Concert Review: Foreigner, Cheap Trick and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience

Foreigner, Cheap Trick and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience
Starlight Theatre, Kansas City MO
August 15th, 2017

Review By: J.R. Deeter

“KHIT Radio….all the Hits, all the Time!!!” Don’t you just hate it when you attend a concert and the bands give you some of their hit songs, the ones you know from radio airplay growing up. Or from the constant hours you spent listening to the albums and cassettes you bought at Musicland? But instead they also play a bunch of songs you do not know….”Here’s one from our 3rd album”….ummm, yeah….time to hit the bathroom and concession stand. Well, there was none of that for the Foreigner 40th Anniversary tour stop at Kansas City’s Starlight outdoor venue (weather was great – just about perfect). If you got out of your seat at all, you missed out.

The show began with the Jason Bonham Led Zeppelin Experience, appropriately starting with “Rock N Roll,” “Black Dog,” “Over the Hills and Far Away”…straight through for a total of nine of Zeppelin’s biggest hits, wrapping it up with “Whole Lotta Love.” No “Stairway to Heaven” (thank you). I’ve never been a huge Zeppelin fan, but it was entertaining, with lead singer James Dylan holding his own on vocals and of course, Jason Bonham in charge from behind the drum kit.

Up next, in my honest opinion, the best part of the whole evening, Cheap Trick. They took the stage, opening their show as always with “Hello There,” then rocking through classics like “Big Eyes” and “Ain’t That A Shame.” They threw in a couple for the ladies, “If You Want My Love” and “The Flame,” then broke out the BIG HITS including “I Want You To Want Me,” “Dream Police” and “Surrender.” The band wrapped up their set with “Auf Wiedersehen” and “Goodnight.” Robin Zander’s vocals: still got it. Tom Peterson on Bass: doing fine. Rick Nielsen ROCKS and yes, his son Daxx Nielsen is still the drummer. And, yes, I still miss Bun E. Carlos.

40 years is a long time in the world of rock and roll…most bands never see that kind of longevity. Even with a few years of missing from radio, with no new music, if you’ve ever been on top with monster hits your fans will keep those songs alive. Foreigner is just that kind of band. They brought the best of their best for this show, opening with “Double Vision,” “Head Games” and “Cold as Ice.” They kept going and going, mixing power ballads like “Waiting For A Girl Like You” with rockers like “Dirty White Boy,” “Urgent,” and of course, “Jukebox Hero.” They closed the show, assisted on backing vocals by a choir from the local Saint Thomas Aquinas High School, with their biggest hit to date, “I Wanna Know What Love Is” followed 1978’s “Hot Blooded.”

I enjoyed it all…..while Mick Jones is showing his age at 72, his guitar playing is exceptional. Lead vocalist Kelly Hansen, apparently attempting to channel Steven Tyler, can work the crowd well and delivers vocally.

NOTE: Lou Gramm is playing a few shows on the 40th Anniversary tour, but alas, KC was not one.

Concert Review: Dashboard Confessional, All American Rejects, The Maine

Dashboard Confessional, All American Rejects, The Maine, The Social Animals
Saturday, July 29th, 2017
Tags Summer Stage, Big Flats, NY

Our score: 3 out of 5 stars

Dashboard Confessional brought their summer tour to the rolling hills of Big Flats, NY on July 21st for a night of nostalgia that had the mostly millennial crowd on its feet for a majority of the evening. Also on the bill was Oklahoma hit makers All American Rejects, The Maine and new comers The Social Animals. Though the nights unseasonably frigid temperatures had people packing on a few extra layers each of the bands on the bill did their best to keep everyone up and moving.

Opening up the night were The Social Animals who performed a handful of songs of their debut EP “Formative Years” as well as unique version of the Prince hit “When Does Cry” which earned the young band a warm Upstate NY welcome in the way of applause and cheer. The Maine would take the stage next kicking the night’s energy up a notch as vocalist worked the audience like a true professional and at one point during the set brought up a young concert goer to help sing one of the bands songs which the crowd loved. All American Rejects would follow with a hit filled set that included “Dirty Little Secret”, “Swing, Swing” and “Gives You Hell” which was interspersed with semi comedic segues courtesy of front man Tyson Ritter. Thankfully the bands performance was a touch better than Ritter’s jokes as those on hand seemed to prefer the band stick to what it knows best. Closing out the night was the Chris Carrabba fronted Dashboard Confessional a band which wasted no time at all getting their set going with the well know track “Vindicated” which paved the way for other notable tracks such as the crowd requested “Saints and Sailors”, “Ghost of a Good Thing” and “Screaming Infidelities” before the set was closed out with the always popular “Hands Down”. The band looked good and sounded better making for a solid ending to a night of good music.

With this tour package running through mid August there is still time to catch one of the remaining shows as its one half nostalgia and one half new as all the bands on the bill do a great job of playing the songs that made them who they are while infusing just enough new material to peak interest in the bands upcoming releases. If your one of the lucky “select” shows where The Social Animals are on the bill I highly recommend getting to the venue early to catch their set as you won’t be disappointed.

All American Rejects (Partial) Set List:
Dirty Little Secret
My Paper Heart
Swing, Swing
It Ends Tonight
Sweat
Move Along
Give You Hell

Dashboard Confessional (Partial)Set list:
Vindicated
Saints and Sailors
The Good Fight
Ghost of a Good Thing
Heart Beat Here
Screaming Infidelities
Hands Down

Concert Review: 2017 “K-Rockathon”

“K-Rockathon”
Korn, Stone Sour, Skillet, Yelawolf, Ded, Red Sun Rising
Wednesday, July 19th, 2017
Lakeview Amphitheater, Syracuse, NY

Our score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The sprawling Lakeview Amphitheater was filled nearly to capacity on July 19th for the return of K-Rock’s annual “K-Rockathon”. After a one year hiatus and moving to a new venue the concert was back as promised delivering a stellar, somewhat diverse bill featuring the likes of Yelawolf, Stone Sour and Korn which the Syracuse crowd went crazy for.

Kicking of the main bill of the show was upcoming rock act Red Sun Rising who put on a brief but spot on set which helped get the crowd going and excited for the acts to come. Ded would hit the stage next and sadly did nothing for me. The band’s sound was nothing new nor, was the white contact lenses some of the bands member donned. Thankfully their set was brief as it came off very flat. Shady Records artist Yelawolf would take the stage next flanked by a giant riser that looked like the front of a classic Chevrolet complete with working lights and smoke. Together with DJ Klever the duo had the crowd on their fit from beginning to end. Being the only hip-hop artist on an all rock bill can certainly make you the underdog however that was definitely not the case here as fans seemed to be really into the performance. Skillet would follow with an energetic set which had fans singing to a few of their more well known songs including “Feel Invincible”, “Hero” and the always popular “Monster”. The band looked great and sounded even better and those on hand showed their appreciation in giant waves of applause and cheers. Stone Sour was up next and wasted no time getting their set under way. Front-man Cory Taylor worked the crowd like the season pro he is while his fellow band mates put forth stellar performances as they shredded through songs like “Made of Scars”, “Tired” and the chart topping “Song #3”. At several points during the set Taylor either made his way out into the crowd or doused those in close proximity with showers of confetti via a giant cannon like shooter. It was hard to tell who was having more fun the band or those watching the band as the energy during the set was definitely at a high. Closing out the night were veteran metalers Korn. After making a couple trips around the venue and seeing all the various Korn apparel that was being worn you could clearly tell who people were there to see. As soon as the band hit the stage basked in blue and white light it was on. The 5 piece band from Bakersfield, California were straightforward in their approach and wasted no time between songs as they gave the Syracuse crowd exactly what they came for. Hits such as “Falling Away From Me”, “Got The Life” and “Freak On A Leash” seemed to grab the biggest applause while deeper tracks such “Shoots And Ladders”, “Twist” and “Make Me Bad” satisfied longtime Korn fans.

It was great to see K-Rock fulfill their promise with the return of this year’s “K-Rockathon”. When an annual concert that has been around for 20 years decides to take a year off you sometimes question will it ever come back? Thankfully it did and the hometown crowd definitely showed their appreciation by coming out in droves on a Wednesday night to fill the expansive new venue. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year.

Stone Sour Set List:
1.) Taipei Person/ Allah Tea
2.) Made of Scars
3.) Say You’ll Haunt Me
4.) 30/30-150
5.) Tired
6.) Do Me A Favor
7.) Song #3
8.) Through Glass
9.) Absolute Zero
10.) Fabuless

Korn Set list:
1.) Rotting In Vain
2.) Falling Away From Me
3.) Did My Time
4.) Here To Say
5.) Clown
6.) Shoots And Ladders
7.) Twist
8.) Got The Life
9.) Coming Undone
10.) Insane
11.) Make Me Bad
12.) 4 U
13.) Blind
14.) It’s On
15.) Freak On A Leash

Concert Review: Megadeth “Dystopia World Tour”

“Dystopia World Tour”
Megadeth, Meshuggah, Tesseract, Lillake
Friday, June 23rd 2017
Tag’s Summer Stage, Big Flats, NY

Our score: 3 out of 5 stars

The rolling hills of Upstate New York came alive on June 23rd as Megadeth kicked off the summer leg of their summer “Dystopia World Tour” at Tag’s Summer Stage in Big Flats, NY. Along with the veteran metal act for this leg of the tour were Meshuggah, Tesseract and Lillake who all performed to a damp crowd under foreboding skies which gave the night of music a very European festival feel.

As rain drop still trickled down over the outdoor venue known as Tag’s Summer Stage the band Lillake would start the night off. Despite a few technical glitches at the start of the bands set the group did a great job not letting it get to them as they performed a brief yet solid set of vintage tinged heavy metal but with a modern twist that had early concert goings up and moving. Tesseract a progressive band hailing from Milton Keynes, England would take the stage next for a similar length set which further helped the still semi-wet crowd dry off a little as the performed songs from their 3 studio albums including their latest single “Smile” which the crowd seemed to really enjoy. Meshuggah a band I was anxious to check out would hit the stage next and after about 2 very long minutes I was wishing for them to be done. Lack luster stage presence and even less impressive instrumentation really left me with an incredibly bad taste in my mouth however, the one positive I did find in the groups set was drummer Tomas Haak who despite the many off time signatures and sonic dirge kept the band tight and on beat. Closing out the night would be Big 4 Alum Megadeth. After an extended wait time the band burst on to the stage with a renewed sense of energy courtesy of the bands newest member guitarist Kiko Loureiro. The band shredded through material both new and old including “Hangar 18”, “Trust”, “A Tout Le Monde” and fan favorite “Symphony of Destruction”. Even front man/founder Dave Mustaine who when I have seen the band before would often remain fairly motionless was making tracks around the stage giving the night’s performance a breath of fresh air.

Fans of heavy metal music will certainly want to check out this tour if comes to your area. Don’t let the smaller production or newer acts on the bill fool you as the “Dystopia” tour is a stripped down lean, mean, metal machine which gives fans an in your face dose of metal in its purest form. No hokey stage tricks, props or gigantic movie screens here folks you get the bands exactly for what they are.

Megadeth Set List:
1.) Hangar 18
2.) Wake Up Dead
3.) In My Darkest Hour
4.) The Threat Is Real
5.) Sweating Bullets
6.) She-Wolf
7.) Trust
8.) Poisonous Shadows
9.) A Tout Le Monde
10.) Tornado of Souls
11.) Dystopia
12.) Symphony of Destruction
13.) Peace Sells
14.) Holy Wars…The Punishment Due

Concert Review: Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks
May 7, 2017
Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO

Our score: 5 out of 5 Stars

Before I begin let me say that I love the Sprint Center. At least once I’m inside. I’ve seen many shows there and have never had a bad seat. However, getting into the show is another story.

In November 2007 Garth Brooks played nine sold-out shows at the Sprint Center, a mere month after the building first opened. His return (for seven more) was met with great joy by the Kansas City faithful. Unfortunately those faithful had said faith put to the test with all of the problems involved. Tickets were only available through AXS, a company similar to Ticketmaster. When they went on sale I logged on to their site AND dialed their number, figuring to use whichever method got me my tickets first. Thankfully I stayed on hold as all 14 times I tried to purchase tickets on-line failed. I would get my seats picked out (a couple times I had nice floor seats), and receive a message that read “you know have two minutes and 30seconds to complete your transaction: CLICK HERE TO CONFIRM.” I would “click” and get an error message that read “your session has timed out.” 14 TIMES!

Luckily, after an hour and twenty-eight minutes on hold, an operator came on the line. I told her the problem and she told me “this always happens” whenever AXS has a large event. “Our servers can’t handle all of the traffic.” At least she was honest. The local news was told that it was a “software” error that was later fixed. NOT! Anyway, thanks to Garth playing seven shows I was able to get some nice seats. Now to get inside.

I love the layout of the Sprint Center. What I don’t love is the fact that, for a building that can hold almost 20,000 people, there are only TWO entrances: one in the front of the building and one in the rear. Most venues I’ve been too, and I’ve seen concerts literally all over the world, have multiple gates and entrances all around the building. Because of the way the Sprint Center is set up, we got in line about three blocks from the Sprint Center at 6:15 for the 7:30 show and got to out seats at 7:45! Ridiculous. And I couldn’t help but think, while I was waiting to get inside, what kind of horrible tragedy it would become should something happen while the building was packed and had to be evacuated immediately. I shudder to think of the casualties!

Now for the good stuff:

Even though he had played four shows since Friday night, Brooks was in fine form and full of energy. He kicked off the show with the song “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance,” from his 10th studio LP, “Gunslinger.” He then promised the audience that he’d be doing all of the hits and kept that promise with songs like “Rodeo,” “Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House” and then led the audience in a great sing-along with “The River.”

Several times during the show Brooks commented that his voice was going and that the audience may have to carry him through the night, which was apparently no problem for those in attendance as nearly 20,000 voices filled the Sprint Center, matching Brooks word for word. Like Mick Jagger, Brooks is a consummate showman, almost refusing to stand steady for more than a moment at a time.

Halfway through the show Brooks was joined on stage by his wife, singer Trisha Yearwood, who sang a mini-set of some of her hits (“She’s In Love With the Boy,” “How Do I Live?”) before once again relinquishing the stage to her husband. After more hits Brooks sent the band off stage, picked up his guitar and peered into the audience, where fans had brought posters emblazoned with the titles of songs they wanted to hear. He obliged several of them, both his voice and guitar sounding clean and clear. The band returned to close the show with “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old),” in which he offered his heartfelt blessing to the late Chris LeDoux) and a rousing “Standing Outside the Fire,” which shook the rafters. It was almost 11:30 when the show ended. However, with as much fun and energy as he brought to Kansas City, I wouldn’t be surprised if the man is still on stage singing right now!

Concert Review: Rick Springfield and Pat Benatar & Neil Geraldo

rick

Rick Springfield and Pat Benatar & Neil Geraldo
May 5th, 2017
Starlight Theater, Kansas City, MO

Our score: 5 out of 5 Stars

To me, it was the “First time and Familiar” Show.

This is the 15th time I’ve seen Rick Springfield. I’ve seen him at outdoor venues, arenas and, on July 15, 1993, got to sing with him at Max’s on Broadway in Baltimore. Ironically, 1100 miles west of me, my future wife was celebrating her birthday! And tonight I was seeing him at same place I saw him for the very first time.

Mr. Springthorpe (his real name for those of you that have a desire to stump others in trivia) kicked off the show with a rousing “I’ve Done Everything For You,” then filled the night with an amazing assortment of hits, newer songs and covers, including an amazing version of Katy Perry’s “Roar.” He did a fine medley of some of his biggest hits as well as two long, fan friendly versions of “Don’t Talk to Strangers” and “Human Touch.” And, of course, he brought down the house with “Jessie’s Girl!” In his book, Springfield talks about how another guitarist was brought in to play the lead on the recording of “Jessie’s Girl” as the record label didn’t think Springfield was playing it clean enough. Obviously this stuck with him as he has, in the past three decades, become a fine guitarist, even throwing in a little “Purple Haze” in this show to demonstrate his chops. All in all a very high-energy and entertaining set.

Next on the bill were Pat Benatar and Neil Geraldo. I had never seen these two live before and they were surely an act on my bucket list! Following a short video which explained how the two ended up together (both professionally and personally) the band took the stage. In the pre-show video we learned that Ms. Benatar had been trained to use her voice from a young age and that training obviously paid off. Unlike recent shows I attended of her musical contemporaries (Joan Jett, Ann Wilson from Heart), Ms. Benatar was in amazing voice, never missing a note, no matter how high or long. And I owe Mr. Geraldo an apology. In December 2000, writing for a friends web site, I listed him as the 8th greatest guitarist of all time. I may have sold him short. Seeing him live, watching him provide the backbone to some of the most popular songs of the 80s, certainly moved him up the list. Their on-stage stories about how some of the songs came along were just as entertaining. Oh, and as a follow-up to the story I told about Rick Springfield needed a better guitarist, the audience learned what I already knew…that guitarist was Neil Giraldo. Ironically, in the past Mr. Springfield had already lost a girlfriend (Linda Blair) and a new mixing machine to Mr. Giraldo so I can’t see his feelings being hurt too much more! The hits were many and the stories interesting. Ms. Benatar talked about the “Holy 14,” which are the songs they must play or they get blasted on social media for neglecting them. As far as I know, she did them all because I left the show more then satisfied.

Concert Review: “Charm Cities Tour” Williamsport, PA

“Charm Cities Tour”
Carousel Kings, Abandoned By Bears, Bad Case of Big Mouth, American Arson, Take Two
Saturday, April 8th 2017
Ground Floor 2.0, Williamsport, PA

Our score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Victory Records artist Carousel Kings brought their “Charm Cities” tour to the impressive Ground Floor 2.0 venue in Williamsport, PA on April 8th for a night of high energy punk rock. The quant Pennsylvania town which is best known as the home of the Little League World Series now has another claim to fame as the Ground Floor 2.0 venue boasts a fun and safe environment for all concert goers while providing top notch sound, lighting and amenities for its performing artists making for a great experience for everyone involved and the “Charm Cities” tour was no exception.

Kicking of the night was the Elmira, NY based band Take Two. The five piece group whose sound could be described as progressive punk rock performed a hand full of original material including a few songs off their recently released “Weekend Warriors EP”. The band did a great job warming up the crowd and received a hefty round of applause as their set came to a close. Michigan natives American Arson would be up next and though not originally part of the shows line up the band consisting of only two members guitarist/vocalist Evan Baker and drummer Jesse Gentry put forth a sound and style that would make full sized bands shake in their boots. The duo performed a brief, high intensity set which featured songs of their latest “Waymaker” EP. Taking the stage next would be NJ native Bad Case of Big Mouth or simply just “Bad Case” the band worked the stage like seasoned professionals as the bands vocalist and dual guitarist whipped up a solid helping of pop-punk goodness. In the direct support slot for the nights show was Sweden’s own…yes I said Sweden easy-core band Abandoned By Bears. The band which sports dual vocalist brought a heavier element to the shows lineup which contrasted nicely with the other bands on the bill as it set the stage nicely for tour headliners Carousel Kings. Flanked by numerous lighted pillars Carousel Kings would close out the night performing a variety songs including a handful from their latest release “Charm City”. It had been a little while since I had seen the guys perform live and since that time the band has undergone some lineup changes however they were just as solid as the previous incarnations.

Very rarely do you come across a tour and venue that are both equally great. However, in the case of the “Charm Cities” tour stop at the Ground Floor 2.0 both venue and artists clicked on all levels. The bands on the bill were all very personable and thankful to those in attendance and the same could be said for the venue staff as they treated every person that came through the door with the utmost respect. Though the “Charm Cities” tour comes to close on April 13th do yourself a favor and check out each of the bands on this line up as each one will not disappoint.

Carousel Kings: https://www.facebook.com/carouselkings
Abandoned By Bears: https://www.facebook.com/AbandonedByBears
Bad Case: https://www.facebook.com/BadCaseOfficial/
American Arson: http://www.americanarson.com/
Take Two: http://www.officialtaketwo.com/

Concert Review: “Mockstrosity Tour” Syracuse, NY

“Mockstrosity Tour”
Mac Sabbath, Metalachi, Okilly Dokilly
Friday, March 24, 2017
The Westcott Theater, Syracuse, NY

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Mac Sabbath frontman, Ronald Osbourne, summed up the Mockstrosity Tour best, shouting “Good luck describing this show to your friends!” A night of heavy music and big laughs was served up by perhaps three of the more unique parody bands in the business today. The classic Westcott Theater in Syracuse, NY was rocked by the likes of Phoenix Arizona’s Ned Flanders themed metalcore act Okilly Dokilly, Metalachi the self proclaimed world’s first and only heavy metal mariachi band and rounding out the night’s lineup Los Angeles Mac Sabbath, picture Black Sabbath dosed in radioactive ketchup and mustard from the world’s favorite fast food chain.

Okilly Dokilly ripped through their “Nedal” (Ned-metal) crowd pleasers like “White Wine Spritzer” and “Nothing At All” which paved the way for the bands call to arms of all left-handed neighborinos for the song “All That Is Left”. Each member donned Mr. Flanders signature garb which added to the bands show allowing those in attendance to envision good ol’ Ned bellowing out vicious metal growls like no other in the Springfield zip code. Metalachi garnered a lot of attention with their mariachi flared renditions of classic hard rock and heavy metal jams, donning what can only be described as mariachi meets hair metal attire. The band crushed through classics like “Holy Diver” and “Raining Blood,” but really showed their talents with surprises like “Santeria” and the infamous “More Than Words,” during which the band invited a fan up on the stage to aid in the more romantic, bump and grind, portion of their set while violinista, Queen Kyla Vera stole the show shredding through solo after solo with every bit of intensity as a well-seasoned axe man.

The Mockstrosity would come to an end only after Mac Sabbath had their turn at the crowd of eager fans. The band’s sound was tight and their stage presence hilarious. The lighting and pyrotechnics further accentuated the group’s costumes and props, which were not limited by any means. The members of Sabbath had a good time with their stage banter between songs like “Frying Pan” and “Sweet Beef,” and at one point Ronald Osbourne himself was funneling PBR through a gigantic red, yellow, and white straw. Sabbath played on their strengths well, and did not seem to be too gimmicky, really backing up their act with musical talent and their performance. Overall, the night was a blast, and anyone looking for a great time needs to check out this tour when it rolls into town.

Kansas City Concert Review: Elvis Costello’s “The Juliet Letters”

“The Juliet Letters”
Saturday, January 28, 2017
Lyric Opera of Kansas City

Review By: J.R. Deeter

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

As a fan of the music and lyrics of Elvis Costello I have to admit I had never heard of his 1993 release “The Juliet Letters,” a collection of 20 songs for voice and string quartet. I was not sure what to expect from the artist who has written a few of my favorite “pop” tunes through the years, given this performance was certainly not going to fit into the customary mold of his usual offerings.

From the start, this was indeed something different, something not easy to listen to. I kept waiting for the music to gain momentum into what I was used to. I kept waiting for the lyrics to give way to some snappy chorus easy to sing along to, but this was not to be and after my contemplation of the experience, I came away pleased anyway.

The vocalization interpretations of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City Resident Artists of April Martin, soprano; Samantha Gossard, mezzo-soprano; Casey Candebat, tenor and John Viscardi, baritone, were very entertaining. The set was designed with written letters hanging from wire in a crisscross pattern. The artists would remove pages and exchange them from one to another as they lit or extinguished lighting to create an ever changing dramatic atmosphere. The tone and lyrics are dark and brooding. It became clear that these were not to be happy, lovey dovey letters between star crossed lovers, but words of the brokenhearted; Painful, mournful anguished tales of love lost, or missing or refused.

The Fry Street Quartet of the Caine College of Arts at Utah State University provided the music and was the highlight of the evening. The performance of each member as they presented their part of the music really helped to convey the emotions of the selections and left me feeling sad and melancholy, as one should when the desire for love and happiness is not to be.

Concert Review: Kings of Chaos, Verona, NY

“Kings of Chaos”
Kings of Chaos, Franky Perez
Thursday, December 22th 2016
Turning Stone, Verona, NY

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Rock’s Ultimate Super group Kings of Chaos made a rare appearance in the Upstate New York area on December 22 where they performed for an intimate crowd within the Turning Stone Casino. The group consisting of Matt Sorum, Chester Bennington, Robin Zander, Billy Duffy, Robert DeLeo, Steve Stevens and Billy Gibbons performed a variety of hits from each of the member’s careers making for a unique concert experience.

Opening up the night was Apocalyptica front man Franky Perez who along with his solo band performed a blend of rock infused blues that helped set the tone for the night. Though the crowd was a bit slow to respond Perez and company forged on and by the end of their forty minute set had the crowd primed and ready for the night’s headliner. After a minimal set change the night’s headliner hit the stage running as they launched into Stone Temple Pilots “Vasoline”. With Linkin Park/STP vocalist Chester Bennington at the helm the band also performed Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” and The Cult’s “Fire Woman”. Bennington would then make way for Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Robin Zander to perform a handful of Cheap Trick songs which were then followed by a few ZZ Top songs song by none other than the one and only Billy Gibbons who’s gravelly voice permeated every nook and cranny of the venue. Zander, Bennington and Gibbons would alternate in the lead vocalist spot throughout the night as they performed hit after hit from each of the members groups culminating with all of the members performing at the end of the night on “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers”, “Going Down” and the Led Zeppelin classic “Whole Lotta love”.

Though the nights set was absent of any Linkin Park or Guns N’ Roses numbers there certainly was still a solid mixture of songs pulled from the members impressive back catalogs. Each player looked to be performing at their best making it very hard to pick out one performance over another. Everyone definitely brought their A game and appeared to be working very well together despite minimal interactions with one another. Getting to see just one of the members in this group let alone seven is sure to bring a nights worth of entertainment but when the Kings of Chaos are all together in one spot it truly is a special occasion and one you won’t want to miss.

Kings of Chaos Set list:
1.) Vasoline
2.) White Wedding
3.) Fire Woman
4.) Hello There
5.) Surrender
6.) I Want You to Want Me
7.) Waitin’ For the Bus
8.) Sharp Dressed Man
9.) Tush
10.) The Flame
11.) Edie (Ciao Baby)
12.) Interstate Love Song
13.) Jesus Just Left Chicago
14.) Ace of Spades
15.) Sex Type Thing
16.) Love Removal Machine
17.) Rebel Yell
18.) Dream Police
19.) La Grange
20.) Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers
21.) Going Down
22.) Whole Lotta love

 

Concert Review: Reel Big Fish “Turn Off the Radio 20th Anniversary Tour”

“Turn Off the Radio 20th Anniversary Tour”
Reel Big Fish, Masked Intruder, Stacked Like Pancakes
Monday, November 14th 2016
The Haunt, Ithaca, NY

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Punk-Ska veterans Reel Big Fish brought the first leg of their “Turn Off the Radio 20th Anniversary Tour” to Ithaca, NY on November 14th where they performed to a near capacity crowd. The tour which celebrates the 20th anniversary of the bands monumental 1996 release “Turn the Radio Off” also featured Madison, Wisconsin pop-punk band Masked Intruder and Stacked Like Pancakes a 7 piece Ska-Rock band from Baltimore Maryland. All three bands were at the top of their game this evening which was packed with plenty of energy and fun for the college town crowd.

You never know what you are going to get with Monday night show performances. Questions like will the band be into it? Or, what will the crowd be like? Began to flood my mind as I made my way to the small lake side venue for a night of reliving my teenage years. Both of these were answered almost immediately as I could tell by the looks of the parking lot that I was going to be in for something special. Things kicked off promptly at 7pm with Stacked Like Pancakes taking the stage first. The group wasted no time at all launching in to their energetic performance which was a mixture of Ska infused rock which ignited the dance floor almost instantly. The groups 30/40 minute set was highlighted by a spot on big band infused rendition of the classic Blink 182 song “Dammit” which was unlike any other version of that song I have heard. Taking the stage next would be the masked hoodlums known as Masked Intruder. The group who’s sound is reminiscent of early Ramones with a twist seemed to be having some issues with the venues PA system at first as the vocals were getting lost in the overall mix however after a song or two everything came together and the band settled in as they poked fun at the crowd and themselves while delivering their unique high energy brand of punk rock. Having first been made of aware of this band this summer during the Warped tour is was great to be able to catch them again in a smaller setting where they seemed to be at home. Reel Big Fish would follow to close out the night by performing the entire “Turn Off the Radio” album from front to back. They even included the albums hidden track “I’m Cool” complete with a brief break before starting back in to close out the night. Though the group with the exception of front-man Aaron Barrett are different from the band that played on the album the latest incarnation of the Reel Big Fish sounded just as good if not better than the album they were celebrating making for a great overall concert experience.

When a band that has been around as long as Reel Big Fish has it’s great no matter what to be able to still them live. When it really becomes special is when all the bands on the bill bring their A game which was definitely the case in Ithaca, NY on November 14th. I highly recommend catching this tour when it resumes in February. Though it will feature a different lineup I feel pretty confident in saying that it will surely be just as good of a concert experience making a show you won’t want to miss.

Reel Big Fish Setlist:
1.) I Want Your Girlfriend to Be My Girlfriend Too
2.) The Kids Don’t Like It
3.) Another F.U. Song
4.) Your Guts (I Hate’Em)
5.) Sell Out
6.) Trendy
7.) Join the Club
8.) She Has a Girlfriend Now
9.) Snoop Dogg, Baby
10.) 241
13.) Skatanic
14.) All I Want Is More
15.) Nothin’
16.) Say “Ten”
17.) I’ll Never Be
18.) Alternative, Baby
19.) The Impression That I Get (Mighty Mighty Bosstones Cover)
20.) Beer
Encore:
21.) I’m Cool
22.) Everyone Else Is an Asshole
23.) Where Have You Been
24.) Take On Me (A-Ha Cover)

Concert Review: John Doe

John Doe, Anna Coogan

Friday, November 4th 2016
The Haunt, Ithaca, NY

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

John Doe founding member of the legendary Los Angeles punk band X made a stop in Ithaca, NY on November 4th as part of Cornell University’s “Punk Fest: Anarchy in the Archives” a week-long event which included various speaking panels and music performances which coincided with the opening of the Universities “Anarchy in the Archives” exhibit which showcases a vast array of rare punk artifacts. The performance was second of three performances the venue was schedule to host and fans who attended were treated to a great night of music which was highlighted by a guest appearance by X front-woman Exene Cervenka.

Little did I know when I walked through the intimate river side venue doors that on this night I was going to witness an amazing performance by not one but two! Legend’s in punk rock music. The venue was buzzing with excitement as people had heard that X front-woman Exene was in the building after being asked earlier in the day by John to perform with him. After a brief yet eclectic opening set from singer/songwriter Anna Coogan who despite battling some seasonal illness put forth a solid effort which the Ithacan crowd seemed to quite enjoy from the local artist who just returned from a tour with Alt/Country artist Johnny Dowd. After a very quick set change over the man himself John Doe was front and center where he announced his plans for the evening and confirming that Exene was in-fact in the house and that she would be performing with him this night. This announcement only further electrified the crowd as everyone in attendance now knew just how special this night was going to be. To start the set off Doe played selections from his solo career including a handful of new tracks from his recently released “The Westerner” album. Mid way through the performance Doe welcomed up his X cohort Exene to the dimly lit stage. The long time collaborators then proceeded to take the evening to the next level. Though the portion of the set with Cervenka was impromptu the two veterans armed only with one acoustic guitar and their voices delivered a mesmerizing performance that went off as though they had done it hundreds of times before. Much like their work in X the duos haunting voices complimented one another and despite the minimal instrumentation the music was equally if not more powerful in its raw form.

Doe took the stage like a pro and with the help of his long time band partner Exene Cervenka held the Ithaca crowd in the palm of their hands.

Be sure to check out our exclusive interview with John Doe in the interview section of the site.

Concert Review: Regina Spektor

“Regina Spektor Tour 2016”

Regina Spektor
Friday, October 14th 2016
The State Theater, Ithaca, NY

Our Score: 4 out of 5 Stars

Singer/Songwriter Regina Spektor paid a visit to the historical State Theater in Ithaca, NY on Friday, October 14th where she performed to a sold out crowd. Spektor who is currently out on the road in support of her latest album “Remember Us To Life” put on a stellar performance which combined her unique performance style and emotionally fueled vocal styling’s which tugged at the inner most parts of the Ithacan crowds emotions.

After a four year hiatus it was great to finally not only hear new music from Regina Spektor but also be able to see her live and in such an intimate venue as the State Theater. With the theater at capacity Spektor and her band took the stage to a loud wave of applause and cheer. The singer quickly thanked the crowd and kicked off the night with “On the Radio” and “Better” both from her 2006 album “Begin to Hope”. As the set progressed Regina included several songs from her latest album “Remember Us to Life” including “Older Taller”, “Bleeding Heart” and, “Grand Hotel”. Spektor and company seemed to connect almost flawlessly with only a few minor errors coming during “Après Moi” which saw Spektor throw her head back and shake it in disapproval at her mistake though like a true professional she didn’t let the slip bother her and continued on with a bright smile on her face. A unique moment in the set occurred when a fan shouted out a request for the song “Sailor Song”. Spektor who stated “we never take requests” broke her rule due to the fact the band knew the song though she did apologize beforehand if there were any mess ups. The song went off without much of a hitch and the crowd seemed to really enjoy the bands willing to give the song a try and provide a special moment for the night’s crowd.

From start to finish the concert was a great experience. Regina’s voice sounded amazing and was a perfect fit to the classic theaters surroundings. Aside from her work on the “Orange is the New Black” theme song “You’ve Got Time” and a few other tracks I was only a casual listener of her works however after seeing her and her band perform live I have a much greater appreciation for her music and quickly found myself transforming into a fan. If you have the chance to catch Regina I strongly encourage you to do so. Not many artists are able to perform night after night at the level Regina does as she is able to connect with the listener on a number of different levels making for a really great concert/music listening experience.

Set List:
1.) On the Radio
2.) Better
3.) Tornadoland
4.) Bleeding Heart
5.) Older and Taller
6.) Grand Hotel
7.) Blue Lips
8.) Black and White
9.) Small Bill$
10.) Ballad of a Politician
11.) Après Moi
12.) You’ve Got Time
13.) The Trapper and the Furrier
14.) Sailor Song
15.) Obsolete
16.) The Light
17.) Seller of Flowers
18.) The Visit
19.) Us
Encore:
20.) Fidelity
21.) Hotel Song
22.) Samson

Concert Review: Elvis Costello w/Larkin Poe

“Elvis Costello Detour Tour”

Elvis Costello w/Larkin Poe
Friday October 7th, 2016
Yardley Hall at Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, KS

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Concert Review by J.R. Deeter

I have to admit I haven’t really listened to Elvis Costello in a long while so when I heard he was having a show at a local “small” venue, I thought it would be cool to check it out, enjoy the hits and see what was new with the man who first caught my attention when I was a radio DJ in the 80’s. Back then “Everyday I Write the Book” and “Allison” were staples of my Top 40 airplay.

The setting for this “Detour Tour” was both simplistic and engaging. Centered around a giant TV screen on which still photos and occasional videos played out moments of time in the life of Costello (including a performance of his fathers 1960’s version of “If I Had A Hammer”) were an easy chair, a few guitars and a borrowed piano from his wife, jazz artist Diana Krall.

Opening act Larkin Poe was an unexpected pleasure. The duo from Atlanta are often described as Southern roots rockers and they do deliver with their bluesy, guitar driven sound. The vocals of Rebecca Lovell and lap steel guitar of sister Megan combined to entertain and for me, the highlight of their set was a smokin’ cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.” Larkin Poe also serve as backing musicians for Costello for a good portion of his show.

Costello’s performance rolled through several waves, moving at times from guitar to piano and back to guitar. In between, anecdotes and reminiscences were delivered, along with the occasional Trump jab, to an appreciative audience. Many in the audience were surprised to learn that Costello had written several songs for a planned stage musical based on the film “A Face In the Crowd.” Upon divulging this, Costello performed “Blood & Hot Sauce” and “Burn the Paper Down to Ash” featuring vocals by Larkin Poe’s Rebecca Lovell. Top moments for me included the off mike, into the audience version of “Alison” and the rousing, crowd pleasing “Peace, Love and Understanding.” On the downside, no “Veronica” or “Radio Radio.”

Elvis Costello Set List:
1.)New Amsterdam
2.)Poison Moon
3.)Accidents Will Happen
4.)They’re Not Laughing at Me Now
5.)All This Useless Beauty
6.)Everyday I Write the Book
7.)Shipbuilding
8.)Deep Dark Truthful Mirror
9.)No Man’s Woman
10.)Face in the Crowd
11.)Little White Lies
12.)American Without Tears
13.)Watching the Detectives
14.)Alison
Encore
15.)Blame It on Cain
16.)Clown Strike
17.)Burn the Paper Down to Ash
18.)Vitajex
19.)That’s Not the Part of Him You’re Leaving
20.)American Mirror
Encore 2
21.)(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes
22.)Jimmie Standing in the Rain
23.)Side By Side
24.)Blood & Hot Sauce
Encore 3
25.)Brilliant Mistake
26.)Down on the Bottom
27.)(What’s So Funny ’bout) Peace, Love and Understanding
28.)Good Year for the Roses

The tour continues through the month. Upcoming dates include:

October 11: Majestic Theater Dallas, Texas

October 13: Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater Austin, Texas

October 14: Revention Music Center Houston, Texas

October 15: Saenger Theater New Orleans, Louisiana

October 17: Ryman Auditorium Nashville, Tennessee

October 18: Cobb Energy Centre Atlanta, Georgia

Concert Review: Ace Frehley

“Ace Frehley Tour 2016”

Ace Frehley, Simo
Saturday, September 24th 2016
Magic City Music Hall, Binghamton, NY

Our Score: 4 out of 5 Stars

The original Space Man himself Ace Frehley landed in Binghamton, NY on September 24th to perform at the Magic City Music Hall. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is out in support of his most recent studio release titled “Origins Vol. 1” a collection of covers handpicked by Ace himself. Though Ace had not performed in the Binghamton area since 2000 the Broome County fans certainly hadn’t forget about the man from Jendel.

 
Starting of the night were the blues tinged jam band Simo. Hailing from Nashville, TN the group performed a writhing 35 minute set which helped get the night underway. Front man JD Simo didn’t waste much time interacting with the crowd as he and his band mates let the music do the talking. The power trio all seemed quite well versed in their instrumentation as each song the band performed featured lengthy solo areas that each member filled in with ease. The band closed out the set with an energetic rendition of Joe Cockers “A Little Help From My Friends” which easily garnered the largest applause from the assembled crowd. After a momentary set change Ace Frehley and his band would hit the stage as echoes of Ace’s song “Fractured Mirror” played over the PA system. The band kicked off the night with “Rip It Out” from Frehley’s 1978 solo album setting the tone for the night’s adventure. The set touched on almost all of Ace’s solo works as wells as some of the material he wrote during his days with Kiss including “Parasite”, “Rocket Ride” and “Strange Ways” which features bassist Chris Wyse on vocals. Another highlight of the nights was “2 Young 2 Die” from Ace’s “Trouble Walkin’” album featuring guitarist Richie Scarlett on vocals.

Despite a few out of key moments and a couple tempo issues the band still put on a solid performance which the audience in Binghamton seemed to really enjoy. With the chances of Ace returning to Kiss growing slimmer and slimmer with each passing day the 65 year guitarist is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon as a solo artist, Nor should he as he is still able to get up on stage and put on an entertaining show night after night. There are still just a few more chances to catch Ace this year so if he is coming to your town or one nearby I highly recommend you get yourself a ticket as soon as possible.

Ace Frehley Set List:
(Fractured Mirror Intro)
1.) Rip It Out
2.) Toys
3.) Emerald (Thin Lizzy Cover)
4.) Parasite
5.) Love Gun
6.) Snowblind
7.) Sister
8.) Rocket Ride
9.) Bring It On Home (Willie Dixon Cover)
10.) Rock Soldiers
-Bass Solo-
11.) Strange Ways
12.) New York Groove
13.) 2 Young 2 Die
14.) Shock Me
-Guitar Solo-
15.) Cold Gin
Encore
16.) Detroit Rock City
17.) Deuce