• 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
    Encore:
    16. Twilight Of The Thundergod
    17. Pursuit Of Vikings


    Tue 4 Feb – Amon Amarth, Enslaved, SkeletonwitchSkeletonwitch
    Enslaved
    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.

    Setlist
    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

    Encore:
    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
    In-Cyde
    Carolina Burn
    Anaka
    Iratetion
  • 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
    Encore:
    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
    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
    Encore
    11. Blackwater Park

    Sat 27 Apr – Opeth, Katatonia
    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
    Encore
    11. Splinter
    12. Face To Face

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

    Sevendust
    Coal Chamber
    Lacuna Coil
    Stolen Babies
  • Kamelot & Nightwish at Beacon Theater, NYC - Concert Review & Setlists

    16 Sep 2012, 22:18

    I've seen Kamelot in concert twice now, once with Roy Khan fronting them (for the Ghost Opera tour with Leaves' Eyes), and once with Tommy Karevik. Both times, I've gone to the concert specifically to see them. And now, as of yesterday, both times they've been upstaged by whatever band they're touring with. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

    This was not the 1st time I've been to the Beacon Theater, and though they overcharge for just about everything, it's been a consistently good venue to go to in my experience. This time, Kamelot and Nightwish were playing, and given that they are 2 of my favorite bands, needless to say I was excited

    Kamelot came onstage first to a rapturous applause, and looked terrific as they launched into their short 8 song setlist. But therein lay the problem with their performance for the night. They only looked good to me. The reason for this was simple, but unfortunate: I couldn't hear half of their set. The band themselves looked to be on fire, and both Tommy Karevik and guest vocalists Elize Ryd and Alyssa White-Gluz were animated and lively as they tried to draw the crowd into singing along with them. Thomas Youngblood and the rest of the band seemed on the top of their game too, but as great as their set looked, the sound was atrocious. Seriously, whoever was doing the sound for them should be fired on the spot, because not only was the bass WAY too high in the mix, drowning out the electric guitars and keyboards like they weren't even there, but the vocals were mixed so low that I could only rarely make out what Tommy Karevik was saying. This was a problem that they partially fixed by the time the second to last song, "Forever", came on, but it wasn't even totally fixed, and it still took me a good minute and a half into each song before that to even figure out which song it was (and these are songs I've heard probably hundreds of times in most cases). Either way though, the last song, "March of Mephisto", was phenomenal even with the sound problems, and the the two before that were none too shabby either. So while it was definitely disappointing from this fan's perspective, it wasn't a total loss.

    After they were done (way too quickly in my opinion), Nightwish came onstage to an even more deafening reception. This is a band that I've liked in passing over the years, but never really had a driving need to see live, so I was almost minorly apathetic to them performing that night. Boy was I wrong to be. From the first song to the last, they put on a nearly flawless performance and even though I didn't know most of the songs they played, I was still really into their set. Anette Olzon was really on her game throughout the night, and proved once and for all that she is more than worthy to be fronting an act of Nightwish's caliber. Their stage show was equally as terrific as their performances, and the inclusion of a mini 2-song acoustic section of the set was a nice touch, giving their classic "Nemo" an interesting but appropriate facelift. The highlight of the night for them was "Higher Than Hope" from their album Once, which Anette performed so well that I would've sworn it was the departed Tarja Turunen if I wasn't looking right at her.

    In a strange twist, neither band did an encore of any kind, but it didn't really matter in the end. Both bands looked to be on top of their game, despite Kamelot's sound problems, and I'm certainly glad I went to see them. Now, I need to go check out "Imaginaerum" and count the days until "Silverthorn" comes out. Viva Nightwish and Kamelot!

    Kamelot Setlist
    1. Ghost Opera
    2. Soul Society
    3. Center Of The Universe
    4. Karma
    5. EdenEcho
    6. Sacrimony (Angel Of Afterlife) - feat. Elize Ryd and Alyssa White-Gluz
    7. Forever
    8. March Of Mephisto - feat. Alyssa White-Gluz

    Nightwish Setlist
    1. Storytime
    2. Wish I Had An Angel
    3. Amaranth
    4. Planet Hell
    5. The Siren
    6. Slow, Love, Slow
    7. I Want My Tears Back - with Troy Donockley
    8. The Islander - with Troy Donockley
    9. Nemo (Acoustic) - with Troy Donockley
    10. Last Of The Wilds - with Troy Donockley
    11. Escapist
    12. Ghost River
    13. Higher Than Hope
    14. Over The Hills And Far Away (Gary Moore cover) - with Troy Donockley
    15. Song Of Myself
    16. Last Ride Of The Day


    Sat 15 Sep – Nightwish, Kamelot
    Kamelot
    Nightwish
  • Creed "Human Clay" NYC Concert Review & Setlist

    21 Abr 2012, 5:25

    First of all, Creed used to be one of my favorite bands a number of years ago, but then I kind of forgot about them. With their reunion and tours though, I've been getting back into them in a big way. That said, I was apprehensive about this show. "Human Clay" is easily my favorite album by them, and I had heard varying reports of past concerts of Creed's that didn't end too well. On top of that, the samples from the opening act (Eve to Adam) I heard didn't sound too good, so I was wary going in. Now that it's over, I'm happy to report that my fears were very much pointless.

    Eve to Adam was much better than I thought they would be and smelled very much of a band that is better live than in the studio. They had a lot of energy and though they were very cheesy at times (the singer actually shouted "Rock and Roll!" at one point. Seriously.), the majority of their performance was almost flawlessly executed. These guys definitely deserve some attention and the songs they played have some definite potential to make them a big name one day. They, however, paled in comparison to the headliner.

    Creed was INFINITELY better than I expected them to be. The band absolutely nailed every song they played and seemed to be in top form, as if no breakup had happened and they were at the height of their popularity and talent. Mark Tremonti and the instrumental section of the band were spot on all night and injected more than a few awesome solos into songs that were actually augmented by them. Scott Stapp was also on fire, warming up to full strength quickly and then just owning song the band played after that. Highlights of the night included the blistering "Say I", the phenomenal "My Own Prison", and of course perennial hit "With Arms Wide Open".

    If anyone is still on the fence as to whether to see Creed live because of past mishaps they've had or bad critical reviews, ignore your fears. These guys are back in a big way and are just as good as they once were...if not better. Awesome concert.

    Eve To Adam Setlist
    1. Gift
    2. Two Pills
    3. Run Your Mouth
    4. In A Hurry
    5. Rebel Yell (Billy Idol Cover)
    6. Banquet For A Starving Dog
    7. Fault Line
    8. Little Says
    9. Reach

    Creed Setlists
    Set 1:

    1. Are You Ready?
    2. What If
    3. Beautiful
    4. Say I
    5. Faceless Man
    6. Wrong Way
    7. Never Die
    8. With Arms Wide Open
    9. Higher
    10. Wash Away Those Years
    11. Inside Us All

    Set 2:
    1. Bullets
    2. Torn
    3. My Own Prison
    4. One
    Encore:
    5. One Last Breath
    6. My Sacrifice

    Fri 20 Apr – Creed, Eve to Adam
    Creed
    Eve To Adam
  • Iced Earth, Symphony X, and Warbringer Concert Review & Setlists

    11 Mar 2012, 5:37

    I had been looking forward to this concert for a while now, because two of my favorite bands were finally headlining a tour together and were coming to my city. Not only that, they were coming to what is probably one of my favorite venues in the city (Best Buy Theater), so tonight was all set up to be a phenomenal concert. Now that its all over, I can safely say the 'phenomenal' is an absolutely appropriate word to describe the night.

    The first band to perform was the thrash revival act Warbringer, whom I had never heard of until this concert. Let me tell you, I was impressed. Thrash metal is not usually my thing, but these guys did it well and were surprisingly a very good and fun band to watch. I don't think I've ever seen a crowd as into an opening act as this crowd was into these guys. If you have a chance to see these guys, go take a listen, because their a talented young group who deserve every accolade they get.

    After Warbringer departed, the next band to take the stage was none other than Iced Earth, the band I had bought my ticket to the concert specifically to see. Though they started out a little lethargically, they almost immediately kicked it into high gear and put on an awesome show for the rest of the night. Vocalist Stu Block was in top form on both the new and old material, and it was everything I had hoped for. I do have to admit though, I would've chosen some different songs for the setlist, but the quality of the performance compensated for that a hundredfold. Having both "Damien" from the Horror Show record and "Dante's Inferno" from the Burnt Offerings album in the same setlist made my night and the aforementioned "Damien" was definitely the highlight of the set for me, as it is one of my favorite songs by them easily.

    Once they were done, the final band of the night, Symphony X, took the stage. I have only two words to describe their set: holy shit. I saw them live at this venue last year, and though that concert was amazing, this one blew it out of the water. Every song they played was flawlessly done and singer Russell Allen was on fire throughout the night, making the Iconoclast heavy setlist one sound like it was the best thing they possibly could've done. I was especially impressed with "When All Is Lost", and will even go so far as to call it one of the 5 best live performances of a song I have ever seen. These guys never fail to disappoint, but tonight in particular was incredibly impressive and I HIGHLY recommend that anyone who likes them go see them live as soon as you're able.

    In short, this concert was unquestionably worth the price of the ticket and if this lineup ever came back through here I would see it again in a heartbeat. If you're still unsure as to whether or not to see any of these bands live: do it. You won't regret it at all.

    Warbringer Setlist
    1. Living Weapon
    2. Severed Reality
    3. Treacherous Tongue
    4. Future Age Is Gone
    5. Whirlwind
    6. Combat Shock

    Iced Earth Setlist
    1. Dystopia
    2. Angels Holocaust
    3. A Slave To Darkness
    4. V
    5. Stand Alone
    6. When The Night Falls
    7. Dark City
    8. Damien
    9. Anthem
    10. Declaration Day
    11. Days Of Rage
    12. Watching Over Me
    13. Dante's Inferno
    14. Iced Earth

    Symphony X Setlist
    1. Iconoclast
    2. End Of Innocence
    3. Dehumanized
    4. Bastards Of The Machine
    5. Children Of A Faceless God
    6. When All Is Lost
    7. Electric Messiah
    8. Inferno (Unleash The Fire)
    9. Of Sins And Shadows
    Encore:
    10. Eve Of Seduction
    11. Serpent's Kiss
    12. Set The World On Fire (The Lie Of Lies)


    Sat 10 Mar – Symphony X, Iced Earth, Warbringer
    Warbringer
    Iced Earth
    Symphony X
  • Opeth & Katatonia At Webster Hall Concert Review And Setlist

    22 Sep 2011, 3:21

    I went and saw Opeth when they came to Terminal 5 in 2010 for their Evolution XX tour. That concert, which focused mostly on their more death metal influenced material, was probably the greatest concert I've ever been to. It was for that reason that I was apprehensive about this one, which not only focused more on their cleaner, more proggy material, but exclusively featured it. That's right. No growling vocals at all. First things first though.

    As a venue, Webster Hall is one that I'd never been to before and honestly don't highly recommend. It wasn't terrible, but the layout of it wasn't great and the sound needed a little bit of work. Those are minor points though when the bands playing are of the caliber of the ones that played tonight.

    Katatonia is a band that I've loved for years, but never seen live, and this was my first chance to go see them. Now that I have, I can safely say that they are a very good live act. Even though they got off to a rough start ("Leaders" was not one of their better performances of the night in my opinion), they quickly redeemed themselves with the stellar "Liberation", off their newest album Night Is The New Day. Other highlights of the night for them included the surprisingly awesome "We Must Bury You" from Last Fair Deal Gone Down and of course "My Twin", from The Great Cold Distance. The inclusion of "Omerta" from Viva Emptiness was another great moment, as they don't often play that track I've heard and performed it very well here tonight. Still though, as good as they were, they were nothing compared to the band that followed them.

    All my fears about Opeth's performance for the night went away almost the minute they launched into first track "The Devil's Orchard". Hearing the entire crowd sing "God is dead!" along with Mikael Åkerfeldt was definitely a highlight of the evening for me. After that, they absolutely killed every subsequent track they played. Despite a few questionable selections for their set ("The Throat of Winter" and "Nepenthe"), every song they played sounded great and not one member of the band screwed up at any point. As hard as choosing highlights would be considering how good they were, the absolute best songs of the night had to be "Closure" and the jaw-dropping "A Fair Judgement", which featured an extended, almost breakdown-like ending. Also great to hear were "Porcelain Heart" and "Hex Omega" from the Watershed record, and the inclusion of "Patterns In The Ivy II" was a real treat, especially since they have never played it live before this tour.

    All in all, the concert was definitely worth the ticket price and both bands had great performances. It definitely didn't top the Evolution XX concert for me, but then...I didn't expect it to. Given that this consisted of only their cleanly sung material, the concert was surprisingly awesome and if anyone is still on the fence as to whether to go see them: do it. You won't regret it at all.

    Katatonia Setlist:
    1. Leaders
    2. Liberation
    3. Soil's Song
    4. Onward Into Battle
    5. Chrome
    6. We Must Bury You
    7. Omerta
    8. My Twin
    9. The Longest Year
    10. July
    11. Forsaker

    Opeth Setlist:
    1. The Devil's Orchard
    2. I Feel The Dark
    3. Face Of Melinda
    4. Porcelain Heart
    5. Nepenthe
    6. The Throat Of Winter (Acoustic)
    7. Patterns In The Ivy II (Acoustic)
    8. Closure (Partly Acoustic)
    9. Slither
    10. A Fair Judgement
    11. Hex Omega
    Encore:
    12. Folklore

    Wed 21 Sep – Opeth, Katatonia
    Opeth
    Katatonia