KNOCKED LOOSE Invades Cardiff, United Kingdom [Photo Gallery]

Knocked Loose

Lets start this by saying today the UK had a heatwave which started on route to Cardiff. My car’s temp gauge was saying it was 35 degrees c outside, but thanks to air conditioning I was comfy. I arrived and parked at the venue Clwb Ifor Bach located in the city center. I was there early and so were the fans. There was a sea of fans all enjoying cold beers in the local surrounding bars on this hot night. I went straight into the club and set my gear up in the green room, where members of all the bands were chilling. Upstairs to the venue was a lot cooler to start with, but then the fans came swarming in to witness the first band on the bill Guilt Trip. Continue reading

OCEANS ATE ALASKA & More Slay The Stage In Bristol, U.K. [Review & Photo Gallery]

Oceans Ate Alaska

Bristol is one buzzing city in the UK for bands at the moment and before I turned up for tonights awesome line up I checked and the show was just a mere tickets away from being a sold out gig. The energy at a show that is close to capacity just adds to the show and makes it all the more enjoyable, not to mention the bands live to perform for a sea of fans from wall to wall. Five bands to get through so lets get stuck in. Continue reading

Show Review: Metal for the Masses

A few weeks ago I was invited to a show in Orlando by my friend and promoter Rhonda Fox with Superfox Promotions. Plate, Mind of Fury, Armor of God and Sacrosent plus I would finally be able to meet Rhonda? Heard Plate, been dying to cover my friend and Chilean guitar god, Ghee Yeh and the rest of Mind of Fury for quite a while now, seen, covered and love Armor of God and have the opportunity to hear Puerto Rican metalists Sacrosent, whom I was formerly unfamiliar with. Sure it is two and half hours away, but I am always down to support Florida Metal when I have the chance, so, hell yeah! I am there! Bought my tickets from Orlando with Armor of God and I was on my way.

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CONFESSIONS OF A TRAITOR Live In Somerset, UK [Review & Photo Gallery]

Confession of a Traitor

Last Friday (June 15th, 2018), I managed to catch Confession of a Traitor live at The Cobblestones in Somerset, UK. When I turned up I thought, “Wow! Four bands for a £5 bargain, right on my doorstep, and with an awesome line up!” Support came from female fronted local band, Dremora who played a solid set. Continue reading

Rock On The Range 2018: DAY 2 [Review & Photo Gallery]

Stone Sour

With a very strong Day One already under our belts, the thousands of anxious, sunburnt, hungover fans awaiting the opening of the gates certified that Day Two of Rock on the Range 2018 was upon us.  As expected, everyone was more than ready to take on the day just as they did the day before and when the gates to the festival were opened, the crowd poured into the arena.  Continue reading

Carolina Rebellion 2018: Saturday [Review & Photo Gallery]

Toothgrinder

 

 

We have one day behind us with some amazing acts that we will remember their performances for years to come. The Saturday lineup is certainly competitive in regards to both Friday and Sunday and is full of varying genes and new and veterans acts to keep our attention for the entire day. Palaye Royale and Bad Wolves are two of the biggest up and coming bands currently in rock, especially Bad Wolves with their cover of the iconic Cranberries song “Zombie” which has become the number 1 rock song in the world. Unfortunate for us they both play at the same time. Yet another band that performed early in the day that is truly making a name for themselves is Toothgrinder; If you missed their set you truly missed an amazing experience. Then we get into the more veteran acts of the day like Asking Alexandria who have reunited with vocalist Danny Worsnop, as well as Trivium the band that was labeled as “the band that would save metal” when they formed. Then we get the nostalgic performance by The Used, led by eccentric front man Bert McCracken. As the day comes to a close we are left with the headliners Five Finger Death Punch, and the fierce and fiery performance by Godsmack to end our Saturday evening. The dream would be to not miss a single band, but with interviews and overlaps we weren’t able to see every band, but the ones we were able to see impressed us and left some big shoes to fill on Sunday.  Continue reading

CD Release Party for SuckerPunch’s “Underground Anthem”

First show in a while, and ohhhh, what a doozy! Gotta love supporting such a huge variety of incredible bands ranging from Rap to some of the heaviest Metal has to offer and everything in between! Some of the best music available today remains in the underground and, invariably, right around the corner, no matter where you live. Well, June 1st at 1904 Music Hall served as the launch point for SuckerPunch’s release of Underground Anthem reviewed here. Not only was I stoked to hear some bands that I have heard and loved again, but also for the bands I have not heard of. Not only are they beyond talented, but I made some new friends and hope that you will give them a shot once you read my review of the CD release party. Enough chatter. Let’s get down to it!

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CRAZYTOWN & BLACK MAP Perform In Somerset, United Kingdom! [Review & Photo Gallery]

Crazytown

The Cobblestones venue is located in Bridgwater in the heart of Somerset, UK. It is owned and ran by Graham Hodgson who has his finger on the pulse and is a music fan himself as I regularly bump into him at other venues. His place has some class acts going through, recently DOYLE from Misfits, Hed p.e. and Black Orchid Empire have all rocked the stage. Later in the year Our Hollow Our Home and Holding Absence and many others are due to play, so check it out. I’ve started this review like this to hopefully encourage fans to get out to shows and make people aware that even a few big venues in Bristol are under threat of closing due to corporate ideas and renovations. We need to stand up and show our support so just get out there and enjoy yourselves.

Black Map

My timing tonight could not have been more perfect getting there just before Black Map hit the stage, I’ve been aware of their name as they have recently taken Black Orchid Empire on tour in Europe. This California based band kicked straight in with “Let Me Out” and damn immediately I noticed the drummer Chris Robyn formerly of the band Far, he doesn’t mess around behind the kit. This guy has stamina and power for days and he maintained it through the whole set. Vocalist and bassist Ben Flanagan was on point, I can’t stress enough how perfect of a vocal delivery he unleashed. Mark Engles supplied the driving riffs with a guitar tone which pulled you in. If you are a fan of A Perfect Circle then these guys have a similar feel but are in no way a copycat. Thanks to drummer Chris he could tell I wanted to go and shoot some close ups and waved me up between songs so I nestled in a corner of the stage and shot. They played many other bombshells such as “Gold”, “Ruin” and finishing with one of their more popular singles “Run Rabit Run”. Black Map are one of my favorite bands to watch live after experiencing this full performance so lets get behind these fellas and help them make history.

Crazytown

Ahh the nostalgia that Crazytown brings. I got a promo copy of ‘The Gift of Game’ album back in 1999. This was when nu-metal was huge and it was well received by droves of fans, including me personally. All the people talked about was “Butterfly” but I have especially enjoyed songs like “Toxic” and “Only When I’m Drunk”.

As soon as these guys got on stage the energy was phenomenal. Bass player Hasma Angeleno was going off with loads of style, holding the bass upside down and bending backwards in limbo poses and yoga style moves. This rock hard non-stop touring band gave 100% and showed no signs of slowing down through the whole set. Shifty on vocals was on form tonight and you could tell he was enjoying every second, grinning from ear to ear whilst fans in the audience were showing their appreciation from the get go. Punching straight in with “Battlecry” from the album ‘Dark Horse’, then throwing in classics like “Toxic” and “Only when I’m drunk”. “Darkside” from debut album ‘The Gift of Game’. The guitarist was a breath of fresh air and musicians that move around like this guy did make a great night greater. Half way through the drummer and bass player did their own little collaboration whilst Shifty and the guitarist retreated to the back of the stage. This was not the cringe type of a solo thing, they played a solid drum and bass piece for a couple minutes to the highest caliber and the crowd appreciated the talented rhythm duo, which holds this great band together. Shifty and the guitarist joined back in to play 6 more tracks and yes, as if there was any question they closed their set with “Butterfly” and why wouldn’t they as this track is what really stamped their authority on the nu-metal scene back in the day.

Well anyone in the UK or visiting the UK have another chance to catch Crazy Town. They are playing the iconic Fat Lip Festival in the city of Bristol on July 28th 2018. Make sure you catch them live because in my opinion that is where Crazy Town come “alive” you don’t get the full energy on by hearing the music digitally or on disc, it’s best heard and seen live and in the flesh.

 

 

Rock On The Range 2018: DAY 1 [Review & Photo Gallery]

 

Body Count

 

Alas, Rock on the Range has come and gone but for those who were lucky enough to attend, the memories are very much alive!  I recently heard it said that 2018’s Rock on the Range was the biggest yet – and I can definitely see that to be true!  With the monstrous lineup that this year’s festivities held, the festival once again proved it really is “Where Rock Lives”!  Festival-goers were treated to incredible performances from huge acts including Stone Temple Pilots, A Perfect Circle, Tool, Alice In Chains, Godsmack, Trivium, too many great bands to name them all.  If you ask me, the fine folks at AEG and Danny Wimmer Presents knocked it out of the park with the lineup selection this year and really gave the fans what they want – a rock festival that actually rocks from start to finish!  Three days of nonstop music flooded the Columbus, OH air and minus a period of potential storms and a few light drizzles, the weather cooperated, for the most part, providing (sometimes intense) sunshine all weekend. For me, Day One was an early one.  We got to MAPRFRE Stadium pretty early to beat some of the traffic that was sure to build with every passing minute and were greeted by a cold, steady rain that still didn’t deter the several eager fans already waiting in line.  A side-note to anyone planning on going to Rock on the Range in the future, it is highly advisable to buy the parking pass before the show.  One of the downfalls of the festival was the $25/day parking fee, but that’s a small price to pay for the good times that were inside! Continue reading

GHOST Live At Andrew Jackson Hall In Nashville [Review & Photo Gallery]

 

Ghost

Less than five blocks away from the Mother Church of Country Music, there was a sermon being delivered from the stage of the Andrew Jackson Hall that was polar opposite of what most people would expect from Nashville, TN. Just up the street from country twang filled honky-tonks on Broadway, throngs of fans descended upon the Tennessee Performing Arts Center to spend an evening with Ghost who brought their Rats! On the Road tour to Music City USA on May 23rd.

Ghost

In advance of their fourth studio album, titled Prequelle, set to be released on June 1st, Cardinal Copia and the Nameless Ghouls of the Grammy Award winning band Ghost are currently in the middle of a month long US tour bringing their message to the masses during an “evening with” format that features no opening bands but nearly two hours of one the best theatrical and musical performances you may ever witness.
As most Ghost fans know, the identity of the Nameless Ghouls that make up the band remained a mystery up until a 2017 lawsuit resulted in the unmasking of former Ghouls and even Papa Emeritus himself. As a result, and arguably for the better, Ghost frontman Tobias Forge is bringing a much larger production with this tour which now includes more performers, backing vocalists, and even a surprise appearance by a saxophone playing Papa Nihil.

Ghost

With the curtain down and the angelic, yet ominous sounds of Gregorio Allegri’s “Miserere Mei, Deus” resonating through the house speakers, members of the flock, beverages in hand, scurry down the aisles to their seats when suddenly a low drone followed by the sounds of children’s voices singing “Ashes” brings a loud roar and a sense of urgency from the congregation. With the bang of a drum and a long open D chord, the curtain rises and soon thereafter we’re treated to “Rats”, the first single off their upcoming album. A dapper, dressed in all black, Cardinal Copia appears and again the crowd erupts. Fist in the air and asking “Are you with us Nashville?” the Cardinal conducts the first of many sing-alongs. Following “Rats”, the band transitions into “Absolution” off their third and most current studio album, Meliora. After a quick “Good Evening Nashville!,” the service continues with back to back songs off their first album, ‘Opus Eponymous’. In between “Ritual” and “Con Clavi Con Dio” the congregation was witness to the first of four outfit changes as the Cardinal was now donning his black robes.

Ghost

After powering through “Per Aspera ad Inferi” and “Devil Church,” we see Cardinal Copia return to his black suit for fan favorite “Cirice.” Midway through the song, a young lady catches the eye of the Cardinal and he drops to a knee, takes her by the hands and serenades her, ending with a kiss on the hand as the chorus ends and the crowd cheers in approval. Then, following another song from deep in their catalog, “Stand by Him,” the congregation is treated to another new song from the forthcoming album, an instrumental called “Miasma.” With dueling guitar harmonies, 80’s classic rock synth, a finger tapping guitar solo, and a light and fog show to match, this song did not disappoint. The cherry on top, literally at the top of the stage, would have to be the moment when two nuns wheeled out a decrepit Papa Nihil, clothed in his traditional white robe and matching embroidered mitre, for a ripping sax solo!

It’s at this point in the performance where we see the charisma of frontman Tobias Forge, excuse me, Cardinal Copia, really shine through. Upon reentering the stage dressed in an all white suit, black hat and cane (think a resurrected Michel Jackson a la Smooth Criminal, just more evil), unimpressed by the reaction of the crowd, the Cardinal asks, “Nashville . . . I do an entrance that rips the fucking carpet apart, and this is what I get? A ripping entrance like that, a bitchin’ entrance, deserves a big cheer! So, uh, let’s do this again, but you need to be quiet. I’ll go hide, and then we’ll do a big cheer. Are you ready (crowd screams)? Then shut the fuck up (laughter erupts)! Ok, here I come!” As you can imagine, a standing ovation all through the theater. A much more pleased Cardinal thanks the crowd and asks them to give themselves a round applause followed by a big round for the Ghouls. Then, the Cardinal along with the bass and guitar players sit down for an acoustic rendition of “Jigolo Har Megiddo,” and the congregation claps along to keep the beat. All that was missing was the campfire. Up next is yet another new track, “Pro Memoria,” a song tailor-made for the musical theater production that Ghost is showcasing on this tour. Wrapping up Act I, yes folks, that was just the first Act of two, was “Deus in Absentia.”

 

Ghost

Following a brief intermission, the curtain rises accompanied by the sounds of a creepy, winding organ straight out of an episode of Scooby-Doo and Act II begins with “Spirit” as Cardinal Copia descends the stage in his red robes. The band barrels straight through and into the chunky bass intro of yet another long time fan favorite, “From the Pinnacle to the Pit,” after which the Cardinal took to the pulpit to address the congregation. “How you doing? I hope you took the opportunity to go and, eh, you went to the toilet, right? You’re not standing there like (mimicking a kid with their knees squeezed, needing to pee!). That’s the point, ‘cause we’re gonna rock your asses off for like over two hours! So are you ready to rock now?” He goes on to mention the new record, ‘Prequelle’, coming out on June 1st. “It’s very good . . . very, very good!” Rock our asses off they did, as the band moved right into another new song, “Faith” before continuing on with some older tunes in “Year Zero,” “He Is,” “Prime Mover,” and “Mummy Dust,” the latter of which was supposed to “tickle our taints” and saw a blizzard of confetti shoot from the stage, covering the crowd with what Cardinal Copia jokingly said was “really money and worth shit loads!” Before concluding Act II, the band performs a cover of Roky Erickson’s tune “If You Have Ghosts,” introduces to their sixth new song of the evening with “Dance Macabre” and closes with their first Billboard Mainstream Rock #1 song “Square Hammer.”

After three minutes of applause and chants of “One more song! One more song!” the Cardinal emerges from backstage and encourages the flock to “Go home already.” To which the crowd yells “Nooo!” The Cardinal retorts, “It’s over. We’re done. We’re done rocking! Imagine that I’m already in the shower.” The Cardinal reluctantly acquiesces to the crowd, telling them “You better make this fucking count!” as he then goes into the meaning of the encore song, “Monstrance Clock.” Let’s just say that congregation, from young to old, received a crash course in female “satisfaction.” And with the final notes and chorus of “Monstrance Clock” repeating in the background, an evening with Ghost comes to a rousing climax.

Ghost

Heading into this show I was vaguely familiar with Ghost at best, knowing only the songs that are in rotation on satellite radio. Leaving this show I have to say that Ghost has a new fan. The performances, the music, the mood, the elaborate gothic church backdrop, the theatrics . . . Rats! On the Road really delivered the closest thing to a Broadway musical that a metal head can appreciate! Assuming they will extend their tour upon the release of their new album, ‘Prequelle’, on June 1st, I hope for the sake of those who didn’t attend this run of dates, that Ghost sticks with the “evening with” format as I feel this is the way their music should be consumed.