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Gig review: Summer’s Last Stand Tour

September 8, 2015 // 0 Comments

It was a wet and muggy night at the (insert latest venue name here) in Tinley Park, Illinois. The weather did not keep any heavy music fans at home. Rockstar Energy Drink presented the long awaited, Summer’s Last Stand Tour. This bill featured Motionless In White , Bullet For My Valentine , Lamb of God , and Slipknot . The line-up for Summers Last Stand was a traffic stopper and it has also been viewed as the event of the summer for metalheads. Yet, it begs the question for one to ponder on, if  this could be a permanent replacement to the now defunct, Mayhem Festival. That is, if more bands signed on. It was really surprising the amount of vendors and Rockstar product placement areas were inside and around the venue. Again, begging the question as to how the Rockstar sponsorship affected the relationship with Mayhem organizers. Slipknot obviously had the loudest crowd of the night but Bullet For My Valentine had a huge following as well. I thought they sounded pretty good. I was intrigued by their new material, it was heavy and had a distinct old school 1980′s feel. I say that because of the speed picking and relevant time signatures. Lamb of God had a high energy feel. Vocalist, Randy Blythe  sounded great and had a sense of rejuvenation in his step. Blythe’s attitude was one of humility and almost seemed grateful of the reception and crowd participation. I thought that the music, however, was a little off. There were some sloppy breakdowns and rushed solos. I definitely noticed this during the drum full in “Ruin”. Overall though, I was pleased. Slipknot as per norm, was a HUGE stage production. It took at least forty minutes for them to set up. They focused mainly on material from their latest release,  .5: The Gray Chapter. The band did throw in a few old random songs as well. Those in attendance didn’t seem to care one way or the other as they were hanging on every hook. It’s undeniable that Slipknot has not lost their touch with their fan base. Not that it matters, but I noticed that they did not have the new bass player, Alessandro Venturella in the spotlight very often. I get it, he’s new. However, he’s still a valid band member….or is he? New drummer, Jay Weinberg’s focus was a bit more heavy but it’s clear that the band isn’t quite out of the honeymoon stage yet with their new members. All in all, Slipknot’s performance was well tuned with perfect timing. Believe this, Slipknot is well oiled touring machine that is going to be at the top of the mountain for a long, long time. The post Summer’s Last Stand Tour appeared first on The Front Row Report . [read on]

Gig review: Concert Review: High On Fire/Pallbearer/Lucifer/Venomous Maximus – August 22, 2015 – Atlanta, GA

September 8, 2015 // 0 Comments

High On Fire/Pallbearer/Lucifer/Venomous Maximus August 22, 2015 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade (Heaven) The stoner/doom/occult rock mega bill of High On Fire/Pallbearer/Lucifer/Venomous Maximus rolled into Atlanta recently and delivered one the most versatile evenings of music I’ve seen in a long time. The Masquerade was about 3/4 full this night of a fine mix of beardos, dirtbags, and your regular run of the mill metal heads. This crowd was about as versatile as the lineup which definitely set the tone for the evening. I was really looking forward to checking out all of the bands this night. The only band I was a fan of going into this was Lucifer so to see these other three bands for the first time was something I was looking forward to. VENOMOUS MAXIUMS Venomous Maximus kicked things off and I have to say that I was blown away by this band. I didn’t know anything about this band other than the fact that one of the Gypsyhawk dudes wore a Venomous Maxiumus shirt in the video for the song “Gypsyhawk.” The band kicked their 30 minute set off with the song “Moonchild” (no, not the Iron Maiden song) and this song blew my fucking mind. Lead vocalist/guitarist Gregg Higgins has all of charisma and energy of an arena metal front man which had the audience responding favorably and giving the band a lot of energy right back to them. Venomous Maximus gave nothing less than 110% and they are without a doubt a band not to be missed live. Their short but oh so sweet set was just enough to whet my pallet and make me want more. This set definitely made me a fan and this is a band that I will definitely be keeping an eye out for in the future.   LUCIFER London/Berlin based occult rock masters Lucifer were up next and this was the moment I had been waiting a long time for. Since hearing her work with her former band The Oath, Johanna Sadonis has become one of my favorite singer/songwriters in the genre. When she announced that she was forming Lucifer with Andrew Prestidge of Angel Witch on drums and Gary “Gaz” Jennings of Cathedral on guitar I just knew that this was going to be a force to be reckoned with. Lucifer kicked off their 40 minute set with “Anubis” and without even missing a beat slammed right into “Abracadabra” which completely blew my face clean off and also served to be the highlight of the set for me. With its mesmerizing, hypnotic groove and awesome changes, this song had Gaz Jennings ripping shit up with his signature guitar tone while drummer Andrew Prestidge and bassist Dino Gollnick laid down the perfect foundation for Sadonis sonically powerful vocals to fill the room. Sadonis really seems to have found a level of comfort and confidence on stage as she put out this mystical sort of Ozzy meets Stevie Nicks vibe that entranced and captivated the audience. Six songs just wasn’t enough but like any great band should do, Lucifer exited the stage and left us all wanting more. Judging by the reaction of the crowd, I’d say that it’s very safe to say that Lucifer picked up many new fans this night. One person even told me, “The next time Lucifer comes back here they need to be headliners.” I think that right there says it all if you ask me.   PALLBEARER Pallbearer was up next and in all honesty they did absolutely nothing for me. I have quickly come to learn that I just don’t really like doom metal. It takes a certain type of person to really appreciate this kind of music and that person isn’t me. With their drone laden, sludgy, down tuned low end rumble, Pallbearer seemed to really be blowing everyone away. I can totally see why so many people like this band so much because while I didn’t like them, they are extremely talented players. I definitely didn’t dig their discordant singing and from what I heard from those around me, that was their least favorite part of their performance. Pallbearer definitely blew the crowd away and the reaction to them was extremely positive which just left me realizing that I was somewhat of an odd man out during their set.   HIGH ON FIRE High on Fire was up next and let me just say this: Matt Pike has to be one of the single most disgusting individuals I have ever seen. As a matter of fact, it’s damn near horrifying. So much spitting. Really Mr. Pike? Is it really necessary to spit all over the fucking stage? Ok, that aside, let’s talk about High on Fire’s music. Here’s the deal. High on Fire just seemed to be a poor man’s Motorhead to me and the sheer, ear bleeding volume that they play at makes it absolutely impossible to really discern if they are really any good at all. Now don’t get me wrong, I found them all to be exceptional musicians but the songs just did absolutely nothing for me.   I found their songs to lack any real melody and their performance is nothing more than a treble laden wall of noise, feedback, screaming, and spitting. I’m actually surprised I made it as long as I did but at the 3/4 mark I just couldn’t take anymore and found myself tapping out. These guys do have an insane following who seem to worship them and to that I say, “more power to you all.” I’ve also never seen a band with so much merch in my life. It’s just a shame that I didn’t like High on Fire’s music nearly as much as I liked their merch selection. All in all, while I didn’t love the last two bands, I have to say that I appreciated the variety that this bill had to offer. I got to sample some bands that I had never sampled before only to learn that I would much rather leave room on my plate to indulge more on the bands that I really liked. Lucifer, without a doubt, were the MVPs of the night (yeah, ok, call me biased) and Venomous Maximus wins the award for the most pleasant surprise of the night. Even at its worst it was still a solid bill and a good time seemed to be had by all. About Don de Leaumont Don (aka. The Brainfart) has been a heavy metal fan since hearing it for the first time in 1983. Don is also repsonsible for all of the typos, shitty grammar, and kick ass content on this site. Don likes cheap beer, whiskey, Coca Cola Icees, going to shows, and hanging with his kick ass wife, two cats and dog. He originally wanted to name his dog Shandi but his wife said, "No fucking way." Mail | More Posts (1129) [read on]

Gig review: Avatar Takes Over South Bend, IN

September 8, 2015 // 0 Comments

  Metalheads in South Bend, IN were the recipient of an early Christmas present of sorts, albeit at the end of August.   The folks over at Cheers Pub continue to put pressure on larger and better known venues by bringing amazing tours to town. Thursday August 27th had one of those bills that Cheers is quietly becoming known for. Those in attendance were treated to Swedish metal act Avatar, Los Angeles rockers Gemini Syndrome and Cheyenne, WY. upstarts, First Decree. First Decree , made up of vocalist Travis James and a trio of brothers in Dane, Isaac and  Zach Lopez-Smith got the ball rolling.  Unfortunately, I don’t think that the majority of the crowd were very familiar with First  Decree. In all honesty, I think that the concert goers looked at them as just a step above one of the local bands that opened the show. That was until James and co. let loose with an intense and energetic thirty minute set. The quality of the performance from  the Wyoming natives made a strong statement  to the fans in front of them and  the bands following them. Bring your “A” game or you’ll get embarrassed. As the temperature increased inside Cheers Pub the anticipation for Gemini Syndrome did as well. It has been just over a year since Gemini Syndrome has been in the bend. The last time that L.A.’s finest played here it was at the same venue to a full house. Needless to say, Northern Indiana is VERY familiar with Gemini Syndrome.  Oddly enough, G.S. consisting of  vocalist Aaron Nordstrom, drummer Brian Steele Medina and bass player Alessandro Paveri looked more than slightly different. In the last few weeks, Gemini guitar player, Rich Juzwick left the fold to tend to family matters. That said, the boys are back to a quintet with the addition of two new guitar players (which are unnamed). Opening their eleven song set with Pleasure & Pain , the South Bend crowd erupted with an energy that Nordstrom et al, reciprocated equally. Rolling off fan favorites, Falling Apart , Syndrome,   Left Of Me,   Basement before wrapping things up with their latest release, Eternity and   Stardust . Gemini Syndrome, by saying few words between songs In essence spoke volumes. Regardless of their new members, Gemini Syndrome did not disappoint! Next on the docket would be the Swedish headliners, Avatar . For those of you that haven’t seen Avatar live and in the flesh, I’ll warn you that no review or description can or will ever do their performance justice. Avatar’s sound is bombastic and intense yet refined. Their stage performance is just that… a performance. Don’t confuse what I said because their performance is equally important and doesn’t cover flaws but conversely, accentuates your experience. Front man, Johannes Eckestrom is exactly that…. a front man. With stimulating vocals to extreme  growls, Eckestrom has become a preeminent metal band leaders. From the initial riff of Hail The Apocalypse , Avatar stood up and let the audience know that this wouldn’t be your run of the mill concert experience. Transitioning into  Let It Burn , Death of Sound ,   before uttering a word, simply set the tone. Eckestrom, who is a master of crowd interaction, informed the audience that South Bend would be called “Avatartown ”  before ripping into What I Don’t Know and   Bloody Angel . Concluding the evening’s roller coaster ride with breathtaking renditions of Smells Like a Freakshow  and Tower . Loading... Loading... Loading... The post Avatar Takes Over South Bend, IN appeared first on The Front Row Report . [read on]

Gig review: Def Leppard, Styx and Tesla pack Indy’s Klipsch

September 8, 2015 // 0 Comments

It was just a year ago that Def Leppard came through Indianapolis on tour with KISS. One year later they’re back and headlining with support from Styx and Tesla, forming one of the summer’s top tours after Motley Crue’s Final Tour. The show hit Indy’s Klipsch Music Center almost exactly a year after Leppard hit the same venue last year and the venue was just as packed- if not more. The night started early with Tesla, who opened with “Edison’s Medicine (Man Out of Time),” and the crowd was going crazy already. Fans showed up early so the lawn was packed by the time the show even started and the volume traveling to the front of the Pavilion was overwhelming. Tesla put on a hell of a show and it was almost time for Styx to take the stage and keep things going. They kicked it off with “The Grand Illusion” and blew the crowd away with the rest of their set. If you’ve seen Styx once, you know exactly what you’re getting and it’s worth it every time. Near the end of the set, keyboardist and vocalist Lawrence Gowan sat at his keyboard and talked to the fans, telling them that NASA recently discovered Pluto has more moons than they originally thought and that NASA had named one of the moons “Styx,” which prompted his keyboard medley. The NASA reference was a perfect segue into “Rocket Man,” which also led into “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Sittin’ On The Dock of the Bay” before launching into “Come Sail Away,” which saw the entire lawn and Pavilion- over 20,000 people- taking out their lighters and cell phone flashlights for a truly amazing sight. They wrapped it up with “Rockin’ The Paradise” and “Renegade” before Def Leppard came out and finished the crowd off and, honestly, Styx stole the show. Def Leppard took the stage to the roaring of excitement from the nearly sold out crowd and ripped right into “Rock! Rock!” and played an hour and a half set that included literally every hit and song fans could have remotely wanted to hear. The most impressive part of the show was Vivian Campbel. The Def Leppard guitarist had been undergoing Cancer treatment. During the show, however, singer Joe Elliott announced “a very happy and very healthy Vivian Campbell!” The crowd went insane and rightly so. If you’ve seen a Def Leppard show- much like Styx- you know exactly what you’re getting. Rarely is there a Def Leppard show that will let you down and send you home disappointed and this year’s show in Indy was no exception. -Reggie Edwards The post Def Leppard, Styx and Tesla pack Indy’s Klipsch appeared first on The Front Row Report . [read on]

Gig review: Motley Crue say goodbye in Indianapolis

September 8, 2015 // 0 Comments

Over a year and a half after Motley Crue announced they’d be embarking on their final tour as a band, they are now on the second leg of the two year trek and they recently hit Indianapolis for the second time of the tour, once again with Alice Cooper as support. Last year’s show at Klipsch Music Center wasn’t anything to be remembered and was nothing short of a letdown. The only saving grace was the always-impressive Alice Cooper. Had he not been on the tour, there may not have been much of a crowd this time around. Needless to say there was a lot of excitement for Cooper and he didn’t disappoint at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse. In fact, it was even better than last year was. It was essentially the same show as last year with all the same stage tricks he always does but there’s always just some sort of magic about an Alice Cooper show. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve seen it, it’s always one of the best experiences ever. At 67 years old, Cooper is still at the top of his game and better than half the younger bands right now. He made it significantly harder for anyone to follow his show, which included Cooper coming to the stage with sparks flying, a beheading, electrocution and more. Like I said it would be hard for anyone to follow Cooper…and with how lackluster Motley Crue was last year there weren’t high hopes going in, unfortunately. The thing with a Motley Crue show is that you don’t know which Crue show you’re getting. They’re either the best show ever or one you can forget before you even leave. Last year was the latter. This year could have gone either way but it was, indeed, better than last year. Of course that isn’t saying much. They were firing strong out the gates with “Girls, Girls, Girls” as the opener. The amount of pyro was more than there’d been in years at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse. The thing about pyro is that there aren’t many valid reasons to actually use it, though, unless the opener is one that can show you up nightly. Well…with Alice Cooper as your opener, you may need some pyro. There’s a reason Cooper doesn’t go out as support often. He co-headlines at worst. It’s just impossible to follow him and stand on your own. On this night we got a little bit of both Motley Crues. Some songs they were firing on all cylinders but on others they seemed to miss the mark a bit. This was a step up from their last Indy show. When you factor in all the visual effects and spectacles they show was one for the ages. Between all the fire, pyro and Tommy Lee’s “Crucifly” roller coaster drum solo that saw him literally flying over the crowd, it was a show to remember. After all the years, it’s sad to see Motley Crue say goodbye. Will this really be their final tour? Probably. Each member has so many other projects they want to pursue outside of Motley Crue and the future is bright for all of them. What made Motley Crue special is that they aren’t individually amazing musicians or singers. When they come together, though, it’s pure magic. They know how to write kickass songs, put on a hell of a show and send you home wanting more- whether it’s on the stage or on album. With how hit and miss the shows are anymore, though, maybe it’s for the best. All bad things really must come to an end. -Reggie Edwards Loading... Loading... The post Motley Crue say goodbye in Indianapolis appeared first on The Front Row Report . [read on]

Gig review: Pop Evil return to the road with CD release show

September 8, 2015 // 0 Comments

Not many bands have risen to the top as quick as Pop Evil have. Sure, they’re set to release their fourth album this week, but their third album- Onyx­ - spawned four no. 1 singles and took them to headline status and solidified them as a major player in the rock world. When you ask any major band who tours throughout the Midwest what some of their favorite venues are and 9/10 times, Piere’s Entertainment Center in Fort Wayne, Ind. will be near the top- if not at the top of their list. Most big names have come through the venue- Korn, Slash, Stone Sour, Hinder, Shinedown, Creed, Halestorm, Hollywood Undead, Anthrax, Slayer, Saliva, Hellyeah, Sebastian Bach and countless others have all played the legendary venue so it was a no brainer for Pop Evil to come back to Piere’s for the official release show for their fourth record- Up. They’ve played the venue numerous other times- most recently with Stone Sour in January 2014 on the House Of Gold And Bones Pt. 2 Tour and they brought Red Sun Rising and Screaming For Silence with them- Aranda was scheduled to play but had to cancel due to a health emergence. The show must go on, though, and that’s exactly how it went down. Screaming For Silence is out of Omaha, Neb. and they’ve been making a lot of noise this year- literally and figuratively. Back in May, they won the Ernie Ball Battle Of The Bands contest for a spot at Rock On The Range and Pop Evil took notice and rightfully so. With just a 30 minute set, they took full advantage of their time and worked the crowd into a frenzy. There’s no doubt Screaming For Silence left Fort Wayne with a grown fanbase. It wasn’t long before Red Sun Rising took the stage to keep the party going. Fresh off the release of their debut- Polyester Zeal - the band have been on the road for almost three years straight and shared the stage with Pop Evil last winter so they felt right at home. With Aranda unable to play, Red Sun Rising had room for a few more songs, which worked to their advantage, playing well over half of their debut album. When a band only has one album out and one that’s brand new , it can be hard for the crowd to get involved and feel comfortable but that wasn’t the case with RSR- they refused to let the crowd just sit idle, demanding every ounce of energy the crowd had. Red Sun Rising proved why Pop Evil keeps bringing them back on the road with them and showed that they are a band to watch and take seriously. If you missed them in Fort Wayne, they have numerous tours coming up and they’re playing this year’s Louder Than Life festival in Louisville this fall so catch them now. Before too long the lights went back down and Pop Evil took their place on stage for an hour-long set that was loaded with fan favorites and new songs as well. The band appeared on stage, entering from behind the stage and launched into “Last Man Standing” and “Goodbye My Friend” before introducing the Piere’s crowd to “Dead In The Water” from the now-released Up. With four albums out and this being their CD release show, they had to balance the number of new songs with the amount of hits and fan favorites and did so perfectly. Sure, there were a few songs they could have played but that’s always gonna be the case. Performance-wise, they were at the top of their game and a powerhouse as always. From the very onset of the set, they destroyed the crowd with the energy and adrenaline they had. The only downside was that frontman Leigh Kakaty seemed to be having some vocal problems. Rarely did he scream during the set and he utilized the diehard Pop Evil fans in the crowd, allowing them to sing more than he usually would. The band had to have been tired since they were plagued with travel issues all day- their bus broke down and the vehicle they got to pick them up also broke down so maybe it was just vocal strain and fatigue. It didn’t take away from the show, though. He quickly caught his stride and it was the Pop Evil show we’ve all come to know and love- complete adrenaline and maximized energy coming from the stage. What makes a Pop Evil show stand out from the rest of the shows isn’t just the energy the band gives out, but it’s also the energy and intensity the crowd gives right back. Some bands put on a show that’s worth going back to over and over and over again. Pop Evil are one of those bands. They ended the show with their lead single from Up in “Footsteps,” which made the crowd hit a second stride of adrenaline. It was like the show was just starting again and, in a lot of ways it was. From there they destroyed the rest of the fans with an encore of “Deal With The Devil” and “Trenches” to end the show. Pop Evil is back and their new music fits right into the show with the older material. Regardless of whether the show was loaded with all classic material or featured new songs- which it did- Pop Evil proved- as if you didn’t’ already know- that there’s a reason they’re one of the top rock bands coming up right now. -Reggie Edwards Loading... Loading... Loading... The post Pop Evil return to the road with CD release show appeared first on The Front Row Report . [read on]

Gig review: The New Regime take their throne in Indy

September 8, 2015 // 0 Comments

You may not be familiar with Ilan Rubin’s name, but you’re undoubtedly familiar with some of his work. In the past decade Rubin has drummed for some of the biggest bands in rock music, such as lostprophets, Fenix TX, Angels & Airwaves (fronted by former Blink-182 guitarist Tom Delonge), Paramore, and even Nine Inch Nails. As impressive as that resume is it still wasn’t enough to satisfy Rubin’s thirst for artistic expression, so he started The New Regime as a side project in 2007, giving him a chance to step out from behind the drum kit and take center stage. Although it’s taken a while for him to be able to devote his full attention to the project it seems the wait has been worth it and Indianapolis fans were treated to a solid set from The New Regime when they opened up for Failure at Indy CD & Vinyl’s free show at The Vogue. Despite there only being three members, the band’s sound was incredibly robust, allowing Rubin to go off on extended guitar solos during most of the songs the band played. The New Regime manages to take the best elements of a jam band and merge it with the sound and attitude of a rock band, making for a unique listening experience that feels all at once totally unique and yet very familiar. Even early on in the set it was clear the band was locked in and in tune with one another- they didn’t need any time to find their stride, but were firing on all cylinders from the very first note. Many times throughout the night Rubin and his drummer would lock eyes, With 2015’s release of Exhibit B it seems The New Regime has reached a point of total confidence with their sound and are starting to explore the intricacies and hidden niches within that sound. Although Rubin is wrapping up his current tour with Failure, he’s slated to spend late September through the end of October making his way across the country with punk band Gang of Four- a lineup that you definitely won’t want to miss. -Ashley Adcox Loading... The post The New Regime take their throne in Indy appeared first on The Front Row Report . [read on]