• Opeth & In Flames @ Terminal 5 Concert Review and Setlists

    19 Dic 2014, 14:28

    Another Opeth show down! This is the 4th time (I believe) I've seen these guys live and regardless of technical difficulties or band member illness, they never have disappointed. Their Evolution XX tour at this same venue back in 2010 is still in my top 2 concerts of all time. This time, I sort of stumbled upon this tour date at the last minute and figured that it would be a fun way to spend a Thursday evening away from work, particularly since one of the opening acts/co-headliners was In Flames, a band I'd listened to on and off for many years. As it turned out, going to this show was a very good idea.

    There doesn't need to be much said about the venue at this point that I haven't already said. It's sound is consistently fantastic, it's staff is fine...it's just one of the best venues in the city. With that out of the way, the first act to take the stage was Portland, Oregon's Red Fang, a group I knew literally nothing about, other than that they were classified on Last.fm as 'Stoner Metal' and compared to Mastodon. Let me tell you, these guys were something else. Easily one of the 3 loudest bands I've ever heard live (first place still goes to Tool back in 2009 - ouch), they put on a great show and really woke the crowd up for what was to come. Very much an instrumental based group, though not to the extent of bands like Isis, their vocals were traded back and forth by 2 of the four members of the band. It didn't really matter though, cause you couldn't really understand any of the words; the vocals didn't matter. It was the instruments that were the star, and on that front they succeeded in spades. Their lead guitarist had one of the best live guitar tones I've ever heard from any band and every time he played apart from the rest I cheered. That all said, a lot of their material sounded very samey and again, the vocals weren't that good. Still, I'll definitely look into them after this.

    Next up came Sweden's legendary In Flames, a group that was one of the pioneers of the Gothenberg Melodic Death Metal sound and then became one of metal's most polarizing groups due to style changes later in their career. I wasn't sure what to expect here and just hoped that they played the 4 or 5 songs that I was familiar with that I know are awesome. As it turned out, they did just that. Despite frontman Anders Friden sporting a look that wouldn't look out of place for Limp Bizkit (which I won't hold against him), the band was firing on all cylinders. They powered through a setlist that comprised of material from 2000's Clayman up through their latest works and all of the songs I wanted to hear were done fantastically. Highlights of the set (and of the night in general) were "Trigger, "Cloud Connected", "Only For the Weak", "Take This Life", and "The Quiet Place", with the first being one of the most fun I've had during a live concert in forever. Their light show was also fantastic, and almost rivaled that of Tool and Rammstein, both of whom still hold the high water mark for me. Other than that, these guys got major points from me for just being really cool guys. Anders Friden chided the audience lightly at the start to keep their cell phones down and just enjoy the show they paid to see and I immediately gave him a round of applause. Later he teased some audience members on the second floor for sitting down and finally, after spotting someone who was taking selfies with his phone, invited a crowd member up on stage ("What the fuck are you doing, sir?" "You're taking pictures? A selfie?" "You want a better selfie? Get up here.") to film the crowd and stay there filming them throughout the performance of "Only For the Weak". It was an awesome thing to do and I was jealous of the kid, a feeling that was tempered somewhat when he handed me the guitar pick the band had given him while leaving the stage. Well done, gentlemen.

    Finally, Opeth themselves came onstage, and once again they didn't disappoint in the slightest. The only flaw of their whole set was its length, and with only 7 tracks played it felt very short. Maybe I've just been spoiled by the longer, special shows I've seen them do, and I know it was shortened do to how late in the night it was already, but still...I wish they had played for longer. That's not something I'm going to deduct points over though, and their actual performance was immaculate. Frontman Mikael Akerfeldt looked concerningly gaunt, but his voice (both growl and clean) sounded fantastic, letting everyone there who doubted he could still do the old material know just how wrong they were. New song "Cusp of Eternity" sounded predictably awesome live, with the chorus vocals being done by lead guitarist Frederik Akesson and keyboardist Joakim Svalberg together, and Damnation standard "Windowpane", the track that got me into Opeth and the first one I ever heard by them, was immaculate, the instrumentation and harmonies making it an easy highlight of the night. The inclusion of "The Moor" was a pleasant surprise, and though I heard some old-school elitists complaining afterwards that it had been shortened by a full minute, I didn't hear what they were talking about. It sounded fantastic to me. "The Lotus Eater" was much the same, and every new time I hear this song live I like it a little bit more. I wasn't as keen on it when it first was released, but now I recognize it as the fantastic song that it really is. All of these, however, paled next to the closer - the legendary "Deliverance". Arguably my favorite song Opeth ever did, I had only heard it live once before, with bad venue sound kind of neutering it back then and ruining my night. Not here though. Good lord, not here. It was perfect, the exact performance of it I always hoped I'd see. The growls were spot on, the cleans were fantastic, the venue sound was perfect...it was just amazing. By the time the 3 and a half minute outro had finished, and the concert with it, my head felt heavy from headbanging so ferociously. I regretted nothing. It was amazing.

    At this point, with the exception of Steve Forbert, I've seen Opeth more times then I've seen any other artist. After tonight, I would still see them again in a minute. Next year is their 25th anniversary as a band and I'm genuinely curious to see what special event they'll do to commemorate it. If it's anywhere near where I am, I'll be there in a heartbeat. In Flames also impressed me greatly, and though I had never openly sought to see them live before tonight, I'll definitely keep an eye on them now. They put on one hell of a show. In fact, all 3 bands were great tonight and the $35 ticket price was money well spent. I'll take my hearing loss in stride. This was one fantastic night.

    Red Fang Setlist
    1. Malverde
    2. Crows In Swine
    3. Blood Like Cream
    4. 1516
    5. Wires
    6. No Hope
    7. Prehistoric Dog

    In Flames Setlist
    1. In Plain View
    2. Everything's Gone
    3. Trigger
    4. Cloud Connected
    5. Delight And Angers
    6. Paralyzed
    7. Through Oblivion
    8. Only For The Weak
    9. The Chosen Pessimist
    10. Where The Dead Ships Dwell
    11. Rusted Nail
    12. The Quiet Place
    13. The Mirror's Truth
    14. Deliver Us
    15. Take This Life

    Opeth Setlist
    1. Eternal Rains Will Come
    2. Cusp Of Eternity
    3. The Drapery Falls
    4. The Moor
    5. Windowpane
    6. The Lotus Eater
    7. Deliverance

    Thu 18 Dec – Opeth, In Flames, Red Fang
    In Flames
    Red Fang
  • Slipknot & KoЯn at IZOD Center Concert Review & Setlists

    8 Dic 2014, 5:00

    2 bands that I have listened to for many years but have always been reluctant to see live are Slipknot, whose track "Wait and Bleed" helped get me into heavy metal, and Korn, whose album Untouchables is still one of my favorites of the era. The reason for this, as embarrassing as it is to admit, is that their respective fan bases honestly scared me. Both these bands, as well as their opening act, Flint, Michigan's King 810, are notorious for having fans that can get particularly violent (though that is no fault of the band's) and I was worried for a long time for my safety and the safety of my car if I drove to the concert. Well, I finally got around the 1st by not being a coward and the 2nd by taking the bus from the city (because where I live, no one needs a car), and I can honestly say that I should've done this a long time ago.

    Slipknot are world famous for having one of the best and most energetic live shows in the history of rock and I really attended this concert for them. The addition of Korn, who were the senior band of the night and virtually invented the genre of Nu-Metal back in 1994, was an added bonus and I hoped going in that my fear of them half-assing the concert because of their age was unfounded. The venue, East Ruthorford, New Jersey's IZOD Center was nothing new, as I had seen Rammstein and Combichrist there with my brother back in 2011 and I knew it had good sound and view. The first new thing of the night actually, was the opening act, King 810.

    A relatively new band signed to Roadrunner Records (who also famously signed Slipknot back in 1999), this group is one that you either love or hate. Their style can be described as what you would get if Otep was fronted by a man who wrote lyrics about how he truly despised his hometown. And boy do they hate Flint, Michigan. Every song they performed live during the show, all off their debut album Memoirs of a Murderer, has to do with their rough upbringing and how terrible a place to live Flint is. And let me tell you, between their delivery and the fact that the New York Times famously called it 'Murdertown'...I believe them. Their performance was energetic, something every one of the bands tonight could claim in spades, and their stage set was pretty cool for an opening act, with their own backdrop and banners around the stage saying things like "God Save Flint" and "Welcome to Murdertown". What brought them down to a solid B- average in my book is a combination of bad vocal sound from the mixer and the fact that all their songs sound VERY similar. If you didn't know them going in like I did, you would have a rough time distinguishing between any of the ones performed tonight. As it was, the only real semi-highlight was the song "Boogeyman", which I had never heard and actually sounded pretty cool. The group's departure was rather abrupt though, and the moment the last song ended, the drummer threw up his sticks, the lights went off and they were just gone. No parting words, no nothing. Okay, I guess...

    Despite that, they did a reasonably decent job setting the stage for headliner number 1: California's own Korn. Without dancing around the issue, these guys blew me away. I honestly thought they would be kind of stale, mainly because of their age and the fact that they haven't put out a truly good album in a while, but boy was I wrong. Their stage consisted mainly of light panels and raised, lit floors and I thought it was strangely impersonal for a group as legendary as they are. Either way, the group was firing on all cylinders and everyone performed virtually perfectly, particularly lead singer Jonathan Davis, who sounded WAY better than I expected him to. Starting the show with Untouchables staple "Here to Stay" really me cheer, as that has been a favorite of mine for years and I haven't heard it in forever. "Falling Away From Me" and "Shoots and Ladders" were also highlights, the latter in particular because they abruptly abandoned it halfway through and launched into a cover of Metallica's "One", which really made me happy as I love that song and had never expected to hear it live. Finally, ending the show with "Freak On A Leash" and "Blind" really was appropriate and made me realize belatedly that 2014 is the 20 year anniversary of the release of their self-titled debut. Maybe that's why they went all out. Maybe they always are this good. Either way, I haven't been as happy after a set as I was after this one in a good long time and that's why these guys get a solid A+ from me.

    Finally, about 45 minutes after Korn's departure, Slipknot took the stage and boy was it a sight to see. With a setup consisting of 2 half-spiral staircases connecting 2 levels of the stage, flanked on both sides by drum sets on risers that rose a good 20 feet into the air, and lorded over by a giant, demonic looking ram's head with glowing eyes, these guys really put on a show. Flamethrowers were everywhere and the members jumped around like madmen, providing a perfect setting to perform classics from all their albums, with new songs "The Devil In I", "Custer", and "The Negative One" dueling with old guns "Wait and Bleed", "Spit It Out", "People = Shit" and "The Heretic Anthem". Despite a rather slow opening to the show (courtesy of one of the weakest tracks off their latest album, "Sarcastrophe") there were so many highlights here that I can't even describe them all. The end of "Eyeless" was one of the best, and I think I may have sprained my neck from headbanging so hard. "Vermillion" was a big surprise, because as much as I love it, I didn't know how it would translate live. Fortunately it was one of the best of the night, and along with "Duality" it represented Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses well. "Wait and Bleed" was a major highlight as well, but the absolute pinnacle could well have been "Spit It Out" when frontman Corey Taylor made the whole stadium sit down and then jump up together when he screamed "Jump the fuck up!" as part of the song. I think I broke my umbrella by landing on it but it was glorious nonetheless. Finally "Custer" and "Surfacing" were perfect as 2 of the nights enders, as it got the audience involved with the shouted, chanted choruses. By the time the group left the stage screaming "GOOD FUCKING NIGHT!!" I was so stoked I practically charged the stage and demanded more music.

    Let me tell you, these 2 bands are both amazing live acts and they really should have done this tour years ago. They both said at one point or another that this tour was one of the most fun they'd ever done and whether or not they were telling the truth, it sure looked like it from where I sat. It was certainly one of the most fun concerts I've ever been to. If either of them ever come back through my area and I'm free, I'll go again without hesitation. I should have done this years ago too. Well done, boys. Well done indeed.

    King 810 Setlist
    1. Killem All
    2. Murder Murder Murder
    3. Desperate Lovers
    4. Boogeyman
    5. War Outside
    6. Fat Around The Heart

    KoЯn Setlist
    1. Twist
    2. Here To Stay
    3. Right Now
    4. Love & Meth
    5. Falling Away From Me
    6. Good God
    7. Hater
    8. Shoots and Ladders/One
    9. Got The Life
    10. Freak On A Leash
    11. Blind

    Slipknot Setlist
    Intro. XIX
    1. Sarcastrophe
    2. My Plague
    3. The Devil In I
    4. Psychosocial
    5. The Negative One
    6. Three Nil
    7. Eyeless
    8. Vermilion
    9. Before I Forget
    10. Duality
    11. Wait And Bleed
    12. Spit It Out
    13. Custer
    Intro. 742617000027
    14. (sic)
    15. People = Shit
    16. Surfacing

    Sat 6 Dec – Slipknot, Korn, King 810
    King 810
  • Steve Forbert at Sellersville Theater Concert Review and Setlist

    2 Nov 2014, 21:52

    Steve Forbert is and has always been one of my Dad's favorite artists of all time. This was the 4th or 5th time I've seen him live and I honestly thought I had seen all there was to see. Well, I'm happy to say that I was wrong. See, all those other times I saw Mr. Forbert I saw him either as a solo act or with one other backup acoustic guitarist or something. Here I saw him with a full band, and let me tell you, as good as he is as a solo artist, this made a difference.

    The venue, Sellersville Theater, is one I've been to only once before and it was pretty decent. It's an all seated venue and is generally reserved for more folk or countryish acts rather than the louder ones I generally go for. The sound is decent though and it's in a nice neighborhood so...yeah, I can't really complain.

    Before Steve himself came on stage there was an opening solo performer named Greg Humphries, who hailed from Brooklyn New York. Honestly, as much as I hate to pan artists, this guy was really not that good. First of all, all his songs were just him and an acoustic guitar, so there was little to no variety of sound whatsoever. On top of that, his voice sounded like he was trying and failing to ape Kenny Loggins or something and it really didn't fit the 'One man with a guitar' mold he was performing as. Finally, his songwriting was pretty abysmal and most of the songs were either forgettable or just plain painful to listen to. The one that wasn't was the second song he performed, which was about finding yourself and your direction in life. That was pretty much it though. Everything else was not really worth your time.

    After him, Steve's band came out and the woman multi-instrumentalist who plays with him did a few solo songs that also were pretty poor and really did not fit the mold of the concert style at all. At this point, I was dreading Steve Forbert himself, and I could tell that even my diehard fan father was as well. Our concerns were for naught. Though at first he seemed a tad absent minded and the group seemed to almost have tension between them, that quickly went away and they launched into a long set that hit almost all his best songs and was fantastically performed. Seriously, this was easily the best concert I've ever seen him put on bar none. He seemed much more enthusiastic despite his older age and excelled with a full band as opposed to solo, nailing the vocals and instrumentation alike all the way through. At times, he seemed almost 10 years younger than he actually was. Out of all the songs, the best were "Goin' Down To Laurel" and "All I Need To Do" from his latest album, the first of which was the best live performance I've ever heard him put on. Also, doing the "Monster Mash" on Halloween night with the guitarist singing instead of him was a great touch, and he was a great sport about it. It was just all really, really fun.

    Despite having seen him so many times already, and despite the poor artists that preceded him, this revitalized my interest in Steve Forbert and I'm glad he's still going. If he continues touring with this lineup in the future, I'd be happy to see him again. Here's to more years, sir!

    Steve Forbert Setlist
    1. Thinking
    2. Autumn This Year
    3. Goin' Down To Laurel
    4. Come With Me
    5. The Sweet Love That You Give Sure Goes A Long Long Way
    6. I'm In Love With You
    7. Say Goodbye To Little Jo
    8. Wait
    9. Make It All So Real
    10. Baby
    11. Complications
    12. Sadly Sorta Like A Soap Opera
    13. Good Planets Are Hard To Find
    14. That'd Be Alright
    15. It Sure Was Better Back Then
    16. Over With You
    17. So Good To Feel Good Again
    18. January 23-30, 1978 ("Goodnight" intro)
    19. All I Need To Do
    20. Monster Mash (Tad on lead vocal)
    21. Romeo's Tune ("Goodnight" intro)

    Fri 31 Oct – Steve Forbert
    Steve Forbert
  • Within Temptation & Amaranthe at Terminal 5 Concert Review and Setlists

    13 Oct 2014, 2:31

    With all the fuss surrounding Terminal 5, you'd expect it to be one of the worst venues in New York City. I've been here twice now and both times it not only has been a great venue, it has been one of the better ones in the city at large. The sound is good, the view is good, the layout not bad. I like it. Always have. The venue itself wasn't the problem tonight. Neither were the bands.

    But I'm getting ahead of myself. The first band to come onstage was Amaranthe, who I missed last year because of my job and was looking forward to finally seeing live. Despite a complete lack of backdrops or any fancy equipment, which was kind of cool actually, they put on a really good show. Jake E. and Elize Ryd were great all night long (aside from an off key note or two at the beginning of "Amaranthine") and new growler Henrik Englund was fantastic as well and sounded like a dead ringer for Soilwork's Bjorn "Speed" Strid. Of the songs they performed, the popular "Hunger" was a highlight, and sounded just as great live as I had hoped it would. New song "Trinity" also was fantastic and speaks of great things for their upcoming album Massive Addictive.

    After they departed, Within Temptation arrived with a lot more flair. They had backdrops of dragons and LED screens with images. They had a wider portion of the stage. They were amazing. Sharon den Adel seemed to get better with every song and despite a relative lack of material from what I consider to be their magnum opus, The Silent Force, the concert was phenomenal. "Let Us Burn" in particular was unexpectedly great live and may have sold me on the song more than I already was. The call and response of "What Have You Done?" was another highlight and like the other songs that originally featured guest vocalists, the TVs and backing tracks helped bring the song to life very well without the actual guest singer being there. I was legitimately impressed. Overall, their performance was exactly what I hoped it would be, and aside from a few songs I would've included that were absent ("Angels", etc.), their setlist was great as well. There was just one hiccup...

    The crowd at this show was frankly just bizarre. Aside from my being surrounded by a drunk foreign couple and a loudmouthed (and somewhat androgynous) girl(?), there were so many people filming with their camera phones that it actually hurt my overall rating of the concert. Now, filming with phones comes with the territory these days. Hell, I did it a little myself at this show. But I know to only take a picture or 2 and then put the phone down again so people behind me don't get their view blocked. Not these people. There were multiple people all around me filming full songs at different points during Within Temptation's set and one Mexican man in front of me filmed the whole show front to back, actually stopping in the middle to change the batteries in his camera before resuming his filming and blocking the view of everyone behind him. I wanted to knock the damn thing out of his hands. Also strange was the complete lack of any mosh pits, which was not necessarily a bad thing, but was strange nonetheless, and marked the first instance of this at a metal show in my concert going career.

    My final verdict is that it was a concert well worth seeing, even with the selfish douchebags in the crowd, and both bands seemed to be on fire the whole time and having a lot of fun with it all. If they ever come around again, you, the reader, should see them too.

    Amaranthe Setlist

    1. Digital World
    2. Hunger
    3. Invincible
    4. 1.000.000 Lightyears
    5. Trinity
    6. Afterlife
    7. Amarathine
    8. Call Out My Name
    9. Drop Dead Cynical
    10. The Nexus

    Within Temptation Setlist

    1. Paradise (What About Us?)
    2. Faster
    3. Let Us Burn
    4. In The Middle Of The Night
    5. Fire And Ice
    6. Our Solemn Hour
    7. Stand My Ground
    8. Summertime Sadness (Lana Del Rey cover)
    9. The Cross
    10. And We Run
    11. Iron
    12. See Who I Am
    13. Dangerous
    14. Edge Of The World
    15. What Have You Done?
    16. Mother Earth
    17. Covered By Roses
    18. Sinéad (Acoustic)
    19. Ice Queen

    Fri 10 Oct – Within Temptation, Amaranthe
    Within Temptation
  • Amon Amarth, Enslaved & Skeletonwitch Concert Review and Setlists

    6 Feb 2014, 5:29

    Odin praise Amon Amarth, for they now own our metal souls! May stories be told of their battle hymns in the hallowed halls of Valhalla! May -

    Okay, I'm getting a little carried away. Let me start this again.

    I almost didn't go to this concert. I had planned to for months, but because of unforeseen medical expenses I didn't end up trying to get a ticket until a few days before it happened. This was NOT a smart idea, because the concert was sold out, and had been for weeks. I was very surprised. Was Viking Death Metal really THAT popular in New York City? Either way, I managed to get my hands on a ticket through Craigslist for only a little above the Ticketmaster price and ended up going after all, accompanied by a friend of mine from years back.

    First of all, the venue the bands were playing at was the well known Irving Plaza, which I had never been to and had wanted to check out for years. As it turned out, I wasn't missing much. It wasn't a terrible venue, but it really wasn't that impressive either. It looked similar in some ways to the nearby Webster Hall, and was much smaller than I thought it would be. Also, they had a big drop down screen playing 'Frosty the Snowman' in some weird LSD trip color scheme, so that was kind of weird. All that aside though, it wasn't a terrible venue, and I would probably come back if a band I liked played there again.

    Speaking of bands, the first band to start out the night was Ohio's Skeletonwitch, who I hadn't really heard of until this concert. Well, color me impressed. I had heard some snippets of their music before the show, so I knew sort of what to expect, but let me tell you, these guys are pretty impressive live. They have a great rapport with their audience and know how to be showmen, lining up at the front of the stage and playing their instruments very animatedly. Their songs were also pretty good, a mix of thrash and black metal with emphasis more on the latter. If I had any complaints about them, it's that a lot of their stuff sounded very 'samey' and I couldn't understand one word the singer was saying. That second one didn't affect my enjoyment of their performance though, and I liked a lot of their show, particularly opener "This Horrifying Force".

    The group that played after them, on the other hand, was something different. Enslaved is a group that I've heard a number of times, and like some songs by, but never enough that I could say I really knew them well. They've been around for a long time, and are very highly regarded in the metal underground, so I was looking forward to hearing them play. Now that I have, I'm kind of in two minds about the end result. On one hand, their performance seemed very good, with all members of the band seeming to be in top form as they went through a 5 song setlist of old and new material alike. But on the other hand, their sound was so different from the other two bands on the tour (Enslaved's songs are longer, slower, and more epic in scope as opposed to the other two bands' faster, generally shorter material) that they sounded very out of place. Especially since they were sandwiched in between the other two bands, their set sounded very jarring musically in comparison. To my mind, they sounded more like they belonged on tour with the likes of Primordial and Swallow the Sun then anyone else. So in the end, I'd say their set was very good and well performed, but they probably weren't the right band to choose for a tour featuring these other two bands.

    Last but not least, Amon Amarth themselves came onstage and let me tell you...they didn't disappoint at all. I've been a huge fan of these guys since the seminal With Oden On Our Side came out in 2006, and I've seen videos of them performing live numerous times, so I was really stoked to see how they would do in New York City. In short, they were amazing. The setlist they picked was practically a dream setlist for me, every band member performed fantastically, and the venue sound was very good for every song (for all three bands). On top of that, the crowd was absolutely wild and moved and screamed like hell along with the band for every single song they played. Hell, even frontman Johan Hegg himself looked impressed by how boisterous we all were! Though it's damn hard to choose a favorite, some of the highlights included opener and new song "Father of the Wolf", old classics "Death In Fire" and "Runes To My Memory", and closing duo "Twilight of the Thunder God" and "Pursuit Of Vikings". Honestly, I could have kept listening to them all night long. Easily one of the best live performances I've ever seen (and I've seen quite a few now).

    I'm glad I went to this concert after all, despite all the problems my friend and I had initially with getting tickets to it. I see now that there are more fans of Viking Death Metal in New York City than I thought and after this set of performances, I think that that's definitely a good thing. All is as it should be...here...and in Valhalla.

    Skeltonwitch Setlist
    1. This Horrifying Force (The Desire To Kill)
    2. I Am Of Death (Hell Has Arrived)
    3. Burned From Bone
    4. Sacrifice For The Slaughtergod
    5. Beyond The Permafrost
    6. From A Cloudless Sky
    7. Crushed Beyond Dust
    8. Beneath Dead Leaves
    9. Within My Blood

    Enslaved Setlist
    1. Death In The Eyes Of Dawn
    2. Ruun
    3. Riitiir
    4. Vetrarnótt
    5. Isa

    Amon Amarth Setlist
    1. Father Of The Wolf
    2. Deceiver Of The Gods
    3. Death In Fire
    4. Free Will Sacrifice
    5. As Loke Falls
    6. Coming Of The Tide
    7. Runes To My Memory
    8. Varyags Of Miklagaard
    9. The Last Stand Of Frej
    10. Guardians Of Asgaard
    11. Blood Eagle
    12. Warriors Of The North
    13. Destroyer Of The Universe
    14. Cry Of The Black Birds
    15. War Of The Gods
    16. Twilight Of The Thundergod
    17. Pursuit Of Vikings

    Tue 4 Feb – Amon Amarth, Enslaved, SkeletonwitchSkeletonwitch
    Amon Amarth
  • Gordon Lightfoot at Penn's Peak in PA - Oct. 26, 2013

    28 Oct 2013, 18:18

    This was a historic concert for me. Besides being part of the 50th (yeah, you read that right, 50th!) anniversary tour for the legendary Canadian Folk singer's start in the music industry, it was also the first time I had seen him live since back in 1994 nearly 20 years ago. Add onto that the fact that Gordon Lightfoot is arguably my favorite folk artist of all time and yeah...I was really excited.

    The venue he played in was the isolated but beautiful Penn's Peak near Lehighton, Pennsylvania. Now, I had been here many times before, having filmed many events in it for my old television job. That being said, I never have tired of it. The sound quality is usually always good, as was the case tonight, the venue itself is made almost entirely of wood and is very beautiful, and the views that it offers from its mountain overlooking decks are hard to beat. Though they mostly specialize in cover bands and country/folk artists, if an artist you like ever comes to this place, go to see them. It's definitely a cool venue to try out at least once.

    Unlike almost every show I've seen before (with the exception of Porcupine Tree in 2010 and Opeth's Evolution XX tour in NYC), this concert did not have any opening acts, a feature that I was actually pleased with because it gave Gordon Lightfoot more time to perform more of his songs. And perform he did. After striding onstage silently, looking very much like a gaunt, long-haired, old cowboy without a hat, he launched into 2 sets comprised of old and new songs alike, beginning with "Sweet Guinevere" (from 1978's Endless Wire) and ending with the classic "Rainy Day People" (from 1975's Cold On The Shoulder). Despite being 75 years old as of this year, Lightfoot's voice sounded surprisingly good. He's lost a lot of the deep baritone that his voice used to possess and has replaced it with a slightly higher and more nasally voice. He also has lost a good deal of his power and projecting ability, both of which are understandable because of his age. That all being said, his voice is still remarkably impressive.

    Amongst the highlights for the night were older classics "Never Too Close", "Sundown", and "If You Could Read My Mind", as well as the 1-2-3 punch of "The Watchman's Out", "Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald", and "Carefree Highway". Arguably the most surprising and impressive though was the inclusion of "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" (from 1967's The Way I Feel). The song was performed slightly differently in pace and many of the high notes gave way to lower one's because of Lightfoot's age, but the fact that he played it at all is still awesome. It's one of those songs I had always wanted to hear live at one point in my life but had given up hope that it would ever happen. I'm certainly happy that it did.

    Backing Lightfoot up was an impressive backing band that matched him step for step the whole way through, maintaining perfect quality even while trying to make each other laugh during and in between performances. By the time I walked out of the show, I was not only very happy with the concert, I wanted to go back inside and hear even more. Given his age, this may have been the last time I ever get to see Gordon Lightfoot live, and though there were a few songs I was disappointed he didn't play ("Rainbow Trout", "The House You Live In", etc.), his setlists were good enough that it didn't bother me all that much. For fans of this legendary musician and hopefully for Lightfoot himself, this was certainly a night to remember.

    Set 1:
    1. Sweet Guinevere
    2. Cotton Jenny
    3. Sea of Tranquility
    4. All The Lovely Ladies
    5. Never Too Close
    6. Wild Strawberries
    7. Spanish Moss
    8. Shadows
    9. Beautiful
    10. Let It Ride
    11. The Watchman's Gone
    12. The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald
    13. Carefree Highway

    Set 2:
    1. Now And Then
    2. Ribbon Of Darkness
    3. Sundown
    4. Hangdog Hotel Room
    5. 14 Karat Gold
    6. I'd Rather Press On
    7. A Painter Passing Through
    8. Waiting For You
    9. If You Could Read My Mind
    10. Restless
    11. Baby Step Back
    12. Canadian Railroad Trilogy

    13. Rainy Day People

    Sat 26 Oct – Gordon Lightfoot
    Gordon Lightfoot
  • Ill Niño at Gramercy Theater Concert Review - Oct. 20, 2013

    21 Oct 2013, 19:06

    This was a concert that I had not planned to go to in advance. I saw that they were playing near where I lived in NYC and figured it would be fun to go to since I used to listen to Ill Niño back around 2002 or so with their debut album "Revolution...Revolucion". Plus, it was their hometown show so I figured the band would pull out all the stops to put on a good performance. I wasn't disappointed.

    First off, the venue, Gramercy Theater, is one that I had been to before (to see Cold and Egypt Central in 2012) and enjoyed for the most part. This time, however, they did not do so well. After not adhering to their own '1 drink per wristband' policy, which led to a lot of clearly drunk people, they shouted very unprofessionally at people who were anywhere near the VIP area (which was barely segregated at all from the audience) and didn't put any security at all up between the band and the crowd. Seriously, security was only put up there after a crowd-surfing fan fell on her head over the barrier and the band themselves asked for security to come do their jobs. It was pretty incredible. That aside though, let's talk about the bands.

    There were 5 opening acts playing before Ill Niño took the stage (more than I've ever seen for one band actually), and first up was Iratetion, a four piece metal group that I had never heard of before the concert. Now that I've seen them, I'm honestly not that impressed. Aside from some technical problems (which weren't their fault - again a strike against Gramercy Theater), their 20 minute set consisted of songs that sounded virtually identical to my ears and were not really ones I enjoyed. Though they were clearly influenced by the legendary Sepultura, they only incorporated some of the groove that the Brazilian metal act has and had vocals that were all but indecipherable. Their lead guitarist was definitely very talented, but honestly that's about all that impressed me about them.

    Next up were local Brooklyn based act Anaka, and they were not too much better. These guys were more hard rock and metalcore based in their sound and their main problem was that they were just very mediocre overall. There was very little memorable about them other than the song "The Unwavering" (which admittedly was pretty cool and had a great breakdown), and though I hate to single people out, their lead singer was just obnoxious. He was very good at the 'opening metal scream' that a lot of bands do, but his normal vocals were not that good and he constantly pranced around on the stage shoving the microphone in audience members' faces and flashing the devil horns at people. It was almost like they were in it for the interactions with the crowd rather than the music itself. Still, their performance went over well with the crowd, who clearly liked them even though I didn't.

    Coming on third was Carolina Burn (pretty self-explanatory where they're from), and these guys were much more impressive than either of the last two. They had great melody, their singer was actually very impressive (and reminded me vaguely of Serj Tankian from System Of A Down), and they performed very well as a group. Their songs admittedly were a little forgettable, but I really enjoyed watching them perform despite this. Unfortunately, they got a bit of a cold response from the crowd, who didn't seem into them at all, and that was too bad because they were definitely a band who had a lot of potential to be a very good act one day.

    After they departed, the Australian foursome In-Cyde came on stage, and let me tell you, these guys were weird. Unlike the other groups of the night, this band seemed very influenced by hardcore and mathcore and reminded me very much of what Dillinger Escape Plan must sound like if you incorporated a few elements of nu-metal into their sound. Now, neither of these subgenres I particularly like, but I can appreciate when a band is good at it, and In-Cyde seemed to be pretty good. They were very eclectic, which kept them interesting, and every member of the band seemed very good at his respective role. Because of their style though, there was not much memorable about their individual songs (that may be just me though), and that was a point against them. They got a good reception from the crowd though and they were fun to watch so I guess you can call their set a success.

    The fifth and final opening act to arrive was Long Beach, California's Sunflower Dead, and I was very impressed with this group. I had heard of them in passing before this and didn't expect them to be much above mediocre, but they really surprised me. After coming out with an accordion for the intro to their first song (only the 2nd time I've ever seen this - other was Stolen Babies earlier in 2013), they kept up the pace with their performance and fired off memorable song after memorable song, an impressive feat for a band I'd never heard before. Their theatricality and white face paint actually helped make them more interesting to me and the fact that their singer was arguably the most talented of the whole night really helped them score points in my book. After In-Cyde's singer dueted with them on "Wasted" and they went through their most popular song, "Make You Drown", they finished off their set well with a great last song and a cover of the Police's "I'll Be Watching You", which was unexpected but surprisingly well done. After that they too left and it was time for the main course.

    Ill Niño is a band that I loved back in the early 2000s and followed up through their second album "Confession". After that I lost track of them, but their debut album is still one of the better nu-metal albums that came out of that era in my opinion, so I was looking forward to seeing them. They were as impressive as I'd hoped. After storming onstage with an energetic performance of "If You Still Hate Me", they kept things going strong by following it up with "God Save Us", "This Is War", and personal/crowd favorite "I Am Loco". Later on they did some of their newer songs, such as the very impressive "Forgive Me Father..." and there was almost no point during their show that I was unimpressed. Frontman Christian Machado's voice has aged a little bit over the years, but he still sounds remarkably good given the time that's passed. Possibly the coolest part of their performance though was when they brought on the drummers from Sunflower Dead, In-Cyde, and Carolina Burn to do a drum and congo solo song with them that was really cool to watch. Finally, they finished the night with the one-two punch of "How Can I Live" and "Liar", showing once and for all that they wanted very much to give their hometown crowd a memorable show.

    All in all, this was a very fun concert to go to, even if it wasn't always consistent in its quality, and I'm glad that I went to see it for the $20 it cost me to go. Fans of Ill Niño should consider seeing them live if they haven't already. They're remarkably impressive after all this time and hopefully have a long career ahead of them.

    Sun 20 Oct – Ill Niño
    Ill Niño
    Sunflower Dead
    Carolina Burn
  • Kamelot & Delain at Stage 48 (NYC) - Review & Setlists

    7 Sep 2013, 5:31

    I've seen Kamelot 2 times before this show, and honestly both times they were outclassed by the bands playing with them (Leaves' Eyes in 2006 and Nightwish in 2012 respectively). The second of those two concerts was actually almost entirely ruined by poor venue sound and a hugely shortened set (7 songs total). Still, they're easily one of my favorite bands and I wanted to give them one more try. Hopefully the 3rd time would be the charm.

    It was. They knocked it out of the park.

    First things first though. The venue, Stage 48, was one that I had never even heard of before, much less been to, and I can honestly say that I was impressed. It's small, so you can really close to bands as they perform, and reminds me very much of the nearby Terminal 5 in many ways. The sound for the bands was almost perfect all night and I tip my hat to whoever was responsible for that, because bad sound is something that has plagued Kamelot both of the other times I've seen them. Not tonight, thank god. But onto the bands themselves!

    Up first was violin and cello quartet Eklipse, who performed on Kamelot's newest opus Silverthorn and were quite a different style to the other bands performing that night. That being said, they were actually really good and stood up to the occasion admirably, especially in front of a particularly rowdy and animated crowd. All their songs were fun and well performed, but the award for the coolest has to go to their closer, which was just a lot of fun to watch. I hope they get a lot more exposure from this, because they're talented and they deserve it.

    Next was the Netherlands' Delain, a band that has gotten a lot of buzz over the years but has honestly never impressed me that much. Until now. Performing for the first time in New York City, they absolutely killed their whole set. Frontwoman Charlotte Wessels was in top form and sounded better than I've ever heard her sound. On top of that, the guitarist and bassist respectively really got into the performances and each delivered blistering solos that got the crowd really into their performance and ready for Kamelot. I've honestly never seen a crowd as into an opening band as this one was into these guys. They sounded like they were having a lot of fun and seemed like humble people on top of putting on a great show, so these guys get top points from me tonight. I may have not paid them much heed before, but they've got my attention now!

    After they were done though came the band everyone was there for: Kamelot. As soon as they launched into their first song all my fears vanished on the spot. The sound was great and each member of the band was performing fantastically, even their fill in keyboardist (who was awesome all night). The stars of the night were definitely singer Tommy Karevik, who was amazing all night long, and guitarist/leader Thomas Youngblood, whose solos brought the house down every time he played them. Bonus points go to the remaining two band members (Sean Tibbets on bass and Casey Grillo on drums) too though for their antics during and in between the songs, such as Grillo breaking his sticks by hitting his drums too hard during a blistering drum solo. Choosing a favorite song of the night is next to impossible given how amazing they all were, but two of the best were easily "My Confession" (during which Eklipse joined Kamelot on stage) and "Don't You Cry" (which I honestly never expected to hear live). By the time the final song, "March of Mephisto", was done, I was sorely disappointed to see them go. Being at the front though, I got to shake the bandmembers' hands as they left, so it wasn't all bad.

    All in all, this show was definitely worth the admission price and I'm glad I got to finally experience the Kamelot everyone has been going on about live. If you are considering whether to see any of these bands live at any point, do it. They're all on a roll and you won't be disappointed in the least.

    Delain Setlist
    1. Mother Machine
    2. Go Away
    3. Get The Devil Out Of Me
    4. Virtue And Vice
    5. Electricity
    6. Invidia
    7. Sleepwalkers Dream
    8. Not Enough
    9. The Gathering
    10. We Are The Others

    Kamelot Setlist
    1. Torn
    2. Ghost Opera
    3. The Great Pandemonium
    4. Veritas
    5. Center Of The Universe
    6. The Human Stain
    7. Song For Jolee
    8. Drum Solo - by Casey Grillo
    9. When The Lights Are Down
    10. Sacrimony (Angel Of Afterlife) - feat. Alyssa White-Gluz of The Agonist
    11. My Confession - feat. Eklipse
    12. Don't You Cry
    13. Keyboard Solo - by Coen Janssen
    14. Forever
    15. Bass Solo - by Sean Tibbetts
    16. Rule The World
    17. Karma
    18. March Of Mephisto - feat. Alyssa White-Gluz of The Agonist

    Fri 6 Sep – Kamelot, Delain, Eklipse
  • Opeth and Katatonia at Sherman Theater - Concert Review and Setlists

    1 May 2013, 20:05

    This was my 3rd time seeing Opeth live, and I honestly couldn't wait to see them again. The Swedish progressive metal masters are one of the best live acts I've ever seen, and every time I've seen them before they've been phenomenal so I was stoked for this show.

    The Sherman Theater is a local theater near my hometown in Pennsylvania, and it's been satisfying to watch it grow from a nearly bankrupt vacant space to a pretty big venue attracting big time acts. This was my first time seeing a metal show here, and though I loved the space it afforded (easily the biggest standing room only venue I've ever been to), it had some downfalls. 1st, the security was a little too aggressive. There was actually a guy going around the crowd in between sets making people stand up because it was against the rules to sit down or even squat where you stood. That was really kind of petty on their part. Also, and most importantly, the sound was a little bit off for both bands. It wasn't bad, but it was still somehow tinny and left a little to be desired. It hurt the scores for both bands despite their best efforts.

    First up was Katatonia, who were promoting their latest album Dead End Kings. This was the 2nd time I've seen them live and while they were certainly fun to watch and performed very well, I'm becoming increasingly convinced that they are mainly a studio band. Some bands thrive live but not as much in the studio and others are the exact opposite. That second one is Katatonia. For as good as they were, they can't quite recreate the atmosphere of their albums and singer Jonas Renske doesn't seem quite as good live as he does on recording. Still, their set was good and it was fun to watch them go through classics like "My Twin" and "Burn the Remembrance", the second of which was a highlight for the night in my opinion. Also, their backdrops were awesome and even outclassed Opeth's in the long run.

    After they were done Opeth came on stage, and though the venue sound wasn't perfect and singer Mikael Akerfeldt was sick, they still put on a fantastic show. The only real complaint I have is that Akerfeldt's growled vocals were a little too low in the mix (his clean vocals were flawless). I'm not sure if that's because of his illness or the venue sound, but that hurt their score a little bit. Other than that, everything was perfect. Their set was like my dream set for them, and the inclusion of personal favorites "Ghost of Perdition" and especially "Deliverance" (which I've waited to hear them play for YEARS) really made my night. The outro of the latter was probably the biggest highlight of the night from either band and was almost exactly as awesome as I'd hoped it would be. It was also cool to hear them play rarer tracks like "Atonement" and "White Cluster" and a really cool acoustic version of fan-favorite "Demon of the Fall", which I didn't even think was possible until I heard it. Ending the show with "Blackwater Park" was just icing on the cake as far as I was concerned.

    All in all, this show was definitely worth it, and while it wasn't the best performance I've seen from either of these two bands, I'm very glad I went and I highly recommend seeing both of them if you ever get the chance.

    Katatonia Setlist
    1. Buildings
    2. Day And Then The Shade
    3. My Twin
    4. Burn The Remembrance
    5. Teargas
    6. The Racing Heart
    7. Lethean
    8. The Longest Year
    9. July
    10. Dead Letters
    11. Forsaker

    Opeth Setlist
    1. The Devil's Orchard
    2. Ghost Of Perdition
    3. White Cluster
    4. Hope Leaves
    5. Atonement
    6. Deliverance
    7. Hessian Peel
    8. Häxprocess
    9. Demon Of The Fall (Acoustic Version)
    10. Reverie/Harlequin Forest
    11. Blackwater Park

    Sat 27 Apr – Opeth, Katatonia
  • Sevendust, Coal Chamber, Lacuna Coil in NYC - Review and Setlists

    18 Abr 2013, 6:29

    I had heard that Sevendust was a fantastic live band for a number of years, but had never gotten around to actually seeing them until now. Now, having seen them...the hype was definitely deserved. But I'm getting ahead of myself. First things first.

    The venue, Best Buy Theater in NYC, was one that I was intimately familiar with, having seen a number of bands there in the past. Despite all of that, I have never been as impressed with them as I was tonight. The sound quality was perfect for all four bands that played (and that's rare, believe me), the security guys all seemed to be enjoying the concert and doing their jobs well without being douchebags, and the overall atmosphere was really fitting for the show. Also, the security guys at the front giving water to the dehydrated fans was really cool. Haven't seen that at a show before. Good job, guys!

    The first band to play was Stolen Babies, a fascinating act that sounded roughly like a cross between Mindless Self Indulgence and older Otep. Despite their short (6 song) set, they left quite an impression and were a good warmup to the bigger acts that followed. They also get points right off the bat for not only having a sense of humor, but also for being possibly the only metal band I've ever seen use both an accordion and upright bass as main instruments for multiple songs. Overall, their set was good, though not fantastic, and the band members seemed to be having fun being there, which was nice to see.

    On next was Italy's Lacuna Coil, who is a band I've listened to for a long time. Despite not being headliners of this concert, they performed like they were and their sound was both epic and perfectly mixed, a great combination when put together with the fantastic performances from the band members. Although it was disappointing that they included nothing from what I consider to be their best album, Comalies, their songs were all perfectly performed and really got the crowd pumped up for the two acts that were still to follow. The highlight of their set included "To The Edge", "Upsidedown", and "Trip The Darkness", although all of the songs they played were equally as impressive as those three. Finally, after a 9 song set, they departed to make way for probably the most surprising and impressive act of the night.

    Coal Chamber was a band that I listened to casually when I was a teenager and had no real interest in seeing live (I considered them a bonus for this concert since I really was there to see Sevendust and Lacuna Coil). That said...DAMN they're impressive live! For as awesome as Sevendust was (and they were), this was probably my favorite set of the evening. Every song was spot on, there was a non-stop mosh pit for the whole thing, the band members looked like they were having a blast performing together...it was just awesome all the way around. Dez Fafara prowled around the stage like a drill sergeant for the whole show, and his vocal performance was fantastic, even when he was singing into a megaphone instead of a microphone ("Rowboat" - it was awesome). Highlights of their set included crowd favorite and closer "Sway", the aforementioned "Rowboat", and what could be the best single song of the night - the thudding "Big Truck". By the time it was over and it was Sevendust's turn, I was almost disappointed. If you are unsure about whether to see these guys live, DO IT. You won't regret it if they're as on as they were tonight.

    Finally though, it was time for Sevendust to take the stage. The crowd was nuts for these guys. Every song had probably the craziest crowd reaction I've ever seen at a concert, but it all felt like people having a great time as opposed to truly being out of control. I think even lead singer Lajon Witherspoon was pleased ("You guys know how to party here, New York!"). The band themselves were also just as on as Coal Chamber had been, and the only disappointment for me was a lack of more material from Animosity, which is still their best album as far as I'm concerned (they played "Praise", but nothing else). These guys have definitely earned their live performance reputation, and it was just as fun as I'd hoped it would be. Highlights included "Denial" and "Waffle" from the Home album, "Black" from their debut, and particularly "Pieces" from Next, which featured a surprise guest vocal from ex-Divine Heresy frontman Tommy Vext, who exploded from backstage to duet with Lajon Witherspoon. It was easily one of the coolest things of the night.

    All in all, this was a phenomenal concert that ended up being way better than I anticipated it would be, and gets me excited for other upcoming shows I plan on attending. Also, I would definitely see all of these bands again if they came back here at some point, and I encourage other people to as well. This is one show that I won't soon forget.

    Stolen Babies Setlist
    1. Never Come Back
    2. Splatter
    3. Push Button
    4. Filistata
    5. Mousefood
    6. Spill!

    Lacuna Coil Setlist
    1. I Don't Believe In Tomorrow
    2. Kill The Light
    3. To The Edge
    4. Upsidedown
    5. Fragile
    6. Survive
    7. Intoxicated
    8. Trip The Darkness
    9. Spellbound

    Coal Chamber Setlist
    1. Loco
    2. Big Truck
    3. Fiend
    4. Rowboat
    5. Something Told Me
    6. Clock
    7. Drove
    8. Not Living
    9. Dark Days
    10. I
    11. No Home
    12. Oddity
    13. Sway

    Sevendust Setlist
    1. Decay
    2. Praise
    3. Denial
    4. Till Death
    5. Waffle
    6. Strong Arm Broken
    7. Rumble Fish
    8. Bitch
    9. Pieces (feat. Tommy Vext)
    10. Black
    11. Splinter
    12. Face To Face

    Wed 17 Apr – Sevendust, Lacuna Coil, Coal Chamber, Stolen Babies

    Coal Chamber
    Lacuna Coil
    Stolen Babies