Concert Review: Bad Religion, Rochester, NY

“Age of Unreason Tour 2019”

Bad Religion, The Lawrence Arms
Tuesday, August 6h, 2019
Anthology, Rochester, NY

Our score: 5 out of 5 stars

Bad Religion made a stop at Anthology in Rochester, NY on August 6th as part of the bands current “Age of Unreason” tour.  Along with the elder statesmen of punk were special guest The Lawrence Arms. Despite a thirty year lapse since the bands last performance in the Flour City both groups brought their A game to the sold out crowd who packed the gills of the intimate venue on a warm Tuesday night.

Epitaph label mates The Lawrence Arms opened the evening’s festivities promptly at 8pm and as the venue quickly filled to capacity the three piece group from Chicago, IL held court treating fans to their windy city brand of grit infused punk rock. Bassist/vocalist Brendan Kelly jokingly traded barbs with the audience between songs and at one point noted that this was the bands first time performing in Rochester. The band sounded great as it played songs from it six album catalog including a handful from their most recent release 2014’s “Metropole” before leaving the stage to a chant of one more song from the ever growing crowd.

After a somewhat timely change over Bad Religion would take to the stage basked in powerful, dark blue lighting. The band opened their set with the edgy “Them and Us” from the 1996 album “The Grey Race”. Vocalist Greg Graffin and the rest of the band consisting of Jay Bentley, Brian Baker, Mike Dimkich and drummer Jamie Miller blasted through a 27 song set full of classic BR songs like “Stranger Than Fiction”, “Atomic Garden”, Suffer” and “21st Century (Digital Boy)” and newer songs like “Chaos From Within”, “My Sanity” and “Do The Paranoid Style” all of which are from the bands recently released studio album “Age of Unreason”.

Bad Religion certainly made up for their long absence in Rochester as the bands high energy 27 song set fed the need of both long time fans and fellow new comers (some of whom were as young as 12 years old). Anthology’s medium sized venue played a near perfect host for the humble punk veterans who seemed to really appreciate the vibe and energy they received in return for their stellar performance. Bad Religion will be on tour in the States through October so if the band is coming to your area you owe it to yourself to be there!

Bad Religion Set List:

1.) Them and us

2.) End of History

3.) Fuck You

4.) Stranger Than Fiction

5.) The Dichotomy

6.) Recipe for Hate

7.) Chaos From Within

8.) Los Angeles Is Burning

9.) The Handshake

10.) My Sanity

11.) Atomic Garden

12.) Lose Your Head

13.) Suffer

14.) No Control

15.) Against the Grain

16.) Skyscraper

17.) Anesthesia

18.) I Want to Conquer the World

19.) 21st Century (Digital Boy)

20.) Generator

21.) The New Dark Ages

22.) You

23.) Do The Paranoid Style

24.) Fuck Armageddon…This Is Hell

25.) Sorrow

Encore

26.) Infected

27.) American Jesus

Concert Review: “Summer Slaughter” Syracuse, NY

“2019 Summer Slaughter”

Cattle Decapitation, Carnifex, The Faceless, Rivers of Nihil, Nekrogoblikon, Lorna Shore, Brand of Sacrifice
Friday, July 26th, 2018
The Westcott Theater, Syracuse, NY

Our score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

The 13th annual Summer Slaughter tour made a stop at the Westcott Theater in Syracuse, NY on July 26th as part of the tours 23 stop run. Being billed as “the most extreme tour of the year” we were anxious to see if this year’s package which is headlined by Cattle Decapitation, Carnifex, The Faceless and Rivers of Nihil could deliver an experience worthy of the aforementioned moniker.

As the vintage doors of the Westcott Theater came squeaking open on fairly normal Upstate, NY summer afternoon something stuck out amidst the horde of black t-shirt wearing metal heads. No it was not the over the top graphics or the hard to read fonts which adorned said shirts instead it was a unique sense of camaraderie that seemed to occur between both bands and fans as they mixed and mingled cohesively through out the day long event which made for a nice friendly gathering of metal lovers.

Opening up the tour billing was Brand of Sacrifice who performed a spattering of tracks from their most recent album “God Hand” to the incoming crowd. New Jersey’s Lorna Shore would follow promptly not allowing the energy dip too low with a high impact thirty minute set. Goblin-Metal forefathers Nekrogoblikon would hit the stage next complete with the bands loveable mascot John Goblikon who leaped and bounded across the stage as the band shredded through songs like “We Need a Gimmick”, “Dressed As Goblins”  and  “Powercore”.  The saxophone laden River of Nihil was up next performing songs from their latest offering “Where Owls Know My Name” which filled the dank theater with jazz infused metal. The Faceless would be up next banging out a somewhat lack luster set which featured very little movement from the band themselves. Carnifex took the stage next and singlehandedly brought the energy back and to a whole new level. Makeup clad front man Scott Ian Lewis worked the stage like a maniacal mad man while the rest of the band did their duty of laying down a thunderous, circle pit ensuing dirge that commanded attendees attention. Closing out the 8 plus hour day was tour headliner Cattle Decapitation who despite the dwindling crowd size hit the stage running blasting through songs like “The Prophets of Lost”, “Times Cruel Curtain” and “Pacific Grim” before leaving the stage at a prompt 11 pm.

With our ears ringing and our brains rattled we made our way out of the venue while trying to process just what our senses were put through over the course of the day. What we were able to piece together is this. Summer Slaughter is not for the faint of heart or for the casual death/extreme metal listener and, this tour could very well be as the banner boast’s the most “Extreme” musical offering this summer. With the tour running through mid August you still have time to catch a show and experience this for yourself, If you dare.

Concert Review: Goo Goo Dolls & Train – Tampa, FL

First of all, a little about me.  I love theater, animals and my friends and family.  I’m 12 years old and this is the first major concert I ever went to.  On top of that, it was three acts! So for a first concert, this one was AMAZING!!! Allen Stone opened with a short set and then Goo Goo Dolls came on.  I got to hear all my favorites from Sirius XM. “Black Balloons” had dozens of black balloons bouncing around the audience, which was a lot of fun. I got to hit a few.  “Slide” was really good and the first encore was “Iris” which was epic!

After a short intermission, Train hit the stage. The sound of a train filled the room and they started right into “Calling all Angels”.  I loved this opening and it was my favorite non-song part. “50 ways to Say Goodbye” kicked off next with clips from the music video backing them up. It was awesome. In the middle of the set, Bruises was performed with Allen Stone taking on the female part, which Patrick Monahan said “wasn’t awkward at all”!  THEN, the lead guitarist, who was a Tampa native, performed “Under Pressure” with Patrick and his bass player.  It was my Dad’s favorite moment of the night and I loved it too. “Play that song” was my absolute favorite and I sang it all the way home. 

I loved the lights, the constant video and effects above the band. This was a daddy daughter date with my Dad and he totally surprised me.  The only song I missed was “Mermaid” which it doesn’t seem like they play much anymore. Train ended the night with “Drops of Jupiter” which was a great song for a great night.

https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/train/2019/midflorida-credit-union-amphitheatre-tampa-fl-339ea80d.html

https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/goo-goo-dolls/2019/midflorida-credit-union-amphitheatre-tampa-fl-239ea803.html

Concert Review: New‎ Kids‎ on‎ The‎ Block‎ Mixtape‎ Tour – Amway Center, Orlando FL

When‎ we‎ heard‎ New‎ Kids‎ were‎ touring‎ with‎ the‎ likes‎ of‎ Salt-N-Pepa,‎ Debbie‎ Gibson,‎ Tiffany‎ and‎ Naughty‎ By‎ Nature,‎ we‎ just‎ new‎ we‎ had‎ to‎ be‎ there!‎ This‎ was‎ the‎ show‎ that‎ all‎ girls,‎ and‎ boys,‎ who‎ grew‎ up‎ in‎ the‎ 80s,‎ only‎ dreamed‎ about!‎ The Amway Center in Orlando, FL was hopping and all of the performers were on fire and the energy was just unbelievable. This‎ show‎ did‎ not‎ disappoint!

Illtown‎ Sluggaz‎ made‎ sure‎ the‎ crowd‎ was‎ pumped‎ as‎ they‎ played‎ a‎ set‎ of‎ songs‎ every‎ person‎ at‎ Amway‎ could‎ sing‎ and‎ dance‎ along‎ to!‎ When‎ New‎ Kids‎ came‎ out,‎ they‎ kept‎ that‎ energy‎ going‎ until‎ their‎ final‎ bow! New‎ Kids‎ set‎ included‎ hits‎ like:‎ “Dirty‎ Dancing,”‎ “Hangin’‎ Tough,”‎ “Remix,”‎ and‎ “Block‎ Party.”‎ Throughout their‎ sets,‎ Debbie‎ Gibson‎ and‎ Tiffany‎ took‎ to‎ stages‎ A‎ and‎ B‎ and‎ each‎ took‎ turns‎ singing‎ their‎ hits.‎ Salt-N-Pepa‎ came‎ out‎ and‎ absolutely‎ brought‎ the‎ house‎ down‎ with‎ their‎ hits‎ :‎ “Push‎ It,”‎ “Whatta‎ Man,”‎ “Let’s‎ Talk‎ About‎ Sex,”‎ and‎ “Shoop.”‎ Naughty‎ By‎ Nature‎ got‎ the‎ crowd‎ hyped‎ with‎ “O.P.P,”‎ “Jump‎ Around,”‎ and‎ “Hip‎ Hop‎ Hooray.”‎ 

The‎ entire‎ tour‎ came‎ out‎ at‎ the‎ end‎ to‎ sing‎ along‎ to‎ “80s‎ Baby”‎ and‎ man‎ it‎ was‎ fun‎ watching‎ this‎ group‎ enjoy‎ being‎ on‎ stage‎ together!‎ The‎ concert‎ was‎ great‎ as‎ every‎ act‎ sang‎ throughout‎ the‎ entire‎ show.‎ The‎ energy‎ levels‎ never‎ dropped‎ and‎ the‎ fun‎ never‎ stopped!‎ This‎ concert‎ was‎ incredible!‎ Here’s‎ to‎ many‎ more‎ mixtape‎ tours!!

Concert Review: Santana with the Doobie Brothers

  • Santana /the Doobie Brothers
  • Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri
  • July 11, 2019

50 years ago next month, over 400,000 people attended a little 3-day music festival known as Woodstock. One of the bands playing that weekend was led by a young man whose last name the band had adopted as theirs…Carlos Santana.

Tonight at Kansas City’s Sprint Center, the master guitarist entertained a packed house playing as powerfully as he did five decades ago, his skill and energy amazing for a man who turns 72 next week. After the show began with a video tribute to Woodstock, Mr. Santana and his highly talented group of musicians chose for their opening number “Soul Sacrifice.” The next two hours was a collection of hits (“Oye Como Va,” “Black Magic Woman”) and album cuts. As the show progressed, opening band the Doobie Brothers joined Santana on stage for a rousing medley of “She’s Not There,” “Spill the Wine” and “Shotgun.” A highlight of the medley was the Doobie’s Tom Johnson and Mr. Santana trading wicked guitar riffs.

As the show progressed, the band continued to jam, extending some songs several minutes, which the crowd, their eyes fixed on Mr. Santana’s flying fingers, ate up. Another highlight occurred when the band took a brief break, allowing drummer Cindy Blackman Santana to bring the house down with a prolonged and entertaining drum solo.

Of course, the biggest song of the night was the multiple Grammy-award winning “Smooth,” which the audience sang along to with gusto. The show ended with Mr. Santana encouraging the audience to strive for peace and harmony. After the performance he gave, how could we refuse him.

SET LIST: Soul Sacrifice, Jin-go-lo-ba, Evil Ways / A Love Supreme, (Da Le) Yaleo, Put Your Lights On, She’s Not There / Spill the Wine / Shotgun, Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen, Oye Como Va, Hope You’re Feeling Better, Love of My Life, Breaking Down the Door, In Search of Mona Lisa, Maria Maria, Foo Foo, Corazon Espinado, Toussaint L’Ouverture. ENCORE: Are You Ready, Smooth, September / Love, Peace and Happiness.

Concert Review: Rockstar Disrupt Festival, Syracuse, NY

Rockstar Disrupt Festival 2019

Thrice, The Used, Circa Survive, The Story So Far, Atreyu

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview, Syracuse, NY

Our score 3 out of 5 stars

The Rockstar Disrupt Festival made a stop in Syracuse, NY on July 2nd as part of the tours inaugural run featuring a variety of musical acts including Hyro the Hero, Andy Black, The Used and Thrice. Despite the event starting off under questionable skies it didn’t stop the bands or fans from giving their all over the course of the 7 plus hour event.  

Kicking of the day on the Festival Stage was the Texas based Hyro the Hero who performed a handful of songs of their latest album “Flagged Channel”. Though fans were still filling in the sprawling lake side venue the bands high energy and unique style of rap infused metal quickly grabbed people’s attention and set the stage perfectly for the day’s festivities. After checking out the various merchandise booths which were placed around the venue grounds we made another stop at the Festival stage where we took in performances by Memphis May Fire, Four Year Strong and Andy Black. All of which put on solid sets despite the muggy afternoon conditions. Sleeping with Sirens closed out the Festival stage lineup however it was hard to focus given the lineup which was about to be performing on the Main Stage. Veteran metal act Atreyu opened up the stage performing songs from their various albums including “Ex’s and Oh’s”, “Bleeding Mascara” and their cover of Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name”. The band sounded great and really got the crowd going again after a brief lull during stage changes caused the energy to dip. The Story So Far and Circa Survive would follow both turning in note worthy performances that had large portions of the audience dancing and singing along from beginning to end. The Used were up next performing a spattering of songs from their career including “Take It Away” “The Taste of Ink” and “Buried Myself Alive. Front-man Bert McCracken and company even included a cover of the Oasis song “Wonderwall” which made us question if a majority of the crowd were even alive when that song first debuted? Thrice would close out the night with an eleven song set including songs “The Artist in the Ambulance”, “In Exile” and “Black Honey” before closing out the evening with “The Earth Will Shake” from the bands 2005 album “Vheissu”.  Though the band members were all fairly stationary throughout the performance the crowd did not seem to mind as they loudly sang along to front-man Dustin Kensrues lyrics.

For those looking to fill the void left by the Warped Tour whose last full summer run was in 2018, Rockstar Disrupt Festival could be just! Yes the festival is much smaller and not hitting as many cities as its predecessor however the artist lineup is on par as are the various vendors and pop-ups. Probably the biggest selling point for us was the fact that you could actually see all the acts on the bill if you chose to. Having only two stages made for a much less stressful day and ensured you could everything. This feature alone makes the tour stand out above others with a similar design. Sure the tour has to contend with some growing pains and the various first year hiccups however with those things aside if you are looking for a full day of diverse music where you can actually see everything then we highly recommend the Rockstar Disrupt Festival.

Festival Stage:

Sleeping With Sirens

Andy Black

Four Year Strong

Memphis May Fire

Trophy Eyes

Juliet Simms

Hyro The Hero

Main Stage:

Thrice

The Used

Circa Survive

The Story So Far

Atreyu

GAME OF THRONES® LIVE CONCERT EXPERIENCE TO RETURN FOR FALL 2019 NORTH AMERICAN AMPHITHEATER TOUR

Experience the Excitement, Terror, Heartbreak, and History of Emmy® Award-Winning Game of Thrones Composer Ramin Djawadi’s Music In A Stunning Outdoor Concert Experience

The 20-City Tour Will Travel Throughout North America, Including Dates In Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, New York City, Los Angeles and many more

Tickets On Sale Monday, May 13, 2019 At 10AM Local Time

The critically acclaimed Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience will return this fall for a 20-city amphitheater tour, bringing the music of Emmy® Award-winning Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi to stunning new life at outdoor theatres across North America. As we say goodbye to one of the biggest shows and scores in television history, relive the greatest musical pieces and footage from all eight seasons in an immersive outdoor concert experience. Tickets for the tour will be available HERE starting Monday, May 13, 2019, at 10:00am local time and a full list of dates can be found below.

Featuring special appearances by Ramin himself at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater in New York City, FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, CA and Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA, the tour will stop at notable outdoor venues across North America. Having first conceptualized the tour several years ago, Ramin will be reworking and redeveloping the musical and visual elements of the concert to create a brand new live experience that encompasses fan-favorite pieces from the entirety of Game of Thrones. The tour will include new musical arrangements from the series’ 8th and final season such as the “The Night King” theme, Ramin’s epic 9-minute composition that went viral immediately after debuting on the show. Within days, the track garnered millions of streams across the internet, reached the top 4 most downloaded songs on iTunes and the top 18 most watched videos on YouTube, and dropped the jaws of audiences and critics alike:

“When Game of Thrones Plays Sad Piano Music, It’s Time to Freak Out.” – Vulture

“In a series known for truly cinematic music, this was still a series highlight…Djawadi’s finest on the show.” – Nerdist

“[Ramin] really outdid himself here with the soaring, searching score that gave the episode its own unique flavor while also selling its most emotional beats. It’s a true symphony at times.” – Indiewire

The inaugural run of the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience Featuring Ramin Djawadi kicked off in North America in February of 2017 and was praised by audiences and critics alike as a must-see spectacle for fans of the television series. Following the success of the tour, Ramin embarked on a European run during the spring of 2018 before returning back for a second North American tour in the fall of 2018. To date, the show has amassed a total of 75 arena concerts across the globe. The Guardian described the show as “Westeros brought to dazzling life.” Mashable called it “an epic musical journey,” while the New York Times praised it as “a symphonic spectacular.”

The tour, produced and promoted exclusively by Live Nation in partnership with HBO Licensing & Retail, will continue to use innovative music tour production and video technology that will recreate the various realms found throughout Westeros and Essos as well as showcase footage from the series in addition to new imagery created exclusively for the concert.

Ramin has won one Emmy Award® and been nominated for six Emmy® Awards and two GRAMMY® Awards. Versatility has defined his career, from celebrated television scores for Game of ThronesWestworldJack Ryan, and Prison Break to feature films such as A Wrinkle in TimeMountain Between UsSlender ManThe Great WallPacific RimIron Man and Clash of the Titans. Ramin has even composed scores for blockbuster video games including Medal of HonorGears of War 4 and the upcoming Gears of War 5.

GAME OF THRONES® LIVE CONCERT EXPERIENCE 2019 NORTH AMERICAN DATES

9/5 – Syracuse, NY – St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview

9/6 – Toronto, ON – Budweiser Stage

9/8 – Chicago, IL – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

9/10 – Boston, MA – Xfinity Center

9/11 – Hartford, CT – XFINITY Theatre

9/12 – Philadelphia, PA – The Mann

9/14 – New York, NY – Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater

9/15 – Washington, DC – Jiffy Lube Live

9/17 – Virginia Beach, VA – Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater

9/18 – Raleigh, NC – Coastal Credit Union Music Park

9/20 – Jacksonville, FL – Daily’s Place

9/21 – West Palm Beach, FL – Coral Sky Amphitheatre

9/22 – Tampa, FL – MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre

9/25 – Rogers, AR – Walmart AMP

9/26 – Dallas, TX – The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory

9/27 – Houston, TX – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

10/1 – Phoenix, AZ – Comerica Theatre

10/3 – San Francisco, CA – Shoreline Amphitheatre

10/4 – Irvine, CA – FivePoint Amphitheatre

10/5 – Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Bowl

Kansas City Concert Review: Little River Band

 
LITTLE RIVER BAND
Ameristar Casino - Kansas City, MO
May 3, 2019

Maybe it’s my age but to me the best music ever created was done so in the 20th Century.  Great music.  Great lyrics.  Amazing voices.  Today the majority of what I hear I can’t understand, even when it’s Autotuned!  Which made my first time listening to the Little River Band live so amazing.

If you grew up in the 1970s/80s (I graduated high school in 1978), then LRB was surely part of the soundtrack of your life.  Their musical gifts, and incredible harmonies, made songs like “Reminiscing,” “Lonesome Loser,” “Cool Change” and “The Night Owl” so memorable.

Now led by bassist/singer (and Kansas City native) Wayne Nelson, who joined the Australian band in 1979, the show was an amazing retrospective of both their greatest hits and some newer material.  Their song “The Lost and the Lonely,” from the band’s 2014 album “Cuts Like a Diamond,” a tribute to the troops, was well received, as was an extensive piano intro by keyboard maestro Chris Marion before the band played “Cool Change.”

An enjoyable evening was capped off by the band coming out front and greeting the fans, which I found to be a pretty incredible thing, especially after playing a 90 minute gig!  If you’re a fan of “classic” rock and pop, then LRB is a band you’ll want to catch.

For more information on their current tour, click HERE.

Metallica and San Francisco Symphony Announce S&M 2 Anniversary Concert

METALLICA & SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY
Present 
S&M2: 20th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT 
SEPTEMBER 6TH GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION AT THE CHASE CENTER

In celebration of the historic grand opening of the Chase Center—the new 18,064-seat arena in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood—two preeminent musical forces of the Bay Area will join together for the first time in 20 years: On Friday, September 6, Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony will commemorate this most anticipated addition to San Francisco’s cultural landscape by christening the new Chase Center stage with a one-night-only show. The S&M2 concert will also mark the 20th anniversary of Metallica and the SF Symphony’s groundbreaking 1999  S&M (“Symphony & Metallica”) concerts—and its subsequent film and album releases.

Legendary conductor Michael Tilson Thomas completes the first week of his final season as San Francisco Symphony Music Director with a special appearance, conducting a portion of the show.  

The announcement was made earlier today at Chase Center with a press conference with Metallica’s Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield, who joined Michael Tilson Thomas from San Francisco Symphony. Warriors Owner and CEO Joe Lacob and Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts joined San Francisco Mayor London Breed for today’s press conference event as well. For a video of today’s press conference, CLICK HERE.

“Bringing together Metallica and San Francisco Symphony 20 years later for our first event at Chase Center is going to be an incredible and unique performance for the Bay Area,” said Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts. “This announcement is one of many of the must-see acts we’ll have as we continue to add a variety and diversity of shows to Chase Center’s calendar.”

“This is beyond exciting on so many fronts,” said Metallica’s Lars Ulrich. “The fact that San Francisco is finally getting a much needed world-class arena, the fact that Metallica get to be part of the opening celebration, the fact that we get to revisit S&M 20 years later, and the fact that we get to share the stage not only with the San Francisco Symphony once again, but with the legend himself, MTT, as he kicks off his final year as music director here in San Francisco. This is mind-blowingly awesome… bring it on ASAP!!!”

“The San Francisco Symphony is delighted to be a part of the Chase Center’s opening week, and to perform once again with Metallica to recreate the magic of the historic S&M concerts,” said San Francisco Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas. “I’m happy to join with my friends in Metallica to make this an extraordinary only-in-San Francisco music event.”

The original S&M concerts were performed by Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony conducted by the late Michael Kamen In spring of 1999 at the Berkeley Community Theatre. The S&M album, was released later that year, winning a Best Rock Instrumental Performance GRAMMY for its version of “The Call of Ktulu.” The S&M2 concert will feature the first live performances of these arrangements in 20 years, plus the first ever Metallica/San Francisco Symphony renditions of songs written and released since the original S&M, with new orchestral charts by Bruce Coughlin.

The first presale event begins on Tuesday, March 19 at 9:00 a.m. exclusively for Metallica Fan Club members, with an additional presale event at 12:00 p.m. for Chase cardholders. Additional presale events will be held for Chase Center Membership members on Wednesday, March 20 at 12:00 p.m. and for Warriors Season Ticket Priority Wait List members on Thursday, March 21 at 9:00 a.m. Tickets will be made available to the general public on Friday, March 22 at 10:00 a.m. Fans will be able to purchase tickets by visiting chasecenter.com.

Kansas City Concert Review – Brian Wilson

REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY DAN LYBARGER

 Brian Wilson

Muriel Kauffman Theater – Kansas City, MO

November 13, 2018

Brian Wilson

At 76, Brian Wilson could still make a crowded auditorium happy, even if he didn’t appear to be doing anything at all.

Having co-written and arranged dozens of hits for The Beach Boys and on his own, Wilson can get away with outsourcing songs he originated to other vocalists. He sat behind a baby grand piano as if he were an audience member instead of the star of the show.

Criticizing Wilson for being odd is like chastising the Beatles for being English. It’s essential to his greatness, even if it can be disconcerting to watch. The distinctive harmonies in the songs he recorded with the Beach Boys are the result of defying convention. The fact that Wilson is deaf in one ear only makes his accomplishments seem even more formidable.

It’s also worth noting that many Beach Boy songs like “California Girls” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” sound better in live performances now than they would have when the band and the session players from the Wrecking Crew recorded them over 50 years ago. The amplification to do those songs justice wasn’t around back then, and Wilson’s current band consistently performed them with both fidelity and spirit.

The 11-piece ensemble behind Wilson juggled instruments and skillfully mimicked the harmonies Wilson originally created with his late brothers Dennis and Carl and cousin Mike Love. Fellow Beach Boy founder Al Jardine wound up taking most of the vocal chores that evening and seemed happier with ingratiating himself and the band with the crowd than Wilson did. Then again, Wilson seemed to have had the crowd’s attention by simply uttering “Hello, Kansas City” at the start of the show.

Unlike musicians from the past who might have needed too much chemical help to get on stage, Wilson can at least still read a map.

Rob Bonfiglio

He and the band found a great venue. The Muriel Kauffman Theatre normally hosts classical performances, but Leonard Bernstein praised Wilson’s distinctive compositions as being worthy of the old masters, so they certainly belonged on that stage.

If Wilson seemed only fitfully engaged, the rest of the band were eager to give the songs he had popularized justice. Jardine can still plaintively beg Rhonda to help him forget his ex and can fill in for passages that Carl or Wilson’s cousin and lyricist Mike Love used to sing.

Ben Jones

Wilson’s son-in-law Rob Bonfiglio ably delivers the falsetto portions of the songs that his father-in-law used to sing, and the other instrumentalists in the ensemble change instruments more frequently than most of us change our clothes.

For “Good Vibrations,” the band even incorporated a delightfully eerie Theremin and played acoustic marimbas instead of keyboard samples. Darian Sahanaja, who helped Wilson resurrect long lost Beach Boys album Smile, played keyboards and figured out how to make studio trickery work live.

The set also received a shot of adrenaline when South African singer-guitarist Blondie Chaplin hit the stage halfway through the set. A member of the 1970s incarnation of The Beach Boys, Chaplin tore through “Free Flows,” “Wild Honey” and “Sail On, Sailor,” stopping only to deliver some scorching guitar solos. Chaplin would return to harmonize on later songs, but he left the crowd craving more.

Wilson and Al Jardine

Wilson seemed content to simply let Chaplin, Jardine and Bonfiglio do the heavy lifting. He still managed to deliver moving renditions of “God Only Knows” and his solo tune “Love & Mercy.” If you had written those haunting melodies, maybe you could afford to take it easy during the rest of the set.

Opening band Beat Root Revival offered self-deprecating quips about opening for a titan like Wilson, but delivered a brief energetic set that featured solid covers and some touching originals. Englishman Ben Jones is a remarkably nimble guitarist, while Irish vocalist Andrea Magee provided most of the percussion and found new uses for a pennywhistle in her reinterpretation of Stevie Nicks’ “Dreams.” Her original tune “Forever” may have originated with her parents arguing about a piece of cheese, but it’s catchy and delightful even if you don’t know its origin.

Andrea Magee

Set List (Courtesy of Setlist.fm)

California Girls

Dance, Dance, Dance

I Get Around

Shut Down

Little Deuce Coupe

Little Honda

Surfer Girl

Salt Lake City

Wake the World

Add Some Music to Your Day

California Saga: California

Don’t Worry Baby

Darlin’

Feel Flows

Wild Honey

Sail On, Sailor

Do It Again

Wouldn’t It Be Nice

Sloop John B

God Only Knows

Good Vibrations

Encore

All Summer Long

Help Me, Rhonda

Barbara Ann

Surfin’ U.S.A.

Fun, Fun, Fun

Love and Mercy

Concert Review: “Generation Axe” Rochester, NY

“Generation Axe”
Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde, Yngvie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt, Tosin Abasi,
Saturday, December 1st, 2018
Kodak Performing Arts Center, Rochester, NY

Our score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Generation Axe” made a stop in the flour city on December 1st as part of the super group’s current US tour. Fresh off a successful tour of Asia the guitar dominant tour featuring Steve Vai, Yngvie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde, Nuno Bettencourt and Tosin Abasi is total emersion in to all things guitar. From head spinning solo performances to face melting group jams “Generation Axe” packs a punch like no other.

Given the reputation of the five guitarists who make up “Generation Axe” going in you can sort of guess what you are going to be in for however, it isn’t until you see the thirty plus Marshall amplifiers and various other gear that adorns the stage does it really sink in that “this might get loud”! From the opening notes of the Focus song “Hocus Pocus” (which featured all five talents shredding out of the gate) to the closing notes of Deep Purples “Burn” some three and a half hours later the near capacity crowd which filled the Kodak centers multi level venue were left slack jawed the near entire time. The performance moved rather smoothly as each of the five featured guitarists performed some of their more notable material before switching off with one of the other players. Animals As Leaders, Tosin Abasi opened the solo portion of the night with a furry of slap-tastic notes and uniquely timed transitions setting the stage nicely with songs from his bands catalog such as “Woven Web” and the popular “Physical Education”. Though he may have been the lesser known of the five Abasi let his music and technique speak earning him an impressive response from the audience.

Extreme’s Nuno Bettencourt would take the stage next opening with the always fun to sing along to “Get The Funk Out”. Nuno interacted sporadically with crowd and at one point teased them with the opening of the ballad “More Than Word” which he quickly stopped and joked that he would not be playing that tonight. Probably the most impressive of Bettencourt’s session was the piece “Extreme Melody” which was taken from a You Tube fan compilation consisting of all of his solos. Before leaving the stage Nuno invited the bearded berserker Zakk Wylde up to play on “Sidewayst” which then gave way to the Ozzy Osbourne/Black Label Society guitarists own solo portion. Wylde’s set consisted mostly of Black Sabbath songs such as “NIB” and “War Pigs” before being closed out with an amazing rendition of Gary Moore’s “Still Got the Blues”. Wylde’s set was pure energy and crowd interaction as the golden haired front-man left the stage several times to jam in the audience and at one point even made his way to the over-hanging balcony to jam for the higher up fans. Steve Vai (the man behind Generation Axe) would follow taking the stage with a lighted guitar to the tune of “There’s a Fire in Here”. Vai’s solo portion was quite brief in that it only consisted of three songs however the man with six fingers delivered tenfold.

Closing out the solo portions of the night was “The Maestro” Yngvie Malmsteen. Doused in a glow of red the long haired leather clad shredder from Sweden took listeners on a neo-classical voyage courtesy of his signature fender Stratocasters and wall of Marshall amps. From “Into Valhalla”, “Apreggio From Hell” and, “Paganini’s 4th Adagio” Malmsteen kept his foot on the gas and did not let up one bit. The night ended with a handful of songs featuring the entire line up. Easily my favorite from the three was the group’s all guitar rendition of the Queen track “Bohemian Rhapsody” complete with falsetto breakdowns. This alone made the ticket worth the price of admission. The night was closed out by Deep Purples “Burn” featuring Yngvie on vocals and I have to say it was nice to hear something from Purple’s catalog other than “Highway Star” or “Smoke on the Water”

“Generation Axe” is a great night of guitar playing and music. Vary rarely do you get to see two of these performers in the same place at the same time let alone all five. Equally impressive is the groups backing band consisting of Bassist Pete Griffin, Keyboardist Nick Marinovich and drummer JP Bouvet. The band performed a wide range of complex material the entire night never missing a beat and gave the five virtuoso guitarists the perfect foundation to build on. If “Generation Axe” is coming to your town get you and/or that loved one tickets to the show as you won’t be disappointed.

Set List:
1.) Hocus Pocus (Full Group)
2. Tempting Time (TA)
3.) Woven Web (TA)
4.) Physical Education (TA)
5.) Get The Funk Out (NB)
6.) Midnite Express (NB)
7.) Extreme Melody (NB)
8.) Sidewayst (NB/ZW)
9.) Into the Void (ZW)
10.) NIB (ZW)
11.) War Pigs (ZW)
12.) Still Got the Blues (ZW)
13.) There’s a Fire in Here (SV)
14.) The Animal (SV)
15.) For the Love of God (SV)
16.) Into Valhalla (YM)
17.) Baroque & Roll (YM)
18.) From A Thousand Cuts (YM)
19.) Apreggio From Hell (YM)
20.) Far Beyond the Sun (YM)
21.) Badlinere (YM)
22.) Paganini’s 4th Adagio (YM)
23.) Trilogy Suite Op 5 (YM)
24.) Black Star (YM)
25.) The Star-Spangled Banner (YM)
26.) Frankenstein (Full Group)
27.) Bohemian Rhapsody (Full Group)
28.) Burn (Full Group)

Concert Review: FOO FIGHTERS in Kansas City

 

 Foo Fighters
 Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO
 October 12, 2018
 
During an introduction a few years ago on CBS’s “Late Show with David Letterman,” the now-retired host said this about the Foo Fighters, “We can all sleep easy at night knowing that somewhere at any given time, the Foo Fighters are out there fighting Foo.” With founder Dave Grohl at the helm, Foo Fighters did plenty of that and then some in front of a packed audience for three wild hours on Friday night (Oct. 12) at the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.
 
After hitting the multi-generational crowd with three songs – “Run,” “The Sky Is a Neighborhood” and “La Dee Da” – from their ninth studio album “Concrete and Gold,” Grohl, who somehow manages to not blow out his vocal chords, took a break from wailing to let drummer Taylor Hawkins perform an epic solo, which was upon a miniature stage that rose a couple stories above the main stage. This led into “Something From Nothing,” also from their current album, before Grohl and company – bassist Nate Mendel, guitarist Pat Smear, Hawkins, guitarist Chris Shiflett, and keyboardist Rami Jaffee – took the Sprint Center on a rock journey across their 23-year music career.
 
Using just the right amount of laser lights and other visuals to complement their music, the Foo Fighters often went on extended, improvised versions of such classic hits as “The Pretender” and “Learn to Fly.” Without missing a beat, the audience was impressively able to sing every song word for word when called upon by Grohl, who once again proved he is a master showman. Some singers can bore you to tears when they decide to stop and talk in between songs. Grohl is a brilliant exception. Even with plenty of f-bombs to spare, Grohl, much like he did while sitting in a guitar throne three years ago during their last Sprint Center appearance, kept his spectators engaged and entertained.
 
The Foo Fighters took a break from their hit parade to allow each band member to have their own feature solo. No one in the house was disappointed as they demonstrated masterful musicianship, highlighted by a fantastic rendition of “Blitzkrieg Bop” with Smear taking the lead and “Under Pressure” with Grohl on drums and Hawkins on lead vocals. However, perhaps no more fun was to be had than when Grohl explained how important music can be to healing differences with Jaffee playing “Imagine” in the background. With everyone expecting to sing along with the John Lennon classic, Grohl surprised everyone by doing Van Halen’s “Jump” lyrics to the music of “Imagine,” again showing their versatility and playful side.
 
The Foo Fighters wound up the raucous evening of pure American rock with classics “My Hero,” “Monkey Wrench” and “Best of You” before diving into a slightly surprising encore. It featured Grohl inviting an 11-year-old kid onstage to play “Enter Sandman” on guitar, which was to the gleeful delight of the crowd, before the group ultimately ended with mainstay “Everlong.”

SET LIST:  Run, The Sky is a Neighborhood, La Dee Da, Sunday Rain, Something From Nothing, Walk, These Days, Arlandria, The Pretender, Times Like These, All My Life, Learn to Fly, Breakout, Another One Bites the Dust, Imagine/Jump, Blitzkrier Bop, Under Pressure, My Hero, Monkey Wrench, Best of You.  ENCORE:  Enter Sandman, Dirty Water, This is a Call, Everlon.,

 

Concert Review – Michael McDonald – Lawrence, Kansas

 

REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY DAN LYBARGER

 

Michael McDonald

The Lied Center, Lawrence, Kansas

August 12, 2018

 

If there is a way to age gracefully, it might be to simply admit you’re no longer young.

Throughout his 90-minute set at the Lied Center at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., on August 12, Michael McDonald made no attempt to pass himself off as anything other than a 66-year-old man.

When he introduced vocalist Drea Rheneé, the former Doobie Brothers singer and keyboardist praised her chops and that she relieved the crowd from the “middle-aged ugliness” of the rest of the band. He added, “You’ll notice I said ‘middle-aged.’ Who am I kidding?”

With a crowd that was primarily within throwing distance of that number, that wasn’t a problem. Part of the reason McDonald can still put on a good show is that he and his tunes were always for grownups. In both his solo work and his songs with his former band, McDonald has always sung about heartbreak that’s long removed from the teenage experience. In “Real Love” and “What a Fool Believes,” McDonald softly laments he or someone else has broken up and that it has happened many times before.

This may explain why the songs still sounded good last Sunday night and why people who aren’t trying to recapture their youth can listen to him without embarrassment. McDonald’s smooth as marshmallows delivery doesn’t deserve the label of “yacht rock,” because his roots are in St. Louis where the river vessels look a little different.

As he performed new tunes from last year’s Wide Open album like “Hail Mary” and “Just Strong Enough,” McDonald’s voice cracked just enough to prevent his band from slipping into easy listening. For the latter he even stood up from his piano stool for a few seconds, giving the song a feeling of vitality that wouldn’t occur if he were sitting like the audience.

It also helps that McDonald still has his vocal chops and nimble fingers. When he broke into familiar tunes like “Minute by Minute,” he’d begin them by adding jazzy touches to keep the arrangements from seeming too robotic.

He also avoided hogging the spotlight. He’d usually leave the showiest solos to guitarist Bernie Chiaravalle, sax player Mark Douthit and keyboardist Pat Coil. The three put just enough of a sting in the arrangements to keep the songs from being mellow enough to induce napping.

Rheneé had the unenviable task of replicating Patti LaBelle’s verses during the Burt Bacharach/Carole Bayer Sager hit “On My Own,” which may be most ironically titled duet ever. Fortunately, she easily kept up with LaBelle’s vocal gymnastics.

McDonald’s midwestern drawl is surprisingly clearer than his singing voice, but his stage banter was remarkably sincere. Having grown up in the St. Louis suburb, Ferguson, Mo., his later performance of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On” was expectedly moving, and he was clearly aware the issues Gaye lamented are sadly still with us.

Thankfully, so is McDonald, who helped open the Lied Center’s 25th anniversary on a high note.

Set list:

Yah Mo B There

Here To Love You

I Keep Forgettin’

Find It in Your Heart

Just Strong Enough

I Can Let Go Now

Sweet Freedom

On My Own

Hail Mary

Beautiful Child

Half Truth

Minute by Minute

What a Fool Believes

Encore

What’s Goin’ On

Taking It to the Streets

Concert Review: “A Paranormal Evening with Alice Cooper” – Kansas City

 

A Paranormal Evening with Alice Cooper

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts ,  Kansas City, Missouri

August 6, 2018

REVIEW BY J.R. DEETER

 

 

First off, let me just say that if you get an opportunity to see a concert performance at the Kauffman Center in Kansas City you should absolutely do so…..it is fast becoming my favorite venue to see concerts.

I have always been a casual fan of Alice Cooper and the “hits.”  I admit I really didn’t know many of the album songs….ones long-time fans know, but for this show, it didn’t seem to matter.   I really enjoyed every minute of the entire playlist.

Opening with a non stop barrage of Brutal Planet, No More Mr. Nice Guy, Under My Wheels and Billion Dollar Babies, you could tell this was going to be an awesome night.   As promised, this was to be “ A Paranormal Evening” and the stage set delivered….ghoulish and dark….strange, frightening elements filled the space, everything from small doll sized things….a large box, from which minions provided several props to Alice throughout the night, including a dancing demonic creature, a shocking electric chair and, of course, a guillotine, which eventually was used for the beheading of Cooper, to the screaming delight of the near capacity audience.

The song Lost in America is now one of my favorites….this was one I hadn’t heard before. Same with Woman of Mass Destruction.  How could I have missed those over the years?

Poison…..Feed My Frankenstein….even a bit of a slow down for Only Women Bleed didn’t drop the level of energy of the band, or the level of love from the crowd for this 70 year old Godfather of Shock Rock.

There were a couple of “rest periods” when Alice exited the stage for the obligatory solos by members of the band….every one of them very entertaining and capable on their instrument.  A special shout-out to Nita Straus, kicking ass on lead and rhythm guitar while providing backing vocals.

Wrapping up the show with I’m Eighteen and the confetti filled rousing rendition of School’s Out left my ears ringing and my heart filled with joy.  I had finally experienced Alice Cooper, clearly not in his prime, but certainly still able to deliver a killer performance.

(My .5 deduction is for not playing 1977’s You and Me.  I’m a former 80’s DJ, and that was a staple JAM we played often…great tune.)

Concert Review: Descendents, Buffalo, NY

2018 Tourage
Descendents, A Wilhelm Scream, Pavers
Friday, August 3rd, 2018
River Works, Buffalo, NY

Our score: 4 out of 5 stars

One of the biggest names in punk rock the Descendents kicked off another leg of their ongoing “2018 Tourage” tour on August 3rd at the River Works Complex in Buffalo, NY, The tour which first kicked off in April of this year and has the So-Cal punkers playing all around the US and various other countries through December. Also on the bill for the evening was the Massachusetts based A Wilhelm Scream and the Scott Reynolds (ALL) fronted Pavers.

Having never had the chance to see the Descendents before I jumped on the opportunity when it was announced they would kick off a new leg of their current “Tourage” tour in nearby Buffalo. The bands famous Milo logo adorned my skateboard growing up so it was great to finally see a band I had been following for so long. Opening up the show was former ALL front-man Scott Reynolds recently re-formed group the Pavers. Though the band had a couple rough spots during their thirty minute set Reynolds kept things moving like the seasoned veteran he is forging forward with a smile on his face which showed the growing crowd he and his band mates were there to have fun doing what they love performing tracks from the groups various albums. With little time between sets and down one member due to a missed flight A Wilhelm Scream hit the stage with a burst of energy that instantly ignited the multi-generational crowd. Vocalist Nuno Pereira worked the stage left, right and up and down for that matter as the front-man was in constant motion adding to the bands fast paced, frantic approach. Even if the band was starting out one in the hole you would have never know as the band sounded great and were extremely tight as they helped bring the crowds energy to an even higher level.

Last but not least the Descendents took the stage helmed by founding member drummer Bill Stevenson and long time vocalist Milo Aukerman. For the next ninety minutes the band completely shredded over thirty five classic Descendents tunes including “Clean Sheets”, “Coffee Mug” and the guitar-tastic “Coolidge”. After the bands initial twenty nine song set fans were treated to a mini ALL reunion when former vocalist Scott Reynolds joined the Descendents (Minus Aukerman) for renditions of the ALL songs “Fool” and “Dot”. Needless to say this caused the crowd (myself included) to go absolutely nuts. After the brief reunion Aukerman would return performing probably my two favorite Descendents tracks “Bikeage” and “Good Good Things” along with a handful of other great tunes before taking their bows and waving goodbye.

It was clearly a night of nostalgia and fun as each of the bands on the tour brought their own unique brand of punk rock to the near capacity Buffalo venue. With the Descenedents history stretching back to 1977 it would be expected for them to lose a step or two however the band sounds just as fresh and powerful as they did at their inception. With the tour running the remainder of 2018 you owe it to yourself to catch one of the many shows scheduled on the “Tourage” run as it is the perfect setting for ALL generations of punk loving fans.

Set List:
1.) Suburban Home
2.) Everything Sux
3.) Hope
4.) On Paper
5.) I Wanna Be a Bear
6.) Rotting Out
7.) Victim of Me
8.) Get the Time
9.) I Like Food
10.) Shameless Halo
11.) My Dad Sucks
12.) Clean Sheets
13.) Testosterone
14.) Van
15.) Nothing With you
16.) I’m Not a Punk
17.) Silly Girl
18.) I Don’t Want to Grow Up
19.) Who We Are
20.) Weinerschnitzel
21.) Myage
22.) Without Love
23.) Global Probing
24.) Coffee Mug
25.) When I Get Old
26.) Coolidge
27.) Thank You
28.) Descendents
29.) Fool (ALL Cover)
30.) Dot (ALL Cover)
31.) ALL
32.) No! All!
33.) ‘Merican
34.) I’m the One
35.) Bikeage
36.) Smile
37.) Good Good Things
38.) Pep Talk