Reviewed by: B. Cross
Steven Wilson’s name has been legend among progressive rock aficionados for many years now, and his current tour in support of his latest concept work Hand. Cannot. Erase. drew quite a diverse crowd to the Palladium. Old-school proggers in Rush shirts stood side-by-side with longhairs sporting Emperor patch-laden battle vests. That’s how much Wilson’s music means to people, and when you hear it, you’ll understand. (I should also note that for once, I wasn’t the oldest guy in attendance. That’s always a nice change of pace.)
Wilson’s set was comprised of nearly all of Hand. Cannot. Erase., kicking off with an extended intro into “First Regret,” moving down the line in proper order. Highlights included the title track and “Perfect Life,” not to mention the powerful “Routine.” Of course, the show wasn’t just Hand. Cannot. Erase.; the performance was interspersed with a few older tracks from Wilson’s solo career as well as his lauded Porcupine Tree compositions. From eloquent soundscapes to hard-hitting riffs with enough crunch to rattle the floorboards, Wilson and his immensely talented backing band shone a new light on earlier works like “Harmony Korine” alongside new material such as “Ancestral.” The set list was so well crafted that even the older songs felt like they belonged with the new pieces, forging one melodic whole that was far more than the sum of its parts. Read more
Reviewed by: B. Cross
I knew Nightwish was a big draw, but I’d never seen a show as packed as this one. When we arrived, we were greeted with the longest waiting line I’d ever seen. It snaked around the entire block, then back into the parking lot, where it curled around itself again. I spent most of the time wondering just how in the seven hells everyone was going to fit inside the venue, let alone how long it would take to reach the door. Much to my surprise, we only waited in line for less than an hour. Kudos to the Palladium staff for getting everyone into the building quickly and safely. Read more
This was my first show in attendance at The Spire Center for The Performing Arts in beautiful downtown Plymouth, MA. The venue is surrounded by some very nice restaurants, small shops and I must say with all of the holiday lights gleaming I was in a very festive spirit. Why shouldn’t I be? It’s the Friday night before Christmas and I’m getting ready to witness a one-night only, special performance from one of my favorite vocalists of all time – Massachusetts’ own Michael Sweet. Read more
Reviewed by: B. Cross
Photos by: Matt Lambert
The “Communion of Sirens” tour – a double bill featuring two of Sweden’s greatest heavy metal exports – makes for some strange bedfellows. Their country of origin aside, Opeth and In Flames couldn’t be more different; the former plays progressive metal, the latter a blend of alternative and metalcore. But both share some death metal roots, and they also are known for having a single record that heralded a notable shift in their sound. With In Flames, it was 2001’s Reroute to Remain that morphed their sound from melodic death metal into metalcore, while Opeth’s Heritage in 2011 brought their 1970s progressive rock influence completely to the forefront, ditching the death growls in the process. Both bands have recorded further material since then, expanding their catalog and musical horizons without ignoring their previous work. Sure, some “true” fans may have written them off, but that’s their loss, if the densely crowded venue was any indication. Thus, the two Swedish heavyweights were a surprisingly natural fit to tour together, and they descended upon the Palladium in Worcester for their last US show before heading north. Read more
November 29, 2014
The Palladium – Worcester, MA
Review & Photos by: Jeff Palmucci
Halestorm played to a sold out crowd last Saturday at the Palladium in Worcester. The place was packed and these guys put on a great show. Lzzy Hale’s vocal work is amazing. She has the ability to come across as sweet or playful one moment and hard and aggressive the next, sometimes in the same song (Mz. Hyde). Read more
Reviewed by: B. Cross
Thunderous heavy metal reigns supreme when Amon Amarth comes calling. Despite the unseasonably warm and humid weather, there was a massive turnout when the venerated band and friends hit the Webster Theater in Hartford, CT.
Wasting no time, openers Skeletonwitch unleashed the serpents with a multi-pronged extreme metal blend. With crowdpleasers like “Beyond the Permafrost” and “Stand, Fight, and Die” taking their place alongside newer material like “Burned from Bone,” the intensity didn’t let up for a second. Dual guitar assaults backed by a pummeling bassline and tight drum work, not to mention Chance Garnette’s high-energy vocals, set the tone for the entire evening. Read more
I had a “bad girlfriend” once. It’s not as fun as Tyler Connolly makes it sound in their 2008 hit of the same name. They played it to close off their show last Tuesday at the House of Blues in Boston. It reminded me why I like of lot of their stuff. They just don’t seem to give a crap if some people get offended at their lyrics, and that lets them explore less politically correct themes. Read more
May 9, 2014
Casino Ballroom – Hampton Beach, NH
Photos by: Jeff Palmucci
Volbeat played the Casino Ballroom last week and I was there to photograph the show. The first time I met these guys was at Rocklahoma 2012 and they seemed to be great guys. I remember ex-guitarist Hank Shermann geeking out over my brand new shiny Canon 5D3 camera as I was setting up for the video and thinking: “wow, a major rock star can be a camera nerd just like me.”
Hank is no longer with the band, replaced by ex-Anthrax guitarist Rob Caggiano simultaneously with the new album Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies. Caggiano can definitely pull off some awesome guitar, and is a great showman on stage. While in the photo pit, I noticed a kid about 10 or 11 standing in the front row against the rail. Caggiano came over and riffed to the kid, probably giving him the thrill of his life. Of course, I planted myself nearby so I could catch the action also. Make sure you check out the photo gallery below.
Although Volbeat is a Danish band, they come across as hard rock with a southern, rockabilly influence. They highlighted a bit of this influence during the show with a rendition of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire, and of course, in the new album with its western themes. If you haven’t heard Volbeat before and would like to give them a try, two of my favorite tracks off of Outlaw are Dead but Rising and The Hangman’s Body Count.
This is the second time I’ve photographed these guys in as many weeks, making the trip to Rockville at the end of April and getting a chance to see them there also. I suspect I’m a little obsessed. My family may be getting sick of me listening to them in the car. My wife definitely gives me a dirty look every time the “counting all the assholes in the room” lyric comes around. Ah well, worth it.
- Doc Holiday
- Hallelujah Goat
- Lola Montez
- Sad Man’s Tongue
- Heaven Nor Hell
- 16 Dollars
- Dead But Rising
- Evelyn (featuring Trivium)
- Radio Girl
- Still Counting
- Pool of Booze
- Hangman’s Body Count
Volbeat Photo Gallery:
Since Badlands’ 1991 release, Voodoo Highway, Jake E. Lee has led an incredibly low-profile musical existence. He has resurfaced from time to time with a few solo releases and a very short club tour with the short lived band Wicked Alliance, but none of his projects seem to take root and before too long he would be back living under the radar. Read more
The only reason there’s peace in Ireland is because we’re all over here!” – Dave King at the House of Blues, Boston
Flogging Molly played the House of Blues Boston last Wednesday to a packed house. Boston is a very Irish town and provided a lively audience for the Celtic punk band. For those of you unfamiliar with Flogging Molly: when I say Celtic punk, I don’t mean they are a punk band that simply started in Ireland. They are just as much Irish folk as anything else. To give you an idea of the atmosphere: picture a night at the Black Rose with an incredibly good and hard rocking band. Now, pack in 2400 people and add a mosh pit.
This is the 10th year of Flogging Molly’s Green 17 Tour. Each year, they take to the road around St. Patrick’s Day to support Boston’s hardest drinking holiday (no, New Year’s Eve isn’t close). Other bands do well to throw picks and drumsticks to the crowd. These guys throw cans of Guinness (really). No contest what I’d rather be catching.
I myself have had plenty of great St. Patrick’s days in Boston. After graduation, I moved in to a house in Southie (Boston’s Irish district) with 4 of my college buddies1 and one dog. When I say it was a dog, I’m being charitable. I doubt that Dreyfus had two brain cells to rub together. Incredibly stupid, and on top of that, my housemate Russ actively trained him to hump people’s legs. The house was right on the parade route, so we always had a huge St Patrick’s Day party. During these parties, we used food coloring to dye the dog green. With all the attention people lavished on Dreyfus, he had to be the happiest green dog in the world. No one even complained very much about the leg humping.2
Covering Irish bands like Flogging Molly brings me back to these wild parties. In addition to the standard rock instruments, this largish 7 piece band has people manning the accordion, flute, violin, mandolin, and banjo. These instruments help give the band their folk sound. For example, listen to Drunken Lullabies for great banjo and violin, and Devil’s Dance Floor features a flute and accordion riffing off of each other.
The band played “Rise Up” as a tribute to folk singer / activist Pete Seegar who passed away this January. Seegar, always one to stand up for what he thought was right, was blacklisted and indicted for contempt of Congress during the McCarthy era. Check out his Wikipedia entry, it is an interesting read. Also credited with popularizing the banjo as an American folk instrument, Seeger got a dedication stenciled on the band’s banjo.
Bridget Regan the band’s flautist and violinist is not only an incredible musician, but also married the front man Dave King. I guess the family that tours together stays together. However, while combing through the night’s photos, I came across this spousal moment. Hilarious. Her face is just shouting, “Back off honey, I’m busy.”
Flogging Molly puts on a great show. For the last decade, they’ve been getting people in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit with the Green 17 Tour. So go see them and have a happy St. Patty’s day. Just keep a wary eye on the green dog.
1 Five if you count Eugene, who crashed for a while for free on the back screened in porch in a kind of semi-homeless state.
2 After we moved out of the house, we saddled Eugene and Ed’s parents with Dreyfus. I’d just like to apologize to Mrs. Sweeney for any “training” issues they may have had, and would like to point out that it was all Russ’ fault.
- Wailing Wall
- Paddy’s Lament
- Every Dog
- Whistles the Wind
- Drunken Lullabies
- Tenement Square
- Saints and Sinners
- Requiem for a Dying Song
- Present State of Grace
- Son Neve Shines
- Us of Lesser Gods
- Tobacco Island
- Rare Old Times
- Devil’s Dance Floor
- Likes of You
- Rise Up
- Salty Dog
- What’s Left of the Flag
- Seven Deadly Sins
- World Alive
Check out our photo gallery from the Flogging Molly show: