Tour Reviews



Anvil, Night Demon, Graveshadow, Hollow Leg and Rhythm of Fear Rock Jacksonville, FL!

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Freaking bad ass! When I saw that Anvil was playing with Night Demon and my friend Will in Graveshadow, I flipped out. I have been dying to see them for over a year now. When I found out that Hollow Leg and my boys in Rhythm of Fear were added to the bill, I could not have been more thrilled. As it turned out, my expectations were far surpassed by this quintet of killer Metal bands at Nighthawks in Jacksonville, FL. This was my first show at this cool music hall and was not disappointed. The staff was extremely friendly and had not one ounce of “holier than thou” attitude I have encountered at a few other venues. Sound was top notch, being balanced with volumes that did not overdrive their systems. Definite props to the sound controller. If given the opportunity to hit Nighthawks again, I am there without hesitation. If you live anywhere near this place, throw them some support. One of the most fun venues around the area!

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KATATONIA, CASPIAN, UNCURED Take Over Washington, D.C. [Photo Gallery]

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Katatonia

Last Thursday night I found myself doing something I absolutely despise, taking the horrid DC metro rail, to do something I dearly love, enjoying live music. Katatonia, was opening the North American tour in support of their album ‘The Fall of Hearts’ at the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. A small venue with a prominent stage with excellent lighting and sound system, many consider 9:30 Club to be the heart and soul of the music scene in Washington D.C. And I have never been to this iconic venue in our nations capital, despite having lived in the area for multiple years. This, combined with the excitement of seeing Katatonia live for the first time, my excitement was palpable. Still, I had little idea how good a night this was going to be. Katatonia is one of the finest heavy metal bands to have emerged from Sweden, and their ten studio albums bear testimony to that. The last album ‘The Fall of Hearts’ was released mid last year, which garnered excellent reviews from fans and critics alike. On this North American leg, they are supported by Caspian and Uncured.

Uncured

The first band of the night was Uncured, which I was not very familiar with, so them taking the stage was when I really discovered their music. It has been a long time since I have been this utterly impressed by a new band with only a debut album. And how often do you see a progressive metal band with two vocalists unleashing harsh vocals with intense yet melodic riffs ? The vocals were shared nearly equally by the two guitar wielding vocalists on more than one song. The young lads with their youthful energy, technical prowess behind their instruments and blistering speed set the stage on fire. Listen to the riffs in the later part of the song “Opium Den” and tell me if it does not remind you of Liquid Tension Experiment. The lads totally had totally earned the rousing applause they got once they were done with their set. This is one band that I earmark for nothing but stellar things in future and will certainly be keeping a close watch on.

Caspian

Caspian was the second band of the night, a largely instrumental band with fast riffs, yet they can sound melancholic at times, something that not too many bands can lay a claim to. I had no idea they had such a fan following in the D.C. metro area, the crowd erupted as soon as they took the stage. The imperious drumming and the excellent guitar play lays the basis for the six member strong band. The rapidly changing stage lighting in sync with the fast yet melodic guitar play contributed to this spellbinding show. I can’t really do justice to their musicianship on the show by trying to explain it in words, one needs to see them out live. If you are not familiar with their music, check them out and get ready to be captivated.

Katatonia

Katatonia was one of the first Swedish metal bands I discovered. Over the years Katatonia has progressed to be more melodic from the harsh vocals of the early days. Opening the set with the track “Last Song Before We Fade”, the band burst in to intense guitar play and luscious rhythms. The following tracks “Criminals”, a song from the album ‘Viva Emptiness’, and “Serein”, a standout track from the latest album, kept the crowd really going. The delivery of Jonas Renske was flawless, the guitar work and drumming impeccable and overall the band treated the crowd to an album quality performance. The graceful interaction with the crowd only enhanced the experience of this fabulous night. I won’t bother going in to discuss the performance of each song of the nineteen songs long set, you are better off attending the show than trying to experience it through my words. This is one tour that you don’t want to miss, especially if you are a fan of melodic or progressive metal. If you have a chance to see them on this tour, which has just started, don’t miss it!

Follow the bands online: Katatonia, Caspian, Uncured!

Deafheaven, Emma Ruth Rundle and This Will Destroy You In Baltimore, Maryland!

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Deafheaven

Last Sunday night, the genre defying maestros of Deafheaven enchanted the crowd at Baltimore Soundstage. On this current tour, in support of their excellent last album ‘New Bermuda’, they are joined by Emma Ruth Rundle and This Will Destroy You. This was a night to behold, so let me dive straight in to the review without further ado.

Emma Ruth Rundle

Emma Ruth Rundle and her band were the first to take the stage, opening the set with the track “Run Forever” from the album ‘Some Heavy Ocean’. The crowd was slowly building up, and they were soaking in the lyrics of her songs. A flawless delivery with dark and very mature lyrics highlighted the performance, which was a near album quality like performance. With the seven song set, capped off with the track “Heaven” from her latest album ‘Marked for Death’, Emma Ruth Rundle mesmerized the crowd. The gracious yet somber performance was well appreciated by the crowd and she left the stage to a very well deserved rousing applause from the crowd.

This Will Destroy You

This Will Destroy You, a “largely” instrumental rock/metal band from Texas, who took the stage next. Sandwiched between the somber mood bought to the stage by Emma Ruth Rundle and the unhinged energy of Deafheaven. The opening track “The Mighty Rio Grande”, which is from their decade old self titled album, was perhaps an ode to their home state. The excellent guitar work lays the basis for the signature sound of this quartet, which is enhanced by the impeccable timing of the drumming. I love the sound of this band and it has been a constant companion, especially at my work, for some time now. The six songs set was well appreciated by the crowd, hooting and screaming at the band every time they stopped for a few seconds after a playing a song. The last song of the set, “Little Smoke”, erupted to a cathartic drone like crescendo towards the end, providing the perfect backdrop for Deafheaven.

Deafheaven

Now was the time for Deafheaven, the headliner of the night. George Clarke had come on to the stage to check the microphone before the band took the stage and everyone in the crowd started going nuts. Folks, hold your horses, you need to wait for a few more minutes here. Once the lights dimmed, Deafheaven took the stage, opening the set with the track “Brought to The Water”, the opening track of their last album ‘New Bermuda’. Right from the word go, Deafheaven unleashed sheer madness on the stage, which lasted until the very end. The unrelenting vocals of George Clarke behind the microphone, in contrast to the largely calm stage presence of the other band members, was the highlight of the show. Mind you, the calm demeanor belies the excellent guitar play of Kerry McCoy and Shiv Mehra, ably backed by the bassist and the drummer. Additionally, George Clarke was bounding around the stage showing off some cool moves, like that of a symphony director, and the crowd was digging it. A high school kid who was right next to me in the front row was exhilarated to get a fist bump from George Clark. Constantly pushing the boundaries of traditional genres, Deafheaven is certainly one of the most creative bands around. The set was somehwat short, with eight songs, capped off by “The Pecan Tree”. Musically, this was certainly one of the finest nights I have had in a while. My only gripe with this show was the lack of a photo pit, but I can see how a barrier would have hindered the interaction of George Clarke with the crowd. That interaction between the band and the crowd is one of the single most exciting things to witness or be a part of. The styles of the three acts are quite different, yet similar in the mood. This current tour is still in its midway stages with a bunch of remaining dates, I highly recommend you attend it. And be sure to stand in the front row, it WILL be crowded, don’t say I didn’t not warn you!

Live Review: AZREAL Live @ Baltimore Soundstage

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We recently covered the Bound By The Road Tour which features DevilDriver, Death Angel, Winds Of Plague, The Agonist and Azreal during their stop in Toronto, Canada (See Review Here). Unfortunately, Azreal was unable to make the trek across the border for the Canadian dates of the tour.  We of course was highly looking forward to seeing the Australian based band take the stage. So we caught up with them on another tour stop in Baltimore, Maryland at Baltimore Soundstage on February 20th. Continue reading

Tour Review: Bound By The Road Tour With DevilDriver, Death Angel, Winds Of Plague & The Agonist

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The Bound by the Road Tour 2017 is a 5 band affair featuring DevilDriver, Death Angel, Winds of Plague, The Agonist and Azreal. It had plenty of stops in the USA and had 2 stops in Canada which I was lucky enough to attend the one in Toronto Ontario at The Phoenix Concert Theater (formerly known as The Diamond) and it holds up to 1,350 people.  Continue reading

Live Review: CROWBAR, GOATWHORE & LILLAKE In Johnson City, Tennessee!

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Sammy Duet (Goatwhore) and Kirk Windstein (Crowbar)

It’s not often that you get to see two iconic New Orleans bands together in a small intimate venue. This night had several extraordinary factors. The co-headliners were none other than the all mighty Crowbar and the ferociously aggressive Goatwhore. The two bands have not only similarities in geography but have also had intermingling members in the bands or side projects. Goatwhore guitarist Sammy Duet was a member of Crowbar from 1998–2002, and was an integral part of Crowbar’s iconic album ‘Odd Fellows Rest’. Crowbar drummer Tommy Buckley and Goatwhore vocalist Ben Falgoust are also members of the band Soilent Green together. So of course the bands have a great camaraderie. Of course these weren’t the only bands that would grace the stage on this heavy metal showcase. The opening band Lillake formed in 2015, so they are just beginning their musical journey. However, the members of this band are by no means new to the metal world. Drummer Eric Moore is one of the most revered drummers around. Both Eric Moore and Lillake vocalist/guitarist Nico Santora were members of Suicidal Tendencies. Eric Moore was in the band from 2008 – 2015, and Santora was in the band from 2012 – 2016 and left the band to focus his time on Lillake. Continue reading

Show Review of Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve” Tour

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TransSiberian Orchestra 2016:

Al Pitrelli – Guitar

Andrew Ross – Vocals

Angus Clark – Guitar

April Berry – Guitar

Asha Mevlana – Strings

Autumn Guzzardi – Vocals

Ava Davis – Vocals

Bart Satto – Vocals

Bryan Hicks – Storyteller

Chloe Lowery – Vocals

Chris Caffery – Guitar

Dave Z – Bass

Derek Wieland – Keyboards

Dustin Brayley – Vocals

Babriela Guncikova – Vocals

Georgia Napolitano – Vocals

Jane Nangini – Keyboards

Jeff Plate – Drums

Jeff Scott Soto – Vocals

Jodi Katz – Vocals

John Brink – Vocals

John Lee Middleton – Bass

John O. Reilly – Drums

Kayla Reeves – Vocals

Lisa Lavie – Vocals

Mee Eun Kim – Keyboards

Natalya Rose Piette – Vocals

Paul O’Neill – founder/guitar

Philip Brandon – Storyteller

Rob Evan – Vocals

Robin Borneman – Vocals

Roddy Chong – Strings

Russell Allen – Vocals

Vitalij Kuprij – Keyboards

Tran-Siberian Orchestra is the brainchild brought to fruition by the genius of writer/guitarist/producer/etc. extraordinaire Paul O’Neill. Growing up in New York City, O’Neill was exposed to everything ranging from Broadway musicals, to Motown to singer-songwriter greats like Jim Croce and Harry Chapin. As he got older, Paul began playing guitar in the touring band for Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair before being brought on with the management company, LeberKrebs in the later portion of the 1970’s. With clients such as Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, AC/CD, Def Leppard, The Scorpians, The New York Dolls and a plethora of other A-List bands, O’Neill’s influences and influence gained a huge market share, putting him at the top of the promotional game. After a stint as a major concert promoter in Japan during the 1980’s, he returned to the States to write and produce full-time.

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Review Of The “Winter Warriors Tour” With Battlecross, Allegaeon And Necromancing the Stone

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20161204-show1

Sunday, December 4th, 2016. Jack Rabbits, Jacksonville, FL. Metal Blade Records’ artists Necromancing the Stone, Allegaeon and Battlecross take the stage for an evening hammering down some of the most engaging and hard hitting Metal around. This is the third such outing for headlining act, Battlecross, on their annual Winter Warriors Tour where veterans are allowed free admission to the shows and a portion of all proceeds land in the coffers of local veteran charities. The Metal community has no heart and is just a bunch of Satan loving hooligans wearing black t-shirts and leather jackets. Psh! No matter where I go, you people are the biggest hearted group, supporting our military vets, children charities and each other at every opportunity. Hell, there was a Metal show down the street from Jack Rabbits set up by local promoters and bands in support of a wonderful family that recently lost a child. I am truly honored to call each one of you brothers and sisters, even if we have never met! Thank you! In addition to the music, when it comes down to brass tacks, our solidarity is what grows the genre.

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Review Of Flotsam And Jetsam, Helstar, And Hatchet Show At Jack Rabbits In Jacksonville, FL

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fj-tour2

Man! When we first got wind that Flotsam and Jetsam, Helstar and Hatchet were hitting the road together, all of us here at MN (particularly Dragon and me) were praying this would stop somewhere within striking distance. Not just to see this collection of top shelf bands but also to get this match made in heaven available to our loyal readers. Who wouldn’t want to see this? Love Hatchet. Been listening to them for since around 2013 when Dawn of Evil hit. Helstar. Hell, I have listened to them on and off for the better part of thirty years. Don’t even get me started on Flotsam and Jetsam. They have ranked among my favorite bands consistently since Doomsday for the Deceiver way back in 1986. Saw them on their tours supporting No Place for Disgrace and Cuatro at Bogarts in Cincinnnati and one other time in Indianapolis in the late nineties. I have relentlessly listened to them even with my long hiatus seeing them live. While I like some of their releases better than others, Flotz is one of those bands that apparently cannot put out a bad album. I can only think of a couple of other bands that I hold in equal regards. To say the least, this was a dream show for me and was elated to find that it was coming to Jack Rabbits in Jacksonville, FL; just minutes from my house! So, you ask: “How was the show?”…

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Evanescence And Sick Puppies Roll Over The St. Augustine Amphitheater

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evanescence-show1

November 10, 2016. Get off work late. Quickly change clothes. Try to get off at your exit and no one will let you over and get bypassed onto a side street. Get stuck in construction traffic on the way back to the freeway because the city just has to have every road project going on at the same time. Get back on the highway for what should be a 45 minute drive. Traffic stops for five miles just outside of town for no apparent reason. Finally clear the mess and speed towards St. Augustine to find traffic again stopped all the way through town after taking “the short cut”. Get parked and head into the venue just as the first band starts some two hours after leaving work. Frustrating, but such is life in metropolitan areas everywhere; especially when one is in a hurry.

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