Growth Factor Plus vs. Peak Height – Growing Tall Pills Review

Believe it or not, there are plenty of supplements out on the market today that are geared towards helping to make you taller.

Most of these TheHealthReview.com – Height Pills include plenty of essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and other components that work together to help you maximize your height, usually through encouraging additional development of human growth hormone, or HGH.

Two of the most popular options are Peak Height and Growth Factor Plus, which we’ll review, compare, and contrast.

Peak Height

Peak Height includes plenty of essential nutrients. This includes calcium, vitamins D and B12, and essential amino acids L-Arginine and L-Ornithine.

Calcium and vitamin D are vital to bone strengthening and growth, while vitamin B12 largely focuses on bone repair. Both amino acids are all about helping your body produce higher levels of the all-important human growth hormone.

Peak Height includes the exact right amount of each of the above ingredients, among others, and encourages them to work together and with your body to create an environment conducive to growth.

It’s important to note that Peak Height is best used by adolescents — that is, individuals who are at least 10 years of age but still in the midst of puberty. The supplement is designed to encourage bone growth during a period when they’re already growing, and Peak Height includes the perfect mix of ingredients to do just that.

Outside of the age restrictions, the only real potential downside to Peak Height is that you must be sure to not take more than the recommended dosage, as the ingredients are measured out to specific and exact amounts.

Growth Factor Plus

While Peak Height is designed specifically for adolescents, Growth Factor Plus is the opposite and should not be used by anyone under the age of 18.

You’ll find a different ingredient list in Growth Factor Plus, including HGH to supplement your bodies existing store, as well as essential amino acids such as L-Tyrosine, L-Glutamine, and L-Glycine. While you won’t find human growth hormone pills for adolescents, Growth Factor Plus isn’t a straight HGH supplement for adults, either, and is constructed much more carefully to ensure that optimal results are achieved.

Growth Factor Plus works by stimulating osteoclasts and osteoblasts, essential bone cells within your spine. The stimulated cells will help with transforming lengthened cartilage tissue into bone tissue, ultimately increasing the length of the bone.

Again, the only real negative to this supplement is the age restriction and the dosage limits, so be sure that you’re reading everything on the labels of the supplements your considering.

The Verdict

Peak Height and Growth Factor Plus are two very different supplements that both aim to do the same thing.

They have different target age ranges and include plenty of varying ingredients. But this just goes to show us that no matter your age or status in life, you can find a supplement to help you out. And, combined with an improved diet, more sleep, and an increase in exercise, you just might be able to add an inch (or two, or more!) to your frame.

CBD Treats for Dogs & Pets Buying Guide & Review

If you’re here, you’re no doubt a dog lover that absolutely adores your Fido. You also probably know a little bit about CBD, or cannabidiol.

If the latter isn’t true, however, that’s just fine. This guide will be a quick primer on what CBD is, how it can help your beloved pet, and what to look out for when you’re considering purchasing Simply Pets CBD Biscuits.

First, let’s talk about what CBD is all about and why it works so well.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the compounds within the cannabis plant.

First off, it’s important to not confuse CBD with THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the compound that has psychoactive effects and is known for creating a feeling of “highness”. For the record, hemp itself has very low levels of THC. While CBD derived from the marijuana plant will have higher levels, all legitimate pet products that are derived from the hemp plant will carry a note regarding THC levels, which are regulated down to a practically non-existent presence.

CBD is beneficial to dogs,cats, and humans alike. It’s a nontoxic, completely natural solution to a variety of ailments, which we’ll get to in a moment.

What can CBD do for my dog?

The most common reason that pet owners choose a CBD product to give to their pet is general pain or anxiety.

Especially for dogs with significant chronic pain, CBD can be a game changer. This could include neuropathy or nerve-related pain, as well as joint and bone issues. The biggest benefit is related to potential inflammation, which CBD is known for helping to reduce.

Of course, less inflammation invariably leads to less overall pain. And reducing inflammation is the No. 1 thing that CBD products work to do in pets. It isn’t just joints, bones, and external issues,either, but CBD can help with internal organs and other parts of the dog’s body that might be inflamed.

There is even quite a bit of research to suggest that CBD could help fight cancer, and while this hasn’t yet been proven definitively, there are plenty of ancillary benefits.

What should I look for in CBD dog treats?

The majority of CBD dog treats that you’ll find on the market are 100 percent natural, and that’s the first thing to look for as you’re exploring your options. If it isn’t promoted as completely natural, then you’re probably looking at a product that was exposed to pesticides and things of that nature.

You’ll also want to ensure that the product you select has been lab tested. As mentioned earlier, knowing the THC content is vital, too. Make sure that nothing you’re giving your dog has high contents of THC.

And again, the majority of CBD dog treats will have the above traits noted on the packaging but be sure that you’re paying close attention to it.

Are CBD treats the right choice for my dog?

Probably! Of course, these types of decisions are entirely up to you as the pet parent, but there isn’t any research to suggest that CBD dog treats or other CBD products could be harmful to your dog, so why not find a natural, holistic solution to whatever ails your beloved puppy?

Make sure to do all of the research mentioned above and go ahead and get to helping your dog feel better!

Review Guide to Growing Taller & Best Height Growth Pills

Who wouldn’t want to grow taller?

Of course, the best way to go about growing taller is to go through puberty, when your pituitary gland releases those wonderful growth hormones into your bloodstream and you grow taller by entirely natural means.

But if you’re past puberty and still want to augment your height, or even if you’re still going through puberty and want to make sure that you’re maximizing your growth, then we’ve put together this handy guide, just for you!

First, we’ll talk about some relatively easy,natural things you can tweak in your daily routine that will ensure that you’re giving your body every possible opportunity to grow. From diet to posture to exercise, there are probably more things that you can start doing tomorrow to help you get taller than you’d expect.

Then, we’ll look at grow taller pills from an organization helping people increase height, which are supplements that just might help give you that final boost.

What to change tomorrow that will encourage maximum growth

First and foremost, you must do a complete diet audit. While the importance of eating healthy is painfully obvious, there are af ew vitamins and minerals that contribute to creating the best possible environment for your body’s growth hormones to take action.

Vitamins such as vitamin B1 and vitamin D are the two most prominent examples, as well as minerals including calcium,phosphorus, and zinc. Make sure that your diet includes plenty of those — plus eat healthier in general, of course — and you should be in a good spot from a diet perspective.

Exercise is also extremely important, but in addition to just being in better shape and improving your overall health, there are specific exercises that can help accentuate your height and even encourage growth.

From more typical forms of exercise such as swimming that will stretch out your spine to specific stretches aimed at lengthening both your backbone and limbs, including hanging exercises,“superman” stretches, and more, there are plenty of options. In short, just be sure to be intentional with your workouts.

Also, be cognizant of your day-to-day posture. If you sit all day at a desk for school or work, make sure that your challenging yourself to sit up straight with good posture, as well as taking the opportunity to stand and stretch out as much as possible.

Lastly, ensure that you’re getting the adequate amount of sleep. While important at any age — and for a variety of reasons –sleeping at least seven hours per night will help your body release plenty of growth hormones to aid in growth.

Grow taller pills and other supplements to consider

All of the above are potentially swift changes that you can make to your daily routine. If that’s still not enough, you can absolutely look at the variety of supplements available.

Most supplements are recommended only for those over the age of 18, and it’s important that you look closely at what each pill claims to do. While there are many great options out there that suggest that their product generates fantastic results, make sure that you’re making the decision that’s right for you.

Final Thoughts

Contrary to popular belief, there is always something you can do to make yourself appear taller, from diet to exercise to sleep habits to supplements. Good luck out there, and we’ll see you at the top.

Film Review – “On the Basis of Sex”



ON THE BASIS OF SEX
Starring:  Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer
Directed by: Mimi Leder
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hrs
Focus Features

In the era of the Me Too movement, the biographical drama “On the Basis of Sex” has the appearance of fitting in with the times as it highlights the early struggles against oppressive sexism by current U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. While it contains all the necessary components of a story that you know will be uplifting in the end, it often feels like it should come with shiny wrapping paper and big red bow. While the story makes it clear how difficult it was for Ginsburg to launch her legal career simply because of her gender, the film is too generic for its own good. Inspiring? Yes. Different from a myriad of other inspirational, biographical dramas? Not so much. 

It’s 1956 and director Mimi Leder (“Deep Impact,” “The Peacemaker”) does a great job with the first shot of the film by having a sidewalk crammed with emotionless male law students and professors walking to class clad in drab suits. In the middle of it all there is a singular woman in a blue dress standing out from the nameless crowd. The talented Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything”) generates a sense of wide-eyed excitement as Ruth, but she also manages to show us there is a determined confidence within the aspiring attorney. 

Ruth not only has to force reluctant Harvard professors to pay her any serious attention, embodied by a law dean (Sam Waterston) with a paternalistic attitude towards his few female students, but she also has to balance being newly married to aspiring tax attorney Martin Ginsburg (Armie Hammer) and being a new mother. Further complications arise when Martin is given a grim diagnosis of testicular cancer with less than a 10% chance to survive. Ruth’s resolve is such that she attends Martin’s classes as well as her own as he battles his illness. 

Ultimately, Martin recovers and becomes a rising star at a law firm while Ruth is unable to get any jobs because of her gender. She relents her pursuit and by 1970 has established herself as a law professor at Rutgers University. Her life and career are forever changed, though, when Martin presents her a gender-based tax case involving a bachelor who was denied a tax deduction based upon the fact he never married. The Ginsburgs see it as an opportunity to start breaking down every law in the country that discriminates against gender, but first they must win their case, which proves to be more daunting than Ruth could have ever imagined. It all sets up a dramatic courtroom climax that we have seen in some variation or form many times before. 

“On the Basis of Sex” is an inspiring film with nice performances and a nice story. However, there isn’t a wow factor to it or anything that leaves a lasting impression afterwards, with a possible exception of Jones’ solid performance. Ginsburg’s impressive legal career is already well-documented, yet we don’t see enough of what her private life was like, much less what she was like while growing up. There is an emotional connection we are not able to quite establish with her because of this void, albeit there is one brief story Martin relates to their teen daughter about Ruth’s relationship with her mother. 

The story flows easily but it fails to get down and dirty considering the offensiveness of the situation women of the times faced then, and still face today. And to be fair, where is the inspirational movie about the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court – Sandra Day O’Connor? Shouldn’t her tale of sacrifice and ceilings shattered be told as well? “On the Basis of Sex” is a decent film that’s enjoyable but not impactful.

Film Review- “If Beale Street Could Talk”

IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK
Starring:  KiKi Layne, Stephan James and Regina King
Directed by:  Barry Jenkins
Rated: R
Running time:  1 hr 59 mins
Annapurna Pictures

2018 may go down as the year when everything old became new again. Especially in films.  Messages(and misdeeds) from the past were brought to cinemas in new, fresh styles but the messages were not lost.  Films like “Black Panther” and “Blackkksman” made audiences, both black and white, take a look atthe world around them and demand that it change.  2019 continues that path with the latest film from “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins, “If Beale Street Could Talk.”

Tish (Layne) and Vonny (James) are young and in love.  Vonny isan artist with dreams of opening his own gallery.  Sadly, they live in a time when society, and even members of their own families, are not as supportive as they should be.  They find their love challenged when Vonny is arrested and charged with committing a brutal rape.  We know he’s innocent but, thanks to a racist cop (the creepy Ed Skrein) and a victim (Emily Rios in a very strong performance) who has fled the country, the deck is already stacked against him.

As someone that has always enjoyed reading, I was well aware of the late James Baldwin.  He was an author who was not afraid to write about the world as he saw it, no matter the view.  Director Jenkins, who shared the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar in 2016 for “Moonlight” – and will surely be nominated again for his work here – has kept the novel’s 1970s setting intact, but the tale told could easily have been placed in today’s world, a place where institutionalized racism is still an ongoing problem.

Jenkins has assembled a skilled cast of actors, both new and old, to shoulder the emotional impact of the story.  In her first feature film, Ms. Layne is the heart and voice of the film (Tish narrates the story as it progresses).  Her bright eyes and constant smile tell the audience that she is in love and will always be, no matter the consequences.  Mr. James, who has portrayed such historically important characters as John Lewis and Jesse Owens, is also strong.  He is a strong black man in an era when some parts of society confused “strong” with “trouble.”  As Tish’s mother, Sharon, Regina King delivers one of the best performances in ANY film released this year.   In their review of “Beale Street,”Entertainment Weekly plainly asked “Will someone please give Regina King an Oscar already?”  I wholeheartedly agree!

A film that makes you think, like the perfect diamond, is rare.  “IfBeale Street Could Talk” is flawless.

Stage Review: “The Book of Mormon” – Kansas City

Review by Phillip Smith

“The Book of Mormon”  Music Hall – Kansas City, Missouri – December 27, 2018

Making it’s third trip through Kansas City, the question has to be “Does ‘The Book of Mormon’ hold up?  Thank you, Heavenly Father, because the answer is a resounding “yes!”

Winner of nine Tony Awards in 2011, including Best Musical, “Book of Mormon” is the brain-child of “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who conceived the production with “Avenue Q” composer Robert Lopez.

The show tells the story of two young missionaries, Elder’s Price (Kevin Clay) and Cunningham (Jacob Ben-Shmuel) , who are sent to Uganda to introduce Jesus Christ to the natives.  Of course, things don’t go the way they should, with results that can only be expected from the team that gave us “South Park” and “Team America.”

The production was well staged and the cast enthusiastic.  As was the audience, who erupted into applause when it was noted that “the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri,” which is also where Kansas City is located.  

Almost a decade after it premiered, “The Book of Mormon” continues to be one of the best musicals running, and easily one of the best musicals of this century.  

Film Review: “Green Book”

GREEN BOOK
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali
Directed by: Peter Farrelly
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hrs 10 mins
Universal

 Nominated by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in five categories at the upcoming 2019 Golden Globes, including Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, “Green Book” is one of the most acclaimed films of 2018 with 49 nominations from various cinema-related organizations. Inspired by a true story, this period drama is a surprisingly complex, emotional work considering its director, Peter Farrelly, is best known for comedic fare like “Shallow Hal” and “Dumb & Dumber.” With “Green Book,” Farrelly captures the stark racial divide of 1962 America with an exploration of the relationship between Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) and Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) as they travel across the Midwest and Deep South. 

It doesn’t take long to figure out that Tony Lip is a man you don’t want to mess with as he is the kind of tough guy who will hit you when you get out of line and will hit you harder if you strike back. Tony is thus the right fit as a bouncer at a New York City nightclub that’s frequented by wise guys from the Italian mob. However, despite their efforts to lure him to their line of business, Tony stays on the straight and narrow, sort of, as he is more than happy with being a devoted family man. Now while that’s all well and good, Tony has a set of racist attitudes towards people of color, exemplified when he tosses two water glasses into the trash after two black handymen drink from them in his house. When the nightclub he works at is shut down for remodeling, Tony Lip resorts to all sorts of ways to earn money for his family, including his participation in an impromptu eating contest that gets him fifty dollars. Thanks to his reputation as a man who can get things done, Tony Lip is called in to interview for a job as a driver for famed classical pianist Don Shirley.

It doesn’t go well at first because while Tony Lip is about as uneducated and uncultured as they come, Don holds multiple degrees and can speak several languages. Ultimately, Don hires Tony Lip because he needs someone who can protect him during a two-month concert tour that will take them through the heart of the segregated Deep South. As the two men learn more about each other, the more their divides begin to melt away to be replaced with curiosity and even friendship. This is helped by the conditions they witness as Don experiences for the first time the true pain of segregation and Tony Lip has his eyes opened to the injustice of it all.

Farrelly’s creation, with its terrific music selection, costumes and lingo, puts us in a time machine that takes us back to an America that had yet to lose its so-called innocence to assassinations and the Vietnam War. “Green Book” reminds us that that innocence was tainted with bigotry and hatred. It also reminds us how ignorance can be overcome with unity. In addition to its smartly written script and solid direction, “Green Book” contains a pair of dare I say Oscar nomination worthy performances. Mortensen dazzles with his knack to bring to life every subtle nuance of the characters he plays. This role is no exception as he helps make Tony Lip someone we can truly care about even though in the beginning it’s a little tough to do. Ali, a 2017 Oscar winner for “Moonlight,” gives Don a vulnerable sophistication while also breathing out a certain degree of naivete without seeming to break a sweat. It all adds up to “Green Book” being the type of rare movie where everyone can feel a little bit happier about the world when the lights go back on.

Book Review: “The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5 and My Life of Impossibilities” By: Wayne Kramer

“The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5 and My Life of Impossibilities”
Author: Wayne Kramer
Da Capo
Hardcover: 311 pages

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5 and My Life of Impossibilities” is the story of legendary guitarist Wayne Kramer. From his childhood in Detroit where he found inspiration from the likes Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones to his pursuit of “avant rock” with his group the MC5. Released via Da Capo Press “The Hard Stuff” is a 311 page biography recounting a life of rock and roll excess to prison confinement making all stops in between and any there-after.

As gritty as the ground breaking groups music “The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5 and My Life of Impossibilities” is a brutally honest, in-depth look at M5 founding member Wayne Kramer’s life. Told by the man himself Kramer recounts his upbringing in a home with an abusive stepfather and how he channeled his inner frustrations about the world around him into some of the MC5’s most notable material. Though I found the chapters recounting his time with the band the following chapters after the group disbanding was where my attention was really held. Kramer painstakingly tells of his time in prison after a drug bust and the years after in which he struggled with addiction up through reconnecting with his biological father.

“The Hard Stuff” is a roller coaster ride of emotion that keeps the reader interested and turning the pages. Not many people (if any) have had a life like Wayne Kramer and this book makes that abundantly clear. You don’t need to be a fan of Kramer’s music to enjoy this book as the author speaks his truth and does not shy away from darker periods of his life or difficult subject matter. For those hoping to catch the MC5 on the 50th anniversary tour this is the perfect foundation to help connect or reconnect with one of rock music’s most influential artists/groups.

Fishin’ Frenzy Review

You’ve probably played slot machines based on Greek mythology, dragons and films. But how about a game based on fishing? What’s so special about fishing you ask? Well, fishing is a popular pastime which attracts many people to riverbanks and lakes up and down the country and worldwide and the Fishin’ Frenzy provides a familiar feel Blueprint Gaming’s fishing-themed slot machine.

Fishin’ Frenzy is a five-reel slot with three rows and 10 pay lines. It is available on all devices – desktop, tablet and mobile devices, meaning you can play it from the comfort of your own home or even on the go with a WiFi connection. It is available at a number of online casinos, including: https://games.paddypower.com/game/fishin-frenzy-gbp

Paying homage to anglers across the nation,this slot machine is designed for you to make the catch of the day in a different way. The game is simple, yet charming, helping to recreate the relaxing hobby by way of a slot machine. The graphics are colorful as you expect from a game based on nature whilst the design is user-friendly. The theme includes a deep sea background to make for a relaxing setting.

Are you a fisherman? Or did you enjoy it as a child with your parents? The peace, the nature gets you away from the busy city life and loud noise. Remember setting your rod and waiting for fish to bite the tackle before returning them to the waters? Thinking of those great memories may in

There are up to 20 free spins available by landing five scatter symbols. The scatter is represented by a boat heading into the sunset, offering up to 20 free spins. Three-of-a-kind scatters offer 10 free spins and four offers 15 free spins.

A fisherman is the slot game’s wild, whilst various fishing-themed icons including fishing reels, buoys, seagulls and tackle boxes contribute to other symbols in the game. The seagull is there to help you catch fish and any time the fisherman appears on the reels simultaneously with small fish you have locked in a prize. Once activated you’ll see the fisherman catch a fish with price tag symbols offering additional wins. These totals are then added to your prize.

The pay table instructions can be found in the upper right-hand corner of the game. This includes the symbol values, such as the 10, J, Q, K and A being the low-value cards and they even look fish-related. It’s the little details like this that really makes Fishin’ Frenzy stand out from a number of slot machines. The minimum bet is £0.01 up to a maximum of £10.00 per spin. Once you have a winner you can Gamble on it with the potential of doubling the amount by correctly guessing the color of a card.

So whether you’re into fishing or not we think you’ll enjoy Fishin’ Frenzy. Particularly on a rainy day when you’re stuck indoors and don’t want to head down to the lake. You can enjoy the peace and tranquility from your own living room that this game provides instead.

Film Review: “Mary Queen of Scots”

MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Guy Pearce, Joe Allwyn, Jack Lowden
Directed by: Josie Rourke
Rated: R
Running Time: 124 minutes
Focus Features

By many accounts Mary Queen of Scots had a tragic life. The monarch was widowed at eighteen and eventually beheaded decades later only after nineteen years in captivity in England. She can easily be seen as a victim of the machinations of the men who surrounded her. The film version of her life however, from lauded stage director Josie Rourke and scripted by “House of Cards” creator Beau Willimon, would not have you simplify it as such. Instead, the film Mary Queen of Scots, presents an intimate portrayal of a passionate young woman navigating the troubled political waters of both Scotland and England. Although at times it can be hard to keep track of everyone in play, Rourke delivers a strong, richly designed film lead by a confident Saoirse Ronan.

Rourke’s take on Mary benefits heavily by opening up its scope to include the simultaneously eventful reign of Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie). From the opening of the film, we know both that Mary’s very existence threatened Elizabeth’s claim to her throne and that Mary would be condemned to die by that same cousin. Yet, with this is mind, the film never quite pits them against each other. Instead Rourke is able to take a more modern look at how each of them faced no-win choices when being challenged by contemporaries frowning upon female rulers. Elizabeth for her part is always wary of taking a husband or providing the heir that her privy council demands while Mary is viewed as a harlot for doing exactly that—but the wrong husband. This dichotomy of the spinster and the slut stereotypes is keenly observed by Rourke and never too on the nose.

Among the menfolk in this story is where I found some difficulty keeping up. It’s a little difficult at first to grasp onto which lord or musician giving Meaningful Looks from the shadows will evolve into an actual relationship for these women. They can be a bit of a blur of beards. Often times when they were talked about while off screen, I regretted not doing a quick wikipedia read of Mary to get a handle on which of them really warranted attention. Still, David Tennant as a vicious Scot priest set firmly against Mary is a snarly delight in this crowd. Buoying every performance, it cannot be understated, is some truly beautiful costume design by Alexandra Byrne .

Finally of course though, the film rests heavy upon its titular monarch and even though she shares much of the marketing with Robbie, this is Ronan’s film. She is by turns steely and vulnerable, whether on the battlefield or in the private company of her lifelong handmaidens. Rourke’s film shines when it spends more intimate time with Mary than many period films usually do with their subjects. Meanwhile, Ronan seizes her titular responsibility with relish and infuses Mary with such conviction that I was rooting for her even as I knew she was doomed. 

CD Review: Emigrate “A Million Degrees”

“A Million Degrees”
Emigrate
Spinefarm Records
Tracks: 11

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

“A Million Degrees” is the latest offering from Rammstein guitarist Richard Z. Kruspe’s side project Emigrate. The band which released its self titled debut in 2007 and, the follow up “Silent So Long” in 2014 features with Kruspe, Olsen Involtini, Arnaud Giroux, Mikko Sirén, Margaux Bossieux and drummer Joe Letz . Released via Spinefarm Records “A Million Degrees” is an industrial tinged rocker consisting of 11 tracks with guest performances from the likes of Rammstein’s Till Lindemann & Billy Talent’s Benjamin Kowalewicz.

The latest offering from Emigrate is a mixture of familiar industrial textures and freshly infused rock rhythms which produce an album worthy of repeated listening. Much like its predecessors “A Million Degrees” follows suit with catchy vocal hooks, crunchy guitars and bombastic beats that will rattle your inner most core from start to finish. Tracks like the fast paced, thumping “1234” which features Billy Talent vocalist Benjamin Kowalewicz and the synth filled ballad esque “You Are So Beautiful” were personal favorites of mine as was pinch harmonic filled opener “War” and the call and response filled “Spitfire”. Over the albums eleven track, forty five minute run-time Kruspe and company give listeners a wide range of sound scapes and instrumentation that is familiar enough to draw you in and new enough to keep you listening. Die hard Rammstein fans will be happy to know that you even get a guest appearance by Kruspe’s cohort Till Lindemann on the anthemic “Let’s Go” which has the two trading vocals lines back and forth before joining in together later on in the song. Having been a fan since the mid-nineties this fact alone was enough to peak my initial interest.

Fans of Richard Z’s previous works will clearly already have this on their radar however, if you are just more of a casual listener of either Rammstein or Emigrate I strongly urge you to give “A Million Degrees” a listen. Kruspe appears to have really settled into his dual role in the group and together they have crafted an album that provides listeners with an album that runs the gamut of musical styles which can be listened to time and time again.

Track Listing:
1.) War
2.) 1234 feat. Benjamin Kowalewicz
3.) A Million Degrees
4.) Lead You On feat. Margaux Bossieux
5.) You Are OS Beautiful
6.) Hide and Seek
7.) We Are Together
8.) Let’s Go feat. Till Lindemann
9.) I’m Not Afraid
10.) Spitfire
11.) Eyes Fade Away

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)

Book Review: “Forever Nerdy: Living My Dorky Dreams and Staying Metal” By: Brian Posehn

“Forever Nerdy: Living My Dorky Dreams and Staying Metal”
Author: Brian Posehn
Da Capo
Hardcover: 304 pages

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Brian Posehn is a successful and instantly recognizable comedian, actor, and writer. He also happens to be a giant nerd. That’s partly because he’s been obsessed with such things as Dungeons & Dragons, comic books, and heavy metal since he was a child; the other part is because he fills out every bit of his 6’7” frame. Brian’s always felt awkward and like a perpetual outsider, but he found his way through the difficulties of growing up by escaping into the worlds of Star Wars, D&D, and comics, and by rocking his face off. “Forever Nerdy” is a celebration of growing up nerdy and different. Being a nerd hasn’t always been easy, but somehow this self-hating nerd who suffered from depression was able to land his dream job, get the girl, and learn to fit in. Kind of.

Those familiar with Brian’s long standing comedic work will surely know what they are getting into even before reading page 1. “Forever Nerdy: Living My Dorky Dreams and Staying Metal” is a fun read chalked full of awkward yet at times relatable experiences of a kid/adult trying to find their place in life. From losing his father at a young age to feeling like an outcast at school Brian tells his story through black horned rim glasses recounting various pivotal moments in his life with his signature dry/slow paced delivery which had me cracking up time and time again. From stories of his mom taking him to see “Jaws” and “Star Wars” to his love of Kiss and comic books Posehn shares these memories in detail making you feel like you too were there. Even with darker subject matter from his childhood Brian’s wit shines though making want to keep reading page after page.

Posehn was a nerd before it was cool and “Forever Nerdy: Living My Dorky Dreams and Staying Metal” is total proof and its nothing to be ashamed of. Chapter after chapter the author keeps you laughing with ho-hum accounts of his life and career and whether you are a fan of his comedy or share a similar taste in pop culture and music this book is for you and/or would make the perfect gift for a loved one this holidays season.

Film Review: “Fantastic Beasts : The Crimes of Grindelwald”

 

FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston
Directed by: David Yates
Rated: PG-13
Running time: 2 hrs 14 mins
Warner Bros.

Is “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” fantastic or criminal? The answer falls somewhere in the middle. This second installment of what is intended to be a series of “Fantastic Beasts” films, all from the mind of “Harry Potter” creator J.K. Rowling, is a long-winded tale that lacks the charm of its 2016 predecessor. The story is predictably darker in tone, but a bulk of the over two-hour running time is a snooze fest.

Set in 1927, “Crimes of Grindelwald” begins excitingly enough as we watch Johnny Depp play the steely fanatical villain Gellert Grindelwald, regarded as one of the two most powerful wizards around, make a daring yet well-planned escape from the British Ministry of Magic. That’s when the story comes to a screeching halt as we are then forced into the world of mild-mannered Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as he tries to get his international travel ban lifted.

Not much has changed with our hero since the original – he refuses to take sides, rarely makes eye contact with anyone, and has trouble communicating with the opposite sex. Newt is offered the chance to work alongside his brother for the Ministry of Magic in order to locate the powerful yet troubled Obscurial Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller, “Justice League”), but he refuses. However, he cannot turn down his former teacher Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) so he travels secretly to Paris with his Muggle sidekick in-tow, Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) who’s fighting with wizard girlfriend Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol).

It’s all rather sluggish and overly contrived as we are bombarded with a dizzying array of plot points for not only this film, but also for the “Fantastic Beasts” sequels that are already planned. There is little in the way of suspense even though more and more characters are introduced who are trying to find Credence for a variety of reasons, some more mysterious or nefarious than others. Rowling’s story also tries to rekindle the endearing romance in the first film between Newt and Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston). Unfortunately, Rowling’s screenplay fails as their bumbling stumbling relationship feels like something straight out of a TV sitcom.

The character of Newt ends up becoming a boring, overshadowed distraction instead of a hero as we are left with wanting more of Law and Depp. Both are a treat to watch on the silver screen with Law successfully being able to make his own mark on a character already forged in the minds of “Harry Potter” followers by Michael Gambon and the late Richard Harris. Depp delivers one of his better performances as Grindelwald as he stays away from being overly quirky and gives his character a magnetic solemnity.

The pace is picked up in the last third of “Crimes of Grindelwald” as secrets are revealed, characters die, and those still living chose sides. Plenty of magical special effects abound but none are necessarily ground breaking or spell binding. Maybe it’s a sophomore slump and the “Fantastic Beasts” series will get better, but in the meantime it’s a disappointing pill to swallow.