Palaye Royale have launched into the Fever Dream World Tour. They recently made a stop at First Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota and played an explosive set. The tour included Mod Sun, carolesdaughter and Starbenders.
I was unable to catch the sets by a couple of the openers but the first band on the stage, Starbenders, were amazing. This four-piece unit out of Atlanta, Georgia demanded your attention. Led by vocalist and guitarist Kimi Shelter they ripped through a very short set that included “Holy Mother” and “Cover Me.” Flanking Shelter were guitarist Kriss Tokaji and bassist Aaron Lecesne, both were in constant motion and brought a lot of energy to the stage, while drummer Emily Moon handled the beat perfectly. I love bands that are hard to pin down from a genre aspect. They certainly pull from an assortment of subgenres that include 70’s glam, punk, grunge, rock, psychedelic and hard rock and roll it into a single entity unique to the band. They released ‘Love Potions’ in 2020 which was their first full length record and have continued to release an assortment of singles that are fantastic like “Seven White Horses,” “Blood Moon” and “If You Need It.” It was a real thrill to finally see the Starbenders and a band I will continue to root for. The path is never easy for bands that can’t be put into a single box but those are the type of bands that tend to stick around as fads come and go. If you’re hitting this tour, it’s well worth your time to get there early and catch this band live.
The headliner, Palaye Royale, hit the stage with the rouser “Nightmare.” The band has released three albums and have created a tidal wave that continues to get bigger from their relentless touring and high-octane performances. They are and continue to be one of the most entertaining acts to take the stage as they completely overwhelm the audience with an infectious energy that is felt throughout the venue and then that energy is fed right back to the stage from the crowd that is singing every word. Vocalist Remington Leith understands his job on stage, it’s just not to sing the songs, but it’s also to bring every fan into his world, onto that stage, and be part of the family. He works non-stop to give the fans every penny’s worth of that ticket price and despite fighting off a throat issue, he gave everything he had on every song. Guitarist Sebastian Danzig never stopped moving as he glided across the stage constantly while providing his Gretsch guitar tones that sounded great. The last listed member of the band is drummer Emerson Barrett who held down the rhythm and also took his turn at the keyboard, as did Danzig and Leith, which may be the first time I’ve ever seen three different guys sit down at the keyboard in a single show. The band featured two other musicians that brought their own excitement and energy to the stage and fit in perfectly to what the band is all about. This show revisited the past with cuts like “Get Higher,” “Mr. Doctor Man” and “Dying in a Hot Tub” but this tour is about now and the album ‘Fever Dream’ that will be dropping soon. Four singles from the upcoming release were played which included “No Love in LA,” “Paranoid,” “Punching Bag” and the title track which hit the ears in a live setting for the first time for these fans and you could feel the excitement of the crowd as they played them.
Palaye Royale is another band that is hard to define, they simply call themselves “Fashion-Art Rock” but what you hear comes from a wide range of styles and influences. Throw in everything from The Rolling Stones, DavidBowie, T-Rex, New York Dollsand Iggy Pop with a My Chemical Romance hook and pop sensibilities, then add a sprinkle of The Black Crowes and that right there is a piece of the bands DNA. Whatever inspires them, I hope they continue to grow and create the music they want to do despite what the popular musical landscape defines what they should be to fit into the current fad. They bring an electric stage show and one of the most entertaining shows I’ve seen in some time and a catalog that is just as exciting and unpredictable which is what makes music great.
It has been over a decade since fans last saw My Chemical Romance perform in Minnesota. The band disbanded in 2013 and it seemed the black parade had packed up all its floats for good. What we have found out about modern day musical entities, nothing ever truly goes away, it just momentarily fades away until the right moment hits for a reunion. In 2019 it was announced the band would reunite and tour but covid kept the brake pedal down until now, 2022, and once again it was time to strike up the band and bring the parade to arenas across the country. People packed the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota to welcome back one of the most influential bands of the 2000s.
The anticipation and energy could be felt throughout the arena, this was a big deal to a whole lot of people, and when the lights dropped the screams echoed in a frenzy of excitement. Things were kept very simple as there was no pyro or laser lights cutting through the darkness, the stage was pretty simple with a red curtain draped down as backdrop that later opened to reveal a destroyed city. This was a night about the music and the connection between the band and its devoted fans.
They opened with the latest single “The Foundation of Decay” which really came to life in the live setting. It’s a song like no other in the catalog and showcased that this unit has always been a band that could offer more musically than the emo label they have aways been tagged with. They didn’t leave the fans waiting for long to hit with the song that exploded on the scene back on September 13, 2004, “I’m Not Okay (I Promise). If there was a moment the roof lifted off the arena, that was it, every single person was singing every lyric of that song as loud as they could. It was as fun and fresh as it was when it was released and has become a timeless classic of the era.
The band still maintains its core nucleus that catapulted My Chemical Romance to commercial success. Singer Gerard Way is still the ring leader on stage and vocally hasn’t lost a thing on his voice. The energy of the band has always come from the duo-guitar players Ray Toro and Frank Lero. Both are fun to watch and the intensity in which they approach their craft plays right along with the music they play. Holding the low-end down is Mikey Way on bass. The band utilized a couple of touring musicians on drums and keyboards. Overall, it sounded like they never left although during many of songs like “Teenagers” and “Welcome to the Black Parade” the crowd just about over took the band in volume. What has been interesting about this tour is how they are not sticking to the same set-list each show. While most bands never change things up from night to night, My Chemical Romance has taken its own liberties with song selections and the order in which they are played. Some of the highlights for me in St. Paul were “Famous Last Words,” “Vampire Money,” “Give ‘Em Hell Kid” and “Helena.”
It was a magical night for thousands of My Chemical Romance fans. Many got emotional with tears streaking down their face as the band roared through the set. When they finally closed with “Desert Song” fans had given everything they had. People left the arena feeling good about the band and the show they just saw but it is already being asked, when will see the My Chemical Romance again? That answer remains to be seen.
After a two-year wait, The Stadium Tour has finally been making its way through the United States. The line-up features Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Poison, Joan Jett And The Blackhearts and new comers Classless Act. Around 50,000 people made the journey to USBank Stadium, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to relive some of the biggest acts from the decade of decadence known as the 80’s.
Before the reminiscing could begin, the new kids on the tour called Classless Act took the stage. The band formed in Los Angeles in 2019 and released the album ‘Welcome To The show’ in 2022. The bands energy starts with the flamboyant lead singer Derek Day. From the opening note, it was his mission to get every eye in the building to lock on to the stage. Along with Day, the band features a two-guitar attack with Dane Pieper and Griffin Tucker, bassist Franco Gravante and drummer Chuck McKissock. The band had a short five-song set but utilized every second to introduce themselves and kicked out songs that included “This Is For You,” “Give It To Me,” “All That We Are,” “Time To Bleed” and closing with “Classless Act.” This is my second time catching these guys and once again they delivered a fantastic and fun set encompassing good old fashion bombastic rock-n-roll. Hopefully, as people were still filing into the venue, buying mech and drinks, they stopped and soaked in what Classless Act is about and what they have to offer as they are one of those bands that have the material and live flair that can make a mark on the musical landscape.
Still riding strong after a career that spans over 46 years, Joan Jett and the rest of her Blackhearts took the stage with ‘Victim of Circumstance’ and then the Runaways classic ‘Cherry Bomb.” She was an interesting choice for the tour as she is far removed from the glam metal movement and has always harnessed a punk vibe laced with a radio rock melodic sensibility. She brings her own stack of hits to the table like “Crimson & Clover,” “Everyday People,” “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” and the sing-along classic “I Hate Myself for Loving You.” She remains a timeless classic and the response for her was over whelming throughout the set. Ending with the timeless punk classic “Bad Reputation,” it was a giant reminder to me just how many fantastic songs she has and just how important her contributions and legacy are to the history of rock music.
If your listening to the ongoing opinions of people that have attended previous shows on this run, the consensus seems to suggest, Poison, has been the band that has stolen the show. The all-original glam metal kingpins featuring singer Bret Michaels, guitarist C.C. Deville, bassist Bobby Dall and drummer Rikki Rockett were once again out to prove themselves as they opened with the banger “Look What the Cat Dragged In.” Dall raced down the stage ramp pumping up the crowd while that vintage C.C. guitar tone cut through the excited crowd. Once Michaels came out, it was on, and Poison’sinfectious energy was felt throughout the stadium. Sounding exactly as they did in their heyday, they stuck with the hits, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” “Fallen Angel,” “Talk Dirty to Me,” and “Ride The Wind.” Poison’s cast of characters are uniquely fitted together and without those four, those Poison songs don’t sound quite the same. They truly brought a fun and exciting atmosphere to USBank Stadium and as they closed out the set with “Nothin’ But A Good Time,” which summed up the entire vibe of their show and for my money, that’s all anybody ever wanted from a Poison show. I really think this band needs to play more, not over saturate the market like many of their contemporaries do, but pick your spots to headline some of the festivals that celebrate the glam genre. It’s a shame we don’t see this very much and I think Poison are missing some really good opportunities and we as fans are also missing out.
Back in the 2015, one of the biggest bands of the eighties, Motley Crue, signed a “cessation of touring agreement,” which stated the end of touring for the band. Well nothing lasts forever and that document was cast aside in 2019 as Motley Crue announced a reunion for this Stadium Tour. Controversy and speculation have always swirled around this band, and the biggest hurdle seemed to be how well Vince would be able to perform on this run. A string of bad performances plagued his solo shows which left a lot of fans clamoring for his retirement. With the tour starting, Vince had gotten into better shape and also his singing was stronger than his solo shows. But this is Motley Crue, Tommy had broken ribs and couldn’t finish a full show when the tour kicked off and then added further attention to himself with a “selfie” on Instagram. There is no Crue without the four members that created it, Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars and Tommy Lee. They have a deep catalog of hits and showcased everything from “Wildside,” “Home Sweet Home,” “Primal Scream,” “Looks That Kill” and “Dr. Feelgood” just to name a few. The reality is Vince still struggled to hit notes and sing the words in spots and there is just no way of getting around it. The Nasty Habits which doubled as pole dancers and back-up singers probably should have been moved up in the mix as they could have helped more than what they did to help the vocal situation. With all that said, I would add, how many in the crowd actually cared? We all have YouTube and knew exactly what the vocals would be, yet there were thousands of people wearing Crue gear to support them. People were still rocking hard and singing along with all the songs. Mick Mars was still a force and continues to be one of the most underappreciated guitar players of his era. Hearing that “Live Wire” riff at that kind of volume, I couldn’t help but smile as that all-time classic ripped through the venue. Maybe it’s the covid lay-off speaking, but I still enjoyed this moment with Motley Crue, warts and all, one last time.
Def Leppard would close out the show at our Stadium. Both Motley and Def Leppard have been alternating closing the shows. There are not a lot of eighties era bands still recording and releasing new albums, but Def Leppard remains active in the creating process and released ‘Diamond Star Halos’ this year. Opening up the set was the lead track off that record “Take What You Want,” for those fans that hadn’t been keeping up with the new material, it didn’t take long for the guys to settle in to the songs that made Leppard mainstays of rock radio and MTV. Songs like “Animal,” “Armageddon It,” “Rocket,” “Love Bites” and “Pour Some Sugar On Me” gave everybody a chance to perform eighties karaoke together. Vocalist Joe Elliot maneuvered through the set splendidly and sounded in fine form. The band was as tight as ever both musical and the backing vocals that are so critical in the band’s music. Drummer Rick Allen along with bassist Rick Savage and guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell delivered a crisp sound for Elliot to sing on top of. My allegiance to Leppard goes back to the earliest of days, ‘High ‘n’ Dry’ and ‘Pyromania’ and as much as I would love some deeper tracks from those albums, I’ll take what I can get with “Let It Go,” “Switch 625,” “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak,” “Foolin’,” “Rock Of Ages” and “Photograph” which were included in the set. Overall, I was more impressed with Def Leppard than I thought I would have. They really did sound amazing and they certainly have the hits people want to hear. A very good set to close out a long day of music but a day that I would say was a complete success after a two-year wait.
Ninety semis rolled into Minneapolis, Minnesota carrying 1,350 tons of stage equipment for the long-awaited concert by German industrial metal giants Rammstein. After four days the stage assembly that measured 200 feet wide, 100 feet deep and a height of 120 feet was ready for the thousands of fans that would fill USBank Stadium for one of the most anticipated concerts since its initial announcement back in 2020. The band has embarked on a 12-city North America Tour and Minnesota was the first stop in the United States.
Rammstein has put much of its effort into growing its audience throughout Europe and not North America. It has been a decade since the band traveled to Minnesota, and despite singing in their native tongue and only having one minor hit with 1997’s “Du Hast,” the band has now moved into the city’s biggest venue. The exist in their own vacuum, make their own rules, and are oblivious to musical trends and styles. While most expansive tours involve multiple bands and artists to fill venues, Rammstein pulled the talents of Duo Avelard, a pair of classically trained pianists, who warmed the crowed up with Rammstein songs played on the piano. On the surface, it doesn’t make sense, but with this band, it all make sense.
The stage came to life as they thundered into “Armee der Tristen,” “Zick Zack,” and “Links 2-3-4.” Once things got moving it was impossible to take your eyes off the stage, you didn’t want to miss what was coming next. USBank Stadium has never been assaulted with so much pyro and fire and sound that had to push the loudest decibel reading for a concert there. The sound was thunderous as it pulverized it way through the flames, smoke and confetti that blanketed the crowd throughout the night.
The whole idea of the brilliantly constructed stage, the antics and pyro were to deliver the most outrageous and over the top concert experience anyone could have in a two-hour set. From the oversized baby carriage, in the song “Puppe,” that is lit on fire and singer Lindemann using a flame shooter to set a cooking pot on fire with his bandmate inside during “Mein Teil,” to the impressive and fan-favorite backpack that shot out nine bolts of fire in a circle as Till Lindermann wore it during the song “Rammstein.” For the song “Engel” the band made its way out to a small Stage B, a platform about 150 feet from the goliath stage. They were greeted by the pianists that opened the show for an entirely different version of the song. Every moment was planned to give the fans the greatest visual performance possible but all done with a clever tongue-n-cheek approach. Through the twenty-two song they maneuvered through songs from seven different albums which gave a great balance of new and old songs. Some highlights for me were “Deutschland,” “Radio” and “Ich Will.”
Rammstein lived up to their reputation and the hype that surrounds the massive show. The stage was like nothing I have ever seen. The mere size of it and the tower in the middle was both ominous and impressive. The non-stop attack of fire and pyro was mind blowing. It just kept coming at you, where most shows have packed it in after a few bursts, this onslaught went through the entire set. What is often forgotten is the music as the visual is so overwhelming, but the songs sounded as bombastic and aggressive as anything I’ve ever head live. This music was created to be played at ear breaking decibels. The heaviness of the songs are truly felt with this band playing them on stage with a full onslaught of sheer volume. It was night that was truly unforgettable and let’s hope it is not another decade before they decide to come back to North American soil. Whenever that day comes, there will be fans waiting to fill the stadium once again.
Anthrax is celebrating four decades of being metal thrashing mad and moshed into the sold-out Fillmore in Minneapolis, Minnesota and brought a whole lot of noise to the venue. Joining the party were Black Label Society and Hatebreedwhich made for an unbelievable night of fist crushing music.
Hitting the stage first was Hatebreed and it is no secret what they do. Hit you fast and hard and cause as much destruction as possible. Led by frontman Jamey Jasta the band launched into an assault of heavy pounders that included “Proven,” “Destroy Everything,” “Perseverance” and “Looking Down The barrel of Today.” Hatebreed are no strangers to thrash scene and have toured with everybody except the biggest band of the big four. With that type of history, it just made sense for them to rip a smoking version of “Bonded by Blood,’ the Exodus classic cut. I’ve seen these guys on so many different tours over the years and every time they deliver the goods, the vibe is so positive and they use every second of their time on stage getting every person involved in the show.
Black Label Society led by Zakk Wylde hit the stage with the song “Funeral Bell.” The band, along with Wylde, feature another guitar shredder in Dario Lorina along with bassist John DeServio and drummer Jeff Fabb. The band dropped ‘Doom Crew Inc.’ in 2021 and the set featured “Destroy & Conquer,” “You Made Me Want to Live” and “Set Me Free” from that album. Some other highlights included “Overlord,” “Fire it Up” and “Suicide Messiah.” I’ve seen Black Label Society on many occasions but this show was something different, the energy was palpable and it looked like a band on a mission to leave its mark on the Minneapolis Chapter fan base. It was like a jackhammer to your head reminding you just how good this band is and the electricity that Zakk brings as he shreds the frets off his guitar. With Zakk casting such a large shadow you sometimes forget the talent of Lorina but this tour is highlighting his ability throughout the set. He is getting plenty of time to showcase his fret burning ability as he trades off solos which created a nice dynamic between the two. Towards the end of the set the two takes to the center perch and put the guitars behind their head and rip solos and harmonize with each other which really gave the feeling that is was a band and not just one man. They ended with the classic “Stillborn,” which ended one of the most entertaining Black Label Society shows I have ever seen.
Anthrax was my gateway into thrash music. ‘Among the Living’ was an album I couldn’t get enough of back in 1987, its break-neck speed, moshing and infectious hooks was ground breaking to my ears and it still stands as one of the most important metal albums of all time. Here we are, with Anthrax, celebrating forty years as they open with that title track from that iconic album. The band still has its key nucleus of Scott Ian, Joey Belladonna, Frank Bello and Charlie Benante which introduced Anthrax to the masses. Filling the roster was Jon Donais who has been axe slinging for the band since 2013. This stage production, with its ramps and stairs, is the biggest thing they have done in a long time and it really felt like an old-school Anthrax show. I think the lay-off gave the band a chance to recharge the batteries as they looked like an inspired group of guys proving why they belong in the Big Four. Belladonna sounded as good as ever and Bello never stopped moving as they ripped through classics like “Madhouse,” “Metal Thrashing Mad,” “Caught In A Mosh,” “I Am the Law’” and new cuts like “The Devil You Know” and “In The End.” A couple cool gems from the set included “Only,” the only John Bush era song to be played and Scott Ian handling the lead rap on “Bring the Noise” was really fun. The fantastic night ended with “Indians” as it capped one of the best Anthrax performances I have seen in years.
After two cancellations due to Covid-19, the Twin City Takeover finally rolled into Minneapolis, Minnesota and filled the Target Center for a night of music. It was a five- band bill headlined by Godsmack and featured Three Days Grace along with Asking Alexandria, Wage War and LilithCzar.
Lilith Czar hit the stage first with the rocking track “Feed My Chaos.” The track is taken from her newest record, ‘Created From Filth And Dust,’ which was a rebirth of sound and style for JulietSims. Lilith Czar is her alter ego which saw her blonde hair replaced with jet black hair and a shift to a heavier rock sound as opposed to pop. It is always a tough spot to be in when you’re the opening act and going on early. People are still filing into the venue but she made the moment hers and showcased her voice and style brilliantly. Draped in a red dress she stuck with material from the new album and hit “Lola,” “King,” the cover “Edge of Seventeen” from StevieNicks and “100 Little Deaths,” which goes back to her Juliet Sims era, but both the cover and that track are on the newest album. Her short set ended with “Anarchy” which left me wanting to see her again as this was my first time catching her and hopefully, she will make her way back here again soon.
When you looked at the line-up, there was no question what band was going to bring the most aggression to the Target Center and that is exactly what Wage War did. Opening with “Relapse” from the newest album, ‘Manic,’ they set out to destroy the place. It was forty minutes of an all-out sonic assault as they ripped through an eight-song set that included “High Horse,” “Teeth,” “Godspeed” and “Circle the Drain.” There wasn’t any doubt that they had a lot of fans anticipating their set as the energy amped up instantly as soon as they started. Wage War have been kicking around since forming in 2010 under the name Empires in Ocala, Florida. Every release has shown the bands growth, capped with that brilliant latest album, and they continue to build their fan base by utilizing every minute of stage time to get their music in the ears of anybody that will listen.
Asking Alexandria opened with “Alone Again” which appears on the latest release ‘See What’s On The inside’ which came out in 2021. The British rock band from York, North Yorkshire have been mainstays in the metalcore genre and have built up an extensive catalog of material over seven albums. The band has continued to explore other avenues of sound as they have incorporated a more melodic approach with anthemic rock songs as opposed to sticking strictly to the metalcore playbook. Despite the change in aggressiveness, the live sound is still boisterous and rips as it comes off the stage. The set was ten songs and the bulk of the material was pulled from the ‘Like a House on Fire’ and ‘Asking Alexandria’ releases which included “Antisocialist,” “Down to Hell,” “The Violence,” “Into the Fire” and the closer “Alone in A Room.” I’ve seen these guys so many times over the years and they always pull of their stuff very well and give you a good show and this performance was no different.
“So Called Life” from the brand-new record ‘Explosions’ opened the set for Three Days Grace. It was the start of a ten-song set that saw the band focusing on the hits of the catalog, and a little bit to my surprise, they have quite a few. I lost track of this band after the first two albums and when vocalist Adam Gontier split from the outfit I completely lost touch with the band. This was my first time seeing the band live and I was pleasantly surprised just how great they sounded and the non-stop energy the newer front man, Matt Walst who took over vocals back in 2013, had throughout the set. The obvious cuts like “Animal I have Become,” “Never Too Late,” “Riot,” “Home” and “I Hate Everything About You” were certainly the backbone of the night and rightfully so as the crowd sang every word but I really liked “Mountain” and “Painkiller” as well. It was one of those shows where I fully realized how many hits this band has and why they continue to draw fans to their shows. The sound was so tight and each song sounded perfect as Brad Walst (Bass) and Neil Sanderson (Drums) handled the rhythm section while Barry Stock handled the guitar along with Matt Walst also doing some guitar. That live experience, as I have always said, is so important as it’s an hour commercial to showcase what you are and give people an opportunity to buy in and this show made me a believer in Three Days Grace.
Godsmack have almost three decades under their belt. The band formed in 1995 in Lawrence, Massachusetts and have accumulated a tremendous amount of success over seven studio albums. The quartet of Sully Erna (Vocals, Guitar), Robbie Merrill (Bass), Tony Rombola (Guitar) and Shannon Larkin (Drums) took to the stage with “I Stand Alone” to a very excited crowd. The band has had three consecutive number-one albums on the Billboard 200 along with 25 top ten radio hits, including 18 songs in the top five so its quite apparent, everybody knows a Godsmack song or two, even if you were there to see some of the other bands and were not a die-hard fan. The hard-hitting set included “Keep Away,” “Speak,” “Straight Out of Line,” “Awake” and “Whatever.” The stage had a simple set-up of amps with flame throwers lined in front of the them which was first unleashed during the third song of the set called “1000hp.” Although time continues to march at a tremendous pace, the band sounds and feels just as did decades ago. Not much has changed as Erna still sounds as impressive as he ever has and the music still pummels in a glorious heaviness that first put the band on the map. The encore included Erna playing piano on “Under Your Scars” and then closing the show with The Beatlescover “Come Together.” This show was just another reminder of the legacy of Godsmack and how important they were in the musical landscape in the late 1990’s and 2000’s. It seems like just yesterday when the appeared at Ozzfest in 1999 along with the likes of System Of A Down, Deftones and Slipknot. Bands that were just starting to navigate themselves in the music industry and now are some of the biggest bands we have today. These are the guys that are inspiring the bands we will hear in the future. Truly, another great show from Godsmack.
The Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota welcomed Dorothy as she brought her “Gifts From The Holy Ghost Tour” for a night of uncompromised rock-n-roll. It was night that would feature two other bands that soak themselves in the classic rock sound that seems to be on a bit of a revival in the current musical landscape.
The first band to hit the stage was Classless Act. The band features Derek Day (Vocals), Dane Pieper (Guitar), Griffin Tucker (Guitar), Franco Gravante (Bass), and Chuck McKissock (Drums). Hailing from Los Angeles, California, they embodied a supercharged version of 70’s rock fused with a modern-day bombastic sound that comes off the stage fast and loud. The songs were laced with catchy hooks and melodies with a couple stand-outs being “This Is For You” and “Give It To Me.” Knowing that this was the first time for most of the audience seeing and hearing them, they threw in a great cover of the GNR classic cut “Civil War” towards the end of the set that people really got into. I was really impressed by these guys and loved how they attacked the night. They may have been the opener but they were there to be seen and heard and leave an impression on every person in that venue and I truly believe they did. ClasslessAct is something to start paying attention to.
Another band straight from the Southern California sun, Joyous Wolf, opened the set with “Quiet Heart.” The band consists of Nick Reese (Vocals), Blake Allard (Guitar), Greg Braccio (Bass), and Robert Sodaro (Drums) and they have a sound built on the blues that hits your soul. Joyous Wolf dropped the EP ‘Place in Time’ back in 2019 which showcased their infectious grooves and melodies that are intertwined all over that release. We finally got a brand-new track called “Fearless” last year and it was a highlight of the show hearing it played live. The strong rhythm sections allow Allard to shine as he effortlessly delivers his guitar parts with a tasteful precision of notes that seem to dance around the other instruments. The lasting image of a Joyous Wolf show is definitely the antics of Reese. Along with being the mouthpiece of the band, he can also be labeled the acrobatic of the group as well. He is all over the stage and does jumps, spins and splits as he works though the set. He also cut the crowd in half and jumped from the stage, over the barrier, into the cleared runway to further ignite the crowd. He was non-stop energy from start to finish. The band ripped through a nine-song set list that closed with “Mother Rebel.” Joyous Wolf is certainly one of those young bands that continue to show they are a force and hopefully their next album can take them up to another level.
The headliner, Dorothy, hit the stage with the tune “Down to the Bottom.” Vocalist Dorothy Martin instantly showed the power of her voice and the command of the stage. Her band in simplest terms, absolutely smoked. The skill of the musicianship was obvious as they provided the jet fuel for Dorothy to showcase her talent and take the songs to another level sonically. The first quarter of the set included “Gun In My Hand,” “Ain’t Our Time To Die” and “What’s Coming To Me.” I was a bit surprised that the material was from the past albums ‘ROCKISDEAD,’ ’28 Days In the Valley’ and older singles as opposed to hitting with newer cuts. She also slipped in a great cover of “Sweet Dreams” from the Eurythmicsbefore getting to some songs I was anxious to hear. Her third album, ‘Gifts from the Holy Ghost’ just recently dropped and we finally got a couple tracks from it. Both songs, “Rest In Peace” and “A Beautiful Life,” are stand-outs off the newest record that features a lot of driving guitar rockers. The set contained twelve songs that seemed to fly by. Some other songs that made the set were “Medicine Man,” “Raise Hell,” “Flawless,” and “Freedom.” Every song came across in pristine form and for me, the first time seeing them, solidified the strength of the material and talent of the performers.
This is a really great tour package. Every band offers a different twist of sound while all being based in the good old rock genre. The night was full soaring guitars and powerful vocals that kept the night rolling at a an extremely fast pace. If you’re a rocker, this tour is for you.
The Warning brought the ‘Mayday Tour’ to the Fine Line in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A loyal and dedicated fan base packed the venue to witness the trio’s first performance in the city. You could feel the excitement and anticipation for the band to finally hit the stage after rescheduling the date due to covid.
The Warning features three sisters from Monterrey, Mexico that have been quietly building up momentum since blowing up YouTube back in 2014 with their version of “Enter Sandman” by Metallica was put on the platform. The Villarreal sisters, Daniela (guitar, lead vocals), Paulina (drums, lead vocals, piano), and Alejandra (bass guitar, piano, backing vocals) formed the band in 2013 and now, with almost ten years behind them, the secret of this bands talent and infectious sound is about to be unleashed into the rock world. They signed a record deal with Lava Records in 2020 and dropped a new E.P. called ‘Mayday’ in 2021 which contained half of the upcoming third studio album. Based on the success of the singles and being able to get in front of people to showcase their music, the sky is the limit for this young trio.
The set opened up with a couple of rockers, “Z” and “Animosity,” that set the table for a blazing hour set. Both songs are laced with high octane energy that show the power and the heaviness of the band without sacrificing melody and hooks. What you quickly realized was just how tight the music was and synergy the sisters have on stage. The play off each other in such perfect unison which brings a dynamic boost to the songs are they come off the stage with a lethal strike. The new tune “Money” has been an immediate fan favorite since its release this year and got a massive reaction from the crowd. This show wasn’t just about the songs on the newest release but also a time for fans to hear some of the older material off the first two studio albums ‘XXI Century Blood’ which was released in 2017 and ‘Queen of the Murder Scene’ which dropped in 2018. Songs like “Dust to Dust,” “Dull Knives (Cut Better),” “Survive,” “Queen of the Murder Scene” and “When I’m Alone” were met was as much enthusiasm as the newer tracks were. The also pulled out a couple songs sung completely in Spanish called “Narcisista” and “Martirio.” The Warning also have a track on “The Metallica Blacklist” album as they performed a new cover of “Enter Sandman” for the album that also featured Alessia Cara on the recording. I would have to admit I am always skeptical of covers and hadn’t heard this version on the record but when they played it live, I was blown away on how they took that song and made it their own. Some of the backing vocals really gave it a much darker and haunting atmosphere that really sounded great. The grunge crushing “Choke” was another big song that had the crowd moving and another definite stand-out moment. “Disciple” and the set closer “Evolve,” both off the ‘Mayday’ release rounded out the set.
Despite being so young, The Warning performed like seasoned pros. Daniela flourishes in getting people involved in the show and is that perfect bridge between the band and the crowd. Her energy and spirit are the catalyst that make the live show go although Paulina, back on the drums, is quite entertaining as well and brings another great voice to take over lead vocals which frees up the guitarist to shred. Alejandra isn’t as demonstrative as her sisters but delivers her bass parts with precision and completes those three-part harmonies that gives many of the songs such a strong dynamic. As good as the individual pieces are in this band, it’s the collective unit that makes The Warning so impressive and for the first show ever in Minnesota, it was a big win for them and the crowd that came to see them. This headlining club tour is an award for the fans that have been supporting them since they began. It’s a chance to see them play a full set and celebrate how far they have come since the band’s inception. In July they will hit the road as an opener for Halestorm and The Pretty Reckless in bigger venues and with audiences that may be getting their first taste of The Warning and I suspect they will turn a lot of those people into fan despite playing a shorter set. I think you will this bands popularity rise very quickly and my only regret is this tour in not coming to my state as it will be a great night of music.
Shinedown brought The Revolutions Live Tour to the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota withThe Pretty Reckless and Diamante in support. The bar is always set high when it comes to Shinedown putting on spectacular shows and you could feel the anticipation as people filed into the venue. As the night played out, it was apparent that all three acts rose to the occasion and put on fantastic shows.
Diamante started the night with her hit “Ghost Myself.” She has the flair and style of a pop music star but also has a bite that lends itself to hard rock. She dropped her second record ‘American Dream’ in 2021 which showed the artists growth from her debut ‘Coming In Hot” which was released in 2018. She has continued to hone her craft by extensive touring and the opportunity to open this run of dates with Shinedown has allowed her to introduce herself to thousands of people every night. Her set consisted of “Haunted,” “American Dream,” “I Love Myself for Hating You” and a cover of the Goo Goo Dolls hit “Iris.” As with most opening acts, the set was short and came and went very quickly. What she lacked for in time, she made up for with quality. Her voice sounded fantastic and she seized every moment to give the crowd an entertaining set and lasting memories of her hook induced songs that stick with you long after she has left the stage.
It has been a very long time since anybody has seen The Pretty Reckless on stage. In fact, the last tour was back in 2016-2017. For fans, it’s been a long wait, especially after dropping, what could be, their best album to date, ‘Death by Rock and Roll,’ back in early February of 2021. The band is led by vocalist Taylor Momsen and when she took the stage and kicked into the Soundgarden cover “Loud Love” the crowd let out a tremendous roar. Your immediately struck by the strength of her vocals as she invited you into her world. They pulled out the track “Since Your Gone” from the “Light Me Up” release second and then the title track from the newest record. The way Momsen delivers her vocals, changes up styles, from all out power to raspy seduced venom, gives The Pretty Reckless it’s uniqueness and sound. Call them hard rock, alternative, post-grunge or whatever you want, I simply think they douse themselves in good old-fashioned rock-n-roll and light the match. Although the vocalist steals most of the praise and attention, the band is top-notch and supply the foundation for which Momsen stands on. Guitarist Ben Phillips, bassist Mark Damon and drummer Jamie Perkins really brought the songs alive in their full sonic thunder. Other songs from the night included “Going To Hell,” “Heaven Knows,” “And So It Went” and “Take Me Down.” It was great to see The PrettyReckless back on stage, they absolutely killed it and sounded like a band that is now on a mission to make up for lost time.
What can be said about Shinedown that already hasn’t been said? They pride themselves on bringing a bombastic live show and energy that engulfs the venue from the very first moment they take the stage. Shinedown Nation is a loyal one and they love this band, so the pressure is always on to produce a bigger, better and more exciting show than the one before it. This tour is the introduction to the new album coming called ‘Planet Zero.’ The album was supposed to have dropped on April 22, but due to delays in physical product, the wait will be a little longer as it now will be released on July 1. The stage was unique, a narrower one that shot much further into the crowd which gave many fans a front row view of the stage. In front of the drums was giant screen. After a short clip about the band getting ready to tour again after covid, a giant door, that was the screen, opened up and band walked out to the middle of the stage. From that moment it was on, they unleashed the pyro, blasted into one of the new cuts called “The Saints of Violence and Innuendo” and the crowd went nuts. The brilliance and aggressiveness of the song cut though the venue, a song truly served best in a live setting. The energy coming off the stage was being quickly shot back at it from the people rocking with the cut. Then when the moment seemingly can’t get any better, it does, as blasts of fire shot through the floor of the stage adding another shot of adrenaline to the moment. The show didn’t slow with the next two songs played either as “Devil” and “Planet Zero” hit next. Shinedown members Brent Smith (Vocals), Zach Myers (Guitar), Eric Bass (Bass) and Barry Kerch (Drummer) understand a concert is more than just playing the songs, it also is delivering an experience, a moment where the only thing that matters is that music, in that venue, with Shinedown. They work hard to bring everybody into the show and it shows by the response they get every night. The set as usual, is packed with powerhouse songs and hits. “Cut the Cord,” “Enemies,” Bully,” “45” and the closer “Sound Of Madness” always go over big. They also take some time to slow it down and bring up a piano from underneath the stage and acoustic guitars and played “Simple Man,” “Call Me” and a cover of the Foo Fighters “Wheels” with Myers and Bass on vocals. It’s a pretty simple formula but so few bands pull off such an exciting show tour after tour like Shinedown does and ‘The Revolutions Live Tour” is just another great example of what they do and how they do it.
The lights went down, at the near compacity Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as drummer Danny Carey, sporting a Minnesota Timberwolves jersey, took to his throne. The crowd took to their feet as guitarist Adam Jones and bassist Justin Chancellor took to their positions and the journey, that is known as “Fear Inoculum,” began to pulsate through the arena. The stage was wrapped with a translucent curtain that projected images that circled around the stage. In the darkness, a mohawked Maynard James Keenan, took to one of the two platforms that flanked the drums, and let the crowd know he was there with his instantly recognizable voice. We had all officially been welcomed to the world of Tool.
The band is still in full support mode for the album they dropped in 2019 called ‘Fear Inoculum.’ The set was built upon the album, along with the title track, they took us through “Pneuma,” “Invincible,” “Descending,” “Culling Voices” and “Chocolate Chip Trip.” The second song in the set was the real gem of the night. A reworked version of the song “Opiate,” which was originally released back in 1992, has been given new life three decades later. It is a perfectly blended mix that still contains the essence of the beginning of the band with a heavy injection of where Tool is today. The rest of the set just touched on past albums, songs played were “The Pot,” “Pushit,” The Grudge,” “Undertow” and “Hooker With A Penis” that really got the crowd going before the intermission.
Watching a Tool show is like no other. There is almost no interaction between the band and the crowd. Only an occasional comment from Maynard, but besides that, the band itself, the players, almost become a secondary afterthought. The music being made on stage engulfs the venue and simply takes centerstage away from any anything else. Once that curtain was removed, about midway through the show, the stage seemed much more open and a very impressive laser show shot across the arena. Even with that, it was still the about the music and the atmosphere it created. People reacted in various ways, some looked like they were at a Metallica concert and were banging heads, some did the air-drums, an impossibility to shadow Carey, but some good attempts, while some just stood up with their arms in the air and eyes closed, letting the music move their body. This show didn’t have the pyrotechnics, fire, explosions and lights that left you blind for three days after the show. This show was about the creation of music. The other thing is the material they are playing are not three-minute burners that come and go in heartbeat. It’s like they are slowly constructing a building with each song and at the end, it all comes crashing down and they have to start all over again with the next song.
Tool are truly one of the most unique bands out there. They operate on their own musical plateau without any rules that adhere to many other popular acts. The fanbase supports them and give them full autonomy to create music they want to make, not what is popular or the latest fad. As I watched the band close out the night, I think back to when I first heard them, that iconic bass sound from the song “Sober” echoing through the dorm halls from a room down the hall. I had to know what that was so I pounded on the door to get the answer. I didn’t have a crystal ball, I would have never guessed that decades later I would be sitting in a packed arena watching Tool play and hoping for that song that got it all started, “Sober,” would be played, but in true Tool fashion, they didn’t’ play it. That’s exactly how this band rolls and judging by people tonight, nobody would have it any other way.