Alphabetics | Culture Collide | Main Stage | 10/18/14 [Review, Vids & Photos]

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THE ACT: Alphabetics | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

SOUNDS LIKE: 

THOUGHTS:

This was one of my favorite live performances of the day. This band from Costa Rica’s metal tinged, alternative rock was a lot of fun. What made it more fun was their stage presence. The bassist and guitarist played with so much energy, highlighted by their playing off of each other in a “dueling electric guitar/bass” moment, that I couldn’t help but get pumped. They call their music “dance punk” and it was true. This music … music that I’d never heard before … had me moving in the photo pit.

PHOTOS:

VIDEO CLIPS:

To Check Out Other Bands We Caught At Culture Collide CLICK HERE

The Killing Lights | Sunset Strip Music Festival | 9/20/14 [Photos]

To Check Out Other Acts that I Caught At The Sunset Strip Music Festival, CLICK HERE!

THE ACT: The Killing Lights | Facebook | Twitter Instagram

SOUNDS LIKE: 

THOUGHTS: After picking up my photo pass for the festival, I made my way towards the festival grounds when I noticed an up-and coming artist whose music I had been listening too since an Instagram follower suggested I check her music out: Dorothy Martin of Dorothy (Her record titled “After Midnight” is super bad-ass). She was heading into the Whisky A Go-Go to check a band out, so I figured I’d follow her in to check out what she listened too. The band was The Killing Light and they are a metal band from Los Angeles. Formally named Vampires Everywhere!, they thrashed the stage with an aggressive set of shredding metal tunes. It got my adrenaline pumping and I was glad to know that Dorothy has good tastes in music.

PHOTOS: Just got a new 50mm prime lens, and still learning how to use it, so some of these pictures could have been better in focus, but I ain’t complaining.

VIDEO CLIPS:

To Check Out Other Acts that I Caught At The Sunset Strip Music Festival, CLICK HERE!

Cinquanta: Celebrating 50 Years Of Maynard James Keenan | Failure, A Perfect Circle & Puscifer | Greek Theatre | 5/10/14

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I won’t front. Back when I was freshman in high school, I wasn’t into Tool. The rock music that I was into at the time was more along the lines of Depeche Mode (who released “Violator”), Nine Inch Nail (who released “Head Like A Hole”) and INXS (who released “X”). I was a narrow minded, music snob then (which I truly regret), and I wasn’t willing to open my mind to other bands’ music.

It wasn’t until I had graduated from college that I really took the time to listen to what Maynard James Keenan’s music had to offer, and it was the first album from his second band, A Perfect Circle, that got me hooked. With “Mer de Noms”, songs like “Judith” and “3 Libras” sent shivers down my spine. I was a fool to have waited so long to discover that Maynard was a monster, rock vocalist. Not only able to belt out tunes like it’s nothing, he also adds a level of emotions to the underlying lyrics he sings, which sets him apart from other rock vocalists.

I first saw Maynard perform at Coachella in 2013 with his band Puscifer. Though the music was different from A Perfect Circle, I thought that it was one of the highlight performances of the day. It was fun, sexy and raunchy all at the same time. I still have the Puscifer Airlines candy that they threw out to the crowd from that day.

Cinquanta, a two night celebration of his 50th birthday at the Greek Theatre, was a ticket that any Maynard fan couldn’t pass up. Billed as a concert with Puscifer as a headliner with A Perfect Circle and Failure (who had reunited in late 2013 and acted as Tool’s supporting act for Tool’s recent tour) as “support”. But each band rotated sets  every 15-30 minutes, even collaborating with each other on certain songs, throughout the evening. Green Jelly (a band that Danny Carey- the drummer of Tool- and Maynard were members of) made a surprise appearance to perform “Three Little Pigs”Neil Hamburger made an appearance to sing “New York, New York”, and 3/4 of Tool (minus Adam Jones) performed the Tool classic “Sober”. Personally, I thought one of the out-of-the-box highlights of the show was when Carina Round sang the lead on “The Package”; a superb rendition.

Based on my notes, and what I was able to find online, below was the setlist:

  1. Failure: “The Nurse Who Loved Me” (w/ Maynard James Keenan, Billy Howerdel and Carina Round)
  2. Failure: “Saturday Savior”
  3. Failure: “Dirty Blue Balloons”
  4. A Perfect Circle: “Weak and Powerless”
  5. A Perfect Circle: “Orestes”
  6. A Perfect Circle: “The Noose”
  7. Puscifer: “Vagina Mine”
  8. Puscifer: “Trekka”
  9. Puscifer: “Polar Bear”
  10. Puscifer: “Breathe”
  11. Puscifer: “Oceans”
  12. Puscifer: “Monsoons” (w/ Billy Howerdel)
  13. Puscifer: “Horizons”
  14. Failure: “Another Space Song”
  15. Failure: “Frogs”
  16. Failure: “Solaris” (w/ Maynard James Keenan)
  17. A Perfect Circle: “The Hollow”
  18. A Perfect Circle: “Rose”
  19. A Perfect Circle: “The Package” (featuring Carina Round)
  20. Puscifer: “Conditions of My Parole”
  21. Puscifer: “Man Overboard”
  22. Puscifer: “The Undertaker” (w/ Ken Andrews)
  23. A Perfect Circle: “Counting Bodies Like Sheep To The Rhythm
  24. A Perfect Circle: “3 Libras”
  25. A Perfect Circle: “By and Down”
  26. Failure: “Blank”
  27. Failure: “Wet Gravity” (w/ Jeff Friedl)
  28. Failure: “Heliotropic”
  29. Puscifer: “New York, New York” (w/ Neil Hamberger)
  30. Puscifer: “Cuntry Boner” (An Electric Sheep cover w/ “Hildy” and Danny Carey)
  31. Puscifer: “3 Little Pigs” (w/ Green Jelly and Danny Carey)
  32. Puscifer: “Sober” (Tool cover w/ Justin Chancellor, Danny Carey and , and Zac Rae)
  33. Puscifer: “Humbling River” (w/ Danny Carey)

Wow.  Just looking at this setlist is making think that the $40 I spent on the ticket was definitely money well spent. Even if a song or two may not have been to one’s liking, the action on  stage, with the casual stage setting of lawn chairs and constant filling of chalices (presumably filled with adult beverages) gave the audience something to watch  as there was something going on onstage at all times, whether it was Maynard pouring drinks for others, performers taking selfies onstage, or individuals having private conversations in front of everybody, it was a concert that truly felt like a party. And when the audience sang along? The hairs on my arms stiffened. When they closed with “Humbling River”? I got shivers.

It was an amazing show. I don’t know what else to say. Happy Birthday, Maynard. You did it right. Simply kick-ass.

I wasn’t able to get permission to shoot the show, so all of the photos below were on my Sony Cyber-shot G, point and shoot that I couldn’t live without.

 

Motörhead | Coachella | 4/13/14 (PHOTOS)

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My first taste of Motörhead came in my fraternity days at college. I remember hearing “Ace of Spades” blasting out a brother’s room, and when I asked about the song, my buddy simply said, “You don’t know Motörhead? Lemmy rules!” That’s stuck with me ever since. I’ve had a couple of opportunities to see Motörhead perform live in the past, but for one reason or another (Lemmy’s health or scheduling conflicts), I was never able to make it out to see Motörhead perform live … until Coachella.

Their set was everything I expected. It was a barrage of shredding riffs, thunderous and frenetic drums, accompanied by Lemmy’s gravelly and ominous voice. I was particularly impressed with Mikkey Dee and Phil Campbell’s playing. So vicious. So on point. So raw.

After getting booted from the photo pit, and not wanting to take a risk by joining the swelling masses in the tent for fear of damaging my camera, I meandered over to the next tent to take pictures of another artist. After getting the boot from that photo pit as well, I went back to Motorhead to catch the second half of their set. So thankful that I did. I think I got there for the tail end of “Just ‘Cos You’ve Got the Power”, and after a few songs their set had ended. At least I thought it had ended…

The next thing I knew, the band introduced “a friend” and Slash walked on stage. Holy Shit. Mind blown. Without hesitation, Slash comes in with the opening riff of “Ace of Spades”. Mind doubly blown. My frat brothers would have been going nuts.

Motörhead Setlist Coachella Festival 2014 2014, Aftershock Tour

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT BLOG ENTRIES OF OTHER BANDS I SAW AT COACHELLA!

Fishbone | Coachella | 4/13/14 (PHOTOS)

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After sleeping in to get get some much needed rest after two grueling days of “festivaling”, the first band I went to go see at Coachella on Sunday was Fishbone. Having recently seen Angelo Moore perform as Dr. Madd Vibe at the Troubadour, I knew that it was going to be a high-energy, positive set to kick the day off with.

Under the bright desert sun, Fishbone took to the main stage and played their brand of ska/punk/funk infused alternative rock to a raucous group of early festival arrivals. Angelo Moore’s energy was contagious, his stage presence easily filling the largest stage of the festival. He even abandoned the stage to sing to and greet those in the front of the audience. The definition of a showman.

The band was a well-oiled machine too. Horns, Bass, Keyboards … they all had there moment in the sun (no pun intended), and it was nothing short of wonderful. The third song they played summed up the overall feeling of their set, “Everyday Sunshine”, and from that moment on I knew it was going to be good day. The two highlights of the set, for me at least, were when (i) Angelo, Walter Kibby and John Norwood Fisher (the three founding members of the Fishbone who still play in the band) took center stage to perform, and (ii) when they covered Sublime’s “Date Rape”. Though I had been kicked out of the pit by that time, I felt that if there were another band that had the right to cover that classic tune, it would be Fishbone.

Sunday was off to a great start.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT BLOG ENTRIES OF OTHER BANDS I SAW AT COACHELLA!

Falling In Reverse & Escape The Fate | The Wiltern | 1/15/14

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How do you get me to go to a show for a band that I know nothing about? Offer me a free ticket.

The buddy of mine who went to the Nine Inch Nails concert with me last year gave me a call and invited me to see a band that he enjoyed listening to named Falling In Reverse. The band’s name rang a bell, so I looked them up online and came across the name of their lead singer, Ronnie Radke. I vaguely recalled reading some article in a music trade magazine about him starting his career up again, but that was years ago. The more research I did, I found out that in 2011 Ronnie had been named one of Revolver Magazine’s “Greatest Living Rock Stars” and in 2012 was on the shortlist both Kerrang’s “50 Greatest Rock Stars in the World Today”, “Villain of the Year” and “Hero of the Year”. I also read about his work in Escape The Fate, his issues with drug addiction, the family tragedy he went through, and his incarceration. Yeah, I had to see this guy perform live.

My buddy and I got to The Wiltern in time to see Escape The Fate, now fronted by Craig Mabbitt. Truth be told, the set was a little bit of a let down. For the first half of the set, technical issues seemed to plague the Mabbitt’s  microphone as his vocals were hardly audible. It was a shame, as the band seemed on point and heavy. Truth be told though, it really didn’t seem to matter too much as a good portion of the crowd sang along with most of the songs. It was a set that could have been better, but I’ll chalk the deficiencies up to the sound problems.

Thankfully, the sound for Falling In Reverse was just fine.

The crowd’s energy was electric, and they were screaming and singing louder than they had for Escape The Fate.  The music was more “friendly” than that of Escape The Fate’s insofar as it felt and sound like Falling In Reverse’s music had more catchy pop-hooks. “Good Girls, Bad Guys”, “Bad Girls Club” and “The Drug In Me Is You” are all solid, fun songs that had me shaking my groove thing with the twenty somethings standing around me.

Ronnie Radke commanded the stage with his presence, using his seemingly boundless energy to stride across the stage throughout the evening. In between songs he would address the audience, revealing both his goofy and humble side; reflecting on the weight he has gained since his career started grabbing at his non-existent fat during the following song, and thanking the audience for hanging in there with him through his tough times and being there, at The Wiltern, for the evening. All the accolades he received that I read about online … yeah, I can see why he got them. He’s a terrific performer and he sounded good.

I’ll be honest with you, I probably wouldn’t have known about, or gone to see, Falling In Reverse without my buddy inviting me.  I’m still on the fence as to whether I’d buy their latest CD, but I’m leaning towards yes because it’s really fun guilty pleasure, rock and roll music that I wouldn’t mind having shuffled into my iTunes playlist while I’m driving around town now and again. But I know for sure that if my friend were to invite me to another of their gigs, I’d gladly go.

Falling In Reverse Setlist:

  1. Rolling Stone
  2. I’m Not a Vampire
  3. Fashionably Late
  4. Champion
  5. Sink or Swim
  6. Goodbye Graceful
  7. Bad Girls Club
  8. Born To Lead
  9. Self-Destruct Personality (new song)
  10. Good Girls, Bad Guys
  11. Tragic Magic
  12. Raised By Wolves
  13. Alone
  14. The Drug In Me Is You
  15. Not Good Enough For The Truth In Cliche (with Escape The Fate)
  16. Situations (with Escape The Fate)

 

Unfortunately, the Flickr slideshow below is not currently available on mobile devices. If you are on a mobile device, please click THIS LINK to get redirected to the set of photos.

Nik Kai | 12 Year Old Guitar Prodigy | The Future of Shredding

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In my youth, my mother made me take violin and piano lessons.  She always emphasized the maxim “practice makes perfect”, but even after over a decade of piano lessons, I don’t think I ever got close to any kind of perfection. Sure, I practiced … but I think I may been lacking the gene that made me want to get better.

I’ve always been amazed with kids who seem to be driven to push themselves (without being forced to do it) to get better. Whether its in sports, music, etc., some kids find their passion early in life and they seem to have the kind of innate drive and talent to get better.

About a year ago, a buddy of mine, Steve Miller told me about an 11 year old guitarist named Nik Kai he was helping out.  Recently, he told me that Nik was playing with a new band that had been assembled called Kemikal Kill after meeting at the recentNAMM Show, and suggested that I swing by the The Roxy on 3/25/13 to have a listen.  I’ve always supported Steve’s projects, so I did the 40 minute trek to the heart of Sunset to check it out.

Wow.

The band was young and capable, but the whole time I was there I was in awe of Nik. This 12 year old has some serious chops.  After the set, I was introduced to his mother, and I asked her about how Nik got so good on the axe.  She said that he wakes up everyday at 4am (on his own) to practice, and that he’s always interested in new types of music. She even mentioned that he was starting violin lessons.

I don’t know.  I’m sure all the practicing has played a part in Nik being so good at such a young age, and I love my mom and all, but I’m more inclined to say that this kid just has the music in him, and not everybody has that.

Here are two short clips of Nik playing with Kemikal Kill:

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Music Splurge: Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Humble Pie

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This past weekend I stopped by record store to do a little “research” on two band’s whose music I don’t own:  Humble Pie and Emerson Lake and Palmer.

Humble Pie

I recently blogged about Steve Marriott, and I was particularly drawn to his work with Humble Pie, specifically his live performance of an Ike and Tina song called “Black Coffee” [Click here to read the blog and check out the video].  I made it my quest for the weekend to find it on vinyl.

I figured I’d start with their first albums, so I bought “Lost and Found”.

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This album was a double LP compilation for the United States which contained their first two albums originally released in the UK: ” As Safe As Yesterday Is” and “Town and Country”.  Both individual albums received excellent reviews.

If you didn’t already know, the original incarnation of Humble Pie featured Steve Marriott and Peter Frampton, and both of these albums, and particularly as a compilation, really shows the musical genius of the members of the band.

The musical stylings of “As Safe As Yesterday Is” covers blues rock to hard rock.  In fact, this album was the inspiration of the term “heavy metal” as it was used in a Mike Saunder’s 1970 Rolling Stone article to describe an element and stylings of the sound on the album.  The quote is as follows:

“Here Humble Pie were a noisy, unmelodic, heavy metal-leaden shit-rock band, with the loud and noisy parts beyond doubt.”[Click Here For Source]

“Town and Country”, on the other hand, is a predominantly acoustic album.  Though Humble Pie tended to lean towards the “heavier” stylings throughout their career, this album seems to demonstrate the bands more “sensitive” side.  More country than  city.  I think any music enthusiast can probably draw from the album that this may have been a foreshadow of the type of music Peter Frampton would pursue in his solo career.

In my opinion, this compilation album was the perfect introduction, at least for me, to the band.  “As Safe as Yesterday” reveals a new band putting together a new, rough and raw sound that they’d develop, while “Town and Country” was just the opposite.  A very insightful album, and highly enjoyable.

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I bought “Rock On” because this was the last album that Peter Frampton performed on for Humble Pie.  Based on what I’ve read, it was this album which solidified Humble Pie’s legacy as being a preeminent heavy blues/rock band.

The production quality of this album is quite stunning, and it’s probably because Glyn Johns produced it.  While listening to the album, it really felt like I was in a club listening to the band play live, but it is so clean.  Peter Frampton kills it on his guitar parts, and Steve Marriott wails through blues riff after blues riff.

A terrific album and worth every penny.

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I probably didn’t need to buy this album, but it was the only vinyl in stock that had a recording of “Black Coffee”.  Mission accomplished.

Emerson Lake and Palmer

Progressive Rock.  Some love it.  Some hate it.  For me, I just have to be in the mood for it.  Emerson, Lake & Palmer was on of the largest progressive rock bands during the 1970s.  Their self titled, debut album was an album that I thought I should have in my collection because it was, if you are in the mood for it, an album that you can drop the needle on and just let play.

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I’ve only listed to this album once in it’s entirety, and it’s just simply overwhelming.  I’ve studied music.  I’m familiar with jazz music.  I’m familiar with classical music. I’m familiar with rock music.  With Emerson, Lake and Palmer, it’s like the edges all blur and … you’re just overwhelmed by their musicianship.  I’ll be honest with you, I can’t hum a single musical passage from the album, but I’ll guarantee you that it blew my mind.

The other Emerson, Lake and Palmer album I bought is a live concert recording of the band titled “Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends: Ladies & Gentlemen, Emerson Lake & Palmer”

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Let’s just say I’m holding off on that one for a little while.  I’ll need a good two hours to listen to the four sided album, and I understand that I need to listen to it loud … really loud.