Motley Crue and Poison Review

On June 15, 2011, in Concert Reviews, by admin

Every once in a while you must imbibe. Once in a while you must throw caution to the wind and pursue true Bohemian attitude.  This is what I considered ding to go drive 110 miles to see a mid-week concert featuing Motley Crue and Poison. This was the 7th time seeing Motley Crue, and now double digits for Poison at 10. Naturally I was drawn to this event given my musical taste of which most of you are well aware. Given the harsh economical times, I decided that I would take advantage of $16 tickets….yes, that includes all the bullshit fees Ticketmaster places on the tickets.  Welcome to a mid week concert.  My thought process was that I can always sneak up closer to the stage to get a better view of the bands to write this review. Plan executed. But lets first go over the show…..

The New York Dolls (warning, not sure this is official site) opened.  Reformed in 2004 with David Johannason at lead, these guys put on a nice show if you like the pop/punk influence. They were a tight band, but really, misplaced on this bill.  Apparently Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue consider them an influence and that is how they got on this bill.  Well, good for Nikki not selling out, as these guys, while good, just was not a match for the other two bands from a musical genre point of view.( Sorry Robert, I know you were pissed in your own way for missing the first two songs while delivering my ticket to me. )

Next was Poison. Brett Michaels cashed in one of his nine lives to appear unscathed once again after a bout with potential death inclusive of a hole in his heart…or some medical thing as this.  But here is my tribute to him.  This dude has been a Type 1 diabetic for well over 40 years.  He injects himself with insulin about 4 times a day. He has lived his rock lifestyle. He survives.  In fact, he looked great on the stage this hot Texas evening. For personal reasons which I will not go into (but read the lyrics of “Learning To Breathe” on the Song Lyrics page of this site), I have the most respect for this person and what he has gone through.  OK. Enough mush.  That said, the show was all Poison.  They have not changed in several years.  They always open with “Look What the Cat Dragged In” (really a clever song lyrically if you peel the onion back). The show is full of Brett Michaels fake smiles. He plays the audience, but really never looking into the eyes of anyone of the concert goers. It comes off quite fake.  He has to kiss D.D. Deville’s ass so many times during the concert. I would not be surprised if C.C.’s acknowldgement by Michaels was not written into the contract…..and this night, it was over the top.  That said, C.C. was spot on in his guitar.  Looking good and drug free (for many years now, sans one relapse) he is was force on the stage. Also in the Poison show is the solos.  Guitar, Drums,  Really shitheads?  I know you can play those instruments,. why do this?  And why did not bassist Bobby Dahl get a solo? OH well, Poison is Poison, and I will continue to support them. I have seen Michaels 4 times solo as well, and well, he is consistent there as well with his plastic smile…..but still……..

Motley Crue. What can you say?  I have seen versions of this band missing original members. But they have been basically back together as originals since 2004. Each member has his own branding.  Vince Neal, the lead singer is well know for his debauchery….( I once witness him clock a sound guy on a solo tour, and yes, the sound guy was a rental for the gig….read,  lawsuits in Dallas ensued). Bassist Nikki Sixx was known for his near death experience with heroin addiction.  Mick Mars, the quiet one branded himself in mystery, kind of the implied satanist of the group.  In reality, he has battled a life long health issue called ankylosing spondylitis, which is an advanced form of arthritis of the hip and back.  Tommy Lee was branded for his big ‘you know what’, sex tapes, and his twice shortly lived marriage to PamelaAnderson. Now he does the DJ circuit in top clubs when not touring.  I snuck down from my hill side perch to get a good view of Motley Crue.  They all look good.  Mars moves decently considering his position.  Nikki Sixx, looks fantastic, although sporting a few extra pounds.  Neal the same.  They are a tight band, know the moves of each other on stage, and put on one hell of a show. The stage was elaborate.  Colorful…..and topped off by a circular roller coaster rail where Lee’s drum kit, and Lee, could go upside down.  In fact, Lee pulled a dude from the audience to strap onto the elaborate set up and take an upside down ride as well.  While I am there more for the music and performance, this was entertaining.  Neals voice is very bit as strong as the earlier days.  AT times, however, he would float off key between phrases which is a sign of not enough volume in feed back speakers, or fatique. (Great voices and singing require one to be in good shape). They played nearly two hours, but some of that time was the drum kit thing, which easily consumed 15 minutes overall. Of course, all the hits were there.  But I like their newer music as well.  They played ‘Saints of Los Angeles’ very early in the set.  I think this is one of the better Crue songs out there. These guys are entertainers…….they are great to see in concert.  I will go every time I have a chance, even if it is a hillside in the 100 degree Texas hot…….

Unfortunately, the crowd for this event was seriously off.  Call it mid week blues.  Hard to cut loose and party when you have to get up the next day and return to the job you hate…….. When I got closer to the stage, the same.  They did not have a pit for this event.  This is a mistake.  Screw you legal people, you likely drove that decision. Go see them the Crue, you will be glad you did.

 

We get back to our music format. Maybe you did not know……let see, it is beautiful sunshine on the outside venue where you are taking in a multi-band concert.  Great deal.  10 bands for one low price.  So here you are, throwing back the brews like a jack rabbit. Maybe you dip into that little funny cigarette that some dude with a total lack of comprehension passes you.  The sun is shining. Its warm. The chicks are hot, and the vibe is good.  Maybe in a bit, you will start an impromptu mosh pit on the hillside (as you are really to cheap to buy tickets in the pit where the real moshing is taking place). The line up is great…..Disturbed, maybe Stone Sour, Staind, or maybe it is a double bill of bands with the same singer, like Slipknot and Stone Sour. Then there are the other bands that you have heard, and love, maybe Red,  Skillet, Creed, Alter Bridge, Flyleaf, throw in POD….these bands rock and definitely keep your chemical vibe alive.

But wait a minute. Do we really know those bands?  WE like the music. Talented.  Great stage show, and talented musicians and singers. But we really do not listen to lyrics, I mean, common man, we are not those sensitive types who get into the lyric.  WE are all just getting F’d up. Well, oddly enough, the one thing that  these bands have in common is that they are blatantly Christian Bands. What?  Bullshit you say. These are great bands and great live shows.  True.  But many of their lyrics are no different that getting your happy ass into a church on Sunday morning and actually listening to the dude called the preacher. Their lyrics are a bit more complex, not obvious, as most lyrics are.   A quick review follows of each (click on title of band for website):

RED This band from Nashville  Tennessee formed in 2004. They are clearly tagged alternative rock.  They have recieved a significant amount of radio airplay. They now have two CDs on the market. The sound is lush as they incorporate heavy synthesizers  into their music to parrot the sound of a symphony. The vocals have the growl at times.  Certain songs have a significant presence, such as “Death Of Me” from the first CD that hit the commercial market. They have a very unique sound that is unmistakeable and branded to them. Live, they are an interesting group with strong stage presence.  Currently, they are playing some dates in small clubs, but you can also frequently see them as part of a mult-billed event as they make a great ‘filler’ band.

FLYLEAF I am biased, admittedly because of my Texas digs, but I like these guys. Formed in Belton/Temple Texas area in 2000, this group’s 2005 release sold well over 1M copies of whatever (today, the sales parameters have changed since the advent of on line down loads).  This is platinum.  All for a band whose lyrics are blatantly Christian. I have seen this band 5 times. Full of energy and a show that captivates, this is a must see band. But when you have done your chemical damage, just remember, these are a Christian band. Seeing them live, I am not sure what is more entertaining, the F’d up people in the pit without a clue to the lyrics they are listening, or the look on lead singers face (Lacey Sturm) when she witnesses the bohemian debachery and what ever else that goes on at the front of the pit.  Pure entertainment.  BTW, Lacey is a little elf like presences on stage, she may be 5 feet tall, maybe, and all of about 90 pounds, but the pipes on this one are impressive.  Go see them.

SKILLET This band, oddly enough, are the gramps of the bands listed herein.  Formed in the mid 90’s in Memphis, Tenn., they have gone through several line up changes. They have a total of 8 CDs out there. Yet, you and I have only heard them over the last 3 years. The current line up is headed by a husband and wife team. The music is straight up rock, melodic, with strong power chords and voices that individually are just OK, but the harmonies steal the show. Their lyrics are not as obvious as to their Christianity, as say Flyleaf, but none the less, unmistakable.  I was initially captivated by their first airplay song “The Last Time”, about a suicidal person who has the un migrated support of the writer of the song.  Very cool. Their latest, “Awake and Alive” cannot be avoided if you listen to hard rock or alt rock stations  (think Octane on Sirrius/XM). Never seen them live, hope to add them to the list in the near future.

Skillet

Flyleaf

ALTER BRIDGE This group was formed in Orlando FLA. They are the left overs from the group Creed, who had tremendous success and airplay with Scott Stapp at the lead vocals. Funny, Stapp was the son of a Pentecostal preacher, yet he is the one that had the most issues personally and likely struggled with Christianity. Mark Tremoni seems to the be ‘Christian’ anchor of this group. While Creed had tremendous success, again with largely Christian messages, Alter Bridge has continued the airplay jewels and popularity. Think “Isolation” on the current rock stations. Not sure all members embrace the Christian message, but many songs and the message is unmistakable. Truly, the current lead singer, Myles Kennedy has shown up on other, more seamingly secular projects like Slash’s solo project. But clearly Alter Bridge has proven, like the others above, that Christian music in the main stream can sell…..to a wide audience, most of whom, know nothing of what they are listening to between their Saturday highs

Honorable mention: AVENGED SEVENFOLD OK. I am not saying these guys are Christians in the sense that most of us define the religion. But folks, listen to the lyrics. You will find a host of songs that deal with death and the afterlife, and not the afterlife of Satan or some other god or demi-god. Their huge hit song “Afterlife” deals with someone dying too early in life and going to heaven before their time. Fitting, since their drummer recently passed resulting from heart issues brought on by drugs and alcohol. This is clearly the best group that has emerged in the last five years.  Formed in the late 90’s in Huntington Beach, CA, this group changed it’s styles along the way. Now several CDs that have sold greatly, they are riding their highs, and not looking back. Another great live band, go see them before lead singer’s voice (M Shadows) gives out completely

 

So there you go.  Between your weekend inebriation an the cool vibe you paid dearly for, suddenly, it is your mamma’s bands preaching to you. Well, think nothing of it.  These are great bands with great messages and music. Just embrace them.  Listen, I am not a bible thumper, quite the opposite.  But I know great music when I hear it, and we have featured great music here, no matter the message.  Look at it this way, this is no different than polically preachy bands, like say, System of A Down, who get into politics and such for their message.

Relax, and enjoy. Comments welcome.


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Saturday March 19 brought Warrant, Slaughter and Firehouse to a club in Grapevine Texas; Glass Cactus. I could not possibly miss a chance to see these so called 80’s hair bands perform in a small venue.  First about the venue, this is one of the best venues out there if you are into the whole ambiance thing. If you are into the rock and roll music lifestyle, not so much.  This is a club on the shores of Lake Grapevine. The deck has a 270 degree view of the lake. The clientele tends to be a bit swanky. The pure reason my concert friends will attend an event here, no matter who is playing. OK.  More wine, and I will continue. For $25, I could not resist seeing this line up. I do not have the issue of the venue.  I actually like it alot. It holds about 1500 in total.  Regretfully, it doubles as a younger peoples club after the concerts, so young assholes begin filling the place and a DJ takes over playing black music that whites try to imitate to think they are black.  Ugh

Firehouse (click on link for website)

Not a whole lot of people know this group. I have three CDs from them.  I love them. Lead singer CJ Snare has one of the best set of pipes in the industry.  Tonight however, I was quite disappointed.  The mix was not good. The sound was muffled as much too much bass….Snares vocals were not featured by the mix. Clearly, for the most part, he still can sing to the years of when they were most popular. He did go the low route on one of their mellow hits “When I Look Into Your Eyes”, a ballad that features his voice and changes keys for the higher at the end.  He ducked back at this point and went an octave lower, a true sign that a voice is tired. The band was fairly tight. They played an hour and addressed all of their “hits” such as they are.  Overall, they disappointed. The sound mix and a fairly rigid performance stole away the opportunity to establish a bond in a smaller club setting.

Slaughter

Slaughter (website under construction, so I do not put a link here)

This is one of my daughters favorite bands of the 80’s (daughter is 23……..loves the bands).  I am with her. They had two songs that made great radio airplay.  The group is headed by a dude named Slaughter, and I am not sure if he just rents the rest of the players from the session pool. But the music, (look folks, you need to look beyond the “hits”) is great. The group puts on an energetic show. Slaughter has packed on a few pounds. 15 maybe. So he does not have the sex appeal he once had (according to the daughter….get real you homo phobes), but he still commands a stage in a very singular manner. He has a very screeching voice (just Google slaughter fly to the angels….you will recognize the song). The band is very tight. The mix was on.  They made Firehouse look like they needed to drop off of this tour.

Warrant (Click on name for website)

So let me begin by saying that this is the 9 time seeing Warrant. Warrant is a 80’s ahri band that had a cadre of hits topped by a top five single; “Heaven” . The lead singer and primary writer was Jani Lane. The problem here is that Lane is bestowed by demons of multiple varieties. He is bipolar.  He is an addict. He is a talent that wastes his life away.  I have seen Warrant 6 times with Lane, 3 without.  In all times past, I thought the group sucked without Lane.  The problem is, they sucked with him as well. The last time I saw Lane with Warrant was when my daughter and I attended a one time festival in Houston called “Rock The Bayou”. Lane sucked. He sabotaged the performance of the other Warrant original members (one of the few groups touring today who are all original….sans Lane now). My daughter loves Warrant, the good Warrant when they are on.

So I was a real skeptic to see Warrant with yet another lead singer. All prior editions failed fairly miserably. I did not even get the name of the current singer.  Did not care. Figured they would suck as usual.  But after listening to them, my questions is Jani who? This dude had a voice. Yes he made an attempt to sound like Lane, but not so much. He clearly had his own identity. He was fucking terrific. He nailed each song (there is not a song they will play in concert that I do not know…sans the new stuff). His stage presence was excellent.

Warrant - they guys who have struggled through for years

Truly, this was one the second best Warrant concert I have witnessed. The first was when Lane went through a period of sobriety and being really thankful that fans stuck with him and the group over the years and his exploits. Back at the Bronco Bowl ( you Dallas peeps know what I speak of, but I digress) Every note was hit by this guy ( I really ought to get his name…..commenting peeps, help me out). His stage presence excelled. The original members embraced his presence.  Yes, there was a little kissing ass…..what do you expect?  But bottom line, this guy rocked, and so did Warrant.

As is true with most of these groups, they have a new CD coming out.  They played a few from it. It is too bad, there is just not airplay for these groups, and airplay is still king and dominated by the shits that come to this club after the concerts like this are over. The new music rocked. It is very blues rock based. My CD friends who collect them need to find a buy on this.  A++. And I just do not hand out these kind of endorsements…but this is derserved.  I will seek out to find when they play next to go hear them

Go see them. True fans ( and I know you are limited bunch) will not be disappointed.

Now a quick note: Jani Lane is currently filling in for Jack Russell as the lead singer for Great White. Seems Russell had a serious medical issue that has sidelined him since November.  Seems Russell has more medical issues that initially thought. For years, he evidently has taken a steroid to help his voice…stay strong…..and the result is not only his current medical issues, but a degradation in bone structure where he falls alot………very sad.  Word is, despite of my above review on Lane, he is strong  as Russell’s replacement, and they are cooking as a group and playing Warrant hits as well…..if this is true, I may need to work to see Great White for a 17th time…… after all, they are my original and favorite ‘hair band’ even despite the fact that they burned a Rhode Island night club that resulted in 99 people losing their lives, including their then basis  Ty Longly. I will see them again, no matter who is singing, and apparently Lane is doing a crack up job.

Peace. And go see Warrant.

 

Ozzy:The Blizzard of Odd

On January 24, 2011, in Concert Reviews, Uncategorized, by admin

Thursday night on January 20 brought 62 year old Ozzy Osbourne to American Airlines Center Dallas, Texas. This is a stop in the current tour to support his latest CD. The opening act was Slash and his band. Slash came on stage about 7:20p, about 10 minutes before the stated start time. The band was definitely tight and well prepared. A five piece group, led of course by Slash included another guitar, bassist, and a lead singer, Myles Kennedy from Alter Bridge fame. Clearly, the lead singer is trying to copy Axel Roses’ voice. When Slash played his own music, it was based in blues rock. Quite good overall. It was reasonably received by the crowd, but in the end, the quintet would have to play Guns N Roses to keep the crowd propped up throughout the set. As mentioned, the voice of Kennedy did a reasonable job of imitation, and the tightness of the band reasonably pulled off the the sound of GNR. Slash, of course, had his branded black hat and sunglasses outlining his frizzed hair…no changes here. They played until 8:10 p.m.

Click Pic for larger version

Slash Looking Like Slash

Ozzy was sporting a lot of new blood in his band lineup. Gone is Zak Wilde. A new drummer sits atop the kit perch. At a certain moment, when you see Ozzy out there, you wonder when Sharon is going to let him kick back, as he kind of needs to. The show was typical Ozzy. The same old “the louder and wilder you are the longer I play” statement over and over to the crowd, even though the corporate stopping point on this venue is 10:45.  I have seen Ozzy now 9 times, and it has always been the same. It is getting old. Also also consistent to Ozzy, was the high pressure fire hose, this time it was filled with a foam/water combination, a sort of Ibiza foam party, if you will. In fairness, Ozzy douses himself as well. This leaves the overly conservative venue cleanup crew mopping the first 20 rows while the concert is going on. Get a grip AA.

Ozzy’s performance was quite good overall. Now when I say this, I am evaluating based upon his past performances, and the fact that he is a 62 year old that has fried himself 80 times past the electric chair over the years with consistent abuse of whatever….his voice was OK. For the most part, he was on key, which has been a consistent issue in the past times I seen him. His mannerisms consist of truly the odd. At a certain moment, he shuffles across the stage like as if he has an imaginery walker in front of him. He shuffles his feet, his hand before him limply faced to the ground, head sort of preceding the body; kind of like Nicholson in “One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest” after the character has had his frontal lobotomy.  And when Ozzy tries to get into the music, he jumps in place SORT OF to the beat of the music. There is no question is trying to give it his all. In spite of the fact that I joke that if he was not Ozzy, the Sharon branded Ozzy, he would be simply odd looking in his old white guys rhythm.

(Click on each pic for larger size)

Ozzy Larger Than Life

Sharon drives him in order to cash every red cent in on his branding. I really think, like most musicians, his ego requires himself to be up in front of the thousands of people playing his music, so maybe he is fortunate to have such a business minded wife.  Toward the midpoint of the 2 hour set, I noticed his hands shake everytime they were free of the microphone. This is probably another reason he hangs onto the mike with a death grip. Sure enough, in comes the drum solo, the guitar solo, and whatever. Bottom line, though Ozzy technically played a two hour set, he was absent from the stage for 20 minutes while we had to struggle through musicians banging wildly on the set.  OK.  We know you can play the instruments guys, it is why you are up there and I am not.  No need to prove yourselves.  But really, Ozzy needs this break.  He came out after nearly 20 minutes to finish approximately 30 minutes worth of material.  His strength renewed, he proceeded, as usual to throw buckets of water on the front 5 rows. Enter in the moppers once again. So he had the strength to pick up buckets of water….this is good.  The sound was a bit different from when I have heard him in the past.  The band was tight as usual, but this time, the sound has been mixed differently to really kick in the guitars.  Heavy, heavy guitar sound that drove the quintet signature with each song.  I appreciated this, and a great improvement. It really makes the songs sound truly heavier metal, once again.   Good touch. It makes the music drive more squarely into your head, perhaps bypassing Ozzy’s ever weakening voice. He played all of his solo material and good renditions of Iron Man and War Pigs from the Sabbath days. The new guitarist is named Gus G.  They are trying to brand him as a viable replacement for Wilde.  He was good, no doubt, but it just is not Zak Wilde, who plays and drinks on stage as if he will not live another day.  There have been too many good guitarists sharing that stage with Ozzy, he should just let this Gus G. develop on his own instead of trying to market him down our collective throats.

After nearly two hours, and right on time to meet the corporate deadline (I love these, how we have come along from the days of concerts where the band ((read this the Doors and others of the day)) shows up two hours late and plays until whatever).  Ozzy did one encore, and left 8 minutes on the table before his and the corporation’s collective bed times. In attendance was about 9,000 fans on a Thursday night. In order to create a more tight scene for Ozzy given the lighter attendance, they sealed of the third deck, and transferred all of those nose bleed ticket holders to the lower bowl….no doubt pissing those people off who really paid for the lower bowl.  But it did make for a much more energetic scene.  The lighter attendance can be blamed on the bad economy, yes, but really, there have been a lot of shows competing for Dallas area music buffs dollars this year, so I think it was as much a Thursday night thing as much as souring economic times.

The American Airlines venue is not my favorite concert hall. Too big, questionable acoustics, and generally leaves a limp feeling toward the show. But Ozzy did an appreciable job, along with management on the venue to make it look and sound a bit smaller, to create a good buzz in the venue.  The crowd, who looked to average around an age of 40 or so,  was definitely responsive and appreciative. I am sure Ozzy will be back.  If this tour is coming to your city, check him out.  It is worth the investment of time and money overall, if nothing more than to see him hopping on the stage as the Blizzard of Odd……

Sammy Hagar And Cheap Casino Action

On December 21, 2010, in Concert Reviews, by admin

Fashion Plate Sammy Hagar

Always A Party With Sammy

I see  a load of concerts yearly. Far too much of my budget gets allocated to concert events.  Well, WTF, call it my bucket list if you will. But there are few concert events that I look forward to more than to see Sammy Hagar. And in the end, each time I am not disappointed.  This version of the Sammy show took place at an unusual venue, but one in the Dallas area that has been very aggressive in booking events.  This was held in the Winstar Casino, Thackerville, OK. For my Russian spamming friends, this is 1.5 hours north of the city center of Dallas, TX, USA. (I continually wish to upgrade your geographical skills and knowledge of the US if you are going to spam sites with the latest in male enhancing rip offs.)

This a strange place for a concert.  The thing is, this casino gets major acts to play there.  I get it. Host a show, and an additional 1200 people or so will come to your casino who would not have otherwise.  The thing is, they recently put an addition on to the casino.  It resulted in a new room for a venue, replacing the old make shift venue where they lined up chairs on a flat floor 40 rows deep.  It reminded me of the latest kumbya church. So they allocated a new room for the venue, and the result was a room much the same.  If I was an artist, I would charge double to play this shitty venue. It is hard to generate any kind of energy in a smaller venue when all of the seats are serially located away from the stage by row on a flat surface. WE were fortuate, we had seats about 5 rows back.

For anyone who has not been to a Sammy Hagar show, you are swinging and missing at the plate.  His shows are always a party, from the straight ahead non stop rock which mixes his solo, Van Halen and Montrose days together.  Hard to remember that this guy started his career in Montrose, circa 1973 or so. Of course, his signature bar was set up serving him his branded Tequila from attractive chicks.  The winter version of the Sammy Hagar waitresses are Jeans and a tight shirt. The summer version is always bikini clad. God love Sammy.

For those of you not too familiar with Sammy, he is branded in the rock world in a similar manner that Jimmy Buffet is branded in the, well, I am not so sure what world. Sammy has his Cabo Wabo Cantina, his signature Cantina/music venue in Cabo San Lucas which he has now franchised across the nation in travel destinations, much like Buffet’s Margarita-ville.  Also same has his branded Tequila. Sammy has branded himself as a beach rat party boy.  His show supports this branding.  Non stop activiety.  Needless to say, there are no power ballads in the Sammy Hagar set list. The show started off with a video of concert clips and general party times while on tour.  Many of the clips came from the Cabo Cantina, no doubt guest musician appearances at his annual birthday bash the second weekend in October.  Sammy Hagar Tequila Site. He then broke into several of his hit singles of his solo career, including my favorite of his, “I Can’t Drive 55”. This produced instant energy, at least as much as this rather poor arena would allow. I thought the show overall was very good.  He kept his intensity up all night long for the roughly 1.75 hour set. If anything, I felt he cut it a bit short overall, leaving good songs on the table like “Sam I Am.” There was not an opening act, so it would have seemed he could have played longer.  There was not encore as well.

This appearance was the 5th time seeing the Red Rocker. It ranks among one of the lower appearances.  Overall, as I said, I liked the show, but there were issues.  His supporting band of  well over a decade was sloppy at best.  Normally they are a very tight unit.  Tonight, it seemed as if guitar riffs, rhythm, and bass all collated together to result in a less than succinct sound that I am used to from this outfit.  Perhaps Hagar let on the reasoning:  this was a last leg of this part of the tour, and he personally was headed back to Cabo San Lucas after the show.  If so, this could attribute to the less than stellar musicianship. Sammy’s voice, however, was top form.  He does not cheat on the high notes as so many aged rockers do. His energy guides him through.  The other thing I observed?  This guy is just happy.  No brooding spoiled rock star.  He truly enjoys being up there partying for the masses.  It is infectious.  You end up happy as well, and feeling good you spent the coin to come.

Even though it was not one of the better outings that I have seen Sammy Hagar, I still enjoyed the show immensely as did those I was with at this concert.

The Biz:  This venue holds about 1500.  About 1200 were present at an average ticket price of $40..  Parking is free, so no revenue from there.  I estimate the total bar intake was was around 15K.  Total estimated revenue was $63,000, plus whatever was spent on casino gambling and a few hotel rooms since this is a bit of a ways from Dallas. So they made well for this show.  This venue seems to do well, as they continue to book strong B list and some A List acts.  Next up here, Goo Goo Dolls……

Scale of 1 to 10, I give the show a 7y, overall

Peace

UPDATE: Below I indicate that I was not certain which tow cities that Zombie and Cooper were playing…I believe before Halloween. Interesting, when you click on this post (click on the headline and it goes just to this post) the Google ad has Zombie and Cooper tickets. When clicking through this, there are only two dates listed for Cooper (only)…..Council Bluffs Iowa (surprised they even let an act like this play in that backward locale…and Phoenix AZ, labeled “Alice Coopers Christmas Pudding.”  Now thats one that would be interesting to see…

Saturday brought on another annual event in the Dallas Fort Worth area….KEGL’s Freaker’s Ball.  This was the second of a two night affair.  The first night featured Papa Roach, Seether, and Godmack. Unfortunately, I was unable to make the first night. The second featured Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper, in a kind of Halloween themed current meets the past. Nice touch. Both shows promimently featured the Halloween theme, without the performers even trying since this is what they do as their regular act.

Cooper’s act started the show rolling. He was in good form. It featured a 5 piece band to back up a long Cooper set. This was done in full make up and theatrics, only this time, the chick on stage was not his daughter as I had seen last time that I saw a Cooper show.  Good thing, the daughter thing was a bit creepy. The band supporting Cooper was sound as was Cooper’s performance for the most part. I just cannot understand, however, why he cannot sing the last hit song he had, “Poison”, on key. This is the second time I have seen him, and same thing. He must realize it, as this time he kind of turned it into a weak hip hop spoken version.  Great song, poor delivery.  But his voice and theatrics for the rest were top notch. Clearly he benefited from the fact this is a limited run on live performances. I will see Cooper again, given the chance. It is a very entertaining show. Even if this is not your thing, at least on Halloween, it works at a certain level.

This is the fifth time seeing Rob Zombie.  I still do not quite know what to make of this guy. He is branded somewhere between a satanist and a a guy who just loves the old scary movie and a good scare. I do not regularly listen to his music, and none of it is on my iPod (thought my family does include Rob Zombie on iPod. Here is the first thing I think you need to know about Zombie: he is highly intelligent, and he really understands personal and musical branding. Oh yeah, a lot of people really like his rather strange and deranged flicks. Musically, he carries a venue. This particular stop included a lot of stage gimmicks he really does not need to use, but given the Halloween theme, worked well. From tall fire breathing monsters to a straight up stage, he had it all. It does not matter if you know Rob Zombie music or not.  It all comes across energetic and infectious due to his great live performing capabilities. The crowd reacts. The night ties on a cool buzz at a level that starts high and never backs down. He is not hung up on himself as most performers are.  He simply delivers a show that is natural, in your face, and at the highest caliber because, that is simply what he does. This is Rob Zombie.

The band supporting Zombie was tight, but faceless. It was not about them, and Zombie was not about to let it be. The set lasted about an hour twenty minutes.  The obligatory encore was preceeded by Zombie bringing on the security of the venue on stage proclaiming that they had informed them that it would cost $10,000/minute for them to continue. Of course, when he did, the gullable crowd went nuts.  Of course, this stunt was at 10:45….15 minutes before the official cut off of this venue.  (Don’t you just love corporate rock?) Surprise! They left the stage at 11:02p, two minutes after cut off.  Must of cost them $20,000.

Great concert….I would tell you to go see them, but there are only two left in cities I cannot name.  Attendence for this event was approximately 4500 (venue holds 6K).  From the parking lot early on, it looked like the attendence was going to be low.  Afterall, it is difficult in todays shitty economy to hold two nights of rock shows and expect sell outs. But the attendence was higher than the parking lot would have indicated.

Estimated revenue once tickets, alcohol, and parking were tallied: $190,000

Good night overall.

Queensryche Caberet

On August 10, 2010, in Concert Reviews, by admin

Head Think Tank Geoff Tate

With pleasure, we submit this review of Queensryche, witnessed Sunday, 8 August, at House of Blues in Dallas, Texas. As you all know, I tend to see bands multiple times, and Queensryche is no exception.  This was the sixth time seeing them. This one came with their own twist.  They call it Queensryche Caberet.  So Queensryche Caberet does not come to as a surprise to us that know the band well.  Queensryche is different than many bands in that they are much deeper and somewhat political than the “hey baby I want to make love to you” bands.  Surely, most of their lyrics are deep, meaningful and well crafted, not throw away lyrics. You would also know that they like the theatrical.  They toured with a play written around their hit album “Operation Mind Crime”. OMC was horrible to listen to in concert. When I saw them, they were the headliners at a night in Rocklahoma, a night where half of the crowd got an early start to their nightly debachery.  (Should have stayed, they lost the costumes that night and played a straight up 40 minute set that was great).  Queensryche, because of its depth, just does not tranlate well into straight up concert settings. Somehow, there is a void in energy, and, well, it is hard to explain.  This is why I welcomed this version of Queensryche: Queensryche Caberet.  They went for a setting, a mood if you will. In fact, they have been trying to get in the media previous to the shows to goad audience to dress in costume as well….they have a little more work to do in this area.  I only saw three people who likely fit this bill. Of course, this is uptight Dallas.  Not surprising. The crew consisted of at least 6 women and two guys who were part of the show.  One chick substituted a dancing pole with a floor length curtain from which she did her acrobatics.  Same on the other side of the stage with a giant hanging ring. Then of course, there was the straight up dancing to keep the guys roped in.

Musically, they were tight, tight, tight. Interestingly, they left a couple of their top songs on the table, Silent Lucidity (which despite its mellow and dark demenor, it always has gotten great response.  The other, to my sadness, was Eyes of A Stranger.  If you any of you were with this site in the beginning when we did our top 10 favorite songs, Eyes of a Stranger is one of mine.

Queensryche Guitarist Laying It Down

There were about 400 in attendance this evening. It was an older, but very enthusiastic crowd.  In fact, it struck me a bit how enthusiastic they were.  My friends along for the ride were not as impressed with this.  But I was.  The visual effects, without trying to be too fancy or think tanky like OMC works. It substitutes for the fact that Queensryche just does not translate that well in the live concert setting. Tate’s voice was very strong. He went on all notes, all parts.  No backing down. In the end, this was an enjoyable evening that worked on several levels.

I now estimate, as part of our reviews, the revenue the show likely took in.  This one I estimate at just short of $20,000 revenue, not including HOB resturaunt operations for the night which I have no way of estimating

Go see this show. If it comes to Vegas, really go see it. People are less hung up out there. But just be cautioned: although they do not announce the new stuff, in the end, this is mostly new music off recent CDs.  But noone really seemed to mind……enjoy,

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Reddgranite and DWF Home Again

On July 12, 2010, in Concert Reviews, by admin

I am never more amazed at the result when I join my friends in the Dazzling Weasel Faces for performances. The latest was our annual, uh, make that semi annual trek to my home stomping grounds in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The fact is, I only am able to join DWF maybe 4-5 times a year. Would like it to be more, but life drives us down a different freeway too many times.

This year, we were all able to pull it together. Of course, I am from Kenosha, Wisconsin, so this trip doubles as an opportunity to see family. This was a rich experience as we are all from different areas of the country.  This weekend, we converged on Kenosha, with a beautiful side trip to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin….if not more than any thing, to show my Texas comrades Lake Geneva. The thing is, my life is in Texas, but you never really lift your foot from the cement that is your home. There is always one foot there….and every time I go, we just pick up as if I never left

Performance wise, this was an advanced set of nights.   Friday we played at Tailgators ( no website, obviously another opportunity of for Open Media Concepts ( my web development company) to do a website for them. My 87 year old mother came to this performance.  It was special..she knows the DWF from college days when they were young and retired. Some 33 years later, she is still there to hear us play together once again.  The performance kicked.  If anything, all of us were concerned about blowing our wad on this one when the Saturday night performance loomed. Thanks to Eric and Tailgators…..great stage to play and we hope to return next year.

Saturday found us at Cooler Near The Lake.  Again, no website (OMC calls once again). We played here two years ago with spanking results. Tonight, it was also good.  Maybe not as good as we would have liked, but the crowds were great and receptive…and we ended up blowing out our play list and going for 4.25 hours…..so many originals were played this night. Also, one thing we normally do not do is improvise much, since we all live in different cities, we NEVER practice, rather, just depending upon our musical instincts to get us through. I really enjoyed the improvising on Locomotive Breath, Banshee (which kicked) and a late entrant as we were running out of songs, Sea Breeze! Marty and Dave did a phenomenal job in improvising during my opening (lasting about 3 minutes easily on a 3 minute song) as I gathered the lyrics in my mind. The response bewildered me….as if it was a well known song (written by me on the shores of Lake Michigan about 1.5 miles from the Cooler in 1973) .  Then Marty and Dave got going on Beatles tunes, because some of the folks in the back of the room really dug it….I hate the Beatles….but I had to lend my harmonies…..

Just a great night.  Not the best of our efforts music wise…. but it all added up to a pretty special evening. Look for reddgranite and the DWF to be in Vegas next July with the annual Cooler By The Lake Las Vegas trip.  Jody is a killer planner, and……and I think OMC needs to help her out next year with a website to coordinate and collect bookings…..and with any luck, the Dazzling Weasel Faces with Redd Granite will be playing Vegas next July…….

Peace

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Redd Granite in Wisconsin

On July 9, 2010, in Favorite Music, by admin

Redd Granite live with the Dazzling Weasel Faces on their US Summer Weasels Ripped My Flesh Tour:

Friday, July 9 – Tailgators, Kenosha Wisconsin

Saturday, July 10 – Cooler Near The Lake

Will be a great time for all, come out if in the area. Posts and Pics will be uploaded on reddgranite.com and dazzlingweaselfaces.com sometime next week…that is if Marty gets his act together…..are we taking bets?

Peace

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Vans Warped Tour made its stop on its eight day in Dallas Texas on July 3.  With nothing better to do on this questionable weather day, I decided to take in the event, risking the weather and getting pretty far out of my comfort zone, to see a bunch of mostly new bands and follow the original intent of this website to review live Concerts. So a review of Von’s Warped Tour is in order.  But this one has a different twist, as does the Von’s Warped Tour agenda. This tour is unlike others billed with a marketing sound bite (think Ozzfest, Cruefest, or even Rocklahoma).,  This is a one day event that features over 70 bands on what I think I counted to be eight stages.  There are no headliners. No schedule where the less popular bands open and leading up to headliners who is a name recognized band (Ozzfest and Cruefest end with?  Congratulations, your 7 years of college did not go waist). There are few things about this event non-musical related that are stunning apparant here

  1. This event is as much about selling shit than the music.
  2. The event format lends itself to shameless self promotion, and I am not talking about on the stages

The explain number #1, above, first let me explain the venue.  There are all of these stages spread out among the grounds. I suspect in every city the venue is a larger open air venue. Laced between the stages are what could be up to hundred booths selling things, promoting things, giving away free things, you name it.  Not sure how all these vendors do in this still crappy economy, but they are there trying to draw you in. (They leave me more alone as they do not know what to make of an older audience member….).  Then there is #2, above. There must have been at least 50 or parties paid to walk the crowd selling cds and books, posters, you name it, largely from the bands.  Then there were those self-promoting there bands, inviting you to listen to a bit of there band playing through their headphones.  Yup, thats what I want to do, put on headphones that have been shared by hundreds. Hell, there was even a guy there with a sign promoting his promoting services.  As you can probably tell by my sarcastic observance here, I am not across this much in your face selling, especially seemingly at the expense of the music

So why at the expense of the music?  Well, first, there was no place to be found a list of artists and stages, and play times. It would seem Von’s Warped Tour would do a better job of publishing this if they really cared about the music on stage.  As it is, I was left to try to figure out who I was listening to.  I heard easily 30 bands, and can only name a few (below).

For those of you resident to Dallas familiar with Superpages.com center, the main stage under the covered area was divided into two stages, right next to each other.  One band would play on the left stage while the other set up on the right.  Yes there was a pit area, largely accessible since it would move left or right depending on which side was playing and the popularity of the band.  One good thing about this tour is that walk up ticket prices were $40, and there is no seating, all GA (FYI. for my hate of ticketmaster, the tickets were $35 plus over $10 in bullshit fees).  So it was a less expensive and easier venue to move around the retailers on.

I could only confirm seeing 7 bands….all others from the thirty or unnamed because I could not figure it out, or, they were quickly forgettable in my book. The seven I remember or could identify are ShiraGirl, Suicide Silence, Eyes Set To Kill, I See Stars Alkaline Trio, All American Rejects, and WE The Kings.  Sorry other bands, next time put up your band name on a banner or on the drum head….to cover over von’s Warped Tour lack of promoting who you are. ShiraGirl, (shiragirl).  Was just OK.  Did not remember much about their performance, so that is not real good as you must stick out in this band overload that the Warped Tour provides.  Suicide Silence (suicidesilence), I hated.  This is just growling for no apparent reason.  Of course, they were liked by the violent young male audience sporting an IQ of maybe 50 who go to these concerts to draw blood in the pit.  Not music in my book.  My major surprise was Alkaline Trio,(alkalinetrio).  I had forgotten they would be on this tour, and if you have read this site before, I have recently seen them, and this was now my third time to see them.  Again, I recognized them only by hearing their songs playing in the distance….short set, as is all of these, but I once again enjoyed them

The best up coming group I saw was I See Stars, www.myspace.com/iseestars, a group of  barely 20 year olds from Detroit. This guys need to figure how to handle the big stage  better, but they will in time, and their music, I thought was great. Energetic, hard yet melodic, and yes, there was the growling in this also, just not a constant stream of it, and I thought thoroughly enjoyable. The crowd thought so two. I also learned new pit management techniques here.  Seems the pit is evolving from just slam dancing to a) now they dance in the pit wildly swinging their arms will dancing nearly like an Irish jig. Again, with the IQ level here, it appears the appeal is the casual destruction of other pit members that is of interest here. b) the lead singer had a name for this one, but basically he guided everyone to separate a large space, and on his command, you run full speed from opposite directions crashing into each other. Nice.  Kids are too bored with their lives and apparently need jobs.  The result is annoying, more space is need for the pit when these ecstasy laced banshees swing their arms wildly. Oh well….not often I go to a show with this young a crowd. But go check out I See Stars….good up and comer.

Eyes Set To Kill (eyessettokill) was a very popular band with the audience.  They flooded a side stage leaving little room for movement.  Does not hurt that these are fronted by two chicks pleasant on the eyes.  I thought they were decent.  Nothing special to warrant the enthusiasm of the crowd. Ironically, for crowd surfing on this one, it was mostly chicks.  Whats up with that? Hmmmm.

All American Rejects  (allamericanrejects) was terrific.  Great music, great personality, highly energetic, this group has it together. In fact, the only criticism I had is the lead talked a bit too much, or which, he then admitted it and shut up.  They are a tight group with pop/rock songs that are very catchy.  The crowd embraced them as well.  The lead singer was lucky to have had the rain come through and lower the temperatures from mid 90’s to 75 or so…as he was in a funky white suite and tie…he is the branding of the group.  Go see them.  Great band.

The above is stock pic (this was not our Von’s Warped Tour, you can tell by the presence of sun and water, and lately the only water in Dallas is that falling from the sky) of my favorite band that I heard.  We The Kings (wethekingsmusic) was an interesting outfit of great music, personality, and great crowd presence. I had heard a few of the songs before, but most not.  They are good writers.  They even played an acoustic song, slowing the pace way down, but held on to the audience. Not the tightest group I have ever heard, but very comfortable in their sound.  Once again, this is Pop/rock.  Most of the more popular acts were of this sound. It would be interesting to hear longer sets of these guys and the All American Rejects. I recommend seeing these guys as well.

It is the unfortunate situation that this is all I could identify. There were a host of other good bands there, many that I know.  This is not by prime listening area…but fairly familiar.  I would have loved to know who I was listening most of the time, because, Von’s Warped Tour, most really do go there for the music.

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