The Metal Files

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Archive for June 2013

Cheap Trick Concert Review, Austin, TX 6/25/13

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Cheap Trick was here again?  You betcha!  This was my third time seeing them since July of last year and the second time at ACL Live/Moody Theater.  I’ll say it again…I love that place!  I ended up with front row tickets on Rick Nielson’s side.  Nothing lengthy to report about this show beside the fact that Cheap Trick is so fun to watch live.  Robin Zander is a rock star.  Forever young and his voice sounded great again.  The whole band was, as expected, rock solid.  They are on a perpetual tour it seems and will play anything, anytime, anywhere.  Rick threw a ton of guitar picks out as always…oddly enough, I didn’t get one.  How the hell does one sit front row and not get a pick?  A friend of mine got 3 and offered one up, so I accepted.   My normal Cheap Trick partner couldn’t make it so I brought my friend, Andrea.  We had a blast.  Dinner at Frank before the show was really good, too.

Can’t wait to catch them again.  Last night’s setlist was pretty similar to last year’s and I was hoping for a little more of a shake up.  If you follow their setlists, you know that every night is different.  No worries.  They rocked.

Written by The Metal Files

June 26, 2013 at 8:15 am

Blaze Bayley & Killamaul Concert Review, Austin, TX 06/20/2013

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It’s never been a secret that my all time favorite band is Iron Maiden.  But being my favorite band doesn’t give them a free pass on everything they’ve done.  Cases in point: X Factor, Virtual XI, Dance of Death.  Those 2 albums in the 90s with Wolfsbane’s Blaze Bayley weren’t good, but I lay that blame on Steve Harris.  He chose Bayley and he was the primary songwriter for those 2 abominations of Iron Maiden albums.  While each of those 2 albums has 1 or 2 decent songs, the albums as a whole are pretty bad.  I owned Wolfbane’s first album back in the day but never thought it was great.  Had some pretty silly lyrics if I remember correctly.

A few weeks ago it was announced that Blaze Bayley was playing a new and insanely huge venue on the outskirts of Austin, TX called The Crown Center.  It’s only a few miles from my house so that made it convenient.  There was 2 other scheduled shows locally as well, but none of them downtown, which is pretty odd.

Admission for Thursday’s show was $20 which was stated to be going to tornado victims.  The Saturday show was only $6, but it wasn’t convenient.  My real reason for going at all was solely to get The Book signed.  NERD.  I know.

Local faves Killamaul were the opener and they’re a tribute band that only plays Metallica’s Kill ’em All.  Killamaul features legendary vocalist Jason McMaster (Broken Teeth, Dangerous Toys, Watchtower) on vocals and rhythm guitar.  They always do an awesome job and certainly did so on Thursday.  To be honest hey were the best band of the night.  McMaster is one of the best frontmen in the business and even though there may have been only 30ish people there, he still handles it like the pro he is.  Period.

Next up was Snake Skin Prison.  I’ve known them for several years and have done some shows with them, but I’m just not into what they do.  Super nice dudes, though.

Then comes Blaze Bayley.  From what I understand this band and tour were thrown together pretty quickly and featured some relatively well-known musicians.  On drums was James Kottak who has been playing with the Scorpions since the mid-90s and also with Kingdom Come in the 80s.  On bass was John Moyer who was/is in Disturbed and spent some time touring with Queensryche (Tater version I think).  On guitar was Rick Plester who was in WWIII and Black Symphony and apparently does  a lot of producing.  They also had local singer Shawn Austin from a band called Minx (?) and she co-sang on 2 songs.

The set consisted of songs from BLAZE, Wolfsbane and of course Iron Maiden, 2 of which weren’t from his era of the band.  For a throw together band and set, they sounded pretty good overall and even did a good version of Rainbow’s Man On The Silver Mountain.  By the time the band was on there may have been 50-60 people there and Blaze worked the stage like there was a big crowd.  Now, this place easily holds 5000 people and my mind is still boggled as to why the show was booked there.  But whatever.  Guest singer Shawn Austin sang Fear of the Dark (I detest this song) and Wasted Years with Blaze.  It was Wasted Years that really let me down as far as their set went.  I’m a Maiden snob and I get that they’re not the easiest band to cover, but at least get the opening riff right.  I’m not guitarist but I can play it properly.  It was obvious that they had just learned it as they dicked up with first verse completely by going into a chorus where a chorus doesn’t exist.  Moyer and Kottak did fine holding their parts down, but this song was just a mess.  See video below.

I’ll restate that their set was pretty good other than Wasted Years.  That needs to be said for how quickly this was put on.  Immediately after they played, the band came out and hung out and signed anything people put in front of them and snapped pics.  I’m glad I went but doubtful I’d go see them again if they come through again…that is unless there’s someone in the band that I need to get in The Book.  haha.

You be the judge.

Twisted Sister & Vince Neil Concert Review, ROT Rally, 6/15/2013

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I don’t think I’ve talked about Twisted Sister on this page much, most likely because I haven’t seen them live since 2004.  That 2004 show in Richmond, VA was absolutely incredible.  I never got to see them in the 80s which was unfortunate.  I also saw Widowmaker and Dee’s SMFs.  Both of those shows were great, too.

Twisted Sister and Vince Neil (opening) got booked for the 2013 Republic of Texas Biker Rally.  Tickets were $60 ($67 after all fees) which included access to the rally for the whole weekend.  While I’ve owned a couple of Harleys over the years, biker gatherings never appealed to me.  It’s unfortunate that you couldn’t just buy a pass for the concerts that were happening over the weekend, but oh well.  I decided to just suck it up the day before the show and buy it.  Twisted Sister is great live and I knew they would deliver again.

We got into the Travis County Expo Center and parked seemingly on the other side of the place and walked through all of the biker madness where the campsites and RV parking were located and saw all sort of debauchery and silliness.  By the time we got to the amphitheater, Vince Neil was already playing.

I’ll just say this: VINCE NEIL SUCKS.  Period.  I saw Crue on the Dr. Feelgood tour and he sucked.  I also saw him solo in 2003.  He sucked then, too.  But the dude can still make a living playing the biker fests and letting the crowd sing half of the lyrics.  And don’t get me wrong, I adore those first 2 Crue albums, but Vince sucks live and seemingly always has.

His backup band consisted of Dana Strum on bass who has some serious street cred, shitty Slaughter aside.  The dude has been around and been a part of some big things behind the scenes over the years.  Slaughter’s Jeff Blando handled guitar duties and was fine.  He’s actually a pretty good singer, too.  Drummer Zoltan Chaney handled the “drumming” duties.  I put that in quotes for a reason.  I hate this style of drumming.  I consider this guy more of a circus clown than a drummer.  But, I understand why Vince has him in the band because he needs a show backing him because he’s such a shitty singer.  Zoltan is a very visual  drummer that basically acts like a chimpanzee behind the kit.  I can’t stand that.  I’d much rather have seen Tommy Lee.  Tommy’s flamboyant as well, but not to this degree.  And Tommy is super solid.  Vince played to his crowd with the awfulness of Girls, Girls, Girls and Wildside.  I really don’t know what other Crue songs they played as I just couldn’t care enough to pay attention.

Halfway through the set, Vince disappeared from the stage and his band goes into some Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.  Their version of Heaven and Hell was actually pretty good and thankfully Vince was nowhere to be found.  After doing a little research, this seems to be a regular part of Vince’s show.  This article gives a little insight and I agree with the sentiments presented in it.  I just couldn’t wait for them to finish so we could see Dee and the band.

The crowd thinned out quite a bit and we moved right to the center and just 4-5 back from the barricade.  After a chopper giveaway, The Pledge of Allegiance and a salute to the military, Twisted Sister hit the stage.

They opened up with You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll and just crushed it.  Dee’s voice was a little rough for the first 2 songs or so, then it was all dialed in.  The rolled right in to Shoot ’em Down and just killed it.  Those guys have been playing together since the late 70s and it showed.  They were incredibly tight and you can still get the feeling that they all hate each other.  But it didn’t matter.  They all played incredibly well and the show was awesome.

They rolled through Stay Hungry, Beast, The Price and a track that was a surprise to me, The First Still Burns from Come Out and Play.  They also of course played We’re not Gonna Take It and I Wanna Rock as expected.  You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll is my favorite album by them and also getting The Kids are Back and We’re Gonna Make It made me happy.  The whole show made me happy.  I could have done without I Believe in Rock and Roll but oh well.  No Destroyer?  At least they didn’t play Leader of the Pack!  After closing with I Wanna Rock, they took a short break and came out for one more song.  Dee mentioned that it was a song they don’t play often and it was fitting for a biker rally and I was getting excited because I thought they were going to play Ride to Live, Live to Ride.  Seriously, I was almost in freak out mode until they went into Steppenwolf’s Born to Be Wild.  *heavy sigh*.  I get it.  They were playing to that specific crowd.  No worries.  They were absolutely incredible as I expected them to be.  And I just want to say that AJ Pero is such an incredible drummer.  He sounded better last night than in the other 2 times I had seen him play in he past.

Along with Bruce Dickinson, Jason McMaster, and Ronnie James Dio, Dee Snider is in that class of ultimate frontmen.  Dee even gave a speech on vaginal dryness and how they licensed We’re Not Gonna Take It to a PMS company for use in their commercials.  It was pretty funny.

Jay Jay French spoke that in 1983 on their first US tour, the first show was in Austin, exactly 30 years to the day from last night’s show and that they hadn’t played here since.  According to my friend Ben, he saw them in 1984 at City Coliseum a year later.  But hey, memories get fuzzy after all those years, eh?  The crowd never filled back in for Twisted Sister like the crown Vince had, which was unfortunate.  But it also made it more comfortable as it was pretty warm and humid last night.  Sister’s tour manager is Danny Stanton who I had met several times over the years as he managed Thin Lizzy and Loudness on their US tours in the late 90s to mid 2000s.  He sang for the NY band Takashi.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to say hello this time.  Dee also took a couple of good potshots at Vince Neil.  It was hilarious.

Dee Snider is 58 and can still rock out like nobody’s business.  He’s a beast of a frontman and I really hope to see them again.  It was another great concert filled with awesome music and good friends all around.


Power Trip – Manifest Decimation (2013) Album Review

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ptripHaving seen Power Trip several times since FUNFUNFUN fest 2010, I had always wanted a full length album from them.  Thanks to Southern Lord Records, I got my wish.

Power Trip take me back to quality mid-to-late 80s thrash…Nuclear Assault, Devastation, a little Slayer…and thankfully, I don’t hear any Pantera (Panterrible) influence.  A lot of folks mention the DRI crossover punk/hardcore thing, but I never really listened to any of that so I cannot say for sure.  I may hear a little Cro Mags, though.  And I do like the Cro Mags.  This young band from Dallas does it right.  It’s high quality thrash and unlike many of the screamo shit mall hot topic metal bands out there today, these guys play guitar solos.  You heard me.  GUITAR SOLOS!  Good ones, too.

I bought this CD (yes, a CD) last week and have spun it at least 10 times now.  I absolutely love it.  If you’re into classic thrash, I highly recommend this band.  There are a lot of newer retro thrash bands out there, but I think Power Trip is a cut above them all.

While I like Riley’s singing style, I think they could have been produced a little better.  They are washed in the mix too much for my tastes.  But it’s not much of a detraction from the overall vibe and sound of this album.  I also don’t think there are any songs worth skipping on here.  It works perfectly beginning to end.  The album runs through quickly and can easily be played through twice.

9/10 – Enjoy!

Manilla Road, Eternal Champion, Chaos In Tejas 2013

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IMG_1951I’m in a new band called Eternal Champion and last night we got to open for the mighty and legendary and extremely underrated Manilla Road during this year’s Chaos in Tejas.  Because of some recent band changes, we had a couple of replacement guys fill in on guitar and drums and the show was incredible…all 3 songs of it!  We got a great response, sold all of our shirts and have been getting positive feedback all day.  We also released a 2 song cassette that sold out in about a week.  There’s a forthcoming 7″ as well.  It was easily my favorite show that I have ever played and after 25+ years of being in bands as I’m finally playing the music I’ve always wanted to play:  true epic metal.  We were also the perfect opener for Manilla Road.  Pics and videos from the show coming soon.

Then Manilla Road.  After we finished playing, Mark Shelton from Manilla Road showed up and got showered with attention from hardcore fans.  I’m a fan of Crystal Logic and especially Mystification.  Our singer is a fanatic though.  This is his favorite band…EVER.  It was great watching them meet.   Because of major lack of sleep over the weekend and having to get up early this morning, I could only stay for 3 songs.  They sounded incredible.  Mark’s guitar playing is great and I really feel like they should have been so much bigger.  I got to meet him for a minute and he signed The Book.  Another huge signature for my collection.

In between us and Manilla Road were Satan’s Satyrs and Speedwolf.  I like Speedwolf.  It’s good Motorhead worship.