The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Posts Tagged ‘billy milano

Steely Dan Concert Review, Austin, TX 8/28/2013

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Steely Dan was in town last night at the Bass Concert Hall on the campus of the University of Texas.  I got tickets during the presale and scored stage left balcony, 7th row.  The rows were angles and the view was absolutely incredible.

I’ve been a big Steely Dan fan since I was a little kid.  That primarily came from my brother Robert (RIP) and Mom who were both big fans.  Their work in the 70s is absolutely incredible.  Lots of folks dub them a lounge rock band, and that’s not really far from the truth.  But the musicianship this band has displayed since day one is something to note, not to mention the hotshots that have been part of the band throughout the years.

In tow with me for the show were my best friend Amelia, her brother and Billy Milano.  Yes, THAT Billy Milano.  I met Billy shortly after moving to Austin and we’ve been pals ever since.  He’s a good dude and absolutely hilarious.  He’s also a huge Steely Dan fan.  When he saw that I had one spare ticket, he said to me in his still thick NY/Nj accent, “Sean…you better hold that fuckin’ Steely Dan ticket for me!”  Yes sir!

I got to the venue first and while hanging out talking with some folks who were looking for tickets, one of the guys said, “Hey, that dude was Christopher Cross.”  I said ‘sure enough’ and just walked up and said that I was a big fan and asked if we could do a quick photo.  “I’d love to.”   Click!  He asked if I had ever seen the band before and I said no, but have wanted to since I was a kid.  “You’ll love it.”  He’s originally from San Antonio and has been doing a lot of stuff around Austin in the last few years.  I need to go check one of the shows out for sure.  I truly am a fan of his first few albums and the “yacht rock” genre in general.

My friends arrived right after that, we walked in, grabbed a drink and found our seats.  There was a little jazz blues trio called the Deep Blue Organ Trio and they were solid, primarily playing covers as instrumentals.  They closed with a fantastic version of Sinatra’s The Way You Look Tonight.

After a quick set change, Steely Dan’s backup band dubbed The Bipolar All-stars opened up with an instrumental then Donald Fagen and Walter Becker walked out and they went right into “Your Gold Teeth” from Countdown to Ecstasy.  They played a good cross section of their hits and deeper cuts as you’ll see in the setlist below.  It was a great show and Fagen’s vocals still sounded pretty good for age 65.  Becker wasn’t doing a lot of soloing but when he did he sounded good.  They had another kick ass player on most leads.  But I have to say what took the cake for me was the drummer, Keith Carlock.  That dude was absolutely incredible and to be honest stole the show.

If I had to say I was a little disappointed it would be that they didn’t play Deacon Blues.  Mom always said that song reminded her of Robert and it does that for me, too.  Not just in the last year after his death but throughout my whole life.  If the song came on the radio she’d say, “There’s Robert’s song.”  It’s probably good that they skipped that song for the Austin show as I don’t know how well I would have kept my emotions in check.  They also didn’t play “Do It Again”, which is one Billy really wanted to hear.  Finally, if I was able to pick the setlist, Green Earrings would have been in there.  That’s my #1 by them.  “Don’t Take Me Alive” would have been awesome to hear as well.

Overall, the show was 10/10 and the Bass Concert Hall is a phenomenal place to see a show.  The sound in there is absolutely stellar.  Another great concert in a great town with great friends.

Written by The Metal Files

August 29, 2013 at 8:57 am

Concert Review – Hirax – Austin, TX – 08/29/09

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It was 1986 and Metal Blade Records was practically the greatest metal label on the scene.  They consistently released hiraxgreat compilations like the Metal Massacre and Best of Metal Blade series.  Best of Metal Blade Volume 1 (1986) included Call Of The Gods by Hirax.  I always loved that song but for no logical reason whatsoever did I never check them out any further.  I also liked Bombs of Death from Metal Massacre 6.  There’s really no explanation as to why I didn’t follow through on these guys, and after last night I feel like I missed out on some additional great metal in the last 23 years.

So about a month or so ago I read in the local show listings that Hirax was coming to Red 7.  Even though I was not even remotely familiar with any of their material beyond the 2 aforementioned songs, I definitely wanted to see this show.  Through the years I’ve always seen Hirax playing the Euro festivals and have read interviews with Katon W. DePena and have always respected his attitude about music.  The guys has proudly been flying the flag of metal since day 1.

So I get to the club a little early to get MM6 and Best of Metal Blade 1 signed as well as my copy of “Headbangers: Worldwide Megabook of Heavy Metal” (Mark Hale, 1993).  I know the club owner pretty well and he let me go in to the green room to meet Katon and the band.  I was looking forward to this for a few reasons.  One to meet Katon, who really is a true metal legend.  The other reason was to meet Glenn Rogers, former guitar player of Deliverance.  I dug those guys back in the day.  When I went into the room, Katon was in there with his lovely wife, his bassist and guitarist Lance and Steve Harrison and some other guy that I didn’t know.  Glenn was out and about with a friend so I would catch up with him later.

Katon invited me over and we talked for a bit just about music and such and Katon asked about my book.  As he’s flipping through it reading about his band and tons of other obscure bands that are listed in the book.  He signed it and my 2 CD covers and said, “Is DRI in here?  The guy beside me if Felix from DRI.”  Felix thought they wouldn’t be in there but I knew they were.  Much to everyone’s pleasure, there was even a picture of band during the era that Felix was in it (85-90).  I hung out for a bit and asked Katon if he ever had any interactions with Billy Milano, which he had.  So I asked if he wanted to walk over to the club that Billy works in to say hello.  We popped over there for a bit and they shook hands and caught up for a few minutes then I took them over to another club so Katon could catch up with an old friend who unfortunately wasn’t there at the time.  Back to Red 7.  It was great seeing the respect this guy was getting from people in the club, some of who came from Houston and I think a few from Mexico to see this show.

I really expected a much larger crowd, especially with this being on a Saturday.  Typically the San Antonio crew would come up for a show like this but I only saw a few folks from that crowd there.  The Sword was playing up the street for the 2nd night in a row and I can’t imagine they stole much of the crowd from this show.  The club booked 4 grindcore bands to open up which I thought was a bad pairing.  I didn’t go in to check out the other bands as I’m not really a fan of the grind stuff in general.  While the grind bands were playing I got to talk to Glenn Rogers who let me know that Deliverance was going to do one more album with the original lineup sans the drummer.

But then it was time for Hirax.  It was already around 1 or 1:10 AM but the crowd had increased.  I’m guessing there were about 90 people in there.  Cover charge was $15.  Well worth it for me.  Hirax kicked in and just kicked ass.  Katon is a great frontman, reminds me a lot of Jason McMaster.  Knows to to work a crowd and keep them interested during guitar tunings and such.

I have to say that I was truly blown away and really felt a bit guilty about not having checked them out deeper.  But there’s no time like the present, right?  Their set was cut short due to time restraints and I must say I was a little let down that Call of the Gods wasn’t on the set at all.  But it didn’t matter, they were great and I hope they make their way back to Austin again.

Setlist as I remember it:

  1. El Dia De Los Muertos
  2. 100,000 Strong
  3. Blind Faith
  4. New Age of Terror
  5. Chaos and Brutality
  6. Hate, Fear and Power
  7. Broken Neck
  8. Bombs of Death
  9. El Diablo Negro
  10. Walk With Death
  11. Mouth Sewn Shut?

I am not so sure about the ones after El Diablo Negro.

Katon W. De Pena (Hirax), fat dude (me), Felix Griffin (DRI)