The Metal Files

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Yngwie J. Malmsteen Concert Review, June 10, 2017, Houston, TX

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Last night I witnessed the over the top guitar playing of Yngwie Malmsteen for the 9th time since 1986.  While he is my favorite guitarist, I haven’t liked any of his releases post-Alchemy and his latest one with him on vocals is pretty boring.  That being said, I always love seeing him live.

Local (to Houston) band Apocalyptic opened up.  They were super tight technical shred thrash that at times reminded me of Agent Steel with a singer that could hit insanely high notes at will.  The only real issue I had with them is that the singer wouldn’t shut the fuck up between songs.  They could have played one more song with all the time he spent between songs talking about how cool it was to be there or “show me your horns” or “scream for me, Houston” over and over.  Less talk, more rock, please.  Their main lead player and bassist were also really good.

Of course Yngwie comes on and the wall of Marshalls is lining the back of the stage.  For the record, only 2 heads were actually used.  They opened with Rising Force and the bassist sang.  He sounded good but what irked me to no end was that they only did the first verse then the solo section.  What?  Most of the show consisted of instrumentals, which was fine.  That meant that Yngwie didn’t sing.  In Seventh Sign, the keyboardist sang and they did the whole song.  Sounded great.   Demon Driver and Heaven Tonight were also first verse and solo sections only.  To be honest, if you’re gonna cut out sections of songs like that, just do a full night of instrumentals.  In the encore, they ended with I’ll See the Light Tonight and, yes, first verse and solo sections only.

Beyond that silliness, Yngwie was awesome and I’m glad I went.  His back up band, basically tucked into one corner of the stage, was really good. Of course Yngwie threw a bunch of picks out and only high kicked a few this time.  I’m really glad he didn’t sing

The venue, White Oak Music Hall, holds 1200 and I imagine about 600-700 people were there.  Hopefully the 10th time I see him won’t be too far in the distant future.

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Written by The Metal Files

June 11, 2017 at 10:55 am

Joe Lynn Turner & Blackfoot Concert Review, San Antonio, TX, August 20, 2016

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I had a ticket and flight booked to see Joe Lynn Turner (JLT) at the Whisky in West Hollywood a couple of months ago and had to cancel the trip.  That was a major bummer.  That blow got lessened recently when Sean McNabb, bassist for George Lynch, mentioned to me that he was also playing with JLT and that they were playing in San Antonio.  Shortly after that Lynch show, the JLT show was announced.

Also announced was Blackfoot as the opener.  A quick check to see who was still in the band led me to their website which showed that they had no original members but were still managed by Ricky Medlocke.  Alright then.  I’ve never been a big fan fan of southern rock although hearing Strikes takes me back to being a kid as one of best friends, Petey, always loved that record.

After some time bouncing around San Antonio record stores, Rodney and I grabbed some dinner then headed to the venue to meet up with Matt who had tickets for another friend, Diego, and me.  The weather was complete shit.  The show was originally scheduled to be outside rain or shine but the rain was pretty heavy and it was moved inside.  Upon walking in, the place was packed, uncomfortably so.  I stayed inside for part of Seance’s set then just decided to wait out Blackfoot outside.  I could hear them perfectly and they were solid.  This new lineup had been together for 4 years.  It was weird after seeing them arrive to think that they were Blackfoot.  They looked like kids and 2 of the guys in the band were sporting mohawks.  Even prior to them finishing their set, I noticed some people leaving making comments about the lineup as they were walking out.

Then it was time for JLT.  I was pretty excited since I hadn’t seen him since he sang on Odyssey tour with Yngwie Malmsteen, one of my favorite concerts ever.  The band hit the stage to a thinned out crowd opening with the snippet of Over the Rainbow and going right in Death Alley Driver. The band was tight and Joe’s voice sounded great.  I Surrender and Power were up next.  The crowd was really into it.  Unfortunately they were plagued with some technical difficulties throughout the night but they worked through them and completely rocked.  Street of Dreams was a highlight as were Stone Cold, Spotlight Kid and Malmsteen’s Rising Force.  JLT has Steve Brown from Trixter on guitar and he was pretty damned good, even handled the Yngwie guitar solo pretty well.  It was a fun set.

After the show was the meet and greet with Joe.  It was inexpensive and I wanted Joe added to The Book.  They were letting us in 2 at a time and Matt and I went in together towards the end of the line.  Joe was very talkative and inquisitive about the patches on our jackets.  He was loving Matt’s Riot patch and mentioned how much he had loved that band since their early days.  I mentioned as I was pulling out The Book that I brought Riot’s Privilege of Power CD cover with me.  “Whoa, let me see that.  I haven’t thought about this one in years.”  I mentioned seeing the 1988 Yngwie show at The Boathouse and he said, “I remember that place.  A bit of a dump.”  Most bands say that.  haha.  We talked briefly about his time with Yngwie and both agreed that there should have been a second album with him on vocals.  While finishing up the signing and photos, I mentioned that he was my favorite singer for Rainbow.  I know that is not a popular opinion but whatever.  Totally true.  I like the Dio era a lot but it’s the JLT era for me any day.  He was also quite pleased to see the Odyssey album.

What a great show although I’d prefer not to see another show at this venue.

 

 

Yngwie Malmsteen Concert Review, Dallas, TX 110211

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Lucky me. Twice in one week I got to see another one of my all-time favorite bands/musicians. Yngwie! I think this was 8th time I have seen him since 1986 (Triumph/Yngwie). Even though many of his recent albums have been a bit lackluster, he’s still quite entertaining live and just being able to watch him play is worth it.

I’ve been working out of town during the week in Dallas for the last 3+ months and haven’t really explored the music scene up here much and regrettably missed some quality shows, but there was no way I was going to miss this one. I bought my ticket on Monday at Wal*Mart of all places. They were the nearest Ticketmaster hub to my hotel. I don’t like going there and it just felt weird buying a concert ticket there. But no bother.

Last night’s show was at the House of Blues in downtown Dallas. I went down right after work and it only took a few minutes to get there from the office. It was a bit odd, though. Downtown Dallas is huge but last night it seemed like such a desolate place. Other than the parking lot outside of the venue, I didn’t see anyone out and about. Maybe the cold front that blew in that evening kept some folks away. I liked it down there, though. I love city living…concrete and steel for me!

Doors opened to the venue at 7PM and I got there around 6PM. Because of the storm that was brewing, I decided to just eat there. Wasn’t too bad but of course a bit overpriced.

Checked out the merch booth and didn’t see anything that really caught my eye.

Opening band went on promptly at 8. They were called Little Green Men and hailed from Fort Worth. While they played a tight set and there were some good guitar solos, the band was not my thing, not in the least. I was pretty bored and just wanted them to stop playing. Just give me some Yngwie!

After clearing the stage, you could see the full Yngwie stage setup. The drums were set at the back left corner of

Marshall City!

the stage almost behind the wall of Marshalls…17 cabinets and 27 heads. No, really! I think that was the biggest setup I’ve seen him use ever. Of course most are only for show, but still…80s excess at its finest! The keyboard player was at the far left of the stage almost completely out of sight and the bassist hung around that side as well. I mean, c’mon. This IS the Yngwie show, right?

The lights die down and you hear the keyboard intro to Rising Force (From Odyssey), then the drums kick in and the band hits the stage and kicks into the song full force. For as much as I have slagged Ripper Owens over the years, he sounded pretty good going into the set, much better than he sounded when I saw him with Yngwie in San Antonio a couple of years ago. The setlist stuck with a lot of newer material and I think that’s mostly because Ripper can’t sing a lot of the Joe Lynn/Jeff Scott Soto era stuff. Not many can. He did sound good on Never Die as well.

They got to Dreaming mid-set and for the first half of the song, Ripper sounded great. I was shocked…then after

Yngwie unleashing the fooking fury!

that, I don’t know happened, but for the last part of that song, he sounded like he was singing something different. Sure, the lyrics were right but he had gotten so out of key that it was painful to hear. Not sure if he lost his inner-ear monitors or what, but the end of that song was horrid. It then kicked into Gates of Babylon and he sounded fine in that.

I’m sorry, but he can’t carry the Turner/Soto stuff. I really wish Yngwie could find someone else who can handle all eras of the band vocally. Not to mention that Ripper sounds so “enhanced” on the last 2 Yngwie albums.

Patrick Johansson is a killer drummer, unfortunately all you could hear was his kick and snare. He had toms, but they were so low in the mix that they didn’t matter. Same with the keys and bass. There were a few moments where Yngwie and the keyboardist were playing together and you could hear him somewhat and the guy was really good. The bass was practically non-existent, which is typical for an Yngwie show.

Now we get to Yngwie. The giant Swede. The man took what Uli Roth and Ritchie Blackmore and created a whole new genre. Sure, in recent years he plays fewer riffs and just solos everywhere, but he’s still incredible and fun to watch. The last 3 times I have seen him, he really seems to be having fun on stage. He has mastered the art of kicking guitar picks into the crowd. I think Rick Nielson of Cheap Trick is the only person to throw out more picks.

I stayed back by the soundboard for the show. Attendance seemed to be around 300-350, not too shabby, but seemingly small for a club that holds 1700.

It was a fun show. Not my favorite show that I’ve seen of his, but still quite enjoyable. I try not to miss him if I can help it. I’m glad he’s still out there touring and still glad I’m able to see it.

Setlist as I remember it:

Rising Force

Never Die / Shot Across the Bow
Overture
Critical Mass
Badinerie
Far Beyond the Sun / Star Spangled Banner
Enemy Within
Red Devil
The Damnation Game / Baroque & Roll
Live To Fight (Another Day)
Dreaming / Gates Of Babylon
(Rainbow cover)
Into Valhalla
Trilogy Suite Op: 5
Red House
Fugue
Heaven Tonight
Encore:
Black Star / Cherokee Warrior
As Above, So Below
I’ll See the Light Tonight

Written by The Metal Files

November 3, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Classic Buttons

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I was never much of a button collector but I bought a few.  Here are 2 of the 3 I know that I had.  The other was a Stryper button from 1985 (my first metal show) that I lost a few years back.

The Yngwie one came from Triumph/Yngwie 1986.  Thomas’ dad took us to the show.  He sat in the rafters while we stayed close to the front.  Triumph was on the Sport of Kings tour and Yngwie was on the Trilogy tour.  Jeff Scott Soto had come back into the band for the tour.  Don’t really know why Boals left but we were all happy to see JSS on stage.  Both bands were great.  I couldn’t afford a shirt so a button was my souvenir.

The other is from Iron Maiden/Anthrax in 1991.  I am pretty sure that I bought a Maiden shirt that likely disintegrated shortly after the show.

Yngwie and Anthrax buttons (click to enlarge)

 

Written by The Metal Files

June 18, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Hammerfall/Havok/Ignitor/Versperian Sorrow Concert Review 040810

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Was it really 25 years ago when Yngwie Malmsteen’s Marching Out album came out?  It doesn’t seem that long ago nor do I feel old enough for it to have been 25 years since.  But whatever.  It did and I am.  I remember hearing it for the first time and I think we were at Kelz’ house.  Simply blown away by the whole album and everything about it…the guitars, the vocals and especially the drums.  See, I was a relatively new drummer at the time and after hearing this guy, this Anders Johansson fella,  I wanted to play like that…and like Nicko McBrain…and like Kirk Arrington…etc.

Anders Johansson

I followed Anders through most of his career, especially with Yngwie.  I saw the Trilogy and Odyssey tours and got to witness his badassedness live.  It was pretty special for me getting to see him play back then, especially with Yngwie of whom I am still a big fan of.

Through the years I picked up Anders’ non-Yngwie stuff as well like Silver Mountain, Johansson Brothers with Jens, Jonas Helborg, Shining Path, Shawn Lane etc.  He always amazed me with his style.  I am a fanboy, I admit it.

When I found out that Hammerfall was coming to town, I bought my ticket immediately as he has been playing with them over the last several years.  I saw Hammerfall’s very first USA show at Jaxx Nightclub in Springfield, VA when they were opening for Death (RIP Chuck).  I love Hammerfall’s debut album, Glory To the Brave but never really got into anything after that one.  Sure they were consistent and I was pretty excited when I found out that Anders had joined them…but it still didn’t get me too excited to buy the stuff.

So anyway, I bought the meet and greet ticket which was $55.  Much cheaper than the Testament one plus this one would be a little more special because I’d finally get to meet one of my musical idols.  Sure I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many of them, but some are a little more special than others.  Last night ranked up there with meeting Nicko McBrain in 1988.

So the M&G was to begin at 8pm and I got there around 7:30ish.  There are a few folks hanging out but none were part of the M&G.  I didn’t expect there to be many and ultimately there weren’t.

The tour bus was parked in front of us and Anders and Pontus Norgren come off the boss.  After a few minutes I walked over to them and asked Anders to sign my CD covers and the book.  I had a big stack and just in case there were a lot of people there for the M&G, I wouldn’t hold them up…of course I guess I was holding him up by asking him to sign my shit.  He graciously accepted and signed it all.  We stood in the street in front of the bus and talked for a while and Joacim Cans comes out…”We have 35 minutes to eat before the meeting.”  I told them of a few places up the street with

Seriously? Nerd!

some good food and they asked me to come along…Sweet!  I had Cans sign my Warlord CD.  I sort of felt bad for not having any Hammerfall to sign but oh well.  He didn’t seem to bothered by it.

So we went to Jackalope but the music was loud and Cans didn’t want to strain his voice trying to have a conversation so we went next door to Chupacabra.  We sat and ordered quickly.  Unfortunately it didn’t come too quickly but they didn’t seem to mind being late to the M&G.  Pontus, Can and I all had the steak tacos and Anders had a 1lb burger.  I’m sure he could have eaten 2.  He’s a big dude.

Dinner with Hammerfall.

Conversation was cool.  Anders spoke about how he spent some months here in Austin while Yngwie was recording the Odyssey album.  He told me some pretty funny and crazy stories that I am not comfortable sharing here.  He also gave me some cool insight on Yngwie and Joe Lynn Turner.  We talked drums for a while and the other 2 guys asked about Austin and the area.  I told Cans about seeing their first US show.  “Wow!  You were there?!”  Yep.  Rocked.  I need to find my photos from that night.

Service was pretty slow and we were all done eating and waited on the check.  I offered to buy their meals but they instead bought mine.  I told them to go ahead and I’d settle up the bill.  Boom.  Done.

Get back to Emo’s and the handful of people went to the back for the M&G.  I ran into Jason McMaster who is a close friend and plays guitar in my Motorhead tribute and he was getting his gear together for his performance with Ignitor.  During and before dinner, Anders reminisced about hanging out with Jason and Dangerous Toys back in 1987 and the

McMaster and Anders.

fun times they had.  So I grabbed Jason and told him that Anders was in back.  It was cool seeing them hanging out and talking about the old times.

All of Hammerfall were there for the M&G except for Oscar Dronjak, who apparently was having a bad case of Montezuma’s Revenge.  Poor dude.  They weren’t sure if he would even be alright for the show.

After the M&G I walked back to my apartment to dump off my swag.  As I got back to the club, local band Vesperian Sorrow was playing.  They’re a death black metal band.  I’m not so into them but they played a fine show.  Their drummer is a badass.

Ignitor came on next and rocked it.  I still say McMaster is the best front man around, no matter what band he is fronting.  Ignitor only had a 30 minute set so they were on and done in the blink of an eye.  Always good to see Batlord and Co. do their thing.

Next up was Havok from Denver, CO.  Nice kids.  They were a mix of Slayer, Metallica, Death Angel, Megadeth, Exodus etc.  Nothing new in their sound but they had fun and the crowd really dug them.  But please, guys…change your name.  There have been too many bands called Havoc/Havok over the years.  They closed with a medley of songs from Reign In Blood.  Not too bad but the drummer totally cheesed the drums in Raining Blood.  If you can’t play the song properly, just don’t play the song.   Usually an unknown band will throw covers in to get the crowd into it.  These guys already had the crowd into them so I thought closing with the covers was a bit daft, but hey, not my band, eh?  The bassplayer was really good.  Both guitarists had good riffs but weren’t very tight in the solo department.

Next up came Hammerfall.  As stated earlier I haven’t been into Hammerfall in a long time but was excited to see

Pontus Norgren

Anders play.  Not too much stuff from the first 2 albums unfortunately for me.  It was a very lightly attended show.  Maybe 120?  Weak.  I thought the San Antonio crowd would come up for this since there were no dates down there.  I thought wrong.

Oscar did play although he left the stage a few times mid-song.  Damned Montezuma!  The whole band was tight and

Joacim Cans

everyone there was into it.  It was good to see some of their real fans there to support.  Pontus Norgren played most of the leads and that dude is a really good guitarist.  I was quite impressed.  Anders was great on drums.  Duh.  He played with headphone to a click track.  As expected he did some really great stuff when it was necessary.  That’s one thing I always liked about his style.  He never seems to play cool licks just to do them.

Faster Than The Speed Of Light! get it? Major points if you do.

Everything seems very calculated, but proper and with feel.  Impressive.

I spoke to a few dudes before the show who had never heard of Anders or Yngwie (WHAT THE HELL?).  I told them that if you like the drum work you hear tonight, go buy those early Yngwie albums.  Do it!

It was a great time and the experience with Anders, Pontus and Joacim was priceless.  I’ll never forget it it.  I’m a lucky guy, really.  And a music nerd.  And a doofus.

Look! Anders thinks I'm cool. Not.

Setlist

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.

Panther feat. Jeff Scott Soto

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I picked this album up sometime in 1986 or 1987 and I think I got it at Unicorn Records in Portsmouth, VA.   Not Pantherimportant.  What was important is that it had Jeff Scott Soto on vocals.  I was a HUGE fan of his work on Yngwie’s first 2 albums and randomly finding this in a record store was sweet.  I remember looking at the cover thinking, “Damn, they could have found someone a little better looking.”  ha ha.  Even in those days the big hair didn’t do much for me.  Then turning the album over and seeing that Jeff was singing, I had to have it.  I think I got it for $1.

I’ll be straight to the point…this is not a great album but it is good and a little better than average.  JSS’ vocals are great.  To me he’s one of the greatest singers in metal/rock although I haven’t liked everything he’s put out such as Talisman and Takara.  He did sound great with Journey though!  I wish he could have kept that gig.

Anyhoo…Most of the songs on here are mid-paced metal anthems but all-in-all pretty good.  I can still remember listening to the my vinyl copy and I think this digital version retains much of that vinyl tinniness.  Best song would be “Warchild” and the worst is “Panther.”

Enjoy.

  1. First There Was Rock
  2. Desire
  3. Danger
  4. Deliver The Axe
  5. Warchild
  6. Panther

Download.

Written by The Metal Files

July 5, 2009 at 8:13 pm