The Metal Files

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Archive for June 2017

L.A. Guns Concert Review, June 16, 2017, Austin, TX

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Newsflash, Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis are back together playing rock and roll again.  The current reunion tour rolled through Austin last Friday night and yours truly (me) was there.  I’m going to do this one a bit differently with a Pros and Cons review.

1. Tracii and Phil are back together
2. They sounded great
3. Phil Lewis doesn’t age
4. Tracii is a killer guitarist
5. They played everything I wanted to hear plus a couple of new ones
6. I got so see some friends that I hadn’t seen in a while
7. $20 show

1. The show was at Texas Mist which means horrible sound and horrible lighting.  Cut the grass on your patio, too.
2. I saw 3 of the 4 opening bands.  Bummer, although the guitarist in Litzbomb is really fucking good
3. Vodka
4. I hate that Michael Grant is in the band and not playing solos.  That guy is an insane talent.

Written by The Metal Files

June 19, 2017 at 11:32 am

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Yngwie J. Malmsteen Concert Review, June 10, 2017, Houston, TX

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Last night I witnessed the over the top guitar playing of Yngwie Malmsteen for the 9th time since 1986.  While he is my favorite guitarist, I haven’t liked any of his releases post-Alchemy and his latest one with him on vocals is pretty boring.  That being said, I always love seeing him live.

Local (to Houston) band Apocalyptic opened up.  They were super tight technical shred thrash that at times reminded me of Agent Steel with a singer that could hit insanely high notes at will.  The only real issue I had with them is that the singer wouldn’t shut the fuck up between songs.  They could have played one more song with all the time he spent between songs talking about how cool it was to be there or “show me your horns” or “scream for me, Houston” over and over.  Less talk, more rock, please.  Their main lead player and bassist were also really good.

Of course Yngwie comes on and the wall of Marshalls is lining the back of the stage.  For the record, only 2 heads were actually used.  They opened with Rising Force and the bassist sang.  He sounded good but what irked me to no end was that they only did the first verse then the solo section.  What?  Most of the show consisted of instrumentals, which was fine.  That meant that Yngwie didn’t sing.  In Seventh Sign, the keyboardist sang and they did the whole song.  Sounded great.   Demon Driver and Heaven Tonight were also first verse and solo sections only.  To be honest, if you’re gonna cut out sections of songs like that, just do a full night of instrumentals.  In the encore, they ended with I’ll See the Light Tonight and, yes, first verse and solo sections only.

Beyond that silliness, Yngwie was awesome and I’m glad I went.  His back up band, basically tucked into one corner of the stage, was really good. Of course Yngwie threw a bunch of picks out and only high kicked a few this time.  I’m really glad he didn’t sing

The venue, White Oak Music Hall, holds 1200 and I imagine about 600-700 people were there.  Hopefully the 10th time I see him won’t be too far in the distant future.


Written by The Metal Files

June 11, 2017 at 10:55 am

Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) Concert Review, May 31, 2017, Austin, TX

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It’s a given that my older brother, Robert, was my music ambassador in the 70s and early 80s.  Most everything that he liked, I liked, too, and one of his top favorite bands was Jethro Tull.  I had to miss the version that played here a year or two ago because I had to be out of town but last night made up for it.  Basically the albums from “Benefit” to “War Child” hold a special place in my childhood memories, especially “Aqualung.”  That album is perfect front to back.

For whatever reason, I had it in my head that Ian mostly just played flute and guitar these days and had a singer handling most songs, but that was far from correct.

This was a no camera, no loud noises, no whistling (yes, this was requested by Ian himself).  As security is mentioning the rules as we  were walking in, I asked, “Are we allowed to look him in the eye?”  She laughed and said, “Get outta here!”  I had purchased a decent seat on the floor in middle section on the outer aisle but my back has been bothering me lately and sitting in those tiny uncomfortable seats was not going to do me any favors, so I stood off to the side along the wall as it feels way better on my back.  Fortunately security never said a word about it and it was on with the show.

The band comes on and opens with Living in the Past which I always loved but thought it sounded like a song you’d hear while watching a film in elementary school.  I’ll go ahead and say this right up front, Ian can’t really sing any more, but he tries.  At times you’d get that pure sound from him, but mostly it was just him trying to get it out.  Even then, it wasn’t really that bad, not at all.  They stuck close to the early 70s and a few late 60s numbers which was fine for this aged crowd…I include myself in that moniker.  It’s no surprise that his backup band was incredible, especially his bass player.  Man, that guy was awesome.

While Ian’s voice may not be what it was, his flute playing was just fine as was his acoustic guitar playing, although it seemed that there was some canned guitar work going on.  They were obviously playing to some sort of click or backing track as every song was synced up to a backing video.  Didn’t really matter.  I thoroughly enjoyed the show and it was great seeing some good friends there.  They played most everything I wanted to hear except Cross Eyed Mary, Bungle in the Jungle and Fat Man (my theme song?).  I was super happy that they played Farm on the Freeway from “Crest of a Knave.”  I’ve always loved that album even though it really sounds more dated than the 70s stuff.

While it was an older crowd, they weren’t too old to rock and roll. :)

Written by The Metal Files

June 1, 2017 at 8:25 am

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