Last Friday night I headed back to Ram’s Head Live after four months to cover The Dead Daisies, a super group consisting of members who had played in bands like Guns N’ Roses, Thin Lizzy, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake and various other well known bands. I had listened to their recent album ‘Make Some Noise’ and checked out snippets of their live performances. The Washington DC-Baltimore metropolitan had been hit by a major storm system in the late afternoons and those who made it to the venue on time really had to endure the horrendous traffic of the region in very hard driving conditions. I was extremely annoyed to see the show start earlier than the scheduled time, which in my opinion is criminal, especially as it was a major “weather alert” day.
The local band Thrillkiller had a number of supporters in the crowd ready to watch them open for some legendary musicians. The lead singer has excellent stage presence, as a matter of fact I rank his stage presence as probably best I have seen in a band from Baltimore area in all my years of attending shows in this region. The songs are a tad poppish, but the crowd seemed to appreciate their style. This likely is one of the biggest shows in which the band has appeared as a support act. It’s shows like these that can help a band build their resume and also learn the ropes from members of bands like The Dead Daisies who have been rocking stages for decades.
The Dives is a hard rock band with Paul Stanley of Kiss’s son Evan Stanley as the singer of the band. The first thing I noticed was the palpable chemistry between Evan Stanley and guitarist Mike Lefton, right from the moment they took the stage. The band has a sound of 80’s rock, the crowd absolutely loved it and that is really what matters! Paul Stanley’s son has the stage presence of a season veteran, and led the interactions with the crowd with aplomb, skillfully engaging other band members as well. It’s easy to see he has been taking notes from his fathers decades worth of stage knowledge. With a member of Kiss as your father it would be almost impossible to fail with such an amazing mentor. The band is still young and finding their sound. Their dueling guitars will be refined in time. The Dives as of right now is still a support act, but as the band grows into their sound they could potentially become something extraordinary.
The Dead Daisies
The Dead Daisies burst in to the news as a super group consisting of band members who have played in some of the most iconic rock and heavy metal bands of the last 30 years. I won’t bother naming all the bands they have been involved in, just know these guys are multi-band veterans. Very few super groups have impressed me in the past, primary reason the whole band being less than the sum of its parts. I admit this was the first time I have been impressed by live show of a super group. While John Corabi is an excellent front man, and led an extraordinary performance in Rams Head Live with his vocals, “Long Way to Go” being the best one of the night. The crowd interactions was phenomenal. However, the icing on the cake was the extraordinary drumming of Brian Tichy. His work behind the kit was so good that it almost overshadowed everything else, the crowd begging the drummer for more violent pounding on the skins. How often do you see a drummer getting more crowd affection than guitarists? My skepticism about the band had been laid to rest with the performance, and I strongly recommend seeing this band live especially if you love classic rock.
Last night I had my second consecutive fantastic Sunday night in Baltimore. I covered Blaze Bayley, a singer who was the former front man of the iconic metal legends Iron Maiden, one of the greatest metal bands the universe has ever seen. This is a tour many may not have paid the attention it well and truly deserves! Iron Maiden is my favorite heavy metal band, bar none. Well, I am one of those people who think his album ‘The X Factor’ with Iron Maiden is fantastic, albeit different from the Dickinson era Maiden. This is an album that had kept me company during my troubled and volatile years while riding down remote mountainous roads in India on my motorcycle. And not once during those days did I imagine Blaze Bayley shoving the microphone right in my face to sing “The Man on The Edge” with him, the way he did last night. Personally, the whole show was sort of a trip down memory lane. Fish Head Cantina, located in Baltimore, is the venue where I photographed my very first heavy metal show, the band on that occasion being the mighty influential NWOBHM band Diamond Head. And to cover another legend in Blaze Bayley was the fitting way to go back to where it all began as a concert photographer. Continue reading →
Here is a short story. A long time back a young kid growing up in a small hamlet by the Himalayas had chanced upon some guitar/music magazine with Marty Friedman on the cover, on the very same day he had first listened to the opening solo of “Hangar 18”. An article in the magazine had mentioned that Marty Friedman had grown up in a city called Laurel in a certain state called Maryland in the US. The name of this nondescript city of Laurel in a state called Maryland stuck in his head, maybe it was due to the magical solos in “Rust in Piece”. The kid developed into a fan of Megadeth eventually. He had also heard of a city called Baltimore that was in a book of the Tarzan series. When he moved to Maryland from a remote corner in Asia to pursue his studies he had no real clue of how close Maryland was to Washington DC or Baltimore for that matter. And little did he know that one day he was going to cover a show by the man himself Marty Friedman in a venue located in the heart of Baltimore. The boy of course is none other than me.
Megadeth has been my favorite thrash metal band, since I discovered them at the age of 20! At the cost of sounding like a very old guy I must mention in my defense that back in the days before the internet, western music reached the developing world quite late. As an example, disco was huge in the late eighties and early nineties in the Asian subcontinent! Can you imagine that? I regretted not being able to attend the Baltimore show of the Inferno tour, and out of nowhere appeared this Wall of Sound tour. I was not sure if I would be able to attend this show until the very last moment. Thank you very much painkillers! Believe me, they do a phenomenal job of subsiding the pain associated with wisdom teeth extractions. Attending this show came with a lot of emotions and is a very personal story to me. Hence, contrary to my usual style of dedicating individual section of a review for each band, I will let this be a potpourri of personal emotions that I felt at the show. Continue reading →
For metal heads, going to a REAL metal show and seeing your favorite metal band is the ultimate goal. Thankfully, that’s a goal I was able to mark off the list a week ago in Nashville, TN when Slayer, Lamb of God, and Behemoth paid a visit to the Nashville Municipal Auditorium. In a city where country music is prevalent, it was a nice change to bring a metal touch to the city, and what better way to do that, than to bring the heaviest tour of the Summer right to its core? Of course, Nashville has seen its fair share of metal bands, but none of which compared to the lineup it witnessed on the night of July 30, 2017. Continue reading →
When I heard that legendary thrash metal band Sepultura would be playing near me in Hedon Zwolle I instantly got my tickets to the show. They weren’t coming alone, they brought death metal band Aborted with supporting band Killing Cult Society. Even though I had never heard Killing Cult Society I had high hopes because you don’t become the support band for Sepultura for nothing! Before we go any further I need to talk about the venue, Hedon Zwolle. This has been my second time being there and yet again right after the doors were open you felt welcomed. Everything was well organized and the staff was friendly and easy to talk to. I am really happy about this venue and I am glad that I am lucky enough to live close to it. Already looking forward to being there again!
Some couple of days back this month at AntiSocial, New Delhi when DEMONIC RESURRECTION, the king of the rings of Indian metal brought absolute havoc and belted forth destruction along with GRAMMY WINNING EFFORT and THE COSMIC TRUTH, they further established the fact that even after a battering 17 years of existence, pulling through thick and thins, why they are one of the best Indian heavy music acts one can cross his paths against with. On the 14th of July, DEMONIC RESURRECTION brought the new album tour party to the country’s capital city, New Delhi. They are touring in support of their new album ‘Dashavatar‘ that came out this year earlier in March to widespread positive reception. I was waiting for this gig eagerly since it was announced a month earlier, mainly cause I am a DEMONIC RESURRECTION fan and also I wanted to check out the new kids on the block, well they’re grown ups but you get it what I meant. The line-up represented a diverse range of bands on the heavy metal spectrum, from the in house Delhi talents GRAMMY WINNING EFFORT who play some hard hitting hardcore and punk along with the newly formed band of THE COSMIC TRUTH who are more into the new age genre of experimental and ambient metal thing. They also released their new EP on that very night which goes by the name of ‘Stroboscopic Illusion‘, and they put it up for a ‘pay what you want’ price. I paid them 200 INR or 3.10$ for the same, cause why not, they were rad as fuck and for the sake of supporting original music. Support live music people! The headliners were obviously as stated above none other than Mumbai death metal giants DEMONIC RESURRECTION. Now for those who were there, you know what an epic meltdown it was and for those who missed, I am here to accentuate your regret. Also before we plunge ourselves in the gig autopsy, I want to apologise our readers for the absolute crap quality pictures, we did not have any professional camera or equipment, so we had to settle for my cellphone camera. I hope that is not much of a big deal and won’t stop you from having a good read. Now let us dissect how the gig went, shall we?
We have finally arrived to the last day of Chicago Open Air. Sunday was the reason many of us made the trip for this huge three day weekend. By the time it rolled around, some fans were calling it “Death Day”. You could definitely understand where they were coming from. There were several heavy hitters taking the stages today including Ozzy and Zakk Wylde, Slayer, Lamb of God, Amon Amarth, DevilDriver, Behemoth, and more. Lots of running back and forth would lead to a very tiring day. Luckily, it ended up being the coolest day of the weekend, which made it a bit more bearable. Continue reading to see our review on the most electric day of the festival. Continue reading →
On an extremely hot and humid summer Tuesday, The Reaching Into Infinity World Tour by DragonForce, arrived at Washington DC. This show certainly delivered with one of the most intense & intimate shows I had ever witnessed! We had recently reviewed ‘Reaching Into Infinity’, the latest album of DragonForce that hit the shelves during mid May (read review here). This was the first time I had attended a show at Rock & Roll Hotel in Washington DC, and I did not really know what to expect of the venue. Well, I have been to a lot of concerts of big bands, and let me tell you, for the crowd in the front rows, a concert cannot get any more intimate. The tiny stage at the venue means that you can nearly touch the band members with your nose. I had to literally lean backwards with my camera glued to my eye to make sure that my camera does not end up touching the guitars, or worse I get hit by the guitars. Just take a look at the photographs and you will see that even with my wide angle lens, I could barely get the musicians in the frame. These are the kind of shows in which I depend upon the kindness of metalheads attending the concerts to give me 5 minutes in a good spot to get the photographs, and then I move out of the way. It would have been damn near impossible to photograph this event, without the kindness and help of front row crowd. If you were one of the guys who helped me get the photographs, a big shout out to you, thank you for all the help, Metal Nexus & I really appreciate it!
After an electric first day, it was time to get back up early Saturday morning to head in for day two of Chicago Open Air. Several great performances from bands like Rob Zombie, Megadeth, Anthrax, Crobot, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Code Orange, and more had all of us very interested to see if the second day could top it. With Korn, Godsmack, Avatar, Body Count, Clutch, and several others, we knew it would be very close. It only took a few performances and we already knew that Saturday would be on an even higher level. Continue reading →
It has been a few days, but we are still recovering from an absolutely legendary weekend at Toyota Park. We witnessed several remarkable performances across the rock and metal genres from bands like Code Orange, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Clutch, Body Count, Godsmack, Amon Amarth, Avatar, and more. There were the classic artists like Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer, and Metal Church while new comers like Aversed, Whores., Code Orange, Crobot, and more lit it up early in the day. Without these younger bands, there won’t be any of these festivals in the future, so make sure you get out early and support these young talents. The wide variety of bands playing the festival made for an eventful weekend as there was something for everyone attending. Today’s article will be about the performances on Friday. Before I dive into that, I’d like to talk about the other experiences at Chicago Open Air. Continue reading →