Concert Review: Blast From The Past – Clays Park Resort, Aug. 19-21st 2011

Once upon a time, there was a magical campground that held within it’s borders an annual music festival called “Rock N’ Resort”. The festival was a jubilant celebration comprised of mostly older rock acts (many of whom one wouldn’t expect to still be touring), sharing the stage alongside up & coming local talent from the nearby villages. It was a 3 day affair of rocking out, drinking and debauchery – and the Reverend (& Mrs. Reverend) saw that it was good.

Then in the year 2011, the festival was cancelled because a new promoter had taken over it’s management. “Rock N’ Resort” was replaced with “Rock THE Resort”, and older rock acts gave way to younger, more mainstream talent with the obvious hope of bringing in large throngs to the sacred acres of Clay’s Resort. But yeah, there was a terrible backlash and gnashing of teeth upon the promoter by Those Who Had Come Before.

And so, in haste to appease the offended spirits (and perhaps spurred on by attendance concerns at the revamped festival), a second festival was announced although the time was short. Thus arose the lengthily named “End Of Summer Blast From The Past”, which we shall refer to as simply BftP hereafter. It was an honorable event, sporting names of yore like Pat Travers (pictured, left), The Godz, L.A. Guns, Jackyl, Blue Oyster Cult, Chuck Negron (formerly of Three Dog Night) and others.

But things were not the same. The primitive camping had been moved from next to the performance area (a mighty & ideal location, all did say) to far off in the woods or completely to the other side of the campgrounds. Food vendors were plentiful, expensive beer was readily availed, but alas – the crowds had seemingly forsaken this new festival (or simply hadn’t had time to rearrange their vacation schedules).

Forsooth, there were not many in attendance – tho Those Who Had Come Before did smile upon this occurrence & blessed it with the presence of a select few of their number (as did the Reverend & his bride). Yet, in the end, with angered merchants and disgruntled campers one fears that classic rock may ne’er return to the hallowed hills & sighing valleys of Clay’s Park.

And that my children, is the cautionary tale of the “Rock N’ Resort”.

Concert Review: Alice Cooper – LC Pavilion, Columbus OH 8/17/2011

There are entertainers that should just hang it up. They can’t move around the stage like they used to, they can’t hit the high notes anymore.  It’s a travesty to see them destroy memories of previous tours as their bloated, wrinkled form waddles around using the mike stand like a crutch.  Thankfully, Alice Cooper is NOT one of these entertainers.  Long Live Alice!

His lengthy & highly theatrical show at the LC was probably the most impressive I’ve ever seen him perform, what with over 20 songs and his infamous stage sets & props (including a Iron Maiden-like Frankenstein that came out during “Feed My Frankenstein” – as shown here).  BTW, that photo is from a show in Helsinki about a month prior to the one I attended, check out Adrián Pérez’s photo stream on Flickr for more on that one. It was just a MUCH clearer picture than anything I can offer.

Alice’s band roster now has 3 guitarists (Damon Johnson, Tommy Henriksen and AC veteran Steve Hunter), a bassist (Chuck Garric) and a drummer (Glen Sobel) which gives him a monster sound & enables the band to reproduce anything in Cooper’s repertoire faithfully. Unlike some rock “stars”, Alice is generous with the spotlight on his band-mates & it’s obvious they all enjoy playing live together. I honestly think an audience can tell when they’re watching the real thing – this is the real thing.

The entire setlist is available on Setlist.fm HERE but it consisted mostly of classics with a few obscurities to keep you guessing; “I’m Eighteen”, “Poison”, “Hey Stoopid”, “Under My Wheels”, “Billion Dollar Babies”, “Only Women Bleed”, “No More Mr. Niceguy”, “Cold Ethyl” (with obligatory doll abuse), new single “I’ll Bite Your Face Off” and of course “School’s Out” were standout performances but really, the entire show was first rate. Interestingly, nothing off “From The Inside” (my all-time favorite Alice Cooper album) or the seminal “Welcome to my Nightmare”. The second is even more surprising when you consider that “Welcome 2 My Nightmare” is being released in September – one would think that they would play off that synergy.

Anyhow, Cooper is still the consummate showman and this performance showcased his ability to completely mesmerize the nearly sold-out crowd. I’ve often said that Alice Cooper should start a festival tour to rival Ozzfest – imagine if you will Coopertown or something like that featuring The Murderdolls or GWAR or Mushroomhead. With this type of support, and Alice still maintaining a viable, thrilling show. . .well, it would be ‘killer’.

New Business Cards

I feel more legitimate already.  The back reads “Candor Dat Viribus Alas”.  Latin, and roughly translated, means “Truth Gives Wings To Strength”.   For everyone who’s ever been unhappy with one of my reviews . . . something to think about.  All I’m sayin’.

Peace.

Concert Review: Woodshock Day 2

Day two of Woodshock was . . . weirder than Day 1, and I got the impression all was not going smoothly backstage. More on that in a bit. Here’s the high-points of the day’s line-up;

Mari Jayn – was one of two bands this day that I thought were no more. I’m glad I was wrong on both counts. MJ is what you would call ‘biker rock’, with fist pumping arena anthems & song titles like ‘Modern Day Outlaw’, ‘Creatures’ and ‘The Animal’. Good ole’ fashioned rock n’ roll, I’ve been wearing their swag for years (and picked up a free do rag courtesy of bassist Mikel Anthony). Guitarist Manus D. is pictured. Badass!

Spike Opera – The other reunited band that I previously thought was metal history. Has a VERY loyal following in their hometown of Springfield, Ohio (which coincidentally is my birthplace as well), and brought many of their brethren to the show. Decent Thrash metal but their set suffered from technical difficulties and a muddy sound. Need to hear them again sometime as they have the potential to kill. Sadly, their drummer Kenny shattered his foot backstage later that night. OH NO, THEY GOT KENNY! Seriously, tho – here’s hoping for a speedy recovery dude!

Altemira – A nu-metal trio out of Lima that was really fucking loud for a 3 piece, and had a good, full sound. Go to their Reverb Nation page (linked) and download 7 songs for free. Another band that I need to hear more from.

Then things started to get weird as, among other things, there was a Reggae act playing and what seemed like an eternity of Marley-esque “happy” music while nothing was on stage at all. I napped & prayed for the bad men to go away.

The Black Order – We were now officially into the stoner portion of the festival as TBO plowed through a sludgefest of Sabbath/Black Label inspired hymns of doom. Really dug these guys, especially the THC-drenched ‘Bleed The Sky’ (check it out on their Facebook page). Quite possibly one of the greatest discoveries of the entire weekend.

This Blessed Hatred – Who knew people were so pissed off in Springfield, Ohio? First Spike Opera, now TBH – wow, way to represent at the ‘shock! Crunchy Death metal just like your Daddy likes it, with discernible lyrics, galloping rhythms and wonderfully offbeat tempo changes. I love a band that intentionally makes their songs more complicated & interesting – well done guys! Check out ‘Krawl’ on their page (linked).

Mystic Syntax – Merging Industrial & Trance in an atmospheric symphony while maintaining their metal edge, these guys are quickly becoming a favorite. Not your typical festival act, and I applaud their creativity (and being able to play in the ridiculous heat that burned all of us during their set). Highly recommended.

Lazarus A.D. – Winners of the 2011 Rim Of Hell Favorite award (which I just now created), Lazarus A.D. stormed the stage & basically schooled everyone in how Thrash is done. Seriously folks, check’em out and become a believer. Tight as hell with a unique dueling guitar/dueling vocals attack. On their fanpage, someone wrote “these guys will save Thrash Metal”. Quite possibly.

Bobaflex – Wouldn’t be a party without the McCoys in town, and that’s just what we got; brothers Shawn & Marty McCoy, alternating guitar & vocal duties alongside their bandmates, to mesmerize the audience (esp. the women, let’s be honest here) with their bare knuckled brand of rowdy, dirty & accessible rock n’ roll. This was the Mrs.’s favorite of the festival . . . .gee, I wonder why?

SEVER – Local favorites, who actually don’t feel like a ‘local’ act at all, their sound being far more professional & polished than one would expect of an unsigned band. SEVER get lots of radio exposure and has seen an explosion of their fan-base – deservedly so. Check out ‘Speechless’ on their Reverb Nation page, as I think it showcases their style and versatility.

Hed(PE) – The final two bands of the evening went thru Hell & back to get to Woodshock, the first being Hed(PE) who had to borrow SEVER’s equipment because their’s was AWOL (but were rumored to NOT have given everything back – shame, shame boys). Still, their show is one part punk/rap, one part environmental evangelism and 100% entertaining. It’d been a while since I’d seen the ‘Hed, and I was totally blown away. I should mention here that the Mrs. wants me to tell you Hed(PE) were “also her favorite of the festival”. Not sure that she is picking just one favorite, but whatev. Go Listen to “It’s All Over”.

Closing the festival, but not by choice, was Dead By Wednesday who had the mother of all roadtrips to get to Woodshock (the details are sketchy but there were vehicle issues and mayhem involved). Honestly, I didn’t get to hear most of their set (there were strippers and a drum circle – I get distracted easily) but admire the band’s ‘Never Say Die’ attitude to make it to the show.

So there you have it; typical Woodshock in that all sorts of craziness abounded, things got broken, and blood & sweat were the rule of the day. But as you can see, there were literally TONS of talented bands sharing that stage over the weekend. I am truly glad I was there to experience it. Join me next year, mmk?

We Interrupt This Concert Review For An Important Video

I got home late today, so I’m gonna hold off on Part 2 of my thoughts on Woodshock until tomorrow. Have no fear my children, as in the meantime I can share a link that Icon For Hire’s people sent me – the official video for ‘Make A Move’ off the upcoming CD ‘Scripted’ which drops August 23rd. That Ariel. . . she’s awfully easy on the eyes (and ears). Enjoy!

Or you can visit the actual link (show’em some love, mmk?) – HERE

Concert Review: Woodshock 2011 – Day One

For the second year in a row, the wife & I went to Thornville, Ohio to attend Woodshock at Legend Valley. Much smaller crowd turnout this time around, possibly due to a weaker bill with (Hed) P.E. and Kottonmouth Kings headlining their respective nights, but still a great time spent with some cool new friends. Gotta question the decision to have two headliners of a Rap or Rap-Metal variety when so many of the other bands were Thrash or Death Metal but that’s just my take.

My other complaint – no band showtimes were listed for the public. None. Totally had to guess who was gonna play when, and more than a few bands did a piss poor job of promoting themselves (i.e. saying who the hell they were), which made this reviewer do a LOT of extra digging. Bottom line – I’m only gonna talk about the bands that stood out to me. If I don’t mention a band, I either didn’t care for them, missed their set OR didn’t know who they were. So briefly, here’s my thoughts on day one;

Paper Thin Disaster – I’ve heard a lot about these guys online so I wanted to check them out personally. Very heavy Screamcore, vocals got a little irritating sometimes but if you’re into that genre, these guys deliver the brutality.

Podium – reminded me a little of Pantera with their heavy groove and guttural vocals. I cannot find a band page for these guys anywhere, but here’s a Youtube video to give you a taste (this song was great live!).

Roxy Mae – Total 80’s glam sound with Papa Roach like looks, Roxy Mae have listened to a few Poison albums in their day. I will say it was a refreshing change from all the lung vomiting.

Brain Leak – Gets an ‘F’ for self promotion as I never heard them say who they were. Mad scientist motif is mildly unusual but their sound is more of a pummeling Death Metal variety. Would love to see them expand upon their image.

Neckrum – had the sound that I was expecting from Brain Leak; Gothic & creepy Screamcore with occasional interludes of keyboard. Gave away a free promo CD (thumbs up!). I would definitely catch these guys again.

Icon For Hire – The only female fronted band of the festival (pictured), Icon for Hire owes a lot of their sound to Flyleaf, what with their pop-infused choruses and uptempo guitar riffs. Great crowd reaction, especially for “Make A Move”.

Sorrows Song – Ran the gamut from brutal to radio friendly, growling vocals to clean, with a nod to Prog & Nu-metal (they liken themselves to Killswitch Engage – a fair comparison). Interesting chord progressions and mixture of song styles – definitely a thinking band.

7th Cycle – Reminded me of Five Finger Death Punch, with melodic yet heavy songs that cry out for radio airplay. Probably one of the most polished acts of the day, took a risk by covering Britney Spear’s “Toxic” with an awesome metal crunch. Were joined for a song by Tim Buchenroth (Woodshock’s founder) on bass.

Downplay – About to release a CD nationally, but did a terrible job of promoting themselves (again, SAY who you are – a few times). Tremendous energy onstage but a more mainstream sound than I would prefer. Still, I can see these guys becoming huge. Women loved them.

Kottonmouth Kings – VERY rap influenced, but they do what they do very well. I must say I enjoyed their set, even though I’m only a marginal fan of the genre. Every song was cannabis-centric – surprised? Women REALLY loved them, this band probably has more fun on tour than anyone else!

And there you have it – Day one of Woodshock. Day 2, well . . .it had some eccentricities (Reggae!?) but we’ll discuss all that in the next post.

The Future Of Thrash Is Here

While you all await my review of Woodshock 2011 with baited breath, behold the band that damn near leveled the festival.  I have seen the future of Thrash metal, and it’s name is . . .Lazarus A.D.  \m/

Hear Jamey Jasta’s Solo Release – Free.

Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed, Kingdom of Sorrow) just released his first solo album, called simply ‘Jasta’, and was kind enough to do so on my birthday (July 26th – did you send me a gift?). What’s cool about this is you can hear the entire thing for free on AOL music (HERE). Thanks to Blabbermouth.net for the info & a great article about the release.

Hatebreed fans are sure to love this one, so go check it out!

 

Best Opening Guitar Riff of the past 10 years.

Challenge me if you’ve got a better one. I’ve seen this live, and it was . . . mesmerizing. Enjoy!

Bands You’re Not Listening To – Achren

I’ve recently been enjoying a live DVD for the Scottish Black/Thrash metal band Achren called ‘Impaled at Bloodstock-Open-Air 2010′. I’m convinced these guys need to tour the states with our own Skeletonwitch as there’s a lot of similarity in their musical styles – and they’re both fuckin’ brutal! Achren’s self-described ‘Blood Metal’ sound is one part chest pounding Battle Metal and one part raspy Black – all channeled thru vocalist/guitarist Scott Anderson (who bears resemblance to Soulfly’s Max Cavalera), guitarist Callum Kirk, Bassist John Clark Paterson and skin-bashing demon Gordon Johnston.

The disc features their entire set at Bloodstock, a performance that won them the ‘Metal 2 the Masses Initiative 2010’ title and in turn insured 2011 invites to Metal Camp (Slovenia), the mighty Wacken Open Air (Germany) and a slot on Bloodstock 2011. The Foursome from the Northsome (like that? I just made it up!) blast thru songs like the adrenaline fueled ‘Wings of War’, ‘Blood Soaked Banner’ (one of my fave’s – I love it’s blackened, oldschool vibe), ‘The Way of the Twilight or the Aura of Flies’, ‘Fury of the Northmen’ (another one with catchy Thrash riffs), ‘Forgotten King’, the pummeling ‘Bastards on the Gallows or Bastards on the Rack’ and instant classic ‘Impaled’ (which is included below so you can check it out yourself).

The DVD itself does suffer from a few flaws as Anderson’s guitar is muddled & hard to distinguish, and there’s scarcely any footage of the audience – which is a lot more massive than it would appear at first. Still, the multi-camera angles are professionally shot and Achren’s dominance of the stage is fully captured in all it’s glory.

Definitely give the video a watch as these guys are destined for great things in the hallowed black annals of heavy metal. If you’re interested in getting the full DVD, you can order it HERE. New album ‘The Forgotten King’ is forthcoming too, so watch their site (www.achren.com) for more details.

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