Saturday, November 14, 2009

Been a Long Time Since I Metallica 'd - Albany NY Nov. 12, 2009 concert review

Like many an older fan of Metallica (I discovered them with the release of Master of Puppets when I was 15 in 1986) who had fallen from the fold over their last few albums, I came back after I heard their latest, "Death Magnetic".

I've seen Metallica well over a dozen times, but
it's been a decade (Woodstock '99) since I last saw the boys live...until last night.

Bought my brother in law a ticket as his early Christmas gift and he, along with a gal pal from work, headed up to Albany looking forward to what Metallica now has to offer in a live setting, although much of their set list was already known to me.

I'm absolutely one of those people who checks recent set lists to see what can be expected. On this current leg of the tour, Metallica is playing a
slightly over two hour structured set with seven spots where they mix it up a bit. In a day where the majority of arena touring bands play a standard set night after night, mixing up more than a third of your set each night is pretty good and can leave every level of fan with hopes of getting to hear what they want. Did I get my picks? Read on and see what happened as the band hit the stage.

The Times Union Center (Formerly the Pepsi Arena...Formerly the Knickerbocker Arena...) in Albany is a relatively small arena and there's never
really a bad seat in the house. That holds more than true for this tour as Metallica are playing "in the round." Their large rectangular stage takes up most of the floor, so those fans who got general admission tickets were almost all within 15 feet of the band at any time (and as close as three feet if against the rails). Lars' drum kit is centered on the almost barren stage and is rotated 90 degrees to face a new section of the audience after every few songs. As for James, Kirk and Rob, they are all over the stage through out the show with microphones placed strategically at every corner of the stage as well as in various spots along the edges.

Next to both sides of the drum kit are two flame shooting boxes blast concentrated fire fountains into the air during appropriate moments in the show. There are also flame throwers in the stage floor which produce many large mushroom clouds of fire into the air throughout the night.

The lighting rigs which hang above the stage are in the coffin motif of the album cover and are raised and lowered and rotated on virtually every axis through out the show. Don't forget to throw in unabashed laser usage, yet even with all these effects, the focus, with the exception of the first song, as I'll describe below, is fully on the band, with the effects usually enhancing and not overwhelming the performance.

So the scene is set...our seats were at the short end of the stage, second level, row P (I think there were about 4 more rows behind us and that's the top of the arena). So as stated, we as well as everyone had a clear view of the whole stage throughout the night.

My first (minor) complaint was that it was ridiculously hot! I learned in grade school science that heat rises, so maybe it wasn't so bad on the floor, but if it was the same temperature for those folks packed together in front of the stage as it was for me sitting in my seat, glad I was up here. Really not a big fan of the sweaty drunk guy in the pit slipping and sliding against me to get 6 inches closer to the stage.

So a little after nine...the lights go down...and the familiar sounds of Ennio Morricone's "The Ecstasy of Gold" (The theme from "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly") come through the speakers. The song builds and peaks and we're's the set:

That Was Just Your Life - The opening track from "Death Magnetic" opens the show, but is held back from being a great opener for two reasons. First of all there is a slow intro to this song before the fast riff and drums really kick in 80 or 90 seconds in. This is fine, but the problem was that Metallica, the band ONSTAGE, didn't play the slow opening, it was pre-recorded and the band kicked in when the song kicked in. It was very odd, but would happen during at least two other songs during the took a little away from the song each time they did it, but especially this one as it's the first song of the night! Secondly, this is the only song of the night where the lighting effects hamper the band. As the intro plays and the band is led onto the stage (I was on the side of the stage where we saw them led out), the houselights are all out and the lasers come's very cool looking, but the lights stay out onstage for the whole song! So basically it's like going to see "Laser Metallica" where you're watching this big stage and the lights and lasers are making cool designs, but you just get dark glimpses of the band here and there.

Before I go on with the rest of the set and the biggest problem with the evening, let me say I enjoyed the show a lot. It's just you realized all these things right when the bad came out, so it might sound like I'm going to bitch about the whole show...but read on...I actually dug it...but this has to be said...

What the fuck was up with the sound?! I'm assuming the sound was great on the floor because the soundboard was also at the end of the stage where we were and it was impressive. Metallica are also one of those bands who record every show for download and yep I downloaded it. At the show, what I heard all night was MASSIVE bottom end. It got better as the night progressed...but during the first two songs, almost all you heard were bass, drums and vocals, could not make out any intricacies of guitar work or solos. By the last song of the night, it was better, but still very bass heavy. The download sounds great though so I'm assuming those lower to stage level would not have this complaint. For a headlining arena band, the sound was very disappointing.

The End of the Line - The second song of the night...the stage lights come up and stay up for the rest of the really get to see how much these guys are loving playing...this was over the 100th show of this tour and there's no road weariness and James vocals as well as everyone's playing sounds great. This second song is also the second track off "Death Magnetic"...there would be a few one two punches of songs off the same album throughout the night. These two tracks are opening every show on this leg of the tour.

Ride The Lightning - This is one of those seven slots where you're not sure what you're gonna get until they start playing. I'll actually bold these for the rest of the review as they are the most interesting parts of the night. This was a big surprise for me and I loved it. The title track and one of the most brutal songs from Metallica's second album (now 25 years old or so! good lord!). I was expecting Creeping Death or For Whom The Bell Tolls which are the most common tracks played in this slot. Glad I got the hear this one, but would not have been disappointed in either of those Metallica classics. My only complaint - this would be the ONLY song from "Ride The Lightning" performed tonight...

The Memory Remains - This fourth song slot is another of the ones where they play what they want and I would NEVER have chosen this track from "Reload" as I really don't like the studio version. (The Marianne Faithfull singing/moaning just kills me). But I have to say live it's really pretty's heavy groove works well for a big crowd and the big singalong of the Marianne Faithfull parts by the crowd is a huge improvement. A big surprise and opposite of my comment above, I was very glad this was the ONLY track they played from what for me are Metallica's lost years of say 1994's "Load" through 2005's "St. Anger". It was also a wake up call for me to realize that while many Metallica fans at least somewhat gave up on the band during this period (and really starting in 1991 with the release of "The Black Album"), WAY more of the fans who go to see them today much prefer this 1991 and on "newer stuff". Proof of this was that, without a doubt, at this point only four songs into the set, The Memory Remains got a massive roar and huge cheer when played...much much much more than "Ride"...and just wait until the encores...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

One - This slot is one I consider a mix it up slot, but in actuality it isn't, because they basically seem to flip a coin here and play either One or Fade To Black. While I bitched above about only hearing a single track from "Ride The Lightning", and if they played Fade, that would have been another, I'm glad they chose "One" for a couple of reasons. While I love "Fade", I love "One" more, especially live where it just destroys. The band left the stage during the sounds of war while the stage lit up explosion after fireball. During the machine gun riffing/drumming in the middle, the flame boxes on either side of Lars' drums shoot choreographed fountains of different colored flame. Very cool and just a headbanging masterpiece. My complaint - this would be the ONLY song from "...And Justice For All" performed tonight...(also Marla, my pal from work who came with us, really really really was hoping to hear Fade, but she loved this too)

Broken, Beat & Scarred - This and the following two tracks go back to the structured set list, so I knew we'd hear this third track off the new one. A great fist pumper and who doesn't love to shout "We Die Hard" at the end of the chorus with thousands of friends.

Cyanide - I think this is the catchiest tune from the new album and totally dug it live (Evidently when Metallica play two shows in the same venue for two nights in a row, My Apocalypse from the new album takes the place of this, I dig this tune way more)

Sad But True - The heaviest song from "The Black Album" got possibly the biggest reception of the night ("Enter Sandman" maybe edged it out later in the set). I was still really into Metallica in 1991 when this album was released. Hell I went to Madison Square Garden where me and about 10,000 other fans sat for an album listening, not to see the band play the album (although they came out and waved at the end), but to sit there for an hour while the screen showed the name of the current track (this was in the days before albums being leaked on the internet) and just listen. So I'm not a huge "Black Album" hater, although it was a definite turning point for me. I was on the message board at the time and did a big review for it. I'm pretty sure I remember stating this was the heaviest song of the album, but it was never my favorite (I would probably give that to "Of Wolf and Man.") It's one of those songs I just don't get why so many people love's slow and plodding, and I like me some heavy slow and plod, but Sad But True evades me. It sounded fine and will probalby always be in the setlist and why not...the other thousands of people attending LOVED IT. Another blatant example of the pre-1991 vs post-1991 fans losing ground this evening.

Welcome Home (Sanitarium) - Well first of all...HELL YEAH! This and the other two tracks from "Master of Puppets" played this night where the highlights for me. As epic as always. So glad they played this because this spot is also a semi-mix it up. Seems if they play "Fade to Black" earlier instead of "One", you would get "One" here. So if they played "Fade", I would not have gotten this, and this was amazing. Now when they play "One" earlier instead of "Fade" (like they did tonight - how many of you have I lost with this setlist logic bomb) they would usually play either "The Unforgiven" or their cover of Bob Seger's "Turn the Page" here. I really don't need to hear The Unforgiven again and their cover of "Turn the Page" is a who cares for using the Metallica method of picking a setlist...I definitely got the best deal in this slot!

All Nightmare Long - Another semi mixup slot, but here the choices are always either this one or "The Judas Kiss" or "My Apocalypse", all from "Death Magnetic". I like them all equally, but this song seemed to push the limits of the crowd's acceptance of so much of the new album. I would say this was the only lull in the show in crowd excitement. It's not because this song is any better or worse than the other new ones, it's just at this point, we're about an hour in and this is the FIFTH new song and we've yet to hear anything off their classic first album "Kill 'Em All." Actually this is the thought running through my head. I'm not making up the crowd lull, I'm just thinking, based on the other song reactions, the majority of the crowd was probably saying "what the hell...this is the FIFTH new song and we've yet to hear anything off "Load" or "St. Anger" or maybe something like "Play (Enter Sandman or The Unforgiven or Nothing Else Matters)." Again though, this song is good and it rocked, but it also was another one where they let the prerecorded track play the slow intro until the song kicked in.

Kirk Hammett Solo #1 - The rest of the band leaves the stage and Kirk goes into his electric guitar solo...I'm kinda done with the guitar solo at concerts, but this was short and tasty and just a couple of minutes long.

The Day That Never Comes - The band comes back out and gets back to it's preset setlist with this monster of a new song. "The Day That Never Comes" is the closest thing to classic epic Metallica. Starts out slow, builds up and rocks out the second half in major headbanging fashion. Love this one and it's a great lead in to...

Master Of Puppets - To me probably the ultimate Metallica song. It has as much power as it did when released over two decades ago and the crowd loves this one...they are back with the boys.

Battery - Holy hell...what a great double shot. The title track of "Master of Puppets" followed by this bludgeoning opening track from the same album...oh boy am I a happy head banging camper at this point. While they always play "Master" at that point in the set, this spot is always a tossup of their more brutal songs. If not Battery we would have gotten Dyer's Eve or Blackened from "Justice", Fight Fire With Fire from "Ride" or "Master's" closing track Damage Inc. No complaints really on any of those, but the double dose from Master worked great. (Again though a case where they used prerecorded music from the slow intro)

Kirk Hammet Solo #2 - This section of the show is paced very well as we need a calm down after those last three. The band leaves the stage to Kirk again, this time playing a semi acoustic solo which leads right into

Nothing Else Matters - from "The Black Album". This one brought the lighters out all over the arena, and yes, real lighters...I know holding up a cell phone is the more modern mode of appreciation, but glad to see the bic being rocked old school. This one gets played every night as does this next one to end the set...

Enter Sandman - Well of course, the song that put Metallica on the biggest bands in the world list. It's a catchy toe tapper. The crowd goes absolutely ape shit having waited all night and loving the "Black Album" double shot. When the song ends and the lights go out for the encore break a pretty good number of people start to leave...they were here for the hits and got what they I'm crossing my fingers...

Encore - The boys slowly come back out one at a time for a little Jam and riffing - they do the "Oh Dee Oh" thing from Wizard of Oz then James goes to the Mic and says this is the slot where they play a cover song of one of the band's that influenced Metallica...

Stone Cold Crazy - This is the slot in the show where you really might get anything, Metallica have done ALOT of covers...MANY are fantastic and some kinda suck balls...In my perfect world we would have gotten "The Prince." Instead I hear, "this one is by Queen"...I can dig me some "Stone Cold Crazy." Fast and Furious and I loved it, but now I'm in row P right and probably a third of the people in rows A through O in front of me have left after Enter Sandman, but there's still a good sized crowd left in my section I can see...if FOUR people dug Stone Cold Crazy in my section I would be amazed. I'm rocking out, but the motionlessness of almost everyone else shocked me. Things have really changed in the Metallica crowd since I used to go, although It looked like those on the floor were totally into it.

Motorbreath - This next to last slot is a semi mixup as well. We know almost always we're gonna get something from "Kill 'em All" ( FINALLY!) and Motorbreath is a great thrasher. Again those in my section gave this the same treatment as Stone Cold Crazy...a few people loving it, most not caring (Section 219 by the way in case you were there). Well we're about at the end...and I know we'll end with...

Seek and Destroy - So a nice little double shot from "Kill 'em All" to end the night and suprisingly this one everyone loves (Do people just want the big singalongs?! I guess so!). All the house lights are up and the whole crowd does the call and response with James as hundreds of regular and supersize black beach balls with Metallica's logo drop from the rafters (pretty cool keepsake if you got one!) Rockin way to end the night and send everyone home happy.

So how was my 15th or so Metallica concert - overall it was great...sure it wasn't my dream setlist, but when any band is around over 25 years, you're just not gonna get that anymore. If Madison Square Garden wasn't sold out the next two nights, I'd probably go again. I ask only one thing - Fix the fucking tix were around $65 a piece after service charges and for that I expect not only a great band, great stage show and great songs, but the ability to hear them clearly as they are playing and not wait until the next day for the download to go oh they sounded REALLY GOOD!

Next blog - I'm finishing my long ass New Orleans / Voodoo write up and hope to get back into the swing of things with the old blogger. Talk to you soon and feel free to comment away!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Germs - Mercury Lounge, NYC - July 2, 2009

Your singer dies - should your band ever go on? In my experience I say yes.

I realize my yes is based on the fact that I never got to see the originals.

I saw "The Doors of the 21st Century" a few summers ago with Ian Astbury of the Cult filling in for Jim Morrison who died (or did he?!?) when I was a mere babe of 6 months of age. I'll go on record and say I thought it was a great show, I've seen them lambasted, but goddamn it, I thought Ian was the perfect Jim and the band was hot.

I was a bit older when Darby died (about a week before my 10th birthday - the same night as John Lennon was shot and killed) but still years before my first concert and I'm pretty sure the Germs never made it anywhere near the East Coast. I love the music and when they came around to B.B. King's in 2005 I checked it out and thought they were great. I think they've been back through the area on a Warped Tour, but haven't seen them in four years until a few nights ago when they returned to the Big Apple to play the tiny Mercury Lounge.

As far as I could tell, I wasn't the only one who didn't care that it wasn't Darby Crash up there with Lorna Doom, Pat Smear and Don Bolles - this was as close as we were going to get and the band absolutley delivers. Lorna is still a punk queen holding down the rhythm with wildman Bolles pounding the skins (I know Keith Moon is often compared to Animal from the muppets, but Bolles is the current living embodiment). Pat lays out the raw speed guitar through all the songs - often looking as if he's in a trance while playing the mostly one to two minutes classics, but then smiling widely for the brief seconds of breaks between tracks. Shane West looks and sounds the part, but is not acting the role. You don't feel like you're watching a show - this isn't Germsmania, in these past years since he got together with this classic Germs line-up while filming "What We Do Is Secret" (which I finally saw a few months ago and highly recommend) he has become the current lead singer, he knows and loves the songs and delivers them with immense energy. Three years ago I felt he was almost there, but was still doing a few Darby lines and antics - the slurred yelling of "Somebody get me a beer" or spraying ketchup all over himself. It was parlor tricks which took away from the immediacy of the music and the show. This band is a punk rock machine and I hope I get to see them again soon.

They played damn near everything off the MIA's the setlist mixed with some pics I took right up against the stage. The opened with

Media Blitz

The Germs Mercury Lounge NYC July 2, 2009 -

What We Do Is Secret

The Germs Mercury Lounge NYC July 2, 2009 -

Circle One

The Germs Mercury Lounge NYC July 2, 2009 -

No God

The Germs Mercury Lounge NYC July 2, 2009 -

Lexicon Devil

The Germs Mercury Lounge NYC July 2, 2009 -


The Germs Mercury Lounge NYC July 2, 2009 -

Throw It Away

The Germs Mercury Lounge NYC July 2, 2009 - crowd


The Germs Mercury Lounge NYC July 2, 2009 -

Our Way

The Germs Mercury Lounge NYC July 2, 2009 -

Strange Notes

The Germs Mercury Lounge NYC July 2, 2009 -

We Must Bleed

The Germs Mercury Lounge NYC July 2, 2009 -

American Leather

The Germs Mercury Lounge NYC July 2, 2009 -

Vile Babies

The Germs Mercury Lounge NYC July 2, 2009 -

Let's Pretend

The Germs Mercury Lounge NYC July 2, 2009 -

Communist Eyes

The Germs

Now I Hear The Laughter

The Germs Mercury Lounge NYC July 2, 2009 -

Land Of Treason

The Germs Mercury Lounge NYC July 2, 2009 -

My Tunnel

The Germs Mercury Lounge NYC July 2, 2009 -

Lion's Share

The Germs Mercury Lounge NYC July 2, 2009 -

Richie Dagger's Crime

The Germs Mercury Lounge NYC July 2, 2009 -

And encored with: Forming, Out Of Time, The Slave

So Will I be going to see Alice In Chains with their new guy - probably not...I saw the real thing. What About Nirvana again some day? I'll probably pass...but a Joe Strummer-less Clash? I don't think that one will happen, but if it does...what the hell, I'll give them a listen.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

"What Up 1991?!" - Jane's Addiction (and some NIN) Holmdel, NJ June 6, 2009 concert review

In a recent email to my pal Melissa telling her I was attending the NIN/JA 2009 tour featuring Jane's Addiction and Nine Inch Nails (with openers Street Sweeper Social Club) she responded with the humorous and very accurate "Wow! What Up 1991?!"

Accurate because 1991 was not only "The Year That Punk Broke" (according to the Sonic Youth / featuring Nirvana documentary of the same name), it was also the year Mr. Perry Farrell created Lollapalooza which would feature his band Jane's Addiction's final tour and also feature up and comers Nine Inch Nails in a hot and sunny early day slot (I've always heard NIN sold more T-Shirts on that tour than either anyone else or all the other bands would be three more years before they took over the world with their mud covered set at Woodstock '94 bringing them to the attention of the masses - happy to say I was there for that one...but did miss Green Day's mud set).

I caught Lollapalooza at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center that year and enjoyed Nine Inch Nails (in what would be the first of about a half dozen times I would see them over the years including just this past October headlining Saturday night at The Voodoo Festival in New Orleans) and LOVED Jane's Addiction.

Eighteen years later I finally got to see them again. I somehow missed them on the various reunion tours they've done (although I remember really trying to get tickets to the Halloween show in NYC for the first reunion, but it sold out too quick). I saw Porno for Pyros numerous times (including that '94 Woodstock as well) and Perry fronting various super groups at benefit shows, but there's nothing like the real thing as Pepsi might say (or is it Coke?)

So Welcome back 1991 indeed!

It had been on and off rain since Wednesday and by the time Saturday morning, June 6, arrived, it was looking overcast and rainy...not usually a problem for shows, but we had lawn seats for this one. Luckily by noon the sun was out and it was in the 70's, an absolutely perfect day for a lawn seat show!

We paid for a VIP parking pass which allows you to park right outside the entrance to the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ. If you don't buy one of these reserved lots passes you have to walk about a mile or further up hill to the thanks. It also allows you to hear when the bands hit the stage although this information is posted for all the shows on Jane's website. It would be Tom Morello's Street Sweeper Social Club at 7:30, Nine Inch Nails at 8:15 and Jane's Addiction at 10:00pm. While this is called a co-headlining tour, Jane's has been the headliner on every show so far. Perhaps on the second half of the tour they'll trade slots.

Monetarily this tour is a great idea for both bands as while there is obvious alt rock crossover, many fans seem to be die hard fans of either one or the other. I know I would have passed on Nine Inch Nails this summer without Jane's and I heard many with the opposite sentiment while waiting on the will call line which I'll get to in a minute.

I had seen SSSC do a short set at the Road Recovery benefit recently (see my past blog for review) and really truly was planning on seeing them here, but when you're with family and friends and doing the parking lot party...time just goes by and how can you leave those last three beers sitting in the cooler?

So needless to say, I missed their set which word has been for every show that they killed. They've been doing a standard seven song half hour with six originals and a great cover of M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes".

I know it's a great cover because there is an open taping policy on this tour! Not just audio, but video as well. Almost every show has been showing up immediately on the various bit torrent sites and YouTube. Actually this show I'm reviewing right now, less than 24 hours later is already on my hard drive...ah technology!

So Suddenly we're finishing our last beers and hear NIN hit the stage and decide along with the rest of the parking lot partiers (of which there were MANY!) that we should go to Will Call, pick up the tix and head inside.

Well I learned a lesson on this night, if you're at the show early, hit will call early to get your tix. There was one Will Call window open and HUNDREDS of people on line to get in. It was slow and kind of annoying listening to some of my fave Nine Inch Nails songs while waiting to get in (Damn...why did "March of the Pigs" have to be so early in the set!). It was while waiting that I heard many complaints from people who came just to see NIN whining about missing them, again I already saw them on this tour and was really there for JA, so it wasn't so bad.

As we get about four people away from the front, they of course open another will call got my tix and then go walk over to the gates to go in.

This was where we noticed the weird security vibe at this show. As I stated it was open taping, so you could bring in audio, video, still cameras, but there was a major pat down on everyone. There was also a heavy police presence with one group of about eight cops standing around waiting for trouble. Someone was worried about trouble from this crowd for no apparent reason. First of all there was a good amount of "older" fans - I mean Jane's has been around 22 or 23 years...hell, Perry just turned 50...I don't think anyone was going to be forming a moshpit. All the cops were cool and I didn't see them hassle anyone drinking from glass bottles or anything...maybe there was a riot at a Nine Inch Nails show here in the past or something? The security issues continued somewhat inside when it came to lawn seating.

Here at Holmdel and most other ampitheatres with lawn sections I go to, they usually have an option to rent a chair for 5 bucks for those who don't want to sit on the grass or didn't bring a blanket. Every time I've gone to a show here in the past, I did this and we all planned on doing this tonight, but when we went inside, we saw the chair rental booths were there full of chairs, but no one renting. A security guard was stationed there and had to get sick of people (like myself) going up and asking him if we could rent a chair to which he would reply, "No, there are no chair rentals at this show." Very odd indeed considering they always rent out a few thousand chairs, so that's potentially tens of thousands of dollars the venue was giving up because why? Were people beaten with chairs in the past? Did they get destroyed? They just did not trust this crowd with anything. Oh well...I was REALLY glad at this point it hadn't rained so I didn't have to suffer muddy ass on the grass.

Although later in the night Perry would say this was a sold out show, it wasn't...but a real nice turn out. We were still able to get a nice spot on the right side of the lawn where we could view the stage and there were also screens on both sides to view as well. Sound was excellent as it always is when I've seen a concert at PNC.

So with the beer drinking, will call line waiting, patting down and rental chair searching, we missed about half of Nine Inch Nails set. They were rocking and excellent as always, with "Mr. Self Destruct" from "The Downward Spiral" being the first song we heard once settled.

They followed that up with a double shot from their 2008 free downloadable album "The Slip" playing "1,000,000" followed by "Echoplex".

The double shots continued with the third and fourth tracks from 2007's "Year Zero" in the way of "Survivalism" and "The Good Soldier".

Their set completed with a pair of singles, "The Hand that Feeds" from "With Teeth" and that 1991 Lollapalooza anthem "Head Like A Hole" from "Pretty Hate Machine" which had the audience screaming for more as the band left the stage.

They returned giving the crowd what they wanted, their biggest hit and another visit to "The Downward Spiral" with "Hurt." From what I saw a great career spanning set which made with the die hards and more casual fans happy.

What I truly came to see would hit the stage in about fifteen minutes, the return of the original line-up of Jane's Addiction!

So for fifteen minutes we wated the mad dash of thousand of attendees running for the beer line and/or bathroom line and then the lights dimmed and the stage lit up with a curtain in front of showing classic images of the band as we heard that acoustic opening with Perry telling us "Right Now you should be here with us..." as the band opened with their epic "Three Days" from "Ritual De Lo Habitual!".

This is such a monster of a song on album and live it reaches new heights. I had been following the setlists of this tour and when I first heard they were opening their set with this song I thought it was a bad idea. "Three Days" takes you on a musical journey of over 10 minutes and while it is a must have in the set list, I didn't know if it would work as the bring in. Well it works with the slow build into the psychedelic / tribal breakdown (with the amazing Stephen Perkins on drums) peaking two thirds of the way through as Perry screams of "Erotic Jesus...plays with his Marys..." and then the final Dave Navarro shredding road trip to the end... amazing and tight - sounding like these guys have been playing together for the last 18 years instead of the last month of this tour.

If you forgot that bassist Eric Avery is back in the mix, you're reminded immediately with his bassline intro to "Whores" from their self titled live debut album. It becomes apparent over and over through out the night what an important roll Avery's bass played in Jane's music. While Navarro gets the real notice as guitar hero, so many of the songs in tonight's set are based on the base line including "Ain't No Right" which comes next. As Perry sings the opening line "I Am Skin and Bones..." you realize he certainly is, but in excellent shape physically and vocally. The muscle tear he suffered early in the tour is no wear to be seen as he prowls and dances around the stage all night.

"Nothing's Shocking" album closer (and also featured on the debut) "Pigs in Zen" rocks out next and then another "Ritual..." epic with the second longest track after "Three Days" the very personal "Then She Did." Another song which shows the expertise Jane's has in slowing bring the audience into a song and building to an emotional peak.

While the boys do the epics well, they also do the balls out riff rock as good as anyone else. "Up The Beach" starts playing, but instead of going into "Ocean Size", it leads into their first real MTV exposure with "Mountain Song." This one brought everyone in the audience back on board and could only be topped with their biggest hit "Been Caught Stealing".

It was about 11:00pm at this point and a decent amount of the audience, having felt they heard most of what they came to hear, departed after "Stealing" as the boys took another dip into the "Ritual" pool with the one suprise song of the night - "Obvious."

The setlist has been standard for this tour with one open slot where they are switching things up. "Obvious" first appeared in the set only a week ago right after Stephen Perkins announced on the website that they were practicing this as well as "No One's Leaving" to work into the setlist. Considering the other choices of songs which have come in this mystery slot, I'm glad we got "Obvious" (the only song I know they've played on this tour that I would have rather heard would have been their great cover of The Grateful Dead's "Ripple" which I think they've only played twice live. At most of the shows they've been doing "Had A Dad" with "1%" as a close second and a really occasional "Standing in the Shower Thinking" - I do love that song too...I think I gotta go check out one of the few Jane's theatre gigs their doing where they probably get more time and play all of these!). Again I was amazed at how tight the band sounded on a song which was just added to the set.

While "Mountain Song" didn't get any hate, I'm sure there were plenty of people who wanted the massive guitar onslaught of "Ocean Size" and after "Obvious" they got it. Only one more song for the main set and it was another from "Nothing's Shocking", it's depraved epic "Ted Just Admit It..." with it's similar structure to "Three Days" with slow beginning to tribal middle and "Sex Is Violent" chant to guitar madness at the end...then the boys left the stage to return a couple of minutes later.

The next song was very fitting considering the beautiful weather as the encore set started with "Summertime Rolls." They had some rocking left to do so "Stop" the first track on "Ritual came next and then the night could only end with what has truly become the bands biggest song, the acoustic guitar and steel drum driven "Jane Says" which had everyone singing along and smiling wide as they left to find their cars for the ride home.

Amazing show and I hope to see them again at least one more time on this tour.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Classic Full Albums Live On Tour!

Has anyone else noticed how the trend of an artist/band going on tour to revisit a classic album and play it live, in order from start to finish, is becoming very popular? I, for one, couldn't be happier.

I was reminded of this phenomenan when talking upcoming summer shows and my buddy mentioned the ZZ Top / Aerosmith tour. I really didn't have any thought of going as I'm not the biggest ZZ fan in the world and I've seen Aerosmith numerous times in the last twenty years and they just dissapoint me more and more each time because I don't think I've loved anything they've actually released in those twenty years.

I first saw Aerosmith on the Permanent Vacation tour in the summer of 1988 with Guns n Roses opening (first of numerous times seeing GnR as well). It was probably the biggest rock tour of that year and by a miracle we were able to pick up scalped tickets (I think for either face value of like 5 bucks over face) outside the Orange County Fairgrounds for the sold out show in Middletown, NY. It remains one of the greatest concerts I've ever seen. Two great bands right around the peak of their powers. I love 70's Aerosmith and got to hear nuggets like "Rats in The Cellar" along with the obvious "Sweet Emotion", "Dream On" and "Walk This Way". Sure they played some new stuff and Permanent Vacation is actually pretty good...unfortunately, like other things in life, it would never be like the first time whenever I saw Aerosmith again. Loosing setlist space that once held classic rockers to the likes of "Pink" or "Jaded" just doesn't do it for me.

I can't really blame them - Aerosmith have had way more charted hits since the release of "Permanent Vacation" than prior, I just happen to like Aerosmith alot more when they were an album band as opposed to a singles band.

So yeah...that was a lawn seat I didn't expect to buy this summer, until my bud told me their playing "Toys In The Attic", my favorite Aerosmith album, in it's entirety! Sure I've heard the popular half of it live as it contains many of Aerosmith's biggest hits of the 70's (Sweet Emotion, Walk This Way and the title track are pretty standard from the shows I've seen - I think I've heard them do Big Ten Inch live as well), but the other half are great tunes too, so a summer night on the grass with some beers and friends for $20 sounds like a good time to me.

"Toys..." came out 35 years ago when I was but a lad of four, so if I had super hipster parents, perhaps I could have seen them on that tour. Alas my parents gave up on popular music around the time the Beatles started smoking weed, but I thank these bands that revisit these classic albums live for those of us who missed it or weren't born the first time around.

I've seen plenty of my favorite bands when they were just starting out and therefore more or less got to hear their early albums live, but today I'm talking about those that bring the classic back years later...the ones I've seen...and the ones on my wishlist.

The first band that comes to mind is The Who. On the first reunion tour in 1989 I saw the first and last nights of their four night stand at Giant's Stadium. Those performances were epic three and a half hours with all the hits and plenty of rarities, but the first 45 minutes of each night was "Tommy".

These were just about the first shows of the tour right after the band did "Tommy" at Radio City Music Hall so it was fresh in their mind and they brought it to the 70 thousand people who came each night to NJ. If I remember correctly it was about 90 to 95% complete...I think they dropped one or two tracks, but considering the Radio City Music Hall tix were $500, I was happy to save $475 and miss two minor pieces. I'm so glad they started that tour on the east coast as they broadcast the last show of the tour on the radio and by that time, Tommy had become a greatest hits suite and the band was down to playing two hours.

The who would strike again with the classic album live when they did their "Quadrophenia" tour around 1996. Caught one of the nights at Madision Square Garden on that tour which, as with every Who show I've ever seen, was fantastic. Some special guests too with Billy Idol and Gary Glitter. The whole album, a couple of encores, done - loved it!

I remember thinking at the time how I wish more bands would take this idea and run with it and two years later Cheap Trick brought it to town.

The Trick did a three night stand at Irving Plaza from October 29 to Halloween night in 1998 performing their first three albums, one a night, each night. My friend and I couldn't think of a better way to spend Halloween than seeing Cheap Trick do "Heaven Tonight". I remember Kiss were starting their tour on the same night in California and to start the show, a damn good Gene Simmons in full Kiss get up came out to introduce the band with typical Gene hyperbole only to be bum rushed off the stage by a group of dream police to much applause. Then CT came out and rocked the house.

Other shows I've caught in more recent years include Slayer doing the absolute metal classic "Reign In Blood" in full, Roger Waters on his last tour where the second set was "Darkside of the Moon" (with special guest for that night, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason during the DSOTM set) and oddly enough W.A.S.P. doing "The Crimson Idol". I saw W.A.S.P. a few times in the 80's when Poughkeepsie was a key stop on any metal band's tour and decided to check them out for this gig. I didn't own this concept album of theirs from the 90's, but heard they had made a film to go along with it back in the day that either was never toured with anywhere or never toured with in the US. The film would play on a backdrop as the band played along explaining the images. I'll give them kudos, it made it interesting and the tunes were good, the only bummer was after playing this album of material I never heard before, we only got a one or two song encore - was hoping to hear a few more tracks I knew, but I'll just catch them next time around as they were still rockin.

The most recent classic album live shows I've seen have been part of the amazing Don't Look Back shows put on by All Tomorrow's Parties. I believe this series started in 2005 as part of the All Tomorrow's Parties festival and has since grown (as has the festival which is now held a few times a year in numerous countries). ATP specializes in "Alternative" Music from the mainstream to the quite obscure and almost forgotten but talented.

Usually as part of their festival, a few of the gigs will be "Don't Look Back" sets where a band will play an entire classic live. For example Devo recently performed their debut "Q: Are We Not Me?..." to the less well known to the public influential No Wave legends Suicide doing their debut at the NY ATP festival in September to the you really have to be up on your music Dirty Three and the Drones doing "Ocean Songs" and "Wait Long by the River" respectively.

I've never been the the All Tomorrow's Parties festival (I think last year was their first one in Monticello, NY), but I'm probably going to go at least to the first night this year (check out this Friday lineup - The reunited Jesus Lizard, Iron and Wine, the aforementioned Suicide, Dirty Three and Drones, The Feelies - also doing a full album "Crazy Rhythms" and probably my favorite standup comic David Cross! Plus Cinema by Criterion! Holy shit! - Hell I might just do the whole weekend as curators The Flaming Lips are there, Melvins, Boss Hog...and Monticello is a mere hour away...but back on topic)

So anyway, for the last four or five years, ATP/DLB concerts have brought some amazing shows around and I caught two.

Mudhoney doing all of their early singles plus "Superfuzz Bigmuff" and one of the greatest concerts I've ever seen - Sonic Youth doing "Daydream Nation at McCarran Park Pool in Brooklyn.

Mudhoney was a packed hot sweaty night at Bowery Ballroom. Great Fuzzy Guitar Madness (and also introduced me to openers Pissed Jeans who I quite dig) where as Sonic Youth was a beautiful outdoor summer night playing one of my ten fave albums of all time - sublime is a word that fits here.

So it bring it on bands...practice those great old tunes and get them on the road to NY.

Part two will talk about my hopes and dreams for this movement - who's out there that have enough band members still alive to pull off some of my favorite albums live front to back - I'll bring it after this weekend's NINJA Tour review from NJ. Maybe Jane's Addiction will play all of "Ritual de lo Habitual" or "Nothing's Shocking" oh boy would I dig that!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Supersuckers - Kingston NY 5/29/2009 Concert Review

Sometimes things just work out...

On Tuesday, May 19, I wanted to be at the Fillmore at Irving Plaza in NYC for the Joey Ramone Birthday Bash featuring oodles of great music including the Supersuckers. Unfortunately somehow once again my Tuesday night dart league team made the playoffs and I couldn't let the team down...we won that night, but came in second for the season.

A few nights before I had checked the Supersuckers tour dates to see if there was anything else in the area and there really was nothing very close...looks like I would have to miss the boys supporting their latest album "Get It Together" and more importantly the 20th Anniversary Tour of the (aptly) self described "Greatest Rock n Roll Band in the World".

But as I stated above, sometimes things just work out...

So it's about a week later and I sign on to myspace (That's right, MySpace, I'm sticking with it, I'm not joining facebook or whatever the next flavor of the moment social network comes along...) and see a post from los 'suckers saying something about finalized tour dates...I figure lemme take a gander and WHOLE LEE SHIT Kids, what's this?! The Supersuckers are playing this Friday, May 29 at the Basement in

Kingston?! A mere 2 minute drive from my job and 30 minutes from home!? That Powerball virgin sacrifice paid off some dividends afterall!

So I call my buddy Kev who I turned onto the band soon after I discovered them around the release of "La Mano Cornuda" (their classic 1994 Sub Pop release) and suddenly, as the Easybeats sang, "I've Got Friday On My Mind"

So I actually had never been to The Basement, but I hear it's a small joint so we get their right before 8:00pm when it says doors open. A mere fifteen bucks and we get our wristbands for entry and check the joint out...oh yeah...this is gonna be good!

I've seen the Supersuckers at Maxwell's in Hoboken NJ and I thought THAT was a great small place to see a show...well the Basement takes it to another level. (Photo note - the photos throughout this review are ones I took of the Supersuckers about 15 years ago at one of those great Maxwell gigs - unfortunately I didn't bring my damn camera to this show for updated pics)

The joint is about 15 feet wide and maybe 60 feet long. You walk in and a bar is immediately inside the door for about 30 feet down the right side. Then there's about 20 feet of open space and then the stage which is about 2 feet off the ground and maybe 15 feet deep. Legal capacity can't be more than 100 people.

Oh yeah...bathrooms...well this place took a cue from CBGB and you have to walk across the stage to get to the bathrooms which are right behind the stage...and at a supersuckers show you know the beer is flowing and the bathroom traffic was pretty heavy through out the night, but "Rontrose", who was stationed directly in the bathroom path, handled it well.


So I'm really wondering who has the goods on Eddie Spaghetti (vocals and bass), Ron "Rontrose" Heathman and Dan "Thunder" Bolton (guitars) and Scott "Scottzilla" Churilla (drums) to blackmail them into playing such a tiny place, but I'm thankful. It was actually the grand re-opening weekend of The Basement so it looks like management went all out!


We were parked against the left wall about 5 feet from the stage and there was a slightly shaky start to the show. Eddie's mic was shocking him everytime his lips touched it and it's hard to rock to your maximum powers when your getting mouth tazed everytime you go to sing. Luckily the boys trusty roadie fixed things up after about three tunes and then the show truly began!

This being a new album tour as well as a 20th anniversary tour, we were treated to just the right balance of new tunes mixed with plenty of classics - the first of which was "Luck" off 1992's "The Smoke of Hell". "Luck" shows the hardest fastest punkest rockest side of the Supersuckers and it ruled. It came early in the set after somewhat newer tracks like "Rock n Roll Records (Ain't Selling This Year)" and "Rock Your Ass" the lead off tracks from 2003's subtly titled "Motherfuckers Be Trippin".

The majority of the night's selections from their latest studio album "Get It Together" came early on mixed in the set list with the likes of an amped up "Bad Bad Bad" (from 1995's Sacrilicious Sounds of...). The new tracks got plenty of racous applause but things truly went into overdrive when the classics starting emanating from the speakers right above my head.


My first taste of the Supersuckers was when I picked up "La Mano Cornuda" and to this day it's remained my favorite. I actually consider it one of those rare finds - the perfect album, great from beginning to end...imagine a sonic cocktail made up of 2 parts Cheap Trick, 2 parts Motorhead and 1 part Bon Scott era AC/DC. I still to this day listen to it and wonder how the hell the Supersuckers did not explode out of the Seattle scene with this and their other albums...but I digress...

From this must own long playergot the ode to slackerdom "On The Couch" (probably the highlight of the night for me), the revenge fantasy "How To Maximize Your Kill Count" and of course "Creepy Jackalope Eye". "Jackalope" was something of a strange slowed down version, not countrified (there was no acoustic country set tonight), more lounge, but with a last full speed balls out verse and chorus to get the crowd jumpin.

Close to the end of the night, before the "encore", we got treated to another two off "Smoke of Hell" with the bluesy "Hell City, Hell" and the full bore rock attack of "Coattail Rider" (which actually followed "On The Couch" if memory serves me correct for quite the one two puch to the ear drum).

I say "encore" in quotes as the Supersuckers have a motto of once they leave the stage, the show is over, so there is a few second fake encore break while the band explains this and then the night ends with a great last batch of songs starting with a cover of the Ramones "I Believe In Miracles", a holdover from the Joey Ramone Birthday Bash of a week earlier and done to perfection.


Next up is what would probably be the closest thing the boys had to a hit - "Born With A Tail." Again, this song should have been massive - hard commercial rock you can't help but sing along too and won't leave your head for days. "Born" led right into "Pretty Fucked Up" and was immediately followed by "I Want The Drugs" which led back into a reprise of "Born" and suddenly the show was over.

About 80 to 90 minutes, 25 or so songs, 90 or so degrees, 100 or so very happy fans! Sometimes things just work out!

Opening the show was a great local band called Rented Mule. They play both types of music - Country AND Western (and Blues - hell they play CBGB - Country Blue Grass Blues). The core of the band is the husband and wife team of Jeff and Kate McCoy on bass and sultry vocals/sexy stage presence/guitar respectively. Jeremy Boniello on just right less is more drums and Mark Primoff on stellar clean and tasty lead guitar. For those who came to the show hoping for the country Supersuckers, Rented Mule should have sated their appetite. Excellent originals and a cover or two (a Lynyrd Skynyrd song I didn't know, but my buddy Kevin did) - this is the type of country music I like - the good old Hank Williams Johnny Cash type. I look forward to seeing this band playout again locally

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Neat (Neat Neat) Time - THE DAMNED Poughkeepsie NY May 9, 2009 concert review

Got to cross one off the list when The Damned came through Poughkeepsie for a stop at the Chance on Saturday night.

Love them, but somehow never saw them before - almost did back on December 30 when this gig was originally scheduled, but the tour was cancelled at the time. Luckily, they decided to include the rescheduled Poughkeepsie gig in this very short seven city, eight day tour of the Northeast US.

Boasting original members Captain Sensible (eclectically dressed in red beret and zipper pants on guitar) and Dave Vanian (impeccably dressed in tailored suit and perfectly styled hair on most vocals), the band is filled out with Monty Oxymoron on Keyboards (plus great afro-esque hair and crazed dancing), Stu West on bass and Pinch on drums - they are a tight knit rock machine!

Opening at full speed with the fan fave "Love Song", it was a full blast greatest hit set with some new tunes thrown in. Soon followed by "Neat Neat Neat" (my all time fave which featured a killer solo by the Captain including a little taste of Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile") and a cover of the MC5's "Lookin at You", we also got other bounce off the wall pogo ragers like "Disco Man" and of course their first single ever "New Rose." (and the first UK punk single ever to boot!).

Here and there they slowed things down with the likes of their great cover of the Alvin Lee and Love song "Alone Again Or" and my personal faves off their new album "So, Who's Paranoid", the epic tale of "Dr. Woofenstein".

Encore wise we got their pop punk perfect excellent rendition of Elton Motello's "Jet Boy Jet Girl" with it's can't get it out of your head "ooooo-ooo-ooo-oo" chorus and that is NOT a bad thing. (If you've seen National Lampoon's European Vacation, you've heard Plastic Bertrand's "Ça plane pour moi" which is the same music but different lyrics and in French, but the "ooooo-ooo-ooo-00" 's remain). The night ended with "Smash It Up" which did nothing short of destroy!

Fantastic show and if you have the chance to catch them this week on one of the few remaining dates in the US (in DC, Philly, NYC and Asbury Park), DO SO - one of the best pure rocking good time shows I've ever seen! I hope Poughkeepsie becomes a regular tour stop in the future.

If you do decided to go, get their early to check out their openers - on all the other dates I believe it's Electric Frankenstein and The Bellrays. The Bellrays are one of those bands I totally dug years ago and lost track of some how and was happy to see they were still together - problem was Poughkeepsie was the one show on this tour that they didn't do, they had a headlining gig in NYC, bummer.

As a fill in we got two local bands, the first of which I missed, but the second was Kingston's White Knuckle Rodeo who did a great short set of hard edged rock/punk ala Social Distortion or The Supersuckers. Good stuff and a great showing for their first show on the stage of the Chance. I'll have to catch them next time they play Snapper Magee's in Kingston.

Electric Frankenstein did play this show and were great - again hard edged but catchy punk. This New Jersey band has quite a following and alot of fans showed up to show their support - great head banging, fist pounding, beer drinking rock. (well for me at least, you can drink soda if you prefer).

Triple threat of good rock is my kind of way to spend a saturday, I'll be seeing all of these bands every chance I get.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Place Your Bets - Top Ten Grunge Band Odds for Rock n Roll Hall of Fame

If you're a big music fan, you've probably argued about the inductees into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame...who's in there that shouldn't be...who's not there that should be...that's not what this is about...

I watched this year's ceremony live and before it started they asked some people about future inductees, some of which I thought had good chances and some of which I thought were ridiculous.

I started to think about who were absolute first round shoe-ins when their time came. You can be nominated in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after your first release. I believe originally it was supposed to be after your first album release, but I remember some hubbub the year The Who went in that it was actually 25 years after their first single and it would have been a year later for their first album (or maybe it had something to do with album release date in the UK vs US). Either way, I realized there are very few acts you can name that will get first round inductions at this time.

Part of the issue is longevity, a band or artist that is HUGE and would seem to have potential, could fade away after an album or two (although there are band's in the Hall with only one album).

But mainly the bands I thought about were ones with debut releases from 1984 (who will be elibible this year for next year's induction) through those which started in the mid to late 90's - so we have some historical significance and track record to look at.

I planned on blogging on this in parts, maybe by genre or year by year, but today MSNBC posted their list of the Top 10 Grunge Bands of the 90's (although many of them started in the 80's).

I'm not going to discuss who should / shouldn't be on the list or where they are on the list, but I'll lay odds on who makes it into the Rock place your bets!

10. The Melvins - Eligible in 2010. The Melvins are very close to that 25 year mark of first officially released tracks but have absolutely ZERO chance of getting in on the first ballot. I expect more and more heavy music will be entering the Hall (with Metallica this year as first balloteers and Black Sabbath in 2006...having to wait over ten years...makes sense right, they're only the most influential Heavy Metal band of all time!). So yes, the Melvins will not be entering the Rock Hall anytime soon but I don't rule them out completely...if the Hall creates an "influences" category, then check back in 10 years and I'll give them 20:1)

9. Temple of the Dog - Eligible in 2016. I'll go 4:1 on TOTD. The Rock Hall loves a reunion and to get this supergroup of basically Pearl Jam with Chris Cornell of Soundgarden to play on their stage would be a coup. I believe TOTD would be eligible the same year as Pearl Jam which I think hurts their chances, but at the same time the voters might figure "Hey we got Pearl Jam here already...why not" yeah I call it four to one.

8. Mudhoney - Eligible in 2013. A fan favorite longshot at 8:1. Bands love them, critics love their early stuff - I think they are everything that is right about rock n roll. I think there will be a buzz (perhaps a Super Buzz Big Muff) about whether or not to enter them in that first year and if they don't make it then, they'll never make it.

7. Hole - Eligible in 2016. My thoughts are this, Blondie made it first round, so Hole should DEFINITELY as well, but I can't go 1:1. I'm gonna do a 2:1 coin flip as Courtney may have too many haters and politics might get involved - but how can you deny her/their many girls picked up guitars, not to mention the style! As Nirvana sold flannel, Courtney moved Baby Doll dresses. It all wasn't just style and influence either - there's GREAT songs and some of them were big hits and that should push them right through the door.

6. Soundgarden - Eligible in 2012. Soundgarden have everything that should ensure first round induction - A long awaited reunion, Monster Hits, History (wasn't Soundgarden the first Vinyl release by Sub Pop, basically putting them on the map as a RECORD Label). I think it's a very safe bet, but I'm not giving 1:1...let's go close to a sure thing, but not quite there...

5. Screaming Trees - Eligible in 2010 or 2011. Screaming Trees will never be in the Rock Hall. I love the band, I love Lanegan's solo/side projects, but they don't even have Melvins like name dropping going for them. Infinity:1

4. Stone Temple Pilots - Eligible in 2017. As close to being a shoe in as Soundgarden - monster hits and tons of them. People will be ready for another reunion tour by Soundgarden I'll go 5:4

3. Alice In Chains - Eligible in 2015. AIC were 1:1, but pulling back a little to 5:4 as of right now and could pull back farther as the year goes on. Why? Because they reunited to underwhelming fanfare and now they are releasing an album of new material. Still Layne's death will almost definitely get them in there as it was a MAJOR loss to rock music (and in my opinion "Dirt" is one of those few musical platters known as a Perfect Album)

2. Nirvana - Eligible 2014. Please - I would bet my life savings. ONE:ONE - I wonder who they'll get to sing for them when they reunite...Frances Bean anyone? I could see it

1. Pearl Jam - Eligible 2016. The Rock hall doesn't like Eddie Vedder...They LOVE Eddie Vedder. Once the year's inductees are announced, it's always interesting to see who is going to induct them...well Eddie has inducted The Doors, Neil Young, The Ramones and R.E.M....Pearl Jam continue to sell out arenas every year, have their share of hits and the Rock Hall can't wait to add them...two years after I double my money on Nirvana, I'll double up again here. ONE:ONE

So there you go...down the road I'll take a look at alt rock bands left off the list, hard rock/metal, hip hop and who knows what else...but while there's alot of bands that have a shot, there's very few that will get that first year induction

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Kill and Kill Again - GWAR / PRIESTESS Poughkeepsie NY May 6, 2009 concert review

Gwar have been around for just about a quarter of a century and while I've seen my more than fair share of metal shows, I've somehow not seen them until last night when they played The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY (even though they've probably played there at least once a year for every year they've existed).

I had nothing against Gwar, I think it was just one of those bands I knew would always be back around and that I would eventually catch them live...what brought me to dole out the green for a ticket last night was the opener, Priestess.

Actually the opener was Cattle Decapitation - a band of subtlety I'm sure based on their name...I planned on checking them out, but I took a nap and overslept...yes a NAP! The rock n roll lifestyle can take it's toll on a weeknight when work comes early.

I awoke at 8:25 and from a text from my buddy at the show, CD just got off the stage and Priestess was scheduled to come on at 8:45...luckily the Chance is about 3 minutes from my place so I got there only to find some fracas had caused the person working the ticket booth to be unavailable.

So about 10 of us are waiting to buy tix and we hear the band come on stage...doing a little tuning up / sound checking...ticket gal comes back...I get a ticket, walk in the door, see my buddy by the bar and Priestess starts...perfect timing!

Priestess take the best of 70's doom metal and standard hard rock and mix it with speed metal and some intricate guitar leads ala say Iron Maiden. So one song might be a heavy groove rocker, while the next might have a New Wave of British Heavy Metal feel followed by a head banging balls out breaking the speed limit rocker. They're tight, at least three of them do lead vocals (Satan's version of the Eagles?!?) and they will rock you.

They've evidently been around for a while, but I just learned of them when they opened for classic 70's Doom Metal legends Pentragram in NYC a couple of months ago. I've been raving about them ever since and they definitely gained a ton of fans in Poughkeepsie last night.

So now it's time for Gwar...I won't bother with a set list as I have no clue about any of their song names (although I totally recognized the final number from Headbangers Ball of years ago), but I will say it was a blast!

Taking the AC/DC song, "If You Want Blood, You Got It" as something of a motto to not just live by, but exceed...the show opens with video of The Steve Wilkos Show. For fans of trash TV, you'll know the show hosted by the former Jerry Springer Show Steve puts down Gwar, they bring him out and proceed to chop off his head sending the first blast of blood into the audience...

Some super heavy fast tunes are played and then we basically start the storyline which is members of Gwar (mainly Bonesnapper and lead singer Oderus Urungus) taking on all comers in the Intergalactic Wrestling Federation to protect the "Frank Sinatra Belts of Total World Domination" all sort of makes sense

So the night would have Gwar playing some songs and then a match while the band rocked...the setlist of blood, death and mayhem went something like this:

Bernie Madoff come out with his giant bag of money and proceeds to have his chest cavity ripped down to show his guts and tons of blood spray

Obama and Hillary Clinton in something of a tag team match...Obama gets decapitated and Hillary gets her boobs ripped off...then hillary is ripped in half...and you guessed it...TONS of blood

Gwar don't skimp on the blood and their fans love it - evidently the thing to do is to take a white t-shirt and make your own Gwar shirt for the show and then see how bloody you can get it by the end!

During a song sung by Sleazy Martini, we get to see a Hippie lady, a Marilyn Manson-esqu Goth Alt Rocker and a Nazi Skinhead all meat their end loosing heads and scalps and spraying blood everywhere.

Also Techno and Bozo Destructo come from another world and cause the most damage to Gwar (including ripping the scalp off of Oderus' head) - Techno has a giant buzzing saw for an arm and you can only begin to imagine the blood it spills - but in the end, Gwar win and take back the belts to assure their world domination.

Other than the blood, one item that cannot be avoided is Oderus gigantic schlong...of course it has to be put to use and during the last song it powerfully shoots a green ooze all over the loving crowd (as Gwar's slave holds up what appears to be a giant dead roadkill dog that while dead can still magically spray tons of blood around).

I'm sure there's more bloodletting I'm forgetting - in the second song or so a baby is impaled on Oderus shoulder spikes...

Did I say it's a hoot?

Let's face facts, Gwar is for a certain type of person and I'm glad to say I'm one...I'll definitely catch them again and hope to see Priestess headlining soon as well!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Road Recovery Benefit Concert - NYC May 1, 2009

Road Recovery is an organization that uses music to keep children and young adults from substance abuse...and they throw one hell of a benefit concert!

I went last year and initially the lineup was basically the same: Tom Morello (last year of The Nightwatchman, this year with Street Sweeper Social Club...and of course in the past with Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave), Wayne Kramer (of the MC5 - the theme of this year's concert was a tribute to Kramer), Jerry Cantrell (of Alice In Chains), Gilby Clarke (Guns n Roses), Perry Farrell (Jane's Addiction) Slash this year, but Billy Bragg instead...I knew the show would rock, but funds being a little tight I wasn't positive I was going to go...then they added Iggy!

So Iggy Pop of the Stooges on the same stage as Wayne Kramer of the MC5?! Detroit Garage/Punk rock history before my eyes?! Okay...I now HAVE to go...

Then things got a little better...evidently without my knowledge, owner of my favorite bar (and singer of some of my favorite songs...and sometimes MC5 current fill-in vocalist) Handsome Dick Manitoba was added to the bill! Also according to the T-shirts available at the show, the drummer from another fave band, Cheap Trick, signed on - good ole Bun E. Carlos! NICE!! (okay...the one little damper - while Bun made the shirt...he for some reason didn't make the show...oh well...hopefully I'll catch Bun and The Trick this summer when they open(?!?! The music biz is NOT fair) for Poison and Def Leppard)...but for now...on with the show...

Ticket said show starts at 8:00 and they were punctual...I was a couple of minutes late and by the time I picked up my tic and got through the metal dectors and went downstairs an opening band was ending and Matt Pinfield (the host of the night) was coming out on stage.

Evidently Pinfield, best known for hosting 120 minutes on MTV, is now a morning show DJ on the one rock station left in NY. That morning he announced we was taking a break from his job and would be entering rehab to deal with his personal issues and was happy to host this benefit.

The show took place at the Nokia Theatre in Times Square which is one of my favorite mid sized venues to see a show. I would guess it holds about 2500 people when sold out (and it was), but instead of the big flat open floor, this venue is tri leveled so you can stand comfortably, never too far from the stage and see, plus there super comfortable cushioned loge seating in the back.

Since I walked in a bit late, most of the seating was taken so I decided to head down stairs to stage level. I was actually able to walk right up to the barrier on stage left with no pushing or shoving, so had a great vantage point for the show to come.

The basic setup of the show was the same as last year - once it starts it doesn't stop for set breaks, it's just a revolving door of some musicians joining the stage and some musicians leaving including some of the kids in the program. While last year the kids' sets were mixed through out the night with the big stars, this year they got most of the unknowns out of the way early (with some guest appearances by the headliners).

So the first band to come one was the Road Recovery Tutors who had Matt Pinfield on vocals for a cover of Nick Lowe's (but made most famous by Elvis Costello) "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding". It was a admirable job on all accounts - a good bar band version of a song most there knew and loved.

Next up most of the tutors left with the exception of the rhythm section for a little hip hop set, the first featuring about 6 or 7 kids who each took a verse or two and it was quite good. Then the rhythm section stayed while another group came out and did a song the hook of which was a sample from Moby's "Natural Blues" played and sung live by the bands and kids.

Pinfield is back out to introduce the next band, Crazy James, which I believe is made up of current/past road recovery participants. I can't tell you how many people are in this band as I lost count...somwhere between 12 and 15, some of which appear to just dance around and look good, but perhaps we just didn't get to hear their songs in the short set. They play a mixture of fun and soulful pop. They were joined on their first song, "Zygote" by Wayne Kramer and Jerry Cantrell and further added to the headcount on stage with Gilby Clarke and Tom Morello on their next song. I believe Jerry and Wayne left leaving Tom and Gilby for their final song, a cover of the Pixies "Where is my Mind?" a great little set that ended with a small fiasco right next to me...

It all started about midway through "Where is..." when this DRUNK (he was doing some SERIOUS pregaming somewhere as they did not serve alcohol at this show) meathead comes barging up between the woman right next to me and the guy she was with yelling "TOM! HEY TOM!" at Morello who was right in front of us, maybe 10 feet back, on the stage. Tom notices the guy and gives kind of a quick look/nod of "okay I hear you now be quiet" but it just makes this guy worse. He says to all of us around him, "Hey he saw me....HEY TOM...yeah I'm a huge Rage Against The Machine Fan....HEY TOM WHERE'S ZACH...TOM!" and he's pushing between this woman and her fella against the barricade....

So the song ends and everyone leaves the stage and now Matt Pinfied and his co-host on his morning show, Leslie Fram, come stand right in front of us at the edge of the stage as they try to announce the next act and moron yells "YOU'RE THIN....YOU'RE SO THIN" at Leslie who is rail thin...she kinda mumbles "thanks" and Pinfield jokingly says "Thank you" and announces Tom Morello and his new band Street Sweeper Social Club are coming the band walks out and it's fronted by Boots Riley from The Coup...Tom Takes his place in front of us and his bandmates are walking over to him to say something and dumbass yells "TOM.....TOM....WHERE'S ZACH...." people are yelling shut the fuck up asshole and Boots looks over and this guy goes "WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT BITCH?!"....oh no....Boots does a double take and a "wha?!?" and the dudes says "THAT'S RIGHT, I'M TALKING TO YOU BITCH"....oh man I thought Boots was gonna jump down and punch this asshole....he comes to the edge of the stage and his bandmates kinda tell him to ignore this asshole...

FINALLY at this point, security who was standing right next to us taps the guy on the should and says to calm down as Tom goes to the mic and says something to the effect of, it's unfortunate that at an event against substance abuse, this asshole had to find his way much applause.

As the band launches into their fist song, another security guard comes over and they escort the idiot he barely got to see Tom play...although I think he only really wanted to see Rage anyway. His buddy who was with him stayed, but two minutes later or so, security comes back and asks if he is with that guy and he says, "yeah, it's my brother" and he is led away too, not too be seen again...

Back to the Street Sweepers...If you're a fan or RATM, you'll dig them...same dynamic...rock band with rap vocals...rocking and more funky than heavy...more like Rage and their cover of "Renegades of Funk" than say the angry "Down Rodeo"...I loved it! During the first track, "100 Little Curses" when the final chorus line "except for that muthafucka right there", Tom pointed right to where the yeller was, but he had been dragged out at this point. The guys only got to do one more song (the standard set was more or less two songs each) but make sure to check them out online where there's quite a few of their songs posted and if you're going to see the NINJA (Nine Inch Nails / Jane's Addiction) tour this summer, be sure to get there early as SSSC is opening (I'll be at Holmdel NJ 6/6...can't wait!)

Miggs was up next with a two song set of alt rock that was decent.

They cleared out and Gilby Clarke and Jerry Cantrell along with "Carl" (sorry didn't catch the last name, but he was part of the great backup band all night) did a version of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" dedicated to all those that lost the battle with their various dependencies. A great singalong.

Next up was Billy Bragg. Billy didn't need any backup, just him and his guitar first doing a cover of The Verve's "The Drugs Don't Work" followed by "I Keep Faith". Emotional and extra meaningful songs for the cause.

Next up was a band I had never heard of before, but I hope to see again...Middle Class Rut. An intense two song set by this two man band who share vocals. One rocks the drums and one rocks the guitar - heavily. The second song "All Walks of Life" ended with what looked like an epileptic fit of guitar and drum mayhem...I gotta see these boys do a full set next time they come through...if you like your noise rock hard, give them a shot

Before the "big names" came out we were treated to Ours. I was first introduced to them at the show last year where they did an acoustic set....this year they brought the whole band...moody and gothy with with a psychedelic jam touch that allows them to go beyond the goth tag. Their frontman reminds me alot of a young Perry Farrell (or hell...even a current Perry Farrell as Perry hasn't changed as we would see)...if you dig darkish lush yet rockin music and hate sunlight, Ours is for you

But enough of the opening acts...time for some big guns...

I love Perry Farrell...Jane's Addiction are one of my favorite bands of all time (I thought Porno for Pyros were excellent too...although I really hated "Pets") when Pinfield came out and announced Perry and his lovely wife Etty (let me be honest here...lovely is not the word...the woman is so hot she makes parts of your body ache) I let out a whoo hoo as did the rest of the crowd...they opened with Perry's solo tune from the "Twilight" soundtrack "Go All The Way (Into The Twilight)", very cool...where else are you going to get to see him play this one! But the crowd wanted Jane's...

So out come Jerry, Wayne, Tom, Gilby for a super guitar heavy "Mountain Song"'s really an impossible song not to love's got that classic riff and groove...was hoping we'd get at least one more and we got one of Ritual De Lo Habitual this time "Ain't No Right". Ah yeah...Perry is ready for his Jane's his rock moves down and sounds great...also, I don't usually notice this about male performers....but good lord did Perry have on the tightest jeans I've ever scene on anyone...I didn't know how he moved in had to be said

So Perry and some of the guitarists leave the stage - Kramer definitely stayed as Handsome Dick came out with Don Was (not sure if he was announced or a suprise, but he played bass on most of the rest of the songs). When the surviving members of the MC5 toured a couple of years back they had quite the mixed bag of guest vocalists depending on which city they played....only two got all around kudos and that was Mark Arm of Mudhoney and Handsome Dick Manitoba of the Dictators (Evan Dando of the Lemonheads did not fair so well I heard). Dick grabbed the mic and said "You can call me can even call me Dick....but don't CALL ME ANIMAL" and they blasted out the Motor City Five song of the same name...oh man...old school at it's finest!!

Next up was a big suprise appearance no one was expecting...actress Juliette Lewis (you know...Mallory from Natural Born Killers) to rock on AC/DC's "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap!" I thought I heard recently Juliette disbanded her band the Licks, but she came out in one of her Licks style one piece rock catsuits and it was fine, very bar band feel...during the song Evan from Biohazard came out as well on Bass and then I noticed the lead singer (and husband to Avril Lavigne) on the other side of the stage with one of his bandmates singing backup...good lord...ever rocker of every type and generation was here tonight!

Juliette left as this was her only song of the night and Jerry Cantrell took the mic for a Thin Lizzy's "Jail Break" (evidently like Dirty Deeds, another of the rock songs every rocker can jam to with little or no rehearsal time.)

The next tune was quite a suprise as Gilby Clarke came out and starts tapping out the keyboard intro to The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" on his guitar! Evan from Biohazard put his bass away and he and Perry Farrell switched off on lead vocals throughout. The key to this song is the "YEAHHHHHHHHH!" scream after the drum breakdown towards the end and Perry did a doozy that would have definitely made Roger Daltrey proud! Very Very Cool!!

We knew the night had to be winding down, so there's really only one question...where the fuck is Iggy?! Oh he comes....Iggy came out bare chested and in jeans acting like a horny rabid dog....and you find the musicians treat him as he quick struts up to them, getting WAY TOO CLOSE and you can see them thinking that you should treat him like a pitbull humping your leg...just let him finish and move on!

Iggy yelled out for "FIVE FOOT ONE....FIVE FOOT ONE!!" off his 1979 album "New Values"! Quite a suprise choice I thought and it raged much more heavily than the comparatively tame album version. Iggy was all over every inch of the stage and hanging over the audience by holding onto the curtain on stage left, leaning over the photographers midstage (with one "lucky" photog getting quite the goober spit on him by Iggy). The song ended, but Iggy wanted no stoppaged...stomping up to the drummer yelling "Sweet Sixteen....Sweet Sixteen and PLAY IT FUCKING RIGHT!!" (I personally thought the last song was played great, but maybe Mr. Pop disagreed, but it got "Sixteen" off of the "Lust For Life" album started right away and for three more minutes Iggy slithered and stalked the stage. Then it was over....almost...

The players left the stage and the lights went off and there was a video presentation with some great classic footage of Wayne Kramer and the MC5...basically showing how Wayne rocked...lost his way...refound his way...and now rocks harder and Helps others.

Lights came back up and Wayne was awarded not the keys to the city, but the keys to Sing Sing Prison where a good portion of this all star band was going to be performing the next day for some inmates! Wayne thanked the crowd....brought everyone back out plus Little Steven Van Zandt and it was time for only one thing that could end the night right...time to "Kick Out The Jams Motherfuckers!" Goddamn does this song rock with mainly Wayne and Dick Manitoba doing vocals, but others jumping in as well...then it finally was over and it was good...can't wait til next year!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tesla - Poughkeepsie NY April 27, 2009 Concert Review

It's been a couple of years since I last saw Tesla (also at The Chance in Poughkeepsie where they played this past Monday Night), but well over a decade since I've seen them electrically rock!

The last tour I caught was the Five Man Acoustical Jam Anniversary Tour where the boys pretty much recreated that huge album of the 90's (which featured one of their two huge hits, their cover of "Signs"). It was a jam packed house on a Saturday night and it was great, but I missed the plugged in guitars, so I was happy to see them heading back to town to rock us right.

Wasn't sure what the turnout would be since it was a Monday night this time, but Poughkeepsie loves their Tesla and while not sold out, the place was full and partying.

I walked up as whoever was opening was finishing their set with a cover of "Come Together" done much more Aerosmith style than Beatles.

Hung out by the bar (I know you're shocked) and about 20 minutes later The Leo Project came on. It was maybe than 20 seconds later when I was praying the Leo Project would get off. It was your standard by the numbers alt-rock...everyone in the band can play adeptly and the singer can do a good Creed/Nickelback (he probably KILLS on Karaoke nights) and there is just nothing there to get excited about. The most memorable tune they played was their penultimate when they waged war on our ears with a rocked up version of Mister Mister's "Broken Wings"....yes they covered Mister Mister...I was praying if they played another song it would be perhaps an equally awful "Kyrie" but no such luck, they did an original then got off stage after 45 minutes or so...

Half hour or so and the lights go down and here comes Tesla. Four of the five original members (with missing Tommy Skeoch's second guitar duties very ably filled by Dave Rude) and they open with the title track off their new album "Forever More."

I don't have Tesla's newest and this track wouldn't make me buy it. Tesla are a great commercial rock band and I mean that the finest way...while they came during of the 80's hair scene, they are much more rooted in 70's rock in look, sound and attitude. I always thought they were much more Blackfoot and Black Crowes than Blackie Lawless and WASP. So this first song which is adequate, just didn't have the hook their other great songs do...

The opening track would be my only disappointment of the night though (other than the songs they DIDN'T play)...they actually followed up their opener with "I Wanna Live" which is the first single off their new this one is a catchy rockin toe tapper...but please Tesla...don't be one of those bands that plays 9 of their 10 new tracks and leaves off the classics from the setlist...nope...not Tesla

If you were a rock band in the late 80's, you had to have your "cowboy" song and Tesla did it with "Modern Day Cowboy". This was my first taste of Tesla back in the day and it opens with a flurry of notes that everyone in the audience recognized and the serious rocking commenced! This is what we came to see! Another new tune "Breaking Free" followed into "Hang Tough", the first single off of Tesla's multi platinum second album "The Great Radio Controversy". The audience was eating out of their hand and went to new heights when the blues crunch beginning of the follow up to "Hang Tough" started - "Heaven's Trail (No Way Out)" with the audience singing along especially the "I'm on a slick trip, I'm always ready TO....KICK....ASSSSS!" part! Woooo Friggin Hoooo...I probably threw some devil horns at this point....

Time to take it down a little with "Call It What You Want" off Psychotic Supper (their fourth album and I think the last one I bought new) followed by a bit of a deep track off their debut (Mechanical Resonance) "We're No Good Together" oddly the couple next to me were slow dancing to this one!

A powerful "Shine Away" was next right into the HUGE audience fave/singalong "Song and Emotion". At it finale two acoustic guitars were set up on stands center stage and while the rest of the band exited the two guitarists (Rude and Frank Hannon) stayed. Everyone was expecting "Love Song" (maybe even a bigger charted hit than "Signs"?) but instead we were treated to Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" with Hannon on great vocals (He also sang backup for Jeff Keith all night who was in strong form). "Little Wing" sequed perfectly into the acoustic opening of "Love Song" as the rest of the band came back on stage and this was the lighter held high singalong of the night!

I thought that would be the end of the first set, but the band instead played their soon to be released single "Fallin Apart" which is again what Tesla do best - a catchy rockin rock radio (does that exist anymore?) friendly song.

Even with the newer material, the crowd never let go or wavered, but when "What You Give" started up, so did the roar of cheers. The madness continued with "Into The Now" and then came the final blow, the insanely rocking "Comin' Atcha Live"...oh hells yes...this is probably my fave and me head was a banging! Phew!

The band said their thanks and the crowd asked for more so after 5 minutes they came back out and noodled about for a bit on Led Zeppelin's D'yer Mak'er (and I think I heard a little "I Don't Need No Doctor" in there too...hmm...maybe they are like WASP who did a cover of that Humble Pie classic) before launching into another huge singalong, the you knew they had to play - "Signs". More goodnights and that was it!

Damn near a two hour show (and hot as all hell - it's been in the/close to the 90's here this NY...In APRIL?!?) I was sweaty and bushed and ready to go, but suprised and bummed not to have heard "Little Suzi" (Their very first single and also a huge fave) and "Gettin' Better" but I can't complain, most Mondays in Poughkeepsie aren't this good.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lou Reed's Metal Machine Trio (Quartet) - NYC April 24, 2009 concert review

About a month ago while doing my weekly checking of new concert announcements I saw "Lou Reed's Metal Machine Trio" was doing two nights at the Blender Theatre at Gramercy in NYC. My first thought was Lou was bringing his live orchestration of 1975's "Metal Machine Music" Album to the US.

Not Quite.

Two or Three years ago, Ulrich Kreiger took Lou's album of noise and adapted it for Orchestra. Lou went to Germany and joined Ulrich and the orchestra for one or two performances. I'm not sure if these only ever live versions were released here officially (although I think they were), but I had downloaded an audience recording of one of the performances back when they occurred was interesting.

So I did some investigating and it turns out Mr. Reed has a side band called the Metal Machine Trio (or possibly called Best Seat In The House according to Lou's website that consists of Lou on guitar and electronics, Ulrich on tenor saxophone and electronics and Sarth Calhoun on live processing and fingerbooard continuum - no vocals. They had previously done two nights in Los Angeles late last year and those performances titled "The Creation of the Universe" are available on Lou's website.

There's a two minute sample clips from both night one and night two on the site and upon listening you realize the title is very accurate. The music is very atmospheric and chill. The images brought to mind were lava flows and suns rising and setting - I could hear this as a soundtrack to a Discovery Channel documentary on "The Creation of the Universe".

In a "rock music" sense it reminded me of say a two minute section from the middle of a 1970 Pink Floyd thirty minute jam.

So I'm intrigued...let's see how much tix are...50 bucks! Shit...sorry these tough times I'm not sure I have that kind of green for your experimental is on a we'll see...

So a week or two later I'm checking the Village Voice giveaways and they say they're giving tix away to Lou's shows...I enter...I hear nothing...

Until Thursday April 23...I come home from work...check my email and I see "YOU'RE a WINNER!" I don't get excited as I figure it's a free trial sample of the newest penis enlargement cream (not that I EVER entered to win THAT or need it!), but instead it says I can have free tix to either tonight or tomorrow's show...we'll it's too late for me to hop a train down to the city so I write back, say I'll take the Friday Night tix and lo and behold I'm gonna see Lou!

Show is scheduled to start at 8:30...I grab the train after work, head on down, stop at Manitoba's for my usual pre-show in the city couple of brews and head on up to 23rd street to the Theatre.

This is only the second ever show I've seen here (The Residents last year was the other - evidently it's the place to go when I want to get my avant garde on) and I wonder why, because it's a great place to see a show. A small floor section (they had about 12 rows of 25 seats set out with a small section to stand behind them) and then a permanent seating loge section in the back.

According to the marquee, they were doing half price tix for students and the giveaway list was HUGE! Looked to be about 100 names that won tix like I did and when I got there about 8:15, I only saw one other name crossed off that list...why do people enter contests if they're not gonna go?

It was still a decent turnout...about 75% of the floor seats were filled when I got there. The whole first row and most of the second were reserved for VIP's (I was SO celeb hunting, but saw no one "famous"). Turned out the three seats closest to the aisle in the second row were not reserved so I actually grabbed the second row seat on the aisle! Nice!

While billed as Metal Machine Trio - when Lou walked out at 8:40 it was a quartet because of the additional saxophone of "everybody's friend John Zorn" as Lou announced him and introduced the band.

Sarth walked over to his array of electronics and two laptops right in front of me. Lou sat center stage in a circle of equipment, looking more like he was about to command a spaceship instead of making music. The two Saxaphonists were on the other end of the stage and the music began...

This was not "The Creation of the Universe" was not chill...this was industrial groove...this was loud and meant to be played that way.

Lou is the mad scientist / puppet master of the group. You have to assume there is at least a skeleton to this piece, but that appears to be all - the tempos and sounds change through nods and smiles given by Lou to his bandmates, especially during the first third of the piece before Lou actually plays his guitar.

The piece peaks three times...the first comes about 20 to 25 minutes in with Sarth headbanging and his long hair flying around the stage, Lou looks as happy as I've ever seen him watching this while on the other side Zorn and Kreiger are in many ways doing their best Jimi Hendrix attacks - intense staccato of notes until it can go no higher and Zorn sits down to and steps back while the band reloads...

Ulrich who moments before was dueling with Zorn now takes his Hendrix with Sax to a new level has he uses the Sax against his stage monitor and plays feedback (without blowing a note)...

Everyone slowly joins in with this feedback rhythm and the music once again starts to build...while there are no vocals per se, Lou does shout a word or fragment of sentence out here and there which is looped and becomes part of the piece...the second peak comes soon after the first at about 9:20 and one wonders where they band will go from here...

It's answered quickly as Lou is given a guitar...the guitar at first is just another piece of background but soon rises to the forefront with some great distorted metal rhythm riffing...Zorn who has been more or less sitting out for about 15 minutes soon joins back in and this leads to about 10 minutes of the mellowest part of the set with lou laying back on the six string...some dueling saxophone, the music taken's the only part of the set that somewhat bores me, but it is used to bring on the final ending peak...

As Lou and Sarth re-enter and take control with something of a heavy duty sludge fest, Ulrich turns his sax into a percussion instrument slapping it like a drum instead of playing it with his use a Velvet Underground reference it's like the moment in Sister Ray when everyone realizes they need to bring everything they can, to give every sound their instruments can give and when they reach that point with everyone looking to Lou, he does a chop of the Hand and it ends.

Total time about 70 minutes - just enough for a CD which I bet will be on offer soon!

The band gets a standing ovation, Lou thanks everyone for coming out and says maybe he was onto something in 1975 when he released Metal Machine Music afterall.

(* Picture wise I've come to realize that the camera on my phone is obviously a pure hunk of crap! But these give you a shot of the scene and an idea of how small the joint is *)