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Judas Priest Concert Review, Cedar Park, TX, May 14, 2015

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Poster art by Billy Perkins

Priest returned to Central Texas last night to conquer the mighty town of…wait.  what?  Cedar Park?  Alright then.  Cedar Park!  To talk to people in Austin, you’d think Cedar Park was 1000 miles away, and sometimes when dealing with traffic around here, getting to the north side of town to cross over into Cedar Park can be daunting, especially during rush hour.  But Priest wasn’t hitting the stage until 930PM, so traffic should not have been and was not an issue.  We zoomed right in and got parked.  Making it even easier to get in was the fact that the show wasn’t sold out.  Not even close.  The newer Cedar Park Center (CPC) is a great venue and can hold up to 8,700 for concerts, according to their website.  I dare say there were 5,000 in attendance last night.  I think several factors led to this.  (1) Concert in Cedar Park and no one likes driving up there, (2) Priest just played here in November supporting the same album, (3) GA floor price was $70 and seats were around $50.  But I still went even though I had seen the November show.

This was only my second time seeing them with Halford.  The show was pretty much the same as the November show with the addition of Hellion/Electric Eye and Painkiller.  Painkiller was a way better closer than the snoozefest of Defenders of the Faith.  Faulkner seemed a little more controlled as well.  He was all over the place in November.  Beyond the Realms of Death did give me the same chills it did at the last show.

To be honest I almost didn’t go last night and was going to give my ticket away, but once I got there and ran into everyone, my spirits were kicked up and I was ready to rock out.

Click on the photos to enlarge.  Most of mine sucked, so I used a lot of DaveTV by permission.

Uli Roth and Black Knights Rising Concert Review, Houston, TX, February, 13, 2015

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When I saw that the Extreme Guitar Tour was coming through Houston, on a weekend night no less, I had to make arrangements to go.  It was a tough drive since the Alice Cooper after party from the night before gave me a bad case of rock and roll pneumonia.  haha

Opening the show was a Canadian band called Old James.I couldn’t quite get a bead on them.  While I could tell that they were all proficient musicians, nothing sounded congruent.  No hooks.  They covered Thin Lizzy’s Cold Sweat but I couldn’t tell what it was until the chorus.  I heard a few other folks say the same thing.

Black Knights Rising (BKR) is a bit of a supergroup featuring Tim “Ripper” Owens (Winter’s Bane, Judas Priest, Iced Earth, Yngwie Malmsteen, Dio Disciples and many more), Craig Goldy (DIO, Giuffria, Rough Cutt), Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, DIO, Rick Derringer), Elliott Rubison (Uli Roth, MSG, CEO of Dean Guitars) and sometimes John West (Uli Roth, Royal Hunt, Artension). Based on the BKR Facebook page, Bobby Rondinelli was slated to take over drums after February 9th. That didn’t happen. Either way, both Bobby and Vinny are both in The Book, so I was set either way.  The band comes out and opens with Death Alley Driver by Rainbow and they sound great.  This show was the final night of he tour.  Everything played was either by Deep Purple, Rainbow, Black Sabbath or DIO.  John West came out and went back and forth vocally with Owens on Burn.  They both sounded great!  Highlight for me, though, was Stand Up and Shout.  Vinny’s insane snare work always blew me away in that song and watching him that close live gave me a new appreciation for his playing.  He’s still a beast.  Goldy’s playing was spot on as well.  Effortless player and I’m glad I finally got to see him live.  Last time I saw Ripper live was on the Jugulator tour in Norfolk, VA.

Half of the crowd left after BKR.  Seriously.  Uli was up next and half of those folks left.  I’m still shaking my head over that.  His band is made up of John West, Elliott Rubison, Kofi Baker (son of Ginger Baker), David Klosinski (guitarist from one of the Sky Academy classes) and Allesandro Bertoni on keys.  Uli opens with All Night Long then in to Sails of Charon.  Holy crap.  To finally see him playing these Scorpions classics live was a dream come true.  His playing style is so fluid and relaxed.  He almost looks bored up there.  But even watching the old vids of Scorpions, he always has that look.   Klosinski played rhythm guitar and did some harmony soloing with Uli and was spot on with it.  How cool it must be to have Uli as a mentor.  John West sounded great.  There’s only one Klaus, and West wasn’t trying to imitate him.  He was a great fit.  Kofi’s drumming was great and you could tell that he and the band followed Uli’s every move.  He directed some jams with the wave of a hand, a nod or just some quick eye contact.  Seeing them play We’ll Burn the Sky and In Trance gave me goosebumps.  Maybe even a little verklempt during Burn the Sky.  I absolutely love that song.  The final 3 songs were all Hendrix covers, which is not surprising.  I’m not a Hendrix fan but respect his influence.  He’s obviously very important to Uli.  It was a great show.

After the show I got to meet Vinny and Goldy.  They were both very inquisitive about the book.  They signed on the DIO group photo that features both of them, so it was great that Vinny was there.  I also broke my own “no selfie 2015” rule.  Uli was available, too, but I had met him in 2000 and he signed the book back then.  It was also getting late and I was dog tired.  Great seeing some friends there as well.

Judas Priest Concert Review, Austin, TX, November 7, 2014

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title The shows just keep coming. I’m tired but musically satisfied and it’s always completely worth it. Priest is an odd beast for me. Been a fan since the 70s and prefer that era much more than the 80s to now stuff. When Rob’s voice started leaning towards screeching for vengeance instead of the clean falsettos of the 80s, I was turned off. I first saw Priest in 1998 with Tim Owens on vocals.  Blech.  Didn’t like his albums or his Anselmo like stage presence, but the band sounded great.

Flash forward to 2008 and I went to the Priest/Heaven & Hell/Motorhead/Testament show but left before JP came on.  I had seen footage of Rob from that tour and it was awful.  Immobile, hunched over, a slave to his teleprompter, much like when I saw Halford (solo) in NYC.  I didn’t want to see how much the mighty had fallen so I left.  I sort of regret it but oh well.

Flash forward again to 2014 and Fun Fun Fun Fest announced that Priest and King Diamond would be headliners on their black stage.  I wasn’t going to miss Rob this time. I got to the venue around 7PM and the line to get in was about 3hrs.  I did a little hocus pocus and only waited about 15 minutes to get my will call wristband.  Hung with some friends until Priest went on and then we rocked out. They opened with Dragonaut from the new album.  I’m not a fan of the newer stuff as stated previously but it sounded fine.  Then right into Metal Gods, Devil’s Child and Victim of Changes.  Overall Rob sounded pretty good.  He avoided the notes he knew he couldn’t hit.  Some of them he got pretty good when he tried like in Victim.  There were some instances where he did try and failed, but whatever.  It was what it was…a great metal show.

They played 4 tracks from the new album.  A decent mix of the older stuff.  Of course my setlist would have been totally different.  Richie Faulkner is sort of the star of the show now.  He’s out front most of the time and handles all of KK’s old leads just fine.  He’s good.  The band was very solid as expected.  Hard not to be when you have the human drum machine Scott Travis keeping time for you. Beyond The Realms of Death was the highlight for me.

So many childhood memories listening to that one as a kid.  It was a fun show but when it ended all I really cared about was going home and going to bed.  I went downtown for one beer and could barely drink it.  Pure exhaustion.  Today I rest up for King Diamond tonight!

Ignitor Mix Tape ’85 Review

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Mixtape_85_BS_cover-300My history with Ignitor isn’t that deep as I only picked up on them when Jason McMaster joined the band in 2009ish.  That doesn’t detract from the Erika Tandy era at all, I just went backwards with their discography.  Ignitor is quality metal, no matter which era you’re listening to.

Ignitor’s latest offering is a download only album of classic covers.  It’s a great mix of classic metal covering some of my favorites bands.

McMaster was made to cover all of these bands giving them his unique vocal flair and Ignitor in general stayed pretty true to these songs without taking any real liberties in the music.  The Stuart “Batlord” solos are all pretty incredible and the opening solo to Into the Coven gave me chills when I first heard it.  He completely nailed the tone.  While I admit that I’m not the biggest fan of Exodus’ Bonded By Blood or Exciter’s Violence and Force, these covers are well done.  I’m especially impressed with their version of Anthrax’s Deathrider.  Fistful of Metal often gets overlooked in Anthrax conversations.  The cover of Highway Star has the proper intro like Deep Purple’s original and the heaviness of Metal Church’s version.   I’m also a huge fan of Witching Hour.  And you gotta love that album cover!

You can stream the album here and I recommend that you buy it from iTunes or Amazon ASAP!  Both are under $8!

Quality metal covers from a quality metal band.

“DEATHRIDER” – Anthrax
“FAST AS A SHARK” – Accept
“VIOLENCE AND FORCE”  – Exciter
“INTO THE COVEN” – Mercyful Fate
“WITCHING HOUR” – Venom
“HELL BENT FOR LEATHER” – Judas Priest
“A LESSON IN VIOLENCE” – Exodus
“HIGHWAY STAR” – Deep Purple

Adios KK Downing

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So KK , rather Judas Priest announced today that KK has left the band and is being replaced by Lauren Harris’ guitar player.  At this point, I’m not surprised.  Those dudes are getting older, KK’s got his golf course stuff and well, in my opinion, they probably should have stopped a long time ago, probably when Rob left.  I know I’m in the minority with that opinion.  Whatever.

Hope KK isn’t dealing with any health issues.  That’s not the reason one wants to have to quit something that they created and love.

Best wishes, dude.  Thanks for the holy trinity of Sad Wings, Stained Class and Sin After Sin.

Written by The Metal Files

April 20, 2011 at 8:50 am

My Life With Judas Priest

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It was 1977 or 1978 when my brother brought home a copy of Sin After Sin and it was the first time I had ever heard of Judas Priest. I was already listening to KISS, Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper so metal was no stranger to me. I listened to it often and it’s where my love for JP began.

Rocka Rolla – 1974
I like this album much more now than I did say 15 years ago but I don’t love it. Lots of good songs on here and really no stinkers.
6/10

Sad Wings of Destiny – 1976
I was never much of a fan of Victim of Changes and if I never heard it again I’d be ok with it. Tyrant, Dreamer Deceiver and Genocide are great. I love this album in general.
8/10

Sin After Sin – 1977
Anytime I put this album on I play it all the way through. I adore their version of Diamonds and Rust. In general, I think this was one of Halford’s best albums.
10/10

Stained Class – 1978
Another perfect album. This was the second album I heard by them and was hooked instantly. Every song on here is awesome, especially for 1978. I didn’t realize until today that Better By You was originally written by Gary Wright. If anyone has an mp3 of that, feel free to send it to me.
10/10

Killing Machine/Hell Bent for Leather – 1978/1979
Other than the silliness of Evil Fantasies, this is another great album by Priest. I could live without Delivering the Goods as well.
8/10

British Steel – 1980
Obviously the album that gave Priest their biggest notoriety in the states. It’s really a simple album riff-wise and the drums got dumbed down a lot (of course since Dave Holland joined on this one). This was the first JP album that I actually owned. I never liked United and really can’t stand to hear Living After Midnight or Breaking the Law. I played those 2 songs in bands enough times over the years to kill it for me forever. I do like Metal Gods and You Don’t Have To Be Old To Be Wise quite a bit. This album was really the true beginning of their lyrical silliness.
7/10

Point of Entry – 1981
The album so many love to hate. I like this one quite a bit. Hot Rockin’ sucks. Period. Priest is definitely staying the course riff-wise when compared to British Steel.
8/10

Screaming For Vengeance – 1982
Ugh. I’ve caught grief over the years for my distaste of this album. I like the title track and Electric Eye the best. You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ is OK, I’ve just heard it way too many times.
4.5/10

Defenders of the Faith – 1984
Ugh again. Other than Some Heads Are Gonna Roll (quite possibly my fave Priest song and they didn’t even write it!), I don’t really like this album. Is there another version of that song floating around by Mr. Halligan?
2/10

Turbo – 1986
Not bad in general. Parental Guidance is rather retarded and I don’t really like Wild Nights, Hot and Crazy Days or Hot for Love at all. Still, It was a tad better than the previous 2 LPs. Out in the Cold .
5/10

Ram It Down – 1988
Geez guys. What the hell? Blood Red Skies and Ram It Down are about the only ones I can stomach.
2/10…barely

Painkiller – 1990
WTF? I hated it then and I hate it now. Sure, it’s heavy but it’s not catchy. I was excited that a local acquaintance had joined the band but they weren’t able to deliver an album that I wanted to listen to.
0/10

Jugulator – 1997
Other than Cathedral Spires, I don’t like this album. Like Painkiller, it is the lyrical equivalent of the writings of an an average 2nd grader.
0.5/10

Demolition – 2001
Easy.
0/10

Angel of Retribution – 2005
It’s been 2 years already? Wow. Worth Fighting For and Angel are really really good songs. The rest of the album leaves me flat. Still, it’s the best thing they did since Point of Entry.
5/10

Nostradamus – 2008
-0/10

Written by The Metal Files

December 25, 2008 at 1:52 pm

Yngwie Malmsteen, San Antonio, TX, 10/4/08

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i first saw yngwie in 85 opening for triumph and was already a huge fan before seeing that show. i think this was my 8th or 9th time seeing him since then. i got what i expected.

now…the review…

packed house @ scout bar in san antonio. my guitar player and i went. he had actually seen yngwie with steeler back in the old days (bastard!).

nice venue, good sized stage.

opening act: ANJ from Moscow – they blew. kudos to them for being able to do a US tour but they were pretty awful. boring.

before ANJ played, yngwie’s drummer called me and asked me to meet him at the backstage door. we walked over and hung out with him for about 15 minutes or so. cool guy, always a pleassure to talk to him.

so the lights go back down after ANJ get’s their stuff off the stage and yngwie starts up. the sound was terrible…the whole night. owens commented on it several times. drums sounded like shit, could barely hear the keyboards or the bass (which is typical for an yngwie show).

owens sounded pretty good all the way through except on i’ll see the light tonight. he is a good frontman. he also used some cheat sheets to help with lyrics.

yngwie was yngwie. he played very little ryhthm guitar which is disappointing because he writes great riffs. his guitar tech was a bit of a dumbass. you had to see what was going on to get it i guess.

yngwie can still play his ass off. he looked a bit thinner than when i last saw him although i think the melon on his shoulders gets bigger, and i am not referring to his ego. but whatever, he shredded. he did some beautiful acoustic work.

his keyboard player stunk. just awful. i was a bit shocked. he’s had some fine key players over the years but missed the mark on this one.

i was also a bit disappointed that they didn’t do any new songs. i mean c’mon, the album comes out in 2 weeks, give us a preview!

here’s the setlist out of order:

rising force
cherokee warrior – yngwie on vocals
cracking the whip
demon driver
rise up
i am a viking – ripper sounded decent on this
i’ll see the light tonight – he sounded ok, got the lyrics wrong in the first verse. i’ll post the vid later.
dreaming
black star
you don’t remember, i’ll never forget
gates of babylon
suite opus 4
some other instrumental

turn your volume down before starting this video:

Written by The Metal Files

October 5, 2008 at 2:59 pm