Concert Reviews

José González and the String Theory at Philharmony Luxembourg

After seeing the 5th show in 2 years of José González and the String theory, it is finally time to review them. Unfortunately the past 4 shows i did not get around to reviewing, but were mighty fine shows nonetheless! I saw them last year in Düsseldorf in January, and then in march in Los Angeles, and twice in Berlin in November. All 4 were excellent shows, but this time around they were even better!

We headed to Philharmonie in Luxembourg a little before 8 pm on october 6th and were in our seats just in time for the start of the show. A little final soundcheck of the horns and strings, and in they went! Very slowly building up the first song with white noise from plastic bags. We had center front row seats, and i was a little concerned about possible sound issues, but it was as flawless as everywhere in the room!

Seeing them a few times gave me a pretty good idea of what we’d be in for. But as they are excellent musicians, they still managed to surprise by re-shuffling the setlist which in my opinion is now the best it has been to date! Starting a little slower with a few highlights in between moving in a crescendo to an explosive finale, which was again topped by the encore, with all musicians standing as well as all of the crowd on their feet!

The stage set up is pretty classic for an orchestra show, with José González in the middle on guitar, Nackt the conductor on his right, center ring of strings, horns on the left, and backup vocals, and keyboard on the right. The back was reserved for percussion which is manned by 3 people and is a special design and construction for the string theory, producing some spaced out electronic sounding vibes with metal sheets, and resembling everything but a classical drum kit.

Over the past year of touring it is clear that each and every musician has grown closer to the others, even tough there were a few new faces, or maybe just faces i did not recall from previous shows, it felt like they were a close knit family! Whether it is Jose slowing down, the backup vocals picking up a bit, the string players holding up their instruments to use the microphones for additional vocals, or just sitting back for a second to let something else come to the forefront, Nackt picking up a power drill, or the 3 percussionist pounding away on their setup everyone added no more and no less than was required for perfection!

string theory.jpg


I for one am very much looking forward to their live album release which should be happening soon! And if you have not yet seen them, do yourself a favor, and go listen to them!

Blues Pills @ Blues Express 2016, Lasauvage Luxembourg

Blues Express has now been happening for a number of years, and the location is fairly unique, around 10 stages spread over 2 old mining locations. Tiny streets, and a sea of people. No direct access, and thus a logistical nightmare which was felt quite nicely at the end of the show, when the shuttle busses could just not keep up with the demand, poor planning or something unforeseen? It sure looked like something was wrong as the busses came with such irregularity, and were so overcrowded, that by the end we decided to hoof it, and from the next intersection call a cab. But still a very fun night! But now let’s get to the important part of the evening, the Blues Pills who took the Bofferding stage around 21:30, and opened their set with High Class Woman. The live power of this band is just apparent right from the start, as is their joy of being on stage and playing! All of them wearing a smile for the majority of the show! Elin was dressed in a black 1 piece and black boots which she had taken off before the first song was finished! I love when people dance barefoot and thus connect more with the world around them! A little softer ground and less pebbles in front of the stage and I’d have done the same! I think when they started, the place in front of the stage was not quite packed, but by the time I turned around again, shortly into the second song it was filling up nicely! Considering the smiles I saw on my friends’ faces, I knew they were enjoying it as much as I, and the band! The sound was not ideal for the first few songs, being fairly heavy on the bass end, and the rest being a bit drowned out, but even this did not take away from the fun, and enjoyment of this band! Blues Pills are an excellent live band, and the joy and energy you get from them, makes up for the sound troubles, but I hope they will eventually find a sound tech that is as amazing as they are, and thus make them an even better live band! Because with the exception of the crispest possible sound, they have it all, great stage presence, energy, pure power, musical talent, great songs, and not too forget, the power of Elin to front the whole thing! She is just an amazing singer, she hits the notes spot on despite whirling around the stage like a Tasmanian devil, and the ease and pleasure with which she takes command of the crowd, is breathtaking!  She just seems so natural and in her place up there it’s amazing, and she is just quite charming, in the way she speaks with the crowd.

Unfortunately I did not jot down the setlist, and did not find it online either, but it was a solid mix of old songs, a few new ones, and a couple of covers!  For me the absolute highlights were Black Smoke, Little Sun, Lady in Gold (which actually gave me goosebumps from beginning to end), Ain’t No change, Bliss (just love the Swedish version, no clue what she is singing, but it sure feels like bliss?), Astralplane, and of course Devil Man! For Devil Man which was their last regular track of the night, Elin invited the crowd to sing along, and to my surprise it actually sounded fairly loud right from the beginning, and again at the end, when she alternated a gnarly “Oh Devil Man” with the crowd. The absolute highlight of the evening for me, because it was also the biggest surprise in the setlist was their cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to love”. Elin announced the track saying that they would now play a cover that we would recognize, and it was only the second time they played it, and that she hoped they could do the song justice. Well at least in my humble opinion: FUCK YEAH! Not only did they do it justice, they made it maybe even a tad more powerful than the original, and with their rendition just blew my mind! I sure hope they’ll release a live recording of this song sometime! Just WOW! Following Somebody to love they played the aforementioned Devil Man, and then left the stage about a quarter to 11, and thus a little early. They came back under loud cheers, despite the fact that the sound guy already played some other song, and played us their version of Gypsy! I sure could have listened to them for a lot longer, but yeah it was over after this! On the good side it left us elated but yeah on the bad side, it was over. Just a mindblowing gig, and I for one look forward to seeing them again! The crowd seemed to enjoy the gig a lot overall, and there were lots of cheers, and even some dancing which is fairly rare in Luxembourg. I must have bumped into a few people, as two older gentleman, when they left demonstratively bumped into me, but you know it’s a rock show, and when you dance sometimes you touch someone.. so I just looked at the second one, and said, no problem, just peace! To which he did smile after all, so all good.

Following the Blues Pills, we walked around a bit, listening to a band here and there, but nothing was able to measure up to the performance we had just seen, so we decided to head home.. This is where the logistic chaos became apparent, it was about 12:30 so the festival was supposed to go on for another 2.5 hours, but a lot of people apparently either wanted to head home or change sites, and the busses just did not keep up.. it was so bad we even saw some fighting breaking out in one of the busses, and then decided to take the train, but this was already sold out long before the last ride at 2am.. So we just decided to get another drink and walk up hill to the next intersection and call a cab to take us back to the park and ride.  Besides this, which I imagine has to be a nightmare for the organization of the festival right from the start.. I mean get around 10-15’000 people to a festival and back by bus, on tiny streets is no easy feat, the festival is a very gnarly event, and well at least if Blues Pills play is more than worth a visit!

Blues Pills

Luchafer & Puscifer @ Ancienne Belgique (AB), Brussels, and @ Rockhal, Luxembourg.

Luchafer & Puscifer @ Ancienne Belgique (AB), Brussels, and @ Rockhal, Luxembourg. First of it may seem odd to review two different shows in one go, but considering that they were back to back and complemented each other, for me it’s the best way to review them. Second, in case you still plan to go see the “money shot heard around the world” tour, stop reading now, and just go see them, and go early! If you have an open mind you won’t be disappointed!

It has been 2 years since I first saw Puscifer, and since in 2014 I saw both nights of Cinquanta, I figured it was a good idea to go see them at least twice this tour as well. Considering that now on their 3rd full length album, and a myriad of other releases, Puscifer has come to Europe for the first time, I was sure that one night, would just not be enough of a fix for me. And I was right, having seen 2 nights, I still want to see more! Fortunately for me, as soon as the tour was announced, Luxembourg was included, and when Brussels was added the night before, I knew these would be the 2 shows I’d see as they were fairly convenient, and back to back with only a relatively short drive between them. And knowing that Rockhal does not always sound ideal I wanted to make sure to have the best possible experience and so Ancienne Belgique was a solid choice.

Sunday the 12th was in Brussels, and I left fairly early in the afternoon, in order to be on time. I had no idea yet what to expect, but I was sure I would not want to miss a thing, and was pretty much excited as a kid on Christmas Eve. At 8 pm sharp Luchafer took the stage, and well, they took but a moment or two to bring me into a state of confusion and questioning what the fuck is going on. Certainly not what I would expect as an opener for a concert, a Lucha wrestling feast, with the battle for the Key of something or other.  First the characters are introduced, and then the wrestling ring is revealed. The rest of the stage setup was already in place with the drums in front of the ring, a small podium with keyboards to the right of the ring, and a small podium to the left of it for bass and guitar. On the left and right of the stage there were small screens that played the commentator for the match.  And then there was 1 small stand for spectators, randomly chosen from the crowd before the show, on each side of the stage. The humor employed was excellent, that is if you’re open minded. Some people may find parts of it offensive, such as the pussy punch that turns into a submission through vagina, but I think it’s hilarious! Somewhere between comedy and an actual wrestling match, Luchafer puts on a great show, with some really gnarly moves, and some great laughs! Essentially two opposing wrestling couples, that end up being beaten by the mysterious wine guy, who ends up stealing the key. The show lasted for about 30 minutes, and was followed by a service announcement by Major Douche on the importance of reading, and what speed limit signs are for, concluding with the mission of the night being entertainment, and forbidding all types of recording! And if you’re still thinking you need to watch the show through a screen, well, you’re a dummy, and dummies got to go. I highly appreciated this rule, and the fact that it was rigorously enforced by the security team. Kudos as well to most of the crowd who just obliged, and was happy to just enjoy and experience the show. The last of Major Douche’s announcement was: and now; Puscifer, Puscifer, Puscifer! Which was followed by loud cheers!

The actual musical part of the show, although for me it’s all one show, and not to be separated began with a version of Simultaneous with a new intro by Billy D, also shown on the small screens. The gist of the speech was that even though we think we are far evolved as humans, we are essentially still capable of the same barbaric actions as our forefathers from all time. But that even though were are capable of pure barbarism, humans also hold the capacity for enormously good, selfless acts of heroism. The rendition of Simultaneous was extremely powerful, and dissipated any fear of sound problems or lack of crystal clearness right from the start. Maynard and Carina Round stood in the ring, above the band and crowd which added a sort of royal feel to their presence. Maynard wore a suit, and Lucha mask, and Carina a suit (a dress on night 2), and fortunately not hiding her beauty behind a mask!  Both voices sounded just spectacular right from the start, and it was clear why both are such highly respected musicians! Phenomenal!

Act 1: 1: Simultaneous (with Billy D evolution of Humanity talk) 2: Galileo 3: Agostina

After the first few songs, there was a short intermission where the musicians sat on the side stands, and the wrestlers took over the ring and stage again. A short video on the large screen signaled the beginning of Act 2 with a classic “ring bell” and wrestler in a pink tutu.

Act 2: 4: Vagina Mine 5: Horizons 6: The Arsonist 7: The Remedy

Another short intermission of wrestling, and off we went into act 3 with another funny video.

Act 3: 8: Life of Brian (Apparently you haven’t seen) 9: Rev 22:20 (Carina Round Version – killing it!!!) 10: Grand Canyon 11: The Rapture (Fear is a Mind Killa Mix) 12: Breathe

The last intermission was actually the shortest, but also the funniest, when they staged a mechanical cock fight and Maynard said something about him being unable to get his cock to do anything, before getting back into the music.

Act 4: 13: Toma 14: Telling Ghosts (shorter intro more powerful version) 15: Flippant (reworked much more groovy version) 16: Conditions of my Parole (vocals on megaphone – with Major Douche messages) 17: Money Shot 18: Man Overboard 19: (Cast introductions) 20: The humbling River (AB – Brussels) / Smoke and Mirrors (Rockhal – Luxembourg) 21: Autumn

The 2nd show was on Monday at the Rockhal Box in Luxembourg. It was essentially the same show, with the exception of Smoke and Mirrors being played instead of the Humbling River. And despite having seen it the night before, for me it felt everything but repetitive, if anything, having seen it the night before, made me appreciate it even more. The reason being, as now I had somewhat of an idea what was to come it was easier for me to let go and fully immerse myself in the wrestling show, and thus setting my mood even better for the rest of the evening. The first night I went by myself, and the 2nd one with friends. They all asked me how it was, but I said nothing more than it was excellent, and that no matter what, they should be inside for the start, as they were under the impression Luchafer would be some opener, and would thus have missed an integral part of the show. And I did not want to take away even the slightest bit of surprise, which turned out to be very funny for me, when I saw their dumbfounded and confused looks as it progressed. I think the fact that Lucha wrestling is not that popular in Europe made the effect of Luchafer even more intense, leaving a lot of people simply wondering “what the fuck”. But this confusion and that feeling of insecurity about what can possibly follow such an intro make the rest of the show even better, as essentially your expectations are brutally voided and thus you can actually have your mind blown even more by the band!

The stage and production area at the Rockhal are larger than at AB, so the stage setup was a little bit different as well. The drums were not on stage right away, but actually wheeled in after Luchafer, which was nice for the wrestling, as everything was more visible, but put a little break on the fluidity of the night. In Brussels, it was just quicker to get from the wrestling into the music. Not an issue, just a little difference. On the other hand the larger stage meant that things were a bit more spaced out, and this gave a more airy feel to the production at Rockhal. The AB room is also somewhat smaller, and has balconies, which gave the first night more of a packed feeling, and an additional sensation of intensity through heat. The second night the crowd was probably about the same in number, but due to the size of the venue, was a bit more spread out, which took out a bit of intensity but added the freedom of plenty of space to dance and freak out to the tunes of freaking Puscifer! Both venues had the same large screen behind the band, and the visuals throughout the entire night are somewhere between wow, mind-blowing, and funny as hell!

During act 4 there was a small break for the introduction of the evenings cast, and yeah what a cast it is! Luchafer on madness and atmosphere, Jeff Friedl on drums, Paul Barker on bass, Mahsa Zargaran from Omniflux on backing vocals, keyboards, guitars and good vibes. Mat Mitchell on Guitar. Carina Round on vocals, banjo and more. And of course Maynard James Keenan on Vocals. All of which are just great musicians, and talented showmen. But the most amazing one to me is Carina Round, her voice, and stage presence, the way she moves, the way she dances, are just an enormous part of what Puscifer is. Carina and Maynard, just make a perfect pair on stage, yin and yang, or two sides of the same coin perfectly playing off each other. Both of them just sounded incredible, and thus also kudos to the sound technician, who did an incredible job both nights, and especially at Rockhal, where many bands fail due the nature of the venue and the poor work of the sound tech. Maynard was a bit more chatty the 2nd night. Just before introducing the cast he looked at Mat and said: remember I told you I like playing in Luxembourg; this is why; (pointing at the crowd that had been cheering thunder for quite a while, actually keeping Maynard from beginning to introduce the cast.) Indeed I have rarely heard such a “small” crowd make so much noise, although in this case quite understandably, as most of them just had their minds blown.  Maynard also made reference to a joke with Jeff being the inventor of the scorpion kick, which Jeff proceeded to demonstrate, and is something like a horse kick followed by a spinning dance kick.  He also said something about Mahsa which sounded something like “Mrs. pubic…” something or other, but I am not 100% sure.. Probably another inside tour joke. He also thanked the crowd for coming out, and supporting them as they are 100% an independent production, and thus rely on the fans to be able to make their art what it is!

After the show I heard some people “complain” about the setlist wishing for a few more older songs, which I think was normal considering that Money Shot is already the 3rd album, add all the Ep’s and the fact that this was the first time in Europe, and most people here never having had the chance to see the older songs, it can be seen as a normal reaction. But everyone agreed that it had simply been mind-blowing! And that is the most important part of it all! We just got our asses kicked (both nights), and I don’t think you can find another act out in the music world today that is even comparable to Puscifer. So if you like live music, and a good show, do yourself a favor, and go see them!!!!  I for one will, and fairly likely will make it a tradition to go see them at least 2 consecutive nights.

I hope Puscifer will go on and release many more albums, and tour extensively, and I hope one day they’ll have a fan base that is open enough to let them fully express all their weirdness and madness! I think they show a lot of it already, but I am also certain that there is much more to come if we, the crowd, are able to keep up with them! So develop your ability to appreciate the unexpected, and keep on listening to Puscifer!

 

Tricky at Kulturfabrik 13.04.16

Billed as Tricky presents Skilled Mechanics I was fairly curious to see how the evening would fare, as I had read a statement by Tricky that it was indeed fairly different from past tours, and I can say it was not only different, but a great show! The Kulturfabrik, was not packed but the turnout was larger than I had expected. The band took stage around 8:50 pm and launched into a pretty much instrumental version of You don’t wanna, which set the mood for the rest of the evening, from somewhat slow through pounding beats and sounds.  Contrary to most Tricky gigs I have seen in the past, this one was fairly stripped down, only 3 people on stage, drums / with sampler (Luke Harris), guitar (Paul Noels), and Tricky on vocals, no female guest singers.  So essentially even though the night was billed as Tricky presents Skilled Mechanics, the show itself turned out to be more of Tricky than in the past, where he kept a bit more to the background ceaselessly smoking. This time around he only lit up towards the end of the show, and was all over the stage and very much front and center most of the time.  Some of the songs, where presented in a nice and long version whereas some felt fairly short.  The weirdest one being Overcome, which without female vocals sounded great, but for some reason right in the song Tricky got Luke to stop playing, and he said, “I was in Amsterdam yesterday and this is much better”, which was surprising but very much appreciated by the crowd.  They then went on to play a bit more of Overcome, but it sort of felt a little bit off. Not sure what it was about, but to me it looked like Luke was about to trigger some vocal samples when Tricky called for a stop, then again he might just have wanted to share he liked the gig better than the one in Amsterdam. The band looked like they had fun on stage, and well Tricky seemed eager to smoke some more, and I did that as well just before the first encore.

The setlist (full list below, although I am not sure they played it as noted.. and there may have been a cover or 2 as well) was mostly made up of Skilled Mechanics tracks, some from False Idols, and Adrian Thaws. Overall I’d say it was a great show, but with the first encore clocked in around 70 minutes, which is a bit short. Granted Skilled Mechanics is a new project with only one album under their belt, but since it was billed as Tricky presents Skilled Mechanics, in my humble opinion they could have made more use of the back catalogue, and maybe played a few more new versions of older songs, or maybe even some of the lesser known but still gnarly ones.  They made up for a bit of the shortness by coming back out for second encore, after the house lights had turned on already, which was highly appreciated. As always in the past Tricky is well worth seeing live no matter with what project!

Setlist Skilled Mechanics

 

setlist part 2 Skilled Mechanics

Hooverphonic at den Atelier 04.04.16

I hadn’t listened to any new Hooverphonic album since the President of the LSD Golf club, which is also one of my favorite Hooverphonic albums, but I had somehow lost track of them. So when I saw the show in Luxembourg announced I just got a ticket, and went without much of an expectation. And well I’ll pick up the recent albums soon as well. What a gnarly show it was! There was no opener, but none was needed, at 9pm, first the 10 piece string orchestra took the stage, followed by the rest of the band who were welcomed by loud cheers! They started off with In Wonderland, and that is exactly where they managed to take me by the third song, a totally stripped down version of Vinegar & Salt with nothing but guitar, and a few strings, sung by Litlo Tinz (I think, I suck at names), so male vocals, and it was I think the best rendition of this song that I have heard to date! Next they dove into the President of the LSD golf club release with Stranger which essentially made my evening by the fourth track. They kept on pulling out all the stops, from the most popular tracks to some lesser known ones, some presented in such new ways that you might as well have heard them for the first time, which is to me always gnarly if a band that’s been around for 20 years keeps on reinventing itself and taking their music to new levels! Further highlights for me included God’s Gift, We all float, Jackie Cane, Mad About You, 123, Sometimes, Badaboum, and You love me to Death.  The evening was characterized by a crisp sound and atmospheric light show, so kudos to their crew as well! Not an easy feat considering the relatively small size of the stage at den atelier and 17 people on stage. The vocals were along with all of the music, just mindblowing!

They essentially went through their entire career with a 24 song set (setlist below) that lasted for about 2 hours, and in my opinion could not have been any better! Well with the exception of the as usual fairly immobile crowd. Granted they cheered as if they were a few thousand in number, but they just don’t dance! The band was not very talkative with the exception of Alex Callier on bass, who was practicing his French, as his Luxembourgish is already perfect. As far as on stage feeling goes, it looked like everyone had a blast, and they even seemed to enjoy the out of tune Happy Birthday that the crowd sang for their twentieth. I for one am looking forward to seeing them again hopefully soon, and in the meantime I will catch up on listening to their releases since the President of the LSD golf club.

Setlist Hooverphonic 04.04.16 at Den Atelier

Skunk Anansie; Support Bones at Rockhal 11.02.16

Skunk Anansie were back at Rockhal last night for the 1st time since their excellent acoustic show a couple of years ago.Around 8 pm the opener Bones took the stage, and shortly after I heard the first sounds I went in to check them out, and they turned out to be the 1st opener in a long time to blow my mind. They are a trio (at least in a live setting), 2 guitars and a drum kit, and boy do these 2 ladies and a guy have a killer sound! Clever lyrics round out the package to be a great band. Unfortunately their set was only 30 minutes, but these were very enjoyable!

Skunk Anansie came on shortly after 9 and they were welcomed by a fairly loud round of applause. Skin is still the same powerhouse of a woman she has always been, hurling around the stage the entire show, crowd surfing, walking on hands, and commanding the entire venue to dance, and get down. The setlist was a great mix of old and new songs, and was well rounded out between slower songs, and the kick ass rock that Skunk Anansie calls theirs. They played for about an hour fifteen, and then came back for a 3 song encore clocking in the show around 95 minutes, which I liked a lot, but could have taken a few more songs.

The crowd was quite lively for Luxembourg, with a lot of people dancing and jumping around on occasion and the front third of the crowd pretty much dancing throughout the entire show. I started off a few meters in front of the soundboard, and ended up fairly close to stage as I had to get with the dancing crowd, just impossible to stand still when there is such powerful music blowing your mind. Unfortunately only few followed Skin’s invitation to really fuck shit up and essentially just let loose and go wild. When you look to the stage you can see 4 musicians that are just having a great time on stage, and that makes them sound even better. During the encore, Skin got the whole venue to get down, and then she started to walk through the crowd, found herself a comfortable spot, and then on the count of 3 everybody jumped up and she danced her way through the crowd back to stage, not missing a single note. She was in a great mood, as was the rest of the Band. Skin was joking with the crowd a lot, and was just fun to watch and listen to. Cass let us know that it was actually to the day the 22nd anniversary of Skunk Anansie, to which Skin added, that meant she started singing at the age of 6. Someone handed them a gift which turned out to be a print of the poster of their very first show ever, someone did their homework on this one, Kudos!  The crowd started to sing about a 12 versions of Happy Birthday at once, and luckily Skin quickly put a halt to that, and got us to start over in sync.

Overall the sound was fairly good as well, considering the show was at Rockhal Box, which is the large room sized down a bit with a curtain, so there was a bit of hall, but the sound technician managed it quite well! There is just one more thing to add, and that is: Skunk Anansie is always great to see live! I have been seeing them since the 90’s and although I have not seen every tour, to me, they sound and are as great as ever! If you have not seen them, you should go see them!

Massive Attack; Support Young Fathers @Rockhal 09/02/16

Massive Attack have been around for quite a while with their beginnings dating back to the late 80’s/ early 90’s and to date, I have yet to see a disappointing show! Not only do they keep on recording great new songs and albums, in a live setting they keep on reworking their best tracks to even gnarlier versions, but i am getting ahead of myself. Young Fathers took the stage around 7:45pm, and played for about 45 minutes. They had a great groove to their sound, but that many vocals are just no my cup of tea. Overall though they did a good job opening for Massive Attack.

At 9pm sharp the lights went out and Massive Attack took the stage. 2 full drum kits, guitar, bass, keyboards and vocalists, made for a perfect line up! They started off with powerful rocking versions of Battle Box and United Snakes, rocking to the point that some people might have wondered if they walked into the wrong show. But that is what I love about them, they kick ass in a live environment! The light show consisted mainly of 9 movable panels behind the band used for a variety of information and lighting effects. If you have seen Massive Attack in the past, you know that they are fairly political in their shows, and devote a large portion of their light show to hitting their fans with numbers, and references, as well trying to incite some deeper thinking, all the while delivering a stunning concert. Throughout the show they performed a great mix of new and old songs, but the old songs are never just played as you’d know them, no they rework them quite a lot often into more powerful rocking songs that I find to be more conducive to a live environment. For the encore they brought the Young Fathers on stage for 2 songs, and here these guys really excelled, within Massive Attack I like them better than on their own.. but that is just me.

My absolute favorite of the night would be Safe from Harm with which they ended the regular portion of the show, and despite being a classic they made it sound really fresh and powerful, actually more powerful than I have ever heard it. One could almost say they turned it into a full blown rock song. With the encore they played for 95 minutes, which these days, I guess, is considered a nice and long show, though for me personally they could have played a bit longer. Noteworthy is that the setlist had Splitting the atom listed as final encore but they did not play this one in Luxembourg. Honestly I am actually not surprised about this, considering that the crowd was the usual Luxembourgish stick up their asses, under no circumstance should you dance crowd. Overall I suppose even Massive Attack was bored by them.

All in all another great Massive Attack show, that with a better crowd might have turned into an even better one.. but one cannot have it all. If you have not seen Massive Attack, go see them, you’ll have great music, a wonderful light show that does also get you to reflect on a life a bit, and leaves you with a hopeful message: YES, together we can make this world a better place: Equality, Trust, Acceptance.

Setlist 09.02.15

The Filthy Broke Billionaires, Support : Fox, The Majestic Unicorns from Hell @ Rockhal (Floor) 15/01/16

So this past Friday the Filthy Broke Billionaires had a show to support the release of their new EP “in god we trust, the others pay cash”. They were supported by 2 more local acts, Fox, and the Majestic Unicorns from hell. They played at the Rockhal Floor, which is the 3rd room in the Rockhal and by far its smallest, but sound wise may just be the best, as it is so small it has none of the Rockhal typical problems of too much hall and echo. Certainly a venue to be considered for smaller events and gigs! The event was stated to start at 8:30pm which due to the weather (yes winter finally swept through Luxembourg and as usual the traffic world fell apart) turned into a 9pm start when the crowd had swollen to a decent size. First up was Fox which although all of the musicians are solid craftsmen is not my cup of tea, at all, too easy listening, and too radio friendly sounding for me, but overall nice performance.

Up next were the Majestic Unicorns from Hell, which indeed were quite Majestic in their sound but did not look like Unicorns in the least. But looks don’t matter to me as long as the sounds is there, and they sure do have a solid sound! Their music is heavy, fast, and structured, providing you with plenty of hooks and rhythm changes to not become boring, all the while telling you a nice story with their sound.

The final slot was taken by the Filthy Broke Billionaires to present their 5 track EP (which I did pick up but didn’t get around to listening yet so I won’t comment on the EP). They played for about an hour which was very reasonable, and they sounded spot on, right from the start! And the crowd well warmed up by the previous 2 bands got into a good groove right away. Priscila da Costa on vocals was the star of the night with her smoky rough vocals and screams tearing through the crowd like a sword. They played every song from their EP, plus a few other that did not make the cut, but still sound great! On drums there is Spit which is quite an animal, and pounds away on his drums with ease and precision, Yves van Oekel on Bass nicely completes the rhythm section! (On bass a little bladder training is recommended though, as having to take a piss break in a 1 hour set was a bit weird,and considering it was their EP release they all looked fairly sober so we cannot blame booze.) Yacke on guitar completes their line up, and although he is the shortest of the pack he sure knows how to handle his guitar, he stands out through competence on guitar as well as a bit of a big mouth, but rounds out the sound of the Filthy Broke Billionaires nicely! Overall I'd say the filthy broke billionaires play a fairly dirty sounding Rock 'n' Roll with a touch of blues. I sure hope they captured the intensity of their live sound on the EP as well.

If you haven’t seen them yet, be sure to check them out, as they are one of the more recent and interesting up and coming bands in Luxembourg. For me this show marked my first concert of the year, and well it was a very promising start, and I look forward to many more shows!

Unique Massive at The Double Down Saloon – Las Vegas, Every Tuesday after midnight.

So I arrived in Las Vegas on a Tuesday, which turned out to be very fortunate as my very first night back in town, I got to see Unique Massive, which I ended up doing every Tuesday for the 5 weeks I was in town, and every time I’ll be back in Vegas I’ll be sure to go to Unique Massive! The Double Down Saloon (http://www.doubledownsaloon.com/)  is a local dive that has been around for a while, I remember going there 15 years ago when I lived in Vegas, but back then I don’t think Unique Massive was around yet. The bar literally has not changed, it’s the same hole in the wall it used to be and that is all it needs to be, after all, it’s the happiest place on earth, at least on a Tuesday night that is true! I actually love these kind of places, and always have a great time in such bars, but if you’re looking for the shiny Vegas, this is not the place for you! I would however highly recommend getting over any potential expectations, and to just go there on Tuesday night, no cover charge, and for Vegas standards, cheap drinks! Hell you might even want to try their Bacon Martini or even their Ass Juice… SHUT UP AND DRINK is the House Rule.

Double Down - the happiest place on earth

(I did not include any pictures of the Bar itself as I don’t want to spoil the fun of walking in there for the first time)

Now as to describing what really happens at the Double Down on a Tuesday night is an entirely different story! First and foremost it is mind-blowing! The Band is made up of great musicians: Elvis Lederer-guitar/ Mike Gonzales-Trumpet/ Matt Green-keyboards/ Wickett Pickett-Bass & Anthony Raya-drums, as the main musicians, but on any given Tuesday, there will be some other mind-blowing musician in the house that might just sit in, and jam with the band. You just never know what you’ll get until you’re there and it’s raining down on you, melting your mind. There is only one rule that the band and anyone that sits in go by, no covers. Other than that essentially any and everything can happen musically speaking, from Ambient to Zamrock and everything in between! Elvis on guitar is a force to be reckoned with! Berklee College of Music Graduate, musical genius on the Strip etc. Nothing short of one of the best guitarists around, hands down, no questions asked, he will blow your mind! Just as the other musicians will in their own rights! Hell, one night I even ended up dancing barefoot through the Double Down, and that only happens if the music really takes me to new spaces. Generally they start around 12:30ish, and will play sets of around 30 minutes, followed by a break. The minimum that you’ll normally hear are 3 sets of music, although during the 5 shows I saw, they did 4 sets twice, and depending on your point of view once a 5 set night, although I would personally count that as a 4 set one, as the 2 last sets were a bit shorter than usual. So if you’re open to meet some of the weirdest nicest people in town, while getting your mind blown by extraordinary jams, then you NEED TO BE at the Double Down on Tuesday nights! Although musical jams are a popular domain, I doubt that you’ll find any jams even close to Unique Massive anywhere, other than maybe some of the wildest Jazz-clubs you could come across.  If you love music, essentially you owe it to yourself to go check out Unique Massive while you are in Vegas. You might just run across your favourite drummer or musician, and even hang out with them in a laid back setting! Great people and great music, hell, on a Tuesday night I can’t think of any places better to be at, than the Double Down with Unique Massive in Vegas.

Pro shot of 1 set by Doug Jablin:

Unique Massive

Unique Massive

Band Photos by The Empress

Faith no More, support: Gogol Bordello @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Colorado 08/09/15

So my first trip to Colorado came about one night in Vegas talking about concert venues and realizing that Faith no More was playing at Red Rocks. After a nice trip of around a thousand miles I had spent a day in Denver and on Tuesday it was finally time to go see FNM! Doors were at 7 pm so I planned on arriving around that time, and although not knowing the way or the venue I was parked by 6:45, and had time to get “mentally” ready for the show. As often along the road this year, things just worked out for this one. I got my ticket through a friend’s friend, and ended up having a perfect seat right in the middle of the amphitheatre with a perfect view and perfect sound. As I walked up the stairs to the entry I noticed that everyone had paper tickets, and they were tearing them at the entrance, I of course only had the digital version on my phone, and right as I got to the entrance the scanners started working again so I got in with no delay or problem whatsoever.

As I had some time on my hands, I walked all the way to the top to take in the view and check out the venue, which is one hell of a place to see any band! Not many venues that will hold up to this one in regards to atmosphere and sound as well, and certainly not when combining the two. The only thing missing would be a small floor in front of the stage for the people that really care to dance. Other than that, unquestionably one of the best venues ever.

Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Red Rocks

Red Rocks

Gogol Bordello took the stage around 8 and just before that I met the guy who sold me my ticket. I had seen GB before and had not been very impressed, but this time around they sounded better, and they also have musically improved over the last 6 years, or at least that is the way it is in my mind. I think they played for about an hour and about half of the crowd was on their feet, dancing a little and cheering. I had to get up and dance as well, so I really dug the show contrary to my expectations. The light show was quite nice for GB, and created a great atmosphere in this extraordinary venue!

Gogol Bordello

Faith no More took the stage at 9:30 pm, and as quite often along this tour started the show with Motherfucker, which live sounds as great as on the album. Without much of a break they launched into Be Aggressive, Caffeine and Everything’s ruined, all 3 of which simply kicked ass, and sounded stellar! Mike Bordin on drums took the occasional breath from the Oxygen tank, and still pounds his drums like a beast. Mike Patton was a little interactive with the crowd, making a few jokes about the Cannabis Legalisation in Colorado, and all the others seemed to be doing fairly well, and looked like they are all having a lot of fun playing! They also seemed to enjoy the venue, and mentioned it more than once as a beautiful place. They are spot on with that! Indeed a magical place! Evidence led to some problems as Roddy’s’ keyboards failed, and they had to swap to the backup. The rest of FNM did really well covering the loss of an instrument and Evidence still sounded great! Mike Patton went for a short crowd surf, which was probably a weird one, as people tried to pass him up the steps of the amphitheatre. Right as they launched into Epic the keyboards were back, and it all went on as if nothing happened, professionals, not more to say there. Black Friday sounded gnarly, although personally I would have loved to hear Cone of Shame instead. Midlife Crisis was the usual crowd pleaser and when the band went quiet the crowd covered the chorus. Mike then went on with the following: “Ok, but we’ll show you how it’s done”. They then went into a sort of funk version of the song before finishing it in the regular way. The full setlist is below the article. A few more songs that really stood out for me were, Separation Anxiety, The gentle art of making enemies, and King for a day. The finished the set with Superhero which sounded more powerful than on the album, and thus was more pleasing to me.  They came back after a short break for a 3 song encore finishing the night with We Care a lot. The light show for FNM was even better than for GB, as they were the headliner they got to use the Red Rock behind the stage more and did an unreal job at that! A fantastic night overall! Unfortunately the show was over after only 84 minutes inclusive of the encore. To me that is and always will be too short. But oh well, I’d rather see 84 minutes than nothing!

Faith No More

Faith no More

Faith no More

Set List

Motherfucker Be Aggressive Caffeine Everything's Ruined Evidence (no keyboards some technical issue...) Epic Black Friday Midlife Crisis Last Cup of Sorrow The Gentle Art of Making Enemies Easy (Commodores cover) Separation Anxiety King for a Day Ashes to Ashes Superhero

Encore: This Guy's in Love With You (Burt Bacharach cover) Matador We Care a Lot

 

Blues Pills; support The wise dude’s revolver @La Bam Metz 09/06/15

As I am back in Europe for a bit, I took the opportunity to go see one of my favourite bands in concert, Blues Pills. We got to the venue right around the time that the opening act took the stage.  The wise dude’s revolver turned out to be nicely psychedelic and spacey! Their songs were fairly long and completely twisting your mind, think along the lines of early Pink Floyd but on speed. The light show was quite atmospheric and the sound was alright, but nothing more due to the fact that the venue is one of those modern day concrete boxes that have neither sound nor soul, but probably look nice on paper and cost a fortune to build, add to that that the room was barely one third filled and it’s a prime recipe for hall and echoing sounds as there are not enough bodies to absorb the sound waves, and keep them from bouncing around. Blues Pills took the stage at 10pm, and launched into High Class Woman, full of energy as they were every time I have seen them, which should now be around 5 or 6 times. Despite being such a young band they are a powerhouse! From the Vocals of Elin, who takes control of the stage and swirls around it like a Tasmanian devil, all the while keeping an eye on their fans and interacting with them quite a lot, down to Dorian’s guitar sound and solos that become more and more mind-blowing, to Zack’s great bass, and André’s phenomenal drumming! Blues Pills are just a force to be reckoned with, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a small tightly packed venue, a day time performance at a festival, or a large venue that is half empty, they just play for their lives, and you can see the joy in their performance all the time! The setlist turned out to be fairly similar to what they have been playing over the last year, which is normal considering that they have only released their debut album. I for one am looking forward to the next album, and hopefully a bit longer shows, and more mixed up setlists, as soon as they have more of a back catalogue to draw from. In the meantime maybe they could throw in a different cover song every now and then, but Elements and things sure is a hell of a powerful tune.  They played for about 1 hour, and then came back for a 2 song encore, the first of which was a new, acoustic tune, with only Dorian’s guitar and Elin’s voice, and boy does her voice sound great on this one, from quiet moments to almost screaming her lungs out it holds it all, and she owns it all! They finished the set with Devil Man.

As previously mentioned the venue was a concrete box, and that did have a negative influence on the sound, not sure if the sound guy they have now usually gets a better job done, but in this instance he did not do very well, as the sound was full of hall and echo, and sounded very unclear and mushy. Not sure if they have their own guy for the light show, but whoever took care of that on Tuesday should be fired immediately, as they failed to create any atmosphere whatsoever, in the crowd the room was so brightly lit, that you could have painted a detailed image of whatever you saw in front of you, while the stage was fuzzily lit.  The entire room was covered in smoke, which I do not mind at all, but if you have such powerful smoke machines, make use of them by using light patterns other than only white for the most time, and use the smoke to add to the atmosphere, not draw from it. From the front of the house they used only white lights, which were not set up to only shine down to the stage, but as mentioned brightly lit the entire room, so there was no real mood that developed. On stage there was a bit of colour play, but it was mostly negated by the many white lights that shone there as well. They have such a gnarly backdrop, that the light guy could have played with a lot, in terms of colour changes, and even maybe using some black-lights, but all this faded in the white. The crowd was fairly small, but a few people still danced around and banged their heads to the tunes.

So overall a solid show, Blues Pills kicked ass, and unleashed all their power on stage, but the sound and light show took away a bit from their magic, which is unfortunate, but can be dealt with for sure. I hope they’ll eventually get a light guy that does know how to create a mood, and a sound guy that knows how they sounded on their EP’s which live is still the sound they seem to be going for, looking at how and what versions of the songs they play! In any case I had a good time, and will be back to see and hear more of the Blues Pills, as they are a fantastic young band! The people around them hopefully will improve over time as well, and I’ll make sure to go to a smaller venue next time I see them, it just is a better vibe to have a small packed venue, than the same number of people being lost in a larger venue.

After the show Elin and Dorian were standing out in the forum of the venue for some meeting and greeting, and pictures etc. both handled it quite well and professionally and took a long time to talk to fans and people they might know from other shows. I think in the beginning it was a bit of a fan club type of thing, as when Elin walked out she was holding the door open for some people, and when Eric and I strolled out through that same door she looked a bit shocked, and unlike the people in front of us did not give a handshake, just a quick thank you to which I responded thank you for the music, and walked on. We observed the rest of the signing etc. sitting close by at a table talking about the concert, and how powerful a band they are. All in all a fun night! If you have not yet seen Blues Pills live, I’d recommend to go see them! I sure will again, no later than when next year when I’m back from my travels.

Thievery Corporation at Jungle Jam; Jaco, Costa Rica

Thievery Corporation at Jungle Jam; Jaco, Costa Rica

So, after a few months in Costa Rica, I finally made it to a concert!  The first of an international band at least that is, saw a few local bands along the way, but nothing major.

The Venue was quite nice, located inside of the Doce Lunas Hotel’s Garden, so that was indeed quite nice. On the downside, Jungle Jam turned out to be a full American Festival so to speak, from the organizers down to the staff at the bar, not a single Tico seemed involved, and in the crowd there not a lot more, if there were a dozen locals it’s a lot. Not really surprising considering the average wages in Costa Rica and the ticket prices. Although there were Tico tickets available for the whole weekend at 125$ that remains unpayable for most people down here. No single day tickets at a reduced rate for locals, and the normal price was 60$, so not something a local could afford. Even to me, 60$ was a lot, which is why I only went for 1 day.

I arrived at the venue rather late, and the first act I caught a bit of was Michael O’Brian, who play his Ukulele on the side stage, and made for some nice entertainment to start my evening.

After that on the main stage there was Papadosio, a sort of Jamband with a lot of electronic sounds. At times they sound excellent, and suck you right into their groove, unfortunately for me those were the rarer moments of the show. As good as some of the sections sounded to me, others just did not sound “right” to me, meaning that the music was so overfilled with sounds, and rhythms that to me it sounded a bit mushy..  Overall, a decent band, but nothing I would travel far to see.

Next on the side stage there was Hayley Jane, a duo with a guy on guitar, and female vocalist, who had a quite nice voice! And the performance was well received!

Finally it was time for Thievery Corporation whom I was actually at the festival for.  They took the stage a bit later than announced, which I consider normal over here at this point in time. They had a full band set up, and actually I counted a total of 14 musicians for their set, among which were 6 different vocalists, my favorite of which was Natalia Clavier who sang Lebanese Blond among a few others, one of my favorite tracks, and they played it quite early in the set, so my mood was all set. The band did seem to have a great time on stage, and seemed to be happy to be in Costa Rica, and in such a nice location, with the Jungle as their backdrop.  The set including encores lasted about 1 hour 45 minutes, which I felt was a reasonable length for the set, and atmosphere. Here is where the problem of an Americanised festival in Costa Rica comes into play, for example they played one song in Spanish, and tried to get the crowd to join, however only few actually understood Natalia’s Spanish invitation.. So that sort of failed to work out. Overall, the crowd seemed to suffer a bit from the heat and humidity as there was not too much dancing or cheering going on. In my humble opinion, making tickets at least affordable for locals and marketing a bit to them as well, rather than trying to fill up on tourists, would do the event some good! It would sure make for an even better atmosphere, and maybe give the whole thing a bit more of a Central American vibe, the few locals, and Central/South American visitors were visibly the ones having the most fun, and dancing the most as well..  Don’t get me wrong, Thievery Corporation delivered an absolutely stunning performance, and pulled all the stops for a great show, which it was, but a bit of a local flair from an organizational point of view would have perfected the whole thing.

Overall great show! And great way to celebrate the spring equinox. Not sure it was worth the 60$ for 1 day, as there were not even food stalls on the festival site, but fun nonetheless. In the near future however I am not very likely to go to another festival around here, I think I’ll rather go to some local reggae shows, which even though the music is not all the time in my taste, simply have a better vibe.

Thievery Corporation at Jungle Jam

Thievery Corporation at Jungle Jam

jungle jam Papadosio

Lamb; Support : The Ramona Flowers, at Paradiso Amsterdam 27.11.14

Lamb. Support : The Ramona Flowers at Paradiso Amsterdam Following their show in Luxembourg earlier this month, I had somewhat mixed feelings about attending this show. We skipped the Ramona Flowers altogether as we were running a little late with dinner, and they had not really convinced me at the previous show.

We got to the venue about 10 minutes before Lamb took the stage, and the venue although not sold out was quite packed, contrary to the show in Luxembourg which had only a tiny crowd.  The Paradiso is such a neat venue that even though I was not totally blown away by the show at the beginning of the month, I still had high expectations, as Lamb has always had an intimate relationship with the Paradiso, where they also recorded their farewell gig when they went on hiatus, so I was hoping they would add a little something for this show.  The stage setup however was exactly the same as in Luxembourg so right upon entering the venue my expectations were lowered a little.

The band was heavily applauded upon taking the stage, and Jon Thorne (now walking with crutches, but still rocking out his soul a few songs into the gig) had a face that showed his pain.  As in Luxembourg they started with In Binary, but luckily the Paradiso has a better sound than the venue in Luxembourg, and with that the sound seemed fuller, but still in my opinion is missing a full back-up band which in the early 2000’s rendered their shows even more powerful and their sound more organic and driving.  The light show was also pretty much the same, but due to the height of the Paradiso had a much stronger effect when during Satellites the entire venue was covered in white dots reflecting of 2 mirror balls, almost magic.

The set list was identical to the one in Luxembourg, which considering they even mentioned their special relationship with the Paradiso was a bit of a letdown, and a little something extra would have earned them even more massive cheers.

For me the highlights were the final songs from Nobody Else onward, a few of them with Andy on a limited drum kit, and Lou pounding a tom, right away felt much more alive and organic than the rest of the show, so even with a small drum kit the sound went a long way, imagine it with a full band, and you’d be blown away.  Gabriel was a great performance as usual, but to me the song has sort of reached a saturation point where even the live performance does no longer blow me away.  Overall I’d say it was still a great show, but I have seen Lamb where they totally blew my mind, for example last year with the Amsterdam Symphonietta, or back in the day with a full band.  If you have not yet seen them, absolutely do so, but if you have been blown away before, you might consider keeping the better memories.

 

lamb_setlist_paradiso

John Garcia Support: Komatsu & Steak at die Werkstadt Cologne 14.11.14

John Garcia. Support : Komatsu & Steak at Die Werkstadt This was one night I was quite looking forward to, any band that John Garcia fronts is always a pleasure to see, and this tour was announced as sort of career spanning, so only good things could come our way. 

We arrived a bit late, and unfortunately missed a bit of Komatsu’s set! What we did catch however has very much sparked my interest, and this is a band I will be looking into or rather listening to as of today! The last 3 songs of their set really got me going and made me very hopeful for the rest of the night. Here is a Dutch band that has a very powerful sound, and they should leave their mark in the world of music! I for one am looking forward to hearing more from them!

After a short break it was time for some Steak. I had seen them a few weeks ago at the Desertfest Antwerp, and was not convinced at that show as the sound was far from good. Die Werkstadt however has a better sound and that was all in favour of Steak. Solid groove, and by now the venue was relatively well packed, so the atmosphere was going up as well! Steak is not entirely my cup of tea, so I would have preferred to see Steak followed by Komatsu, but that is just my opinion.

Another break, a little smoke and some Rum & Coke, and the band for John Garcia, consisting of: Ehren Groban – Guitar (War Drum ), Mike Pygmie – Bass ( You Know Who ), Greg Saenz – Drums ( You Know Who, The Dwarves ) took the stage to start of the night with Caterpillar March, or rather their rendition thereof!  But close enough to the original to get the crowd going quite well!  The set list indicates that next was Rolling Stoned, but I am not entirely sure, as the night was so overwhelmingly good, I might have mixed the track order a bit in my head as well. In any case, by the time of the 2nd track the smoking ban, was heartily ignored and the air filled with some very sweet scents! In any case whether as 2nd or 3rd track Rolling Stoned kicked ass, and let everyone know that the new material flawlessly fits with the older tracks! One inch Man was warmly welcomed by the crowd as were most of the older tracks, which considering the quality of the new material is actually a bit of shame, as both are on par with each other, unfortunately the crowd was just more familiar with the older ones. What I really appreciated about the show is the fact that they did not play the Kyuss songs 100% as written, but rather, they played their renditions/versions of the songs which made the whole thing sound fresh, intense, and surprising!  A fresh take on classics can be risky, but this band just makes them sound so good there is nothing to worry about, at least as long as you have a bit of an open mind as a listener as well, and the crowd seemed to have just that, as the cheers kept on increasing, along with the dancing, with a nice little moshpit being the culmination thereof. Sure I have lived much harder and brutal moshpits at Kyuss shows, but this was just right for the night, not too hard, and not too soft! 

The setlist is posted below, so I won’t go into the show track by track, as all of them sounded just great, it is hard to pick out any favorites! John, was as always on top of his game, and sounded amazing! The overall sound of the show was very good as well! The house was packed, and the vibes were just perfect! Very notable is that we got to hear a new instrumental track right after 5000 miles, and the BLVD, which is very promising for future John Garcia releases, more on that a bit later. The only little bummer of the show was that they did not play Pilot the Dune, but if you look at the setlist you can still see a perfectly balanced mix of classics and new tunes! The show ended with a 2 song encore consisting of White Water and Green Machine, and although all throughout the show there was a lot of dancing and cheering, now there was as far as I can tell not a soul standing still! So all in all, one hell of a musical night!

Following the show there was a little meet and greet / signing session in the basement at the merch stand. My friends got a couple of Autographs, but I was too exhausted to stand in line so just observed the whole thing from the back of the room, until Ehren walked by, and my friend tapped him on the shoulder and we got into a bit of talk. We shared a smoke, with Ehren, and the rest of the band, while John was still busy greeting fans and taking pictures with them. Ehren was quite chatty so we ended up talking a bit about everything from the good sides of life, sharing a little story about Robby Krieger, to vocalists, and we both agreed that John Garcia is among the best there are out there! And for me he has proven just that, yet again, with a stellar performance, and I for one can’t wait to hear more and more of his/their music. It was very nice to talk to Ehren, and he actually gave away a few details of upcoming projects which at his request I won’t reveal here, but I can tell you this much, any John Garcia fan has a great time to look forward to!!! As we parted ways I gave a little gift to Ehren to pass along to John, who I felt had done so much hand shaking already that I did not want to bother him, and thanked them for the music!  On we went out into the night after yet another unforgettable evening of music, the healing force!

 

 

john_garcia_14.11.14_setlist

 

Lamb ; Support : The Ramona Flowers, at den Atelier 11.11.14

Lamb. Support : The Ramona Flowers at den atelier The venue was far from filled when we got there, and The Ramona Flowers had already taken the stage.  We caught a few of their tracks, but ultimately their music is not for me, so I opted to get a little rum and coke buzz going, talking to some friends outside while waiting for Lamb.

Around 9:40pm Lamb did get on stage, in what I consider a light line up, Andy, Lou, and Jon Thorne on bass.  They started off with In Binary, and the sound was crisp, but could have been a little louder.  The Bass sound was nice and natural, Andy’s sound was thick, but in my opinion was missing some support from a "real" (full time) drummer, which would have rounded the sound out even a bit more!  We Fall in Love, and Butterfly effect followed, and then with Little Things they picked up the pace a little bit! Lou was dressed in white, and looked stunning as always, sound even better than she looks, Andy was in what looked like a good mood as well, and was quite active behind his gear. Jon on bass took it a bit easier, as he had injured his foot a few days ago at another show.  Looking at the crowd which was not very dancing much either I can understand that Jon opted not to strain his foot more than necessary.  The one thing Luxembourgish crowds are quite good at is their applause, so even though the venue was far from filled, the cheers were loud and very welcomed by the band.

Overall the set was relatively quiet, with Satellites, Backspace Unwind, What Makes us Human, Doves & Ravens. Strong the Root for me stood out as bit of highlight when it was performed. Gabriel was as good as always, although even though it’s probably their most popular track I think could do with a little live do-over, a little change here and there to make it sound a bit fresher again. Nobody else went by relatively fast, and then came the Highlight section of the show, at least for me, a powerful rendition of B Line, and Seven Sails ended the regular show.  They came back for a very gnarly version of What Sound, with some of the only real drums (albeit a very limited kit) of the evening, and right away, the sound was so much thicker, organic, and with that just added the little extra that made the song go from great to WOW.  Gorecki finished the 1st encore.

Following cheers from an even more thinned out crowd they came back to deliver a stunning and powerful Trans Fatty Acid, which, to me sounded pretty close to the recent Pure Filth Mix!

Overall it was an excellent evening of Lamb, but in my humble opinion adding a drummer to the lineup would have made the gig perfect.  Sure the drummer might only have had to work for 50% of the show, as some of the newer tracks have little in terms of percussion, but these would have stood out more as well, if the older stronger grooving tracks had been supported by an organic drum sound.  I am sure they had their reasons to go with the stripped down lineup, but if one has seen them in the past one just knows how much more powerful they can be!  In any case I am still looking forward very much to catching them again on this tour in Amsterdam at the end of the month! And if you have not yet seen Lamb, I suggest you go ahead and do so while they are still around!

 

IMG_2109

Sophia at Op der Schmelz Dudelange

Sophia. Support : Simone Felice    Op der Schmelz Dudelange  

We got to the venue around 8pm so we had already missed a bit of the opener, but his music as it turned out,  was not our cup of tea anyway so after listening to 2 songs we stepped outside for a well-deserved drink and smoke.  We did not bother to head back in until Sophia took the stage.

The concert was in a nice room, with wooden floors and wall panels, all contributing to a warm sound.  The Concert was billed as day 1 of their Singer/Songwriter festival, and was set up with a 7 or 8 rows of seats and some open space around and behind them.  This set up worked really well for the opener as it was very, very, quiet music.  I think the organizers were expecting something similar from Sophia, which in the last few years was mainly Robin Proper-Sheppard and his guitar.  I saw one of those shows a few years ago, and it was great, but not as great or maybe simply not comparable to a full band show, which this turned out to be.  Early on in the show Robin mentioned that this one of maybe handful of band shows they had done in the past few years, and as such it was really a treat to be there!

They started of relatively quiet with The Sea, So Slow, Are you Happy Now, If only, and Ship in the Sand, so far it was a nice and easy going Sophia show, each song heavily applauded, by the sitting crowd. Robin seemed to be in quite a good mood, talking a bit and sharing a few jokes with the small but interested crowd.  Not sure how many got the God Machine reference he made when moving on to Razor Blades, and how people sometimes misunderstand the lyrics.  For me Razor Blades was also the song that really kicked the show up a notch, with an almost brutal ending. With the Desert Song No. 2 the show had turned into a complete rock show, and this just got us grooving really hard to the music, despite the fact that most of the people were sitting we had a blast dancing around on the right side of the room.  Darkness was almost eerie and hauntingly beautiful.

Now came the premier of the evening, Sophia cutting a track short. The song started with a bit of a glitch, and it was clear right away that something was of with Robin’s guitar, and about halfway into the track he just stopped it altogether, as the battery had died in his guitar.  Apparently something that rarely if ever happens, stopping a track in the middle, and it was a bit of a shame actually as they were just about to jam really hard when Robin ended it.  But every negative thing is usually balanced by something positive, which turned out to be Death of a Salesman, in a completely unplugged version, Robin standing on the edge of the stage, missing the melody 4 or 5 times before busting the track out to a completely quiet venue, where no one wanted to miss a single sound.

With a fresh battery in the guitar they picked up the pace again with the track Pace, and finished the set with very powerful and grooving renditions of If a change is gonna Come, and the River Song, both an absolute kick in the nuts for the crowd that probably got everything they did not expect this evening! Me on the other hand I was happy as a kid on Christmas morning, I went in with no expectations, but with the hope of a band show, and Sophia delivered just that! As powerful, and as intense as they were in the 90’s.

A massive round of applause brought them back out for a 2 song encore, 2 new tracks, the Drifter, which Robin introduced with a friends’ reference that he was surprised that it took him 20 years to write a track called the drifter. A powerful song that you can look forward to on the upcoming album, just as It’s Easy to be Lonely with which they finished the evening!

Great show! I got everything I hope for and maybe even a little more!  Billed as Singer/Songerwriter Festival, Sophia shows up as full band, kicking some serious ass! Love it that Robin and company are still good for a surprise! And as hard as they rocked last night I think was as hard as back in the God Machine Days, so I am really looking forward to the next tour, and to more Sophia kick ass rock!

 

 

Below is picture of the set list (not mentioned: Death of Salesman, unplugged between Oh My love and Pace)

IMG_2101

Massive Attack at Abbaye de Neumünster 02.07.14

Massive Attack at Centre Culturel de Rencontre Abbaye de Neumünster in collaboration with den atelier.  02.07.2014 We got to venue relatively late as it had been announced quite late in the day, that Massive Attack would only start at 09:45 pm, but in actuality they took the stage at 10 pm once the sun was low enough to allow for their lightshow to develop its proper charm.  The night had been opened by local DJ Tollek, and the part of the set that we caught was not all that, so we were quite happy to have gotten there later.

Massive Attack was welcomed to the stage with a massive round of applause, and they launched into Battlebox with Martina Topley Bird on Vocals, which was a new track for me. The sound for this track was quite clear and good, but not loud enough yet. The sound at Abbaye de Neumünster is always a peculiar issue, due to the three bare walls reflecting the sound to create a lot of natural hall, standing in one spot it can be close to perfect, and when you move a meter or 2 it can be just the opposite, so we were quite lucky to be standing in a really good spot, pretty much creating the tip of a triangle with the front speakers.  With the beginning of United Snakes the volume went up considerably and from thereon out, at least where we were dancing, the sound was quite good for this particular venue.

Rising Son came next followed by Paradise Circus were next, and sounded close to the album versions. From then on, starting with Girl I love You, the first track to feature Horace Andy on vocals, who is still on top of his game, the songs were played in variations of their original album version to be more powerful and heavy, backed by 2 drummers to render the live versions even more organic than the originals.  Most shows I have seen have been heavier than the albums, but this particular show at least for me had another level or 2 on top.  The heavier versions also ended up benefitting from the venue’s natural hall, or maybe they played the songs heavier in order to maintain a decent sound, not sure, but either way it ended up being quite gnarly where we stood!

Overall they pretty much played a best of set, and none of the hits were missing. The only minor down side was the fact that the show was relatively short; including the 2 track encore they played for about 80 minutes, which in my opinion is really on the short end of a solid concert, 90 minutes are a minimum for me, and 2 full hours are more than preferred.

The Encore consisted of Splitting the Atom, and as always gnarly rendition of Unfinished Symphony!

The visuals were powerful as always, although for years the same messages have been spread on the screens, which is not a complaint towards Massive Attack lacking innovation, but rather a sad fact the same problems still dominate the world, and people still need to be reminded of them in every possible way.  The cool part was that some of their messages had been translated to Luxembourgish, French and German, covering all 3 locally spoken languages complemented with the standard English messages.  The visuals for Angel reminded me of the Mezzanine tour back in 1997, white lights only trippy flashing and taking us along with the music to another level.

My personal highlights went actually over quite a few tracks from Paradise Circus straight through to Inertia Creeps.

With regards to the venue, it was, as is often the case, short staffed on the drink outlets, which pretty much made it impossible to get a drink before the show without a lengthy waiting time.  Since the show had been sold out for quite a while, a little better planning on that end could made the experience even better, but overall, it was a hell of a show (depending on where you stood).

On a positive note, the crowd was actually quite active for Luxembourgish standards, so people were for once not too pissed off about us dancing and having a good time, of course there were a few exceptions, but as I always say, if you just want to peacefully watch a band without moving at all: go get a DVD and sit on your couch.

Below are a few picture courtesy of @Jo Nee, as well as an image of the setlist, please note that although Atlas Lair is on the setlist it was not played and the encore was only 2 songs, Splitting the Atom and Unfinished Symphony.

Pictures by @Jo Nee

massive 1 massive 2 massive 3

Setlist:

setlist massive attack

Soundgarden june 24th at Rockhal

Soundgarden Support : lost in pain at Rockhal Luxembourg 24.06.14  

After a cancelled show in 2012, Soundgarden finally made it to Luxembourg last night for a gnarly gig. A gnarly gig as far as Soundgarden themselves are concerned, the crowd and venue leave things to be desired.

Lost in Pain opened the night, and they played for about 30 minutes, most of which I missed out, but the last track they played sounded as if the music could be good, if supported by a clear and clean sound unlike what the Rockhal offers in its “box” configuration.

So the event took place in the main hall, which was divided by large curtains, so there was a shitload of echo that the Soundgarden sound-tech countered with volume, so the show was pretty loud.

We were back in the room for about 10 minutes when they took the stage around 9:15 pm. The venue was far from packed and even the smaller “box” configuration was not sold out.  So I wonder why not change to their smaller room, have a packed room, with a somewhat better sound, and possibly an atmosphere enticing more people to dance.  Anyhow when they took the stage a noisy intro led right into “Searching with my good eye closed”, which is quite a gnarly opener!  They followed up with a powerful rendition of “Spoonman” but without the spoon solo was replaced by some fine guitar noise.  The next track came from Ultramega ok, which Cornell dated to 1987 with a somewhat grinning comment that some people in the crowd had not yet been born. I guess they are getting older as well, but there is still an influx of new fans, to keep them going, and they bloody enjoy it.  Overall Cornell really tried to animate the crowd, trying to get them to sing the chorus of “Outshined” which also led to a mildly changed version of the track, as the crowd sucked pretty much at singing the chorus, it was doubled up, and Cornell made the second time around sound as it’s supposed to be. Following this changed version, Chris said that they like to change stuff while on stage, which I personally applauded and applaud a lot! At least they don’t get boring! Up next was “Black hole sun” which was probably the only track that the entire crowd knew, so that was heavily applauded, but was certainly not the highlight of the show.  “jesus christ pose” really blew my mind, as they performed it even more powerfully than the album version. By the time they played “been away too long”, finally a small moshpit formed to the left of the stage, this gave me a bit of hope that the crowd could still go wild, but it did not really happen. Unfortunately due to a knee injury I couldn’t jump in, but I had a hard time restraining myself, and ended up dancing more than my knee would have liked, but after all it’s a rock show, so a little pain can’t ruin the fun.

Granted the sound was far from ideal at the beginning but improved throughout the show, so by the end of it, it actually sounded quite alright even though not stellar, overall the concert was very satisfying to me.  My highlights were “outshined” “jesus christ pose” “blood on the valley floor” “superunknown” “fell on black days” “rusty cage” (where most people failed to actually break their cage and dance a bit) and a very heavy and doomy “4th of july”, which ended the regular show in a soundcloud of feedbacks and guitar sounds. A few minutes later they came back out for 2 encore songs, which made the show clock in around 2 hours. Finally a decent length rock show again!! Kudos to Soundgarden for not falling victim to the trend of 70 – 90 minute sets.

Overall there was very little interaction with the crowd, understandably, since the 4 guys on stage played out their souls, and the crowd gave them nothing in return but applause.  I don’t think I will ever be able to understand how people can stand still for 2 hours at a rock show. I mean if you purely want to see the band, why not pick up a dvd, or log on to YouTube in the comfort of your home.  If you pay 50 € to go see a band, why not really enjoy yourself? Why not let go of your stuck up mentality for even 5 minutes and just go wild? I tried but I just can’t understand it.  Being at this show with an injured knee I could not go completely wild, but even though I was in pain, I could not manage to stand still even for a minute.  The music was/is just too good not to enjoy it with every fiber in your body.  So I look forward to seeing them again hopefully next time around in full health to be able to give back as much energy through dancing and partying as the artists themselves give out to the crowd with their music and performance!

For a full setlist, visit: setlist.fm

Nine Inch Nails - May 16th at Rockhal

On May 16th 2014, Nine Inch Nails played the Rockhal in Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg. We got to the venue quite late so we missed Cold Cave who opened for NIN, but from what I heard we did not miss all that much.  NIN took the stage at 9pm sharp, openeing with "Me, I'm not" which we saw from the back of the venue as we headed in. By the time of "Copy of A" we had found our spot a little to the left of the stage and about 10 meters back from the speaker stack which turned out to be quite a good spot as the volume was not quite loud enough, and thus was quite shaky in the back half of the room as the sound in the Rockhal is far from stunning unless it's cranked up enough. We were however in a spot that sounded quite alright, but had the usual stiff Luxembourgish crowd, but that did not keep us from dancing although I think the people around us did not quite like it, but who cares, it's a rock show, and a good one at that. So after a few menacing looks I pointed out that NIN has some really great live releases that can be peacefully watched at home, which was not a comment to well taken, but again it's a rock show.

For the first 3 songs, ("me i'm not", "copy of a" and "1'000'000" the band was standing in one line at the front of the stage, and they only showed us the drum kit for the next tracks, which were also much more powerful with the support of a real drummer, than the first 3 tracks.

By the 4th song which was "march of the pigs" I had a hard time to hold back and actually bumped into quite a few people while dancing, at the least there was 3 of us dancing so we did not get beat up.  From what I could see the only real movement in the crowd was in the very front rows, and no real moshpit to be seen anywhere, otherwise we would have moved there.   Here the power of a real drummer vs. a sampler was clearly felt. "piggy" was next, and brought the dancing down a bit as it is such a slow song, but still had more power due to the drummer than the openeing songs.  The light show was stunning and had some special lights, that were possibly designed just for them, lots of movement, and flashing lights.

The next few tracks were all accompanied by the drummer, "Survivalism", "gave up", "sanctified", and "closer" which as usual put the crowd into a mild frenzy. About halfway through the show a few more friends found us, so there was about 5 or 6 of us dancing and jumping and headbanging, which made for a bit more fun. Then the backdrop hid the drum kit away again for some of the newer tracks: "the warning", "disappointed", "came back haunted", "the great destroyer", "the day the world went away" .  Then when they went into "eraser" the drum kit came back out, and I was blown away by this hypnotic song, which has always been in my favorites.

"Wish", "only", "the hand that feeds" and a very powerful version of "head like a hole" closed out the set, at 1 hour 30 minutes sharp.  Trent came back on stage for a short encore of only "hurt".

Overall I'd say a really good show, a good mix of old and new songs. As usual very little interaction with the crowd, and a focus on the music, which is always welcome!  In the end personally I preferred their show at Rockhal a few years ago on the Wave goodbye tour, but it was a better show than the one I saw last August at Pukkelpop.  I will certainly go see them again!

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The full set list can be found here: http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/nine-inch-nails/2014/rockhal-esch-sur-alzette-luxembourg-63c0be07.html

Cinquanta: Puscifer - A Perfect Circle - Failure

On May 10th and 11th 2014, Maynard James Keenan, vocalist for Tool, Puscifer and A Perfect Circle hosted a celebration for his 50th birthday.  The whole thing took place at the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park, Los Angeles California. As Puscifer has so far not toured Europe, I figured, if the music does not come to me I’ll have to go to the music, and so I got on a plane on Friday the 9th in Frankfurt, Germany, and headed to LA, for the 2 nights of music, and a couple of days after the shows.

Now if you were there, you know this was a hell of a special performance, and if you were there for both nights, you know that this was the only way to go to get the full experience!

On night one, we got to the Greek theatre around 6:30 pm as Maynard had posted in social media that an early arrival was suggested for some pre-show fun, the part that I saw consisted of an outtake of the "What Is... Puscifer" release, spiced up with a special sketch for Maynard’s Birthday, where Hildy made him a Coke birthday cake.

The stage set up had the Puscifer Camper, on the left, the Failure drum kit in the middle, and the Puscifer Drum kit on the right (as seen from in front of the stage). In front of the middle drum kit there was a little high rise with the Puscifer Microphones. And then there were a few small camping tables with chairs, and a BBQ inclusive of fake Flames.

We were in our seats just before 8pm, quite gnarly seats in section A, dead center, and anticipated a regular show, meaning Failure would open the evening, then we expected an A Perfect Circle set, followed by Puscifer as the headliner.  Needless to say, our expectations were as far from what we were about to experience as possible.

A short introduction by Neil Hamburger, and Failure took the stage, but they were accompanied by all the musicians that were to perform as regulars throughout the evening.  As everybody came onstage they were already greeted with a standing ovation, and although it's a fully seated venue, I dare say, not a soul sat back down.  Failure/A Perfect Circle opened the Set with the "Nurse who loved me"  backed up by Maynard, Billy Howerdel, and Carina Round, what a performance to open the evening!  Then as a good host, Maynard made sure everyone on stage at least had a drink which mostly consisted of him serving his wine. Failure played 2 more songs, and while finishing "Dirty Blue Balloons" the drummer was actually wheeled of stage with his entire kit, while still playing.  Just as the song finished the A Perfect Circle drum kit rolled out.

failure opening night 1

With a 10 second break at the most, A Perfect Circle had taken the stage to perform a 3 song set, consisting of "Weak and Powerless", "Orestes", and "the Noose".  All 3 songs were performed so powerfully and with such perfection that it was almost shocking to see the Drum Kit wheeled back stage while "the noose" was not even finished.

APC night 1

Another 10 second break, and we were hearing the first notes of Puscifer's "Vagina Mine", unreal was all I thought! And, I was also wondering what comes next?? Could it be done with such shorts sets? Will there be other bands? What the hell is going on! But then came "Trekka" which simply blew my mind, so no more time to wonder, just to enjoy!  Next came a perfect rendition of "Polar Bear" followed by "breathe", which was simply mind blowing!!  Unfortunately right here, the flow stopped a bit as Maynard announced, that Grandpa needs a break.  So we took a break as well, and headed for the outdoor smoking section, which is a bit of a joke I think, limiting outdoor smoking... As all the smoke goes up anyway.  But the crowd made it easy to get a little high, and inhale some vapo pens, which are quite the invention!

About 15 minutes later Puscifer took the stage again, and they opened their second set with "Oceans", which made me feel as though I was floating in space, such an angelic sound! "Monsoons" had Billy Howerdel on additional vocals, and this set was closed with "Horizons", so overall a floating peaceful spaced out set.

puscifer night 1

Right at the end of "Horizons" the Failure drum kit was wheeled back on stage and it was clear they would keep rotating bands throughout the night. "another space song" was followed by "Frogs" and "solaris" which featured Maynard on backing vocals, what a duet this was, subtle hints of Maynard’s singing actually took the song to another level.  Overall Failure are not a bad band, but the addition of musicians throughout the night actually made them a lot better.  My friend G. who had seen them open for Tool a few weeks before was actually horrified about having to sit through an entire Failure set, but split up between bands, I must say I quite enjoyed their songs, if only to come down a bit from the rest of the music.  As they were finishing "solaris", the drum kit left the stage, and the back drop was once again illuminated by the A Perfect Circle sign.

APC launched into "the Hollow" which I had not seen in quite a few years, so that blew my mind! And then I for one totally lost it as the went into "Rose" which they performed with such power, that I could only let go in the music, and actually might have bumped my friends around a bit, dancing between the rows of chairs.  "Rose" blew my mind, but then, a version of "the Package" which was sung as a duet between Maynard and Carina Round, who actually sang the first part of the track by herself took it up another notch!! UNREAL!!!

And now it was back to Puscifer who opened their 3rd set with "Conditions of my parole" for which Maynard strapped on his Megaphone, which rendered the vocals a tad more aggressive than the album version. This is unquestionably one of my favorite Puscifer tracks, and the live version is as gnarly as it can get! "Man Overboard" yet again was just mind blowing and "the undertaker" really showcased Maynard’s long and powerful screams!!  Somewhere during this set, Tool drummer Danny Carey sat down at one of the camping tables and was greeted with quite a cheer from the crowd, and probably made everyone in the venue hope for a Tool encore.

Back to APC for their 3rd set, "counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums" rocked the entire venue! "3 libras"  was simply beautiful, and they closed that set with "by and down" their newest track, but also in my opinion one of the weakest of the entire night.

Failure closed the regular night with another 3 song set, which consisted of: "blank", "wet gravity" and "heliotropic".

Here I thought, well 3 sets by each band, should probably close out the night, but I was far from it! As the Failure drum kit left the stage, there was a little break, and then, the roadies actually pushed out Danny Carey sitting behind his massive drum kit! WOW! Are we in for some Tool now, I wondered!  But no! It was all Puscifer as Hildy came on stage looking for Maynard who was sitting in the camper on the crapper, in a full brown suit, and his blonde wig and mustache, as they launched into "Cuntry Boner" with 2 drummers!  And then the really most unexpected happened, the musicians, dressed up in Paper Mache masks, and actually it was a Green Jello reunion of sorts to perform "3 little pigs" which got the crowd into a mild frenzy as no one would have expected this! But we were in for quite another surprise when Justin Chancellor walked out on stage with his bass strapped on! Now only Adam Jones was missing for a Tool performance!  He did however not show, but this did not keep them from performing a hell of a version of "Sober" in which Zac Rae (who had been standing next to us in the smoking section but we did not yet know him), took over the guitar parts with his keyboard!!! Here the crowd totally lost it!  The night ended with "the humbling river" which was more than fitting as the whole evening was quite a humbling show!  Who would have expected a show like this? No one! Maynard set the bar quite a few notches higher for any future birthday celebrations by famous artists!!!

Unfortunately here the night ended, and my friends were in somewhat of a hurry to get to the car, while I was still so blown away I had a hard time to move at all! Purely stunning! The whole thing did not feel like a normal concert, not only because of the band mash up, but also because most of the time all musicians were on stage hanging out, which added a casual feel to the whole thing.  The only downside to the entire event was the seated venue! While the Greek Theatre is a stunning venue in a lush green setting in a small ravine of the Griffith Park, the fact that it was seated took away some of the feel of a party rather than a show, and at least a small standing area to mingle and dance would have further added to the coziness of the evening. But that is complaining at a very high level. The night was quite cool, and I was happy to wear my cloak which fitted perfectly into the setting as well, and was sure to wear it again for the next night, Just the first night had already made my trip worthwhile, and I was more than excited for night 2, as Hippie and I drove up to Topanga Canyon where I spent the night in a nice little camp.

We started day 2 quite mellow in Topanga, and around 5pm headed up to the Griffith Park Observatory to take in the view before heading back down the mountain to the Greek Theatre for night 2.

We actually missed the preshow fun entirely and just got into our seats, again in section A, a bit more to the front and left this time around, as the Hildy Coke cake sketch was playing.

Night 2 pretty much started exactly the same way as night 1, the band was greeted with standing ovations and no one cared to sit back down.   "the nurse who loved me” was again the opening song with as powerful a performance as night 1.  Failure changed one song from their set, which we did not notice, and so we were expecting everything to be the same, which again was far from on spot.

APC changed their first set to start off with "the package" with Carina Round sounding even better than the night before, and overall the band sounded tighter. APC finished their first set with "rose" and "the noose", both songs essentially leaving me speechless.

The first Puscifer set was the same as the night before except that they skipped "Trekka", and thus made it a 3 song only set before taking a break, this time without any announcement.

puscifer night 2

Again we took the time to inhale a lot of Vapor, and got back into the venue a bit sooner so we would not miss the first few notes of "monsoons" as had been the case the night before. The second Puscifer set was identical to night 1 but overall, as with APC, felt a bit tighter than the day before.

Failure's 2nd set was the same as the night before, and Maynard again added some punch to "solaris". Next up was APC who switched up their set a bit, "weak and powerless" was followed by "blue" and "the hollow", which again was nothing short of mind blowing!

On to Puscifer's 3rd set which changed considerably from the night before, as only one track was not switched out. We heard the "spanish fly mix” of "the undertaker". Next Carina Round took the main vocals, for "Rev 22:20" as she has done on the "what is ... Puscifer" release, and boy does this woman have a hell of a voice!! I sure understand why Maynard has kept her onboard Puscifer for the last few tours and releases! Letting her go would actually take away from Puscifer, and not just a little!  "Man Overboard" also sounded tighter than the night before, and the set was closed out by a very powerful rendition of "Telling Ghosts"!

The 3rd APC set was also mildly altered as it started off with "counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums" followed by "by and down", and finishing with "the hollow" this time around.   Failure's 3rd set switched the 1st song but the rest was the same as the night before.

This time around Danny Carey drum kit was no more surprise, so we thought we'd be in for some more Tool, but this did not happen. Again Maynard was sitting in the camper but this time around had not bothered with the suit and wig, so Hildy wondered who he was, as they started "cuntry boner" followed by "3 little pigs". Then we had the next surprise as a young man with a cello took place, and Maynard casually introduced him as: "this is my son". WOW, Devo Keenan on stage for a Cello solo! And then he stayed there to play "the humbling river" with his father! How gnarly, 2 generations of Keenan's on one stage!! And Devo did quite the job! Backed up by 2 drummers, and a full band!

Overall this was one hell of an experience 2 nights, songs from 5 different bands so to speak, 6 if you take into account that "cuntry boner" is a cover, and musicians who were all at the top of their game!  Also very noteworthy is the fact that they mixed up the set lists, and actually played some different tracks on both nights! Nothing short of mind blowing!  The most surprising thing of both nights though was the fact that one could actually see Maynard throughout the entire evening, and unlike his usual Tool and APC performances, he did not hide in the shadows this time around, probably because in the end, the evening was mostly about him. And well worth the total of 11600 miles to travel to LA and back again. I sure hope that Puscifer will tour Europe in the future, but if not, I sure as hell will travel again and again to see them!  The one thing that is to hope, is that they will actually release the Cinquanta shows on DVD, preferably both nights in full!

http://www.alternativenation.net/?p=47175 set list day 1

http://www.alternativenation.net/?p=47255 set list day 2