9 Ene 2011, 19:15

Well, here we are, already in 2011. What expects us in this year only God knows, but speaking of now deceased 2010 all I can say is that it was a pretty good year – to me, at least. Or should I say an exciting year? Yeah, that should be more appropriate. Many things happened, specially speaking of music and concerts. Hell yeah, 2010 was a great year for concerts to me and I decided to pick the most memorable 10 out of it and do a quick retrospective here. Is there any better way to review an year than to comment its musical happenings? I don’t think so, then let’s do it already:

#1) Caravana2K

In my last few months living in the island of Florianópolis (paradisiacal site in the southern region of Brazil) I was already bored in terms of musical options there: Always the same tribute rock bands, performing Deep Purple songs and stuff, and lots of reggae, dance and all this beach-oriented bullshit. Ok, some night I went to a place called Barbudo’s (meaning Bearded Guy’s – now closed) with some friends to see a local ska band. I never thought there was a ska band in that city, but those guys impressed me! They had the whole pack, with violin, keyboards, brass section, sax and a very good guitar playing. The guys were dressed like The Blues Brothers and had the energy of the Ramones, playing covers from American ska/punk bands and some Os Paralamas Do Sucesso (a very representative Brazilian latin-rock band from the 80’s) earlier hits. The place burned down in enthusiasm, but I got the final grin on my face when they performed a fast-paced of Phil Collins' Another Day in Paradise. That was unexpected.

#2) Califaliza

Still in the subject band from Florianópolis, here is the one who intends to save rock n’ roll in the recent musical scenery. And I think they are already getting it! These guys are working really hard on their songs and on local publicizing, aiming to reach national spot in a larger picture. Brazilian mainstream rock scenery in the last years has been dominated by emo and now so called “happy rock” shitty bands, and those Califaliza guys bring some fresh air to the genre, influenced by classic rock bands like Kiss, Iron Maiden and Nirvana, with a heavy twist on hardcore. I had the opportunity to attend their concert at a private beach house party which marked their “new phase”, when they started to claim to be ready to rock out for sure. The concert was pretty rad, and their authorial stuff is really consistent and has radio potential in my opinion (at least if there still some hope left for this world!). Now they have an EP out, containing six songs, and rockers should definitely check them out.

#3) Aerosmith

[From here on, all concerts were placed in São Paulo]
Life can be hard, day after day can be an amount of suckage, but I know God loves me when I realize I could attend to not one, but TWO Aerosmith fuckin’ concerts! This was the band that made me fall in love with rock n’ roll in my early teenage years, and I was able to see them live in 2007 (with opening act by Velvet fuckin’ Revolver) and now in 2010 again. That was awesome. Although in their private lives and on gossip websites they seem to be in a living hell, onstage the Bad Boys from Boston doesn’t seem to get old. No, they belong to the selected group of living legends of rock, which put out a hell dynamite of a show every night they perform. Opening with explosive Eat The Rich, bringing the fan-favorite Kings and Queens and letting their popcorn hit I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing aside, they gave us an excellent concert of good and old blues-oriented American hard rock (thanks Joe Perry for being Joe Perry). Joey Kramer gave his personal show doing a drum solo bare-handed, literally punching the drums. Tom and Brad are still the “hard rock” (allow me to use such a pun) that keeps the band firm and strong, and Steven Tyler is still the best frontman out there, the Demon of Screamin’. A great concert, but I’m not satisfied yet, guys. Please come to Brazil again and release this goddamit new album already.

#4) Gary Brown / Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue

Bourbon Street, a place for R&B concerts in São Paulo, presented us with Bourbon Street Fest 2010, bringing many foreign bands and musicians to perform. During its last day, the festival literally closed a whole street and put the artists to perform on open air, and I could attend to that event, watching the concerts of Gary Brown (American jazz saxophonist) and Trombone Shorty (some very vivid musician from New Orleans). Man, it was awesome to feel the energy of actual Orleans-based black music. As the bands continued to perform long setlists, the crowd grew more and more and drank more and more beer. It was a pleasant evening, with long solos by everyone (from the main stars to their guitarists, bassists and even percussionists) and strong vocal performances that only someone who got this kind of music running on its blood can give. Unfortunately I was feeling really tired and kind of sick, so I couldn’t enjoy as much as I wished to.

#5) Dinosaur Jr.

On my birthday night, I had the opportunity to see Dinosaur Jr. live. Here is a band I have a relationship of love and hate with. That because I really am a fan of their style - comprising country-influenced rhythm with rispy vocals and hard rock giant solos – but it bores me that they don’t seem to be very creative, much of their songs following more or less the same formula. Anyway, they gave a great concert, filled with underground hits and songs from their last album (although they didn’t play my favorite, Get Me), and J Mascis showed everyone how to put a hell load of noise from a guitar and a wall of big amps live, making our ears bleed with satisfaction. By the end of the concert, he did some giant solos that are not in any of their studio work, and that was pretty mad. The bassist, who even did a good work singing a couple songs, and drummer also impressed me, because of their high enthusiasm, which derived on the songs execution. The low point was the venue itself, a small, bad architected place, where I could barely move and barely see the band. But that’s ok, that was fun.

#6) Bon Jovi

“Oh my God! You go to a Dinosaur Jr. concert and then to a Bon Jovi one?”. Yeah, I don’t care to stupid labels, and that’s none of your business. All I case is for good music, and for sure Bon Jovi created some of the more catchy melodies on rock music, don’t you agree? And the guys came to prove that they can sustain a crowded Morumbi stadium with more than three hours of songs non-stop. That’s pretty much rock n’ roll, ain’t it? Including songs from their last album, The Circle, and hits from all their career, Jon Bon Jovi and his mates gave us “one wild night” with everyone singing along famous songs like It’s My Life (I went crazy on that), Blaze of Glory, Bed of Roses, Always, Have a Nice Day and the opener, very good new song, We Weren’t Born to Follow. As a guitar player myself, I gotta observe that Richie Sambora deserves a place between some of the most charismatic guitarists on rock music, and Jon impressed me playing lead in a few songs – that was unexpected. Of course the place was filled with girls who went for the ballads and to see Jon, but also there were many hard rockers with black leather jackets and good musical taste (like me, lol).

#7) Video Games Live

Allow me to be such a nerd. I went to my first Video Games Live and that was awesome! If you don’t know what is it, here goes a brief explanation: Some guy with an electric guitar (Tommy Tallarico) play along and orchestra themes of classic and not-so-classic video games, and both him and the conductor (Jack Wall) keep on joking around all the time with the crowd – there is even a part when someone is invited to play a duel of Frogger onstage, with live musical score! Pretty impressive. What is more impressive is the reaction of the crowd: Ok, you are in an orchestral presentation, so you assume you should be silent and quiet while watching? No shit! You shout, clap, and even sing along all the time, like in a rock concert. Extra points because this was the first time they performed the Street Fighter II medley, attending Brazilian audience demand. As the retro gamer that I am, that song, Zelda’s, Sonic’s and Top Gear on solo piano were the highest points of the night. They even had the composers of God of War and Silent Hill scores playing guitar as special guests, and they all played together with Tommy and the orchestra during Sephiroth’s theme song in the end. A rock show, no doubt. This year I’ll be there again.

#8) Paul McCartney

I’ve seen and listened to a fuckin’ Beatle live! What else needs to be said? Oh, of course, my favorite Beatle, the one who composed some of my favorite songs and probably the responsible for the rising of the power ballad as we know it: Sir Paul fuckin’ Mccartney. A crowded Morumbi again, a heavy rain, wet clothes, long waiting, but he was there, leaving aside any opening acts because who the hell would want one? And he performed many of his The Beatles hits (with the crowd singing along for minutes after the ending of Hey Jude) and even a George Harrison’s one (Something, introduced in the ukulele). Besides that, there were also his solo hits, great songs like Band on The Run, Live and Let Die (fireworks and more fireworks!) and Dance Tonight. God, there was even Helter Skelter and I’ve Got a Feeling! We all went crazy, singing and shouting like there was no tomorrow. Otherwise, in fact, I needed to go to work in the following day, but who cares? It as unforgettable, and Paul showed everyone he might not reach the high notes he did in his 20’s, but he still got the power to keep his status of living legend of modern music.

#9) Pato Fu

Pato Fu is a Brazilian alternative rock band with a strong foot on pop music, and that is for their good. With female singer Fernanda Takai and her husband, innovative guitarist John Ulhoa as the leaders, the band built an artistically strong career for almost 20 years already. Their last album, Música de Brinquedo (meaning Toy Music), accomplished a brave proposition: To make music only with toy instruments and other toys themselves. The result was impressive and they are putting out a live tour based on the album. I could attend to a pocket show and all I can say is that there is a pretty involving concert. They have some puppets transforming the concert into a theatre, giving funny comments and even singing some parts of the songs, and the guys in the band are playing the miniature piano, drums, guitar, bass and all other crazy stuff like a pen that makes sounds and whatever. On the setlist, classics of Brazilian and international music, like Live and Let Die, Love Me Tender, Rock N’ Roll Lullaby, My Girl, Bohemian Rhapsody (which is not on the album) and even Pizzicato Five’s Twiggy Twiggy (that because Fernanda is Japanese descendant and appreciates some Japanese music).

#10) Stone Temple Pilots

The Stone Temple Pilots are back, and they did a concert in São Paulo in December. That was indeed pretty cool, but sadly I got late and missed a few songs in the beginning, including some of their finest, like Crackerman. My main intention was to figure out the style of guitarist Dean DeLeo playing live, since on their CDs there is pretty much a lot of guitars mixed here and there, composing really cool effects. Well, I could confirm that, on live situations like these, if you have a good bass player it helps a lot, and also the amount of vitality the guitarist puts on its amalgamated lines are what really matters. The guy is a true blues-influenced hard rock guitarist living under the stigma of a so-called “grunge” band. Those guys are not grunge, children, they are American rock n’ roll, born in the 90s, that’s all. You gotta tell me that Metallica’s Load and Reload and grunge too, then, don’t you? Well, speaking again about STP concert, Scott Weiland was more centered and singing better than 2007’s Velvet Revolver concert I went to. He looked less “rockstar”, but seemed more mature to me, putting his heart on the songs, resulting in passionate performances.


X-Rated is a J-Rock cover band from São Paulo which I came to know incidentally during a festival at Bairro da Liberdade (Japanese town of the city). I have already seen a lot of bands with this proposal in different cities of Brazil and I can say these guys impressed me for having two things that most of bands don’t have: 1) A coherent setlist – All of their concert consisted basically on hit songs by GLAY, LUNA SEA and L’Arc~en~Ciel, which are some of the most representative bands from earlier visual kei pop movement during the 90’s. Most of J-Rock cover bands tend to mix crappy anime themes with hard rock and pop tunes with female bad executed vocals and that all results in a mess that only otaku can digest. 2) The visual kei pose – Being asian descendant surely helped those guys, but they really incorporated the style of the aforementioned bands on their stage posture. They even had an electronic playback intro, with each member entering separately. They had some pretty cool visual aesthetic that most J-Rock cover bands fail to get, resulting in ridiculous. Although they have those two strong points, I shall say they need more rehearsal. The vocalist has potential, but he should take some vocal lessons to not getting tired in the middle of the sentences, for an example. The guitarists need to listen to their own sound. Their guitar timbre was TERRIBLE, making difficult to recognize well-established songs. They should throw away that crappy digital pedal boards and buy some analog vintage pedals, to begin with. The bassist doesn’t even seems that is part of the band, as distant he is. And the drummer I assume was really good. He even was the leader of a taiko group that performed later that night. Come on, guys, you can do better.

FOR 2011?

Well, there is already a lot of good concerts being announced for 2011 in Brazil, but I’m not rich and for sure I won’t be able to attend all of them. I’d like to see Slash, Iron Maiden, Roxette, Motorhead and even Ozzy Osbourne, but there are three concerts I won’t miss for anything in this world:


I missed their Brazilian dates in 2010, and now they are headlining the Heavy Metal day in Rock in Rio 2011. Even if I have to rob a bank, I’ll see James, Kirk, Lars, and (yeah…) Rob (miss you, Jason) and gonna cut my head off after so much headbanging. Important to notice I’m NOT a headbanger, so that is serious.

Foo Fighters

New album coming and probably a world tour. Never saw these guys live, and they gave a lot of hits to my teenage years soundtrack. I love Dave’s style and, if the new album is as powerful as he is saying it is, the concert is gonna kick serious ass. Not missing at all.

X Japan

Come on, it’s X fuckin’ JAPAN, with Sugizo from Luna Sea on lead guitar. I listen to these guys since I was 15, by the same amount of time I listen to Aerosmith, Metallica and stuff. How can I miss it? Word is they will perform in São Paulo in April, and every Brazilian fan is dying to listen to an official confirmation right now. The band broke up in 1998, their guitarist and Japanese rock legend hide died in the same year and no one had any hope of seeing the band alive again. But, in 2007, it reborned from the ashes like a Phoenix, with hide’s protégé Sugizo assuming his guitar parts. And now we are waiting to see them LIVE. :D


Also, in 2010 I gave the first steps on my musical project Maximauze, which I plan to transform in a full live band in 2011. The first five demos were recorded and I hope I can put some more rock n' roll in this city in the next months!


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