In this issue: Anthrax, The Damned, The Darkness, Doyle, Faster Pussycat, Guns N' Roses, Gwar, Iron Maiden, Duff McKagan's Loaded, C.J. Ramone, Marky Ramone's Blitzkreig, Slash, Twisted Sister, Voivod,
Reviews by: Michael Blain, Christopher Lee, Karla K Harris, Cynthia Golden,
Featuring Great White, Skid Row, Extreme, and Twisted Sister
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
Las Vegas, NV
Did not bear witness to either Great White or Skid Row who were the first two opening acts, so needless to say those two bands will not be included in the review. But from the timbre of the crowd whilst the crew was setting up for Extreme, I can only assume they were not exactly Earth shattering sets. But nevertheless that is an assumption.
After waiting for what seemed like an eternity for the stage to be set up for the band Extreme they finally started playing through their album Pornograffitti in its entirety. Honestly, I wish they hadn't. Other than the cheesy nostalgia surrounding the performance of "More Than Words," the set was basically a waste of everyone's time. A true testament to a musical genre that allowed glorified purveyors of a one hit wonder to build an entire catalog around that track, they had the right sound for the mainstream at the right time decades ago, and none of that holds up today. A sad side note is that their lead guitarist is a virtuoso, and I almost felt bad for him that he was stuck in Extreme.
Onto the purpose of the show, Twisted Sister. I was expecting big things from this band having listened to them with my father before I was even old enough to put the needle onto the vinyl grooves without assistance. With their performance they surpassed any and all expectations I had, proving unequivocally that they still rock just as hard after all these years as they had in days gone by. The fact that Dee Snider retains that kind of energy and stage presence at the age of 60 is nothing short of mind blowing. As they plowed through the heart of their set list with the sequence of "I Believe in Rock 'n Roll, Under the Blade, I Am (I'm Me), and We're Not Gonna Take It," I even pondered if the Dee Snider led Twisted Sister rocks live harder than Iron Maiden. Results were inconclusive, but the fact that it was even under mental consideration speaks volumes to just how engrossing Twisted Sister is live. After the band finishes this tour they are permanently breaking up, and seeing as how A.J. Pero passed away only a short time ago, it makes sense that they wouldn't try to fake it into old age. Mike Portnoy the stand in for Pero at this show was nothing short of amazing, but they rock too hard to continue much longer with a mish mosh of a band. See them before they are done playing, they are simply one of the best live rock acts to ever take a stage, pure and simple. -Michael Blain
It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll) (AC/DC song-recording)
What You Don't Know (Sure Can Hurt You)
The Kids Are Back
Shoot 'Em Down
You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll
I Believe in Rock 'n' Roll
Under the Blade
I Am (I'm Me)
We're Not Gonna Take It
The Fire Still Burns
Burn in Hell (With drum solo)
I Wanna Rock
Come Out and Play
Day of the Rocker-recording
Note: Intro by Eddie Trunk; First show with Mike Portnoy on the drums
'Through Space And Grind Tour' 2015
Napalm Death, VoiVod, Exhumed, Iron Reagan, Ringworm
Photos by: Christopher Lee
From the moment this tour was announced in November 2014, I was beyond excited and had the date January 27, 2015, imprinted in my DNA! No need to mark a calendar, as there was no way in hell or Dimension Hatross, I would forget this show! VOIVOD, one of the greatest and most revolutionary fucking musical entities of all space and time, in THIS or ANY other galaxy YET to be discovered by Stephen Hawking were final-LEE doing a proper US tour for the first time in years! AND, Quebec's finest would be co-headlining this once in a lifetime tour across the America's with the UK's legendary pioneers of grind and sonic extremity Napalm Death in tow, making for a great package that kicked off in the third world country that is Miami of all godforsaken places!
Not to mention, it was also a bonus that we would be treated to the month long excursion's initial show, which meant all bands, but most important-LEE VoiVod and Napalm Death would be in rare, top form, energized, well rested and prepared to annihilate! Unlike the unfortunate souls who would get to see this one of a kind show a few weeks into the tour where to quote Away in our VoiVod interview said "they would have a peak, and then its gonna go downhill"! Well consider us the proud, the privileged few, all 300 or so on a Tuesday night who came out to see the metal tour of the year, sorry but no other tour in 2015 will dare to come close! Why you ask? I'll give you one reason, one word, six letters...VOIVOD!!!!
So with that, my cohort and I made our way into the bowels of Miami, to get to grand Central by 5:15 as I was offered a rare opportunity to interview VoiVod's drummer, artist, and conceptual mastermind, "Away" (aka Michel Langevin) prior to the show and talk about a number of subjects! Such as the "We Are Connected" single which was released that day to coincide with the tour along with revealing some VoiVod factoids, not even hardcore fans may be familiar with (see interview)!
So after the interview, we left the venue and found a convenience store a few blocks away where we bought some beer to do some celebratory pre-show imbibing of alcoholic beverages and met a fellow VoiVod freak who would join in the festivities! It's not everyday one of the most influential and pioneering acts of all space and time comes to Miami, of all places! Time to celebrate!
So we made it back to the club, with time to kill, damn well knowing VoiVod would not be taking the stage until approximately 9:45 or so, deciding to catch all the acts on the tour, preluding VoiVod's performance! First up was Cleveland, OH scene legends Ringworm, who although I was familiar with the name, may only have ever heard one or two songs at most, that did nothing for me! There is nothing worse than "metalcore", you either play "hardcore" or you don't, unfortunate-LEE this 5-piece doesn't...choosing to play generic, color by numbers, predictable "metalcore" which left me feverishly waiting for their 30 minute set to draw to a close to achieving our prime directive! While still having to endure 2 more acts before the one and only reason we were in Miami on this Tuesday night!
Next up was Iron Reagan, a band which features 2 members of the very popular
"retro thrash" band Municipal Waste, who I for one, am NOT a fan of, I fail to see what the fascination is with this band, to me they are nothing but a copy of Nuclear Assault, right down to vocalist Tony Forresta's lame John Connelly impersonations!, So suffice to say, not surprising-LEE, IR is their attempt at copping off the old "crossover" style of noted bands like DRI, Excel, etc! They may have the new kids fooled, but those who saw this all the first time around in the classic period of the 80's certain-LEE know better and have seen it done better as well! So we just stood back at the bar, having some beers, watching from afar! 30 minutes and their time was up and it on to gore metal practitioners Exhumed!
Exhumed took the stage, and played their brand of gore/death metal, with its fairly obvious nods to the forefathers of the genre, Carcass, both new and old, right down to the melodic guitar solos before breaking back into vile death metal territory! Not a bad band, Vocalist/Guitarist Matt Harvey is definite-LEE an entertaining frontman and the band gave gave quite a physical performance that warmed up the crowd for the one of the greatest metal acts of all time in my humble opinion! Now for the record, I don't enjoy tearing bands apart, but these these bands in particular do nothing for me, and I have to ask, why couldn't the tour organizers bring along some of the new blood, bands making a name for themselves in the underground, such acts, as Vektor, Midnight, or Night Demon to name a few?
So with the time of 10:00 PM approaching, my buddy and I proceeded to make our way front and center, staking our claim, counting down with anticipation the minutes until the mighty VoiVod took to the Grand Central stage! After a few more moments of sheer excitement, the band came out to a round of unanimous applause from the crowd full of young and old, metal fans! The band tore into "Ripping Headaches" off the classic RRROOOAAARR record, and they were off to a great start, after revisiting the early VoiVod discography the weekend before the show, I forgot what an amazing song it is, and that it made a great opener! The band were clearly excited for this month long undertaking with lots of energy to expel, they then tore into the voodoo ritual that is "Tribal Convictions" which had me screaming with joy, and I proceeded to yell every lyric right back at vocalist Snake as I was right against the stage, throwing my head around while shifting from playing "air guitar" to "air drums" while being pushed into the metal barrier in front of me the entire time which was an uncomfortable experience! But pain is liberation, and I felt free as fuck, enjoying every sonic moment! From there they played "Overreaction" off "Killing Technology", before tearing into "Mechanical Mind" off the latest release "Target Earth"! Snake acknowledged the audience and from my vantage point, I could see the set list and that the next song was the timeless "The Unknown Knows" off the epic "NothingFace" record, I kept screaming out the title before Snake could introduce it, so he said "this next song is..." pointed the microphone in my face and I sang the chorus before the band tore into the classic cut! They played the brand new single "We Are Connected", as well as their theme song and battle cry written about that legendary barbaric warrior "VoiVod" which had everyone participating in the chorus, before rounding out with one last number, the closest thing they have ever come to a "hit", the song that established them in the early 90's with repeated plays on Headbangers Ball, their version of the Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett penned classic, "Astronomy Domine" which left me me ecstatic! I was shocked that they only performed 8 tracks, due to Grand Central always having a curfew on metal shows, ending them by 12, though very happy with the choice of cuts spanning their career, considering the last time I saw VoiVod live prior to this was OzzFest 2003! And they were the only reason I event went that year! But from watching countless videos on youtube from the remaining tour dates, they did seem to play an average of 12-13 songs the rest of the shows!
11:00 PM the UK's grindfathers Napalm Death took the stage, I was a huge fan of the early 90's output, but have lost interest in the band over the years, Barney and company tore into "I Abstain" from the 1991 classic "Utopia Banished"! My buddy and I watched a few more songs and decided it was time to leave since we have a long drive back to suburban hell! But the band was firing on all cylinders as usual, cause ND are an institution unto themselves...THEY ARE GRIND!
So with that, I had a great fucking time, 40 minutes of VoiVod was sheer bliss, and from countless FB friends around the country who attended different shows on the tour, it seems this trek has generated a whole new interest in VoiVod, sparking a whole new legion of young converts in the process! Let's just hope that as Away said in our interview, that they will rectify the mistake of not touring the US in quite some time, by coming back later in the year to rip our faces off yet again!
VOIVOD LIVES!!!! -CL
L.I.F.E Downs Pavilion
photos by: Cynthia Golden
Late August came sooner than I expected I had been panicking all day since I didn't know what to wear. Doyle is my Holy Grail so I wanted to go with my best get up, finally I decided on a black American Horror Story shirt, black Royal Bones skirt, Royal Bones faux garter tights, and my favorite metal ankle boots. I showed up to L.I.F.E Downs Pavilion in Laredo, Tx. I was helping at the show with Ethos Alternative Culture with selling and getting tickets and the door then uploading stage equipment after the show.
A couple of hours later I followed their beautiful tour manager Robin to the buses to interview Doyle. Robin punched in the code to unlock the door and I went in first pulling apart velcro of the curtain that separated the driver from the rest of the bus, I met Doyle's gaze and I became awe-struck as he stood there patiently waiting for us. His 6'4 built figure with ghost white make-up could easily make anyone feel intimated which I certainly felt but mostly I was excited. I reached out my hand and introduced myself as Golden he was so nice and asked my friends what their names were (Dorothy and Tony which did a great job at helping me out). I was so nervous not just to meet Doyle but have to sit professionally next to him and interview him. We sat down and I gave him a painting I had made for him he asked what medium I've used on it, turns out Doyle does some painting and drawing as well. The interview began and it felt less of an interview and more of a hanging out with the legendary Doyle from the Misfits. Questions and chats about his make-up to what got him into music as a child and to what their law is about using the restroom on the bus were brought up. After an intresting interview I headed inside to meet up with friends and wait at the front for Doyle.
The show was hosted at L.I.F.E Downs Pavilion by Ethos Alternative Culture. The venue was spacious, clean, and comfortable to move around. Booths for the band's merch were set up as well as the sponsers one of which was a great friend Beto who owns Second Chance Music Store the place is pretty self-explanatory, Beto's love for music drove him to open a nice shop where he sells everything from cassette tapes and vinyls to movies and shirts. I paid each booth a visit to check out their stuff and glad I did because at the Doyle booth I met Alex Story's girlfriend who was in the band Cancerslug with Alex before Doyle. It's always nice to meet strangers and find out how interesting their lives are and how they end being merch girls for bands you're going out to see.
The time had finally come that I never thought would, I was about to experience Doyle live and only a few inches away! Their energy onstage was so persistent and powerful, perfectly rehearsed considering the drummer "Tiny" only had like a day or two to practice an entire set before going on tour. It was definitely a show I would remember for the rest of my days and that I will still talk about for years to come. It might not have been a sold-out show but the audience's energy that night could of well been of a sold-out concert. It was circle-pit city along with the occasional crowd surfing and of-course moshing. I don't think I've ever left a show feeling the way I did that night I felt good, dehydrated, exhausted and beaten but above all happy. To all of our surprise Doyle played some Misfit songs to which the crowd reacted very well to. Those were some of the most exciting moments for everyone there, including myself, aside from when they played "Dreaming Deadgirls". All the hardcore Fiends ran to the front and yelled the lyrics to some Misfit songs including "Last Caress" Alex Story did an wonderful job covering those.
I don't think I've ever left a show feeling the way I did that night I was exhausted, dehydrated, a bit drunk, sore, bruised, drenched in sweat but over all great. I think the shitty part about going to rock concerts and being in the front is leaving sort of deaf and with a loud ringing for a day. The venue was great and recommended to check out for further events. I can't wait to see the band again real soon, Doyle did say Spring is to bring new music for the band so hopefully another tour will soon follow.
Dreams do come true when you're plastic! -Cynthia Golden
SLASH W Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators
Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock
*Pics courtesy of Jeff Daly
After being completely blown away by Slash's upcoming release "World On Fire" due to the inventiveness of the man's riffs and melodies and how they work so well with Myles Kennedy's voice creating some very emotional and incredible tunes with unforgettable choruses, I was very excited to be attending this show!
While Slash W Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators were balls deep in the midst of their summer long "Let Rock Rule" tour with Aerosmith which had forsaken us ('til Aerosmith come loud and hard in December), the rock n' rollers amongst us in South Florida were at least privileged to be treated to a rare one off headlining gig by the band at Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood before their tour with the Steven and Co. wrapped up the following week in Michigan!
To say I was ecstatic to see this show would be a major understatement as the "World On Fire" CD has been in constant rotation (I am listening to it while I write this) since I received it in mid August, a very emotional, evocative and personal album for yours truly reflecting on subjects very close to my rock n' roll heart! So despite the bands early 8:00 showtime for a Friday evening my brother and I arrived prompt-LEE as this was not a show to be missed, it's not everyday you get to see a rock n' roll legend and Hall Of Fame inductee "LIVE" (the only way) in the flesh! So instead of indulging in overpriced drinks, we had a few in the parking garage and still found time to make it to our seats with time to KILL!
So after waiting for what seemed like an eternity, the ever so boring "beige guy" (as my gf refers to him!) hard rock personality (he has personality!?) Eddie Trunk of That Metal Show who was in town to promote yet another of his essential hard rock books took to the Hard Rock Seminole stage to introduce the band! Final-LEE without any further adieu at 8:20 the band appeared before a packed house of fans young and old who were ready to kick their holiday weekend in the face in true rock n' roll fashion!
Opening with "You"re A Lie" off of Slash's last record "Apocalyptic Love" the band seemed to be in great spirits knowing full well that on this very night they were not confined to a mere 45 minute set and were free of time restraints and that they had one Hell of a show in store for us! From there the band tore into one of the first audio nods to the band that made Slash a household name with a cover of the G N' R classic "Nightrain" which had everybody on their feet, and I have to say Myles Kennedy sounds better than Axl does on those very songs he helped make famous! From there, the band dived into another track off of Slash's last release playing the track "Halo" before changing gears with the songs "Ghost" (originall featuring Ian Astbury) and "Back From Cali" both off his eponymously titled 2010 release!
And from there, Slash and Co. tore into their first live offering of music off the "World On Fire" release in the form of the track "Stone Blind" and I was very excited and eager to hear more off the record! While they did play a few more cuts off the record like "30 Years To Life" and the first single and title track of the same name, aka "World On Fire" that was unfortunately all we were treated to, as I suppose the band is waiting until the records official release before giving away any more surprises! It would have been great to hear some of my favorites like "Wicked Stone," "Iris Of The Storm," and "Battleground" but I guess we will have to wait until the band is in full on touring mode to support the album which is one of the best of 2014! MARK MY WORDS!
The band played almost a solid 2 hours giving the fans their money's worth which is a philosophy more bands should adhere to in this economy, with a show with lots of peaks and valleys, where even if you don't know much of Slash's solo material, they litter the set with a generous amount of G N' R classics to keep the energy (and interest) level high!I The band rounded out by Todd Kerns on bass, Brent Fitz on drums and touring guitarist Frank Sidoris were all energy barely stopping to take a breather throughout the course of the show playing like their lives depended on it! And when it's rock n' roll...YOU DO!
Todd Kerns took to the mike to sing "No More Heroes" made famous by English punks The Stranglers doing his best CJ Ramone posturing, hair flips and all, and the band belted out a few more tracks as well as the obligatory G N' R classics, including "Out To Get Me", "Sweet Child Of Mine" as well as "You Could Be Mine" which had the people even in the bleacher section like yours tru-LEE rockin' out and getting crazy singing along to every word and throwing shapes (slang for "air guitar" for the uninitiated)!
But the best was yet to come, with the highlight for me personally being when the band tore into the masterpiece that is "Rocket Queen" the song that catapults "Appetite For Destruction" into the classic album category! From the breakdown at the 3:30 mark to the end, that song is pardon my french, fuckin' perfection! I, needless to say, was losing my mind, shifting between playing air guitar and air drums, throwing my head around screaming every word! Slash utilized the middle of the song to go into a length guitar solo where the man took the opportunity to demonstrate just why he is a legend! The band played a few more, including "Slither" by the man's one time supergroup, Velvet Revolver, before bringing the audience to a rapturous ending with their choice of "Paradise City" as their one and only encore!
An amazing show, and the sound was great as Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood is the perfect sized venue for rock show, not too big, and every seat in the house is guaranteed a great view of the action! These guys played their fuckin' hearts out like their lives depended on it, and with all the hits that were played it was like going to rock n' roll school!
Since you will NEVER see the original G N' R lineup at this point, if you want to hear the classics done right and hear what else Slash has been up to post Guns N' Roses, be sure to see them when they hit your town! Myles Kennedy is incredible as are the rest of the band, Slash sure knows how to pick 'em! A great night and a great show! I look forward to doing this AGAIN! -Christopher Lee
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
GWAR, one of the most brilliant concepts in the annals of rock n'
roll, rendering the term "theatrical" obsolete in the process where
their intergalactic racket and live show come together making for an
otherworldly experience, like a B-movie come to life!
GWAR has been giving the state of the world and popular culture,a
taste of cartoon violence and the fistfuck it so rightfully deserves
for over 25 years! Nothing and no one one is sacred, whether it's
religious figures, politicians, or vapid celebrities! They all get
crucified live onstage where fans become willing participants in the
show and the ensuing bloodshed!
I can proudly boast that I have witnessed GWAR countless times over
the course of the past 23 tenuous years, starting off with seeing the
band touring this toilet earth, or Florida to be exact, on the
Scumdogs Of The Universe tour in 1990!
Through it all, they remain one of the most over the top live acts on
the planet, who have NEVER rested on their laurels or their reputation
to give their fans one of the most affordable shows you will get for
your entertainment dollar!
Every album and tour brings a new chapter and show where you never
know what will happen, who will die, and what characters will return
from the decades old GWAR saga to rear their ugly head, etc!
So after interviewing his excellency, the sultan of sleaze Oderus
Urungus in supprort of the bands new "long slayer" 'Battle Maximus,' I
was very excited to see the band live on this Monday night in Ft.
Lauderhell! And what made it even better was bringing my brother
Nicodemous along to serve as my "Official" photographer, since he
takes great photos, ensuring that for ONCE the photos accompanying my
show reviews wouldn't suck, capturing all the carnage as it unfolds!
Hey, I never claimed to be a photographer!
Anyway, the band finally took command of the Revolution stage around
10:45 PM to an eager and enthusiastic crowd ready to bow at the altar
of GWAR who launched into "Madness At The Core Of Time" from 'Battle
Maximus' and the heads started rolling! From there it was onto one of
my all-time favorite GWAR tracks, the masterpiece "The Salaminizer"
from the classic Scumdogs record, a welcome surprise! How many GWAR
fans to this day have failed to notice that the lyrical arrangements
of the song are eerily similar to the N.W.A. classic "Gangsta
OK, where was I!? From there they brought out the character "Mr.
Perfect" the antagonist of the track of same name off Battle Maximus,
which lead into a succession of recent tracks such as "Hate Love
Songs", "Hail Genocide!" and "Metal Metal Land" before arriving at the
monolith that is "They Swallowed The Sun", one of the best GWAR tracks
in years which can be found on 'Battle Maximus' as well!
The show was great as to be expected, my only gripe being they focused
on recent material where I was hoping to hear old standby's like "Have
You Seen Me", "Gor Gor", or "Rock N' Roll Never Felt So Good" which
put GWAR on the map! To err is human, but are GWAR even human!? But
then again with 13 studio albums under their codpieces, you can't
please everyone! SO THEY KILL THEM!
And kill they did! From there they brought out the vile and vampiric
Queen Elizabeth who got the royal treatment she deserves as they
ripped her to pieces tearing into "Ham On The Bone" and the blood
sport commenced as they killed teen idol Justin Beiber (however the
hell you spell it!) to cheers from the audience with the GWAR slaves
dousing everyone within arms reach (or any other limbs) with the red
stuff, soaking them from head to toe!
With that, the band performed a slew of tracks such as the
appropriately named "Blood Bath", "Let Us Slay", and "Battle Maximus"
before exiting the stage! The band returned a few short minutes later
to deliver 2 encores of gore in the form of what is unequivocally one
of GWAR's best, their unofficial "hit" (quoth Oderus) "Sick Of You"
and their brilliant recent cover of Billy Ocean's 1980's top 40 hit
"Get Out Of My Dreams (Get Into My Car)" which goes off course segueing
into The Who classic "Baba O' Reilly"! GENIUS! Check it out on
With GWAR's goal of mass casualties a success, the band left the stage
(and the crowd) a blood soaked mess! Let's see them explain that one
to a cop on their way home from the show! I don't know how much blood
and bile are projected during your average GWAR show, but I do know
the entire Revolution dance floor was at least an inch deep in the
stuff afterwards! Whoever is left with the job of cleaning up has a
loonnnggg night ahead of them!
As long as GWAR tours there will always be "stupid fuckin' humans
paying money to die" to quote a GWAR classic! And tour they will, as
their will ALWAYS be humans to kill! Be sure to see the band LIVE when
they bring the bloodshed to your town! -CL
For tour dates visit www.gwar.net!
*Photos courtesy of Demous Photography! www.facebook.com/demousphoto
MARKY RAMONES BLITKRIEG W/ ANDREW W.K.
The Henry Fonda Theater
Los Angeles, CA
From the moment this show was announced month's in advance, I had every intention of witnessing what would surely be a one of a kind event for diehard RAMONES fans!
I NEVER miss an opportunity to see legendary RAMONES powerhouse, creator of the patented 8th note hi hat style, Marky Ramone, do what he does best and better than the rest! Not to mention (but I will!), that the man played on what are without question some of the best releases by "America's First Family" which should be required listening for those who THINK they are hardcore rock n' roll fans, yet still do not invest in RAMONES records!
Need I remind you that it's not everyday you get to see one of the surviving RAMONES perform the gospels of "Da Brudders" giving fans young and old a chance to celebrate the eternal spirit of RAMONES who are without question, the single greatest force in the history of all that is sacred, my religion, Rock N' Roll!
So, an evening of Marky Ramone with Andrew W.K. on vocals performing RAMONES classics? COUNT ME IN! Faster than Dee Dee could yell 1-2-3-4! I will admit initially I was skeptical about Marky's choice to have Andrew W.K. on vocals, as it seemed he was known more for his "party hard" persona than for his music which I never bothered to check out, but by the end of the evening it would make perfect sense to me why Marky chose him!
"It's Time To Party" from Andrew W.K.'s "I Get Wet" CD blasted from the house PA, minutes before the "blitzkrieg" started at approximately 10:10 PM with the band taking to the Fonda Theater stage firing off the opening salvo of the evening in the form of "Rockaway Beach"!
From there the band then tore into "Lobotomy" firing off classics like mortar shells in a nonstop 90 minute marathon consisting of 33 (maybe more, I lost count!) RAMONES classics in true RAMONES fashion!
All skepticism was laid to rest within a song or two as Mr. W.K. did one hell of a job! You have some big shoes to fill singing the songs Joey Ramone made famous (after all, the man was like 6' 4") but Andrew pulled it off like a true "Commando", singing everything in the right key, harmonizing the right parts, while putting his own stamp on
the tunes, winning me over in the process!
I couldn't help but lose my mind banging my head while playing air guitar screaming every word like my life and that of the RAMONES depended on it, the band were that good and that tight! Marky's Blitzkrieg was rounded out by former Michael Graves bassist Graham Van Der Veen whom I recognized immediately and last but not least, guitarist Mark Neuman who played everything note for note, just like on the records, right down to the solos at the end of "I Just Wanna Have Something To Do", the open chord at the end of "I Love Her So", etc, something I don't think I have seen anyone else do,not even Daniel Rey? The guy was great!
The set had allot of surprises with the band belting out classics in the shape of "I Believe In Miracles", "I Don't Want You", "Pet Sematary", I Can't Make It On Time" "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down" and "What A Wonderful Word", what more could you ask for!? AMAZING!
And with that, they were done and I was one disheveled mess from losing my mind! Andrew W.K totally won me over, the next day I started checking out his music and it became apparent why Marky chose him, as his music is very much RAMONES inspired in its simplicity and brilliance! Once his songs are stuck in your head, they are here to stay! I am definitely a fan now, the "I Get Wet" record is incredible!
Marky does everything with class out of respect to the fans ensuring that they always get their money's worth, and with a ticket price of $25 which is beyond reasonable for a show of this caliber, there was no reason to miss it! And you would think with the mainstream who are 20 years late with everything finally acknowledging RAMONES and everyone wearing their shirts, that you would have a sold out show in LA, land of posers!? Not exactly, although the crowd was great, full of older fans and surprisingly, lots of young kids obviously curious to see what they missed out on being born 20 years too late!? At least there is hope for rock n' roll!
Afterwards, I was able to get backstage to see the man who I have met numerous times, thanks to his wife who I recognized in the lobby before the show, and the first thing I told him was "wow, I guess you knew something when you chose Andrew cause I didn't expect him to be THAT good, he was great"! To which Marky replied "he is good, isn't he"!? I told him I loved the show, thanked him for keeping it ALIVE, we took a pic and he was outta there!
Marky rules! If you are a self-respecting RAMONES fan, be sure to come see the Blitzkrieg when/if they come to your town! You will not be disappointed!
As Seymore Stein once said "a band like RAMONES doesn't come around once in a lifetime...THEY COME AROUND ONCE"! Celebrate them everyday! RAMONES FOREVER!!!! -CL
Mandalay Bay Events Center
Las Vegas, NV
I have never felt like a synopsis of the opening band was less required as it is now, but I will go through the motions. The opener was Megadeth, they are a pretty decent metal band, covered some Metallica (who I personally think has continuously been overrated in the post “Ride the Lightning” years and were probably better as a Discharge cover band), and if this was a headlining show of theirs I’m sure I could have separated myself from the aching desire to experience Iron Maiden for the first time, but it wasn’t so I couldn’t.
Now on to the big dogs, or should I say giant skeletons, Iron Maiden! There could not have existed within my consciousness a larger amount of hype for seeing this band. Every single note of heavy metal I hear and every lyric spat my direction at a hard rock show harkens at an impersonation of Iron Maiden. And this can all be traced to one very good reason: Bruce Dickinson. Within the first steps this 55 year old animal skeleton warrior took onto the stage the crowd was transformed into his loyal undead subjects.
Before the band took the stage I was speaking with a child aged about 8 years attending the show with his mother and seated in the row in front of me. He was donning a vintage Iron Maiden tour shirt from the late eighties and could rattle off every great song and progression of the band without hesitation. The reach and scope of Iron Maiden’s influence on metal is absolutely staggering thinking that it could instill this type of enthusiasm in an 8 year old after decades of rocking sold out arenas without bowing down to a label for even a millisecond. He said he already seen Iron Maiden twice, and at 8 years old that is beyond impressive to fans of any musical genre. The young lad informed me that Iron Maiden was his second favorite band and that Metallica was his number one, but we won’t hold that against him.
The main event began with their “Doctor Doctor (UFO Song)” intro into “Moonchild” and the energy level peaked and remained there for the remainder of the blistering show. It is stunning that at Bruce Dickinson’s age he can run across the stage keeping the crowd hyped with the nimble footing of an acrobat. Despite his many other activities and interests that are often spoke of across the globe, there is no doubt in his presence that this man was born to be a rock star.
They also pulled out all the stops for the stage production with a multilevel set up including giant cloth paintings of various skeleton artistic renderings throughout the years and some collections from their Maiden England flagship propelling this tour. The first giant to join the stage was a skeleton dressed in a blue overcoat resembling a British revolutionary soldier and it was magnificent, even poking a couple frets on a guitar held high above Janick Gers’ head during a massive solo.
“Phantom of the Opera” was the highlight for me of the first portion of the show, with drums and leads that left me almost gasping for the air I needed to cheer and scream with. The second portion of the show involved a giant brown skeleton with large purple movable eyes as the backdrop to the stage. It held in its hands a version of the globe, and almost felt like a warlock injecting the metal riffs and blast beats into the inner canals of my ear drums. The level of love for this band far surpasses anything I have seen at a metal show, with fans in the rows in front of me hugging each other in ecstasy over another brilliant guitar laden ballad.
Their encore began with an audio video presentation of a speech from Winston Churchill, and then ripped into “Aces High,” “The Evil That Men Do,” and concluded with “Running Free” and another video. I am not one to typically head bang or dance around at a metal show, but in this case I could not stop, even to the point of drawing the supportive laughter of a couple in the row behind me. Iron Maiden was already my favorite metal band long before this show, but now I have the personal experience to support it. If you have any opinion whatsoever about or around heavy metal music, and you aren’t a diehard fan of Iron Maiden, you needn’t be talking. -MB
Can I Play with Madness
2 Minutes to Midnight
Afraid to Shoot Strangers
The Number of the Beast
Phantom of the Opera
Run to the Hills
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
Fear of the Dark
The Evil That Men Do
Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life
The El Rey Theater
Los Angeles, CA
Photos by: Christopher Lee
THE DAMNED, the UK's finest are a band that should need no introduction, if you aren't familiar with them, you are a rock n' roll lost soul! They have paved the road to damnation for other acts to follow, by mixing punk, goth, and pop, to create a sound like no other, they stand as one of the single greatest musical acts of all time, never afraid to experiment with their sound through all their phases, releasing classic after classic albums!
I do my damnedest to NEVER miss them live when given chance, hell, my brother and I have even made 4 hour treks to see them in FL in the past, cause you always get your (lovely) money's worth with Dave Vanian & Co. For a man who is "damned", David is certainly blessed with one of the best set of pipes in all of music, the man can sing anything which is evident through countless songs they perform making for a very cinematic, theatrical show full of "hits" that is not to be missed!
So when yours truly saw that the band would be returning to our shores as they do roughly every year and a half or so to perform a handful of West Coast dates (usually around Halloween), I thought "I'll be damned if I am going to miss such an experience"! Cause Damned shows always sellout on the West Coast after they built quite a rabid, deadicated fanbase here back in the 80's, and this show would be no exception! But I knew I would be getting in through the sheer graciousness of drummer Pinch, who is probably reading this (Thanks & Cheers mate! Ace show as always!) and I couldn't have been more excited, as I counted down the damned days until the show!
Fast forward to Sunday night... Opening the band's Southern California shows was legendary Los Angeles death rockers 45 Grave, which should have made for an interesting bill, as I arrived early enough to catch their entire set. But to be painfully honest, their performance left me cold, and it seemed as if Dinah Cancer and the band were just going through the motions, one would think when getting a chance to share a stage with such a legendary act, you would be in rare form!? But it just made the wait for The Damned seem that much longer!
The Damned finally took to The El Rey stage before a packed house a few minutes after 10 PM, from behind the closed curtains the opening keys of the classic "Curtain Call" rang out, opening moments later as the the band tore into the first verse, I don't think they could have picked a better opening song! In addition they had 2 screens at stage left and stage right projecting various images (The Damned logo with a halo that caught fire, Reagan from The Exorcist, among others) that coincided with the music which added a dramatic touch to the show. Next song up was "Stretcher Case" which segued into "I Just Can't Be Happy Today" & "Fan Club" only to be followed by one of my personal favorite Damned songs, and one of their best, "Plan 9 Channel 7", I was ecstatic as I have never witnessed the band perform this gem live, with Captain Sensible playing all the solos note for note! The man is a criminally underrated guitar player who has yet to get his due or be recognized for his brilliance!
And from there, the hits just kept coming, with the band performing "Stranger On The Town" which I was quite surprised to hear, one of the quintessential Damned tracks (another track I have NEVER seen them play live!), followed by the modern classic "Democracy" from the "Grave Disorder" LP making for a diverse mix of old and new classics that had the crowd of 20 somethings, hipsters, rockers, & white faced deathpunks roaring with approval! They went on to play "Alone Again Or" as well as "Grimly Fiendish", "Melody Lee", and "Ignite" before exiting the stage!
After a few minutes the band came back out to say "Thanks For The Night" by treating us to 4 more songs starting with none other than "Shadow Of Love" from the "Phantasmagoria" record which was the icing on the damned cake for me, that is one of my all-time grave faves! They also performed a medley of "Neat Neat Neat" and "Break On Through" by The Doors, paying tribute to recently fallen rock legend Ray Manzarek, following it up with "Nasty" and "Smash It Up" (Parts 1 & 2) bringing an amazing performance to a close ensuring everyone in attendance died damned satisfied! But can you ever have enough Damned? Me thinks not!
I must confess that I had looked at the bands setlists from the Anaheim, CA and Vegas shows last week, and they didn't play "Shadow Of love" at either, although they performed "Anti-Pope" which we didn't get, my point being, this is a band that obviously cares about their fans and doesn't play it safe by delivering the same set every night, they change it up, or should I say "Smash It Up" cause they want to give their fans the most bang for their buck! Making each and every show an event! The Damned do everything with class!!!! And with that I will say, I would have been just as happy had I paid for the privilege! What price would you pay to be damned!? Pinch, you will be happy to know I bought a shirt commemorating these 5 special shows, its the least I can do! Thanks mate!
Make damned sure you see the lads when they play in your town, for a Vegas caliber show of epic proportions! -CL
I Just Can't Be Happy Today
Plan 9 Channel 7
Stranger On The Town
Under the Floor Again
Alone Again Or
Shadow of Love
Neat Neat Neat/Break on Through/Neat Neat Neat
Smash It Up, Part 1
Smash It Up, Part 2
House of Blues
Las Vegas, NV
Before I get to the main headliner, Anthrax, I will take a moment to explain one of the most horrific sonic events I have had the misfortune of enduring. This being the opening band Exodus. I saw fans wearing Exodus shirts everywhere, almost equal to the amount of Anthrax shirts I saw (and Slayer shirts abound too for some reason), so I was definitely expecting good things. What I got was the absolute worst metal band (aside from children banging on instruments in the basement) I could even imagine in my wildest and shittiest dreams. Their singer screamed like the victim of a crime and was laughable even in comparison to the most unknown hardcore punk bands I used to watch for free in my youth. Who cares if you can play instruments well, when the artistic message portrayed through your music makes sound in general seem unnecessary? And I assure you the only victims of the lead singer’s vocals were the audience.
Feels good to be done with that rant, but it had to be done for the sake of people with brains and ears everywhere. As for Anthrax, I was surprised to the hilt with how much I enjoyed their set. Honestly, my primary familiarity with Anthrax was derived from their relationship with Bam Margera and his whacky crew of misfits, but they are the real deal in the metal world and I was given a thorough lesson about just why at this show.
They opened their set by playing the A-side of ‘Among the Living, then played songs off of Hymn 1 which included an amazing cover of AC/DC’s “TNT” and the Stormtroopers of Death song “March of the S.O.D.” And they both sounded better than the originals to me especially on the bass guitar sections. Although, I am more of the old school “Big Balls” kind of AC/DC fan than most concert goers, so Anthrax had an advantage going for them there. They then went onto to the B-Side of ‘Among the Living’ which was a little hit or miss for me, but the drummer kept me entertained whenever there was a slight lull.
They encored with “I’m the Man,” “Antisocial,” and “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll.” I had never heard any of those three songs before, but now I can say I want I would run to see Anthrax play them live again. -MB
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Photos by: Christopher Lee
GIMME A "D"! GIMME AN "ARKNESS"!!!!
It's no secret that The Darkness hold a special place in my rock n'
roll heart, I have championed the bands cause from the beginning! And
as of this review, I can proud-LEE proclaim that I have now seen the
band live in 3 different states!
It couldn't have been timed more perfectly that while I was home in
Florida, the band would be kicking off their 2nd US tour for the
recently released "Hot Cakes" record in Ft. Lauderdale of all (god
forsaken) places on a Thursday night! After all, this is a town known
its alcohol consumption than its passion for rock n' roll!
I unfortunately didn't get to see the opening act Hell Or Highwater as
they were half way through their set when I arrived at Will Call to
pick up my pass and was told that The Darkness were scheduled to play
So I made my way inside feverishly anticipating a great night of
amazing songs courtesy of Britian's finest, sure to have me playing
air guitar and working up a sweat (quote Alice Cooper) and pissing
someone off cause I am throwing my hair around! WHAAAAA!
It was almost 9:50 when Thin Lizzy "The Boys Are Back In Town" rang
out through the house PA (a Darkness tradition) before the band
finally took to the stage opening up their set with "Every Inch Of
You" from their current Hot Cakes release!
The Darkness are a band not intent on giving you the same show over
and over, with a "phoned in" predictable performance, like so many
others! Justin Hawkins risks life and limb (and the occasional
tooth!?) working harder than pretty much anyone out there for YOUR
And that applies to their setlist, as opposed to when I saw them twice
last February, the band is no longer performing "Holding My Own"
acoustically, and there was a shortage of songs from the excellent
"One Way Ticket To Hell" record save for the title track! This time
the band focused more on performing almost all the "Permission To
Land" material, as well as songs off the new record "Hot Cakes" along
with gems like the b-side "Best Of Me", one of The Darkness best
tracks which I wonder why never made it on to one of their albums!?
The crowd were kind of dead at first, and I think the band realized
they had their work cut out for them, playing for idiots more
concerned with filming the show then participating in it! So they
pulled put all the stops, with Justin diving off stage and being
carried through the crowd on brother Dan Hawkins shoulders while
playing, headstands on the drum riser, and climbing up to the 2nd
level of the club to dive into the audience!
But by the end, as to be expected from seasoned veterans, the band had
the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand like true champs,
begging for more, and they obliged by giving them one final taste in
the form of 3 encores "Concrete", "With A Woman", and "Love On The
Rocks With No Ice"!
Its becomes apparent that people don't know how to "let their hair
down" and have fun at rock n' roll shows anymore! Another example of
why the importance of rock n' roll has been lost on the mainstream and
a generation, rock n' roll is life! DO YOU LIVE IT!?
Let the so called "rock fans" (most are actually fans of packaging and
an image, no different than 80's fans) get excited over the latest
crop of crap watered down "sleaze rock" from Sweden or whatever is the
latest internet trend! They are watered down pop bands! I'll take the
Even if you are a casual Darkness fan or just want to see a great, big
arena quality rock show without the big ticket price, get off your ass
and see these guys when they come to your town, you will not be
disappointed! One of the most entertaining rock shows you will see
this year! Didn't I say this last year too!? THEY ARE THAT GOOD! -CL
Diesel Concert Lounge
Photos by: Karla K Harris
Courtesy of: Rock Over America Magazine
The notoriously down and dirty Kings of Sleaze, Faster Pussycat along with opening act, The ART from Australia invaded The Diesel Concert Lounge in Detroit on Friday, April 5, 2013. Detroit Rock fans, YOUNG and OLD came out in force to get “Front Row At The Donkey Show” and to witness the new trick pony…
The ART hails from Sydney, Australia and joined Faster Pussycat for 15 mid-west dates on this leg of their 2013 tour. Managed by the legendary Vicki Hamilton, these kids are the full package. The ART has the musical talent, Stage Presence, Tattoos, and Attitude (…with an Aussie accent to boot)! Nothing says Rock and Roll more than a young punk cussing at you from the stage in an Aussie accent! But The Art is more than just Punk attitude… they are technically spot on musicians and sound like they were spit out of a Rock N Roll time machine after touring London, Seattle, New York and L.A. in the 1980 & early 1990’s. The lead singer, Azaria Byrne has a Morrison-esque swagger, and a seductive voice that ranges from a low baritone to a screaming hypnotic tenor… attracting both the nubile young fans in the crowd … and their mothers!
Kara Jayne on BASS is the ultimate beautiful tom-boy that runs alongside her band of brothers! (Right after she slams a beer, and kicks somebodys A$$...) she holds down the rhythm section… with drummer Jordan McDonald! Ronnie Simmons is the circus showman on lead guitar! Flipping and twisting his guitar onstage like it was a rope of licorice and then climbing onto a Marshal stack and playing from there for most of their set. This reviewer hasn’t seen anything that looks or sounds like The ART in more than 20 years! The ART is the next generation of cross-breed Rock-Punk bands to watch out for! The Art is touring world-wide this year… this is a young band to definitely go see! Check out the song “Something To Do” with Guest Richie Ramone.
Faster Pussycat’s Danny Nordahl and Ace Von Johnson joined The ART on stage for a few tunes… reminiscent of Danny, Xristian Simon’s, and Chad Stewart’s Rock-Punk days with The NEWLYDEADS…! [This reviewer will NOT go into the banals of history of Faster Pussycat and the legal battles between Taime Downe and Brent Muscat over the band name… It’s Dead. Kill it!] Danny Nordahl (bass), Xristian Simon (guitar) and Chad Stewart (drums) have been with Faster Pussycat since 2001 when Taime re-formed Faster Pussycat after a hiatus from the original band and a few other projects in which he participated in, one of which was the NEWLYDEADS.
In 2010 Ace Von Johnson joined on lead guitar. With this line-up Faster has toured heavily over the past several years with tours overseas, Canada, and a couple stints on the MOR Cruise. Faster is today a hard-working, heavy touring band and still puts on a helluva stage show and (draws a crowd of all ages ) Performing a selection of songs from their 4 Studio Albums, along with their crowd and fan favorites Bathroom Wall, Cathouse, and House of Pain. If you’re looking for nostalgia of the original band line-up watch the 1987 Rockumentary “The Decline of Western Civilization”. If not…then by a ticket and get …FRONT ROW AT THE DONKEY SHOW and go see Faster Pussycat Live! -KKH
Guns N' Roses
'Appetite for Democracy'
Las Vegas, NV
Photos by: Michael Blain
The first pleasant surprise of this show was that the band Filter happened to be the opener on this particular weekend. I had wanted to see them perform since my youth, and besides a couple of industrial rock clunkers I had never heard before their performance was the top notch nostalgia I haven’t felt since watching Weezer perform the Blue Album and Pinkerton in their entirety at this very same venue. The lead singer is also very funny and charismatic, and before they performed “Take a Picture” he explained the story behind the song. After being astounded that no one in the crowd was aware of the song’s origin he explained that in Filter’s heyday he awoke naked on an airplane screaming at the stewardesses about how he is not required to wear pants and that he had every right to be naked if he wanted to be. That story definitely made the performance of that song and the overall show extremely memorable. He also told a story about the first time he opened for Guns N’ Roses in 1991 in Germany as a member of the band Nine Inch Nails. He said in 1991, and despite the fact that Germans were the inventors of industrial rock music, that they did not understand Nine Inch Nails at all and the band was pelted with cheese and sausage in widespread disapproval of their performance.
As for Guns N’ Roses themselves, the concert was very segregated into different portions, chunks of old songs and unnecessary smatterings of new ones. I had heard that Axl’s voice had been questionable at best during this residency, but I don’t know if he swallowed some magic potions before last night, because when they played their second song which was the classic “Welcome to the Jungle,” it definitely sounded like the same old Axl to me. Their newer material was hit and miss, not that any of it was truly bad, but it was like they were trying to extend the legacy of the Guns N’ Roses catalog further and without real purpose. Honestly without Slash in the band, who for some unconscious reason I kept looking around the stage to see if we would mystically appear, the band has no purpose in creating new material.
Something that could have been a highlight of the show was the piano solo into a song by Dizzy Reed, but since the crowd was so loud and drunk having asinine conversations amongst themselves; you couldn’t really hear any of the keystrokes until the drummer came in with a backbeat. Another thing to note was that Axl stopped the concert at one point because someone threw part of their drink onstage near him. He yelled “Stop!” several times and then said, “If you want to throw shit we could leave, we are all to have a good time.” He then pointed the specific person out of the crowd and he was nabbed by the Hard Rock Security to rampant applause. As security escorts the man out, I along with the people next to me expect to see some drunken punk of a youth, instead we see a man being led by three guards who bore a striking resemblance to Drew Carey. He seemed dumbfounded at what was happening and will most likely not even remember the 86 forms he was forced to sign this morning.
All in all, I would definitely watch the Slash-less Guns N’ Roses perform again but next time I am definitely getting drunk because I was by far the most sober person I saw during the entirety of the night. -MB
Welcome to the Jungle
It's So Easy
Richard Fortus Guitar Solo
(Blacklight Jesus of Transylvania)
Live and Let Die
This I Love
(stopped and restarted so … more)
(Tommy Stinson song) (Tommy Stinson on lead vocals, … more)
Dizzy Reed Piano Solo
(No Quarter by Led Zeppelin)
Catcher in the Rye
Street of Dreams
You Could Be Mine
DJ Ashba Guitar Solo
Sweet Child O' Mine
Another Brick in the Wall Part 2
(Pink Floyd cover) (with Axl on piano)
(Bumblefoot cover) (Bumblefoot on lead vocals)
(The Who cover)
Knockin' on Heaven's Door
(Bob Dylan cover)
Don't Let It Bring You Down
(Neil Young cover)
Whole Lotta Rosie
Duff McKagan's LOADED!
Photo by: Christopher Lee
I saw that Duff McKagan was playing not 1, but 2 consecutive nights at the Viper Room in October, the first night being billed as "A Punk's Review" with Duff doing a "multi-media spoken-word" performance celebrating the paperback release of his biography "It's So Easy...And Other Lies" (an excellent read, and I try to read them all!) accompanied by members of his band LOADED!
The second evening featured a set by LOADED, it's not everyday you get to see a living legend/veteran, and let's not forget recent Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee in an intimate (read: tiny) club setting and I sure as hell wasn't going to pass up such an opportunity!
So I ventured out, figuring this would definitely be a sold out show, and got to Viper Room to find out A. it wasn't sold out, and B. tickets were $30 at the door, I knew I should have bought one online a day earlier for $10 American dollars less! AH Hollywood, land of greedy bastards!
I decided after a few beers at The Rainbow that With my birthday fast approaching I should treat myself to an early present and spend the $30 to see Duff and company, since I was already, um...LOADED!?
It was about 10:30 when I went back to the club and when I approached the door guy to go in, he told me the show was now sold out, but he let me in anyway, and I paid the exorbitant $30 door fee not knowing a single lick of the LOADED material or what to expect!? But considering his work with Guns, his solo record, as well as Neurotic Outsiders, I knew this would be well worth the blood money!
I walked in to catch the last song of the opening band Turbogeist from the UK, who weren't bad but nothing memorable, figures that they just got a European record deal! Cause mediocrity sells! Sorry, got carried away there! So, after about a 30 minute wait, it was time...the band steered through the crowd from the dressing room which is customary at Viper Room due to the size of the place to take the stage which was decorated with cobwebs in observance of Halloween only weeks away!
The band members took to the stage single file, joined last, but not least by the man himself, and they tore head first into a set of songs taken from all 3 LOADED records. I didn't know any of the songs, so don't ask for titles, the beauty of which being that I went looking to be entertained, which I was, and the songs happened to all be very catchy, and I wondered why the fuck I had never bothered to check out these records?
You know your witnessing a great band when the first time you hear them, songs stick in your head long after the show such as Josephine! I knew Duff sang in Loaded, yet I completely forgot he played GUITAR in the band! Which is what he originally started off doing playing with bands like The Fartz and DOA back in his northwest teenage years, a vet of the scene by age 18! Therefore it's no surprise they have a very anthemic edgy punk rock sound reminiscent of later The Clash! The band had allot of energy and put on a very entertaining show, for a guy as reserved as Duff, he certainly adapts well to being the frontman!
Yet the crowd had no pulse just like every club show I have ever gone to in WeHo! Nothing more rock n' roll than taking a picture of yourself while the band plays behind you for your Fakebook! THAT is sarcasm people!
Anyway, the highlights for me personally were the obligatory DAMNED (New Rose) and MISFITS (Attitude) covers originally appearing on The Spaghetti Incident which were a welcome surprise and I was floored! So with that, I will now have to make a point of getting my hands on some of the LOADED records, and you should too, the way every real music fan should, BY PAYING FOR IT! Check them out if you haven't!!!! -CL
Long Beach CA
Photos by: Christopher Lee
CJ Ramone, Gabba Gabba Hey, what can you say? In the saga of "America's first family" the guy doesn't ever seem to get the credit or respect he rightfully deserves for his amazing contributions to "da brudders" sonic legacy!
He played on some great records and more importantly, sang some amazing songs that are modern day Ramones classics in their own right, I mean c'mon...Scattergun? Main Man? just to name a few, RULING!
With Joey, Dee Dee, and Johnny gone, someone has to do the lords work and keep the name alive, whether its CJ, Marky, or now Richie who is back in action you don't have many options to see a living, breathing, rocking RAMONE! So any chance to hear the songs and revel in the spirit of Ramones should be treated like an event, a chance to pay your respects while the power of rock n' roll resurrects! RAMONES NEVER DIE!
So when I saw it listed a few weeks ago that CJ Ramone would be playing at Alex's Bar in Long Beach, I was ecstatic, because CJ always puts on a great show, in addition, he is releasing new music soon in the form of the upcoming "Reconquista" album!
I got to Alex's Bar around 10 PM, assuming the 2 local acts (White Murder & Audcacity) opening for CJ would be well under way when I arrived, and I wouldn't have to wait too long for my fix! Well as my late dad used to say, "what happens when you assume"? Now I had to find "Something To Do" for the next 2 hours and somehow I found the "strength to endure"!?
As the clock striked 12, CJ Ramone with his new band took to the stage and 1-2-3-4, with all cylinders firing they were OFF, opening up with Judy Is A Punk which segued into Blitzkrieg Bop, erupting in a 23 song, 75 minute set in true Ramones fashion!
He played classics like Glad To See You Go, Shes The One, Do You Wanna Dance, and debuted a few tracks off the forthcoming Reconquista CD in the form of What We Gonna Do Now, Ghost Ring, Nobody's Sweetheart and Three Angels which he dedicated to Joey, Dee Dee, and Johnny, respectively! If these 4 songs are any indication, this album will appease hardcore Ramones fans, with songs that build on the classic Ramone formula! Knowing that the band funded the album with a PledgeMusic campaign and that they recently met their goal, I was hoping by chance that they would have the album available, but CJ told me it will be out officially next month!
There were a few surprises like a ripping version of Velvet Underground's "Waiting For My Man", along with a few guest appearances from Tony of The Adolescents, along with none other than former Queens Of The Stone Age/Mondo Generator bassist Nick Oliveri who took over vocal duties for insane renditions of Endless Vacation & Psycho Therapy!
CJ and the band which also consists of Steve Soto (The Adolescents - guitar) Dave Hildalgo (Social Distortion - drums) and Dan Root (guitar) performed 3 encores to finish off the night with the last 2 being California Sun and R.A.M.O.N.E.S.! What can I say, they changed the set list at the last minute and its hard to remember every detail when your rocking the fuck out!
A great evening, and a good crowd with a mix of hardcore Ramones fans and younger kids raised on the band by older siblings, there was definitely a feeling of camaraderie and unity amongst everyone in the room, rockin' out together arm in arm screaming the words, because RAMONES are the rock n' roll meaning of life! And we are all in this together! Except for the old belligerent schmuck who got "removed" by security for being a pinhead!
*Be sure to pick up CJ's new record "Reconquista" in March, it is sure to be a killer! And "like" his Facebook page for news and tour dates!!!! -CL
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