The Metal Files

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Concrete Blonde – Concert Review – 061910

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CONCRETE BLONDE

LIVE AT EMO’S, AUSTIN, TEXAS

JUNE 19, 2010

So let’s go back to 1990/91.  I was working part time at an independent record store in Norfolk, VA called The Music Man.  Pretty legendary place for a store that was in a mall.  Between them, Skinnie’s Records and Unicorn Records, there were none better in the area as far as indie stores went.  Skinnie’s is the only one to still be alive.  Awesome!

At The Music Man there was a girl named Teresa that worked there.  Tall, dark hair, black leather jacket, seemingly pissed off at the world and would likely kick your ass.  We weren’t friends by any means but were amicable.  Concrete Blonde’s Bloodletting had come out and any night that we were working together, she spun it in the store.  I neither liked nor disliked it, but I became very familiar with it.  She was a Concrete Blonde fanatic.  So for the year or so that I worked there, the album was force-fed to me.

A month or 2 ago it was announced that they were going to tour for the 20th anniversary of Bloodletting and were coming to Austin on the tour.  I figured what the hell, never seen them, liked some of the stuff I remembered by them, so why not go?  As I am apt to do, I bought 2 tickets.  I mentioned the show to my stunningly gorgeous friend, Christine, and she accepted.  This is the same Christine that went to Iron Maiden with us last weekend.

So I pick her up, we go eat some awesome sushi at Mushashino, grab a margarita at my favorite bar in Austin which shall remain unnamed) and head downtown.  Jason McMaster’s Killa Maul was playing early at Red Eyed Fly and we wanted to catch some of their set.  Killa Maul is Jason’s Metallica tribute band which plays only the Kill ’em All album.  It’s a fun show to watch, mainly because you can see him having so much fun with it.  We only caught 2 or 3 songs and had to head to Emo’s for the Concrete Blonde show.  They were playing the outside stage and it was hot and muggy and slightly uncomfortable with such a large crowd.  It seemed that no matter where we stood, some dude wanted to take his shirt off right in front of us.   We ran into my friends Sean and Jen and found a decent spot to catch the show.

An announcement came on before the band took the stage dictating that there is to be no filming of the show and no flash photography.  So, sorry…I have no photos or video to share.

The band took the stage which was purposely poorly lit on Johnette’s side.  They opened with Bloodletting (Vampire Song).  Her voice sounded good and really got better as the night progressed.  Next song was their hit “Joey”.  They botched the intro and I noticed on a vid or 2 on YouTube that they had done this a time or 2 already on the tour.  Hey…it happens.  We’re musicians, we’re not always perfect!  ha

Overall they sounded really good.  I was quite impressed with their guitar player.  He had a cool style, switching between using a pick and just fingers and sometimes a combo of the 2.  Drummer was solid.  Towards the end of the set, Johnette really belted out some lyrics.

Overall it was a good show and my friend seemed to enjoy it as well.  The one thing I could have done without was the cover of Little Wing.  I’m not a Hendrix fan in the least.  That being said, not too many people can do his stuff justice.  Their version wasn’t bad, but, well…ugh.  Hendrix.  ’nuff said.  I would have rather heard their version of Thin Lizzy’s It’s Only Money.  That would have been bad ass.  But alas, no.  I knew the Hendrix cover was in the set thanks to the interwebz, so it was expected.

Instead of doing encores, they just played through to the end of their set.  Four of the last 5 songs were done with no bass.  Just vocals, acoustic guitar and drums.  Sounded pretty cool.  They closed with Still In Hollywood.

As expected, this was a mostly “older” crowd and it’s obvious that some of these people don’t get out much these days.  It was great people watching for sure.  I was a little surprised to not see much of the goth crowd there.

In the end, nice job to Concrete Blonde.  We had a great time and they sounded really good.

This setlist may be a little jumbled up.  I’ll fix it later if I can find the correct order.

1. Bloodletting
2. Joey
3. I Don’t Need a Hero
4. Days and Days
5. Lullabye
6. Scene of the Perfect Crime
7. Ghost of a Texas Ladies Man
8. Someday
9. Everybody Knows (Leonard Cohen cover)
10. Caroline
11. When I Was a Fool
12. God Is a Bullet
13. Run Run Run
14. Little Wing (Jimi Hendrix cover)
15. Heal It Up
16. Your Haunted Head
17. Mexican Moon
18. Happy Birthday
19. True
20. Tomorrow, Wendy
21. Still in Hollywood

My Life With Lizzy Borden

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“Hello suckers!” = Lizzy Borden

The first time I had seen or heard of Lizzy Borden was from a little photo and small article in Circus Magazine.  It was a cool shot of the band in black and white standing on the roof of a building and Lizzy had a big axe proppoed on his toe.  Would love to find that photo somewhere.

I think I first heard them on one of the old Metal Blade Records compilations but it wasn’t really until 1986 that I got into them via a former friend from high school.  I remember going to his house and he had the Give ‘Em The Axe EP on vinyl.  I was hooked.  In subsequent years we all got into Love You To Pieces and the Muderess Metal Roadshow thanks to the VHS they put out,  Good times!  That former friend from high school and I did Give “em The Axe for our junior year air band contest.  I think we won because everyone else was a bit scared.

Sure Lizzy and the band always looked a bit silly and even more so now, but they’ve never really done a bad record.  I finally got to see them play at the NORVA in Norfolk, VA back in 2004 opening for Yngwie, not long before their guitarist, Alex Nelson, was killed in a car wreck.  He was a killer player.  They were all very cool folks.   I couldn’t believe they didn’t play Give ‘Em the Axe though!  I felt cheated!

So, here’s the review that you’ve so anxiously been waiting for.

Give ‘Em The Axe EP – 1984

This was a cool EP.  The title tracks rules.  No Time to Lose and Kiss of Death are cool.  I never liked their cover of Long Live Rock and Roll (Rainbow).  7/10

Love You To Pieces – 1985

Oh man.  This album rules.  There’s not a bad track on it but the highlights ae Warfare, American Metal, Rod of Iron and Red Rum.  I listened to this tape so much.  No telling how many copies I went through over the years.  10/10

Menace To Society – 1986

Another fantastic record by Lizzy Borden but it suffered severely from poor production.  It was very tinny and I don’t really know that a bass was used on it.  I’m one of the few Lizzy fans who actually thinks this one is as good as the previews album.  My faves are Notorious, Ursa Minor and Love Kills.  10/10

Terror Rising EP – 1987

Ugh.  This really was a bit of a waste of petroleum based materials.  Catch Your Death was a cool tune but the cover version of the Tubes’ Don’t Touch Me There with Betsy from Bitch, the title track and the god awful cover of White Rabbit makes me with I could get my $5.98 back from the Music Man.  2/10

Visual Lies – 1987

Another Lizzy album that I love but it’s a lot different than their previous albums.  It’s a little more polished in production terms and a little more palatable for the MTV crowd.  They had a video for Me Against the World and the song was featured in the terrible movie Black Roses.  I dig the album though.  There are some really great tracks like Lord of the Flies, Shock Treatment, the title track and Eyes of a Stranger.  Worthwhile listening for sure.  By the way, this featured Joe Holmes on guitar who was in Ozzy for a brief time.  9/10

Master of Disguise – 1989

This is where started losing me a bit.  While it’s not a bad album, it was missing something.  I could never put my finger on it.  I think that this was supposed a solo album by Lizzy…allegedly.  I haven’t listened to this one in years and years.  I won’t anytime soon!  1/10

Deal With the Devil – 2000

This was a good comeback album for the guys.  I like this one a lot and still spin it a few times a year.  There Will Be Blood Tonight is a good track.  Their cover of Alice Cooper’s Generation Landslide was pretty decent too.  I really dig Zanzibar and The World Is Mine.  7/10

Appointment With Death – 2007

I haven’t listened to this one since it came out but I don’t remember it striking me like the previous album did.  Can’t really even name any songs off of it…so there you go.  0/10

So, as it stands, I always recommend Love You to Pieces, Menace to Society and Visual Lies to everyone.

Tyton – Mind Over Metal

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So back in the day there was this great music store at Military Circle Mall called The Music Man.  That’s pretty much tytonwhere we spent our allowances and paychecks in the 80s as thy typically had the coolest selection of metal.  The Music Man was pretty cool and had a really cool staff.  They also offered a replacement guarantee on their cassettes and CDs if they became defective.  We knew the staff there pretty well and if we bought something we didn’t like, they would typically let us trade it in for something else.  I was fortunate to work there for a year or so, an experience that I will never forget.

One of the cassettes I bought in 1987 was Tyton’s Mind Over Metal.  I didn’t know anything about them but they were on an Enigma sub-label which usually meant you had a pretty good chance of buying something listenable.  I played this cassette quite a bit.  They weren’t over the top awesome but this album had some pretty good songs on it like Destiny Calls, Will You Follow Me (wimpy ballad but not too bad), and the title track.  They were sort of mid-paced swords and shields style metal.  I listen to it about once or twice a year still.  It takes me back to some fun times with some former friends riding around Churchland trying to find a party or someone to buy us beer.  Those were fun days and I am amazed that the 3 of us are even still alive.   Come to find out years later that they hailed from Houston, TX and some people I know here in Austin knew those guys and even did a show or 2 with them.  Living here in Austin and getting to spend time with guys that are metal legends (to me) is pretty incredible.  Our metal round table discussions are pretty amazing.

I’ve attached the download to the album.  It was never officially released on CD but some Euro label bootlegged it a few years back and I ripped the tracks from the CD.

Download.

Written by The Metal Files

July 11, 2009 at 11:52 pm