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News From the Pit
I've been super busy getting my Rock For Kosair Benefit (Sat., Nov 19 at Diamond Pub on Barret) going again now that I'm feeling better. It's a lot of work and planning and dealing with lots of people, from sponsors to bands to venues to radio stations! It's crazy. But I love doing this and being able to help someone. Hopefully, we'll be able to buy tons of toys for the kids for Christmas, like we have done every year! This is the first one back since the Phoenix Hill Tavern closed down, so the kids really need us this year! This would be the first year for Kosair to not get help from RFK, so we cannot let that happen.
I know attendance at Louisville original shows has plummeted and it's not like the good ole days, but it is what it is and we cannot give up, especially when it comes to the kids. So please, even if you don't like the bands - or me, for that matter - please come to support the cause of helping needy families to be able to give their children a decent Christmas. Kosair Charities is an awesome organization! Great people. In gratitude, they even made me a memory bookay of the kids opening the toys on Christmas! That was cool. I wouldn't work with anyone else. Plus, it's always a great party and a rockin' rock show! And the guitars and prizes we give away are pretty sweet.
The odds of winning aren't that bad, either!! Much better than you would think.
Jared at Diamond Pub gave us a nice deal, so I thank him for that! What a great guy! That's what it is all about! Peeps working together instead of egos, attitudes and negative Neds who want you to fail. There is way too much of that nonsense in our music scene and that sucks ass.
This is our chance to come together and do something GOOD. So let's not waste the opportunity.
The Kosair rep Stephanie Smith was very happy we are back with RFK and she will be helping us, too.
I am currently looking into radio sponsors but since Louisville has been de-rock radioed, pickings are slim, at best! Greedy-ass iheartmedia have pretty much shit on everyone and most likely RFK as well, so I don't know if that can be mended. But we will soldier on! Work with what we have, for the sake of the kiddos!
So there it is peeps! I'm looking forward to seeing you all at RFKXI, the eleventh Rock For Kosair Benefit for Kosair Charities on Saturday, November 19 at Diamond Pub on Barret Ave. It starts at 6 p.m., sharp!! Be early. It is the first one back since the Phoenix Hill Tavern closed down, so the kids really need us! Here is the lineup – Naked Garden, Grindstone (Reunion), Year Of The Gun, Hellfire Militia, VAMT, Doppelganger, Guerilla Red, Despite The Fallen, White Crosses (Ramones Tribute) Boombox Poets, Before The Streetlights, 100 Proof Mojo, Acoustakink, Petrock, Abbuie, Jack Brizendine and Jayson William Allan.
Don't forget - I've got a slew of neat prizes for you to win: a few guitars, an amplifier, tattoos and other goodies as well – when you get a free door prize ticket with paid admission! But there are only a certain number of tickets to be given out, so get there early to be sure to get one!
The Giveaways will be later on in the night, so hold onto those ticket stubs!
Please SHARE and Invite friends! Look for Rock For Kosair 11 event on Facebook.
The Metal Grapevine
Louder Than Life; the review:
Omg, what a time. I had so much fun. Danny Wimmer is a genius. Bringing LTL to Louisville is like a businessman offering a man dying of thirst that just walked out of a desert, a nice big drink of ice cold Gatorade - for a good cheap price. It's a win win situation! You can't lose. This city was so event starved that Mr. Wimmer is now a frikkin' legend 'round these here parts!
Yeah, it's pretty much history. This was my third year covering the event and it was a great time just like the first two. In fact, I'm pretty sure I was one of the first columnists who plugged and supported LTL in Louisville. It feels good to have been there from the beginning.
The people, the food, the music, the smell of pungent weed just hung in the air all day (not that I partook). For some excellent reason, the police didn't seem to care much about people smoking weed. I even heard from an inside source that the police weren't going to mess with people who smoked herb, because they were not the ones starting fights and causing trouble. This is true! Everyone got along famously. I didn't see one fight or instance of tomfoolery or violence. If anything, all the smokers did was boost the food sales tremendously. Next year I'm buying stock in the gourmet man food.
It was an amazing weekend. I can barely walk from three consecutive days of jamming, walking, reviewing, photographing, but I'm good to go now after three days of recuperating. Thank god my super-cool boss is understanding! I estimate that I walked at least about 30 miles at LTL. But I lived to tell my tale. So now the review.
My weekend was a busy one. Trying to get to the stages photo pit was difficult at times and maneuvering in them at times was almost impossible due to the abnormally high number of photographers and security catching bodies as they flew over the barricade. I had to leave band's sets to be able to get to the photo pit on time so I could get a free spot, so I ended up missing songs that I really wanted to see. That sucks, but at least I got some decent pics! And that was a chore in itself. Never have I had a more difficult time getting pics than at this event. The photo pit was a madhouse. And then you had kids flying over the barricade one after another, feet, arms, heads crashing down upon us poor unsuspecting camera folk. Some kids foot-clocked me in the nugget pretty hard as he flew over the wall, but I recovered quickly. And the stage was so high this year, it was very hard for me to get the customary picture of the bands' setlists, which usually helps me do my review big-time! Not this year, I was gonna have to wing it.
You can't stop LMN, mofo!
The crowd loved LTL in every way. All I saw were happy people. Young people, old people, weird people, drunk people, stoned people, freaks dressed up like superheroes, super-hot chicks, Slipknot fans dressed up like their favorite band and all manner of wild concert-going folk. It was a true smorgasbord of humanity – all playing together nicely and getting along. It was lovely.
Walking towards the main entrance, we heard Australia's Twelve Foot Ninja kicking ass. I liked what I heard but they were done by the time I got near the stage. My bassist was bummed because he really likes them! It took a few minutes to get in the place and to get my media passes and such. TFN has a very modern but heavy sound that I found very likable. I wish I could have seen more. The name is a bit off-putting, but the music was good! Very groove oriented.
I arrived at the stages in time to photograph Avatar. A band I have heard a lot about but had never seen. This Swedish band had a weird little gimmick where they wore clownish, carnival-like, marionette, puppet-like, sideshow-style outfits that almost looked like a marching bands outfit in the 1920s. The guitarist had a handlebar mustache from ages past and that and the outfit made for an outrageous look. However, when they played, the music was heavy as hell and pretty damn good. I got a good look at the singer and, man, does that guy have a big-ass mouth. He opened his mouth wide and I thought it was a mask, it was so big. You coulda slipped a shoe in dude's mouth and not even touched his teeth! They do say that people with big mouths sing better. Hell, look at Mick Jagger and Stephen Tyler.
Avatar's style is heavy metal, but with some melodic vocals as well, which I liked. Vocalist Johannes Eckerstrom isn't shy or scared to go out there and give it his all, that's for sure! He gave 110% and did not "play it safe" on his vocals, like many singers do. He went for all the high notes as well as the heavier growls n' stuff. Up until Avatar, whilst walking in and getting my Media stuff and preparing for the day, I heard some of the opening bands and I wasn't very impressed (except for Twelve Foot Ninja), until Avatar came on. They really turned things up a notch or three. People seemed to wake up and take notice immediately. I heard many a folk commenting how they loved Avatar after their set. I agree. It wasn't boring. It wasn't some clone of 50 other bands that all sound the same. At first I thought the singer was a Marilyn Manson clone, but not this guy. He had his own dealio going on and it was quite effective. Heaviness with melody! Avatar rocked! They knew it too, as they said "We just stole the show!" They did. At least up till that point. Check out Avatar!
I Prevail and The Amity Affliction were okay, I guess, but it seemed a bit too similar in styles for my tastes, although The Amity Affliction was a bit heavier. I kinda liked TAA, though.
About this time, we were starving, so we went and got some grub. Island Noodles! This small booth is legendary now. Everyone and their mother had Island Noodles. I can't imagine the money they made selling spiced-up veggies and noodles to the masses like they did. I bet they made $100,000 dollars profit, because the line was outrageously long!
Hellyeah came on and played a brutal set, including "Sangre Por Sangre (Blood for Blood)," "Moth," "Startariot," a Phil Collins cover "I Don't Care Anymore," which shocked me, and "Human." I've seen these guys a lot recently, even opening for them last year and they are good people. I heard a few people bitching about Hellyeah's sound, but I thought it was okay. The drums were killing. I like it when vocalist Chay Grey sings, as opposed to the screaming all the time, which he does more than ever.
The crowd surfing was in full swing as an endless line of people came flying towards the front barricade. The security was ready for it, though. More than ready for it!
Then it was time for metal legends Anthrax. I was happy. Some old-school metal for me! The first song was "Caught In A Mosh" and it was killer. I don't think the younger crowd knew how to handle a band where the singer wasn't emo screaming. They played "Antisocial," "Got The Time" and, of course, "Indians." I don't think the younger folk got into Anthrax as much for some reason and that makes me sad, but for us old-schoolers, it was heaven. Longtime vocalist Joey Belladonna was sounding pretty good out there. I love that guy! He actually called my house a few years back to do an interview. He is such a good dude. It was a gas to talk to one of your vocal heroes! Bassist Frank Bello was a madman eating up all the limelight, just enjoying himself like he was king of the prom. It was cool. These guys are fucking legends in the metal world. Scott Ian was Scott Ian as usual. Attacking those Jackson guitars with an intensity that is hard to match. I don't know who was on rhythm guitar, but they did well! The guitar tones were chunky and fat, just like Anthrax demands. Joey didn't care for the crowd's lack of appreciation either, so he stopped "Indians" until the crowd woke up a little, which they did finally. So the "Indians" war dance outro was rockin' and all was in order as Anthrax played their last song. These older cats still got it. Joey has to be pushing 55 to 60 and he still rocks! I'm so glad LTL has the best of both worlds, old-school and new. They have something for everyone.
The Cult was a breath of fresh air in the over-emo atmosphere currently going on at that moment. The bands leading up to The Cult were all kind of sounded the same to me, except for a few. I have never been a Cult fan, but I do like a few songs! At first I wondered if it was even the original singer Ian Astbury, because he no longer had that super-long, thick, black hair of his youth, but sure enough it was him. There is no mistaking that signature voice of his. And to my delight, the guitarist was original guitarist Billy Duffy, who laid down some good ole-fashioned rock n' roll guitar riffs just like what was needed at this exact moment. Like I said, I was a bit burnt out on the screamo stuff already. Some soulful vocals and melodic leads were just what the doctor ordered and The Cult was the doctor. Ian didn't seem to have quite the power he used to vocally, but he sounded damn good, regardless.
Mr. Duffy was killin' it on those huge Gretch guitars, and I learned that the drummer was none other than John Tempesta (formerly with Testament, White Zombie and Exodus). So they had a great lineup for this show. I don't know very much about The Cult, so I'll do my best. They opened with "Wildflower" and also played "Deeply Ordered Chaos," "Little Devil," "Sweet Soul Sister," "Love Removal Machine" and, of course, they played their #1 hit, "Fire Woman." I was disappointed they didn't play "She Sells Santuary" or "Edie," but that song would be very hard to reproduce and to sing live, so I can't say I blame them for not trying. "Edie" is my favorite song by them, for sure, though. Astbury sounds amazing on that tune. This was the first time I had ever seen the Cult, I'm thinking. Maybe once before when I was very young, oh, wait, that might have been an acid trip! Oh, well, my brain is eggs on drugs.
I'm a big Cheap Trick fan, so I crossed the mile-long trail to the Zorn stage to see the legends! I was on time, but I was told I had to have special permission to get pics of Cheap Trick. It was my fault. I should have paid more attention to my emails regarding the show and then I would have known! No Cheap Trick pics. Crap!! I was ready and on time, too. So that sucked. Cheap Trick launched into a tight set of songs I did not know. All new stuff. Don't get me wrong, I love Cheap Trick, but you just wanna hear all those old hits of theirs and maybe a new tune or two. This was the other way around, they played all kinds of new stuff and maybe one or two oldies. One of the new tunes was even heavy and raw and gritty! Kind of shocking how heavy this song was! I liked it and wish I knew the name of it. Then bassist Tom Petersson played a 12-string bass solo that was appreciated by their adoring fans! Guitarist Rick Neilson was in a zone, riffing away! He still seems like he loves it after all these years. Robin Zander sounded good singing the new stuff, but I miss the classic melodies from their older stuff. It was drawing near the time when I had to be at the next stage a mile away so I had to leave before I heard any old songs, but as I walked away, I heard the start of "I Want You To Want Me." I ended up missing "Dream Police" and "Surrender," which sucked so bad! That was what I wanted to hear! I even heard later that Anthrax got onstage with Cheap Trick and played with them on "Surrender." I can't believe that I missed that, but I had a job to do and I wasn't going to let down people who counted on me. I was really looking forward to hearing "The Flame," but it merely wasn't to be. Maybe next time!
It was time for Slayer!! Yes! They did not let down. In fact, that was maybe one of the best times I've seen them, and I have seen Slayer in concert about 6 or 7 times at least. I have partied with them on their bus and have even been to a special VIP-only album release party! These guys know all about the true metal and they brought it home in a very special way. Yes, Jeff Hanneman was a great guitarist and founder of Slayer, but god gave us Gary Holt to take over the guitar duties left by Hanneman.
Guitarist Gary Holt (also guitarist for Exodus) is perfect for the guitar spot left by Hanneman. You couldn't ask for a better replacement. Gary's lightning fast solos were unreal. And his whammy technique with the added effects were perfect for Slayers' sound. The sound was thumping! The drums of Paul Bostaph were thunderous! The guitars were a bit low in the mix and I heard some grumblings later on, that it was hard to hear guitars off to the sides, which was true. The guitars were a bit low and you had to strain to hear guitars at times, unless they were soloing. The soloing was off the hook, though! Holt was tearing it up. Kerry king was good too, but Mr. Holt was killing Kerry in the solo department. No comparison. The drums were overpowering in the mix. Overbearing. But as tightness goes, it was spot on. Bassist / singer Tom Araya was on fire as he smiled and rocked his way through the powerful set of Slayer classics. Tom always impressed me how he can play bass so fast and spit out razor-sharp precise vocals on top of the bass riffs he is playing! Amazing! Two hard things at once!
These guys know what peeps wanted to hear and they obliged. Song after classic song was played, and well. They rocked "Mandatory Suicide," "War Ensemble," "Dead Skin Mask," "Seasons In The Abyss," "South Of Heaven," "Reigning Blood" and "Angel Of Death." They also played some newer stuff that jammed as well. The new stuff like "Repentless" is pretty good, too! This shit was powerful. The people felt the power in their bones! It soaked through. The pit was crazy as can be as Slayer worked their way through the set of classics. It would have been nice to hear the guitar rhythms better, but it still was killer! Slayer destroyed! This was worth it alone.
Next up was Avenged Sevenfold, a band I'm not really into. Yeah they have a few decent songs that are listenable, but it's not my cup of tea by a long shot.
I like the guitarwork by Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates a lot, those guys shred, but I'm not a fan of vocalist M. Shadows. He just comes across as cheesy a lot of the times. I learned that from their set at Ozfest several years back. Everything else is pretty good though, so no disrespect to those guys. They tore through an energetic set that had the younger crowd going nuts! The peeps who stuck around for them were very enthusiastic, to say the least, as they yelled and went up front to take the people's place who had left. The crowd surfing was at an all time high for their set as they played songs like AC/DC's "Back In Black" and originals like "Nightmare," "Buried Alive," "Gunslinger," "To End The Rapture'" "Planets'" "Acid Rain'" "Sheperd Of Fire" and "Hail To The King." "Hail to the King" was probably the highlight of the set though, being one of their most popular songs. They did an encore of "Bat Country" and "Unholy Confessions."
About this time, I was pooped and really looking forward to my bed and a good meal. Unbelievably I got out of the parking lot in good time! Score one for the concertgoer!!
Ohhhhhh, the agony. Aleve and energy pills for breakfast. A quick shower and I'm off!
I caught a lil' bit of Skindred as I made my way into the complex. This band from Wales is entertaining as the singer is funny. It's an odd mix of metal, rock, alternative and a few other styles like Reggae and ska. They also had a plethora of soundbites added to their set. It's not normally my style, but they had a certain flair about them that was hard to not like. They had a good set of rockin' music that people seemed to love. In fact, I heard quite a few people say that they liked Skindred a lot.
Vocalist Benji Webbe was a crowd pleaser for sure, as he sang his ass off, using screams, singing and whatever style he could muster up. I think I heard someone say that they played a Justin Bieber song, but not being a Bieber fan I can't rightly say. This British band had good groove. At one point, Webbe told everyone to take off their shirts and twirl it around to the music and they did! Even women! I like this guy's style.
Sabaton! More Swedish metal. Yay! Those frosty-haired Swedes sure can play. And, boy, do they have some big women! There was a huge Swedish babe backstage and she was a fargin amazon. She was in shape, just large! Six-foot-tall women in Sweden are common! This war-themed metal band is unlike anything going on in American music. I'm thinking a lot of Americans would not like this music because it is deep and old-school to the point of no turning back! It's very euro-metal in aspect, complete with crowd sing-alongs. Sing-alongs that sound like the witches' guards in the Wizard Of Oz. The musicianship was awesome though. Great guitarists and the band looked genuinely happy to be playing such a big show in America. I doubt they get shows in America like this very often. Thank you, Mr. Wimmer. This band is different in that they base all their songs on war and historical battles throughout time. It's kinda neat. But you can really tell the vast distance of their musical style they have by hearing them. It blows my mind that these guys can tour the world and get paid so well, for playing music sooooo uncompromising. That would never happen here in the U.S. I was interested in seeing these guys, so I walked my ass off all the way to the Zorn stage to see them. They sounded good but it really wasn't my cup of tea. Usually I love Euro-metal, but this I think was a bit too much Euro-metal for me. The devoted Sabaton fans sure weren't complaining, though. They sang along and seemed to love it big-time. Score one for LTL, for going out on a limb and giving us some rock we aren't used to.
Next up was Pop Evil. I have liked this band since I first saw them years ago. Of course, they have had a few member changes since then and it just hasn't felt right to me since. I really liked the old guitarist Tony G. The newer guy, Nick Fuelling, ain't so bad, though. He is real good, but Tony G had a superb tone and Eighties style that I really admired. PE played a good set and had the crowd going pretty good. They played "100 in a 55," where singer Leigh Kakaty played acoustic and sang and it sounded real good. They played "Torn To Pieces" and their hit "Trenches." Bassist Matt DiRito is a character, as he flipped his hair around and totally cheesed out on the Eighties big-hair look he has going. He can play though and can obviously work a crowd well. Chicks seem to dig that guy. Well, the band actually! I like these guys. They are a bit commercial, but they have decent songs and they were nice guys when I met them a few years back. Real nice guys. I'm glad they have gotten as popular as they have. They have certainly worked hard for it. The band also had a new female drummer, Hayley Cramer, who did an awesome job! Score one for chick rockers!
Sevendust was next, but honestly, I had seen them so much over the years and even covered them a few months ago at the Mercury Ballroom, so I passed on this one and went to refuel on some gourmet grilled cheese with applewood bacon. Man, the food there at LTL rocks! But, as you may already know, Sevendust is awesome live and surely kicked mucho ass. Nothing but respect there guys n' gals.
Bout this time, I had a dilemma.
I had to meet the LTL people to get my Slipknot Photo Pass, OR go see Zakk Sabbath live! I frikkin' love Sabbath, so I was stoked to see Zakk play some Sabbath. I figured I'd go see a little bit of Zakk and then walk the gauntlet back to the media tent to get my credentials! So I went to the Zorn stage to see some Zakk. He didn't disappoint either. But there were sound problems during his set that would have caused another rockstar to throw his axe down and walk offstage. But not Zakk, he was a pro. He played and shredded like nothing was happening. At a few times there was no sound at all coming forth from the speakers, but Zakk did not stop to complain or look around bewildered, he shredded and kept going. I woulda been trippin! After about 10 or 15 minutes, the problem was solved and the real show started. Unfortunately, by that time, it was time for me to make my way back to the Media Tent, lest I lose my Slipknot pass to one of the many photographers waiting in line to get an unclaimed Slipknot pass. Bullshit! You ain't getting mine mofo. I saw Zakk Wylde this summer, too, and wasn't that impressed with the mostly acoustic show he had for us. But this time it was different. He was playing some Sabbath and Zakk playing Sabbath is something else entirely. "Children Of The Grave" and "Snowblind" were ruined by the sound guy's issues. But "War Pigs" and "Into the Void" were rockin'!
"Into The Void" was especially badass. I'm not a fan of Zakk's voice, but he was nailing this one very well! Way to go Zakk. He does better at singing like Ozzy than he does as himself. It sucks that I had to miss "Fairies Wear Boots" and the part where Zakk walked into the audience and rocked out at point-blank range to the masses of adoring Sabbath fans, but it is what it is. I'm not letting some new photographer steal my hard-earned Slipknot access! Helllllll naw!
I got back to the main stage in time to hear a little bit of Alter Bridge. They really are a good band and singer Myles Kennedy didn't overdo himself this time. Sometimes that guy tries a little too hard to be a great singer and it shows. But they were on point tonight as they weaved through song after song of which I didn't know one song title. Sorry, but I'm not a huge fan of Mr. Kennedy and don't know much of these guys music. Mark Tremonti was killin' it on guitar, though. Any guitarist would be impressed with this playing. The music is good, but the vocals are just not my style, even though Myles sounded much better this time around. The crowd enjoyed it and that is what matters.
Ghost was awesome! I know, I know. A lot of people don't like Ghost, or see why they are so popular.
I'm not a huge fan either, but I think it is the melody and superb guitar tones that attract me to their music. It's slow, brooding, melodic, evil, sinister. Vocalist Papa Emeritus is a badass. He is different.
As I was taking pics, I noticed that Papa was a bit advanced in age. He is up there, but you can't tell by his performance or a lack of energy. He was very good. The keyboards add a certain sinister element to the music, too. I really really like the guitarwork of the nameless ghouls. The Gibson guitars matched up with whatever amp they are using (I wish I knew) was quite a sound. The sustain of their sound was off the hook. Maybe that is why I like Ghost. But Papa does sing well and does seem to be a bit of a showman. He didn't wear as much makeup and costumes as he usually does. I noticed a new ghoul this time around! A female Ghoul on bass. She did well and had a pretty fat bass tone, too. Ghost played "From The Pinnacle To The Pit," "Ritual," "Cirice," "Year Zero," "Absolution" and "Mummy Dust." I made sure that I saw these guys 'n' gals at LTL. Ghost put on a great performance and it was a welcome change from the commercialized headliners that were coming on next.
Korn kicked some ass. I'm not a huge Korn fan, but I liked their set. I got some great pics. Jonathan Davis was in fine form as he rocked his way through the decent sized set of Korn classics. They opened with "Right Now" and tore through "Coming Undone" and a new song that they debuted live, featuring Corey Taylor of Slipknot, called "A Different World." This was the talk of the day! Korn playing with Slipknot. I'll see if I can find a video of the song for you peeps! It wasn't bad, but I like the older Korn much better. They played "Shoots And Ladders," complete with bagpipes. I love that song! It might be my favorite Korn tune. The crowd went nuts when they saw Mr. Davis come out with the bagpipes! I wish I could have got a photo of that. That might have been the highlight of their set. Of course "Blind" was well received by the fans, considering it was one of the first hits. Jonathan sounded good and was happy as he smiled to the crowd. I love Korn's bassist Fieldy's bass tone. It's one of the better bass tones in rock at the moment. I don't know how he gets that compressed thick punchy bass tone, but it is monstrous. It is the signature Korn sound! Dude is a monster on bass. I was unhappy because during Korn the photo pit was all but inaccessible to us photographers. You had to go to one spot and stay there and hope that the band members came over to you. I didn't get many good pics of the guitarists, but I got a few decent ones of Jonathan and Fieldy. The guitars of Munky and Head were low and thick and jamming. I didn't even know that Head was back in the band after leaving several years back to become a born-again Christian. It's good he is back, because he is the innovator and brains behind the nu metal guitar that Korn is famous for! Korn was in a zone at LTL. Like I said, I've never been a big fan, but tonight they were on fire and I enjoyed it quite a bit! Surprisingly.
Korn ended their set with "Falling Away From Me" and "Freak On A Leash." Awesome!
Disturbed came on to "Ten Thousand Fists" and got the place going. I have not been much of a Disturbed fan, especially since I met David Draiman backstage one year and he was an a-hole. Arrogant to the max. A douche! However, guitarist Dan Donegan was a super-nice guy, so I will not hold David's actions against Disturbed as a whole. Dan is a badass on guitar. He's not a super-shredding virtuoso like a lot of other rockstar guitarists are, but he does what is needed and does it well. He is an inspiration to guitarists like me, rockers who aren't overly skilled but can still rip it up and play good songs! Even though I don't particularly like Disturbed's music, they did put on an energetic set, complete with flames shooting up and big movie screens! I thought my forehead was bubbling when those flames went up when I was in the photo pit! It was hot!!
They ripped up "The Vengeful One," "Stupify," the Simon and Garfunkel cover "The Sound Of Silence," which was very cool and eased the crowd down like a charm from the frenzy of the first few opening songs, a few covers by U2 "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking for," The Who's "Baba O' Riley" and Rage Against The Machines "Killing In The Name Of." "Indestructible" "Voices" and last was "Down With The Sickness." The band was tight, the sound was perfect and Draiman sounded very good, even for a egotistical butt-hole. So there, I said it. They were good.
Slipknot was next and the photo pit was nuts. Many photographers were not included, but seeing as I have been there from LTL's humble beginnings, I was included. Thank you. The masks, the low tuned guitars, the huge drums on risers, the extra drums, the melodic vocals of Corey Taylor. Yeah it was pretty sick. I am also not a huge Slipknot fan, but I respect what they have done so I was anxious to see these guys up close for the first time. I reviewed them before in Lexington, but I didn't have a photopass for that show I think. Or maybe I did! It was years ago, so I don't rightly remember. Anyway, Slipknot was crazy! Those dudes were all over the place! It was a carnival of madness as they ripped through their set. Fans went nuts, too. Younger people LOVE Slipknot. I saw all kinds of Slipknot masks in the crowd all weekend long, just waiting for them to go onstage and tear it up, and tear it up they did. The extra drums on a rising drum pedestal were cool and different from anything I had seen before in my 16 years of reviewing shows. So basically, they had three drummers at least pounding away! One full kit and two sideshow-looking, rising, extra, drums encased in crazy-looking enclosures that resembled beer kegs! The plethora of drums was thick sounding and I'm glad it was a good sound for these guys, because when I had seen them at Ozfest one year, the sound was distorted and lousy! You could not make out the notes of the guitars. It was a bit too much going on at that one time I think. The sound guy was befuddled. But not tonight. It was jamming and they had a good sound! They had a turntable or soundbite samples going on somewhere onstage, but being that the stage was so high up, I couldn't see where. The crowd sang along to much of the band's set, especially ""Wait And Bleed." At one point I was thinking "shut the fuck up and let me hear the band!" Nothing is worst that drunk idiots who can't sing, drowning out the headliner! Corey sounded good, but it was kinda hard to hear him over all those drums up front! He was a little low in the mix, I think. Guitarist Mick Thomson was an animal, killing it on guitar. He didn't move much, but who can blame him. Riffs like that are complex and require stability and great balance. So there is no jumping around for all that. I couldn't see much of what guitarist Jim Root was doing from where I was stuck at (a tiny spot between speakers). Nor was bassist Allesandro Venturella in the front much.
Slipknot played "The Negative One," "Eyeless," "Killpop," "Dead Memories," "Left Behind," "Psychosocial," "The Devil and I," "Wait and Bleed" and they did an encore of "Surfacing," "Duality" and "Spit It Out." The highlights for me were "Wait And Bleed" and "Duality!"
I admit it, I was tired as hell, my back hurt, my legs hurt. I was dirty and needed a shower, but I hung tough! LTL would soon be in the books and I wanted to do a good job for the LTL people who had been so good to me.
It was over. I was looking forward to going home and cleaning up and resting. It turned out that for the next few days, I was barely able to walk I was so sore from all the walking and the beatdown that I endured trying to get pics in the overcrowded photo pits. Hell, just getting to the photo pit was a challenge in such a large crowd!
Overall, it was a blast. Great music. Very good people, who took care of each other, instead of fighting. Great food. Great booze (even though I probably drank no more than eight beers the whole weekend. The pale ale was great) ! I saw so many friends and readers of mine who graciously came up to me to tell me they enjoyed my column and music that I play. I was in cheeseball heaven!
You can't ask for more. Pure camaraderie. Family.
It wasn't just another concert. It was Louisville history.
Years from now, they will say it was the time when Louisville came of age and decided that it was time to stop being left behind in the dust of other cities accomplishments and to pave the way for a new beginning. A rocking beginning!
I'm just glad to be a part of it. Thank you Danny Wimmer and crew. Thank you Kristine!
Louisville thanks you.
Dream Theater Review w/ pics by C. Michael Stewart:
I had never seen Dream Theater before, so I wasn't going to miss this special concept show. This was a special show too, as it marked 16 years of Terry Harper putting on Louisville metal shows. I don't think I've ever seen Terry put on a show at Louisville Palace before, so that is a new one for sure! I love that place. The ambiance. The Gothic feel of the place. Wicked.
Dream Theater was the tightest band I have ever seen. Why wouldn't they be? After all, how many bands meet going to college for music? Yep, three of these guys met at MIT in Massachusetts. They eventually dropped out to pursue their music. There was no opening act, just DT playing two long sets with a twenty-minute intermission in between. The stage setup was awesome. Huge, tall, narrow TV screens set up at intervals showing landscapes, people, robots, futuristic drones, space, trippy designs and basically all kinds of stuff. There was a guitarist, keyboardist, singer, drummer and bassist.
The Astonishing is a concept album about, well, I can't really decide or figure out what it is about, but there are a whole array of animated characters bearing swords and centuries old clothing. Kings and royalty. Robots and space and war themes. It was kinda odd and had kind of a Final Fantasy feel to it.
The guitarwork of John Petrucci was insane as he weaved his way through emotion to shredding to beautiful cleans and acoustic guitar parts. This guy is ridiculous and now I want one of his signature John Petrucci model guitars because they sound so good! Too bad they are about $2000 to $3000 each.
His tone and use of effects was superb in every way. His timing and skills were flawless. I don't think he missed a note in the whole two sets. I didn't really know much about Petrucci, but now I do. Jesus, can that guy play! His acoustic tones were beautiful. Bassist John Myung played a Ernie Ball Stingray five-string and he was killing it. You couldn't ask for a better bassist. Myung was voted best bassist in a few rock musician polls. He was all over the place, laying down the bottom end in a complex, schooled manner.
On drums was Mike Mangini, who replaced Mike Portnoy in 2011. Mangini has broken five drumming records, to date! He is a shredder with one helluva drum set. On keyboards was Jordan Rudess, another highly thought-of keyboardist. He is considered one of the the best keyboardists of all time, actually. His keyboard bends sideways so the crowd can see what he is doing, which is way cool. I've never seen that before!
And then you have vocalist James LaBrie, who has a very amazing, high-pitched voice. How can that guy sing like that for soooo long? He is not a young guy, nor is he in optimum physical shape, but he belted out those tunes like it was nothing. No scratch in his voice, no cough, no nothing! Not even one off-note! He was perfect. I like his voice, but I wasn't a die-hard fan of it before seeing them. But seeing him live killing it like that was impressive! Very well done, James! Wow. James sang very low and melodic, James sang loud and powerful, James whispered and sang over beautiful acoustic parts. Vocally, he was everywhere.
These guys intertwined, played off each other, went off into individual solos, combined solos, rocked hard, got laid-back, slowed things down and basically went through the whole menu of music for us.
They left nothing out. The show was played out in two acts, like a play.
I'm not too familiar with their latest album, The Astonishing, but I can tell you it's some relaxing, hypnotizing stuff. I had just eaten some Impellizerri's pizza and was frikkin' stuffed and watching DT rip it up like that, put me into a daze kind of, where I was almost nodding off at a few times! It wasn't boring or uninteresting, it was just VERY mesmerizing and soothing to the point of me wanting to close my eyes to drift off to unconsciousness. Dream music,if you will! I wasn't alone though, I can tell you that! A friend of mine also went and ended up leaving because they got sleepy, too. But I hung tough and stayed till the end! The musical smorgasbord was a feast of the likes that I haven't seen before.
I'm glad Terry booked this show. A different show like this is cool to see. The complexity of the playing and skill level was astonishing! But to the average concertgoer who is non-musical, it might be a little too much, maybe even boring. Sometimes all that complex stuff gets lost to those who cannot appreciate it. It's almost like too much is going on around them! It's not three chords like Nirvana or AC/DC!
But to me, as a musician, it was a player's dream! A lesson in what a musician truly strives to become. I'll never be that good, nowhere near it, but it was awesome to see the higher plateau that a musician can achieve.
Thanks Terry and congrats on 16 great years of shows! Keep it up.
Here is Dream Theaters new video.
Hatebreed/Devil You Know and Boobs Review:
As soon as I heard of this show, I knew I would be going. I just wuuuuuv Hatebreed's guitar tones. It's some thick ass shit. Good grooves too.
First up was Devil You Know, an LA supergroup of talented individuals with great experience. Vocalist Howard Jones used to sing with Killswitch Engage, in fact he was one of the reasons I liked them so much. Howard has a badass new band, I found out. Devil You Know rocks! I really enjoyed this set of molten lava, sledgehammer-type riffs with smooth melodic vocals over it. Well, some melodic vocals. Howard does a lil' more screaming this time around, though, which sounded great to me! Howard is still the man, maybe even more now. His vocals were precise, strong and memorable. Powerful. That dude could knock down a wall with his voice! Like the force or something. The guitarwork of lone guitarist Francesco Artusato, formerly of All Shall Perish, was intriquite, fast and skillfully done. I personally would have preferred to see him riff over another rhythm but I guess they are happy with one guitarist.
Bassist Ryan Wombacher, formerly of Bleeding Through, was killing on the bottom end. Drummer Nick Augusto was pretty damn good, too, as he laid down the heavy metal drumming. Dude is a beast!
I hadn't heard their music before and to be honest, I didn't even know Howard was in the band! So it was a pleasant surprise. The hooks are there. The heaviness is definitely there. Best of all, you have Howard throwing down on some heavier balliser vocals this time! He makes this band. The guitarist is a badass too though, hell - they all are great musicians. Great band, check them out. To me, they destroyed Devildriver!
Devildriver. Don't get me wrong, I like Devildriver. I've seen them probably three or four times. But something just didn't feel right this show. Maybe one of them was sick. Or maybe a few of them were sick. Heck, I was sick at this show! I was soooo ill, but I would not miss this. Anyways, Devildriver sounded good, but maybe not as good as the other times I saw them. The singer Dez Fafara just looked tired, or maybe had had a few rough years since the last time I saw them.
The band was rockin'. I love the tone, the leads, the groovin' fatass chunky rhythms. Devildriver has the goods, there is no doubt about that. Maybe it was just tough to follow Howard Jones on vocals. Seriously! I wouldn't want to if I was a singer. Dez is fine, but Howard is the man. Juss sayin'.
Devildriver played "Hold Back The Day," "Before The Hangman's Noose," "Ruthless" and "Meet The Wretched."
Hatebreed! I don't know what it is about this band that I like so much. Usually I'm not into hardcore-ish type music like this, but I have come the the conclusion that Hatebreed is more metal than hardcore.
The guitars are very simple-ish and they are not layered like many other bands do. They pretty much both do the same thing, so that it sounds very thick in the overall mix. They could layer things up and even do some leads over rhythms, but that is not their style at all. With Hatebreed, it's all out metal mayhem, no gimmicks, no fancy shit, it's just powerful metal groove and groove, it is. Those guys come up with some pretty powerful and groovy rhythms, though! Very formidible riffage! I tried to get up close to get a setlist to let you peeps know what they played, but the band didn't have a setlist!! I shit you not. That is crazy!!! If you are in the band, what if you are confused as to what song is next? What if you can't hear the singer announce the song? I've never heard of that before. So I have no idea the songs they played. Jamie Jasta is a cool MF. I admit I tried hard to not like him when he hosted Headbangers Ball, but as a musician and writer and live performer, I have much respect for Jamie.
He loves his fans for one thing. He was very cool to the fans, even letting them pick song after song. He did a poll on what song was next! Whoever got the loudest for each song determined what got played! It was cool and unique. It was a good fun time. Jamie can work the crowd very well. And he has some very good metal vocals for a screamer. You peeps know I love an actual singer, but Jamie has won me over with his no nonsense metal vocals. The fucker converted me a little.
So yeah, I dig the vocals, the guitars are simplistic but badass nonetheless.
They put on a good long show for their fans.
Songs they did play, that I actually heard were: "To The Treshold," "Looking Down The Barrel Of Today," "Smash Your Enemies," "Betrayed By Life," "Perseverence" and the last song, "Destroy Everything."
Oh, yeah, the boobs. At the end of the show on Hatebreeds last song, they were throwing picks to the crowd. I was up front trying to get a setlist, when a pick bounced off the barricade while 20 people were fighting for it. The pick fell at my feet, so I picked it up. The crowd went nuts trying to get the pick from me. I was attacked!! So I backed up and the begging began. Then some cute chick threw open her blouse to reveal two awesome, bare breasts. They were huge and beautiful. A vision! So I played it cool, ha, and stuck up the pick for all to see. Then she yells "Come s**k these"and the crowd goes nuts again, this time encouraging me to do what she said, practically chanting. So it was like I was in a long tunnel with screaming people on each side, urging me on and at the end of the tunnel were the twin headlights of heaven. I felt obligated to the fans to show that my rock n' roll-ness was not dead, so I acquiesced. They made me do it! My coolness was at stake.
Needless to say, she got the Hatebreed pick.
Steel Panther coming! Super sleeze rockers Steel Panther will be at the Mercury Ballroom once again on Tuesday December 6. I love these guys! Don't miss this awesome rock show!
Just In; Pop Evil coming! On Tuesday January 10 Pop Evil will be at the Mercury Ballroom.
Just In: Lita Ford Coming!
On Friday, December 16 the legendary Lita Ford will be at the Mercury Ballroom, so be sure to check her out!
Stryper Coming to Mercury Ballroom on Sunday November 6:
Christian rockers Stryper will be in Louisville for the first show in I don't know how long! I liked these guys a lot growing up and they are still kicking ass! I will definitely try to be at this one! Those guys are brilliant musicians.
The Black Dahlia Murder / the return of Incursion / Sadistic Creator:
Wednesday ,November 23 at The New Vintage! This should be a pretty sick show and equally brutal. I know the Incursion guys have been working towards jamming regularly again and apparently that time has come. They haven't played out for a few, so I know they will be itching to let loose. Get your tickets in advance, this will probably sell out.
Five Finger Death Punch, Shinedown and Sixx A.M to play KFCYUM!CENTER on Friday November 18:
This sounds like a fun show! And you even get some Nikki Sixx thrown in for good measure! I recently saw FFDP bassist and former Kentucky native Chris Kael at The Mercury Ballroom, just checking out some music. He was signing autographs and talking to folks. I remember when that dude was playing in local bands around here. I would like to see Sixx A. M, I haven't seen them before. My RFK show is the next night so I might go to this and pass out flyers n' stuff, if the YUM center lets me. I will ask them first. Once at Freedom Hall, I almost went to jail for handing out flyers for a show! The security chief was an asshole back then!
Hairbangers Ball, The Review:
Everyone knows I like Eighties hair metal: this cover band from Chicago is pretty good doing it. Good stage presence, good guitar, a decent singer who can actually shred on guitar maybe better than the lead guitarist, a beautiful keyboardist who can sing very well, too, this cover band is fun to see live. They played Motley Crue, Van Halen, Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Bon Jovi, Ozzy and others! The beautiful blonde keyboardist with hair to her waist sang Heart like a champion! She is a total sweetheart, too. I think I fell in love. Her and the singer worked well together, switching vocal harmonies and feeding off of and working the crowd. The singer wasn't lazy like Vince Neil, nor was he coked out of his skull, so that's good. He had the energy and stamina to put on a great show and pretty much reproduce those Eighties hits! Not too shabby. All of them looked like Eighties rockers, except the bassist, who looked like Mr. Vargas (with a wig) off of "Fast Times At Ridgemont High!"
The musicianship was good, but not amazing. They are a decent cover band. But it's worth it to me to see keyboardist/backup singer Jennifer Remis in action. She is smokin'. Check 'em out next time they roll through town.
LMN Live, Hellfire Militia:
LMN Live, Anagnorisis:
LMN Live, Bryan Fox And The Good Chiggens:
LMN Live, Before The Streetlights:
LMN Live, Stagecoach Inferno:
LMN Live, South Of Never:
BJ's (on Dixie)
Friday, November 4 – Thomas Medicine and VAMT. 9 p.m.
The Cure Lounge
Sunday, November 13 – Alteras w/ You Won't Feel A Thing, Gallifrey Falls, Soft Spoken and A Rumor Of War. 6 p.m. All Ages. $8
Diamond Concert Hall
Friday, November 3 – Red, Disciple, Spoken and Random Hero.
Sunday, November 6 – Soilwork w/ Unearth, Battlecross, Wovenwar and Darkness Divided.
Wednesday, November 16 – Snow Tha Product. 8 p.m.
Saturday, November 19 – Rock For Kosair 11. (See info above!) Naked Garden, Grindstone (Reunion), Year Of The Gun, Hellfire Militia, VAMT, Doppelganger, Guerilla Red, Despite The Fallen, White Crosses (Ramones Tribute) Boombox Poets, Before The Streetlights, 100 Proof Mojo, Acoustakink, Petrock, Abbuie, Jack Brizendine, Jayson William Allan. 6 p.m.
Monday, December 5 – HedPE.
Thursday, March 23 – Amorphis w/ Swallow The Sunday, 8 p.m. $22 - $60
Haymarket Whiskey Bar
Thursday, November 3 – Anagnorisis w/ Cryptic Hymn. 9.p.m.
Friday, October 21 – Mewithoutyou w/ Into It Over It.
The Mercury Ballroom
Sunday, November 6 – Stryper.
Tuesday, December 6 – Steel Panther.
Friday, December 16 – Lita Ford.
The New Vintage
Tuesday, November 1 – Touche Amore w/ Tiny Moving Parts and Culture Abuse.
Wednesday, November 9 – Metro Station w/ Palaye Royal, The Strive, Before The Streetlights and Mirror Eyes. 7 p.m. $15
Tuesday, November 22 – Citizen w/ The Superweaks, The Foxery and Exister. 7:30 p.m. $15
Wednesday, November 23 – The Black Dahlia Murder w/ Incursion and Sadistic Creator. 8 p.m.
Trixie's Entertainment Complex
Thursday, November 3 – Born Of Osiris w/ I See Stars, Bad Omens and A Rumor Of War. 7:30 p.m.
New Years Eve – Flaw w/ Year Of The Gun, Despite The Fallen, Caducus, Boombox Poets and Chadillac Dundee.