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Archive for the ‘2010’ Category

Billy Cobham – Concert Review – Austin, TX – October 13, 2010

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I hate printable tickets!

 

 

Sometime in the mid-80s, I think, a friend of mine turned me on to some jazz stuff and the one band that stuck with me was Mahavishnu Orchestra.  Their album Birds of Fire remains the greatest jazz/fusion album I have ever heard.  Part of the reason, a big part really, was because of the drummer, Billy Cobham.  He was a very musical drummer and I loved his work on his first solo album, Spectrum and the Miles Davis albums Bitches Brew and Live-Evil.  He’s just a man-beast of a drummer in his chops, but he plays such a light fluid style.

That Mahavishnu album is very special to me.  When I was still drumming (84-2000), I used to practice along with Birds of Fire quite often.  No, I wasn’t able to play a lot of the stuff he was doing on there, but I tried my damnedest to play along and keep up.  It was good practice.

When I saw that he was playing at the One World Theatre here in Austin, I had to go.  I was able to score second row seats on the center aisle.  Doug Morrison came along.  I’d never been to this place but Doug mentioned several times how small and awesome it is.  He was right.  You almost feel like you’re in your own house watching a band with perfect acoustics.  The place is pretty awesome.  The sound was great.

Billy’s band consists of all foreigners, including Billy.  I never knew he was Panamanian.  The whole band was just great and one would expect no less.  But then there’s Billy.  I’ve never seen such a big drummer with such a soft style.  He proved all night that power drumming has absolutely nothing to do with how hard one hits.  He was so fluid and solid.  He did hit harder for accent in spots, but it wasn’t his main thing.  It was quite awesome to watch how he was conducting things from behind the kit.  Normally he’d play with his eyes closed, but when they were opened, it was usually to give someone a cue as to what was coming next.  In one spot he looked over to the bassist and guitar player and just said, “four” and they just nodded and smiled.  Some of the stuff they played really had that early 70s Mahavishnu feel to it.

He is so musical of a drummer and it really took me back to my playing days.  It made me miss it badly.  Not that I was even remotely a jazz/fusion style drummer, but I did try to be a little musical about it instead of just keeping the beat.  Both Doug and I sat there in awe.  For 64 years old, he is still incredibly awesome.

After the show Billy was doing an autograph signing and I didn’t bring anything as I didn’t expect him to come out and hang out.  I did have him sign my ticket and he was gracious enough to do a photo with me.  They didn’t allow cameras during the show so I have no photos of the band.  Pity.  But I do have the awesome shot below!

If this tour comes anywhere near you and you even remotely like jazz/fusion, you will not be disappointed.  Just go!  I’m even more excited about seeing John McLaughlin, Colin Hay and Al Dimeola there in the coming months.

 

Billy Cobham and yours truly. I'm obviously more excited than he is.

 

 

Nevermore – Concert Review – Austin, TX – October 11, 2010

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I was fortunate, very fortunate to see Sanctuary on the Refuge Denied Tour in May 1987 while they were touring with Megadeth and Warlock.  Sanctuary is definitely one of my favorite bands from that era and were very unique.  Unfortunately I missed them on the Into The Mirror Black Tour with Fates Warning.

When I read that Warrel Dane and Jim Sheppard had formed a new band I was pretty excited.  Nevermore, eh?  OK, I’m in.  I really only cared about hearing that patented screech of Dane’s.  But it wasn’t there.  I didn’t really dig the debut album or follow-up but did enjoy Dreaming Neon Black quite a bit.  The last one that I really gave a chance to was Dead Heart In A Dead World, but still couldn’t get into it.

In 1997 I did go see them at Twisters in Richmond, VA on the Politics of Ecstasy Tour.  They were great live and Jeff Loomis’ and Van Williams’ playing stood out more than anything in the band, even over Warrel’s

Warrel Dane

vocals.  I hung out with them a bit before and after the show and they were very nice laid back dudes.  I went to see them again in June 1999 at the same venue while they were touring for Dreaming Neon Black.  I believe Iced Earth and Destinys End were also on the bill.  It was a really cool night in general.  I had just started Acacia Music (online music store) and both Century media and Metal Blade gave me free access to all of their bands who came through, including interviews and filming of the shows when possible.  I was doing a dorky little cable access show that only aired in my hometown and filmed all 3 bands that night to be included on the show.  I need to find the interview that I did with Warrel as it’s pretty humorous.  I was such a doofus.  haha.

For the next few years, when Nevermore came to the Washington, DC area, I’d film their show and bring them VHS cassettes of the previous shows that I filmed.  We became pretty good pals for a few years and it was always a pleasure seeing them and hanging out.  The last show I did with them was in 2001 at the930 Club in DC (I think) and hadn’t seen them since.  I had lost interest in the band, I closed my music business and was just into other things for a while so I lost contact with those guys.

So now, 400 words later we get to present day.  When I saw that they were playing 2 blocks from my apartment I had to go and reconnect.  I bought the VIP meet and greet pass to ensure that I’d get to say hi.

Jeff Loomis in motion

They had about 20 folks there for the meet and greet.  I was fortunate enough to be able to go into the club early thanks to some folks I know that work there and just hung out at the bar and chatted with some pals.  Once they started signing and stuff, I hung out until the line was done and just sat down with them and reintroduced myself.  Warrel said, “Dude, that was a long time ago.  I’ve still got those tapes.”  and blah blah blah.  So I offered to take the band to dinner before their set and they obliged.  Jim Sheppard was nowhere to be found and they said he was “sick” on the bus.

Dinner ended up being Van Williams, Jeff Loomis, Attila Vörös, their road manager, their 2 roadies and myself.  Warrel had an interview commitment and missed dinner and as stated, Jim was “sick”.  I asked Loomis about the whole Sanctuary reunion and who exactly was a part of it.  He said everyone but Biosl.  Sweet!  But…there will likely be no tour.  So far they are only booked for Power Prog Festival and the 70000 Tons of Metal cruise.  Dinner was a blast and it was the

Inaugural meeting of the Gentlemen's League of Extraordinary Margaritas - G.L.E.M! (pronounced gleem)

first official meeting of the Gentlemen’s League of Extraordinary Margaritas, or G.L.E.M. (pronounced gleem) for short.  It was a funny conversation and the Austin chapter is now taking applications.  haha.  The guys were talking about Jim’s recent antics.  Seems that the dude has gone off the edge a bit and it was apparent during the show.

After dinner and drinks I walked them back to their bus and headed back to Jackalope for a beer with Angela and Laura.  It was Metal Monday and T.A. and Sarah Kay were playing the goods for sure.  Attacker, Agent Steel, Maiden, Mercyful Fate, Krokus etc.  Seeing Laura sing along to Nuns Have No Fun is priceless!

It was drawing near time for Nevermore to go on (1145 start time) and we headed back to Emo’s.  I missed every opening band as I am just not a fan of any of them.  Locals Vesperian Sorrow opened followed by Blackguard, Hatesphere and Warbringer.  Sorry, just not interested.

Nevermore hits the stage and do their thing.  Jim Sheppard looked terrible.  Emaciated, run down, tired, sick, drunk, etc.  I almost didn’t recognize him.  It was sad to see.  Warrel looked pretty worn out as well.  During the set the 2 of them were having words.  It was pretty wacky to see.  A few shoves, middle fingers and words and Jim ended up standing behind the mains for much of the set, just hiding and acting like a little kid.  He was obviously out of his head for the show.  It was sad.  At one point as a song ended he walked off stage and went to the bar after asking people in the crowd to buy him a drink.  It was pretty pathetic to watch,

Jim Sheppard, wasted away again...

especially coming from a band that I always regarded as being pretty professional.  In the final song Jim just stopped playing halfway though, handed his bass to someone in the crowd and walked off stage, out the door and onto the bus.  A few times during the set, Warrel was trying to make nice with him to at least get through the set.  The whole thing was pretty surreal. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jim out of the band soon if he doesn’t get his act together.  You can’t let stuff like that happen during a show.

As always, Loomis and Williams were on top of their game.  I consider Van Williams to be metal’s best kept drumming secret.  The guy is absolutely incredible and has a unique style to his playing.  The new guy, Attila, did a fine job playing rhythm guitar and the few solos he did were good.  Super nice guy as well, very funny.  Warrel’s voice sounded a little tired to me but not bad.  I will say that I’ve heard him sound better, but again I haven’t seen him live in 9 years.  I’m sure it was difficult for him to perform as well with Jim’s antics.  Jim threatened a few times to push Warrel into the crowd.  Everyone could hear the ridiculous banter between songs.

Seems that most other recent shows got to hear Sanctuary’s Taste Revenge.  We didn’t get it.  Damn!

After the final song finished, they came straight off the stage and onto the bus.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Sheppard got his ass beat last night.  He was certainly asking for it.  The attendance was pretty light.  I figure maybe 100 people were there with the majority of them being under 30 years old.  Lots of minors as well.  But that’s cool.  Everyone seemed to like the show and everyone just shook their heads over the nonsensical stage antics.  Here’s hoping that they got everything worked out.  It would be a shame for it not to.

Attila Voros

Nevermore!

Nevermore posing for me. So evil. ha.

 

Attila...seriously? Even the devil has s funny side. haha

Nevermore Setlist

Written by The Metal Files

October 12, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Not Your Older Brother’s Buzzov*en

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Kings Head Inn in Norfolk, VA was legendary for us locals.  So many great bands rolled through there.  Many times we had no idea who was playing, we’d just show up and hang out and deal with the bands that were on bill, whether we liked them or not.  That’s how I first saw Buzzov*en live.  My guess is that it was around 1992/1993 as that was the time I started hanging around Norfolk a bit more.  I guess I saw them 5 or 6 times with the last show being in 95 or 96.  The memory isn’t as great as I would like it to be.

One of the main things I remember is how violent their shows were.  not necessarily because of the crowd, but the band themselves, especially lead-man Kirk Fisher.  I don’t think I ever saw a show of theirs where he didn’t end up bloody.  Were they the greatest band on the planet?  Not by a long shot, but they were highly entertaining.

Flashforward to this past Saturday night, October 2, 2010, and it was a bit of a different Buzzov*en than I was used to seeing back in the olden days.  Other than Dixie Dave Collins from Weedeater on bass, they were pretty subdued.  Dave moved around quite a bit but it really did seem like the younger years of hard living and violent touring may have calmed them down a bit.

Soundwise they were good and right on par to how I remembered them.  Oddly enough I never owned any of their albums and still can’t name one song, but they were still entertaining.

If I could complain about anything it would be the $18 cover and the lack of attendance.  The door price turned several people away and I was almost one of them, but I sucked it up and went in.  I doubt there were more than 120 people there.  Pity.  These guys are pretty legendary as far as sludge metal goes and you’d think that EYEHATEGOD’s fans in Austin would have come out.

It was good to see them again though.  now I just need to catch Weedeater when they roll through again.

There were 3 opening acts:  Mala Suerte, Honky and Dixie Witch.  They all seemed to fit well with the vibe of the evening and all 3 bands sounded great.

Gary Rosas of Mala Suerte

Jeff from Honky

One of the Dixie Witch bass drums. The band is actually too ugly to photograph. (kidding guys!)

Kirk from Buzzov*en

Dixie Dave and Buzzov*en

Written by The Metal Files

October 5, 2010 at 7:30 am

Slayer/Megadeth/Anthrax – Concert Review – San Antonio, Tx – September 25, 2010

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I can practically remember the show like it was yesterday.  Anthrax and Testament in 1987 at the Boathouse in Norfolk, VA.  Anthrax was touring for Among the Living and testament for The Legacy.  To this day it was one of the most incredible shows ever.  I had gotten into Anthrax in early 1986 when I found a used copy of the cassette at Unicorn Records (RIP).  I practically listened to that album every day driving to and from school.  Minus Persistence of Time, I loved the Joey Belladonna era of Anthrax.  When Bush came in, I was done.  He was fine in Armored Saint but not in my beloved Anthrax.  I was able to catch Anthrax with Joey on the State of Euphoria and Persistence of Time tours.  They were always great live.  I also caught them with Bush on the We Have Come For You All tour and it was a really good show.

When the American Carnage Tour was announced there was no doubt that I’d see the show.  The first leg of the tour had Testament as the openers.  That band never disappoints.  This current leg featured Anthrax with the newly re-re-reunited Joey Belladonna on vocals.  I was pretty excited about that since it had been since 1991 since I had seen him live.

I will say that even though I love…even adore Megadeth, I wasn’t too excited to see them this time since they are still playing Rust In Peace live.  I had just seen it 6 months ago.  But Megadeth always delivers.  And they did once again last night.  More on that in a bit.

So now the adventure of the day begins.  I grab my best friend Amelia and her boyfriend Cody and we shuffle down to the other side of town to grab my other best friend, McMaster and head to San Antonio.  Good conversation, good music playing and everyone is pretty excited about the concert.

We get to the show, check out the shirts which weren’t all that great so I got to save myself $40.  Jason had a floor general admission ticket and we had seats.  About 20 minutes before Anthrax hit stage we went to our respective sections and waited for the show to begin.  Our seats were pretty decent and we had quick access to the lounge area of the AT&T Center.

The lights go down at 6:55 and Jim Florentine from That Metal Show and Crank Yankers fame is on stage as he is the Jagermeister MC for this tour. He does 5 minutes of comedy about metal and such and next thing you know Anthrax hits the stage.

They come on and open up with Caught In A Mosh.  Good times.  Anthrax has always been a very tight band as far as their playing and last night was no exception.  A big part of that is because of Charlie Benante’s drumming.  He’s a beast of a drummer.  Anthrax only had a 45 minute set so they played the hits that you’d expect.  They also added in Only from the Bush era and it was alright.  It’s the only song from that era that I like.  I have to say how surprised I was of Joey’s voice.  He sounded great.  He hit the high noted pretty well.  Lucky for us it was only the second night of Anthrax being on the tour, so they were all still fresh.  They sounded great and I got a little choked up when they played Madhouse. Spreading the Disease, is such an important album to me.  I really felt like we flashbacked into the 80s for a brief minute.  It was nice to just forget all of the worries of today and rock out like I was 17 again when the only thing I had to worry about was doing enough school work to get by and play drums.  Simpler times for sure.  But again, Anthrax was great and I actually wish they would have been the headliner to get a longer set and play some deeper cuts.  being such a short set, I was only a slight bit disappointed that they played the 2 cover tunes, although they were big songs for them.

Anthrax’s setlist:

  1. Caught In a Mosh
  2. Got the Time
  3. Madhouse
  4. Antisocial
  5. Indians
  6. Only
  7. Metal Thrashing Mad
  8. I Am The Law

After Anthrax I head up to the lounge area behind our section to grab a coke and a hot dog.  A boy’s gotta eat!  Shortly after Florentine is on stage again and Megadeth hit the stage right after he walked off stage.  They open up with Holy Wars and the crowd was all over it.  People love the Rust In Piece album.  Me?  Not so much.  But they sounded great, as always.  Dave is one of the greatest metal guitarists ever in my opinion and he was great again last night.  The addition of Chris Broderick has been nice as well.  They did 5 other songs after playing Rust In Piece and sounded great except at the end of Peace Sells where Drover on drums couldn’t quite get his feet together.  Sometimes I wish I wasn’t such a nerd and could overlook or not even notice such things, but I can’t.

Megadeth setlist:

  1. Holy Wars
  2. Hangar 18
  3. Take No Prisoners
  4. Five Magics
  5. Poison Was The Cure
  6. Lucretia
  7. Tornado of Souls
  8. Dawn Patrol
  9. Rust In Peace…Polaris
  10. Trust
  11. Headcrusher
  12. A Tout Le Monde
  13. Symphony of Destruction
  14. Peace Sells (encore)
  15. Holy Wars (reprise)(encore)

Now I’ll drop back a little in that during Megadeth’s second song, McMaster walks back to where our seats were and calls me down to the rail.  We were only 4 rows up from the floor.  He puts something in my hand and tells me to grab Amelia and Cody and meet him in the hallway right now.  I didn’t really even look at what he gave me and grabbed the other 2 and we walked out immediately.  Upon getting in the hallway I pull the wad of stuff out of my pocket and see that we were given Jagermeister VIP passes courtesy of Jim Florentine.  Hot damn!  We get escorted upstairs and ushered into a large VIP suite that had about 20 other people in it.  It was straight back from the stage.  It was stocked with beer, Jager (gross), Jager swag and food.  We were told to make ourselves at home and Jason introduced us to his pal, Florentine.

While I’m not the greatest fan of That Metal Show, he’s the bright spot on the show.  The dude is really a metalhead and absolutely hilarious.  You get the feeling that he’s “one of us.”  It was really pretty nice of him to give all 4 of us access.  It was totally unexpected  and a bit humbling.  Certainly I don’t deserve that sort of treatment but will not complain about it.  Thanks Jim!

So Megadeth finishes their set and Florentine goes down to the soundboard area and does another quick routine.  Shortly after he’s back up in the booth with us hanging out.

Slayer hits the stage and opens up with World Painted Blood.  For this tour Slayer was playing Seasons in the Abyss in its entirety.  I didn’t care too much for that album when it came and that tour was the only other time I ever saw Slayer.  It was also the last time that I was in a mosh pit.  My nose is still a little crooked from

Slayer's opening screen

that show!  I have a love/hate relationship with Slayer.  I love everything up to and including South of Heaven and a few tracks from Seasons.  Up until World Painted Blood, I just couldn’t get into any of it.  I tried, believe me.  I’ve bought every one of their albums and throughout the 90s and 2000s got rid of all of the post-Seasons albums.  The new one was a little bit of a return to their late 80s glory.  While it’s not great, I can stomach it.

With Slayer doing Seasons I wasn’t too excited about it, but hearing it live again had me pumped up a little bit.  I hadn’t listened to that album in 10 years or more and it felt weird knowing every word of an album that I had been slagging for 20 years.  After last night, I will call myself a fan of that album  now…minus the title track.  Still can’t get into it.  As for Slayer’s performance, they sounded awesome.  Tom’s voice was sharp.  He doesn’t headbang anymore because of problems with his back and neck.  No biggie.  Kerry and Jeff were solid.  Slayer has a unique sound and a unique riffing style.  Some time during their set, Jason and I looked at each other and both basically said the same thing…”They invented that.”  Lombardo was awesome.  He’s such a beast of a drummer.  I was fortunate enough to see and meet him when he toured with Testament on The Gathering tour.  It was cool hearing them to South of Heaven and Aggressive Perfector.  Slayer kicked everyone’s ass in the building last night.  I’m sure that’s a pretty consistent thing.  My only criticism of their show is that they got a little off in the intro to Seasons but they figured it out pretty quickly.  Slayer!

Slayer setlist:

  1. World Painted Blood
  2. Hate Worldwide
  3. War Ensemble
  4. Blood Red
  5. Spirit In Black
  6. Expendable Youth
  7. Dead Skin Mask
  8. Hallowed Point
  9. Skeletons of Society
  10. Temptation
  11. Born of Fire
  12. Seasons In The Abyss
  13. South of Heaven
  14. Raining Blood
  15. Aggressive Perfector
  16. Angel of Death

As I saw during the Iron Maiden show a few months back, they have a person on the floor behind the soundboard doing sign language to each band’s lyrics for the hearing impaired folks in the crowd.  Florentine was sitting next to me during Dead Skin Mask and I point the sign language lady out to him and say, “Dude, you gotta work this into your act.  Someone doing sign language to Slayer lyrics!”  If any of you faithful readers see him do this line in an upcoming act, you know where it came from!  haha

As always, it was a great night with great friends…the ones who came with me and the ones I ran into at the show.  Thanks again to Jim Florentine for his awesome act of kindness.

Let’s hope for a full blown Anthrax tour!

Florentine and McMaster

Written by The Metal Files

September 26, 2010 at 8:53 am