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In this issue: The Adicts, Alice Cooper, Combichrist, Cradle of Filth, Creature Feature, The Cult, Dommin, Faster Pussycat, The Head Cat, Billy Idol (2 reviews,) The Iron Maidens, Judas Priest, Lacuna Coil, L.A. Guns, Marilyn Manson, Michael Schenker Group, Ministry, Mötley Crüe, Motörhead, New York Dolls, Ratt, Satyricon, Septic Flesh, Seventh Void, Sex Pistols, Sisters of Mercy, Stolen Babies, The Sweet, Testament, Type O Negative, Wednesday 13 (2 reviews,)

Reviews by: David Necro, Sunset Vampyre, Lexa Vonn, K.K., The Pusher, EvAl

The Adicts
House of Blues
Hollywood, CA

Photos By Lexa Vonn

An Adicts show is like a childhood birthday party.
There's confetti, magic tricks, sequined spangled
clowns, and several hundred punk rockers pounding
their fists in splendid madness! Well, if you grew up
in my family you'd know what I mean. Something about
watching the many antics that The Adicts provide in
any given performance never gets old. The way the
lights go dim and all you hear is the violin intro,
which builds in its intensity as the band's fiddler
plays faster and faster as if to summon our master of
entertainment for the evening, the legendary Monkey.

Alas, the tawdry figure appears an iridescent pancaked
clown looking like an old vaudeville performer against
his merry band of Clockwork Orangish mates. Once the
crowd reaches its peak of musical demand, The Adicts
break into their opening number, "Joker In the Pack."
Within minutes Monkey in cavorting around the stage
spraying us with playing cards, streamers and

The energy maintained throughout the set as we were
treated with such old favorites as "Viva la
Revolution", "Let's Go", and "This is Your Life."
Somewhere mid-set, Monkey declares he needs a dozen
girls to help him with the next song. Deciding that I
needed to take a break from the camera lens, I ditched
my gear, grabbed Miss April Vixxi, and mounted the
stage to be included in the orgy that accompanied the
very fitting track, "Naughty Girl."

When I returned to the chaos that had currently become the crowd, I
noticed that they were pushing so hard that it was
causing the speakers on either side of the stage to
slide. Luckily, I was able to stand just inside the
barricade where I was able to get my bearings by
placing one foot on the step of the barricade and
leaning against the speakers to provide some leverage
against the slippage.

After a pretty lengthy set, the show finaled with the
hit, "Bad Boy" which was accompanied by giant
inflatable balls being thrown out and tossed around
the audience making the entire club look like a
massive gum ball machine. The celebration continued
until the last note of the band was played, with the
violin taking the lead to exit the set in the same
manner as which it began, with a horde of fans
stomping and clapping along to send our minstrel of
mischief back to the dimension in which he came. -LV

Alice Cooper
The Orleans Showroom
Las Vegas, NV

Photos by: Shy McGrath

What is there to say about an Alice Cooper show that hasn't already been said for the last 40 years? There is the tight (but loose) musicianship, the fantastic stage show, and Alice's fantastic (and very much copied) stage makeup.

This particular show was frenzied, dynamic, and propulsive. Also, it was as fun as it was vicious in its grandeur. Alice's songs are anthems for several generations, and they were layed down brilliantly.

Alice's vocals have gotten more menacing and sinister over the years, and on this night, they were no exception.The stage show included Alice driving a stake through the heart of a baby during "Dead Babies," locked in a straight jacket for "The Ballad of Dwight Fry," and an intense public hanging. Is this disturbing?

Yes, as it challenges you to realize that life is not all wine and roses. It continues to challenge the uptight mores of society. Also, it continues probe the dark corners of the human mind. Alice is as wild and crazy as ever.

It's all a bloody good time really, and the master of the macabre makes sure you walk away with a demented smile on your face. -DN

Set List:

It's Hot Tonight
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Under My Wheels
I'm Eighteen
Is It My Body?
Woman of Mass Distraction
Lost In America
Feed My Frankenstein
Be My Lover
(In Touch With) Your Feminine Side
Dirty Diamonds
Vengeance is Mine
Halo of Flies
Jimmy DeGrasso drum solo
Welcome to my Nightmare
Cold Ethyl
Only Women Bleed
The Awakening
Dead Babies
Ballad of Dwight Fry
Devil's Food
I Love the Dead
School's Out
Billion Dollar Babies

Black Light Burns
Peabody's DownUnder
Cleveland, OH

Photos by Poison Ivie & Spezial K, edited by The Pusher

Holy shit.

That's all I really have to say about witnessing Combichrist live... but, since I'm assuming you weren't there, let me try to recap some of what you missed.

Depeneding who you ask, show openers DESILLUSION either kicked total ass, or were the worst thing to happen to music since the invention of DAT; I didn't actually see their set ('cuz Ohio winters suck), but I was told they did a VERY shitty job covering Nine Inch Nails (while allegedly playing along to their cd)... Either way, I can't say for sure - but I wasn't really there to see them anyway.

Black Light Burns had just taken the stage as we arrived and, I have to admit, I was actually REALLY impressed at how tight their sound was. (I don't know what the hell he was thinking back in the Limp Bizkit days, but that's another story entirely.) We actually ended up sitting at the bar for their set, as the crowd was so packed & insane that getting near the stage was a fucking impossibility; I remember hearing "Mesopotamia", and we ended up catching some video of them performing "Lie" that you can check out on my YouTube page ( The only thing I DIDN'T really dig was their cover of Love & Rockets' "So Alive", which is apparnetly on their new ep Cover Your Heart; that's not to say that it, like, sucked or anything ~ I'm just not a REAL big fan of cover songs to begin with. And their version is SO different that, if you'd never heard the original, you'd never even know it was a cover. Overall, I'll give them a B- for effort, though; now we just have to see if he'll still be touring with Manson this summer or if the rumors that he's actually going to be Fred Durst's stooge again... Guess I guess we'll see soon enough.

Anyhoo, after a few more drinks & a trip out back to smoke, Combichrist took the stage and immediately brought the wrath of God down upon everyone in the pit; opening their nearly hour long set with "All Pain Is Gone" (from their current "Today We Are All Demons" disc), Mr. LaPlegua & his partners in grime played just about anything you could have wanted to hear: "Get Out of My Head", "Blut Royale", "This Is My Rifle", "Electrohead", "Today I Woke To the Rain of Blood" all went down like a hooker on payday, and "Sent to Destroy" certainly lived up to it's name. But, as they put it, "the show aint over til the fat lady sings", and "(THEIR) fat lady is "This Shit Will Fuck You Up"" - and, goddamn, did it ever. By the time they ended their set "What The Fuck Is Wrong With You?", the only response you probably would have received is "We want MORE". . .

If you didn't make it out to see why, I truly feel sorry for you; almost as sorry as I feel for myself, because now I can't even listen to their studio albums & appreciate them as much since hearing them live. But that's MY problem. -The Pusher

Cradle of Filth
Septic Flesh
House of Blues
Las Vegas, NV

Photos by: Shy McGrath

Something wicked this way comes...and man, did it ever in the form of this particular concert!

The evening started off with Septic Flesh from Greece. They specialize in symphonic death metal. They've been around since the early 90s, and most recently reformed. Their set was very heavy and dynamic. With more texture and color compared to most death metal bands.They are more melodic as well. A great set overall, and it was something to remember. I'm glad they reformed.

Norway's Satyricon came very close to blowing the headliners (Cradle of Filth) off the stage. Their set was truly excellent. It was forceful with excellent harmonics and dynamics. It was forceful and frenzied as well. They struck me as very 80s inspired, which is a good thing. They also had a very tight groove going on. You usually don't hear this in black metal, so Satyricon is something special in this regard. They definitely are a class act
in every which way.

Cradle of Filth stormed the stage with a malevolent and powerful set. There were many different textures and colors to grasp on to. You really didn't have to be an astute listener to notice this. They caused one to feel the beauty of pain and the elegance of darkness. We were treated to blood curdling screams hot and cold running chills, and thrashing uncontrollable rythms. Cradle of Filth is one of those bands that projects a true macabre and ominous atmosphere.

All in all, a splendid evening, and one that made a lasting impression. -DN

Creature Feature
The Knitting Factory
Hollywood, CA

Photos by: Sunset Vampyre

The first thing you notice are the sideburns. They arrive on stage ahead of the band, desperately searching for a cut-throat razor. The owner of the sideburns, borrowed from Abraham Lincoln, took up his position in front of the microphone, wearing an outfit borrowed from the aforementioned President when he gave his speech at Gettysburg. There were a couple of differences, though, between Abe and Curtis Rx. For one thing, Curtis was a lot younger. And prettier, in a fresh-corpse kind of way. And he had a very cool guitar. And yeah, he may look like a picture taken on a glass negative in the 1800's, and someone may have stolen his stove-pipe hat, but hey, who else is dressing like Abe Lincoln today?

His bandmates were an undertaker on drums ( I don't care what you think you were SUPPOSED to be, you only needed a tape measure to complete the picture ), who thudded out the terrorized hearts dying beats with such purpose and power you knew it was only a matter of time before you lost your own tenuous grip on this mortal coil.
And then there was Marcel Marceau.

Who? You know, the famous mime who wore a Blue-and-White striped top and had a White face.......Oh wait, this was Eric X, the keyboard player who was the spinal column ( read backbone ) of the band, and whose eerie effects were the audible fog that surround the glint of the knife as the slasher plummets it towards you. The music was a story unfolding of childhood monsters-under-the-bed, the twisted minds of writers of the macabre read with the light on, and horror movies watched with dilated pupils accompanied by the soundtrack of your own heart beating in your chest. Fun, Ghoulish, and Water-Splattered,   ( next time add Red food coloring - much more effective! ) This band is definitely one to watch.
And on a bizarre note, a clown was seen in the audience, watching the show. Ever been followed home by a clown? Think Stephen King's IT. Now THATS Scary! -SV 

The Cult
The Joint
Las Vegas, NV

Photos by: Shy McGrath

On this night, The Cult delivered a high-energy affair that was dynamic, swinging, and boogied all the way to parts unknown.

The performance was passionate and exciting with a lot of light and shade. The dynamics were impeccable going from soft to loud perfectly.

Guitarist Billy Duffy provided sizzling rhythms and slashing solos. Singer Ian Astbury brought forth a commanding stage presence.

Speaking of commanding, the band kept your attention and didn't let go until the final buzz of the amplifiers and the final cymbal crash.

With solid playing throughout, The Cult delivered once again. Seeing them live is now quite a treat. -DN

Faster Pussycat
Crash Mansion
Los Angeles, CA

Photos by: Lexa Vonn

I’ve never liked Valentine’s Day much. It has always
seemed like a Hallmark holiday and one that makes
those currently out of relationships feel left out of
the loop. Luckily for me, I’m a groupie. The only
date I need is a good rock n’ roll show. And who
better-fitting to play a show on this particular
holiday then super-groupie aficionado, Mr. Taime
Downe. My chick crew, The Plastics had a rough start
to the evening as Diana got a flat tired on the way to
the gig and showed up nearly in tears just moments
before Faster Pussycat hit the stage. The other girls
and I had saved her a spot right up front, so the show
was ready to go on without a hitch. It was my first
time at Crash Mansion, the cool new spot in downtown
L.A. The venue has a lot of potential. It’s dark and
quite large and has the vibe of an underground New
York club. Its only fault is a shaky sound system.
No matter where you stand in the club, you can’t seem
to get a full sound and the vocals are often muffled.
This put a damper on the performance for some fans who
were heard complaining, but for us it was all about
the energy. There is something comforting about the
consistency of a Faster Pussycat show. While some
bands of eras past try to make a comeback by playing
mostly new songs, this band never deprives its
audience of all the best old hits including “Bathroom
Wall”, “Cathouse”, “Don’t Change That Song”, and even
the Carly Simon cover, “You’re so Vain”.

Of course the line up is more Newlydeads than Faster
Pussycat featuring Danny Nordahl on bass, Xristian
Simon on guitar, Chad Stewart on drums and Beautiful
Creature’s Michael Thomas stepping in on lead guitar,
but the rather large crowd doesn’t seem to mind. The
performance is full of classic Pussycat antics as
always. You are sure to get lots of Taime Downe humor
in between songs as he stands center stage in his rock
n’ roll nazi regalia sipping drinks and chain smoking
nonchalantly. When the band breaks into their famed
power ballad “House of Pain”, Taime announces that he
feels lazy and sits down on the stage for the entire
song. The rest of the boys join him and the whole
place turns into a heartfelt living room sing-along
between band and audience.

The Plastics dance at the side of the stage in girlish
glee snapping photos and downing beer like we would
have in the 80’s if any of us were old enough to get
into a bar back then. Afterwards, we are pulled
backstage by some of the other bands’ entourage who
recognized us, where we are greeted by an extremely
drunken Taime Downe who invites Diana to sit on his
lap, despite the fact that there is already a girl
sitting there. Ah, rock n’ roll… gotta love it!! -LV 

The Head Cat
The Joint
Las Vegas, NV

Photos by: Don Brown, Sr. and Larry

How fortuitous! A free concert inside the Hard Rock featuring none other than the legendary Lemmy Kilmister himself! Also, you have Slim Jim Phantom (of Stray Cats fame,) on the skins, and Danny B. Harvey on the six-string.

The band were firing on all cylinders, breathing new life into rock n' roll and blues classics like "Blue Suede Shoes," "Shakin' All Over," "Crossroads," and "Five Long Years."

These are songs you have to know, as they are the roots of everything that came after it, including Lemmy's band Motorhead.

They just nailed every riff and beat perfectly. This was supercharged and ready for the drag strip.

So, this was a nite of strong emotion, and a no-frills, no bullshit performance. You really can't ask for more. It was powerful and made a lasting impression.

Even if you're not a Motorhead or Stray Cats fan, I highly recommend you check these cats out. They're the real deal! -DN

Billy Idol
House of Blues
Hollywood, CA

Photos by: Lexa Vonn

They called it “House of Billy”.  For three days, the famous House of Blues on the Sunset Strip transformed itself into a shrine to 80’s superstar, Billy Idol for three consecutive sold out performances. Idol and his band was the only act on the bill and played for about two hours each night to an extremely receptive audience. 

I attended the first night and watched as Billy emerged onto the stage looking trim, ripped and youthful in leather and old school bondage pants. He hadn’t lost an once of his sexiness as he launched into the opening number, “Cradle of Love”.  The hits came out one by one, but I thought the first few were performed a little slower than usual, providing a more mellow vibe than what you would expect from an eternal punk rocker like Billy Idol. 

The pace did pick up after about five songs or so though and you could feel the audience lock into it.  Idol began reaching out to audience members and interacting with band members.  Plastics girl, April Vixxi was among front row audience members who made out well with several picks and drum sticks handed to her by the singer himself.

Guitarist Steve Stevens may be underrated, for he is nothing short of pure rock star!  He seemed to play flawlessly and passionately.  The audience was mesmerized during his solo piece was spiritually transforming to me.  I was moved by his essence onstage and it seemed no matter where I moved in the audience, he always found me and made sure to acknowledge me with a wink and a smile, a trait I find irresistible in live performers. 

Billy’s energy became more intriguing as the night went on as well as he changed from childlike to seductive to demonic and back again.  The set included most everything one would want to hear, “White Wedding”, “Dancing With Myself”, “Sweet 16”, “Flesh for Fantasy”, “L.A. Woman”, “Blue Highway”, “Eyes Without a Face”, etc., ect., ect.!!  For the encore we were treated to the old Generation X song, “Ready Steady Go!” and “Rebel Yell”. 

And finally came the closer, an extra long sing-a-long version of “Mony Mony” that had everyone chanting “come on everybody, get laid, get fucked!”  Its nice to know his ideals haven’t changed over the years! -LV

Billy Idol
House of Blues
Hollywood, CA

Photos by: Sunset Vampyre

THE LINE FOR BILLY winding its way up Sunset told you one thing: If you didn't have a ticket, you were gonna pay a whole lot of money to scalp one - if you could even find one, that is.
Finding the Billy Idol venue couldn't have been any easier for anyone not sure where on the strip he was playing - the entire building and surrounding fence was covered in Billy Idol posters, and even on the roof it said BILLY IDOL - SOLD OUT. In fact, on the tickets it didn't say House Of Blues - it said HOUSE OF BILLY.

This was day 2 of his 3 days at the HOB. A friend of mine had arranged for backstage passes with the tour manager Tony - I was told to look out for  " a Grey-haired guy with glasses". I found it extremely funny when I got there because there were a whole lot of "Grey-haired guys with glasses" -  many, in fact most, of the audience seemed to be made up of middle-aged people who had grown up with Billy, and they were more then ready to turn back the clock and rock!

A sprinkling of us were wearing our customary black t-shirts - I saw Metallica and Megadeth T's and I was wearing NIN - in fact, as I was climbing into the photo pit, a guy grabbed me and said "Were you at the Forum a few days ago? That was an awesome gig!" ( Oh yeah - Nine Inch Nails Rocked! )

This was my only my second Billy Idol gig, but both times there were no opening bands, which was quite bizarre to say the least - if anyone knows why, please let me know.....
Anyhow, the lights went down, and the screams went up a few thousand decibels, and Billy Idol strutted on stage, skinny as ever, the blond hair toned down a few notches but still in that same style that he's had for last 35 years. He really is a guy frozen in time, embalmed with a high-octane "Rock"et fuel that gives him the moves and the body of a 20 yr old.

He played for 2 hours, singing about Sex ( Rebel Yell ), Masturbation ( Dancing With Myself ) and, er, Sex  ( Mony Mony - with the hilarious hook,     "Hey Motherfucker, get laid get fucked!" ) But of course, much as we love the songs, the girls were really only there to see him get his kit off - which was very disappointing, as he was happy to undo his shirt but he wouldn't take the bloody thing off!

The place was so packed one wondered about how many fire regulations were being broken - and then guys old enough to know better downed too much booze, began getting in everyone's way ( including mine - move, motherfuckers! ) and eventually started getting kicked out by security. However, they were all happy drunks, so no fights broke out. In fact, it was nice not to have a slam-pit brewing - the low or no I.Q. louts that start those things are my pet hate - hulking great fat gits who push over tiny women and think they're "men" when in fact they're dickless trannies.....Get a life, jerk-offs! So - Billy Idol - no opening band, no moshing, but the best fuckin' time ever at a gig - makes you want to relive the 80's all over again! "With a Rebel Yell, She cries More, More, More........." -SV

The Iron Maidens
Santa Fe Station Hotel and Casino
Las Vegas, NV

Photos by: KK

     It’s a rare occurrence when a tribute band turns out to be better than the band they’re playing tribute to…but The Iron Maidens have achieved this. “How the HELL is that possible?” You ask. I’ll tell you. The Iron Maidens’ faithful show transports you to that magical time when Iron Maiden ruled heavy metal (I’m thinking ’Number Of The Beast’ to ‘ Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son’), and their songs are all Killers, no filler. The Iron Maidens rock you with a letter-perfect “Wrathchild” while Iron Maiden themselves currently bore you with “The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg”. (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?) The members of Iron Maiden are all talented musicians, to be sure, but the Iron Maidens are virtuosos...Bassist Wanda Ortiz moonlights in Southern California’s Symphony Orchestra, and other members previously achieved stardom in the legendary band Phantom Blue. They’ve scaled heights other tribute bands can only dream of: worldwide gigs, press attention, awards, instrument endorsements, a CD (The Iron Maidens) and a live CD/DVD combination (Route 666).
     The Iron Maidens bill themselves as the “World’s only female tribute to Iron Maiden”, which is true, but irrelevant…now they’re probably the World’s ONLY tribute to Iron Maiden. If there were any others, their members have probably gone back to delivering pizzas after seeing an Iron Maidens’ show.
      OhmiGod, they sound just like Maiden…well, so do we…
     They’ve got Eddie, and the Grim Reaper onstage…well, so do we…
     Wait a minute, they’ve got a FEMALE Eddie onstage…hmmm, we don’t have that…
     And their drummer is way HOTTER than Nicko McBrain…we don’t have that either…come to think of it, the BASSIST is hotter than Steve Harris…
     F**k it, what do you want on your pizza?
     And, to be sure, sex appeal should not count in the arena of rock & roll…but it does. I’d rather gaze in awe at Courtney Cox…while she shreds out Maiden’s classic scales note-for-note…than merely hold ‘horns up’ to Adrian Smith, Dave Murray or Janick Gers of the real thing (they always ignore you, anyway, but Cox is freakin’ fly, and they’re not).


The real thing…Iron Maiden, that is…has slipped a few notches down rock & roll relevance since Bruce Dickinson bailed out after “Fear Of The Dark”…and Steve Harris had the chance to recruit Michael Kiske from HELLOWEEN, but NO, he picked Blaze Bayley from WOLFSBANE to ‘sing’ for the LPs “The X Factor” and “Virtual XI”…two albums that the Iron Maidens leave out of their show, praise God.
      The IRON MAIDENS also concentrate on performing, whereas once Dickinson returned, he took every spare moment onstage to verbally criticize everything…moshers, record companies, Hollywood, America, and Ozzy Osbourne (even as a guest on Sharon Osbourne’s OZZFEST, with the deserved result of becoming a human omelette at the hands of her egg-throwing allies)…and this is from a guy who’s made millions from heavy metal; Iron Maiden recently signed a deal for $30,000,000 for the rights to their back catalogue, and they still play arenas while Helstar, Anvil, and Raven play clubs.  I and other fans actually booed Dickinson after his third needless tirade at a Hollywood concert during the Brave New World tour. Dickinson’s rants could be set aside if Maiden’s recent musical output (Brave New World, Dance of Death, etc.) offered the fury of Piece of Mind or Powerslave, but they haven’t.  


Musically, the Maidens deliver all of their namesake’s goods…Sara “MiniMurray” Marsh and Courtney Cox supply identical dual-guitar firepower; Wanda “Steph Harris” Ortiz duplicates Maiden’s machine-gun bass; Linda “Nikki McBurrain” McDonald pounds the percussion perfectly and new vocalist Kristen Rosenberg (replacing Aja Kim) screams melodically to match messrs. Dickinson or Di’anno, as necessary. The only thing the Maidens don’t have are Iron Maiden’s larger theatrical set-pieces…their mascot Eddie isn’t a 20’ high mummy shooting sparks from his eyes, but he does make an appearance onstage with the Maidens, along with his female counterpart “Edwina”, the Grim Reaper and the devil. With their classic set list (see below), The Iron Maidens deliver an exceptional metal show at a much more economical rate than the real thing (tonight’s show at Santa Fe Station’s Chrome Showroom was free), and oh yeah…they’re hot. -KK

     SETLIST: Aces High/Two Minutes To Midnight/The Trooper/Flight of Icarus/Revelations/Wasted Years/The Ides Of March—Wrathchild/Infinite Dreams/ Moonchild/Genghis Khan/The Number Of The Beast/Caught Somewhere In Time/Hallowed Be Thy Name/Phantom Of The Opera/Run To The Hills/ENCORE: Fear Of The Dark.

Judas Priest
Pearl Theatre
Las Vegas, NV

“Can you hear the thunder deafen every living thing about?!”
The correct answer is HELL YEAH, if you caught Judas Priest’s latest show at the Pearl Theatre in Las Vegas.

     Touring in support of their new concept CD NOSTRADAMUS, Priest once again ‘delivered the goods’, albeit at new luxury prices. $78.00 for average seats—with no opening act—possibly priced a few fans out of the market this time, but I suspect the venue had something to do with it. And as far as venues go, the Pearl Theatre at the Palms Casino is a pretty damned cool place for a show. Viewing’s good from virtually any seat in the house, the stage is huge, the staff is friendly and there are no Gestapo-style security searches.
     Priest’s stage set might not have been as overwhelming as Iron Maiden’s or Dio’s, but impressive nonetheless: a multi-level stage with steel ‘JP’ trademarks under a huge mural of Nostradamus. Of course, with Judas Priest, the visual element is secondary to the sonic assault.
     The crowd’s incessant chants of “PRIEST! PRIEST! PRIEST!” are instantly conquered by the roaring guitars of Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing, and the battering drums of Scott Travis (You can barely hear Ian Hill’s bass in the wall of sound, but it’s in there somewhere) as they unleash the title track of “Nostradamus”. Rob Halford levitates up from a trapdoor on the second stage, wearing a blinding cloak of polished steel and wielding not only a microphone but a metal staff topped with the JP trademark. “Nostradamus” goes over well as an opener, but the crowd roars louder in appreciation for their next song, the classic “Metal Gods”. It also thankfully kills the notion that they’re going to play NOSTRADAMUS in its entirety…not that the album is bad, but everyone has a different Judas Priest song they want to hear.
     From then on, the set list is surprisingly eclectic: “Eat Me Alive” is followed by an odd choice of “Between The Hammer And The Anvil” from PAINKILLER, during which Halford waves a pair of huge red flags with the JP logo and dresses the top stage with them. They then summon my favorite “Devil’s Child” from SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE and “Breaking The Law” from BRITISH STEEL…and it’s time for Costume Change #2. Halford returns in an even bigger, badder spiked-leather coat…the second of many more to come…and one realizes he’s become the Liberace of Heavy Metal. (The only thing his band members change is their guitars.) Yes, these are some bad-ass outfits, all right, but the costume changes also cut into their playing time.
      They return to PAINKILLER for “Hell Patrol”, and an ornate throne comes out for Halford to sing the new song “Messenger of Death” from. Afterwards, Halford asks Hill “How long have we’ve been playing heavy metal, Ian?”
     Ian responds “Thirty-eight years.”

     “And we hope to be back here to celebrate forty years of heavy metal!” Halford shouts to a thunderous crowd agreement.
     Halford’s awe-inspiring voice seems to be showing signs of wear—which is understandable after three decades of screams—he no longer hits super-high notes and doesn’t keep long notes going quite as long. Still, criticizing THIS voice is somewhat like criticizing a battleship for having a patch of rust on it.  His voice is still clear, on time with every verse, and powerful enough to be heard miles away.
     With “Dissident Aggressor”, Priest shows that their guitars are just as powerful, if not more so. The lead breaks in this ancient song are so savage it sounds like two dinosaurs are battling it out in the theatre. They up the ante with the speed-metal trendsetter “Electric Eye” to riotous applause, then dust off “Rock Hard, Ride Free” from DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH. And while they do it, they make it look so damned easy. They don’t jump all over the place, they simply stand their ground and crank out riffs from hell. I’m sure at this point they’re thinking “Right! Six more o’ these, and there’s a spot o’ tea waiting backstage.”
     Halford asks Downing “What d’you think, K.K., are you ready to take the roof off this place?” (Funny, I thought he’d already done that twice!)And K.K. concurs with the storming opening notes of “Sinner”…another classic with a solo so crazy he practically tears the whammy bar off his classic Flying V. “Painkiller” follows, with the band running up to the second level of the stage for a bow. You think, “Damn, that was fast…” but after a brief pause, you can hear a Harley-Davidson rev up. Halford emerges on the bike, wearing an American flag, and Priest delivers “Hell Bent For Leather”, “The Green Manalishi”, and “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” to close the show. “God bless Heavy Metal…God bless America…and God bless you all.” Halford graciously exclaims.
     Even though He’s already gifted them with amazing talent and longevity, God bless Judas Priest as well -K.K.

Lacuna Coil
Kill Hannah
Seventh Void
Last Day Saloon
Santa Rosa, CA

Photos by: EvAl

The American Spellbound Tour came to Santa Rosa, California this headlined by Italy’s Lacuna Coil with support from Seventh Void, Kill Hannah and Dommin.  Located 60 miles north of San Francisco, San Rafael seemed like an unlikely stop for a tour of this ilk but with a venue holding maybe 350 people, I was looking forward to the intimacy of the show.

First on the bill was Los Angeles-based Dommin whose name, for some reason, brought to mind images of Swedish death metal.  I was admittedly leery when they first took the stage in tight black suits with rose-adorned instruments and a singer sporting a devil lock.   Their sound was a marriage of deep vocals reminiscent of Type O Negative’s Peter Steele with the textures of Depeche Mode (covering People are People at one point in their set)  but their music wasn’t over-the-top and they pulled off a surprisingly solid set.

Next up was Seventh Void featuring Type O Negative members Kenny Hickey (guitar, vocals) and Johnny Kelly (drums) backed by Hank Hell on bass and Matt Brown on Guitar.  After listening to their debut release Heaven is Gone and talking to Johnny earlier in the day I was looking forward to this set.  Between Johnny and his drum set, there wasn’t much space left on the small stage for the rest of the band; Kenny and Hank crowded in on one side while Matt occupied the space on the opposite end of the stage. 

Having only seen Kenny play behind legendary front men such as Peter Steele and Glenn Danzig, it was very cool to see him step in front of the mic and I’m happy to say that he’s a natural.  Not the most talkative guy, Kenny focused on the performance, cranking through the seven song set while Hank appeared to enjoy himself pounding his bass and wailing along with the lyrics.  Matt, who at times seemed detached from what was going on at the other end of the stage, was much more subdued in his performance.   Overall a great, but brief, set.
Have you ever been to a show where one of the bands just doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the line-up?  Well, that’s what Kill Hannah was for me.  They weren’t bad at what they did, but with gimmicky stage props and a pop radio-friendly sound that appeals to angst-ridden teen girls, I opted for a trip to the bar.

The roadies cleared the opening bands’ equipment from the stage, giving Lacuna Coil’s six members room to perform in this intimate venue.  The band took the stage and immediate launched into To The Edge.   I wasn’t sure what to expect of the diverse crowd which seemed to include everyone from goth kids to soccer moms but they got into it immediately and the band responded in kind. 

Sultry siren Cristina and partner-in-vox, Andreas, fed off the vibe and put in energetic performances that showcased their decade-plus of playing live and distinctive vocal abilities that largely define Lacuna Coil’s sound. The rest of the band and interacted with the crowd in a way that you’d never get at a larger show, chatting with the front row which was so close that I was showered with sweat every time guitarist Maus started head-banging.  Given that Comalies was their breakout album in the U.S. Lacuna Coil, not surprisingly, pulled their set list exclusively from their last three releases.  After covering Depeche Mode’s Enjoy the Silence and taking a brief break, the band returned to stage for three more songs before saying their goodbyes. -EvAl

Approximate Setlist:
To The Edge
Fragments of Faith
Daylight Dancer
I'm Not Afraid
Entwined -
I Won't Tell You
Heaven's A Lie
Enjoy the Silence (Depeche Mode cover)
Not Enough
Our Truth

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Marilyn Manson
The Wiltern (2 nights)
Los Angeles, CA
House of Blues
San Diego, CA

3 Days With the Anti-Christ: What it Feels Like for a
Manson Groupie

I have been going to see Marilyn Manson concerts for
13 years. The first time I saw them play I was still
in high school, practically a virgin. I was standing
in front of bass player Twiggy Ramirez, admiring his
drag attire. Suddenly, Manson’s gaze shot through me
like lightning bolts. He approached Twiggy, pulled
down his ruffle underpants and began masturbating him
just inches from my face. Both scared and aroused, I
was hooked in that very moment. Later in the evening,
I met Mr. Manson and the long tale of our strange
surreal friendship began. Though I have been in
journalism for several years now, I have always passed
on the opportunity to review Manson. I didn’t know if
I could do the performance justice by using words.
For me, it has always been about emotions, and not
ones common to critics. It is very hard to describe
the Manson experience if you have never been there,
but the time has come for me to try.

A Marilyn Manson concert is like an experiment in
group hypnosis, a collective dream shared by both band
and audience, a psychedelic journey. The whole room
gets high together as the lights go out, and we all
come down together when the music stops leaving us
sick and shivering like the worst heroin junkie. As
soon as it’s over, you are willing to do anything to
experience it again. Many fans travel on to the next
city, weather it was in their original plans or not.
And somehow, even when you tell yourself that this is
your last show, remind yourself that you have a life
to get back to…you end up at the next show anyway.
What is it about Marilyn Manson that has this affect
on people? A good place for a reporter to start
searching for these answers would be within the line
of people that gathered outside the Wiltern theatre in
Los Angeles for two of the last dates on the final leg
of the ‘Rape of the World” tour as early as 3am, just
so they can ensure their spot in the front row. Some
fans had tickets, and some chose my personal favorite
method to get into the show, leaving it up to fate.
Among the die-hards were pairs of girls that traveled
all the way from Japan and Germany as well as all the
old familiar faces I’d come to know from traveling the
states alongside the band. Huddling under umbrellas
in the pouring rain that cursed the weekend, they
assembled with blankets, chairs and boom boxes blaring
Manson tunes. By the second night, we were greeted by
anti-gay protestors who held up non-sensible signs
accusing us of eating babies and other good stuff.
They weren’t nearly of the caliber of protestors that
came out during the Antichrist Superstar period, but
the fact that Manson still scares white, right-wing
middle class America after all these years is just
another testament to his power and rightful place in
rock history. I giggled to myself and sent a text
message to his tour manager so they could capture some
of the action on video for future DVD content, once
again offering my eyes and ears services free of
charge. The venue security looked a little nervous as
fans started chanting back at the protestors and alas,
the doors opened!

As usual, I was the first one into the venue and I
immediately ran to my regular spot at the end of the
catwalk where I knew Manson would see me. In my
opinion, you haven’t experienced a Manson show until
you’ve seen it from up front where you can feel each
song pulse through your body. The circus sideshow
begins with “Cruci-fiction In Space” as Manson appears
in an interlude of smoke and lights. He plays the
ringmaster from the moment he gazes upon the audience,
making lots of eye contact, taunting and teasing you
with pseudo-sexual fascism and Manson-style proverbs
that are both thought provoking and amusing. At one
point he addresses the content of L.A. society
stating, “L.A. is filled with two types of people, the
people that helped me become famous and become a rock
star and the people that can only become famous
because they know me or they fucked me because I’m a
rock star.” I pondered the statement realizing that I
might fit into both categories. I certainly helped
Manson become famous, having been a loyal supporter
since his club days, but I was also getting quite a
bit of notoriety in the press these days as a famous
groupie and Manson was definitely my favorite subject.
I hoped that he didn’t lump me in with the ex-band
members, ex-wives and ex-exes that tried to fuck him
when he was down but then I realized I wasn’t an ex, I
was a current! I was still here and had outlived them
all. I knew Manson knew that anytime I spoke of him
it came from a pure place. After all, when you’ve
spent most of your life hanging out with, waiting for,
or watching someone you love, it’s pretty hard to tell
your life story without including them. And although
I wished Manson would keep in closer contact with me
offstage, he has yet to disappoint me onstage. He
paid me lots of attention those two nights in L.A.,
frequently grabbing me and singing to me. In fact, as
soon as he hit the stage the following night in San
Diego, he made his way straight down the catwalk and
held my hand before doing anything else as if to thank
me for coming back again. Perhaps, this experience
was an addiction we both shared. As a reporter, I
should tell you about the pleasant nostalgia of having
Twiggy Ramirez back in the band, the power and fury
that special guest guitarist Slayer’s Kerry King
loaned to “Little Horn” and “1996”, and Rob Holliday’s
intense guitar playing precision over the last guy
that they had… but I’ll leave those comments to LA

I want to talk about the fact that no matter how old I
get or how frustrated I get with Manson’s frequent
periods of absence (or maybe absinthe) in my life, I
still forget it all when I watch him play. No matter
how many times I tell myself I won’t take this pill
again, that I won’t go down this emotional
rollercoaster again, that I won’t put my life on hold
to go to the next city again, I can’t help it…it’s
just so fucking good! And there are a dozen other
obsessed Manson friend/fans whispering in my ear, “do
it, do it!” as they shower me with free tickets,
backstage passes and hotel rooms. I’ve become the
high priestess to the ritual and it seems many feel
something is missing if I’m not there. They need the
most notorious Manson fan to show up and justify their
addiction. Misery loves company I guess. Who am I to
argue? I’ll play Manson’s Evita. I know things that
most of these kids don’t. I’ve been behind the iron
curtain. I’ve done my homework on mind control
programming and magic within marketing. I’ve allowed
myself to go over the edge and come back again. I’ve
cracked all the Charlie Manson, Hitler, Illuminati,
Catcher in the Rye, hypnotic, trigger, mind-fuck
Wizard of Oz bullshit. But Manson may be wrong when
he stated, “When all of your wishes are granted, many
of your dreams will be destroyed.” For, I am under no
delusions. But knowing the recipe doesn’t make the
cake any less sweet. Reality may crush my spirits
from time to time, but no one can take away my dreams.
I am still touched by Marilyn Manson and what I
experience through his art and I wouldn’t want it any
other way. The show is stunningly beautiful. And for
us die-hards, it’s like the best drug you can ever
imagine. It’s something that takes place in another
dimension, truly the land of make-believe. Its like
acid, ecstasy, absinthe and heroin all mixed together.
It’s erotic at times, orgasmic, better than any sex
I’ve ever had…and I’ve had a lot of sex! Manson often
looks at me while fondling himself or caressing the
air in such a way that it looks as if he is molesting
an invisible woman while he sings. When he does this,
I am able to connect into his every thought and I can
feel it physically inside my organs as much as I could
if he were making love to me or fucking the living
hell out of me with his hands around my throat. He
has complete control of my body as I climax with every
chorus. I realize that I am forever screwed in the
real world, because no mortal man can ever get me off
like this. I can never love a human being the way I
love those songs and that performance. That’s what
makes a true groupie a groupie. He embodies the Willie
Wonka-esque childhood imaginary friend, a kinky Christ
of taboo sex, and a death angel. He is innocence,
sex, violence, intelligence, spirituality and death
wrapped into one grotesque yet beautiful being that
seduces you like a tragic starlet on the edge of an
overdose. He makes me want to die in the moment so I
can preserve the high. But I don’t have a death wish
these days. I think the world needs people like
Marilyn Manson and Lexa Vonn to play the storytellers.
Its people like us that just may tell the real story,
and that’s the one that people fear most of all.

The peak moment of what I witnessed this time around
was in L.A. during a mashed medley of “Coma White” and
“Coma Black”. Manson appeared center stage in a
flurry of snow machine produced flakes that sprinkled
both band and fans. Manson kneeling in a snow-covered
world was a vision I had seen long ago in a suicide
attempt acid trip nightmare, back when I first started
following the band. Maybe it had been a prophecy of
the future, or maybe Manson was replicating that
special alternate world that we frequently met each
other in. Whatever it was, his knowledge of my
connection to it seemed prominent as he grabbed hold
of my hand tightly and sung to me, “This was never my
world, you took the angel away, I’d kill myself to
make everybody pay.” I closed my eyes and felt a
surge of energy transcend through his body into mine
and back again. It was if all the pain in the world
was shared between us in that moment. When he let go,
he remained curled in a ball at the end of the catwalk
screaming and raising his arms to the sky. It was as
if Manson came to pray at my groupie alter, just as I
had prayed at his for so many years. It was this
mutual exchange of meaning, message, and emotion that
would always keep me coming back for more, regardless
of the fact that he was always busy entertaining
celebrities and other women after the show while I
waited patiently, my laminate pass around my neck,
wishing that he’d come to the after-party and whisk me
away to a private room where we could recreate what
happens onstage, offstage. -LV

Michael Schenker Group
Santa Fe Station
Las Vegas, NV

Photos by: KK

     There must be something magically life-sustaining in playing rock & roll—or, perhaps, simply being able to make a decent living from your life’s passion—that enables certain performers to withstand ‘The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’, and the test of time.
     Case in point: Mr. Michael Schenker, wunderkind guitarist of UFO, Scorpions and the Michael Schenker Group. Here, tonight at Santa Fe Station’s CHROME Showroom. Still very much ALIVE at age 54, when he could very well not be. The rest of UFO were forcing drinks on this guy when METALLICA were in Elementary school. (While we’re about it, why is ANYONE  in UFO still alive, after drinking a veritable ocean of alcohol? For Christ’s sake, UFO has ANOTHER album coming out next month! Oh well, see paragraph one again, I guess.)
     I hadn’t seen Michael Schenker since 1994, when he’d reunited with UFO for their WALK ON WATER tour in Orlando, and he was in top form, as was the band…but here’s something: he always played separately from the band. He had his own space on the stage, rarely moved from it, and simply concentrated on playing his guitar. The other guys in UFO seemed to respect that space and gave him a wide berth (with the exception of Pete Way, who bounded all over the place).

     Now, on the “In The Midst Of Beauty” Tour, Schenker seems relaxed, serene, even—dare I say it—happy? He ought to be, since it’s his band and his music. He’s also a rare pleasure to photograph, since he still stays relatively still on stage, except when his music moves him to sway a bit, or throw in a background vocal. He and his bandmates open with “Ride” and “Cry For The Nations”, and he only sways a bit, focusing as always on his trademark Flying V guitar. The near-capacity crowd at CHROME (the first time I’ve seen it with actual seats, and multi-tiered ticketing) is rabid in their response for the guitar hero.


Original vocalist Gary Barden does his best to conjure his lyrics out of the PA with MSG’s faster classic “Armed And Ready”, but f**k, I can’t hear him. Not really. Maybe my rock-deafened ears are failing me, maybe I’m too far to the right to hear the other amplifiers…or just maybe CHROME’S speakers aren’t up to matching the standards of The Michael Schenker Group…I’m hoping it’s reason #1 or #2, since Bulletboys and The Iron Maidens played here in top form, but I was in a different spot (Or perhaps they rented more speakers).

   If you’re a Billy Squier fan, you’d love this MSG tour, because you’d be hard pressed to find a difference between Billy Squier and Gary Barden. His vocals combine a professional, operatic singer’s with any earnest rock fan you’d find on the street…perhaps exactly what Schenker was looking for in a vocalist. Still, I had to crane my neck to see the set list to ensure he was singing “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie.” 


When he left the stage for Mike’s classic instrumental “Into The Arena”, we were all amazed by Michael Schenker’s guitar pyrotechnics…they tend to overshadow the lyrics and themes of his songs. MSG has a wealth of great songs, but no real ‘hits’ like UFO has. I was hoping to hear “Assault Attack” or “Rock You To The Ground”, but no luck…perhaps Barden’s not cool with Graham Bonnet’s vocal style. But we did get to hear “On and On” and “Attack of the Mad Axeman”, and those two were good enough for me. One cool ‘bonus’ was the sight of a six-year-old kid sitting on his Dad’s shoulders and frenziedly waving ‘the horns’ towards MSG!

   After the shortest of breaks—just as the crowd begins chanting “M-S-G!” Schenker & the lads return for an encore of “Gypsy Lady” from the new album, where they’re joined by a third guitarist and an additional percussionist. The song’s an actual Flamenco ballad, soft and fluffy as a stuffed animal. Then the intro of “Doctor Doctor” begins, and the crowd goes nuts…and I like it, too, but I can’t figure why it’s considered UFO’s biggest hit; they’ve got plenty of others from their Schenker vaults. Fortunately the mothership of all UFO songs follows: “Rock Bottom”! Schenker and rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Wayne Findlay effortlessly reproduce the same guitar-keyboard duel made famous on STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT, and then MSG gracefully bows out…with Michael high-fiving everyone in the front row, including your humble servant! All in all, a great show, proving that Schenker and his group are so far above ‘rock bottom’ (at least in talent, if not raw sales) they might as well be in the stratosphere.
     BAND: Michael Schenker, Lead Guitar, backing vocals
                     Gary Barden, Vocals
                     Wayne Findlay, Rhythm Guitar/Keyboards
                     Pete Holmes, Drums
                     Rev Jones, Bass
     SETLIST: Ride, Cry for the Nations, Let sleeping dogs lie, Armed and ready, Ready to rock, I want you, A night to remember, Into the Arena, Lost Horizon, Rock my nights away, On and On, Attack of the Mad Axeman, (Encore) Gypsy Lady, Doctor Doctor, Rock Bottom.
     TRIVIA: Michael taught his older brother Rudolf Schenker to play guitar, at around $1 per song.
      Michael recorded SCORPIONS’ “Lonesome Crow” LP at age 17.
      Since Michael didn’t know any English upon being recruited for UFO, Pete Way taught him UFO songs using sign language.
      Besides UFO, SCORPIONS and MSG, he auditioned for both Aerosmith and Ozzy Osbourne, but priced himself out of the ballpark. He also played with RATT on MTV Unplugged when Robbin Crosby was ill.
      An unfortunately savage divorce in the late 90’s cleaned Michael out of his Mercedes, his collection of trademark Flying V’s, and even his own song rights! (What kind of vindictive bitch thinks she deserves her ex’s song rights?)

      Michael fired Graham Bonnet for dropping his pants at the Reading Festival (and for losing his voice too often). Instead of quitting, MSG postponed the rest of their performance and called Gary Barden. Barden arrived a few hours later and completed the set without even rehearsing.

House of Blues
Las Vegas, NV

Photos by: Christine Sesman

Ministry hit the stage with a bang; exciting, heavy, full of dynamics. A very powerful sound to say the least. Al Jourgenson had a commanding presence (sinister and menacing) as eerie lights and spotlights flickered about. And that was just the first song!

They presented the sound of the apocalypse. Of a world gone mad. More than just sheer bombast, there were little intricasies interspersed. They were a bit hard to hear, but they were there.

An impressive display of sight and sound was as hand. A multimedia presentation that made one think and react. I was bombarded by sirens, strobe lights, spotlights, and surrealistic political and sociological film.

Rebellous, raucous, and defiant is how I would describe this show. At the same time, very fluid and sounded natural, not forced. The distortion was controlled as were the punishing rhythms, and the bottomless pit of bass.

In a way that can be best described as being in tune and not out of character. Most other bands couldn't handle or present the wall of sound that Ministry projected without going out of tune or becominc a big sonic glop.

Of course this literal wall of sound was an added bonus to what I described above.

This is Ministry's last tour. Let's hope it's not. -DN

Mötley Crüe
Crüe Fest
Mandalay Bay Events Center
Las Vegas, NV

Photos by: Shy McGrath

Mötley Crüe live can be a gamble, and what better place for that than Las Vegas. Their
concerts are very haphazard. Meaning, you can get a really good show or a really bad show.

On this particular night, it was a good show! The Crüe were at their raw, obnoxious, and
lewd and crude best. It was a spectacle that presented an atmosphere of sleaze and danger.Tommy Lee was an animal on the drums, Mick Mars' guitar playing was the highlight of the show. Extremely fluid and showed a lot of dexterity on the six-string. Nikki Sixx layed down the bottom end quite well.

Vince Neil prowled the stage, and surprisingly enough his vocals were very good. No skipping words and fumbling (and/or stumbling) about. Which he has been known to do in the past.

So the hand was dealt, and we came up with all aces. Overall, it was one Hell of a show.    -DN

Set List:

"Kickstart My Heart"
"Wild Side"
"Shout at the Devil"
"Saints of Los Angeles"
Mick Mars Guitar solo
"Live Wire"
"Sick Love Song"
Tommy Lee Tit E. Cam
"Motherfucker of the Year"
"Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)"
"Same Old Situation"
"Primal Scream"
"Looks That Kill"
"Girls, Girls, Girls"
"Dr. Feelgood"

Encore: "Home Sweet Home"

House of Blues
Las Vegas, NV

Motörhead are known to be one of the best live acts in their respective genre. On this night they didn't disappoint.

It was a fury of great proportions that never seemed to let up. It was intense times 100.
The combination of tight musicianship, high energy, and raw power was intoxicating to say the least. It was like a freight train at full speed on the tracks. COming right at you. Either stay out of the fuckin' way, or get ran over and be faced with quite an aural orgasm.

Along with that, the bands' stage presence (especially bassist/vocalist Lemmy Kilmiser) was second to none. They certainly made their stage presence known to all.

The new songs and the old classics blended perfectly. It was very fuckin' loud, which is what you can expect from Motörhead. Phil Campbell and Lemmy Kilmister cranked out excellent riffs and Mikkey Dee is quite the powerhouse drummer. Along with Iron Maiden's Nicko McBrain, Mikkey Dee has the ability to riff along with the guitars while keeping good time and not missing a beat. These 2 are neck and neck in the world of Heavy Rock/Heavy Metal drummers.

Honestly, it's real hard to review this band. Because they are very exciting, they command your attention at all times, and it is quite a thrill. The songs are definitely anthems for the ages, and this was not lost on myself or the rest of the rabid crowd. It is easy to get caught up in the excitment, and simply lose yourself in the music. -DN

New York Dolls
House of Blues
Anaheim, CA

Photos by: Sunset Vampyre

When I arrived We Are The Fury were already up and running, and the crowd were dancing and singing, which is always a good sign that the party is swinging, the beer is flowing, and life is peachy. They were surprisingly good, with an abundance of stage-presence emanating from the snappily-dressed frontman, Jeremy Lublin, and a great posse of band members supporting the vocals with some exceptional playing.  I was actually kicking myself for missing the beginning of the set - an amazing accolade from me who generally dreads the opening bands, as very few of them are on a par with the headliner ( to know what I'm talking about, see my review of Nine Inch Nails! )

Actually, I'm being a little harsh on support bands - they have a difficult enough job to do with half the audience propping up the bar, and there are some amazingly talented bands out there starving to death 'cause the record companies won't pick them up - however I stand by my review of NIN choice of support bands, just 'cause I love Trent Reznor but sometimes I think he has the worst taste in music ( Saul Williams, Dresden Dolls ), although his choice of Queens of the Stone Age and Bauhaus were excellent - then again, maybe I'm just missing point!

Anyhow, back to this band - they play the kind of music that isn't really heard much anymore, kind of a mix of old-school punk, and Queen-esque rock. Whatever, it's fun, can't-stop-moving kind of music that makes you laugh, then has you turning to your mates and say " that was mad, that was"! I even bought their CD "Venus" after the show, and didn't change my mind on playing it - if anything, they have gone up a few digits on my personal Richter Scale! 

One little piece of advice for this band, though, is - when you have a lone camera in the pit taking pictures of you, occasionally pose for camera - you never know where those pictures will end up!

After an interminable wait, the opening operatic epic signaled the start of The Dolls set, and the audience was a sight to see - the place was packed to the rafters, and I was glad I was in the pit with a barrier behind me and the stage in front. There suddenly appeared a whole lot of peeps ( C'mon, its from Ali G! ) with cameras working for various magazines, so it got a little crowded in there - where were they when that other great band was on stage? Yeah, I know - propping up the bar.....

Anyhow, out comes Mick Jaggers twin brother, the Dolls vocalist David Johansen wearing a girls pink top, scarf tied around his waist, giving us a big grin and lots of views of his stomach! The rest of the band were as flamboyantly dressed, and they immediately started rockin' out, giving us a great intro into the party they were throwing for us.

Sylvain Sylvain was amazingly noticeable, and not just because of that hat ( you can still get those hats from the 60's? I thought train drivers stopped wearing them decades ago! ) He was very personable, posing for the cameras ( Fury, take note! ) smiling like a Cheshire cat, and showed everybody what a great time he was having.  There's no doubt about it, this band really know how to rock!

They stayed in high gear for most of the show, playing all their much-loved hits, and giving the Stones and Sex Pistols a run for their money. The girl-group sound was blatantly-obvious at times bringing much mirth and merriment to their old-school fans, and the alternating between Punk-Rock and Jerry-Lee Lewis type of swaggering Rock 'n' Roll had the entire HOB up on its feet and dancing. From the first song to the last, that feeling of      " Wow - I Just Got Laid!" never stopped.

Everybody left that place with a smile on their face, glad they had a Condom in their pocket ( read " New York Dolls" ticket! ) -SV

House of Blues
Hollywood, CA

Photos by: Lexa Vonn and April Vixxi

On April 17th, 2008 I headed out, alongside my
Plastics sidekick, April Vixxi to catch Ratt and White
Lion at the House of Blues on Sunset. The night was
opened by 80's rock band, Little Caesar who looked as
though when they quit the first time, they never
thought they'd tour again. While their sound wasn't
exactly bad, they looked like a bunch of senior
citizens. I'm not sure how old they were when they
started the first time around, but they really needed
to take some lessons from Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler
on looking and performing like a rock star no matter
what age you are at. We found them boring. White Lion
was next to take the stage and were looking good as
they ran through some of their hits including "Tell
Me" and their cover of the classic Golden Earring song
"Radar Love." To finish off their set the right way,
they rang into their most notorious tune, "Wait",
complete with singer Mike Tramp thanking the audience
for making the song a hit in the 80's and sticking
with the band all of these years, while encouraging us
to all sing along. Finally at around 11 it was time
for some Ratt n' Roll!

The boys of Ratt seemed overjoyed to be playing their
hometown stage with an almost original line-up
featuring guitarist John Corabi filling in for Robin
Crosby who passed away in 2002. The show was
completely sold out with tickets being sold on the
street for well into the hundreds. Old time fans and
young recruits of the glam revival packed against the
barricade like sardines, some to reminisce, others to
catch a glimpse of what they missed out on in the

Miss April was among those in the front row
while I hung safely inside the barricade snapping away
on my camera and sharing a few flirtatious moments
with singer Steven Percy. The band rocked like the
pros they are and cut absolutely no corners on the set
list. It seems they fit in just about every single
they ever had. Some favorites were, "Way Cool
Junior", "You're in Love", "Lay it Down", "Wanted
Man", "Body Talk", and of course the obvious but
nonetheless engaging finale of "Round and Round".

Looking around at the faces in the crowd everyone was
wowed by the energy and enthusiasm of the band. It
seemed as if they could've played even longer as the
last picks and drum sticks were thrown to an audience
reluctant to depart. Although hair metal never earned
the true musical respect it may have deserved in its
own decade, it remains one of the few genres of music
that can still pack a venue today. Ironic. I loved
it then and I still do. -LV

Sex Pistols
The Joint
Las Vegas, NV

Photos by:

One of the absolute best (and one of the original) British punk bands performed their only US date here in Frightfully Fabulous Las Vegas. I knew I was in for quite a treat. They began with a jazzy version of 1 of there classic (well, which one isn't) tunes, "Pretty Vacant." Then they switched gears to the song we all know an love. With a zeal.

From there, they delivered a set that was explosive and high energy. It was dynamic, forceful, raucous, and rebellious. All of the ingredients were there; which is why they are so revered. You could cut the electricity and intensity with as life. I know that's cliche,
but it's true.

Steve Jones ripped out blistering riffs and solos drenced in warm, creamy distortion. The whole band swung like mad. John Lydon was charismatic, always a bane to authority (by telling security to fuck off,) and quite frankly is out of his fucking mind. That's a good thing for any rock n' roll singer. Paul Cook pounded out the rhythms, and kept the beat and drove the band perfectly. Glen Matlock calmly executed stellar bass lines.

The band as a whole exhibited tight playing, but loose when it needed to be. It was also impressive in its' intensity. They made it look easy, and that's a great accomplishment in its' own right.

Finally, it was a blast, a big party spririt and atmosphere that never got boring. That what rock n' roll is about. -DN

Set List:

"Pretty Vacant"
"No Feelings"
"New York"
"Did You No Wrong"
"Holidays In The Sun"
"Baghdad Was a Blast"
"I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone"
"No Fun"
"God Save The Queen"

Encore 1:

"Anarchy in the U.K."

Encore 2:

"Silver Machine" (Hawkwind cover)
"Got My Radio On"

Sisters of Mercy
House of Blues
Las Vegas, NV

The Sisters of Mercy have been enthralling audiences for almost 30 years now. On this
night, it was no exception. Presenting a razor sharp, dynamic sheet(s) of sound and bathed
in a sea of fog, the Sisters presented a vibe of thrills and chills, and was deliciously

The songs still sound fresh; very modern and not outdated in the slightest. Lead Sister
Andrew Eldtrich brought forth a commanding presence. However, his vocals were buried in the mix. Not high enough in the mix.

Nevertheless, the songs will take you to a different place and time. Also, the Sisters have
a definitive and recognizable style as well as substance. They brought forth many different
colors and textures. Therefore, the listener is allowed to use his or her imagination.

In closing, the Sisters put on 1 Hell of a show, and I hope they continue forward in the
months and years to come. The music world benefits from their presence. -DN

Set list:

Crash + Burn
Detonation Boulevard
Flood I
Marian (version)
Giving Ground
This Corrosion
Dominion/Mother Russia
First and Last and Always
Never Land (a fragment)
Flood II
Something Fast
Vision Thing
Lucretia My Reflection
Top Nite Out

encore -
Temple of Love

Stolen Babies
The Knitting Factory
Hollywood, CA

Photos by: Sunset Vampyre

In the same way as a car accident or porno film holds your complete and undivided attention, Stolen Babies, with merely a glance, accomplishes the same thing, only without the blood and the sweat.  They are TOTALLY mesmerizing.
I'm convinced that one of the band is a professional hypnotist who waves a pocket watch in front of our eyes, making time stand still.
All of a sudden we are in a gingerbread house, and a delectable, diminutive doll walks out into the spotlight, her white face, glittering eyes and evil grin spelling out her intent to eat you, just as soon as she's finished singing you a sweet lullaby.

And how sweet it is. The songs are fabulous potions of poison, made all the easier to swallow by the liberal doses of honey which exude from Dominique's ( shouldn't that be Dominatrix? )vocal cords - just before the guttural demonic shrieks tear a hole in your psyche and her teeth tear a hole in your throat.

What's scarier, Piranha or Vampire? Meet their darling daughter Dominique. She treated us to soulful notes on her accordion, berated us for looking into the bands eyes when she told us not to ( during the singing of  "Mind Your Eyes!" ) And subjected us to the fearsome sight of her bottom teeth biting on to her top lip, her face looking like a ghastly dislocated Zombie's jaw just before he snaps it back into place.

The rest of the band are equally awesome ( if you can tear your eyes away from the Voodoo Doll sticking pins into you ), with the stand-up bass player, Rani Sharone, doing a great job looking like a cross between a mad scientist trying to fire electricity out of his strings, and the Vampire Letstat. The whole band were a tightly-knit unit, highly polished and professional, and most of all, unique. If this band doesn't make it big real soon, I'll drink their embalming fluid! -SV

The Sweet
L.A. Guns
House of Blues
West Hollywood, CA

Photos by: Sunset Vampyre

L.A. GUNS came on stage with all Guns blazing - setting the tone for the night to come, one of Riotous, Screaming-At-The-Top-Of-Your-Voice Rock'n'Roll.

Chad the drummer (also of Faster Pussycat ) waved at me, shouted out hello and stuck his tongue out, none of which I captured on camera because I was laughing so much! If you gave the name of a gun to each member of the band, while the lead singer Marty Casey would be a Smith and Wesson, Chad would be a Musket!!!

The band got the whole place jumping ( although if they were standing still in dead silence the place would still be jumping - they are a tremendously good-looking band! )

Their set was tight, professional - and short. They lived up to the mantra Leave Them Wanting More!  And We Did! Sweet got a really nice tribute from Marty Casey, who said he initially didn't realize just how many hit records the band had - he thought they were

While we were waiting for Sweet to come on, I heard the blissful strains of Monty Pythons " Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life".This was the funniest opening song of any band I've ever seen, and it was even more amazing to see the all the audience start swaying, singing and whistling in unison to it!

Then the band came on, and they proved just why they were at the top of their game in their heyday. They opened with ( Everybody Wants A Piece Of The ) Action, which was covered by Def Leppard years later ( their songs were also covered by Poison, Dokken and Quiet Riot - to name but a few! ) then they blasted out hit after hit - Blockbuster, Hell Raiser, Teenage Rampage, Little Willy, Ballroom Blitz - the list goes on and on, but they still left out some of their hits in the near 2-hour set they played. They also did a great Rockin' rendition of the Beatles'  I Saw Her Standing There.

But what amazed me about the whole night wasn't the people who grew up with the Sweet and knew all the songs, but the considerable number of young girls in the audience who also knew ( and sang ) every word! You know its a great evening when everyone dances, sends beaming smiles out at perfect strangers across the room and swops phone numbers at the end of the night.

Its Two days later and I'm writing this wearing a Sweet T-Shirt......
Kid in a Candy Store? Nah - its the SWEET SHOP! -SV

House of Blues
Las Vegas, NV

Photos by: Micah of Micah's Twisted Tattoo.

For over 20 years, Testament has been a force to be reckoned with. What makes them special and deserving of the utmost respect, is they stuck to their guns and didn't change, sell out, or whatever in the dark days of the 90s.They stayed true to what they did, and they are the better for it.

So is the scene in general. When the reunion (minus Louie Clemente, which is no big deal, since Paul Bostaph is a better drummer) happened in 2005, I was stoked. However, they only played shows sporadically, and it was a challenge
to go out and see them live. In the last 2 years or so, they have become an active touring unit once again. The question is, can they still deliver the goods

The answer is yes. On this night, we were treated to a high-energy affair with very tight musicianship, and excellent stage presence. Particularly from lead guitarist Alex Skolnick, and singer Chuck Billy. You had stellar rhythm guitar by Eric Petersen (as well as surprisingly good leads) and bassist Greg Christian.Paul Bostaph is an incredible drummer in his own right, a human dynamo more or less.

It is to say that these guys make it look easy, which is a tell tale sign ofba superior band. This was thrash metal personified. Very organic, real, no bullshit, no filler, and no pretentiousness. They excelled at keep your attentionbat all times, which is another sign of a great band. You see where I'm going with this? The energy just kept building with each song, and the intesity was palpable.

Like a heavyweight championship fighter, they never let up and went right for the gold. All of this crap I've been telling you is why they're one of the all-time thrash metal
greats, and this is why they deserve all the respect in the world. Because it is real and straight form the heart. So in closing, you must go see them before your time on
this earth is up! -DN

Type O Negative
House of Blues
Las Vegas, NV

It began with the Soviet National Anthem. The '4 Dicks From Brooklyn' had arrived. They proceeded to deliver a set that was heavy, dark, forefoding, grinding, and burning. There was symphonic overtones which created layer upon layer of sonic landscapes for the heart and mind to explore. Type O Negative are true masters of emotion

There was also loose but tight jamming going on. The dynamics were very good, going from soft to loud very well where one could appreciate the subtleties inherent in Type O Negative's music. In addtion, there was sweet yet bitter melodies, and a lot of depth and power. They kept one' attention with all of this going on.

The tempos went from slow to fast dramatically. Peter Steele's voice was very sonorous and the rest of the band again, showed tight but loose enemble playing. The way they play off of each other is nothing short of brilliant.

Even though the band probably would disagree with me, Type O Negative have earned the right to be called a classic band, They have stood the test of time. The performance on this night proved it. -DN

Wednesday 13
The Whisky A-Go-Go
Chain Reaction
The Dome
Los Angeles, CA

Photos by: Sunset Vampyre

Watching Wednesday is like watching a young mischievous Demon evolve into a fully-fledged Monster.  The demon-child cut his teeth ( literally ) into the body of a bland, bloated and boring Music Industry, sucking out what little goodness was in there and meanwhile poisoning his host malevolently with the venom dripping from his mouth. The baby demon took great delight in singing about his mischief-making with his fellow kiddy-grinder kindergartners such as their adventures in a spaceship while " Grave-robbing USA ", going to Weddings and turning them into Funerals, or dressing up as Drag-Queen Zombies with guns, knives, and Miss America in their night-vision field glasses.

As baby demon started growing up he still loved to play games, but they were becoming infused with a slowing-down of the chase: no more catch 'em and slash 'em, now it was the demon playing with his prey: he told them in great detail exactly WHAT Bad Things He Wanted To Happen To Them ( it would be really great if you drowned in a lake, or put a bag over your face and watched you suffocate ).

Yes, a malevolent puberty-reaching demon can be a terrible thing to behold: the Devil himself wondering when all those killer-hormones would settle down - even his bandmates needed to be replaced on a regular basis: body parts are still turning up in the dumpster next to the Whisky.......

Then it happened. The Monster evolved, his terrifying picture of decay encasing a death-knell soundtrack on a new album that shook the very ground ( and the walls and the roof ) as soon as the "Play" button was pushed. Except Wednesday doesn't " PLAY " anymore.  He devours.

His shows were Stark, devoid of any kind of theme, with little to nothing in the way of props ( just a machine-gun and a couple of hats )   but oh my god, SO fucking brutal. The "Death Mask" song caused irreversible brain damage, the guitar work  savage, the drums violently beating their way into your chest, intent on replacing your hearts own rhythm with Wednesdays sick arrhythmia.

The Monster that is Wednesday 13 is unique among his contemporaries - he induces us to gather around the Ouija board and conjure him up, and then he puts on the goddamn-best ever circus-freak show, with a sly wink to the Sex, Blood and Rock 'n' Roll ethos he re-invented that nobody else even comes close to achieving.
The sound that belongs to Wednesday isn't a chilly wind-blowing-around-the-tombstones - its a million-decibel howl that gets you dancing on your grave! -SV

Gimme Gimme Bloodshed
I Want You Dead
Home Sweet Homicide
Not Another Teenage Anthem
From Here To The Hearse
Till Death Us Do Party
God Is A Lie
House By The Cemetery
Put Your Death Mask On
Happily Ever Cadaver
Running Down A Dream
Look What The Bats Dragged In
Faith In The Devil
Bad Things
I Love To Say Fuck

Wednesday 13
West Hollywood, CA

Photos by: Sunset Vampyre

HIGH-OCTANE ROCK'N'ROLL Is what Wednesday plays - albeit of the Crawlies-and-Creepies-and-long-legged-Beasties kind. We waited an INTERMINABLE length of time for him to come on, with the crowd getting more and more hyped up the nearer it got to the cemetery gates swinging open - in fact, the electricity being emanated from the crowd alone could light up a small city ( or certainly stir the nether regions of Frankensteins's monster ) but of course, we gotta have the multiple support bands first - Creature Feature ( good ), AKA's ( no comment ) and probably one or two others that I missed 'cause I got there a little late. C'est La Vie - Its only Rock 'n' Roll but I like it........

Oh My God, Is Wednesday worth waiting for? You bet your sweet life he is!
The sheer change in the whole crowd is worth seeing alone - mass hysteria along the lines of the Pope stepping out onto the balcony of the Vatican is the only analogy worthy of Wednesday. He steps into the spotlight, cranks the amps up to MAX, and the best, fun-filled show on the planet takes place. The band ( including Trashlight Visions Acey Slade ) are the sexiest of ghouls, all horror-tattoos and corpse make-up, gyrating frenziedly in a Voodoo trance kind of way, with Wednesday as the Witch Doctor directing the proceedings, throwing the blood into the chicken bones cooking on the fire ( he'd already eaten the flesh. )

He sang songs from his Drag Queen days, the mayhem that was Murderdolls, and his current persona of Drop-Dead Gorgeous Chanel no 13 ( boy, those flower-filled graves sure smell good! )
We all sang "I Want Bad Things To Happen To You" and "Die My Bride" as well as "Happily Ever Cadaver" and "I Love To Say Fuck" - songs that will go down in horror history as having the most fun lyrics you will ever be lucky enough to drunkenly sing in public. But all "Bad Things" come to an end, and however long a Wednesday 13 show is, its too short, but after its over he comes and hangs out, talking and signing all our crap, having his picture taken with us just like every other time, and putting on his fake English accent every time he sees me.

Yeah, Wednesday does have a way of making everybody wanna roll over and die!
Cheers, Mate! -SV

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