In this issue: Buckcherry, Cockpit, Combichrist, The Cult, Dangerous Curves, Danzig, Faster Pussycat, Hank III, Heaven and Hell, Ron Keel, Lacuna Coil, L.A. Guns (3 reviews,) 'Let's Spend The Night Together' book release party, Love/Hate, Manntis, Megadeth, Motörhead, Nine Inch Nails, Peppermint Creeps, Roxanne, Sham, Skinny Puppy, Slayer, Spyderbaby, The Stooges (2 reviews,) Sounds of the Underground, Suicidal Tendencies, Twisted Sister, Type O Negative (2 in 1 review,) Undercover Slut, Viva La Bands, and Y&T.
Reviews by: David Necro, J.J.2.NUTS!, K.K., Chris Lacey, Sunset Vampyre, Lexa Vonn, Jezahell, and Dr. Justin J. Duckham.
House of Blues
Las Vegas, NV
Ok, Buckcherry celebrated their 300th show. That's impressive in its own right. They started off with some fairly raw hard rock. Then I realized I was in the midst of a bad sound mix. The guitars didn't roar. They were subdued to say the least.
Then it hit me, this band didn't do that much emotionally. I will say that singer Josh Todd's stage presence was good. Although, his voice is annoying; a nasal whine with no range whatsoever.
Again, the emotion just wasn't there. The band boogied pretty good, but that's about it. It was generic and monotonous. No subtleties or dynamics present. Just the same beat, rhythm, and what have you over and over.
In a word, repetitive. These guys poise themselves as some sort of torch-bearers of real rock n' roll. And upon first glance, you could say that. Sure, it's better than the crap played on the radio right now, but veterans like L.A. Guns can blow these guys off the stage. Easily.
Don't waste your time and money on these hacks. They're definitely not carrying the torch for real rock n' roll. Although their image is cool, the substance is just not there. And image without the songs is pure shit. -DN
Club Vodka 5th Anniversary Party
Featuring L.A. Guns, Love/Hate, The Peppermint Creeps
Photos by: Lexa Vonn
The summer has turned out to be full of activity and unexpected adventure for me. My band Ophelia Rising has reformed and received an endorsement from Luna Guitars, the new groupie anthology “Lets Spend the Night Together” that Pamela Des Barres penned featuring a chapter on The Plastics finally hit the shelves, and a few old celebrity friends popped back into my life of fantastical debauchery. Needless to say, when Traci Michaelz of The Peppermint Creeps dropped a pile of complimentary tickets in my fishneted lap and invited me to come down to Club Vodka for a sneaky peek at some of the rockin’ covers that were to be included on their upcoming album, “Cover Up” I was so overbooked with events that I never bothered to ask who they were playing with. It wasn’t until the night of the show, after I put out the word on the Plastics and “Plastics in Training” grapevine and received dozens of phone calls from girls eager to be included in my VIP entourage that I realized…oh, The Creeps are playing with L.A. Guns!
After selecting five vivacious beauties to accompany me to the club including original Plastic Jenni Jayde, fetish clothes designer Alyssa Norman and president of The Plastics Inland Empire chapter Sandy, I set out for a night of debauchery old school style. The Knitting Factory has a somewhat confusing interior layout featuring multiple stages. The promoters of this event did an excellent job because one could barely move throughout the sea of wall-to-wall glam rock enthusiasts. By the time we found the right stage, The Peppermint Creeps were songs into their set. That didn’t stop me from pushing my way right to the front of the stage and whipping out my camera for some live shots. After all, I am a professional groupie! The Creeps is one of those Hollywood bands that have been around for eons and everyone in the scene seems to have an opinion of them, be it good or bad. I know all too well, boys…it’s hard to prove that you can rock, even though you wear a dress! But to those that think The Creeps are nothing but an image band, I challenge you to come hear them as of late. There was definitely more than meets the eye during this particular performance, in fact it was the best I have EVER heard The Creeps! Their set was as tight as the vinyl dresses and striped hosiery they donned without apology! The sound levels were perfect and they played with such precision that when they erupted into a rendition of Pantera’s “Walk”, I thought I was watching a fucking metal band! The crowd seemed to agree as they broke into a frenzy of fist thrusting. The mostly glam rock audience began swirling into a mosh pit, resembling a blender full of Crayola crayons. Suddenly, I felt a tinge of arousal as I realized that there was something extremely alluring about a bunch of guys in tore tights and dresses, not only playing real hard metal, but playing it flawlessly. Their cover of Pantera really proves that these guys not only look good, but also are exceptional musicians. I almost want to ask them to add more heavy songs to their sets in the future…or maybe just when they play privately for me!! *****
After sitting through some unmentionable band that followed The Peppermint Creeps, we finally arrived at the highlight of the night, L.A. Guns. Introduced by the infamous Ron Jeremy, the Hollywood boys took the stage for a short set of about five songs. Singer Phil Lewis was looking in good shape and appeared in good spirits as he pranced about the stage throwing plenty of pelvic thrusts in the direction of the wanton mostly female front row. I might have been one of them, but that’s because I had to take pictures for my review…really! Oh, ok…I kinda liked it, too. What can I say? There’s something about that staple 80’s sleazy rock n’ roll that inspires a certain essence of freedom and fun. Watching L.A. Guns was like resurrecting a little piece of Hollywood music history that seems to be so lost in today’s commercial rock. The 80’s were the last time that sex, drugs and rock n’ roll were really about sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. I enjoyed this performance, and I wasn’t at all ready to let them go at the end of their set. In fact, I was only comforted when I learned that Love/Hate was next to take the stage.
I was a huge Love/Hate fan in high school, so when they flew into such old favorites as “Black Out in the Red Room” and “Why Do You Think They Call it Dope?” I was singing along to every word. Or at least I was trying to sing along to every word, as the sound levels seemed to go awry when Love/Hate hit the stage and Jizzy Pearl’s vocals were severely drowned out. Nonetheless, it was great to see him alive and in action in full spastic glory.
Mr. Pearl was jumping, twisting and downright vibrating with so much energy I could barely get him to stand still long enough for a decent shot! Once again, its nice to see that these rockers who are all well into their middle ages haven’t lost the spirit or their moves. It’s an essence I think old Hollywood misses and new Hollywood craves. Browsing through a crowd that ranges from teenagers to middleagers, this kind of show seems to bridge a generational gap. I think it just goes to show that no matter what the latest trend is, people will always want their sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. So, where does the future lie for those of us that haven’t forgotten? Take a chance to check out The Peppermint Creeps latest line-up and fan-base. I think you may be pleasantly surprised. I am downright enamored…in a “I’m 14 years old and I just scored a backstage pass to a Poison concert” kind of way. -LV
Photos by: Ben Cursi
I arrived at The Avalon in Hollywood at 7:00 PM just in time to sit down and interview Combichrist front man Andy LaPlegua . The interview wrapped up just time to catch psyclon nine perform. They are an industrial, black metal band from the San Francisco bay area. Their performance was full of high energy and the crowd loved every minute of it. Towards the middle of their set the synth player, dr. seven threw his keyboard on the floor and smashed it. As the set came to an end he then threw what was left of his keyboard into the crowd for a fan to take home as a souvenir. After a brief intermission I stayed on the side of the stage anxiously waiting to see Combichrist perform.
Combichrist arrived. They are pumped and getting ready to take the stage. Just as they are about to go on their drummer Joe Letz is in front of me and spits in his hand and holds it up to my face and yells SPIT IN MY HAND! So I did….. they proceeded to take the stage. The dance floor was flooded with people and everyone was ready to hear what Combichrist refers to as “Fucked Up Music For Fucked Up People “
Andy & the band delivered a strong performance with distorted beats, scathing vocals , and an array of electronic arrangements. Combichrist’s music is the perfect combination of harsh, noisy, industrial music that you can dance to. Their live act is known for tons of energy, blood, and a rock n roll attitude. For the remainder of the show I stayed on the side of the stage and danced as they played several songs “Electro Head”, “I’d Like To Thank My Buddies”, “Blut Royale”, “Without Emotion’s, to name a few. They closed with my all time favorite “This Shit Will Fuck You Up “ and percussionist Jon H tossed a drum stick that I took home as a souvenir .
After the show I went backstage to have a few cocktails and hang out with the band. While I was back stage I hung out with Model Ivy Blue and chit chatted with Rob Zombie bassist Piggy D. The evening came to a close and I headed home. Good people and good music! Overall it was one of the best shows I have been to all year. -Jezahell
House of Blues
Las Vegas, NV
Photos by: David Necro (coming soon)
After 6 long years, The Cult has returned to the live circuit. And they've returned in a big way.
They were absolutely swinging from the get go. You could cut the electricity with a cold knife. Billy Duffy's warm, creamy distortion was a highlight of gig. Ian Astbury's vocals were right on. His stage presence was very good, and he makes a superb master of ceremonies. The band itself (particulay drummer John Tempesta) was tighter than a hamster's butt.
There was a lot of light and shade, different colors, and textures.
All of the great songs were played; "Dirty Little Rockstar," "Rise," "Fire Woman," and "Love Removal Machine." The crowd was really into the performance, with tribal-like dancing and screaming like banshees.
Overall, a very high energy and emotional affair which flat out fuckin' rocked your gonads off. That's what The Cult has always brought to the table, and this was no exception. -DN
House of Blues
Las Vegas, NV
On this October nite, with the Samhain fires burning bright (metaphorically,) Glenn Danzig and his minions (Steve Zing-bass, Todd Youth-guitar, Karl Rosqvist-drums) brought forth a high energy outpouring of emotion. Which fit like a black leather glove. More than that, it was once again a brilliant dichotomy (intentional or not) of fire and ice. Past Danzig concerts (in the last few years) were more of a slow build-up of affairs. This was vivid shapes, colors, and burning defiance headed right at you.
Glenn's vocals were sublime and the power of his presence was right on the money. He commanded your attention and admiration. This was lieu of a bad sound mix where the guitars overpowered the rest of the band. Quite impressive to say the least.
Todd, Steve, and Karl were no slouches either. Their passion was clearly brought forth to the table, and it appeared that they were enjoying their moment in the spotlight.
The encore was a Misfits set (with Glenn's old bandmate Doyle) which caused the crowd to go into manic convulsions. However, I would have preferred to hear a set from Glenn's band Samhain (especially with ex-Samhain drummer Steve Zing being in the band.) A band that I feel was more dynamic, mysterious, and portentous than the Misfits were.
In short, this was a nite of various emotions and textures, coupled with glossy brilliance. It was (as opposed to manufactured,) pure emotion and pure intensity all the way through. Quite frankly, the beast that is Glenn Danzig is an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. -DN
BRND NEW GOD
DO YOU WEAR THE MARK
HOW THE GODS KILL
CIRCLE OF SNAKES
HER BLACK WINGS
BRINGER OF DEATH
TWIST OF CAIN
Faster Pussycat w/ Dangerous Curves
The Empire Ballroom
Las Vegas, NV
Photos by: Amie Dodd
Vegas’ relatively new EMPIRE BALLROOM (formerly Club Utopia) is both a cool and lame venue for rock concerts. Cool in the sense that it looks and sounds great, with a classy interior, great lighting, decent acoustics, and a big stage. Lame in the sense that the Empire’s got mercenary drink prices ($11.00 for well drinks?! Here, take my car payment while you’re at it!) and has bought into the Vegas “Table service” ripoff (i.e., don’t sit anywhere unless you’re paying $300 for a $30 bottle of vodka). AA is looking better all the time. Conspiracy theorist* that I am, it might explain why a concert started off cool and turned lame.
What was cool was that we were all served some hot & fresh biscuits, Vegas’ new female hard rock quartet DANGEROUS CURVES. They played mostly covers…The Donna’s “Fall Behind Me”, Def Leppard’s “Let it go”, Judas Priest’s “Living After Midnight”, AC/DC’s “Sin City” and “Whole Lotta Rosie”, Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Ladies, I beseech you to drop this one from your set list…your version’s not bad, but the song itself is.) Crowd reaction in general was overwhelmingly positive, but they were panned here and there by certain audience members as “boring” and/or “I can’t stand cover bands”.
The CURVES aren’t virtuoso musicians, but neither are the bands they cover, or the one they opened up for. They play to their strength, which is loud, driving, no-frills hard rock…yet there are frills aplenty embodied in their smolderingly sexy frontwoman Carolyn, who sings her heart out and commands the stage with the swagger of a female Robert Plant. Their passion for rock is evident, and contagious, but they’ll need to go beyond covers if they want to get any success beyond being a good local Las Vegas band…that’s if they want to. It was clear they (and we) were having a great time as they are now.
After a decent close of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll”, DANGEROUS CURVES bowed out, and came out to greet some new fans. The Empire Ballroom’s intermission of miscellaneous hair-metal music came on…and went on, and on, and on, for a freakin’ hour and a half until their supposed ‘headliners’, “Faster Pussycat”, got around to playing at 1:35 am!
At 1:30, I’d told Dave Necro and our pal Adrian Ace “That’s it, see ya later”, and closed out my tab, and started to leave, and then Slower Pussycat decided to start playing. I said WTF and stuck around for a bit longer.
I had no idea what the first song was, beyond being a garbled mess. Vocalist
Slapme…er, I mean “Taime” Downe croaked something like “Sorry t’ keep ya waiting, fuckers”, before starting a slow version of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots”. There were about 50 fans left in the crowd at that point, and for them Pussycat could have kept playing Nancy Sinatra covers for all they cared. But they launched into “Cathouse”, which kept me awake at least. Pussycat was loud, but that was all.
Faster Pussycat had some success in the late 80’s by jumping on the glam-metal bandwagon (what band didn’t?), but as I watched them now, I couldn’t remember why. Each of their albums had at least one decent song…”Poison Ivy”, “House of Pain”, “Bathroom Wall”, etc., but most of their other songs were forgettable. Downe had the Steven Tyler/Axl Rose/Bret Michaels pose down pat a few decades ago, but tonight he was a chain-smoking, beer-swilling slob in a dark SS uniform, and his voice was a raspy croak that made it into the microphone only half of the time. Before sitting down on the drum riser to drone “House of Pain”, he said “Thanks for hanging out, it wasn’t us that kept you waiting…*”
(Then who was it? Hmmmm? My conspiracy theory* finally came up with: it was The Empire, holding us all hostage to sell more $11.00 drinks while you ‘set up.’)
While some 80’s bands have cleaned up their acts and re-invented themselves to present a healthier, still-youthful image to their remaining fans—Pussycat seems to have taken pride into making themselves as ugly, wasted and grunged-out as possible (is that really a bad thing? -DN)…the recent reincarnations of Ratt/Twisted Sister/L.A. Guns and W.A.S.P. look like Chippendales compared to Faster Pussycat.
During “Don’t change that song”, someone flung a cup of ice cubes over Taime and the band, and it was the first time I wanted to applaud for the cretin doing it. Pussycat’s bassist (Danny Nordahl) kept going on and on about “sensing evil” coming from the crowd, but it was more likely the fact that they were tired, drunk and irritable…much like the band seemed. “Bathroom Wall” fired up the remnants of the crowd, until Taime’s multiple beers kicked in and he began chanting softly “I got a number off the bathroom wall, and it was…Chad's…” indicating his own drummer…3 times. At that point I left in utter disgust. My overall perception: DANGEROUS CURVES: COOL! Slower Pussycat: LAME! –K.K.
Photos by: Lexa Vonn
I was lounging around my West Hollywood apartment one evening when I suddenly received a phone call from Satanic heir Stanton Lavey who informed me that he was on his way to pick me up because Hank Williams III was playing the Roxy and it was sure to be an event worthy of my chronicling.
Graciously, I accepted the offer and allowed myself to be escorted to the fabulous Sunset Strip by the motley entourage. When I entered the venue it was already packed to the brim with avid fans of country, punk and rockabilly. The sold out performance attracted a rowdy crowd of good ole punks who moshed as if they were at the annual drunken barn dance. Hank’s band and crew were hospitable to me and let me take pics from the stage wings instead of subjecting my camera to the mob.
The three-hour plus set roared with southern fury and kept the crowd swaying and singing along to every lyric. The band, which features a fiddler and a stand up bass, play like classically trained musicians while at the same time keeping up an attitude that is raw and unbridled.
The performance played out like a 3 act play beginning with country, emerging into psychobilly, and ending with a balls to the wall metal set by Hank III’s alter ego band Assjack, which features Gary Lindsey on lead vocals while Hank retires to guitar.
Assjack is a true metalcore band that blends classic heavy metal with old school hardcore. It’s a difficult task to deliver 3 hours of musical performance without it becoming dull, but Hank and the boys pulled it off. I didn’t find myself bored at all during this double set. Hank performed like a pro, despite being rumored to be suffering from strep throat that evening. And he looked pretty damn hot when he let his hair down for the metal portion of the set.
He even stuck around to sign autographs and take pictures with fans after the show. I was impressed. I think Hank’s future looks bright and I look forward to seeing him on the next tour. Judging from the celebs I spotted in the crowd that included Eva O from Christian Death and Ben Graves of Murderdolls, I’d say the buzz is already growing! Hank III is country punk for the post-apocalyptic generation…one that just wants to drink, screw, and dance!! -LV
Heaven and Hell
Las Vegas, NV
Photos by: David Necro
Powerful, mysterious, and poised...it's Heaven and Hell. The return of the 'Mob Rules' lineup (Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Vinny Appice) was a fortuitous one.
They completely displayed confidence and passion in their performance, which was very uplifting and inspiring.
Many different textures and colors were within. They painted a dark, intense picture of melancholy, sadness and fiery defiance.
Perfect yet organic, solid playing, and larger than life. Geezer, Tony, and Vinny provided the thunder and Ronnie provided the lightning.
It was a grand spectacle of the highest degree and the level of professionalism was second to none.
The songs themselves sounded very close to the albums, but with that added extra you get from a live setting.
As much as this performance showed the power and glory of the Dio years of Black Sabbath, I still prefer the original version of the band with Ozzy Osbourne. There is a touch more emotion and fire to the original band that can't be equalled by no other.
On the other hand, Heaven and Hell simply rocked like a motherfucker, and it would be in your best interest to see a performance by them before your time on this earth has come. -DN
The Jagermeister Music Tour
The Avalon Ballroon
Photos by: Janee'
My wife/photographer Janee’ and I arrived Early, one hour before the first band Till November was to go on, yet the tone was hectic as roadies, security, techs, managers, musicians, and fans alike scrambled to complete their tasks and lay claim to their place on the floor. Once back stage the mood strangely became calm as members of Lacuna Coil sat together relaxed showing a sure sign of confidence in themselves and their craft which I would come to understand as a well deserved attitude.
Back onto the floor we where escorted to the V.I.P. section upstairs amongst the beautiful people. Janee’ blended in fine but considering the fact that I myself am ugly and proud I new this had to be some mistake and within five minutes, I was escorted back to the N.S.I.P. “not so important people” what a relief. Wait a second the importants stole my wife, those bastards!
Outside to get some cancer, the line for admission was multiplying itself with every drag of my smoke. Anticipation and excitement growing as the line stretched more than a block up the infamous Lansdowne Street. The show has been sold out for quite awhile and with the release of hometown heroes Shadows Falls new album Threads of Life coming out the day previous to the show. All the hype has been dually noted on the street and the press and now it’s time for the bands to deliver.
With still ample room to move around, the opening band Till November takes the stage. Anticipation is high, the guitars crunch out a driving rhythm, the drums slam a 2/2 time get ready for the assault beat, the singer belts out a weak whinny try to be hard cry and within the first seven seconds all interest from myself and the majority of the crowd is gone. I walk around to find and meet up with friends and acquaintances. Suddenly there are more people in line for the bar than remain on the floor. Janee’ and I wait it out for whom we came to see with smokes and conversation.
Till November break down and out comes the host of the tour the one and only Lizard Man himself, no stunts or grotesque acts of self inflicted sadomasochism but
a stand up routine that had the crowd in hysterics with such lines as “Girls you have to stop fucking fat guys, I can’t take the pressure of gaining that much weight” and finally
yells the name Lacuna Coil. I stop mid conversation with fellow writers and photographers, grab Janee’s hand bulldozing our way to the side of the stage and the photo pit. As of now the sold out status of the show is evident.
The Band takes the stage to the dark melodic electronica track that is also on their web site. They blasted into their set with Closer and played with a technical and heartfelt proficiency so unexpected by me that every aspect of the performance kept me mesmerized. Honestly my expectation of the show was rather blah, yet after witnessing their live performance they have gained my respect as musicians and have gained me as a true fan the sound was better than any recording I have heard from them. The stage presence of Cristina is truly amazing along with the interaction between her and second vocalist Andrea, presenting to the ears soft angelic harmony over dark tortured rage. A musical dichotomy that is truly original, powerful, and more than worthy of the price of admission. The crowd remained all in sync with the band as all hands went in the air and stayed pulsing through the set, which for me was over all too quickly. They did go out the best way they could and on the song I was waiting to here all night, Our Truth which vocally on Cristinas behalf is incredible and done live, this also was absolutely flawless, a shock considering she had been abusing those vocal chords for the past 45 minutes.
A true test of stamina and talent.
After Lacuna Coil had given the fans more than there moneys worth they gave them even more, as they set up a table by the merch to do a signing. This in my opinion
showed me that the band was all about there fans and had true appreciation for them and as they had gained many new ones that night, myself included I went in line to have my notebook signed. That’s a pretty big deal considering the only other person I have an autograph from is Rosco from the Dukes of hazard that I got at a car show as a kid. So I was really impressed and figured what the fuck.
So check Lacuna Coils website and myspace for tour dates, songs, and pictures of Cristina, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. -J.J.2.NUTS
The Canyon Club
Las Vegas, NV
Photos by David Necro
Sham calls themselves the "rock n' roll glam slam of the 21st century." Well, we'll see about that, now won't we? I didn't expect much with such a bold claim. I mean who the fuck where these guys from the glittery gutters of Las Vegas anyway, and how did they get the gig with veterans like L.A. Guns?
So, I found out. What I was treated to is a fun band that played loud, dirty sleaze rock which is a combination of 70s glam and 80s glam metal. They were impressive right down to Johnny T's stage presence and Robbie's slashing guitar.
What struck me is that Sham is a much better band than their Hollywood counterparts. No names mentioned. Sham is quite frankly more rockin', more dynamic, and play better. Also, they're far less cheezy. Maybe it's because, believe it or not, Vegas doesn't really have a glam scene. For such a glittery town I am perplexed at this. What I'm trying to say is, that the lack of a glam scene in Vegas makes them work harder.
Sham inject some real rock n' roll in an otherwise stagnant Vegas scene. Not punk, not psychobilly, not metal core, just pure rock. They made a great opener for Tracii Guns and company.
Speaking of which, will the real L.A. Guns stand up? What do I mean? Well, you have the line-up with Phil Lewis and Steve Riley who started with the band back in 1988. The you have this line up which played on this night, featuring original member Tracii Guns and singer Paul Black.
So, which is the better of the 2? All I can say is that this line up (Tracii Guns-lead guitar, Paul Black-vocals, Jeremy Guns-bass, and Chad Stewart-drums) were slamming from beginning to end. It was tight but loose. Tracii showed that he is one of Hollywood's unsung guitar heros with his dynamic riffs, creamy distortion, and ripping leads.
Singer Paul Black did his best Iggy Pop impression with his moves onstage, diving into the crowd, and inviting the audience onstage.
All of the classicks were played including "No Mercy," "sex Action," and "Electric Gypsy." Along with some sterling covers of Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, and AC/DC. Also, a charged punky version of Brides of Destruction's Shut The Fuck Up (with Jeremy on lead vocals)
The gig conjured up strong visions of a debauched night in a hotel room with empty bottles of Jack Daniel's, strippers, and monster movies on the TV.
With that, L.A. Guns did their job. A killer sleazefest for all. The night seemed ready for the taking...rock n' roll seemed alive and well for just a brief moment. You either savored it or you didn't. Most of us did, and it was exciting to say the least. -DN
L.A. Guns w/Cockpit
The Empire Ballroom
Las Vegas, NV
Friday’s “Cathouse” at the Las Vegas Empire Ballroom let out some heavy metal kittens tonight; the hungry young all-girl rockers Cockpit, from Southern California. Although relatively new to the scene, they’ve toured relentlessly, gathering a growing fan base throughout the Southwest.
According to a recent interview in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Cockpit wants to be known as a good AC/DC style hard rock band first and foremost, instead of being known as a female hard rock band. And they are a good AC/DC style hard rock band. The trouble is, so are AC/DC, Britny Fox, Faster Pussycat, Krokus, The Donnas, Saxon, Kix, Great White, Angel City, and virtually every band without a virtuoso musician or a noticeable dramatic/thematic/visual ‘hook’.
Cockpit does have a visual hook in that they’re all damned fine-looking women, something that not every female band can lay claim to…perhaps only Drain STH and Vixen, out of perhaps thirty all-female bands worldwide. While neither gender should be judged on looks alone, it’s irrelevant because women always are. You’re four hot young women, your band monicker is Cockpit, so what the hell, work it girls. I scarcely need to tell them this, because none of them are wearing petticoats, just deliciously tight denim and leather…
Oh, their music, right…well, they had a dozen hard-driving songs, all in the AC/DC—Donnas vein; the only downside was the lyrics were barely discernible.
Privately, I thought they could’ve been singing “Three Blind Mice” as far as the male portion of the crowd was concerned. Unfortunately, they had no press kit or demo, although they’re working on one. Basically, all you need to know is that Cockpit rocks hard & looks good doing it.
L.A. GUNS opened fire after a brief intermission, and rocked the house with a set that was tantamount to their Greatest Hits: “No Mercy”, “Sex Action”, I Wanna Be Your Man”, “Rip and Tear”, “Never Enough”, “Ballad of Jayne”, “Electric Gypsy” and more…if I was the Guns’ manager, I would’ve had the show recorded for a live album. Except for some minor technical difficulties with the left-side P.A., it was an excellent, tight, well-paced set. I don’t know if Phil Lewis caught my last review of the Guns during American Metal Blast, but he’s much better as a frontman now, leaving out the dance moves and focusing on rhythm guitar and psyching up the crowd. Another cool thing the Guns do that most metal bands ought to do is they make a point to meet and greet their fans after each show, whether their fans buy their merchandise or not. But since they’re available to sign everything, obviously the merchandise sales go way up…so all other rockers TAKE NOTE! Stop guzzling the backstage liquor and take twenty minutes to come out and meet your fans! You’re not going to be gang-molested and have your clothes ripped apart for souvenirs; we’re all grown up & mature now. I was able to briefly chat with bassist Adam Hamilton, who agreed that the Empire Ballroom was a great venue to play a show, and the rest of the Guns were kind enough to autograph a photo. Let’s hope the Guns keep firing off shows like this for the next decade. –K.K.
“Let’s Spend the Night Together: Backstage Secrets of Rock Muses and Supergroupies” Book Release Party
Wiltern Theater, Los Angeles, CA
Photos by: Lexa Vonn
It may seem strange that I am reporting on the fabulous new rock n’ roll epitome by Pamela Des Barres, author of national bestseller “I’m With Band”. Why? Because I am in it! The latest release by Miss Pamela entitled “Let’s Spend the Night Together: Backstage Secrets of Rock Muses and Supergroupies” is an anthology of famous groupies throughout rock music history. Each chapter is a mini biography of a famous groupie reflecting on her childhood agonies, sexual exploits and quite a few juicy rock star secrets. But don’t dismiss this documentation as tawdry frivolity before you explore, as this historical read is a lot deeper than one might take it for at face value.
Packed in these pages are tales of warrior women overcoming everything from rape to parental abandonment, romances as real as the best of them, and even a glimpse at a spiritual explanation behind the groupie phenomenon. While reading through the book, I was proud to be among the ranks of women featured that include Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill! star Tura Satana, Cassandra Peterson aka Elvira, Gail Zappa, Cynthia Plaster Caster, Pleasant Gehman, Bebe Buell, and many more.
A common theme in the book is the celebration of music, love, sex, and life itself, so it is without word that some festive galas were an order for the release. The first event Miss Pamela held was an autograph signing and book reading featuring herself, as well as several other girls from the book, myself included. The reading was held in West Hollywood at Book Soup. The turn out was overwhelming as fans had to huddle around the bookstore because there wasn’t nearly enough chairs to go around. Pamela read the introduction to the book and went on to announce each woman before they took to the podium to read from their respective chapters. Following the reading, fans had the opportunity to get their books signed by both the author and the featured women. I was delighted at the response my public speech received as I chatted with the appreciative public.
Next on the agenda was a private party for the girls and their guests held in the lobby of The Wiltern theatre. The party was a groupie chat fest! While there, I ran into many of the girls featured in the book, but also several other notorious gals. Pattie Johnson and the Rocker Twins, who were recently featured on the Dr. Keith Ablow show were in attendance, as were 80’s rocker Ron Keel’s ex-wife, Dee Dee and her daughter Kellie, who it turns out plays bass and is an aspiring rock star herself. Also, making a surprise appearance was Faster Pussycat/Newlydeads singer Taime Down. A groupie celebration just isn’t a groupie celebration without Taime, who appears in about HALF of the chapters in the book, on hand. Say what you will, but when a dictionary of famous groupies comes out and you’ve dated half of them, you must be doing something right!! -LV
House of Blues
Las Vegas, NV
Well, we had the return of Dave Mustaine and co. here in frightfully fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada.
The band was tighter than a hamster's butt. Every part was technically sound and what have you. It was "louder than Hell" and intricate. They're a very talented bunch and surely are keeping the flame of Heavy Metal burning bright in their own unique way. They let the audience know that the system is a load of crap which is a hallmark of Heavy Metal since its conception in the late 60s.
However, there was no emotion eminating from the stage. It just wasn't there. Period.
In my opinion, emotion is a key element in music, and Megadeth don't have it, I'm sorry to say. Maybe one day they'll find it. We can only hope so.
I really, really wanted to like this gig but I was very disappointed and left feeling cheated. The night ended with the mighty Szandora (who attended this concert with me...you should be so lucky) saying "Megadork, Megacrap, Megadump," etc. -DN
House of Blues
Las Vegas, NV
Photos by: David Necro
Greetings, readers. I have seen Motorhead about 9 times
before, and this was my first time seeing them in Vegas, and my first time sober, I
may just do this more often , as I had a lot of fun and REMEMBERED everything.
Upon, arrival-the first person we ran into was Lemmy.By the box office. He walked
out into the casino, and I thought.."You know, I dont blame him. People probably
hound him relentlessly.", and as I walked past a bank of slot machines, half an hour
later, there he was. Playing 2 slot machines at the same time. Dollar machines at that. BUT, it was only a matter of time before he really WAS hounded by fans, and
he took off for the club entrance. Let the guy gamble in peace. They dont have gamb-
ling in Hollywood.
We walked inside and had missed the first band-MELDRUM, and they were playing Poison songs over the PA. That was wierd. Manntis was up next. The sound was dark , heavy, and Ominous. It was shorthaired, cookie monster metal from San Bernadino, CA.They sounded a lot like Pantera, and would go over well at the OZZfest 2nd stage. Manntis literally warmed the crowd up, by a good 10 degrees. It was freezing when we came in, and by the end of Motorhead-we were sweating pretty good. The singer of Manntis kept trying to get a swirl pit going, and the crowd was not going for it. When they left the stage, the singer threw an OPEN water bottle towards the back of the crowd-and it landed on the SOUNDBOARD.
Way to go, dude.
1 more thing on Manntiss. The bands actual SOUND was amazing. 2 points for the engineer. Now for MOTORHEAD. they got on stage fairly quickly, (25 min) and opened with "Dr. Rock" from the ORGASMATRON album. I was in HEAVEN. "Stay Clean" was next, Followed by "Love Me Like a Reptile." Phil Campbell has the coolest mic stand. It has two beer holders at hand level.Next up was "Killers" from the 'INFERNO' album., followed by "Metropolis" and "Over the Top" (Amazing.)
At that point-the first 5 rows started yelling "TURN IT UP!!!TURN IT UP!!!!" over and over., (Phil had been gesturing to his Imaginary roadie on theright, Saying the same thing-it was a joke) as Phil was trying to talk to the crowd, and Lemmy told every one to SHUT UP, and that they were rude. Typical Lemmy. Anyway, they went into "I've Got Mine" from the ACE OF SPADES album, and the show picked up where it left off- IN OVERDRIVE.
They did "In the Name of Tragedy"(Awesome), and "Dancing on your Grave". As their roadie went up to the front to fix Phil's Mic-Stand, Phil walked up behind him and acted like he was boofing him; the guy could'nt see it, but the crowd could. Pretty funny. Lemmy introduced the next song by saying-"this one goes out to 3 dead guys. Johnny, Dee Dee, and Joey Ramone. They were friends of mine, and whether you know it or not-they were friends of YOURS as well." "1, 2, 3, 4," and they basted into R.A.M.O.N.E.S., which lasted under 2 minutes. Fast song. "Sacrifice" was next-and was probably the heaviest song of the set, featuring a drum solo. (Earsplitting) Introducing the next song, Lemmy said
"This song is about the fat bastards that have been, and stiil are..Taking your
That was the cue for "Just cause' you got the power". thissong was slow to mid-tempo, and COOKING. after that one-Phil had some problems with his pedal board, and Lemmy said-"Oh no. Is it working?" To kill time, Lemmy said "OK, on the count of four-everyone make as much noise as possible!" The crowd did not yell. Well, barely. To be honest-this was one lame crowd. So lemmy exclaimed-"That was fucking Terrible.", well... it was. Next was "GOIN' TO BRAZIL" from the 1916 album. I noticed suddenly- there were CHICKS in the pit. Not ones missing teeth, either. Hot ones. Thats Vegas for ya. Next up was "Killed by Death", and out came this really hot (In a dirty, nasty, vulgar kinda way) chick in denim and
leather. Her vocals were terrible, but she really rocked it. It turns out that she was from the first band that we had missed- MELDRUM. Phils guitar strap came off during
a solo, and the roadie was there in an instant. they did "Iron Fist" and said good night.
They returned in 2 minutes and did "Whorehouse Blues" A slow, accoustic bluesy
one with everyone seated in chairs.
Nice. Lemmy was playing a harmonica. When it was over, Mickey threw the guitar a good 20 feet to the side. then they did the one that the whole building had been waiting for......"Ace of Spades", and the place went apeshit. they said- "We are still not tired of this song". Good. Niether am I. " Lemmy said, "Dont forget us. We are MOTORHEAD. and we play rock and fucking roll!" They pounded out "Overkill" for a good 10 minutes, and blasted everyone with the huge strobe lights. As we all spilled into the casino-the tourists were freaked. It looked like some jail had just emptied out. On a 10 scale- I'd give this a 7.5. , but a bad Motorhead show is like bad pussy. Even when its bad.....It's still pretty good. Catch ya later when your hair gets straighter. -CL
Nine Inch Nails
San Diego, CA
Photos by: Sunset Vampyre
THE GRIM REAPER himself couldn't keep the fans apart from NIN on a freezing cold
Sunday night at the university's basketball hall. Of course, there was a sense of Deja-Vu -
we'd all been there a few weeks before when, during Trents rip-your-guts-out performance,
Jerome Dhillon his drummer had an episode of SVT (Supra-Ventricular Tachycardia) - or Fast Heart Rate to the rest of you.
Rapid end of performance (an hour into NIN's gig) but hell, we'd seen Queens of the Stone
Age who were very tight, very professional, and VERY FUNNY - Josh Homme had the whole place erupting with laughter with a very original put-down of a heckler. For once I saw an audience that actually ENJOYED a support band of NIN - and that's no easy thing, 'cause (A) most people only want to see NIN, WITHOUT support, and (B) Trent has the WORST TASTE when it comes to choosing his support bands - as I walked in behind a group of Four male students, one of them was heard to utter "Please don't let it be the Dresden Dolls again"
No, it wasn't the dolls - this time it was someone FAR WORSE.
It was a ranting, monotonous monologue spoken in hip-hop style going by the name of Saul Williams. For around 90 minutes we endured his endless droning talked in one single tone,
with hardly any variation of pace, with him endlessly repeating "I'm a Nigger".
Yeah, well, haven't you listened to Marilyn Manson? We're all Niggers, only White people
don't keep bleating about it.....
A roaring crescendo rippled through the crowd as the lights went down and the band were
glimpsed through a mesh curtain, which later was to be used as a movie screen.
When the curtain went up, every member of the band, true to their Industrial/Gothic heart,
were dressed in Black, unlike the mostly blue-jean clad audience - this is a phenomenon I've noticed at every NIN show I've been to - what's going on? Only a handful of Goths were in attendance, and they looked so elegant they made the rest of the audience look distinctly boring and lazy.Marilyn Manson, known for his outrageous attire, once commented that HIS band's fans were better dressed than THEY were....
That gripe aside, NIN were ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC.
The energy emitted from the band as a whole could have powered a small country. Trent Reznor caused controlled chaos, Aaron North uncontrolled rage (as in when Aaron threw a mic stand into Jerome's drumkit, leaving Jerome with just one drum to beat on while the drum tech hastily put the kit back together again.)
Throughout the set there was constant movement, which made taking pictures a nightmare but showed everyone just how fit the band were, with toned abs and toned arms, especially noted on Trent, who, even with that evil haircut of his, had a body that could tempt Angels.
They played for around 2 hours, singing a very lengthy set-list with as much passion and
perfection as I've ever seen at a NIN gig, each song fervently entwined with a voice made up of hundreds of fans. The lighting effects were superb, the movie played over the mesh
curtain in turns wonderful and harrowing. And a reminder from Trent of the face of evil when
George Bush appears on the screen, in a split-second eliciting boo's and jeer's from a
If there's one thing Trent knows how to do well, it's to draw an emotional response from his
audience. If anyone thought they could just turn up at a NIN show for a 'pleasant evening',
they were in for a shock - their emotions were tapped and drained and then their
collectively beating heart was ripped out of its chest.
Trent had just returned from New Orleans........
Enough said. -SV
Henry Fonda Theater
Photos by: Lexa Vonn
When it comes to music movements there are three major categories. The pioneers, the ones who birth an idea or concept, the fame claimers, the ones who take that idea, enhance it and market it to the masses, and the cheap knock-offs, the ones who attempt to ride the trend wave after it has already reached its peak. Skinny Puppy is one of the most underrated bands in the industrial scene, or at least the commercial end of it. Lead singer Ogre was experimenting with computerized beats long before Trent Reznor and walking on stilts long before Marilyn Manson. In fact he has even lent a hand to producing such bands. However, none of Ogre’s own musical projects have ever gotten the attention that other bands of the genre have.
Never having seen Skinny Puppy live before, I went to the Henry Fonda theatre to investigate.
The lights were dim, the smoke curled around the stage creating the perfect ambiance against the deep blue lighting scheme that cascaded down a movie screen backdrop. Suddenly, with the click of a keyboard button and the thrash of an impressive drum rig, the music began filling the theatre with loud pumping gothic industrial beats. But where was Ogre? The anticipation built higher and higher as the crowd eagerly awaited the entrance of their anti-hero. However, we wouldn’t actually see the fearless frontman until well into the band’s set. Instead, we were treated to a visual assault that taunted us from behind a white-screened box. The shadow-puppet show consisted of Ogre contorting and changing costumes while singing and moaning and lasted for a good two songs. I was beginning to wonder if he was going to perform the entire set list this way, before he finally emerged covered in fake blood and medical regalia. I was quite glad when Ogre came forth, making eye contact with me for a brief moment before addressing the rest of the audience. He was looking in excellent shape and watching his stage movements, it was obvious to me some of the best performers in the field learned from him.
The only thing that did fall short for me was the unfortunately, the music! Although the set consisted of mostly older stuff, which delighted the fans, the mix sounded way off. The sound levels were rather imbalanced with barely audible vocals and bass higher than the stereo system in P. Diddy’s Hummer. I found that the music actually sounded better while standing in the VIP section on the roof and watching the performance from the monitors. I really couldn’t tell where one song ended and the next began.
Perhaps, it was just a bad night for the soundman, or maybe this kind of music just doesn’t have the kind of diversity that makes an artist into a rock star. It’s a shame- visually Skinny Puppy is brilliant, but musically they’ll always be underground…and somewhat forgettable. In the past, I have always picked the pioneers over the fame claimers, but this time I think I’d rather wait to see Nine Inch Nails or Marilyn Manson. Oh, well…at least I got some beautiful pics! -LV
Verizon Wireless Ampitheater
In my interview with singer/bassist Tom Araya, I noted that you can literally feel the raw power and dark emotion when seeing them in concert.
This night was no exception...
The combination of high energy and the danse macabre is an interesting and intoxicating one.
A Slayer concert is a highly emotional experience that challenges your ideas and thoughts. Slayer just has a knack of keeping your attention and never letting go.
What more is there to say? Ah yes, Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman nailed everything perfectly, their guitar solos are like razor wire lashing out at you.
Drummer Dave Lombardo is a master of the drumkit, accenting every part of every song with a flick of the wrist.
And Tom Araya? He's still a man possessed. Barking out the lyrics of damnation, our increasingly voilent world, and the apocalypse itself.
But, a Slayer concert is more than about brute force. Sure, it's very loud, very heavy, but if you listen closely, the intricasies are there.
Above all, there again is the emotion. I can only best describe it as a shroud of darkness enveloping you and energizing you at the same time. It allows release on many different levels. Not the least of which is any pent up frustration.
It would be a very wise choice for you to see this band before you are dearly departed. -DN
The Whisky a Go-Go
Photos by: Lexa Vonn
I missed Spyder Baby when they came through L.A. last year, so when I got the chance to check them out this month, I was nothing less than giddy. The band, which is singer/guitarist (and Detroit native,) Stevie Banch’s brainchild did not disappoint me. It was a Monday night on the Sunset Strip, probably the most difficult night to attract a crowd.
Yet the boys of Spyder Baby, which currently consists of Banch and former members of Lunatic Kandy Kreep on bass and drums, rocked the stage as if it were a sold out show. My ex-boyfriend used to whine that if I ever saw this band, I’d end up going home with the lead singer.
Well, I contained myself…but I do have to admit that Stevie was the image of industrial rock perfection with his waist length black dreads, tattoos and Blackie Lawless looking B.C. Rich Warlock guitar. The beginning of the set was a little rough around the edges as they adjusted to the often-shoddy sound system of The Whisky a Go-Go, but by mid-set I was rocking out to the eerie anthem-like sounds of the song, “The Worms”. It was definitely my favorite song of the set and I was singing along with fervor by the second chorus. I’d describe Spyder Baby’s sound as industrial goth rock with a splash of glam. I think they’d be huge among the local Hollywood scene as they are already attracting the crème de la crème of scenesters.
One factor that always reflects on a band’s buzz in L.A. is not how many people show up, but WHO shows up. I was impressed to see a few familiar faces among the crowd including Lacey from Nocturne, L.A. based metal band, Old Fashioned Beatdown, and L.A.Guns front man, Phil Lewis. Phil surprised everyone when he jumped onstage with the Spyder boys to sing along to their cover of the L.A. Guns original, “Sex Action.” Stevie informed me that Phil contacted him after hearing the Spyder Baby version of the song and the two of them hit it off instantly. The band has also had ties with Al Jourgensen of Ministry, who produced some their earlier tracks. This band has seems to have everything they need to breakout- rocking anthems, hot guys, celebrity friends…I look forward to seeing them again. -LV
The Wiltern Theatre
Los Angeles, CA
Photos by: Ben Cursi
I have yet to be disappointed by any live performance featuring punk pioneer Iggy Pop, and last month’s show at The Wiltern Theatre was no exception. One would never guess that Mr. Pop is eligible for a discount at the movie theater while witnessing his unbridled movements across the stage. It was no more than two minutes into the opening number when Iggy began skipping and trotting about while contorting himself like a shirtless pretzel. It is simply impossible for this man to fail at receiving an enormous reaction from the audience.
The Stooges have the power to make everyone listening forget what era we currently live in. As soon as one hears the boom of Scott Asheton’s drums, the thump of Mike Watt’s bass and the raw naked strums of Ron Asheton’s guitar, we are transported into a simpler time for the music industry. It is punk rock in its true form, and it doesn’t matter that we are at The Wiltern instead of CBGB’s. Iggy continues to add to the integrity of everything punk rock stands for by reciting a speech in between songs in which he declares a distaste for the shallow and fascist worship of the latest trend and factory-made celebrity.
I think old school bands like The Stooges are just proof that when you write timelessly classic songs you don’t need all the backing track flash and effects that many of the bands of today use.
Even with their stripped down sound, The Stooges still delivered a crisp and furious set that included such staples as “I Wanna Be Your Dog”, “TV Eye” and “No Fun” as well as some lesser known ones like “Skull Ring”, “L.A. Blues” and “Down on the Street”. We were treated to four new songs off The Weirdness as well as all those signature Iggy antics that never seem to lose their appeal.
There was numerous stage dives and everyone’s favorite part of the show where the fans are allowed to join the band onstage in a slam dance pogo-ing orgy sing-a-long.
After the show, David Necro, Jezahell and I went backstage after dodging some security guard that spoke as if he were the referee from Wrestle Mania.
The Stooges were a no show, but we did run into Philthy from Motorhead and Steven Perkins from Jane’s Addiction. More proof that Iggy and the gang have influenced musicians far and wide from all across the genre board. They certainly are a favorite amongst all of us here in the Crypt!! -LV
Nissan Live Sets on Yahoo Music
Los Angeles, CA
A little more than a decade ago, I was a squatter punk. I lived on the streets of Hollywood and spent my day drinking, fucking and fighting with my crew H.D.P (Hollywood Drunk Punks). One night while panhandling in front of the American Legion Hall, I scored a ticket to go inside and see Iggy Pop perform. It wouldn’t be the first time I’d see Iggy live, but it’d be the best. Sometime halfway into the show, Iggy took one of his infamous stage dives and landed squarely in my arms. We shared a brief but memorable kiss before he weaved his way throughout the crowd and re-mounted the stage. Later in the set, he began pointing to people amongst the crowd to join him onstage for an all out sing along/dance along. My friend and I were not only selected, but were chosen to remain onstage after the rest of the crowd returned where we engaged in an Iggy Pop make-out session sandwich. It was a moment in punk rock history for me, and one I hadn’t given much thought to lately…until I heard that The Stooges were getting back together.
Sometime last year, Iggy announced that the original line-up of The Stooges were regrouping and working on a new album ('The Weirdness') that would be released on Virgin Records in 2007 be accompanied by a tour. I had the rare opportunity to witness a prelude to the madness when the folks at Virgin and Yahoo Music were kind enough to let me sit in on a taping of The Stooges live and in action in part of a series available on Yahoo Music called “Live Sets”. The segment will be available for download on April 1st and will consist of seven live songs and a fan Q&A with the band. Only 200 fans were admitted to the studio for the taping, needless to say, being there was a thrill.
There are several rules for ensuring that you get plenty of camera time and rock star interaction at an event like this, so it was time to put my groupie skills to the test. Rule number one: Wear something that stands out in a crowd. Most rock n’ roll audiences gravitate towards the colors red and black, so naturally I went in the opposite direction and opted for my day-glo Andy Warhol dress and chartreuse striped tights. Rule number two: Bring someone good looking to stand next to. A hot chick is always preferably but if none are available, a fabulous well-accessorized teenage boy is a good choice. I have a Rolodex of these hot young things that I keep especially for this purpose. Rule number three: Arrive early. Contrary to other events where it pays to arrive fashionably late, concert tapings have many benefits that can be utilized by arriving early. Not only can you schmooze the producers while feasting on dried fruits and pop-tarts at the free craft service buffet, but you can also ensure that your spot in the front row next to the cameras is reserved. Rule number 4: Be animated! If you want the performers to interact with you, you first have to interact with them. Music feeds off energy therefore, the more you give the more you get.
Keeping these general rules in mind, my evening with The Stooges went off without a hitch. We were treated to all the old favorites including “I Wonna Be Your Dog”, “TV Eye” and “No Fun” during which Iggy invited the 200 lucky winners to jump onstage with him. I opted out of the madness this time around figuring I was here as a reporter and should leave the antics to the Iggy “virgins”. After four songs, the band took a break and grabbed some stools for a quick Q&A with the fans. We learned such important facts as Iggy’s favorite brand of peanut butter, Skippy and his secret to keeping that young looking body, a series of ancient Asian exercises. The best answer I think was in response to the question, “What do The Stooges feel was their greatest success?” To which they all unanimously responded, “the fact that we are still fortunate enough to do this.” After the break the band picked up their instruments once again to rock the studio as if they were back at the Whisky A-Go-Go. It was a no holds barred performance, and yes the almost 60-year-old Iggy did do his signature stage dive into the audience. So, did he remember me and our fateful kiss from a decade ago? He’s been playing punk rock for 38 years; we’re lucky he still remembers to put his pants on in the morning! Nonetheless, I was honored to be, once again close to a legend. -LV
Sounds of the Underground
(featuring Shadow's Fall, Amon Amarth, Gwar, Suicidal Tendencies)
Events Center at San Jose University
San Jose, CA
Photos by: Shyan Izadian
It’s easy to understand the allure that draws so many musicians to metalcore. It allows them to go through all of the experiences of being in a band, all of the attention, the camaraderie, the sense of relevance, without any of the difficulties. Unfortunately, one of those neglected aspects is composing decent songs. Maybe a band that serves up pure aggression can work as an opening act, or even as a headliner if you’re only looking for a punching bag to quell the boredom of an aimless suburban lifestyle. But as far as stretching the genre to meet the scale of a worthwhile day long festival, it’s damn near impossible.
Aside from a handful of exceptional performances, “The Sounds of the Underground was a glaring celebration of banality disguised as brutality. The Arcatia Strain was the first of many bands to embody this decent that heavy music has taken. Based on their short set, one couldn’t tell that they hailed from Massachusetts, a state marked with so many great hardcore bands. God knows that Toxic Narcotic didn’t rub off on them. But as far as sheer awfulness goes, none could match The Devil Wears Prada. It’s hard to imagine that they could sound worse than their name implies, but they more than succeeded. In between songs they slipped in Christian stage banter embarrassing enough to bring a smile to Jerry Falwell’s bloated corpse.
Still, there was some much needed relief brought by Darkest Hour and Shadows Fall who both demonstrated the rare bright side of metalcore. Darkest Hour was the first band of the day to really make the security guards earn their pay trying to contain the enthused crowd and although not immediately noticeable, a post concert look at their politically fused lyrics proves even metalcore can be smart. Shadows Fall set themselves apart by actually having a strong front man. While Brian Fair is famous for his Cousin It like dreads, he serves as more than head banging eye candy. Instead of screaming at the audience like so many other bands, he seemed to actually connect.
There was a place on the bill for metal purists as well. Amon Amarth and Chimaira were joyously out of place and rejected the pitfalls of metalcore. Viking metal kings Amon Amarth especially would have made the Norse gods proud. They came, conquered, and turned the crowd from fans into victims.
It should go without saying that Gwar dominated the festival. It wouldn’t do them justice to describe them as larger than life. They are larger than life, death, and even the afterlife if one exists. Equipped with battle armor, a three foot alien penis, and jets of semen and blood, their quick set was like watching Christians being fed to the lions, but with more violence. Lead singer Oderous Urungus and his army of slaves decapitated the Virginia Tech killer, dismembered the ultimate Gwar fan, and set loose a ten foot tall dinosaur on their enemy from the “Beyond Hell” album, Jewcifer. Oh, and the music was cool too.
Headliners Suicidal Tendencies offered the night’s biggest disappointment. After a score of fauxhardcore bands, it would seem fitting that the legends of the genre would put them all to shame. However, ST failed to rise to the occasion and just came off as boring and self congratulatory. Worse, Cyco Miko spent an uncomfortable amount of their set preaching, even going so far as to pull a Disney and repeatedly remind the audience to “Follow your dreams”. The band did include the most populist moment of the night when they pulled a sizeable part of the crowd onstage, but not even that gesture could salvage their status as hardcore heroes.
If a great hardcore band like Suicidal Tendencies could go from being seminal to dull, then one can only wonder what will happen to the previous bands that are already bland in their prime. Hopefully, they will take a cue from the pop bands they so despise and let themselves fade away. After all, metalcore and pop are really two sides of the same coin. They are both uninspired. The lip synching divas that make up the MTV world are unable to move away from the shallow trends they have created for themselves. Sound familiar? -Dr. J. J. D.
House of Blues
Las Vegas, NV
Photos by: David Necro (coming soon)
Lights...Camera...Revolution! (the title of an ST album) it was Suicidal Tendencies at their most raw and raucous.
Singer Mike Muir was like the Tasmanian Devil; a ball of energy. His vocals exuded pain, psychosis, and white-hot anger. It wasn't fake pain and anger like a fuckin' cry-baby emo band, this was real and from the heart.
The band returned the favor by relentlessly pounded out tune after tune with aplomb. The interplay was right on. The sound was pure thrash peppered with funk, r&b, and rap.
Many of the ST classicks were played including a hair-raising version of "Trip to the Brain."
Suicidal Tendencies have made it for over 2 decades now, and continue to show the nu-hardcore and nu-metal motherfuckers what the real deal is.
Pledge your allegiance... -DN
House of Blues
Photos by: Lexa Vonn
They thought for sure it’d ruin their career. The audacity, for one of the heaviest, most feared, most notoriously badass metal bands to do a Christmas album. Because, after all rock n’ roll is ruled by Satan, right? Or is it? When I witnessed Twisted Sister’s Christmas show at House of Blues in support of their holiday album, A Twisted Christmas I had a concert experience that only a true groupie could really put words to. I’m not quite sure where in history it was decided that rock n’ roll was the devil’s music, but my guess is that it was just another conspiracy promoted by church and government to repress people. Rock n’ roll has always been a form a free expression, rebellion and a challenge to former institutions. It has always been the voice of question and a call for change. While the devil character may indeed advocate some of these basic ideas, there is a historical figure that fits the bill even more, Jesus Christ.
Jesus was really the first rock star in recorded history. He broke laws, he toured around with his message, he loved groupies and understood outlaws, had long hair and most of all, he achieved mass popularity. And, coincidentally the church and government at the time wanted to repress his message, too. Having said that, maybe it really shouldn’t come to surprise that Twisted Sister’s Christmas album and tour should have so much success. Maybe it isn’t all that out of place to sing along to carols and hymns belted out by an androgynous monster while we throw our fists in the air and rock to the joy of electric guitars and Marshall stacks.
Twisted Sister has always had a knack for combining humor with inspiration and melody with fury. Dee Snider himself represents the dichotomy of human existence himself in so many ways. Hailing long before Hedwig and Marilyn Manson, he truly is the original drag queen Frankenstein. Coming from a half Jewish, half Roman Catholic descent he hits the stage in a Santa suit with long flowing platinum hair and full ultimate glam make-up. After a song or two, he strips down to his classic Twisted Sister spandex, leather, tassel adorned football-padding regalia and we see what a giant buff creature he remains to be behind the rouge and glitter. He is the embodiment of man and woman, beauty and the beast. He looks like a Hell’s Angel and sings like an archangel.
The message is right there spelled out before us. But don’t think it’s all serious; this performance had just as much carefree antics as it did symbolism. It looked like Christmas through the eyes of a child as we were assaulted by candy thrown by elves while we danced under the artificial snow. There were moments of prayer as we held up our lighters during “I’ll be Home for Christmas”, a dedication to those at war as well as moments of silliness as we were led into a sing-along of a parody of “The 12 Days of Christmas” which featured flash cards to cue us of the rock n’ roll themed gifts that our true love were to give to us for the holidays. But what would a Twisted Sister show be without the modern day holy hymns such as “I Wanna Rock” and “You Can’t Stop Rock n’ Roll” which were also included in the set.
And it’s in that very dichotomy that the message exists. Its all the same really, isn’t it? Its music itself that lifts us to spiritual heights no matter what your individual beliefs are. Whether you fancy opera or death metal, it’s the love and appreciation that the fan feels as they listen to the sounds and the words that open their inner awareness. I get it, I truly do. And I am not ashamed to rock out to “Come All Ye Faithful” which is, little did we know during the 80’s, the same music as their biggest hit, “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” a song written in response to the church and government officials that were attempting to destroy them. Oh my, how history repeats itself. It’s all starting to make sense now. -LV
House of Blues
Photos by: Sunset Vampyre
TYPE - O ..... POSITIVE? ( A lesson in Biology, as sanctioned by the band ).
If you ever need blood ( like all the Vampires in this 'Neck" of the woods ) you'll get one of these transfused into your alcohol-sodden veins......
A-positive, B-positive, AB-positive, O-positive, A-negative, B-negative, AB-negative, O-negative. However, if you need it in a hurry, you're gonna get a choice of one.
Type - O Positive. Which means you AIN'T gonna get your dirty little hands on Type - O Negative - one of the rarest types of all.
That's because O-Positive is a Universal donor, which any of you Motley Crew can have, so if you step out in front of that Hummer after leaving the mosh pit, ( in a Positive or Negative state of being ), you can have the O-pos and not fall down dead.
Of course, if you DO get hit by a Hummer, you're gonna sprout wings regardless, but anyway.....
TYPE - O NEGATIVE played at the Avalon in Hollywood (yeah, I was up on the stage with them - I like to play with my food..... hey, can't a vampire have any fun?) and the House of Blues in Anaheim, and left their impression on both places. This is a wierd band by anyone's standards, 'cause you get the distinct feeling that they like a whole bunch of different genres of music, can't make up their mind what genre they want to fit into, and so decide, what the fuck, we'll just play 'em all.
So you get an eclectic mix of Pop, Blues, Rock and Metal ( including 70's Ozzy and 80's Hair ), with slow melodies and slam-pit brutality mixed in with soulful guitar played by Peter sitting down, guitar on lap like a spanish flamenco guitarist, added to Kenny, bizarrely rocking out to the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour.
And that's without the Adams Family, the Munsters, and Willy Wonka tracks playing in the short intermissions.
TYPE - O have found a unique niche in live music, and it works extremely well. The crown loved them, embracing every song even though some of them would let you pull their fingernails out before admitting that they even liked the pop songs......
This band has immense talent and the balls to play what they want, and will for years influence new bands not to have the tunnel-vision of some of the "Hard Rock" bands out there.
May this Witches Brew of a band long continue to Rock! -SV
Photos by: Lexa Vonn
Its been a long time since I’ve seen a band play on the Sunset Strip that truly excited me, in fact its been awhile since I’ve seen a show at all that truly excited me. However, French imports Undercover Slut’s recent performance at The Whisky was nothing short of magical. From the moment I spotted the boys posing in front of the club’s marquis for fans and tourists alike, decked out in platform boots, vinyl, and glitter make-up galore to the very last note played in their set I was captivated! Undercover Slut is a groupie’s wet nightmare. The new line-up consists of lead vocalist and founder “O”, drummer Fake, guitarist Divine, and an androgynous bassist appropriately named Drag. And you better believe that every last one of them is shag-worthy!! But don’t go thinking for a moment that this is an image band, because these guys are as phonetically stimulating as they are visually. When the lights went out in the club and the first few strums of the guitar were heard, I felt myself gravitating, almost floating to the front of the stage. I was mesmerized. Suddenly, none of the other men in the room existed, as I couldn’t keep my eyes off the band’s every move.
O is an amazing frontman, the kind we rarely see in today’s commercialized watered down emo-rock world. He writhes and twists about the stage antagonizing the crowd with plenty of interaction. At one point he even leaps into the audience and continues the song while running around throughout the pit. He then finds his way back to the stage where he rolls around and contorts himself looking like a young Iggy Pop in drag. The overall performance of this band reminds me of Marilyn Manson back in the “Portrait of an American Family” days when the shows were still dangerous and sexually provocative. Undercover Slut have a certain unpolished star quality. They remind me of every great band when I first discover them, before the record labels get a hold of them, mass produce the sound, and play down the extreme image.
They are Iggy in his 70’s glam era, Jane’s Addiction in their striped tights, corsets and heroin phase, and Manson before he dated actresses and wore Versace. They are reminiscent of a purity in rock starism that seems to be lost these days. It is a sacred formula of sex, violence, glamour and trash. And lets not forget groupies! Despite that three out of four of these boys can barely speak English, they did a pretty good job of partying with my girls and I. Yes, The Plastics are back with an all-new line-up of pro-groupies and Undercover Slut has won our support. I won’t say exactly what went down at the after party they held at their hotel room, only that video cameras were involved. The boys are currently in the studio recording an album with producer Steve Bruno (Motley Crue/Jane’s Addiction/Prong), and will remain in the states until it is finished. As it stands, it is slated to be an independent release. But hey…you’re not a rock star until you’ve had Lexa Vonn in your hotel room, so I predict these guys will be hitting it big in the states any day now! -LV
Viva La Bands
CKY, GWAR, Cradle of Filth
Las Vegas, NV
Photos by: David Necro
This was pro skater Bam Margera's tour which put together with some very cutting-edge bands (listed above.) All of these bands have a different style but, it worked out. Bam is a big music lover and this wasn't just a random grouping of bands. A thrown together tour, in otherwords. Bam actually likes all of these guys.
Bam's brothers' band CKY wasn't very good at all. They were boring, dull, and displayed very little emotion. They were reasonably heavy, but monotonous and headache-inducing. This was a band going through the motions, in my opinion.
20+ years and GWAR is still as chaotic, sick and insane as ever. Their stage show featured the pope, Don Vito (who "crapped" into the audience,) a baby Bam Margera, Jewcifer, and more. All of these character were disemboweled, amputated, and what have you. The "blood" went all over the place, as usual.
The crowd was basted in blood, of course. It wouldn't be a GWAR show without that!
All of this highlights the fact that GWAR is a big "fuck you" to social conservatism and organized religion. The band was extremely tight and powerful despite all of their stage antics. GWAR is overlooked for their outstanding musicianship. Which was on display here.
Basically, Slipknot, Mushroomhead, and ICP owe their careers to the mighty GWAR. There's no arguement that the above mentioned bands may have ripped off a lot of the theatrics and presentation. However, gWAR is much more satisfying and authorative live. A true case of "you can't beat the original." The orignal is always the best. GWAR always was and always will be a bloody, gory good time. Here's to another 20+ years to the motherfuckin' "Scum dogs of the Universe!"
Cradle of Filth's performance brought forth a true aura of foreboding. Their performance was portentous, eerie, and coupled with white-hot energy. They combined heaviness of metal with the energy of punk. It was a stake right through the heart. I was enveloped in the flickering gloom which surrounded me, and there was no escape. I couldn't get enough of it. Cradle of Filth painted a very dark and intense picture which tapped into the dark corners of the mind. Plus, they had a knack for commanding your attention. Like GWAR, they defy religion and particularly organized religion.
This was one HELL of a gig, and if you missed it, I hope this review gives you a taste of what it was like! -DN
Las Vegas, NV
True metal PROPS for the Empire Ballroom for hosting another complimentary night of
excellent hard rock! All is forgiven! Sure, I’ll pay whatever you want for a coke.
The line to get in stretched far around the parking lot, which wasn’t a bad thing at
all…in fact it was great seeing so many people rallying to see one of America’s most
underrated rock bands, Y&T (Yesterday and Today). The line of fans crackled with upbeat
comments about various songs…”Summertime girls”, “Lipstick & Leather”, “Mean Streak”, et. al. Although Y&T has hung in there for decades, I hadn’t seen them since they opened up for Ratt and Twisted Sister (and that was when Out of the Cellar had just come out)!
Almost right after the doors had opened, Ron Keel took the stage. It was a bit of a
disappointment seeing him doing an all-acoustic set all by himself, but still better than
not seeing Ron Keel at all. For the uninitiated, Ron Keel has a voice that can level
buildings, shatter glass, kill dogs, drown out ambulances, and also sing charming ballads on a whim. For the acoustic set, obviously we were treated to the charming ballads. He began with “Serenade” from his first band, STEELER (the band that brought Yngwie Malmsteen to America), then went into some Country songs. Your humble servant normally detests Country & Western music (except for the one song I wrote, “The Miner”, check it out on authorsden.com/kenkupstis) due to its mostly negative lyrics, but Ron’s Country was cool and positive.
Upon meeting fellow (former) CRYPT Acolyte LEAH in the crowd, I learned that Ron’s
transition from Heavy Metal to Country music had alienated some of his fans. “How do you go from Metal to Country?” Leah wanted to know, and a few of my other friends had asked the same question. Upon meeting Ron, I asked him that and he said “Hey, it’s all music, it’s all good.” Quite true, and Ron had already made his mark on Metal with Keel’s LAY DOWN THE LAW, THE RIGHT TO ROCK, THE FINAL FRONTIER, LARGER THAN LIVE, KEEL and BACK IN ACTION.
Keel was/is a seminal 80’s Metal band—much like the bands Black & Blue, Lizzy Borden and E-Z-O, but all of them had albums produced by Gene Simmons of Kiss, and for some reason those bands did not reap all the success they all deserved. A writer for CREEM Magazine blasted Simmons for “Cutting the balls off the new Keel Record!” (THE FINAL FRONTIER, which contained two awesome songs “Arm and a leg” and “No pain No gain” but was unfortunately bereft of a real hit) “Couldn’t take the competition, huh, Gene, you pussy!” I won’t wholly buy into the conspiracy, but it is strange that such a canny businessman so knowledgeable about rock success couldn’t bestow it upon other bands (Jaime St. James of Black and Blue—now singing for Warrant—admitted to me “He might have fucked with us a little.”)
Ron went into Keel’s “Tears of Fire”, and we all noticed he had a particularly rabid
fan near the stage who looked slightly liked the comedian Dave Atell and shouted nonstop
praise. It’s always good to have fans, but it was like this guy was a Muslim and Ron was
Allah, or at least Mohammed. Ron was coolly appreciative to the guy, and easily drowned him out with The Voice. Then Ron dropped a bombshell: he’d been temporarily hired as the singer for BLACK SABBATH a while back, and as I picked my jaw back up from the floor, he went into “Heaven and Hell”, and it might as well have been a taller version of Ronnie James Dio on the stage! Every note was letter-perfect, and we all sang along. Acoustic or not, it was awesome. Ron closed with “The Right To Rock”, a magnificent anthem; I just wished it was electric instead of acoustic.
Next onstage was Roxanne, a band I’d never heard of, although Leah told me they
normally played as a 70s cover band called The Boogie Knights at the House of Blues, and elsewhere. They played a decent set of mostly Bon Jovi-style songs, none of which struck a chord with this writer. That’s not to say they were bad, hell no, Roxanne had the ‘modern
AOR pop-metal’ cliché down to an exact science. I was slightly confused that they continued to be the ‘Boogie Knights’ when they could easily be any record company’s cash cow. But personally, when a band calls themselves Roxanne and there isn’t an actual woman named Roxanne onstage, I tend to just nod my head instead of banging my head.
Y&T came out afterwards to a fairly packed house. Dave Meniketti and company tore
into their repertoire of “Black Tiger”, “Mean Streak”, “Midnight In Tokyo”, “Hang ‘em High”,
“25 Hours A Day” and more. Dave took a break to play a cool blues guitar solo, and then they kept rocking with “Don’t Stop Running” and “I Believe In You”. I slightly wished they would have brought out their hulked-out robot from the IN ROCK WE TRUST tour—or cranked out more songs from that LP, such as “Rock and Roll Is Gonna Save The World”, but they didn’t.
(Looking back on it now, I’m just a bit depressed. Rock & Roll itself wouldn’t save the
world, but its fans could have, if we weren’t so busy partying. We all thought “Someone else will fix the environment, and the deficit, and the reversal of our freedoms, and everything else, so we’ll just party until they show up.” And guess what? We were the ones who were supposed to show up and do the fixing, and we chose to party instead. Hopefully we’ll take a break from the partying and do some actual voting soon. I plan to, since I’m as guilty as y’all.)
Y&T have totally positive songs. No violence, no devil worship, no crazy sex…(then
what the Hell are they doing here? hmm? juust kidding...-DN) and perhaps that’s why they got lost in the rock & roll stew. Y&T don’t have a ‘gimmick’ because they shouldn’t have to have one; they’re one of those rare, unpretentious hard rock bands that like themselves just as they are…much like RIOT. It’s sad that a rock band needs a ‘gimmick’ (or really stupid songs or lyrics like ‘Up All Night/Sleep All Day’ or ‘Girls/Girls/Girls’) to go platinum. But perhaps rock & roll success can be defined as playing cool, intelligent, heavy rock songs to a loyal and appreciative crowd, like Dave Meniketti and his bandmates did at the Empire Ballroom. Tonight, Y&T got the respect that they deserved. –K.K.
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