Category Archives: Music
Concert reviews, bands, albums, etc.
System of a Down and Korn 2022
System of a Down, Korn,
Faith No More, Helmet, Russian Circles
‘Rona may have killed the mood for a while, but rock and roll will never die! Way back in 2020, pre-Covid and still working at my last job before being laid off due to the pandemic, I had purchased two tickets. I hadn’t seen one of my favorite bands, Faith No More, in decades. The last time I saw Faith No More, they opened up for Metallica and Guns N’ Roses and somewhat stole the show…for me anyways. I was really looking forward to seeing them after so many years. I believe the concert was originally supposed to take place in May 2020. Headlining the bill is System of a Down and Korn. Additional bands opening the show are Russian Circles and Helmet (“Unsung.”)
No More, Faith No More
Like the rest of the world, I’m not tapped into things I normally would be. So, a few weeks away from the show, I see an advertisement with no mention of Faith No More. I find out that the band dropped out last year due to lead singer, Mike Patton, having mental issues.
“Sorry to report that due to mental health reasons, I cannot continue with the currently scheduled Faith No More and Mr. Bungle dates,” said lead singer Mike Patton. “I have issues that were exacerbated by the pandemic that are challenging me right now. I don’t feel I can give what I should at this point and I am not going to give anything less than 100 percent. I am sorry to our fans and hope to make it up to you soon.”
The Show Must Go On
Although FNM was the reason I got tickets, there were still great bands playing this show. I’m familiar with both System and Korn. I even know the one hit song by Helmet. In these times in lockdown, it is rare to get the chance to see live music. Early on in 2020, I watched a few concerts live online, but it’s not the same as seeing and hearing a show in person. There’s a whole experience of a concert that includes traveling, parking and walking. For this show I would have the company of my close friend, Sean Kinney.
Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles
The venue is fairly new, Downtown, next to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. I look on their website and check out the parking lots. I click on the nearby lots and find them sold out. So, I purchase a $40 reserved spot. That’s right. Forty dollars to park my car a few hours. I paid for these tickets so long ago that it’s not a big deal to secure a parking spot.
Saturday, February 5th, 2022
You park your car and walk to the stadium. You secure your mask. You show your vaccination from your Apple Wallet. Then you slide the QR barcode in the reader from the tickets on your Ticketmaster app.
“Everybody’s going to the party. Have a real good time.”– System of a Down
The Banc of California Stadium erupts as the Russian Circles start jamming. No one is singing. In between songs you can hear the cars racing next door at the LA Memorial Stadium for NASCAR. A large flame lit up at the top of the Memorial Stadium, adding to the experience. We learn later in the show that the band played without their lead singer. How cool is that? Apparently, the singer got the ‘Rona. The last cancellation was due to System of a Down singer, Serj Tankian, getting Covid.
Another band from the 90s, Helmet, rocked the stage with their explosive “Unsung.” Solid set!
Korn – Get Your Boogie On Ironically, the last big concert I saw had Jonathan Davis on the bill. It was at Ozzfest 2019 on New Years Eve and Davis was a solo act. I look forward to seeing both Korn and System, but not a serious fan. I downloaded some hit songs I liked. Because so much time passed waiting for this concert, I got into these bands a bit more. Put your ear plugs in. Bassist Reginald Arvizu is about to crank up this mother [BLEEP!] Korn’s set is fantastic! Davis enters the stage playing bag pipes on a song I had forgotten, “Shoots and Ladders.” And I love the off-shoot jamming and singing of Metallica’s “One” in the thick of it. Mosh pits that started early on were now growing in size throughout the floor.
System of a Down
But wait, there’s MORE METAL! My buddy and I sit in Section 213, an upper section around the side and middle. It’s been a long show and the seats are making our butts sore. So, when System or S.O.A.D. enters the stage, I’m relieved to stand up with all the fans so we old timers can stretch our weary legs. And we stand for the rest of the show. I don’t know or recognize the first handful of songs, but they all sound great. It definitely takes the experience to another level when you know the songs. There are songs I’m reintroduced to such as “Hypnotize” and “Lonely Day” as well as songs I didn’t know beforehand.
Feeling like I have no release
Why do we see bands play live? We want an experience. We want to see and hear our favorite bands. They inspire us. They give us something to bang our heads to. They help us hope and dream. We can dance and even enter a mosh pit if we feel like it. It makes us feel alive. Music takes us away from our troubles. It’s a release.
The Corona virus took away many of our chances to see our favorite bands live. It’s just not the same watching bands perform live online. You have to be there in person. You need to feel the vibe of the floor rocking and rolling under your feet. You need to be surrounded by other fans, yelling, screaming, rocking out, swaying their long locks, raising their fists, displaying their middle fingers and devil horns.
It’s also really cool to discover bands and be introduced to other music and songs.
Regarding Mike Patton, other members of Faith No More; Billy Gould, Roddy Bottum, Mike Bordin and Jon Hudson released a statement, “Coming on almost two years of pandemic and lack of work, it has been heart-breaking to give our crew the news. We consider our crew like family. And then, equally importantly, we are aware of what this means to our fans, who have been patiently supporting us – hoping, as we have, for a break in this frustrating situation. Many folks have taken isolation quite hard, and patiently waited as shows have been postponed time and time again. This will be tough for them.”
I hope Mike Patton recovers from whatever mental issues he’s having. The pandemic has been so overwhelming for so many people. Musicians have been hit very hard, not being able to tour, make money and are dealing with both outer and inner demons. Patton is dealing with the elements just like all of us. Maybe he’ll get inspired and write a whole new album from it. We’re all dealing with different issues. It’s best to take care of ourselves and improve our health so we can perform at our best. Take care, Mike.
We Care a Lot.
Purple Reign in Hollywood
The following post was originally on my Hubpages site which I’m phasing out.
I’m heading to a party Saturday night, June 30th, 2007, held in a hotel room at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, CA. Upon my arrival I noticed lots of people decked out for more than just hanging out at the hotel. A large banner by the lobby carried that symbol we all associate with Prince. And yes, dearly beloved, Prince is in the house! The people hosting the party had no idea. Then two girls got a great idea. They went out to Hollywood Blvd. and purchased purple wristbands, a whole box. I have no idea. All I know is the wristbands WORKED! A whole bunch of us entered the club. As soon as the door swings open, standing on the stage and shaking his hips what seemed to be ten feet away, was the purple wonder himself, PRINCE! I’ve always wanted to see Prince and now I have. I thought I missed my opportunity. Man, seeing Prince in a small club…for free was well, ‘Delirious.’ He went through many hits including “Take Me With You.” He jammed out on “Let’s Go Crazy.” He even performed “Nothing Compares to You” which he wrote for Sinead O’Connor. Sheila E. was there banging on her bongos to “Glamorous Life.” It wasn’t a long set, but for walking in off the street it was quite amazing. You never know where an evening will take you. It’s raining Purple. Purple Rain. I’d like to thank the Universe. Long Live Prince!
Unfortunately I did not get to take any photos. Knowing Prince, I wasn’t about to post any photos off other websites here as he seems to have a beef about that. You’ve got to respect his wishes especially now that he’s gone.
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life
It means forever and that’s a mighty long time
But I’m here to tell you
There’s something else
The after world
You can always see the sun, day or night
Rest in peace, Prince…in the After World.
Scott Weiland @ The Pearl
All aboard! Former Stone Temple Pilots singer, Scott Weiland, stepped on stage, sporting aviator sunglasses, looking dapper in a sharp suit about 30 minutes late with his band, the Wildabouts. The 90-minute concert showcased mostly STP hits from albums, “Core” and “Purple.” After Weiland rambled about hearing Elvis whispering on stage, he shouted into his characteristic megaphone and launched into “Crackerman.” The 75 percent full crowd in their 30’s and 40’s stood up and cheered as Weiland performed “Wicked Garden.” Some fans enduring seats on the floor eventually snuck up to the stage.
The first half of the show was strong. Weiland worked his strange, wavy dance moves all over the stage and laid down to feel Doug Grean’s guitar solo. At the end of “Dead & Bloated,” Grean let fans run their fingers along the strings. Weiland connected with first row fans, fist bumping, slapping, shaking hands and tossing a pair of sunglasses into the crowd.
The second half of the show suffered due to their late arrival and Weiland’s weakening vocals. The Wildabouts seemed to tolerate Weiland’s antics, musings and ramblings. Some fans encouraged Weiland during some hiccups. Because of lost time, Weiland skipped some damn good STP classics; “Interstate Love Song” and “Sex Type Thing.” Weiland seems to too often reach a point when the train is leaving and he must be on it. A loud siren rang before the band’s encore. It was warning fans to lower expectations. Feeling uninspired, “Unglued” and Doors cover, “L.A. Woman” prolonged this train wreck. Weiland missed an opportunity to pay tribute to legendary Doors’ keyboardist Ray Manzarek whom passed away earlier in the week. After all his strange babble, Weiland was first to exit the stage with nothing further to say. I guess he had a train to catch.
Some high points were “Creep,” Jane’s Addiction’s “Mountain Song” and David Bowie’s “The Jean Genie” as Weiland took the liberty to climb a large stack of speakers to pull out an American flag from The Pearl’s wall. Weiland paraded his patriotism, flag in hand, marching and dancing around the stage. Love him or hate him, Scott Weiland is the quintessential, flawed rock star.
Vegas Seven Magazine article
ZZ Top Has Legs
Baby boomers and slightly younger fans crowded the House of Blues in Las Vegas, hooting and hollering with anticipation. “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s party time,” said the cute young, blond girl in the video that opened the show. At 10:20pm, those sharp dressed men, bassist Dusty Hill and guitarist Billy Gibbons, entered the stage with their classic long beards, cowboy hats, dark suits and cheap sunglasses. Ready to rock! Beardless Frank Beard, wearing a tee-shirt, pounded the drums. The trio powered through their entire 80 minute set promoting new album, La Futura, without any breaks. Gibbons wished the House of Blues a Happy 20th Birthday. “We’ve been doing this for 4 decades,” he added and the lively crowd cheered.
The show was a warm and fuzzy look back at ZZ Top’s great bluesy music and rockin’ hits over the years. Video clips, live shots of the band and other visuals enhanced the songs on-screen behind the band. Classic MTV videos played along-side “Gimme All Your Lovin’” and “Legs” while other songs had visuals such as pretty girls driving cars. Old movie clips of Vincent Price accompanied “Vincent Price Blues.”
At one point in the show, the band took a license plate from a fan. It read: ZZ TOPS. They passed it around on stage to sign. Gibbons then pretended to be an auctioneer, bidding. “Do I hear 25? 25?” The fan got their license plate back eventually.
Folks kicked up their heels to “Tube Snake Boogie.” There was a lot of 70’s and 80’s nostalgia in the air. I purchased that same famous ‘ZZ’ keychain I had and lost over 10 years ago. For their last few songs including “La Grange” and “Tush,” Gibbons and Hill switched out their guitars for those crazy white and fuzzy ones that spin. The only thing that would have completed the experience for me was if they actually spun those guitars live just once. Well, at least the guitars spun in the video clip. This was a solid performance and this is the perfect band for this venue. ZZ Top has legs.
“We broke the record we set last night in Phoenix,” said Buzz Osbourne, lead singer/guitarist of sludge metal band The Melvins Lite. The trio has embarked on a grueling tour in support of their latest release Freak Puke. The tour is more of a mission; 51 dates in 50 states in 51 days including Washington D.C. They’re attempting to break a Guinness Book of World Records to be the fastest tour by a band in the U.S. currently held by George Thorogood. Osbourne was accompanied by drummer/singer Dale Crover and Trevor Dunn on a stand-up bass.
Switching up from the usual 4-piece band with two drummers to the trio with Dunn on bass is why
they’re called The Melvins Lite. There was nothing ‘Lite’ about it. Osbourne, with his signature grey, ragged hair, black long-sleeve shirt and what looked like sequins, thrashed about on stage, leading the rockers furiously. Bass player Trevor Dunn wore a brown baseball cap, white button-down shirt and a tie. Is this Dunn’s Angus Young (AC/DC) Halloween costume? Dunn got the flannel-wearing crowd of 30 and 40-somethings revved up with his thrilling bass solo from dark, spooky riffs to the pleasant sounds of “Over the Rainbow.” Drummer Dale Crover, mid-40’s, tee-shirt and jeans, re-entered from backstage and told the crowd, “Sing it Bitch!”
Crover got a surprise on-stage before their set as ‘Professional Weirdo’ Jenn O. Cide, a very tall, tattooed, busty brunette, lit up the room with her lengthy ‘fire fingers.’ She then lit the candles on Dale Crover’s cake and led everyone in singing “Happy Birthday” to Crover.
Melvins Lite, on their 49th date of this record-breaking tour, has stuck together since the early 80’s. This hard-working band played with great confidence and spirit. It was a solid performance including songs “Mr. Rip Off,” “Electric Flower” and Wings cover “Let Me Roll It.” At the end, Crover shouted, “Let’s get fucking shit-faced!” And with that the band exited the stage. George Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone” played immediately afterwards. Look out, George!
The show took place at Las Vegas Country Saloon.
Link to article in Vegas Seven Magazine
A Crowd-Surfing Matisyahu
Matisyahu with The Dirty Heads – Soundwaves Pool @ Hard Rock Hotel
The Dirty Heads kicked off the good vibes with their rock/reggae/hip hop grooves for the beach ball-throwing kids mostly in their 20’s and 30’s. The Dirty Heads with their own fan-base got the crowd dancing and swaying to the hits; “Spread Too Thin” and “Lay Me Down.” The Dirty Heads were solid.
Without his usual skullcap, dark long beard and conservative black and white clothing and tallis or ‘prayer shawl’, Matisyahu walked through the crowd unnoticed as he hopped on stage wearing a white tee-shirt and blue jeans. Many fans were still unaware of his new lighter-colored hair and clean-shaven appearance. He seemed to have a fresh outlook on life as he reached out at one point to go crowd-surfing. It was a good show, but was crowd-surfing and beat-boxing enough to satisfy true fans?
In early December 2011, Matisyahu shocked the music industry with a new look and not going by the ‘Hasidic reggae superstar.’ He hasn’t shed his Jewish beliefs as much as redefined them for himself.
Matisyahu has experimented with different styles of music and other artists (ex. The Chemical Brothers 2009’s “Drown in the Now”). With his new look and new album, “Spark Seeker,” perhaps his transition is a struggle to find a new identity and a wider audience. His updated look doesn’t mean he’s changed much on the inside. He‘s shed all labels. He just wants to be known as a musician or artist.
My friend (KOMP’s @thehangingchad) and I decided to watch from the upper level. Unbeknownst to us, Matisyahu and his small entourage were hanging out in a cabana nearby before the show. Every once in a while, Matisyahu would exit and walk somewhere with whom I’m guessing was his son, about six years old.
During the show, I actually spoke to a guy with a long, dark, scruffy beard who called himself Kool Kojak. He turned out to be the Co-Writer/Producer on Matisyahu’s current “Spark Seeker” album. Kojak told me Matisyahu grew tired of some the restrictions of Hasidic life. He wanted to embrace his female fans as much as his male fans. That was not allowed in his Hasidic faith.
American Jews and non-Jews alike have identified with Matisyahu’s messages of faith in his lyrics. What made him so inspirational when he first came on the scene was the feeling in his voice when he sang with all his emotion and spirit. His earlier music sang out with such conviction. That magic was not present at this show.
This show was nothing like the first three times I saw him about six years ago. Matisyahu sang some of the old songs; “Time of Your Song,” “Jerusalem” and “King Without a Crown.” There was a slight edginess and a faster tempo to the old songs that lost their original appeal.
At the end, Matisyahu invited fans to climb on stage during “One Day.” And as unnoticed as he entered the stage initially, Matishayu snuck off the crowded stage and back into obscurity. He returned to the very same cabana. I was able to tell him, “Good show!” And it was a good show.
Soulful singer Michael McDonald has been performing since the late ’60s, and at this sold-out show at the Eastside Cannery Casino on February 18th, 2012, his age showed in some amusing ways. At the very start of the show he had slipped up by saying Los Angeles instead of Las Vegas, but quickly recovered. This one-time backup singer for Steeley Dan and ex-Doobie Brother poked fun at himself hoping he could ‘remember the lyrics’ to solo hit “I Keep Forgettin” off his first album, “If That’s What It Takes.”
A fan wished Michael ‘Happy Birthday.’ McDonald added that he recently turned 60. It was a night to celebrate all of his favorite pieces of music from The Doobie Brothers to his solo work to Marvin Gaye. McDonald’s rich baritone sounded great on hits; “It Keeps You Runnin’, ”Minute By Minute,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Sweet Freedom” from the 1986 movie, “Running Scared.” McDonald, on keyboard, was supported by a solid group of musicians. His two female singers encouraged the crowd to stand up and dance throughout the show. Fans instinctively stood up as McDonald sang “What a Fool Believes.” In McDonald’s encore, he dedicated “Takin’ it to the Streets” to Whitney Houston who was buried earlier that day. McDonald ended the 80-minute show with Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City.” It was a night that perhaps McDonald won’t remember, but his fans will.
Motley Crue…Still Kickin’ Ass!
Of all the bands that have come and gone, Motley Crue is ‘still kickin’ ass!’ All four original members; Mick Mars, Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee and frontman Vince Neil have kept it together. There of course have been some rocky years, decades, etc. The nature of this band redefined rock and roll debauchery.
Even without the circus of sexy dancers, dangling half-naked from the ceiling of The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel that Wednesday, February 15th, the clowns on stilts and fake-Motley Crue little people running around, the band itself put on an awesome performance. My concern was that Neil wouldn’t sound the same. Neil may have been a little out of breath at times, but his vocal chords were pounding out the high notes.
“Shout! Shout! Shout! Shout at the devil!”
Looks That Kill
The last time I saw Motley Crue I was in college in Hartford, CT in the early 90’s. It was the Dr. Feelgood tour. My seats were so far away. This time my buddy, Andrew, hooked me up on the GA Floor. I could have been as close as I wanted to, but 10-15 feet was close enough.
So many memories growing up as a teenager, rebelling society with my Crue tee-shirts…and parachute pants. Yes, I was also into Run DMC too. For the rest of the world, that was weird. But I love music and whatever ‘Kickstarts’ my heart works for me. Nowadays you can’t recognize songs because they’re so mixed and mashed up. Whatever happened to the days of vinyl? I still have my “Looks That Kill” 45. On the flip side is “Piece of Your Action” which turned me on to Too Fast for Love. I loved that album so much I painted the cover on the back of my jean jacket of a man grabbing his crotch. Looking back it was somewhat startling for my very white-picked fence oriented small town in Armonk, NY. IBM would not approve.
On With the Show
Getting back to the concert, they kicked off the show with “Live Wire,” “Wild Side” and “Too Fast for Love.” Soon after that came “Shout at the Devil.” The middle of the show involved a sit-down acoustic set in a circular mini-stage about 20 feet in front of the stage where my date, Nancy, and I were. The stage spun slowly enhancing the songs (not necessarily ballads) “Without You,” “On With the Show,” and “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away.)”
A buxom female ringmaster dressed in black and red introduces Tommy Lee as the man ‘every single man wants to be.’ Tommy, sitting in his drum set, loops in a giant circle upside down and all around. Then as “Rollercoaster” comes on by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, a fan gets on stage and rides the contraption with Tommy. Very cool!
Home Sweet Home
In the middle mini-stage Tommy plays a piano as Vince Neil swings over the crowd from the opposite far corner, singing “Home Sweet Home.” It’s a fitting finale as The Joint is their home all this month of February, from the 3rd to the 19th. It’s also Vince Neil’s permanent residence.
There have been rumors that this could be the end. But then during the show the band hinted at coming back.
California hard rockers, Tesla, named after the famous inventor, Nikola Tesla, has reinvented itself over the years. Their risky move in the 90’s to strip down their electric guitars and play acoustically transformed the music business and inspired a generation of rockers ‘unplugging.’ Their current tour is in support of their latest album, “Twisted Wires and the Acoustic Sessions,” released in 2011 with some acoustic remakes of their earlier songs and a few brand new songs like “Second Street” and “Better Without You.”
HOUSE OF BLUES
Tesla played a very packed House of Blues Saturday, January 7, 2012.
With over 25 years of playing their ‘blues metal’ has built a very strong fan-base with a very diverse following; metalheads, hippies and blue-collar types, kids in their 20’s and older fans of 30’s and 40’s. Opening band, Built By Stereo, warmed up the crowd. Tesla played for about an hour and twenty minutes. They had a strong start and a stronger finish. Lead singer Jeff Keith, sporting a football jersey with his name on the back, belted out the hits; “Comin’ Atcha Live / Truckin,” “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out),” “Modern Day Cowboy” and “Signs.”
The meat of the show was really for diehard Tesla fans as it pertained to lesser-known songs and songs from the new album including “Second Street” and “Better Without You.”
Playing acoustically is an animal all to itself. Some fans prefer the unplugged versions of Tesla’s rock songs while others like the original electric versions. This is not the band I saw over 20 years ago. Their energy was not the same. Mostly, the band sat on stools like any other acoustic jam. Keith got up and walked around a bit to connect with the audience. Guitarists Frank Hannon and Dave Rude showered the crowd with guitar picks. The packed house burst into singing “Love Song.” A pleasant surprise in Tesla’s set was a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You.”
Chad Plummer was my guest at the show. It was his idea to watch the show near the bar so I could use the bar to lean on when taking notes. Good idea, Chad. If the energy of the show was better I might have moved closer to the stage. I never moved.
Uberschall @ Double Down
Elvis (Lederer) has left the Venetian. The writing on this wall said ‘Shut up and Drink.’ The bar patrons were all mesmerized by the three drummers, two guitarists and one bassist that make up Uberschall, which means ‘supersonic’ in German. This very fitting name may not ring a bell, but the band members are mostly from the current line-up of the Blue Man Group. Uberschall formed in 2000 when the members of Blue Man Group sought out an improvisational and experimental outlet away from the PVC pipes and blue faces. At roughly 12am, the band members strolled into the bar, one by one, setting up their equipment. Guitars were tuned. Drums were hit. The last drummer, Todd Waetzig, arrived to set up.
Soon after, Waetzig started warming up, pounding the drums and setting a rhythm. The two other drummers followed suit as if they were a part of a loud drum circle. The guitarists chimed in and the musicians rode the wave of an improvisational journey not knowing exactly where they would end up. They just felt the music and followed their gut. The music flowed in one direction and at some point went in another direction. The pace slowed down and then picked up. They jammed for about 20 minutes or so and took a short break. The follow-up jam session started out very differently with a slower, mellower pace set by Elvis Lederer, 40’s, the guitarist and the band’s general manager. His soft wailing vibrated throughout the bar like whale sounds, summoning his band mates to find their places. One bar patron started dancing to the wailing sounds and psychedelic vibes. The pace picked up. Drummers pounded into a frenzy. You get a sense that the session is very different every time. Uberschall plays at Double Down on the last Sunday of every month.
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