2 ago they stated that there would be no showing at SxSW 2011 because of management issues or something but ultimately they got it done and ended up doing a few shows around town.  I was able to catch the one at Headhunters on Friday.  They were on the back patio which is tiny and I was one of the last folks in the door…and that put my fat ass right in front of the band.  A little too close from a band’s perspective in my opinion but having everyone in their faces didn’t seem to matter at all.  They pushed through their set with intensity and the crowd really liked them a lot.  They were loud, heavy, solid.

Naam does it right.  They are tight and I really like the way they do their vocals by enhancing them with a lot of chorus, delay and reverb.  It fits with their music perfectly.  I’m especially impressed with John Bundy’s bass playing.  That guy works his Fender Precision bass like a $9 hooker.

Can’t wait to see them again!

You can buy their stuff on iTunes or via All That is Heavy.

Written by The Metal Files

March 23, 2011 at 7:48 am

Concert Review – Danava 3/17/11 SxSW

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It’s not very often that I hear/see a band that makes my jaw hit the floor and makes me want to run around and tell every person that I know to check them out.  That’s what Portland’s Danava did for me this year at the SxSW music festival.  I had never heard of this band until a few days before the festival when viewing the showcase at Valhalla that also featured Christian Mistress and Zoroaster, 2 other bands that I like a lot.  I didn’t get a chance to listen to them before the show so I went into this cold.

Dang!  These guys kicked into a 70s style jam fest that hit me right in the nuts.  When i say “jam” I don’t mean like some hippie jam band improv type of thing, this music was well-thought out riff-oriented hard rock.  I heard elements of a lot of my favorite bands like Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash, Hawkwind, Allman Brothers, White Witch, Thin Lizzy and even more modern 70s worship style ala Witchcraft.

One of their defining attributes is their riffing style.  Lots of movement all over the fretboard with the 2 guitarists playing some great melodies.  Add in the bassist playing the same riffs behind them and it’s pretty badass to watch and hear.  He’s really a damn fine bassist in general.  It’s great to see a band that obviously rehearses a lot.  They’ve been on the road quite a bit over the last few years as well and that has a tendency to tighten a band up as well.  Mix in the clean vocals (very early Ozzy-era Sabbath/Bobby Liebling) and you’ve got a great mix.

After their set I was looking for some merch to buy but they didn’t have it handy.  Fortunately their music is on iTunes and I downloaded their entire catalog a few hours after seeing them (3AM!).  I was happy to catch them again a few nights later for free for a quick set.  Just great.  Period.

Highly recommended!

Written by The Metal Files

March 22, 2011 at 7:29 am

Concert Review – Christian Mistress 03/17/11 SxSW

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I caught Christian Mistress at Red 7 in October 2010 (review here) and enjoyed their set.  I had noted that their set in October didn’t seem that tight and I think I will go ahead and chalk that up to a bad night for them.  This year during the SxSW festival I was happy that they were playing a showcase show as I have been wanting to see them again as I listen to their EP regularly.

I really thought they were great this time.  Tight.  Solid.  Damn fine metal showing.  Christine’s voice sounded great.  I’ll certainly catch them if/when they come back.  They may have played another show around town, but I didn’t know about it.  I would have gone again for sure.

If you get a chance, check out their clips on YouTube and buy their demo from them or on iTunes.

Give us a new album already!  ;)

Written by The Metal Files

March 21, 2011 at 4:57 pm

SxSW 2011 Quick Hits & Misses

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I’ll post reviews of some of my favorite happenings later, but here are some quick posts about some of this year’s SxSW happenings that I found.

  • Flatstock 29 – Flatstock is a poster art show where artists from all around showcase their wares andoffer them to the public for sale.  Since my first year of attending SxSW (2007), there has been a guy there named Brian Mercer who I think is an incredible artist and a helluva a nice dude.  I think I have bought a poster from him every year and got to see him away from the art show in a few clubs during the week.  I highly recommend his work, no matter if you’re a collector or you need some work done.  Check out his site:  Mercer Rock.  There were a lot of other good artists there but most made posters for bands I had no interest in.  Local artist Billy Perkins who sings for Butcherwhite was showing as well.  He has a current collection of works in process called “77”.  I picked up his Ace Frehely poster at FunFunFunFest a few months ago and this week picked up his Alice Cooper poster.  I love his style.  He also does band posters as needed.
  • Wednesday night I wanted to get into the Warbeast/Arson Anthem show at Emo’s.  The line was insanely long and none of the bands on the whole bill were really worth waiting that long for.  I can catch Warbeast again as they play Austin pretty regularly.
  • That same Wednesday I did get to catch Chicago’s Easy Action at the Ale House.  I had seen them a year or 2 prior and enjoy their brand of garage punk rock.  I met up with my friend Diane Kamikaze from WFMU.  We met last year at VoiVod and became fast friends.  She’s awesome and I’m glad I got to see her and her friend every day during the festival.
  • I did get to see quite a few bands throughout the week that just didn’t do a thing for me.  I won’t mention any by name but here’s a photo of one band from France that was pretty terrible except for their drummer.  The caption should read, “My shorts are more FuBu than yours!”  They were a ‘metal’ band, by the way.  Luckily most of the other bands on the bill saved the night.
  • People watching during SxSW is pretty interesting.  The influx of hipsters and gutter punks is crazy.  The hipsters seem to enjoy wearing vintage 80s “fashions” that really don’t fit.  I don’t know…most of what I see on them looked bad back in the 80s and still looks bad now.  I guess everyone’s got their thing, that just isn’t mine.  I’ll stick to my 80s looks of black t-shirt, blue jeans and black boots.   I at least wash my hair and bathe regularly.  It’s also cool meeting some of the foreigners who attend the festival.  After seeing the Bobby Liebling movie “Last Days Here“, I ran into some guys from Japan who were commenting on the patches on my jacket.  I told them I was seeing Loudness pretty soon and one of the guys pulls out his travel case with a 25th anniversary Loudness sticker on it.  He mentioned that their new drummer is a friend of his.  We had a quick discussion about Japanese metal and then parted ways.  The saw me again on the street the following night and handed me a CD of some J-Pop stuff.  Nice guys.
  • Street food/food trailers are a big thing in this town nowadays and even more so during the festivals.  Simms’ BBQ trailer at the corner of 7th and Red River is top notch in my book.  Their pulled-pork sandwich with pickles and onions really tastes like a McRib.  At least this is real pork.  Everything from this place is good.  The other usual suspects did me right as well like The Hot Dog King, Kebabalicious and Jackalope.  I did hit a veggie burger place yesterday that was pretty awful.  I hadn’t eaten since the previous day and there was no line there…I now know why!  I could not add enough pickles, spicy mustard and bbq sauce to drown out the nasty drabness of that burger.  Lesson learned.  Besides eating the street food, I am pretty sure I managed to lose some weight over the last few days.  I did tons of walking and my feet and knees are aching, but it’s a good thing.
  • Saturday morning I was able to catch The Rods at Cheapo Records at 11AM.  While I’ve never been a fan of them, I wanted to go see them for posterity’s sake and to get the book signed.  Mission accomplished.  Their set was lively and some of their true fans were there and that was great to see.  They were solid, I’m just not a big fan of their style of hard rock.  Their bassist, Gary Bordonaro was really good though.  I ended up seeing Gary and Carl Canedy on the street later that night as they were loading in for another gig downtown.  Apparently Wendy Dio was in attendance for that one!  Pretty cool.
  • I got to run into a few folks that I’ve wanted to meet for a while.  On Friday I ran into Wino from St Vitus at Scoot Inn and snapped a quick photo with him.  Dude’s a legend.  I didn’t make the Vitus show that night but heard it was good.  earlier that day I went to the D’Addario showcase and to see The Alex Skolnick Trio.  It was a fun show and Alex is a damned good player.  He was giving out free copies of his latest CD.  Repping for D’Addario was Frank Aresti from Fates Warning.  Oh man.  I’m a freak for early Fates Warning and especially the John Arch era.  A friend of Frank’s told me he was going to be there so when given an oppurtunity I chatted with him a bit, snapped a photo or 2 and got him to sign the book as well.  He told me a little about the upcoming album with John Arch and how John’s vocals still sound the same after 25 years.  I can’t wait for it to come out.  Before leaving I got to snap a show with both Alex and Frank.  That will be a moment cherished forever.
  • The Texas Guitar Show was pretty weak.  Much smaller than last year and I’m sure the economy has a lot to do with that.  Nobody was making deals either.  I did find one 80s Fender Jazz bass that I was interested in and he had it listed at or slightly above book value.  I offered a few hundred less and he said “all prices are what they are.”  Fine, I put my credit card back in my wallet and moved on.

All in all this has been a fun week.  I’m super tired, my feet and knees are killing me, I think my liver stopped working and I think I could go without seeing another band for a good week or 2…but I will make one more trip out this evening when Danava plays again.  They were my highlight of the festival along with spending time with Pentagram, both of which I will post about later.

Written by The Metal Files

March 20, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Movie Review: Last Days Here (The Story of Pentagram’s Bobby Liebling)

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Bobby Liebling is not a scary dude, but he’s been through some scary stuff.  One look at the scars on his arms and the age in his eyes and you know he’s been down some rough roads, left hand paths even.  Most people who have done meth, heroin and crack for as long as he has don’t survive.  Bobby Liebling is a survivor.

As noted in previous posts (here and here), I’ve been a Pentagram fan for 20+ years.   Finally getting to see them for the first time 2 years ago was a joy and last year’s encounter with them even better.

When I first saw that there was a documentary by 9.14 Pictures about Bobby being made and being world-premiered right here in Austin during the SxSW Festival, I was pretty excited.  Just last year I was fortunate enough to see the premier of the Lemmy movie.

I took off a few hours early for work to be able to attend the movie which was being shown at the Austin Convention Center at 4:30PM.  I go in and there are people everywhere.  The way admission works at these things is that if you have a Film Festival badge or wristband, you get automatic admission into events before those of us who choose not to purchase the credentials.  I never do.  I went to the ticket booth and they said “If there’s available seating it’ll cost $10 to see the movie.”  Sweet.  I think we paid $16 or less last year to see the Lemmy movie.

As I was waiting in the ticket purchase line, I see a long-haired dude in a leather jacket with some credentials hanging around his neck.  He was talking to someone in the next line over and I spot his name on his badge and see that he was one of the directors of the film, Demian Fenton.  He spots me and comes over and asks if I am there to see Last Days Here.  He complemented my Candlemass shirt, we spoke about the film and Pentagram for a few minutes and he left.  A few minutes later he comes back and hands me an 11” x 14” movie poster.  Awesome.

They start letting the badge holders and wristband wielders in then allow the ticket purchasers to buy a ticket and go in.   The theater was huge, bigger than I expected.  There were a few hundred seats on the floor and a few hundred more bleacher style seats.  I headed to top dead center of the bleacher seats.  My guess is that only about 75 people at the most were there.  I saw one guy in a Pentagram shirt and a few other people that I recognized from some shows around town.  Most people there were likely curious movie-goers.  Of course I feel that the turnout was pretty weak. Before the movie starts, the directors and producer were introduced and spoke for a few minutes.

The lights go down and the movie starts. The documentary begins in 2006 and you’re basically hit right off the bat seeing Bobby smoking crack.  It was painful to see.  His arms are bandaged up basically from wrist to should and his hands are swollen looking and black.  The crack and meth make him believe that he has bacteria on him that he has to pick off.  You get a long glimpse of his upper inner-bicep area where he has picked so much that it was just an open sore.  I’m not grossed out very easily but I did turn my head away from the screen for a moment.

You’re introduced to Sean “Pellet” Pelletier who was a huge Pentagram fan that basically became Bobby’s personal assistant, friend and tour manager.  You see his struggle in trying to help the band get things together to do some shows and you see the pain in his eyes from seeing his friend continually get messed up more and more from his drug use.

Bobby’s mom and dad and shown quite a bit as Bobby was living in their basement (The Sub-Basement) for much of his adult life.  His drug use has taken its toll on his parents as well.  His mom was still taking care of him, and really still enabling him.  You get a peek into what may have been a trigger for Bobby’s drug use when his dad speaks about how he wanted bigger and better things for his son (as most parents do).  His dad was apparently a pretty well-known Asst Secretary of State who worked for 3 or 4 presidents starting with Johnson.

It’s a pretty common theme for many drug users it seems.  A lot of pressure from parents to live up to their expectations and out of rebellion and maybe attention seeking, you become self-destructive…by choice.  No one forced those needles into Bobby nor did anyone force him to smoke crack.   I didn’t really get the feeling from the movie that he was being portrayed as a victim and I believe he even states that “I did this to myself.”

Later in the movie J.B. Beverley (“Like” him on Facebook) is shown quite a bit.  J.B.’s band used to play a bar that I worked in back in Virginia and when he was in town, he’d tell me whacked out stories about Bobby.  J.B. was portrayed as a good friend to Bobby in the movie.

There were some cool interviews with former members of the 70s era of the band as well as some good little segments with Joe Hasselvander and Victor Griffin.  There is some great classic footage and some of the modern footage from The Black Cat show where Bobby finally shows up with about 30 seconds left in the last song, gets kicked by the guitarist and the band walks off stage.  You also see the “comeback” footage from the 2009 Webster Hall show in NYC.

In the last few years, Bobby met a girl from Philadelphia who is about 30 years younger than him.  He moved up there from Maryland to live with her, he cleans up, looks good then things fell apart.  She left him, ended up filing a restraining order, he ends up in Jail for a few weeks etc.  Ultimately they get back together, get married and had a child together late in 2010 which is where the movie ends.  When I met Bobby last year, he seemed clean and was in very good spirits.  He seemed like a generally good natured guy who took terrible decisions.  (Review Your Choices, eh?)

Overall I think this was much better than the Lemmy movie as this really told a story.  The Lemmy movie really could’ve been titled “Hanging Out With Lemmy”, but it never really got too deep into the guy.  Last Days Here showed how drug abuse affects the user, the family and the friends.  Much of the sentiments in the movie hit “close to home” for me and there were several moments during the movie where I admittedly got choked up.  It may be a little more comparable to the Anvil movie, except this was about a better band.  They had several good chances for record deals via Colombia Records and even had Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley come down from NYC to check them out at a rehearsal, which eventually bombed.

After the movie there was a quick Q&A session and I caught up with the filmmakers in the hall to give them my thoughts and snap a quick photo with them.  They were all very gracious and I hope the 2 subsequent viewings this week go well, even better than yesterday’s.

As a Pentagram fan, I hope this movie ends up with some decent distribution.  This movie can also serve as a documentary about the damage caused by drug abuse.  I’d love to have this on DVD.  There was a full sized movie poster hanging in the hallway and I asked where I could purchase one.  Unfortunately only 2 were made so I’ll have to wait until they get some distribution before getting something like that.  I’d surely frame it and hang it up.  For now I’ll cherish the poster that they gave me and will hopefully catch one of the 2 shows that Pentagram are playing this week.

Nice work, guys.  Best of luck!

 

Bobby Liebling is not a scary dude, but he’s been through some scary stuff.  One look at the scars on his arms and the age in his eyes and you know he’s been down some rough roads, left hand paths even.  Most people who have done meth, heroin and crack for as long as he has don’t survive.  Bobby Liebling is a survivor.

As noted in previous posts (here and here), I’ve been a Pentagram fan for 20+ years.   Finally getting to see them for the first time 2 years ago was a joy and last year’s encounter with them even better.

When I first saw that there was a documentary about Bobby being made and being world-premiered right here in Austin during the SxSW Festival, I was pretty excited.  Just last year I was fortunate enough to see the premier of the Lemmy movie.

I took off a few hours early for work to be able to attend the movie which was being shown at the Austin Convention Center at 4:30PM.  I go in and there are people everywhere.  The way admission works at these things is that if you have a Film Festival badge or wristband, you get automatic admission into events before those of us who choose not to purchase the credentials.  I never do.  I went to the ticket booth and they said “If there’s available seating it’ll cost $10 to see the movie.”  Sweet.  I think we paid $16 or less last year to see the Lemmy movie.

As I was waiting in the ticket purchase line, I see a long-haired dude in a leather jacket with some credentials hanging around his neck.  He was talking to someone in the next line over and I spot his name on his badge and see that he was one of the directors of the film, Demian Fenton.  He spots me and comes over and asks if I am there to see Last Days Here.  He complemented my Candlemass shirt, we spoke about the film and Pentagram for a few minutes and he left.  A few minutes later he comes back and hands me an 11” x 14” movie poster.  Awesome.

They start letting the badge holders and wristband wielders in then allow the ticket purchasers to buy a ticket and go in.   The theater was huge, bigger than I expected.  There were a few hundred seats on the floor and a few hundred more bleacher style seats.  I headed to top dead center of the bleacher seats.  My guess is that only about 75 people at the most were there.  I saw one guy in a Pentagram shirt and a few other people that I recognized from some shows around town.  Most people there were likely curious movie-goers.  Of course I feel that the turnout was pretty weak. Before the movie starts, the directors and producer were introduced and spoke for a few minutes.

The lights go down and the movie starts. The documentary begins in 2006 and you’re basically hit right off the bat seeing Bobby smoking crack.  It was painful to see.  His arms are bandaged up basically from wrist to should and his hands are swollen looking and black.  The crack and meth make him believe that he has bacteria on him that he has to pick off.  You get a long glimpse of his upper inner-bicep area where he has picked so much that it was just an open sore.  I’m not grossed out very easily but I did turn my head away from the screen for a moment.

You’re introduced to Sean “Pellet” Pelletier who was a huge Pentagram fan that basically became Bobby’s personal assistant, friend and tour manager.  You see his struggle in trying to help the band get things together to do some shows and you see the pain in his eyes from seeing his friend continually get messed up more and more from his drug use.

Bobby’s mom and dad and shown quite a bit as Bobby was living in their basement (The Sub-Basement) for much of his adult life.  His drug use has taken its toll on his parents as well.  His mom was still taking care of him, and really still enabling him.  You get a peek into what may have been a trigger for Bobby’s drug use when his dad speaks about how he wanted bigger and better things for his son (as most parents do).  His dad was apparently a pretty well-known Asst Secretary of State who worked for 3 or 4 presidents starting with Johnson.

It’s a pretty common theme for many drug users it seems.  A lot of pressure from parents to live up to their expectations and out of rebellion and maybe attention seeking, you become self-destructive…by choice.  No one forced those needles into Bobby nor did anyone force him to smoke crack.   I didn’t really get the feeling from the movie that he was being portrayed as a victim and I believe he even states that “I did this to myself.”

Later in the movie J.B. Beverley is shown quite a bit.  J.B.’s band used to play a bar that I worked in back in Virginia and when he was in town, he’d tell me whacked out stories about Bobby.  J.B. was portrayed as a good friend to Bobby in the movie.

There were some cool interviews with former members of the 70s era of the band as well as some good little segments with Joe Hasselvander and Victor Griffin.  There is some great classic footage and some of the modern footage from The Black Cat show where Bobby finally shows up with about 30 seconds left in the last song, gets kicked by the guitarist and the band walks off stage.  You also see the “comeback” footage from the 2009 Webster Hall show in NYC.

In the last few years, Bobby met a girl from Philadelphia who is about 30 years younger than him.  He moved up there from Maryland to live with her, he cleans up, looks good then things fell apart.  She left him, ended up filing a restraining order, he ends up in Jail for a few weeks etc.  Ultimately they get back together, get married and had a child together late in 2010 which is where the movie ends.  When I met Bobby last year, he seemed clean and was in very good spirits.  He seemed like a generally good natured guy who took terrible decisions.  (Review Your Choices, eh?)

Overall I think this was much better than the Lemmy movie as this really told a story.  The Lemmy movie really could’ve been titled “Hanging Out With Lemmy”, but it never really got too deep into the guy.  Last Days Here showed how drug abuse affects the user, the family and the friends.  Much of the sentiments in the movie hit “close to home” for me and there were several moments during the movie where I admittedly got choked up.  It may be a little more comparable to the Anvil movie, except this was about a better band.  They had several good chances for record deals via Colombia Records and even had Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley come down from NYC to check them out at a rehearsal, which eventually bombed.

After the movie there was a quick Q&A session and I caught up with the filmmakers in the hall to give them my thoughts and snap a quick photo with them.  They were all very gracious and I hope the 2 subsequent viewings this week go well, even better than yesterday’s.

As a Pentagram fan, I hope this movie ends up with some decent distribution.  I’d love to have this on DVD.  There was a full sized movie poster hanging in the hallway and I asked where I could purchase one.  Unfortunately only 2 were made so I’ll have to wait until they get some distribution before getting something like that.  I’d surely frame it and hang it up.  For now I’ll cherish the poster that they gave me and will hopefully catch one of the 2 shows that Pentagram are playing this week.

Nice work, guys.  Best of luck!