IRON MAIDEN @ Verizon Wireless Ampitheatre, Irvine, CA (8/9/12)

In metal, there are so many great live bands but few deliver the kind of religious experience that IRON MAIDEN regularly delivers. The Maiden England World Tour hit Southern California last night with the band reprising the 1988 Seventh Son of a Seventh Son tour, complete with the stage set up and setlist modeled after that tour.

The enthusiasm, anticipation, and sheer positive energy at Verizon Wireless Ampitheatre was just so special. And when the band finally took the stage with “Moonchild,” the place exploded. The roar of the crowd was deafening. MAIDEN didn’t waste much time in between songs as they kept going into song after song. “The Evil that Men Do” and “The Prisoner” followed quickly afterwards. For MAIDEN purists, the removal of “Still Life” and “Infinite Dreams” may have been a disappointment. However, the band replaced these songs with the underrated “Afraid to Shoot Strangers” and the favorite “Fear of the Dark.” Also, it should be noted that the setlist is mostly based on the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son tour rather than being a facsimile.

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GRAVEYARD, RADIO MOSCOW, THE SHRINE @ Bootleg Theater (1/28/12)

GRAVEYARD‘s sold out show with RADIO MOSCOW, and THE SHRINE at Bootleg Bar in Los Angeles this past Saturday was no doubt the hottest ticket in town. The buzz was huge and rightfully so–their latest album, Hisingen Blues, is an honest-to-goodness, quality serving of 70s rock ‘n roll that has garnered much acclaim.

So while word rippled through the internet that the show had sold out, the venue subsequently moved the show into the larger (and better sounding) theater room in the back of Bootleg Bar. A limited number of tickets were then released with an additional unguaranteed chance for tickets at the door. Upon arrival, the line for fans waiting to purchase tickets was at least 40 people deep with THE SHRINE already loudly blasting away inside. It turns out that everyone who showed up without pre-sale tickets was fortunately able to get in. Continue reading

DIR EN GREY @ House of Blues, Hollywood, CA (12/23/11)

[slidepress gallery=’dir-en-grey-111223′]On a chilly eve of Christmas Eve in Los Angeles, the always faithful DIR EN GREY fans came out for their heroes. The band’s first show in LA for their latest album, Dum Spiro Spero, was to be a special one as the band had a full camera crew to film the show for a future release. Like on many of their recent tours, there was no opening band and the crowd eagerly awaited their heroes for about an hour before they took the stage.

DIR EN GREY took the stage with the type of unconditional love and adoration that their fans are known for. Bassist Toshiya did a great job working the crowd and getting the predominantly female crowd to yell out his name. Vocalist Kyo went into his trademark intense trance-like state and projected his furious and passionate delivery. The rest of the band was their usual cool selves.

The setlist revolved more around the band’s recent albums with the beginning of the latter half of the set focusing on the band’s more experimental, atmospheric side. At show’s end, the band threw out guitar picks, drum sticks, and water bottles, of which I was the recipient of the latter. Fortunately, no one tried to mob me for it. And before departing back into the cold evening, the vast majority of the crowd patiently stood in the merch line to buy some souvenirs.

It’ll be quite special to see the final product of the live recording of the evening’s show.

BORIS @ The El Rey, Los Angeles (11/12/11)

Touring in support of their two recent new albums, Heavy Rocks, Attention Please, and forthcoming new album, New Album (our review), Japan’s BORIS made their return to the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, on November 12th, having played there their last time in L.A. just over a year ago.

While known for their unpredictable and sometimes unconventional style of music output (doom, noise, drone, psych rock, pop, shoegaze), BORIS are relatively straightforward within a live setting. That is not to say, however, that their material isn’t (and wasn’t) varied.

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The North American Khaos 2011 Tour had a metal genre for everybody – black, thrash, nu, and melodic metal were all represented nicely.

CHTHONIC has gained quite an increase of popularity in the U.S. since their first go around at Ozzfest in 2007, and that notion was proven by the rabid crowd that showed up early giving full support to the “Orient metal” from the Far East.  The band performed tracks mostly from the new album, Takasago Army, and new tracks like “Takao” and “Southern Cross” went over tremendously well in the live setting. Vocalist Freddy Lim owned the crowd with his enthusiastic charisma and wowed onlookers whenever he pulled out the er-hu to accentuate why CHTHONIC stands out as a unique band.
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GRAVE, BLOOD RED THRONE, PATHOLOGY @ Chain Reaction, Anaheim, CA (09/20/11)

With only a few days left on this tour, all the bands on this package battle through sound difficulties, lack of sleep, and a poor diet – such is life being an underground extreme metal band. San Diego’s finest, PATHOLOGY, hit the crowd hard, with their chunky SUFFOCATION-inspired brutal death metal. Mainly focusing on the latest album, Awaken to the Suffering, the new, revitalized lineup sounded menacing and tight, delighting the young crowd with their crunchy slam riffs and guttural vocals.

BLOOD RED THRONE immediately continued the punishment with their European brand of death metal. By highlighting their influences of CANNIBAL CORPSE, MORBID ANGEL, and other U.S. death metal staples, the Norwegians ripped through a nice mix of their discography. While vocalist Vald sounded like a generic Glen Benton, the drumming and guitars were loud and tight, with the crowd headbanging in approval.

When the lights dimmed before GRAVE walked on stage, there was some slight confusion as SNOOP DOGG’s “Murder Was the Case” was blaring through the PA system. The crowd was amused and confused at the same time. Finally, the correct intro came on, the band came on stage, and fury was unleashed. This particular GRAVE tour was a special one, as they were celebrating their 20th anniversary of Into The Grave, and their set included most of the songs from the debut album, including all the seminal tracks – “Deformed,” “For Your God,” “Haunted,” “Inhuman,” “Into the Grave,” and of course, “Extremely Rotten Flesh.”
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CAVALERA CONSPIRACY @ House of Blues, Anaheim, CA (04/29/11)

The latest CAVALERA CONSPIRACY tour gives the chance for fans to enjoy songs from Blunt Force Trauma, as well as seeing Max and Igor Cavalera tear up some SEPULTURA songs. It’s unlikely that there will ever be a reunion of the “classic lineup” for SEPULTURA, so CAVALERA CONSPIRACY may be the next best thing. While Igor missed the show in Hollywood due to visa issues, he was behind the kit in Anaheim, and certainly did not disappoint.

Marc Rizzo was lively on stage and performed flawlessly – also for the first time in recent years, he left his trademark hat at home. Although Max seemed to be more focused on singing and getting the crowd involved than playing his guitar and guitar parts, Rizzo more than adequately covered the guitars.

Igor never skipped a beat as the drums sounded great in the club, and his chops were just as lethal now as they were in 1991.

Max was on stage sporting an old NAPALM DEATH shirt, and showed that CAVALERA CONSPIRACY is a more simple “going back to the roots” project than his main band, SOULFLY. Although the band seemed to have more energy during the Inflikted tour, this was another excellent show put on by the Cavalera brothers, and hearing old SEPULTURA songs with Max and Igor will never get old.

The band cruised through a good balance of songs from the two CAVALERA albums and SEPULTURA material. Songs from Inflikted, including “Ultra-Violent” and “The Doom of All Fires,” incited the crowd. But when Ritchie Cavalera came on stage to sing “Black Ark,” a frenzy of bodies marched into the pit. From Blunt Force Trauma, the band played the title track, “Killing Inside,” and a few others to promote the new album, but the crowd was most excited for the SEPULTURA material.

CAVALERA and co. blasted through a sped up version of “Arise” to the delight of the crowd, and also brought out the oldie but goodie, “Troops of Doom,” which sounded excellent with the precision of Igor’s drumming and Mark Rizzo’s mastery of the axe. The band closed out the night with the SEPULTURA fan favorite, “Roots Bloody Roots” and the frantic audience dispersed into the night, mingling with tourists and the Disneyland crowd.

OFF!, REDD KROSS, SCREAM @ Club Lingerie, Hollywood (10/13/10)

Last Wednesday night was a special night in Los Angeles. Originally billed as an OFF! EP release party, the event grew into a taping for OFF!‘s first televised appearance and a sort of super reunion shows that included recently reactivated bands, L.A.’s REDD KROSS (RED CROSS) and D.C.’s SCREAM.

OFF!, featuring Keith Morris (CIRCLE JERKS, BLACK FLAG), Dimitri Coats (BURNING BRIDES), Steven McDonald (REDD KROSS), and Mario Rubalcaba (EARTHLESS, ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT, HOT SNAKES) kicked off the evening blasting through the four songs off their debut release, 1st EP, of which were taped for airing on the Carson Daly show. The band then pummeled through additional songs slated for subsequent EP releases. Keith Morris, a man of many words, left no part of the set without a story to tell or classic crowd mouthing interaction.

Following a short set change, REDD KROSS (RED CROSS) took the stage with OFF!‘s Steven McDonald as well as Mario Rubalcaba filling in on drums. They kept the energy alive performing a short set of their early pop-tinged punk classics.

D.C.’s SCREAM, with their original lineup fronted by Pete Stahl (GOATSNAKE), stepped things up an additional notch. The already exhausted crowd of old punks were treated to a quintessential D.C. hardcore set like no body does anymore.

Though this was OFF!‘s big night, this was a special night for all bands and fans in attendance getting to witness the past and the future of real punk and hardcore.

Check out the clip of OFF!‘s said Caron Daly airing below:

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Also check out some additional coverage of the event:

VALIENT THORR @ The Echo, Los Angeles (10/16/10)

It’s LA Fashion Week here in Los Angeles and VALIENT THORR came to show off their denim Thorrier fashion with a hefty side of rock ‘n roll thrashin’ yesterday (Saturday) at The Echo in Echo Park.

Of course, VALIENT THORR really had nothing to do with LA Fashion Week, but the bearded beasts did put on a fiery rock party. Heads were a’bangin’, fists were a’pumpin’, bodies were a’sweatin’ and boats were a’rowin’ (see below)… all this despite the last minute, un-rock ‘n roll early show schedule change. I’m talking about 8:30pm early.

Touring in support of their recently released, Stranger, album, the band were firing on all cylinders. Valient Himself, always the quintessential frontman with beard-loads of quality between-song banter, at one point jumped into the crowd and engaged the audience in a row boat routine. You kind of had to be there for that. Eidan Thorr slayed as usual in the riff department, and new second guitarist Voiden Thorr definitely brought a more metallic touch to their already edgy AC/DC-meets-IRON MAIDEN-meets-the history of rock ‘n roll sound.

Check out some photos courtesy of Captain Sean and make sure to check out VALIENT THORR when they hit your town! Oh, and watch their new music video “Double Crossed.

TORCHE @ Vacation Vinyl, Los Angeles (10/28/10)

TORCHE packed Silver Lake’s tiny Vacation Vinyl store on Tuesday and filled the room with massive volume. The now three-piece band celebrated the release of their new album, Songs for Singles, by performing the heavy, down-tuned yet surprisingly (and pleseantly) melodic new material in its entirety.

It was an early show that found PELICAN‘s Larry Herweg sneak in towards the end of the set and, with the help of others, convince the band to play a few more songs.

To top things off, the heavy metal food truck, Grill ’em All Truck, (which has recently been capturing a lot of buzz) was parked outside the store serving up some quality burgers with metal a’blaring from their stereo.

Anyways, a sweet video of (most of) the TORCHE in-store peformance was captured by user sonsolsylo. Watch it below:

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