Ideally, the role of the critic is to approach the subject from a place of impartiality, to examine its relative merits and flaws, and to offer and render an honest and unbiased review for the edification of the audience.
“Good God bless my soul…I need a fix of rock n’ roll”. Thanks to Sebastian Bach, I recently got that fix and got to hear those exact lyrics live again for well, I’m not even sure how many times now. Let’s rewind for a second..
January 24th 1989, 4 dudes from New Jersey, along with a Canadian transplant, released their self titled debut album ‘Skid Row,’ an album that at the time quickly became an album that I could have swore was written with me in mind. At that time a ton pop artists ruled the Billboard charts as well as dominated MTV, rap was just really starting find it’s place in the world and Hair Metal (yep, I said it. Suck it, Trunk) was still in full swing. Headbangers Ball was a staple of every self respecting heavy metal fans’ Saturday night. I was 13 years old, running around with kids that were probably too old for me to be hanging out with and I was already a fucking handful. Cigarettes? Smoked’em. Beer? I had a few by then already. Snuck out and hung with those too old to be friends with friends at all hours of the night? Yep, and even hung out on random rooftops of buildings with my partner in crime, Eddie. No idea why on that last one, but we always had a blast just seeing if we could get up there. You can see where I am going with this..we WERE, the “Youth Gone Wild.” Now we’re just the “Middle Aged Gone..who knows where.” Continue reading →
The 70s and 80s were both staple decades in the evolution of rock that most consider as the “classic” era for rock bands. Killer riffs and heavy drums are what made the music, and Portland, Maine’s Drivetrain are continuing those great characteristics that made the 70s and 80s rock. Since forming the group in 2012, Drivetrain has decided to unleash their killer debut album, ‘Muscles Big.’ Taking inspiration on the traditional aspects of loud cars and even louder rock, this debut is one of my favorite first albums from a band. With Kevin Beling handling vocals and rhythm guitar, Alex Fabish beating the hell out of the drums, Butch Fabish tackling lead guitar duties, and Ben Philbrick on the thunderous bass, they have released this mayhem on January 21, 2019. Continue reading →
For Americans, Woodstock is largely known as an iconic cultural event in the history of popular music that would leave its mark for generations to come. Even though the festival itself took place years before many of us were even born (myself included), its impact can still be seen in many ways today, especially on the way we experience live music. The modern concert crowd may glow in a sea of iPhones rather than Zippos, but the sense of community brought together by music, in many ways, still remains the same. While today’s age of annual festivals such as Coachella, Lollapalooza, SXSW, and others (touted fervently on social media by hashtag-craving, attention-seeking attendees) take the concept of a massive, multi-day concert to rake in boatloads from inflated entry fees, concessions, and merch, Woodstock, on the other hand, became something much deeper than the latest big trend in pop music – it was a movement. In 1969, during the heart of the Vietnam war, sexual politics, and civil rights struggles, Woodstock and the music of its time represented a call for change in America. During a peaceful gathering of nearly 500,000 people on a small dairy farm in upstate New York, Woodstock would, in fact, change history. This documentary, Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation is an in-depth look, featuring never-before-seen footage, into the landmark event told by those who helped create it and those who experienced it firsthand. Continue reading →
The long history of Anvil has been well documented. Formed in Toronto, Ontario, they were on the forefront of a heavy metal explosion in the early eighties but their star never quite reached the heights that so many predicted. Continue reading →
Sacramento, California’s classic rockers Tesla return with their eighth studio album ‘Shock.’ Classic rock is a term that may not be desired, despite being earned. Tesla has been running from unwarranted labels from day one, so this is likely nothing new. They were labeled early on as a “hair band” or even as a “glam band,” despite clearly being way more of a center of the road, straight-ahead rock band. Tesla’s lineup has relatively remained the same over the years, with only minor changes, and it shows in the songs. The album is chock-full of classic Tesla that not only held my attention but made me revisit some of my favorite Tesla tunes after spinning it. See: “Mama’s Fool” from 1995’s ‘Bust a Nut.’ Continue reading →
Turning up early to the AnsonRooms in the city of Bristol, UK, and after finally finding a space to park with a few laps of the area, I find the queue for the venue all the way down the street and around the corner. I went up to the front and luckily walked in, got my pass, and eagerly waited for the tour’s support band TheTemperanceMovement to grace the stage of this massive hall. Continue reading →
With what passes for rock and roll nowadays, who could really blame those that say the genre is dead or dying? But if you scratch just a little bit deeper, you’ll find there is a whole new generation of artists well versed in the finer points of classic rock, penning brand new messages in fifty year old ink. Greta Van Fleet may have garnered the lion’s share of hedgerow bustling from the mainstream, but there was a bumper crop of retro-leaning acts in 2018 proving there will always be plenty of room for bands that want to wrap themselves in velvets and party like it’s 1974. It was tough to whittle the whole year down to ten releases, and even tougher to rank them. But after countless hours of analysis, these are the best things I heard this year; if you don’t think they make ‘em like they used to, you need to check this shit out.
Stoner rock fans across North America will have reason to rejoice in March 2019, when English horror-psych mavens Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats join forces with Swedish retro-rockers Graveyard for a co-headlining jaunt dubbed the “Peace Across the Wasteland” tour. Ticket pre-sales for the nineteen-date tour, which kicks off at Philadelphia’s Union Transfer on March 6 and runs through March 30 at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, begin October 24, with the general on-sale beginning two days later.
No matter the status of his endlessly fluctuating relationship with his former bandmates/business partners, and no matter who’s stage left working his suit and wearing his makeup, Ace Frehley will always be the lead guitar player for KISS. One of the most influential axemen in rock and roll history (haters and naysayers be damned), Frehley has spent a large swath of the sixteen-plus years since his last public appearance with the band firmly cementing his reputation as the once-and-forever Space Ace, touring and releasing a string of albums that show off his singular talents and find inspiration in his formidable legacy. His newest release, Spaceman, plays up the KISS connections and corollaries more than any other project in his solo catalog, which should give longtime fans and followers plenty to sink their teeth into.