The Metal Files

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Archive for April 2016

Foreigner Concert Review, Austin, TX, April 21, 2016

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Let’s briefly go back in time…

I guess it was on the “4” tour for Foreigner that my oldest brother, Mark, went to the show (Norfolk Scope 1981?).  He was a pretty big fan of the band and I think most people probably liked some of their stuff.  In the late 70s and early-to-mid-80s you couldn’t get away from them.  I liked them enough.  Urgent is a great song.  Beyond I Want To Know What Love Is, I pretty much like all of their hits.  And for many of us musicians, Jukebox Hero has a lot of meaning.

Flash forward to today.  Foreigner still tours…a lot.  But wait.  Who’s in the band?  Lou Gramm is long gone.  But Mick Jones is still on guitar, right?  Nope.  Who’s left from the original lineup?  No one.  NO ONE.  Mick has had some major health problems in recent years and can’t tour.  He did an acoustic TV appearance with the band a couple of months ago and looked pretty frail on that.  So what we had last night was the most solid Foreigner cover band you could ever see and I was aware of that fact when I bought the VIP/meet and greet pass.

I’ve got a few friends that call me crazy for doing that with bands, but there’s usually a mission behind it and that’s to get certain musicians in The Book.  With Foreigner, two of the guys were in 80s metal bands that I liked and actually have a little personal history with one of them.

Typically on these things it’s just a small group of folks but last night they had nearly 100 people buy the VIP.  It’s also usually known up front if personal autographs would be allowed.  Nothing noted during the purchase about that.  This was not a cheap purchase by any means.  We’re not talking KISS prices by any stretch of the imagination, but not chump change either.  I was there on a mission.  This one didn’t state either way so I went for it.  As they’re explaining the process, the girl mentioned “no personal autographs”.  Everything puckered up quickly.  She walked through the line to see if folks had questions and when she got to me, she got an earful.  Respectfully of course.   I showed her The Book and explained to her blah blah blah.  She leaned in to me and said, “I’ll do my best to make it happen.  Just hang tight and maybe drop back in line a little.”  OK.

So we’re going through the backstage area of the awesome Moody Theater and I’m noticing that only 2-3 other people had something extra with them.  It was almost my turn to meet the band and she comes up to me and says, “It’s happening.  Do the picture then just hang out over there with Bill (another manager) until everyone goes through.”  I hugged her.

As I got up to the band to shake their hands, Jeff Pilson (Dokken et als) was first.  I mentioned I was a huge early Dokken fan and said, “Me too!”  When I spoke to Kelley Hansen (Hurricane), I mentioned our history. “What did I do?”  I mentioned him contacting me around 2001 when I was selling a promo only Hurricane picture disc that he apparently had never seen and didn’t own.  We had worked out a trade.  “That was you?!  I still have that thing and still haven’t seen another!”  A couple of quick photos and I was shuffled off to Bill who says, “Leave the book here and I’ll bring it to you after they sign it.”  ummm…What?  No, sir.  Sorry, that book doesn’t leave my sight.  Allison heard our exchange and said, “He’s fine, Bill.”

As I’m waiting for the last 20 or so folks to do their thing with the band, I see Joey Kramer from Aerosmith walk in with a small entourage.  HOLY SHIT.  Joey Kramer.  He lives locally and is out and about often but this was my first encounter.  He walks by me and I just say, “Hey Joey, how’s it going.  Got a moment to sign something?”  “Sure, man.  Whatcha got?”  I flip The Book open to the Aerosmith page, he asked my name and signed it.  I mentioned how much his playing blew me away the 3 or 4 times I had seen them since the 80s.  “Best American rock drum shuffle ever”, I said.  “Thanks, Sean.  Nice to meet you.”  To be honest, I got a little star struck.  I’ve met a lot of bands over the years, but for whatever reason, maybe the surprise of seeing him, got me all worked up for a moment.  That made the price of admission completely worth it.

After the crowd got through the line, Kelley came over and signed the book, shook my hand and moved on.  Pilson came over and we chatted for a few minutes.  Told him I saw Dokken/Aerosmith in 89.  He asked who was better and I said, “We were mainly there to see Dokken.”  He seems like a pretty laid back guy.

I ran my stuff back to my truck quickly and went back in.  I was front row, just off center.  The show started at 815PM and they were slated to only play 13 songs.  Just the hits and nothing more.  I’ll say this, they were fantastic.  Everyone in that band is a solid professional, it’s just unfortunate that no original members are still playing in the band.  I heard a lot of complaints around me about Jones not being there.  It was a sold out show, too.  As stated earlier, I knew what to expect going it, but it was all worth it.  That said, I’ll never go see them again, even if Jones was able to come back.

I do want to give a hand to Kelley Hansen’s vocals and performance.  That guy’s voice was perfect.  He does, however, look a lot like Steven Tyler these days and is copping his moves pretty hard.  Some of his between song banter was annoying but he was also playing to the older crowd that was there.  At 46, I was one of the youngest in attendance.  As he was introducing the band, he stated that Jeff Pilson was a founding member of Dokken.  Part of me wanted to yell, “What about Juan Croucier?!”  haha.  He also mentioned that one of the guitarists had been assaulted the night before in downtown Austin.   The drummer was a beast, but I could have done without the drum solo.  They were slated to do Long, Long Way From Home in the encore but it got nixed for a little love fest tribute to Prince.  They had a local high school choir doing backing vocals in I Want to Know What Love Is and ended it with Hot Blooded.

Overall an enjoyable night.

 

Written by The Metal Files

April 22, 2016 at 10:03 am

Chick Corea & Bela Fleck Concert Review, Austin, TX, April 15, 2016

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I’m a pretty big fan of the late 60s/early 70s heavy fusion jazz movement that Chick Corea was a huge part of.  I caught the Return to Forever reunion show weveral years ago and it was great.  I’d also seen Bela Fleck and the Flecktones several times back in Virginia as his bassist, Victor Wooten, was from my hometown area.  They played there often.

When I first saw the show announcement I jumped on tickets, not paying attention to the fact that it was just Chick and Bela and no backing band.  Oh well.  Man, was I surprised when the show started.  It was incredible.

Two master musicians whose respective instruments worked well together.  Perfectly even.  It really was a great show.  I stayed through half of the second set as I had some late night dinner plans and yet another show to see closer to my house.

I highly recommend going to see this tour if you like either musician.  Thankfully no pictures are allowed inside the venue during performances.  I was able to just zone out and listen to some beautiful music.

 

Written by The Metal Files

April 16, 2016 at 1:49 pm

Iron Maiden Concert Review, Denver, CO, April 13, 2016

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What a week this has been.  So many shows.  I’m worn out but invigorated, especially after seeing my favorite band of all time, Iron Maiden.

When Maiden announced their North American tour some months back, no Texas dates were listed.  Bummer.  The closest show was Tulsa, but who wants to go to Tulsa?  ha.  Honestly I looked into the Tulsa show long after tickets had gone on sale, but nothing was available in a spot I’d want to see the show.  So I looked into Denver.  Oddly they still had plenty of GA floor tickets available as well as some decent seats on the side at the Pepsi Center.  I chose the seats, booked an insanely super cheap flight/car/hotel and the plan was set.  Maiden in Denver 2016.

As mentioned in a previous post, Night Demon and Visigoth had been staying with me and after their show in Austin on Tuesday night, I just stayed awake through the night as my flight out to Denver was scheduled to take off at 6AM.  I hadn’t had much sleep all week and I was certainly starting to feel it by the time I boarded the plane.  I couldn’t really fall asleep so I watched Charles Bronson’s Deathwish.  Upon arrival at the Denver airport and getting my car, I headed into town.  It was still really early so I found a cool little breakfast spot and chilled there for a little while.  I went to the hotel around 10AM and my room wasn’t ready yet, so I just asked them to wake me up when it was ready.  I dozed off on the lobby couch until 11 and they woke me up and got me checked in.  I went straight to bed and got about 4 hours more.  I really needed it.

After showering and getting dressed, I called for a Lyft ride to a restaurant near the Pepsi Center and had a good meal prior to walking to the venue.  Austin pals Mike and Erik who came on the same flight had pit tickets and got in line early to be near the front.  Once in the venue I went to the merch booth and got a tour shirt.  Maiden’s shirts aren’t that great and they didn’t have a Denver specific shirt like they normally do in Vegas, LA, NYC and Texas.

Raven Age was the opener.  The band features Steve Harris’ son, George, on guitar.  I didn’t like their music at all but his son is a fine guitarist and the drummer was a bad ass.  Musically it was uninspired hard rock that would sell well to the Hot Topic crowd.  Several in the crowd seemed to like it but I found it hard to stay awake.  After their set, I went back out to the outer hallway to just get some air and to people watch for a bit before Maiden took the stage.

Then through the PA comes UFO’s Doctor Doctor.  My energy level instantly shot up and I made it back to my seat.  The show wasn’t sold out and I had a spare seat on either side of me, so no one was crowded in our row.

Then the lights go down and a short video runs, then there’s Bruce standing in a white robe at the back of the stage and started singing, “Here is the soul of man, here in this place for the taking…”.  He sang the whole intro to If Eternity Should Fail and the band kicked in with flames rising high from the stage.  They sounded great!  Bruce’s voice was on.  They followed up with Speed of Light which Adrian seemed to have forgotten his intro part, so the band started without him and he just caught up.  They were all smiles on stage and it was great seeing them be human.  After the song Bruce teased him a little bit and H just laughed it off.  Next up was Children of the Damned.  Bruce introduced it with something like, “This one came out before most of you were born.”  The crowd went crazy since it was the first of the classics to be played that night.  Their setlist hasn’t varied a bit on this tour, so I know what to expect next which was Tears of a Clown, a tribute to Robin Williams.  The Red and the Black followed and it along with the other songs from the new album all sounded great live.

Then came…The Trooper.  I really can’t stand that song anymore but since they named their beer the same, it will never leave the setlist.  Unfortunate.  I sat through it.

Up next was Powerslave.  Yes!  Very glad to see that on the list again.  So many memories from that album and flashes of listening to Live After Death as a kid ran through my head the whole time.  It was awesome.

Two more new songs and then Hallowed Be Thy Name was up.  Sweet.  So good.  Unfortunately Fear of the Dark was up next.  I saw through that one as well and was subjected to the crowd singing along.  So painful.  That song sucks.  Iron Maiden rounded out their main set and they blazed through it.

For the encore, they did Number of the Beast, Blood Brothers and Wasted Years.  It was a sweet finale and I wish there was more.

Being in Denver, I expected Bruce to make a few statements and he did.  “How many people here aren’t high tonight?”  “What made the Mayan civilization disappear?  Maybe they smoked too much weed?”

Overall the show was awesome.  I wish they could have had a drum cam vid showing Nicko the whole show.  Adrian and Dave’s solos were great and they still seem to enjoy what they do.  Steve and Bruce did their thing, running around the stage full of energy.   But I will still continue to bitch about Jannick Gers.  What a fucking buffoon.  He’s not even playing half the time, just running around the stage doing stupid fucking guitar tricks.  When he did do a solo, it sounded the same as his others.  No substance.  Fuck that guy.

After the show I took a ride to 3 Kings Tavern for a couple of beers.  I didn’t drink at the show.  I ran into a fellow Austinite there and hung out for a bit,  After that I went back to the hotel where the bar had about 15 folks from all over who came in from the show…Wisconsin, San Francisco, Virginia, LA, Jamaica.  One of the guys caught a pick from Adrian and it said “Chapter One” which leads me to believe that there may be second US leg later this year.  It was fun hanging out with them for a bit but the over the top Maiden nerdness started wearing thin and I needed sleep.

My flight out wasn’t until 9PM so I had the day to do some stuff around Denver.  I had lunch with Gwen, a former coworker, they went up into the hills to the Buffalo Bill museum.  Even the altitude there started to get to me a little.  The grave site and museum were cool, though, and the scenery around lookout mountain was gorgeous.  From there I popped into a record store.  Didn’t find anything I needed.  I then headed out east passed the Denver airport just to see the plains a bit.  Pretty out there.

Finally turned my rental car in, shuttled to the airport, ate a nice dinner and had a couple of beers.  It was a great trip.  I watched Rumble Fish on the way home and got back to my house finally around midnight Central Time.  I was wiped out.

UP THE IRONS!

 

 

 

Written by The Metal Files

April 16, 2016 at 12:56 pm

Night Demon & Visigoth Concert Review, Austin, TX, April 12, 2016

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Round 2 of the Night Demon and Visigoth tour takes us to Austin’s Beerland.  At the request of Beerland’s booking manager, I was asked to find some opening acts for this show.  That proved to be a little more difficult than I had anticipated but my friends in Think Lizzy, a local Thin Lizzy tribute, stepped up and were the only local presence for the show.  Both Night Demon and Visigoth are huge Lizzy fans and were excited to have the tribute as an opener.

Think Lizzy hit the stage and played their good mix of Lizzy classics.  The band is really good and the singer is from Dublin and does a great job vocally and on bass.  Armand John Lizzy from Night Demon plays in a Lizzy tribute back in Ventura and got up and played Emerald with the band.  It was pretty sweet.  Somewhere mid-set, Steve asked me to join them for Motorhead’s Ace of Spades.  He asked me if I’d do it a few days before the show and I said it’s not Thin Lizzy but apparently they’ve had it in their set for a while.  Since I occasionally do a Motorhead tribute in Austin, he wanted me up there so it happened.  I strapped on his Ibanez bass on and we went into a pretty loose but good version.  The crowd seemed to like it.

Visigoth was up next and everyone was looking a lot healthier.  The energy in their show was a lot better than the San Antonio show from the night before.  I think it helped that they had a good opening act and that there was a better crowd.  The played the same set as the night before with Demon’s The Spell added in.  For the folks there who weren’t familiar with Visigoth I think they gained some new fans.

Night Demon’s set was also the same from the night before and like Visigoth, the energy was up.  The crowd was into it and the majority of the folks in the venue stayed near the front and rocked out.  Night Demon has gained a many fans in Austin since they first came here with Raven.  The band was so solid and as I’ve stated before, the addition of Armand adds a new vibe to the band’s live show.

There were a lot more folks in attendance and I think both bands have a lot of new fans.

By the end of the show I was pretty wiped out.  This was my third show in a row this week and I flying out at 6AM to Denver to see Iron Maiden.  I decided to just stay up the whole night with the bands back at my house before heading to the airport.

It was great having both bands stay with me and I’m glad I was able to help them out.  They’re always welcome.  Also, they stayed at my place until Thursday while I was away and took great care of the house and my cat, Taco. In the group show below, right as Andrew was taking the picture, Taco had jumped into a paper bag.  It was a perfect candid moment where instead of trying to be super tough metalheads, we were just cracking up over my silly cat.

 

Written by The Metal Files

April 15, 2016 at 2:46 pm

Night Demon & Visigoth Concert Review,San Antonio, TX, April 11, 2016

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This is a busy week for shows and I’m a little further behind in my reviews, so trying to catch them all up today.

Night Demon and Visigoth have teamed up for a North American tour and booked some Texas dates.  Per usual when Night Demon is in town, I put them up at my place and Visigoth got shared space as well.  I didn’t originally plan on hitting the San Antonio show but last minute decided to drive down to Korova for the show.  On the way there I was notified that it would be an early show since the venue neglected to find an opening band.  Typically in San Antonio, these shows would have a handful of openers.

Rodney, Leanne and I enjoyed a great dinner at The Palm before heading over to Korova.  When we walked in, the place was practically dead.  The show was in the basement and I don’t think more than 25 total people were there. Didn’t help that it was a Monday night, but still, that’s pretty week.  At least if there were some local openers, it would have likely provided some additional promotion.

The singer and bassist for Visigoth have been pretty sick with some sort of flu-ish type bug but once hitting the stage, Jake put on a powerful vocal performance to the tiny crowd.  This was only the second date with the touring lineup as the main drummer and lead players for Visigoth were unable to make the tour.  While not perfect, they put on a great show all things considered and the few of us that were there were into it.  The sound in the basement was pretty awful, too, but they made do.  Of their short set, Iron Brotherhood is my favorite.

Night Demon came on and played like there was a packed crowd.  They’re already touring veterans and didn’t let up just because no one was there.  They opened with Ritual and their version of Riot’s Road Racin’.  Want to make friends in San Antonio?  Play a Riot song.  The band was tight and played all of their 2015 release Curse of the Damned and 4 tracks from their debut EP.  Solid set.

After the show I needed to get back home and try to get some sleep as I was going to do this all over again at the Austin show.

 

Written by The Metal Files

April 15, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Bryan Adams Concert Review, Cedar Park, TX, April 10, 2016

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I’ve got Night Demon and Visigoth staying with me for a few days while they’re between shows on their current North American tour.  Night Demon stay with me regularly and even have a key to my house.  Solid dudes.  Their singer and I took the decision yesterday afternoon that we were going to go see Bryan Adams.  I was already planning on going and he was down for it.

The show was at the new-ish Cedar Park Center northwest of Austin and this was my second time seeing Bryan since 2012.  It was scheduled to start at 8PM with no opening act.  I had noticed that there were plenty of seats left when buying our tickets and we opted for the loge area at the back of this small arena.  Easy seating and close to the bar. Bryan took the stage at 815PM and I imagine that they were holding out for some additional people to get in to fill the place up a bit.  There were some sections that were cordoned off in the back as well.  No matter, on with the show.

He opened up with Do What Ya Gotta Do from his latest effort, Get Up.  It was followed up with Can’t Stop This Thing We Started from 1991’s Waking Up the Neighbours. He didn’t waste time getting to any of his hits with Run to You, Heaven and It’s Only Love and Kids Wanna Rock coming right after in the next handful of songs.

He played everything you would have expected to hear including 5 from his new album.  His band was great and the lead guitarist and drummer have been with him for 30+ years.  Their sound was phenomenal.  The mix in the venue was perfect and the guitar tones were great.  Four vintage Marshall half stacks on the back line.

Right before the encore, my friend and security manager for the venue sent a message and moved us up to the section beside the stage.  Sweet upgrade to catch a closer view of the band.  Thanks, Steve (aka Dave, Mike, Tom, John etc)!

Overall the show was fantastic.  If I had one disappointment, it would be that he didn’t play One Night Love Affair, which is my favorite song of his.  He didn’t play it at the 2012 show either.  Oh well.

 

Written by The Metal Files

April 11, 2016 at 8:45 am