Powerglove, The Protomen, Danimal Cannon & Protean Collective
May 18, 2012
Words by: Brian Cross
Photos by: Diana Guay
It’s hard to believe Queensryche has been recording and touring for 30 years, seems just like just yesterday I was seeing them open for KISS at the Worcester Centrum in November 1984. Having seen Queensryche in Hit Paradrer and Circus Magazine I had never even heard one song or watched one video but I recall being amazed at the range of lead singer Geoff Tate. The energy of the band also impressed me and I went out the next day and bought The Warning on cassette and have been a fan ever since. Well 30 years later Geoff doesn’t have quite the range he did back then but makes up for it in his stage presence, charisma and basically being the ringleader on stage for Queensryche in 2011.
What Boston fans were hoping for was a trip down memory lane and a set loaded with “vintage Ryche” and they did get that..sort of. Trying to touch all the bases in their history the band tried to please everyone by offering at least one selection from each of their 12 studio albums. For me personally I wanted the bulk of the set to consist of heavy doses of Rage For Order, Operation: Mindcrime and Empire..arguably their three most popular releases. I got that but the set had no flow to it because it jumped around too much and hearing individual Mindcrime cuts (for example) out of order does not do the album any justice. This is not a “hit single” sort of act..”Silent Lucidity” notwithstanding. Maybe that’s my problem with a “greatest hits” type set list. My list is so drastically different from what was performed at the House of Blues I left feeling underwhelmed.
I bought Dedicated to Chaos, this year’s new album out of loyalty to the Ryche tradition. Although not a bad album I never had a moment where I truly rocked out or got excited over any one track. So having the set open with “Get Started” from that album didn’t surprise me at all it also didn’t get me all fired up either. In fact much of the first half of the set consisted mainly of tracks from my least favorite Ryche albums. Not until 9 songs into the night did my attention get grabbed when they performed “Real World” from the Last Action Hero movie soundtrack from 1993. Performed brilliantly it was probably Geoff’s best vocal of the night. Geoff has a gift of making the fans feel like one big happy family by frequently acknowledging the crowd and interacting between tracks so that the songs may have a little background or short story to them prior to being performed.
The second half of the set was more vintage Ryche and included such classics as “NM 156”, “The Lady Wore Black”, “Take Hold of The Flame”, ‘Walk in the Shadows” and “Eyes of a Stranger”. All some of my favorites and all had an old school metal feel to them something the newer material sorely lacks. I would like to say that guitarist Parker Lundgren has come a long way in 2 years and seems to be filling in for Chris Degramo better than I thought he would, given his inexperience and young age. Yet in making that statement NO ONE can really replace Chris in terms of what he brought to the bands song writing, guitar work overall appeal. The band has never been the same since his departure although one could argue that they have survived in spite of this not because of it.
I’m a huge Queensryche fan and always will be. I think the best thing for the band to do is play entire albums in their entity and let the fans decide which ones and see what happens. I read that played Rage for Order in its entirety in NY a few nights after Boston. This is what the band should strive for in terms of road survival. Besides Degarmo returning to the lineup seeing Queensryche is like watching a regular season Bruins game. Yeah it’s hockey and it’s great but there is nothing like the playoffs. Bringing back Degarmo, playing Rage from beginning to end along with a few other vintage Ryche tracks would be like watching the Bruins win another Stanley Cup. I’ll drink to that..
1. Get Started
3. I Don’t Believe In Love
4. Hit the Black
5. I’m American
6. My Empty Room
7. A Dead Man’s Words
8. Desert Dance
9. Real World
10. NM 156
11. Screaming In Digital
12. The Lady Wore Black
13. Walk In The Shadows
14. The Right Side Of My Mind
15. Around the World
16. Silent Lucidity
17. Take Hold Of The Flame
18. Eyes Of A StrangerPlay Video
Arcade Fire Rating:
Bank of America Pavilion
August 1, 2010
Reviewed by: Dorise Gruber
Bank of America Pavilion
July 26, 2010
Reviewed by: Sally Feller
House of Blues- Boston, MA
July 21, 2010
Reviewed by: Dorise Gruber
Reviewed by: Dorise Gruber
Reviewed by: Jake Schauer
On a quiet Monday night on H Street, Nico Vega played as part of a triple-bill at DC bar The Black and The Red. In a venue the size of a studio apartment, members of the three bands helped set up and take down gear for each other in an atmosphere that seemed straight out of a hard-luck rock band diary. If I had known nothing about the band, I would have seen them for the immensely talented group that they are, and walked away hoping that they rise above the realm of tiny venues and setting up their own equipment. Knowing a little bit of their history, I was left impressed with what they had just done.
Nico Vega is a west coast band, and if you were to ask music fans in, say, LA, they’d be something of a big deal. Their fan base, however, has not extended eastward beyond Ohio, and that showed in the sparse crowd of about twenty. I arrived in time for the doors to open at 8:30, but I could have easily turned up seconds before their set and still gotten a spot in front of the stage. It felt a lot like going to see your friend’s band play at open mic night, except with talent. They are an easy comparison to the White Stripes as they feature a guitarist more than capable of carrying the instrumental burden of a song. Add to that a drummer who is absolutely ferocious and a vocalist with an unforgettable voice, and you’ve got a pretty heavy set.
Opening with what vocalist Aja Volkman dedicated as “a gift to you”, the band played “This Too Shall Pass” off of their No Child Left Behind EP, something they hadn’t played live in quite some time. And while all-out dancing was limited to one diehard fan in front of the drum set, it seemed as if everyone responded to what they were doing. It wasn’t exactly difficult. Volkman made use of the fact that the “stage” was six inches tall, and took her performance into the crowd, walking among us and dancing as she sang.
They hit a few crowd favorites in their short set, including “Gravity”, which might have been the highlight of the night. I’m still humming the tune. Yet their final song was something pretty noteworthy.
They closed with something that was new to me, and seemingly to the rest of the crowd. Over ominous cymbals and eerie guitar, Volkman recited a poem that elicited images of Jim Morrison and, to a certain extent, Spinal Tap’s “Stonehenge”. As guitarist Rich Koehler took over, Aja dropped to her knees in some mystical dance, and was soon joined by the guitarist. If he weren’t busy beating the hell out of his kit, drummer Dan Epand likely would have joined them. That’s the image that stuck with me. Given the circumstances, it would have been so easy to phone it in. Was the set a little short? Yes. But what band would lay on the theatrics like that in a tiny venue, to a crowd of twenty, on a Monday night?
The next few shows are the lean portion of Nico Vega’s tour as they play Cambridge and New York before working their way back west. And while the shows may get larger, and the set lists a little more encyclopedic the further they get from the Atlantic, they’ll still bring everything they have to the stage, even if there really isn’t one.
For more info on Nico Vega visit: www.myspace.com/nicovega
Remaining Tour Dates:
12/10 Cambridge, MA TT The Bears
12/11 New York, NY The Studio at Webster Hall
12/13 Cleveland, OH Pirate’s Cove
12/18 Denver, CO Bender’s Tavern
12/20 Las Vegas Wasted Space
Reviewed by: Sally Feller
Playing a sold-out show at the House of Blues in Boston, Paolo Nutini successfully overcame the venue size and left the audience with the feeling of being in a small intimate show in a pub somewhere. Having listened to Nutini’s first album, 2006’s “These Streets” and his latest gem “Sunny Side Up” I will unabashedly describe myself as a fan.
Nutini’s latest album is considerably stronger in terms of experimentation, and takes the listener on a journey through the back roads of America. You’ll hear everything in there, influences from New Orleans, certainly, and the blues, a bit of ukulele and some homegrown bluegrass, wrapped up by some chill Sunday morning coffee music to warm your soul. I was curious as to how this would all translate on stage, especially in a venue like the House of Blues, which holds around 5,000 people.
I found myself happily surprised by the translation to a live performance. Nutini emerged onstage and sauntered over to the microphone and belted out a pleasing mix of tunes from both albums. Crowd favorites mostly seemed to be from his original album: “New Shoes,” “Jenny Don’t Be Hasty,” and his latest single “Candy.” “Jenny Don’t Be Hasty” was the perfect song to finish off the set, leaving the crowd infused with renewed energy as they left the club.
Nutini seemed unassuming and relaxed and spent most of the show with his eyes closed, as you’d expect from any good soul and blues singer. I couldn’t help but be reminded of greats like Otis Redding and Van Morrison. I would be surprised to find anyone who’s seen a live show from Nutini that wasn’t compelled to feel every note in their soul, since it seems to come from the depths of the singer’s own. At only 22, I’m expecting many, many more great tunes from Paolo Nutini in the years to come.
Just a quick shout-out to show opener Erin McCarley. This was my first introduction to her music and I was wowed and immediately wrote down her name. She’s certainly worth checking out!
The Middleast – Cambridge, MA
May 26, 2009
Reviewed by: Mary Ouellette
In preparation for their self-titled debut cd that drops on June 9th, the red-headed stepchild of all supergroups known simply as Chickenfoot (Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani, Michael Anthony and Chad Smith) packed it up and hit the road for a test drive. Booking a nine show run and playing their new songs live for the first time in some of the smallest venues in each city; it was an intimate event and not an easy ticket to get.
Seeing the four rock superstars crammed on the modest stage at The Middleast was quite a sight to behold. Hagar’s first words to the crowd were “My hotel room is bigger than this place, and you’re all invited there after the show!” Clearly enjoying themselves the band reeled through their album track by track with some of the best sound I’ve ever heard in that club. Of course it should be mentioned that the band brought their own board – they don’t eff around!
From “Avenida Revolution” to “Soap on a Rope” you’d never know that this album hasn’t even been released yet. The first few rows kept up with Sammy line for line, that’s some serious dedication. While Sammy’s big personality is hard to contain, he definitely let guitar god Joe Satriani take center stage a time or two to play his guitar solos with his…mouth. (Show-off!) Sadly, Chad Smith was tucked a bit in the back but he kept reminding everyone he was there with his one-liners between songs. Michael Anthony made his presence known as well and all in all their personalities seemed to balance each other out and more importantly they genuinely looked like they were having fun! I guess with a name like Chickenfoot you have to have a good sense of humor.
Making their way through the entire cd, some of the highlights came towards the end of the night with “The Future’s in the Past” which served as the last Chickenfoot song of the evening and definitely my favorite. That was the pre-curser to Sammy’s “Bad Motor Scooter” and a cover of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” that wrapped up the night.
The band was oozing a party vibe throughout the entire show and there wasn’t much down time. Hagar was hanging from the rafters and high fiving any hand within reaching distance. I guess you’re never too old to rock, if you’ve got it, you’ve got it…and I think that everyone who walked out of that sweaty mess of a show that night wanted to do it all over again!
For more info on the band: http://www.chickenfoot.us/
Slipknot – Mayhem Festival
August 16, 2008
Reviewed by: Antonio Marino Jr.
It’s not everyday that a concert starts with a clown pushing a fellow band mate onto the stage in a wheelchair. Then again few things about Slipknot can be used to compare them to other bands. Sure, other bands have worn masks and make-up and because of that it would be easy to discount Slipknot as just another shock-rock act. What sets Slipknot apart is that unlike their masked predecessors you never get the idea that the “act” is done tongue in cheek. There’s a sense of expecting the unexpected at a Slipknot show. There is no script. So anything can happen. In fact, when Shawn (Clown) wheels Sid on to the stage it’s not a gag. Sid has two broken feet – injuries suffered the first night of the Mayhem Festival/Tour.
With Sid in place behind his turntable, guitarists Mick Thomson and Jim Root usher in the chaos with the opening notes of “Surfacing” and then tear through “The Blister Exists” and “Get This”, all in rapid fire succession. For the next hour the 9 Iowans evenly tap into their 3 studio releases. Stopping, only long enough, to let front man Corey Taylor catch his breath and inform the crowd that Sid isn’t the only wounded member of the posse. It turns out that 3 days earlier drummer Joey Jorgenson had broke his ankle (an injury that would force the band to cancel their European tour.) but if it weren’t for Corey making mention of it, there’s no way anyone would have known. Even with 3 broken limbs the band has never sounded better; raw, tight and inspired.
Visually the band looses a little of its animals-running-free-through-the-zoo nature with Sid’s injury. When healthy, he seems to channel into the psyche of a crazed Orangutans hell bent on killing itself or anyone in its way. One can only hope that a healed Sid will see him swinging from the keg/percussion risers once again.
The inclusion of their latest single, “Psychosocial”, fits seamlessly between “Disasterpiece” and “The Heretic Anthem”. The fact that the crowd sings along to a song that is on a CD that wouldn’t even be released until 10 days after the show is testament to the loyalty of their fan base. A fan base built on word of mouth and endless touring. Slipknot has never been a fad or radio-friendly band so the Maggots (as their fans are known) afford them the luxury of playing whatever they want. They can get away with dusting off a song like “Prosthetic” and not playing the more popular “Wait and Bleed”.
The set draws to a conclusion with their anthem to the disenfranchised; “People = Shit”. For their encore they choose “(sic)”. Complete with a levitating drum set and exploding backdrop it serves as the perfect end to an hour of musical chaos.
Once again Slipknot proved why they are the Kings of the Nu-American Metal scene. Hell, it’s hard to think of another band -period- that can stand toe to toe with Slipknot. Musically, they are unique to the point that it’s impossible to think of a musical sibling. They are a Heavy Metal Tom Waits. Visually, it’s as if G.G. Allin and KISS (circa 1974) mated…and had 9 really messed up kids. They take something that could very easily come across as hokey and they make complete sense of it – even to someone who thought they’d seen it all.
Check out TWRY’s Slipknot Live Photo Gallery here.
Slipknots new album All Hope Is Gone dropped on Tuesday August 26th.