The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Posts Tagged ‘adrian smith

The Who and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts Concert Review, Austin, TX, April 27, 2015

leave a comment »

The_who_face_dances_albumMy brother, Robert (RIP), had one favorite band and that was The Who.  While he was the one who got me in to KISS, Alice Cooper, RUSH etc in the 70s, The Who was always top of his list.  Through the constant record spinning in the 70s and 80s, I became and remained a fan.  Anytime I hear one of their songs, it just punches me in the gut with his memory more so than any of the other bands that he influenced me with.  He absolutely loved them and I am pretty sure he never got to see them.  I had never seen them before last night either.

Typically when a ticketed show comes to town, I’ll buy 2 as seeing a show with a friend is typically a fun thing to do, but for this show, I wanted to see it alone.

In 10th grade we had to do a book report, written and oral presentation, and I had chosen Full Moon: The Amazing Rock and Roll Life of Keith Moon as a I was a big fan of his frenetic drumming.  During the oral presentation, I hung my brother’s Live at Leeds poster behind me and had the tape of that show playing in the background.  At the end of the report I quoted one of the last lines in the book which said (paraphrased), “To sum up Keith’s life, he basically upped and fucking died.”  Take into consideration that this was a Catholic high school.  Ms. Collins, who only lasted on year there, was pretty mousey and was appalled that I had “used such language” and sent me to the principal’s office.  I didn’t go.  I went to the library and listened to a cassette until the bell rang.  The next day I ran into the principal, Sister Ethelreda, in the hall and she immediately had me follow her to her office.  I took a pretty good tongue lashing from her about foul language in the classroom etc.  I didn’t care.  I hated that place and Ms. Collins, who pretty much only spoke to me when she had to for the rest of that year.  haha.  I ran into her at a mall a few years after high school and spoke to her for a few minutes.  I think she was terrified of me.

I’m a pretty big Who fan and prefer their 70s and 80s material more than the 60s stuff.  Face Dances, Who’s Next, By Numbers and It’s Hard are my faves.

4378So here we are at show day.  After work I get a ride downtown, grab a happy hour beer then make my way to the venue.  I had a pretty decent seat with a side view of the stage, which was perfect as I really wanted to watch their drummer, Zak Starkey.  Zak is the son of Ringo Starr, but I couldn’t care less about that and I’m not a Beatles fan at all.  BUT…Zak played drums on ASAP’s Silver and Gold album.  ASAP stands for Adrian Smith and Project.  Yes, THAT Adrian Smith.  This is the album he released after leaving Iron Maiden and I think it’s an amazing record from front to back.  Great rock album with Adrian on vocals and Zak’s incredible drum work.  I highly recommend it.

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts were the openers and while I’m not much of a fan, she put on a really good show and opened with my favorite song of hers, Bad Reputation.  She pretty much played everything you’d expect to hear plus a couple of new songs.  Her voice sounded great and her band was solid.  And before last night, I never noticed how gorgeous her eyes are.  Looking at the closeups on the big screen monitors just had me captivated for a bit.

After about a 40 minute set change, The Who come on stage and open with I Can’t Explain and The Seeker.  Either before or after the next song, Who Are You, they have to change out one of Pete’s amps.  While they’re doing that, he mentions that Jeff Beck was in attendance.  He quipped that there was at least one guitar player at the show better than him.  It was pretty funny and his delivery was right on.  They carried on with their playing through mostly familiar hits sprinkling in a few deeper ones like I’m One, Amazing Journey and Sparks.  Eminence Front is one of my fave songs by them and they played it.  It was great.

The whole show was great in general.  Roger’s and Pete’s voices are still very clear and full of range and I was pleasantly surprised by that.  They rolled through 22 songs in about 2 hours and no encore.  Impressive for a band of their age.  Pino Palladino was on bass.  He’s a monster player overall but didn’t do all of The Ox’s runs which I thought was odd.  Zak’s drumming was solid.  Beastly even.  He did a lot of cool stuff but I was surprised and maybe a little let down that he didn’t really do any of Moon’s signature licks.  It was most noticeable to me in My Generation.  Moon plays a mean shuffle on the ride cymbal in that song but it was nowhere to be found last night.  But just getting to finally watch him play was a treat.  He did do a few buzz rolls reminiscent of that ASAP album that were awesome.

I’ll admit to getting emotional a few times during the set thinking about my brother.  I probably missed him more last night than I have since he died.

Click photos to enlarge.

Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier Review

with 8 comments

What a terrible album cover!

I’m at a loss for words (pun intended) on trying to review this album.  Anyone that knows me knows I always have words, especially when it comes to talking about music.  But this is a little bit difficult.  But now I am reviewing an album by my all time favorite band ever…EVER!  There is no other band that could be #1 for me, it’s just not possible.  But for the sake of my adoring public *cough*, I’ll try to scribble out some drivel for your voracious reading palettes.

I don’t need to go back into the annals of The Metal Files and rehash my love for Maiden, it’s all there for you to peruse on your own.  But for as much as I have loved them since 1984, I have not been so blinded by fandom to think that they can do no wrong.  They’ve released their share of shit over the years.  What?  You want that list?  It’s ugly and many will disagree, but here goes:

  • Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (I can tolerate it better now than when it was released, but I detested it for years upon years)
  • Fear of the Dark
  • The X-Factor
  • Virtual XI
  • Dance of Death

Did you notice that The Final Frontier didn’t make the list?  Look again, it’s not up there.  Don’t get me wrong, this album is not ‘awesome’ or ‘great’ or ‘brilliant’ or even ‘ground-breaking’, but it is quite a solid album…with some warts.  It’s the album that I expected after A Matter of Life and Death, which I loved.

I heard 30 second clips from each of the songs about a month ago and noticed something going on with either Bruce’s voice or the production of his voice.  It sounded raspy, unclear and low in the mix.  I honestly thought Maiden leaked rough mixes as a joke to fool their adoring public.  I was wrong.  Bruce sounds tired on this which is a bit surprising as he sounded great on the tour.  While I don’t hear any auto-tuner done on his voice,  it is pretty clear that much of his vocals were punched in.  There are too many areas where even the mighty Air Raid Siren would physically not be able to catch his breath if he tried to sing some of this stuff straight through.  And that’s not a big deal, bands have been recording vocals like this for decades.

When first seeing the tracklistings and the lengths of the songs, I knew what we were going to get; lots of intros and outtros and long repetitive choruses.  We get some of that on this record for sure, but it doesn’t seem as much of the repetitiveness as we’ve seen on recent recordings by “Ron Maiden and the Dixie Chickens” (aka Iron Maiden).

Something I noticed on this album and the last one is the “absence” of Steve Harris.  Sure you can hear him in the intros and in the main parts of the songs clanking along on his P-bass, but where are the signature ‘Arry bass runs?  I just don’t hear them and have missed that in recent years.  There are some areas where Nicko’s right foot still lets you know that he’s a bad mofo, but some of his fills seems to lack the energy and creativity that my favorite drummer used to have.  Yes, he’s always been “Mr. 4-on-the-floor”, but it seems to happen way too much on this album.

While it pains me to say this, my favorite track on the album was penned by Jannick Gers:  The Alchemist.  It’s the shortest song on the album clocking in at a mere 4’29”.  It’s also the most energetic and upbeat song on the record.  Everything else is mid-paced with a few bursts here and there.  But still, get Jannick out of the band already!  Sure he’s been there for 20 years now but make him go away.

Adrian Smith has writing credits on 6 of the 10.  Some of his stuff in the classic Maiden era were Maiden’s best songs.  He’s a talented guy and I loved his solo album, but what I am hearing on here doesn’t have the classic “H” feel to it.  Of course, this isn’t your father’s Maiden either.

Dave Murray gets some credit on The Man Who Would Be King.  Upon my first listen to that track, I thought to myself, “Self?  This one must’ve been written by Dave Murray.”   It just seems like a Dave song, I don’t know any better way to explain it.  Neither good nor bad.

I’ve read some other reviews of this album where people are giving accolades to the closing track When The Wind Blows.  It’s 10+ minutes long, Maiden’s 3rd longest song ever.  In general I don’t care for it.  I don’t like the way that the guitar follows the vocals or vice versa.  But the last few minutes of this song give us a flash of classic Maiden.

It took me a few listens but I realized something…this album reminds me a lot of one of their older albums…No Prayer For The Dying.  I’m not sure exactly why it brings back memories of that album but it does, sans the retardedly goofy lyrics of NPFTD.  Since Dance of Death, Maiden has been plodding along, playing it safe.  It’s worked well on some songs, on others not so much.

All in all, The Final Frontier isn’t terrible and I’ll spin it several more times before this week is over, but it won’t rank up there in my favorite Maiden albums, not even close.  Still, it’s better than what some of the other “classic” metal bands have been putting out in recent years (Nostradamus anyone?).  If you’ve liked Maiden’s stuff since Brave New World (or anything from the Gers era), then you will not be disappointed.  If you only care for the pre-1990 stuff, don’t bother with this.  It will be a waste of time for you.

6.5/10 is my rating.  It could have been a lot worse, and like anything else, it could have been a lot better.  I guess I really wasn’t at a loss for words…big ‘orra!

Written by The Metal Files

August 18, 2010 at 8:16 am

Iron Maiden – Night Of The Living Dead (Live 1982)

leave a comment »

Here’s a GREAT live show from the New York Palladium, June 29, 1982.  This apparently was a radio broadcast.  The only thing that could have made this show better for me was if they had played Total Eclipse.

Tracks:

01. Murders In The Rue Morgue
02. Wrathchild
03. Run To The Hills
04. Children Of The Damned
05. The Number Of The Beast
06. The Prisoner
07. Hallowed Be They Name
08. Phantom Of The Opera
09. Iron Maiden
10. Sanctuary
11. Drifter

Download it here.

Written by The Metal Files

January 2, 2010 at 10:18 am

Iron Maiden – The Whole Population Of Hackney (Live 1985)

with one comment

Here’s a sort of rare Maiden bootleg that I used to have on vinyl ages ago.  I used to be a bigtime Maiden record collector and had well over 200 records.  Those old days of trading records through magazine ads and the early alt.newsgroup days are long gone thanks to the advancement of the Internet.  Good times though.  Never a deal gone sour!  I sold off most of my entire record collection around 2000.  Sometimes I wish I still had it all but I used to move a lot and lugging those crates around were a bear.

Anyhoo…The Whole Population of Hackney (aka The Entire Population of Hackney).  This was an odd little show and technically it’s not even an Iron Maiden show.  You can read about the history of this recording here.

One of the things I liked about this is that some of the songs ended up being recorded by Adrian under his ASAP project.  I love that album and wish he would have done a followup.

Tracks:

  1. EastEnders theme/”Juanita” – 4:32 (Marshall Fury cover)
  2. “See Me Through” – 3:22 (original by James Buster Band)
  3. “Reach Out” – 3:36 (Written by Dave Colwell for the project)
  4. “Chevrolet” – 3:38 (Stray Dog cover)
  5. “Lady” – 6:55 (Urchin song)
  6. “Silver and Gold” – 6:21 (Later used with ASAP)
  7. “That Girl” – 5:06 (composed by the first instance of FM band with Andy Barnett on. Circa ’84)
  8. “Fighting Man” – 5:33 (Written by Dave Colwell for the project)(later appeared on the ASAP single, Silver and Gold)
  9. “School Days” (with extended drum solo) – 5:51 (Originally written by Colwell for his band 720) (later appeared on the ASAP single, Down the Wire)
  10. “When She’s Gone” – 5:30 (Not the Black Sabbath song. Later appeared on the ASAP single, Down the Wire)
  11. “Try” – 4:06 (Written by Kenny Mountain, who also co-wrote Rainbow’s Gold)
  12. “Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra)” – 4:11 (from Iron Maiden’s Powerslave) (Steve Harris and Dave Murray enter the stage)
  13. “2 Minutes To Midnight” – 6:11 (from Iron Maiden’s Powerslave) (Bruce Dickinson enters the stage)
  14. “Rosalie” – 4:33 (Bob Seger cover)
  15. “Tush” – 4:29 (ZZ Top cover)

Download it here.

Michael Kiske – Twilight of a vocal god

with 5 comments

Like most people, I was introduced to Kiske’s voice via Helloween’s Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 1.  He instantly kiske_michael-770967became one of my favorite singers along with Bruce Dickinson, Dio, Jeff Scott Soto and John Arch.  He had a very unique voice but was constantly compared to Dickinson.  I never got that, but whatever.  To this day I still follow Michael’s albums and have only been disappointed a few times along the way.  Unfortunately I have never seen them live except for the Hell On Wheels Halloween Show they did on MTV, which was awesome.  RIP Ingo!

I just spun Keeper 1 and 2 (NOISE Records 2 CD set) a week or so ago.  Keeper 1 holds up well, good songs, great vocals.  Keeper 2?  Not so much.  That album was pretty goofy when it came out and it’s even more so now.  Other than Eagle Fly Free, Save Us and I Want Out, the album is pretty awful.  When Pink Bubbles Go Ape came out, I was none to thrilled about the title or the album cover.  WTF?  The album is almost a joke save a few songs like Kids of the Century and Number One.  I haven’t spun it in years and not sure when I’ll actually pull it off the shelf again.  All that being said, Kiske still had the pipes and could pretty much reach any note he needed to.  By the time Chameleon came out, I was really apprehensive about it, and with good reason based on the previous 2 albums.  Chameleon is mellow, quiet and was really showing a different side of Helloween…a non-German power metal side.  These guys essentially invented that style and ultimately completely abandoned it.  While Kiske’s vocals were consistent on this one and while it is a better album than Pink Bubbles, it’s not great…but I still reach for it from time to time.  It was a good indicator of what was to come for Kiske.

Kiske left after Chameleon to pursue a solo career.  It’s not very often that new like this makes me happy, but this was one of those cases.

I was very excited when Instant Clarity came out in 1996.  It featured Adrian Smith and Kai Hansen as guest musicians.  The album is fantastic and Adiran’s and Kai’s contributions are certainly noteworthy.

A few years later came Readiness To Sacrifice.  While I like this album, it’s certainly even more mellow than the last.  You can see that Kiske really wanted to get away from hard rock.  And that’s quite alright.

Unfortunately his next project was Supared.  I tried and tried to like this post-alternative album, but it just didn’t connect with me at all.

Michael release 2 other solo albums under the moniker “Kiske”:  Kiske and Past In Different Ways which was basically his acoustic interpretations of some Helloween classics.  It’s not bad at all but the Kiske CD is a bit better.

Then there’s Place Vendome.  I simply love the 2 CDs he did with them.  Place Vendome and Streets of Fire are basically radio friendly slightly hard rock with, of course, great solos and really nice guitar solos.  I highly recommend both of these albums if you like some of the mid-to-latter era Journey works.  This is certainly comparable.  AOR they call it?  Whatever, it’s good stuff.

In summation, I love Kiske’s voice, I always have.  I didn’t care much for the offshoot stuff he did with Avantasia etc, I prefer it when he’s the lead singer of a band.  I’d love to see him whip out one more metal album but it’ll never happen.  I think Place Vendome will be as close as he gets to that stuff ever again.

Written by The Metal Files

September 2, 2009 at 8:39 pm

Urchin feat. Adrian Smith

with 2 comments

Like a lot of American kids, my exposure to the NWOBHM was Iron Maiden.  Sure I had heard Priest in the 70s but they urchin-300were pre-NWOBHM.  As a Maiden fan, I always loved Adrian Smith’s guitar work, songwriting and vocal abilities.  When the 10 Wasted Years video came out, they showed Adrian’s pre-Maiden band Urchin doing “She’s a Roller.”  A cool poppy sounding song, very British in its stylings.  I adored Adrian’s A.S.A.P. and always found it to be a refreshing and original album.

Last year I found a copy of the Urchin stuff on eBay for a mere $12!  I had to have it.  It’s a fun CD, nothing too crazy but it’s total Adrian Smith.  I always wished he’d do a follow-up to ASAP’s Silver and Gold.  Unfortunately we got Psycho Motel.  I have both of their CDs but haven’t listened to them in forever.  Perhaps I will one day soon…perhaps not (more likely).

Anyhoo…enjoy this trip down Adrian Smith’s memory lane.

  1. She’s a Roller
  2. Long Time No Woman
  3. Black Leather Fantasy
  4. Rock & Roll Woman
  5. See Right Through You (live)
  6. See Right Through You (studio)
  7. Walking Out On You
  8. Watch Me Walk Away
  9. The Latest Show
  10. Life Time

Download.

Written by The Metal Files

July 6, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Iron Maiden – Flight 666

with 2 comments

It’s no secret that Iron Maiden is my all-time favorite band and has been since Flight_666___The_49e6eea3d4247Powerslave came out in 1984.  They always possessed a certain kind of power in their music that stuck with me.  I’m not a total fanboy and have been vocally critical of them, as I am with any band that graces my ears, positive criticism or negative.  Maiden’s put out some stinkers: Fear of the Dark, Dance of Death, the 2 with Bayley on vox…But generally they always right themselves.  They really did a great album with A Matter of Life and Death.  To me that was their best album since Somewhere In Time.

Now here we are in 2009.  They finished an ambitious leg of the Somewhere Back In Time Tour by having Bruce Bruce fly the band and all of its crew and equipment all over tarnation while being filmed.  The result of this being the Flight 666 documentary.

I received my copy Friday and watched some of it before going out and finished it over the weekend.  What a power presentation.  I am always blown away by a band’s fans of this magnitude.  worldwide I think that Iron Maiden may be more popular than Metallica.  Since I don’t pay much attention to Metallica I really shouldn’t make such claims, but whatever.  This is my party.

The behind the scenes footage of the band going from city to city, country to country is pretty amazing.  It’s amazing that no one got hurt.   There is one particular scene in the Colombian section where a guy apparently caught one of Nicko’s sticks and he’s standing there in tears after the show with a female friend.  You can just see how much the show in general meant to him and even that much more to being home a piece of it from a supposed hero of his.  I get it.  I really do.  I’ve been to a few shows over the years that were really emotional for me, religious experiences even.  This last tour was one of those experiences.

One of my best friends came to town from Arkansas to attend the show with me and it made it that much more special.  The band was amazing.  Bruce sounded great. Nicko seems to have gotten better over the years.  Dave and Adrian and Steve and the consistent rocks in the band.  I’d never seen them play at such a high level?

…and there’s Jannick Gers.

Since day 1 I have not been a fan.  I never will be.  It pains me to see him playing some of Adrian’s solos with “H” standing right beside him.  I should add how poorly he plays them.  He’s completely sloppy, always.  He was in 1991 when I saw him and he was last year when I saw him.  This video is even more proof of it.  Sure Dave and Adrian aren’t perfect, but their playing is fine.  VH-1 has been running the concert footage from this regularly so I have been able to see it several times now.

But back to Iron Maiden and this great documentary.  My friend Jeff made a great observation about Maiden and it’s best that I quote it instead of paraphrasing it:

And what is the essential element that makes them so successful? Without regard to anyone in the band’s personal politics, the band itself is VERY socially conservative. They don’t have lyrics about getting wasted, f****ng chicks, teenage rebellion, rebellion against society, songs promoting social change, none of that tot. And they’re very healthy, non-destructive, and constructive in their own individual lives.

Up the Irons!

Amen.  Up the Irons!
Flight 666 get 5/5 Stars

Written by The Metal Files

June 16, 2009 at 2:55 pm