The Metal Files

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Warbringer, Enforcer, Exmortus & Cauldron Concert Review, Austin, TX, February 11, 2016

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Quick and easy review today.

Having only been mildly familiar with all of these bands and being on the guestlist (thanks Metal Assault!), I took the decision to see this show that started at 645PM and would be done by 1030PM.  Silly sound ordinances in downtown Austin have made it like this.  Live Music Capital of the World?  pfft.

Cauldron goes on and they left me flat like they do on the one album I’ve heard.  They just don’t have the “umph” needed to keep me interested.  Production on the album I heard was really thin and they sounded thin live, and not because of the PA.  I think the singer, who has a decent voice, just doesn’t project it at all.  Not to mention the band was sloppy in general.  Decent riffs that go nowhere.  I really think the addition of a second guitarist would help.  And maybe a metronome or some extra rehearsals every now and then.  A touring band typically gets pretty tight.  They’re a band that I really want to like but just can’t.

Exmortus was up next and I didn’t care too much for what I had listened to online, but they won me over live, mainly based on the guitar work.  Both guys are shredders and I was totally hooked in.  I look forward to seeing them again.  There were a lot of Exmortus fans in the crowd singing every song, which was cool.

Enforcer (SWE) came next and had the biggest crowd of the night.  A good amount of the crowd was certainly familiar with their material.  Their singer/guitarist is a good frontman and the band was solid overall.  You’re not getting anything original here but they were at least fun.  My favorite part was his little Texas metal speech.  Something to the effect of, “We were influenced by a lot of great Texas metal, and not that Pantera bullshit.  I’m talking Militia, Wyzard and Watchtower!”

Warbringer closed out the night with their mix of thrash and death metal.  They share a guitarist with Exmortus, so some of the solos were killer.  While I wasn’t into the spurts of the blast beats, their drummer was certainly skilled.  They put on a solid set for sure.

Written by The Metal Files

February 12, 2016 at 10:57 am

Lamb of God, Anthrax, Deafheaven & Power Trip Concert Review, Austin, TX, February 8, 2016

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I went to last night’s show solely to see Anthrax and Power Trip.  I think Deafheaven and Lamb of God are awful.  Boring, really.

Originally I wasn’t going to go then I saw that Anthrax was doing a relatively inexpensive meet and greet and I’ve wanted to meet them and to get them in The Book so I got my ticket and ordered the meet and greet.  Shortly after the M&G was announced, a local record store posted that they would be doing an in-store as well and to get anything signed, you had to buy a deck of their playing cards and no photos.  Oh well.

Doors were at 4:30PM (wow) and we were told to be there at 3:15PM.  Ultimately there were only 4 of us and we got taken to the backstage area where the band came out to say hello, sign stuff and do a few pictures and talk for a few minutes.  It was pretty obvious that Scott Ian didn’t want to be there, so I just shook his hand, had him sign The Book, a photo and my Spreading the Disease CD cover.  Charlie was checking out The Book, looked up and saw my Loudness patch and said, “I bet Loudness isn’t in here.”  I let him know that they were and that I had sigs from 3/4 of the original band.  Then he started rambling off other bands, some of them nu-metal shit, and I said that there were no bands after 1991 in here.  “Oh, cool.  Where do I get one of these?”  So I directed him to Amazon blah blah blah.  Joey and Frank were extremely nice and super chatty as was their new guitarist, Jon Donais of Shadows Fall.  I wish I had recognized him at the moment because I love Of One Blood by Shadows Fall.  I mentioned to Joey and Frank that I had first seen them on the Among tour at The Boathouse.  Scott heard me and said, “Geez, I remember that dump.  We played there a few times.”  Three to be exact, but whatever.  It was good to meet them and we were all given a deck of the Anthrax cards, a record mat, a band photo to get signed and the M&G laminate.  We were also given the opportunity to buy merch on the way out so I got a tour shirt.

Since Power Trip wasn’t going on until 6PM, I went over to Lambert’s for some awesome food and a beer as it was only 430PM when we were led back out of the venue.  I’m back at the venue are 530PM and see a bunch of friends and hang out a bit before Power Trip’s set.

I head up to the mezzanine area and sit for a few minutes.  I’ve had some back issues lately and I was seated on the back corner of the back row (only four rows in this section) and could get up as needed.  I ended up standing for most of the show as it was more comfortable.  Power Trip started promptly at 6PM and the crowd was trickling in.  I’ve seen them several times and I really enjoy them in a live setting.  I think they gained some new fans by then end of their 30 minute set.  They were solid as usual.

Deafheaven was up next and I just went back out to the lobby area to hang out with some friends.  They bore me to tears.

Anthrax came on right at 745PM opening with Fight ’em Till You Can’t from their Worship Music album, which I really liked.  Having Belladonna back in the band has been great, for me at least.  They rolled effortlessly through an 8 song set that had 2 songs from their forthcoming album, For All Kings.  I liked the 2 new tracks a lot.  They played In the End, Caught In a Mosh and Indians as well…and two covers.  FUUUUUCK.  I mean, I know they’ve always played covers live, but throw us a bone every now and then.  On some of the shows where they’ve had a longer set, they’ve included as many as 3 songs from Spreading the Disease.  HOLY FUCK I’d lose my mind if I saw Lone Justice live.  *sigh*  Oh well.  Charlie Benante is still ungodly on drums and Frank Bello is basically the Angus Young of the bass.  I’ve always loved his playing and his backing vocals are superb.  Joey sounded great, too.  Jon is a killer guitarist and played Spitz’ parts perfectly as well as his own.

After a short break, Lamb of God comes on.  I stayed for the first song and that was enough for me.  Never liked their stuff.  Bro-metal.

 

Holy Grail & Night Demon Concert Review, Austin, TX, December 7, 2015

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My good friends in Night Demon rolled back into Austin this week as direct support for LA’s Holy Grail.  With it being a Monday night I was a little concerned as to how well attended this show would be, but it did better than I expected.

The ND guys got to my house around 4:30PM after a long drive from Albuquerque and promptly unloaded their bags and started taking showers and just relaxing a bit before we head to the show for load in.  This is the 3rd time they’ve stayed here and they now have their own key to my house.  Great guys.

The show had 4 openers going on before ND.  Fortunately I liked two of them already, Blood for Master and Widower.  Both bands put on solid sets as usual.  Blood for Master played some new stuff from their latest disc.  Widower pretty much destroyed everything in their path.  Love seeing both bands.  I went elsewhere during the other 2 bands.  A few seconds into each of their sets and I knew I didn’t need to be there.

Night Demon comes on shortly after 10PM with their Conan the Barbarian intro and bust right into Screams in the Night and Full Speed Ahead.  The crowd of about 75 or so was very into it.  They played 7 more songs closing with Night Demon.  Great set as always and it seems like they picked up some new fans.

After about a 20 minute break, Holy Grail comes on and while the crowd thinned out a little, the faithful remained and stayed right up front.  They were really solid and I like their guitarists a lot.  The only thing I don’t lik.e it the occasional death metal growls.  They don’t need it but I guess it’s what the kids want these days.  They also played a decent cover of King Diamond’s No Presents for Christmas.  Solid set.

After load out and coming back to my house, I made tacos…again.  Night Demon loves my tacos.  haha

 

Billy Idol Concert Review, Austin, TX, October 1, 2015

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I’m not a huge Billy Idol fan and I don’t think I’ve ever owned any of his albums, but I liked most of the radio hits and what little bit of Generation X stuff I’ve heard over the years.  I do like Steve Stevens quite a bit though.  His Atomic Playboys album was really good as well as the first Bozzio, Levin, Stevens album.

The setlist was pretty much as expected mixing up the hits, a few Gen X songs and some new stuff.  Stevens rocked it.  Idol’s voice seemed out of key through much of the set and in some spots it sounded perfect.  Too perfect really.  I’m pretty sure that some of his vocals were pre-recorded.  I’m not the only one who noticed it as others around me were making the same comment.

That being said, I had a good time and he did play Blue Highway, which is one of my faves.

Whitesnake and The Dead Daisies Concert Review, Austin, TX, August 9, 2015

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The Dead Daisies opened the show and I had not heard of them until right before showtime.  They are sort of an all star lineup featuring John Corabi, Marco Mendoza, Dizzy Reed, Richard Fortis, Brian Tichy and Damon Johnson.  They came out and got the crowd warmed up pretty easily and were a good fit to open for Whitesnake.  Musically I was pretty bored.  Too much hand clapping and “Hey!” type rock for me.  The crowd seemed into it though and that’s what mattered.  They were solid and Corabi’s voice sounded great.  They did a quick free meet and greet immediately after their set which was cool.  I spoke to Marco for a moment recalling the times I saw him with Thin Lizzy in Virginia and Maryland.  He’s got a good memory, “Phil Lynott tattoo on your arm, right?”

I saw Whitesnake for the first time about 10 years ago to the day (August 7, 2005) in Norfolk, VA and they were good.  Good enough, anyway.  Coverdale, who’s no spring chicken and should not be expected to sound like he did in the 70s and 80s, sounded good.  Last night was no different.

They had a taped opening of The Who’s My Generation then went right into Burn by Deep Purple, Slide It In and Love Ain’t No Stranger.  Great way to open a show!  They played some more Deep Purple songs (this is dubbed the Purple Tour) and some other Whitesnake tracks including Bad Boys from the 1987 S/T album.  I was a little surprised that they’re not playing Stormbringer on this tour, but oh well.

The band was super solid and their backing vocals helped Coverdale sound better for sure.  He’s got Reb Beach, Joel Hoekstra, Tommy Aldridge, Michael Devin and a keyboard player that I’m too lazy to look up.  Both Reb and Joel were tearing it up on guitar and Aldridge bored me to tears like he always has.  I could never get into his playing.

The show didn’t sell out, not even close.  It was a great time with great friends during and after the show and I’ve got a little rock and roll pneumonia today to show for it!

 

 

Doro Concert Review, Houston, TX, March 8, 2015

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IMG_8950useFirst and foremost, I need to get this out of the way…“apology accepted”.  Those were the words Doro said to me last night after I apologized for my Butthead moment with her back in 1988.  She thought it was very funny actually.  It had always been in the back of my mind anytime I’d think of Warlock or her, so I’m glad I finally got to get that off my conscience.

When I saw that Doro was coming to Texas again (last time was 2007 in San Antonio but I couldn’t make it), I got a ticket ASAP.  I absolutely love Warlock.  The drive to Houston yesterday and the return home today were tough as it was a heavy rain both days.

Upon arrival to my hotel, I was relaxing a bit after a nice hot shower and looking at Instagram and saw that Johnny Dee, Doro’s drummer, ate at the ramen place next to the venue.  I was very hungry and this sounded like a good idea on such a cold and rainy night.  It was an incredible pork broth, noodle, ground pork, chopped pork, hot sauce, bok choy concoction that set me just right.

After the meal I go to the venue and run into some friends and hung with them for most of the night.  There were 4 opening bands, 3 of which were local and one from Santa Cruz called Archer.  I missed the first opener and couldn’t really get into the other 2 local bands at all.  Archer was a decent 3 piece of heavy rock band that is touring with Doro.

The crowd had thinned out some.  It wasn’t packed in there by any stretch but by the time Doro came on, I’m guessing about 150 were still around.  The band hits the stage and opens up with I Rule the Ruins and plowed right into Earthshaker Rock.  The band sounded awesome and I couldn’t believe how great her voice was.  She looked and sounded like it was still 1988 and she is very appreciative of her fans.  You could tell how much she loved being up there and seeing familiar faces in the crowd.  Some people had traveled from Luxembourg to be there as well as other parts of the USA and Mexico.  I love that.

The setlist was filled with songs from all four Warlock albums.  It was awesome hearing Out of Control and I freaked when they played Evil from the Fight for Rock 12″.  She played a handful of songs from the solo career as well including 2 from her new album, Raise Your Fist In the Air.  Hearing Metal Racer just blew me away.  They performed the cover of Dio’s Egypt (The Chains Are On) and it was just perfect.  I’ve always loved her cover of that.

It was just a wonderful set, which of course I wanted more Warlock songs.  Just play all night, ok?  After the show I got to spend a little time with Johnny Dee which was cool.  I’ve always liked that self-titled Britny Fox album, even though I despise most of that hair band stuff.  That riff on Long Way to Love is killer.  After talking with Johnny, I was afforded a moment to get on the bus with Doro.  It was a cool few minutes.  She signed The Book and my Triumph and Agony CD.  The tour manager was rushing me off the bus so I didn’t get the other Warlock CDs signed, but he did call me “assman”.  I didn’t take but a couple of photos as I really just wanted to stand there and take it all in.

Stay hard, true as steel!

Alice Cooper Concert Review, San Antonio, TX, February 11, 2015

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IMG_7633useTo be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who has said, “I don’t like Alice Cooper.”  Sure, you may not be into his music, his politics, his religion, but how can you not just like the guy?  He’s a class act.  Intelligent.  Funny.  Consummate front man.

I’ve been a fan since as long as I can remember thanks to one of my older brothers.  One of my favorite Cooper moments ever was his appearance on the Muppet Show in the 70s.  I met Alice last year in Dallas and those few moments talking together will forever be special to me.  A few months later I saw him with Motley Crue and it was great.  Shortly after that show, it was announced that he was doing a solo tour, an evening with Alice Cooper.  I bought tickets for the Austin show as soon as they went on sale and got one for the San Antonio show and scored second row 2 weeks after they had gone on sale, which I thought was odd.

I rolled down to San Antonio right after work and picked up my friend, Rodney, who had a close seat in the section next to mine.  I had never been to the Majestic Theatre before but wow, what a beautiful venue.

Alice was scheduled to come on at 8PM but didn’t hit the stage until about 8:15.  The lights went down and The Underture started.  The open up with Hello, Hooray and roll right into House of Fire and No More Mr. Nice Guy.  The crowd was going crazy and I was smiling ear to ear.  Alice and the band, as expected, sounded great.  He is pretty active on stage, especially for a guy who is 67 years old.

He played most of what I expected to hear.  Of course I want to hear songs from From The Inside but he’s been ignoring that album for quite some time.  I was a little surprised he didn’t go deeper into the catalog since he was doing the longer set but he decided to play 4 covers which apparently he’s been doing often when he’s headlining.

His band is always top notch and last night was no different.  Everyone is extremely talented and are each a show within the show.  Drummer Glen Sobel is a beast of a drummer.  Veteran guitarist, Ryan Roxie and bassist, Chuck Garric, were positioned on my side for most of the night.  Ryan slapped 2 picks in my hand throughout the course of the night.  While I started out in the second row, the security girl motioned for me to come right up front and there I was stationed for more than half of the show.  I didn’t realize until after the show that guitarist, Tommy Hendriksen, was the bassist for Warlock, who I had seen in 1988.  He and third guitarist, Nita Strauss, also handed picks to me during the show.  Score!

Alice threw out 2 of his plastic canes, a ton of Cooper dollar bills and some plastic bead necklaces (during Dirty Diamonds).  At the end of the show during the School’s Out encore, tissue paper feathers and streamers fell from the ceiling and the crew threw large balloons filled with confetti out on the stage and into the crowd.  The ones that got near Alice were pierced with his sword.

It was a great show and I can’t wait to see it again tonight!