The Metal Files

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Archive for February 2016

AC/DC Concert Review, Houston, TX, February 26, 2016

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Before last night, I had never seen AC/DC before and to be honest I’m not a huge fan in general.  Radio in the 80s ruined them for me by spinning the Back in Black album over and over.  If I had to pick and era, it would be the Bon Scott era but there are some songs from the Brian Johnson era that I do love.  I’ve played a ton of their songs in bands since 1985 as a drummer and bass player.  They are fun to play and everyone seems to love hearing their stuff.  I’ll say that I do love Powerage, Flick of the Switch and fly On the Wall.

I took the decision a few years ago to catch some of the more legendary bands that I like but may not be a huge fan of.  Seeing AC/DC last night made me regret not catching them in the 80s and 90s a bit.

I picked up a pair of tickets when they first went on sale and Pablo jumped on my spare immediately.  We left for Houston midday Friday and hit some traffic going in, but not too bad.  It was still early enough after parking to grab some food, so we hit Guadalajara for some tacos.  Tacos!  Ran into my Austin friends Larry and Brenda there.  Always great seeing them.

After dinner we walked over to the Toyota Center, hazed a street preacher for a few minutes then went inside to check out the merch.  I was glad to see that they made a TX only shirt and snagged one.

We hung out in the outer ring during most of the opener, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown.  Catching their last 3 songs made me wish I had stayed outside longer.  Boring bluesy rock.  Good for those kids to get on a big bill like that, though.

AC/DC’s pre-show video started right at 8:50.  Their opening track was Rock or Bust from their latest album of the same name.  The sold out crowd was on their feet as they followed that right up with Shoot to Thrill and Hell Ain’t A Bad Place to Be.  After a quick breather, they went into Back in Black.  I took my seat on that one.

For the rest of the set they played a good mix of the Bon and Brian eras.  I’m amazed as to the energy that Brian and Angus still have.  It’s pretty impressive.  Angus was wearing the blue schoolboy uniform last night and played a mix of different Gibson SGs.  He really is an incredible guitarist and watching him live gave me a new appreciation for his playing and his influence on rock and metal.

Brian’s voice was Brian’s voice.  He sounded as expected and did a good job even though I think he got winded a few times.  Understandable.  He’s a solid frontman.  During Hell’s Bells, he was handed a cowboy hat from someone in the front row and wore it for the song.  “It fits!”, he said.

Angus’ nephew, Stevie is handling rhythm guitar duties since Malcolm’s health won’t allow him to play nowadays.  He did fine and Cliff Williams layed the bottom down perfectly as he has since he joined in 1977.  While Chris Slade is obviously an accomplished drummer and has AC/DC history, he’s no Phil Rudd.  Phil had a groove that few can replicate, even if only playing 2 and 4 as a career.  His recent legal and drug issues kept him from being in the band and on the tour.

Highlight song for me was Given the Dog a Bone.  You see, back in my early teen years a group of mothers in our church got on the “heavy metal is satanic” kick.  We had to endure lectures from this North Carolina preacher named Albert Long telling us that Iron Maiden, KISS, Twisted Sister, AC/DC and other were worshiping the devil.  Laughable but we had no choice but to sit there and listen to the guy and watch him break down metal videos and their satan-ness.  haha.  In one of the lectures, he started reading lyrics from Given the Dog a Bone in his thick North Carolina accent.  I thought we were going to die laughing listening to him read the lyrics and talking about the evils of sex and the devil etc.

She take you down easy
Going down to her knees
Going down to the devil
Down down at ninety degrees
She blowing me crazy
’til my ammunition is dry
She’s using her head again
She’s using her head
She’s using her head again
I’m justa giving the dog a bone
Giving the dog a bone, giving the dog a bone
Giving the dog a bone, giving the dog a bone

I can’t hear that song to this day and not think about that moment.  To be honest, that dude turned us kids on to more metal then he did to sway us away from it.  What a dork.

What a great show.  AC/DC rocks.


Written by The Metal Files

February 27, 2016 at 9:40 am

Pat Benatar Concert Review, Austin, TX, February 25, 2016

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It’s been almost 3 years since the last time I saw Pat and Neil.  That show was fun as was last night’s.  There’s not much new here to report except that at age 63, Pat still sounds incredible.  The setlist varied a little bit since that show, but it was still fun.  It was good hearing Shadows of the Night.  My old friend Brenda went with me.  Haven’t seen her in quite a while and it was fun to hang out since she’s moving soon.

They played a snippet of Rick Springfield’s Jessie’s Girl.  I had no idea that Neil was the guitarist on the original.

America was also in town last night and I don’t know how that one got by me.  I would have been there since I’ve never seen them and am a pretty big fan of their hits.  Oh well.




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February 26, 2016 at 11:20 am

Y&T Concert Review, San Antonio, TX, February 12, 2016

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Seeing Y&T last night was pretty much a last minute decision.  I had never seen them and there wasn’t much going on last night, so Rodney and I grabbed some quick dinner and got to the show right as the last of the opening acts was finishing.  They were horrible, by the way.

I’ve seen and heard enough live stuff in recent years to know that Dave Meniketti still sounds great.  I don’t have any real excuses for not seeing them before.  Unfortunately Dave is the only original member left in the band, but he’s the most important.

They opened up with Black Tiger and Lipstick and Leather.  Dave’s voice sounded a little weak but not bad.  Then they went into my favorite Y&T song, Don’t Stop Runnin’.  Everything sounded great.  Dave is such an incredible guitar player.  Midnight In Tokyo gave me chills.

His backing band was super tight and provided some of the best backing vocals I have ever heard.  The drummer was flat out badass.

They mixed up the setlist a bit and played two songs from their debut album when they were still called Yesterday and Today.  All of the hits were played as well as some deeper cuts.

While the whole band sounded great, the venue, Alamo Music Hall, sounded like shit.  I’ve seen two other shows there and the room just sounds awful.  I wish it would have been a block away at Kapone’s but oh well.

So far, this was the best show I’ve seen in 2016.  Of course I had the book with me and Dave signed it and my CDs after the show.  His bassist was in an 80s hair band called Jet Red and he signed it as well.

Great time.


Written by The Metal Files

February 13, 2016 at 6:07 pm

Warbringer, Enforcer, Exmortus & Cauldron Concert Review, Austin, TX, February 11, 2016

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Quick and easy review today.

Having only been mildly familiar with all of these bands and being on the guestlist (thanks Metal Assault!), I took the decision to see this show that started at 645PM and would be done by 1030PM.  Silly sound ordinances in downtown Austin have made it like this.  Live Music Capital of the World?  pfft.

Cauldron goes on and they left me flat like they do on the one album I’ve heard.  They just don’t have the “umph” needed to keep me interested.  Production on the album I heard was really thin and they sounded thin live, and not because of the PA.  I think the singer, who has a decent voice, just doesn’t project it at all.  Not to mention the band was sloppy in general.  Decent riffs that go nowhere.  I really think the addition of a second guitarist would help.  And maybe a metronome or some extra rehearsals every now and then.  A touring band typically gets pretty tight.  They’re a band that I really want to like but just can’t.

Exmortus was up next and I didn’t care too much for what I had listened to online, but they won me over live, mainly based on the guitar work.  Both guys are shredders and I was totally hooked in.  I look forward to seeing them again.  There were a lot of Exmortus fans in the crowd singing every song, which was cool.

Enforcer (SWE) came next and had the biggest crowd of the night.  A good amount of the crowd was certainly familiar with their material.  Their singer/guitarist is a good frontman and the band was solid overall.  You’re not getting anything original here but they were at least fun.  My favorite part was his little Texas metal speech.  Something to the effect of, “We were influenced by a lot of great Texas metal, and not that Pantera bullshit.  I’m talking Militia, Wyzard and Watchtower!”

Warbringer closed out the night with their mix of thrash and death metal.  They share a guitarist with Exmortus, so some of the solos were killer.  While I wasn’t into the spurts of the blast beats, their drummer was certainly skilled.  They put on a solid set for sure.

Written by The Metal Files

February 12, 2016 at 10:57 am

Lamb of God, Anthrax, Deafheaven & Power Trip Concert Review, Austin, TX, February 8, 2016

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I went to last night’s show solely to see Anthrax and Power Trip.  I think Deafheaven and Lamb of God are awful.  Boring, really.

Originally I wasn’t going to go then I saw that Anthrax was doing a relatively inexpensive meet and greet and I’ve wanted to meet them and to get them in The Book so I got my ticket and ordered the meet and greet.  Shortly after the M&G was announced, a local record store posted that they would be doing an in-store as well and to get anything signed, you had to buy a deck of their playing cards and no photos.  Oh well.

Doors were at 4:30PM (wow) and we were told to be there at 3:15PM.  Ultimately there were only 4 of us and we got taken to the backstage area where the band came out to say hello, sign stuff and do a few pictures and talk for a few minutes.  It was pretty obvious that Scott Ian didn’t want to be there, so I just shook his hand, had him sign The Book, a photo and my Spreading the Disease CD cover.  Charlie was checking out The Book, looked up and saw my Loudness patch and said, “I bet Loudness isn’t in here.”  I let him know that they were and that I had sigs from 3/4 of the original band.  Then he started rambling off other bands, some of them nu-metal shit, and I said that there were no bands after 1991 in here.  “Oh, cool.  Where do I get one of these?”  So I directed him to Amazon blah blah blah.  Joey and Frank were extremely nice and super chatty as was their new guitarist, Jon Donais of Shadows Fall.  I wish I had recognized him at the moment because I love Of One Blood by Shadows Fall.  I mentioned to Joey and Frank that I had first seen them on the Among tour at The Boathouse.  Scott heard me and said, “Geez, I remember that dump.  We played there a few times.”  Three to be exact, but whatever.  It was good to meet them and we were all given a deck of the Anthrax cards, a record mat, a band photo to get signed and the M&G laminate.  We were also given the opportunity to buy merch on the way out so I got a tour shirt.

Since Power Trip wasn’t going on until 6PM, I went over to Lambert’s for some awesome food and a beer as it was only 430PM when we were led back out of the venue.  I’m back at the venue are 530PM and see a bunch of friends and hang out a bit before Power Trip’s set.

I head up to the mezzanine area and sit for a few minutes.  I’ve had some back issues lately and I was seated on the back corner of the back row (only four rows in this section) and could get up as needed.  I ended up standing for most of the show as it was more comfortable.  Power Trip started promptly at 6PM and the crowd was trickling in.  I’ve seen them several times and I really enjoy them in a live setting.  I think they gained some new fans by then end of their 30 minute set.  They were solid as usual.

Deafheaven was up next and I just went back out to the lobby area to hang out with some friends.  They bore me to tears.

Anthrax came on right at 745PM opening with Fight ’em Till You Can’t from their Worship Music album, which I really liked.  Having Belladonna back in the band has been great, for me at least.  They rolled effortlessly through an 8 song set that had 2 songs from their forthcoming album, For All Kings.  I liked the 2 new tracks a lot.  They played In the End, Caught In a Mosh and Indians as well…and two covers.  FUUUUUCK.  I mean, I know they’ve always played covers live, but throw us a bone every now and then.  On some of the shows where they’ve had a longer set, they’ve included as many as 3 songs from Spreading the Disease.  HOLY FUCK I’d lose my mind if I saw Lone Justice live.  *sigh*  Oh well.  Charlie Benante is still ungodly on drums and Frank Bello is basically the Angus Young of the bass.  I’ve always loved his playing and his backing vocals are superb.  Joey sounded great, too.  Jon is a killer guitarist and played Spitz’ parts perfectly as well as his own.

After a short break, Lamb of God comes on.  I stayed for the first song and that was enough for me.  Never liked their stuff.  Bro-metal.