Concert Review: Cold-Kopek-Oceans Divide 4-1-2011

I was treated to this line-up at the Alrosa Villa on April Fool’s Day, but if it was a joke – it wasn’t on me! Truly awesome time was had experiencing some excellently crafted rock n’ roll.

First up after the local bands were the Alternative rockers Oceans Divide out of Spokane, WA. Very radio accessible & melodic, I also found them to be extremely energetic and a lot of fun to watch (with WAY more stage presence than any of the local bands, sadly). Not syrupy or chock full of mindless ballads, a slight punk influence was evident alongside healthy doses of metal and hard rock. Hey, I don’t mind a more mainstream act if it’s done well and in this case, it was. Nice guys too, which always helps. I hate meeting a band then wanting to kick them in the face.

Ireland’s Kopek were next, a band I’ve been wanting to catch live ever since reviewing their CD. They totally lived up to my expectations, with a dynamic set comprised of my favorite songs, flawlessly executed & powerful – like a slap across the noggin.  Lead vocalist/guitarist Daniel Jordan (pictured with yours truly) isn’t a tall man, but he’s a giant onstage with a full-out vocal assault that quite honestly, I don’t see how he replicates night after night while on tour.   His band mates played hard & tight, delivering a phenomenal performance that I’m sure instantly brought them many new fans.  The set list consisted of “Fever”, “Love Sick Blues”, “The Easy Way”, “White Collar Lies”, “Cocaine Chest Pains”, first single “Love is Dead” and finally “Bring It On Home”.  You couldn’t ask for a better performance.

Last up was the reunited Cold.  Ok, ok – I know they’ve been back together since 2009 but this is MY first time seeing them since then, so I’m sticking with the term ‘reunited’.  Anyways, the nearly sold-out venue was treated to an excellent set of greatest hits (my all-time fave being “Stupid Girl”, like so many other folks) plus a taste of their new CD (“Wicked World” for example, showcases that their sound hasn’t lost anything over the time away).

Vocalist Scooter Ward, despite looking more gaunt than I remember, has lost nothing in the pipes department while the rest of the band blasted a literal wall of sound that encapsulated the brainstem & tickled my cortex.  And I like having my cortex tickled.  Seriously tho, they had a great mix and an impressive stage show oozing with smoke and flashing spotlight beams.   Where I honestly expected a lot of mellowness,  we the audience were thankfully rewarded with more high energy rock n’ roll that left everyone sweaty, soaked and weary.

Great triple bill.  We didn’t get Egypt Central who are also on this tour, as they’re playing Rock On The Range here in a few more weeks.  From what I saw this is a bill of bands that perfectly compliment one another, without being 3 sets of “didn’t we just hear this?”.  Definitely catch this tour when it comes to your area.

Kopek Is Coming To Columbus!

If you’ve been a visitor here before, you know that The Rev really likes Irish rockers Kopek & their new album “White Collar Lies”. Well, they’re touring the States currently, and tomorrow night (4/1) they’ll hit the stage with Cold and Egypt Central at the legendary Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio.

Folks, this band has a long history of winning Battle of the Band competitions, so I’m thinking their live performances have to be phenomenal. Won’t you join me & check’em out?

Here’s another video to whet your appetite – “Cocaine Chest Pains”. Yeah, it’s grungy but it’s got a great melody. Enjoy, and see ya’ at the Alrosa!

Music Review: Saw 3D – Music Inspired By The Motion Picture

I hold in my hot little hands the soundtrack to the newest, & reportedly last, Saw movie – Saw 3D. Actually, it’s not so much a soundtrack as it is “music inspired by the motion picture”. How one is inspired by a movie BEFORE it is released is beyond the scope of this review. I’ll let the philosophic online decide that one.

And what an eclectic mixture it contains; the heaviest song is either Lordi performing the anthemic “This Is Heavy Metal” or the growling Wagdug Futuristic Unity song “Ram The Crush, but no black or death metal like one might half expect. However, of the 16 tracks on the disc, there are quite a few heavy hitters including songs from Saving Abel, Hinder, Dead By Sunrise (side project of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, who’s also in the film), Saliva, My Darkest Days, Krokus, Nitzer Ebb, Adelitas Way and Dir En Grey being the most instantly recognizable to me.  Also included are Rim of Hell fav’s Karnivool & Kopek, both of which have CD’s reviewed by yours truly.

This is a solid assemblage, with predominately radio accessible tracks but the occasional “WTF!” track (EBM legends Nitzer Ebb’s inclusion threw me for a loop but I was glad to see them on the track list all the same).  Many songs are previously released but a few gems are hidden for collectors; Saving Abel’s “Never”, Saliva’s most excellent “Badass”, and Dir En Grey’s “Hageshisa To, Kono Mune No Naka De Karamitsuita Shakunetsu No Yami” (Whew!) are all unreleased & not a one is ‘filler’.

Lesser known works worth mentioning include I-Exist “Fire Fly” &  Boom Boom Satellites “What Goes Round Comes Around” – both songs reminding me of Orgy or an edgier Gary Numan.    I also find myself playing Adelitas Way “Scream”, Hinder’s “Waking Up The Devil” and Saliva’s “Badass” a LOT.  How many soundtrack albums can you say that about?

Saw fans – this is a must have.  Rock enthusiasts – ditto.  I’m all the more excited for the movie’s release after playing this disc a few times through.  Bring on the blood!

Music Review: Kopek – White Collar Lies

Kopek is an Irish rock trio out of Dublin who released their first CD “White Collar Lies” on iTunes back in June. The hard copy version will be out in mid-September, so you still have plenty of time to decide if you want to download now, or go oldschool to wait for the disc.  I say do the download as this is a band with a buzz – don’t wanna be late to the party, know what I mean?

The first single “Love Is Dead” (which is handily linked below for your viewing enjoyment) is catchy yet gritty,  repetitious as hell which only serves to drive the melody home much like Enuff Z’ Nuff did with ‘New Thing’ back in the 80’s (that one STILL rings through my head at 3am sometimes).

Beyond that, the entire disc is infectiously well written, rocking out in places like “Cocaine Chest Pains” yet just as easily sliding into softer pieces (“Floridian” or “Bigger Than Us All”) without the band removing their ball sacs in the process.  Fairly diverse in execution, “White Collar Lies” shows Kopek to be a band that doesn’t fit neatly into any record store category.  If you must give them a label, ‘Modern Rock’ is probably the most accurate.  An opening slot for Pearl Jam seems inevitable, at least to me.

Vocalist/guitarist Daniel Jordan has a bluesy, almost gravely quality to his voice that hints at the 10 years of roadwork this band has logged to date.  Alongside bassist Brad Kinsella & drummer Shane Cooney, the threesome have honed their chops winning a myriad of battle of the band contests & playing the usual roadhouse night shifts  – all leading up to their delivery of this most impressive debut effort.  While not metal as is typically written about on these pages,  I’ve literally had this CD in my car for about 3 weeks straight.  To be honest, I’ve found the intricacy & depth of each song requires multiple listenings to fully appreciate.

Each song of this album could stand alone as a single if necessary; there is no ‘filler piece’ to round out the playing time of the disc.  In fact, I find the track listing to be almost backwards as my favorite tunes are near the end (where a lesser band would bury a godawful cover of something by The Smiths and be done with it).  Songs like the very Indie-ish “The Easy Way (D.B. Cooper)”, the surprisingly bluesy “Sub Human” or the minimalist “Sin City” which being dead last on the disc, is amazingly subtle . . . and haunts the mind like a new found memory (and excellently showcases Jordan’s range).

So check out the vid below with one word of caution; what you will see is but a single facet of a larger, and incredibly more complex, diamond in the rough.  I look forward to seeing this one shine all on it’s own.