music

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

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

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.

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!

 

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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)

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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

 

Sonisphere Festival - France with Machine Head, Marilyn Manson, Meshuggah, and Faith No More !!!!! 07.07.12 Galaxie Amneville

Sonisphere Festival - France with Machine Head, Marilyn Manson, Meshuggah, and Faith No More !!!!! 07.07.12 Galaxie Amneville We got to the venue around 16:30, as we were in no rush, we smoked a few more in the parking lot before heading in… The venue was not bad at all, the second stage being an outdoor stage, and the main stage inside the Galaxie.

The first gig we attended was Machine Head on the main stage, which was a solid rock show, I had not listened to them for a while, and they were not bad, although as far as the sound goes, it could have been better, a bit less volume might have helped on the over-steered front…

I heard Combichrist on the second stage from afar, and what I heard did not pull me any closer.. We headed back into the main hall just before Marylin Manson took the stage… And although I like a few of Manson’s album the show at Sonisphere was miserable at best! The sound was shitty as hell, vocals were often not discernible at all, and Manson looked as though he was bored at best, the rest of the band did not seem to be having much of a good time either.. In my humble opinion Manson is done, maybe has been done for a few years, unless with a future album and tour he can get back to such intense performances as on the Antichrist Superstar tour in the 90’s.. The most extreme and shocking act performed was Manson stabbing a self-portrait…. At least we used to the time to get higher, smoking spliff after spliff.

We watched Meshuggah from a bit further back, not wanting to miss a second of the FNM gig. But Meshuggah was the first sign of hope for the day, delivering their metal in a most powerful fashion, with a crisp and clear sound!

Back into the main hall for Faith no More! The stage set up was all white, even the roadies were dressed all white; stage decorations were lots of flowers, perfectly fitting with this year’s tour poster the “Death Notice”. They opened the concert with Woodpeckers from Mars, to which I had to light a joint right away, and what an opening it was, at this point everyone was on stage except Patton. From Woodpeckers they went into covering Tom Jones’ Delilah ! As the rest of the band, Patton was dressed all white, whit the addition of a hat, the now seeming obligatory cane, and what looked like a red satchel.. On to Land of Sunshine and Caffeine at which point I was totally losing my mind, rocking out my soul.. A little chill out with Evidence, all in a perfectly crisp and clear sound, unlike most of the previous acts, Faith no more actually also has a sound tech that is a professional! When it came to digging the grave, I could not hold back anymore, I looked at my friends, and motioned forward towards the mosh pit, as around us people were not really losing their minds, I moved forward and F. joined in the fun as well! What a freaking boiler room the mosh pit was – almost as hot as FNM back in the summer of 97. After Last cup of Sorrow, I was about ready to collapse, wet from head to toe, as was the band. They did a zen meditiation on stage, but of course it was a Faith No More meditation, and as such was an absolute mind blow! The fact that I was smoking more weed sure helped as well. Roddy Buttom told the crowd they came out of San Francisco, and that that shit (the Zen meditation) really works! To which Mike responded if it did not, this would sure do the trick, and they performed Spirit! This blew my mind, as I had never seen them perform this one! Then came Epic, which as always was epic! Midlife crises followed, and as during the last years, it was an altered version, broken up by a C’est la Vie cover, back into Midlife Crisis! A really great performance! CUCKOO FOR CACA, another mind-blowing song, where Patton’s voice is used in full, or is there even a limit to this guy’s vocal performances? To me unquestionably one of the greatest vocalists ever! They ended Cuckoo with a noisy jam that lead right into Ashes to Ashes! Sadly then Patton announced the last track and asked the crowd to enjoy the shit out of it! And the band delivered another stellar rendition of Just a Man!

They came back for an encore, which they started with Ugly in the Morning, where the crowd lost its mind and the moshpit grew exponentially really fast! Finally a show where they did not all have a stick up their ass! Next was Easy, followed by Why do you bother / Niggas in Paris, what a fitting end for a show in France!

At some point, not sure when Patton asked what other bands the crowd had enjoyed, saying that Meshuggah is a good band right there.. And not understanding much else of what the crowd said, gave us a short: oh fuck you and into the next track. Patton humour.

Overall the performances of the day were not all that, but Faith No More sure pulled the boat around! Those guys kick ass! And they do so more intensely and powerfully than most current so called heavy bands! Despite their slightly more advanced age these 5 guys rock their souls out, and a lot of other bands sure could take that as great example of what it is to be a rock band! STELLAR PERFORMANCE! Should this be the last time I saw Faith No More it sure was a worthy one! but I sure hope they’ll keep touring! And anyone who has not seen them should do so NOW! Also a massive thumps up to Faith no more’s sound tech! That guy was the only one with a handle on the venue, at least for the indoor stage all day! Crisp and clear, not too loud, but powerful!

Set list: -WOODPECKER FROM MARS -DELILAH -LAND OF SUNSHINE -CAFFEINE -EVIDENCE -DIGGING THE GRAVE -LAST CUP OF SORROW *zen meditation snippet* -SPIRIT -EPIC -MIDLIFE CRISIS / MINI MINI C’EST LA VIE (Jacques Dutronc) -CUCKOO FOR CACA -*noise jam* -ASHES TO ASHES -JUST A MAN Encore -UGLY IN THE MORNING -EASY -WHY DO YOU BOTHER / NIGGAS IN PARIS

WERCHTER BOUTIQUE: Metallica - Soundgarden - Mastodon - Channel Zero - Gojira - Ghost: Werchter, Belgium may 28th 2012.

WERCHTER BOUTIQUE: Metallica - Soundgarden - Mastodon - Channel Zero - Gojira - Ghost: Werchter, Belgium may 28th 2012. We arrived a bit late, so we missed out on Ghost but made it up to the front for most of the Gojira set, which was quite fresh and heavy! Followed by the local Belgian heroes Channel Zero which got the crowd moving a bit, I saw at least one Mosh-Pit that looked right! But Channel Zero is not entirely my cup of tea, so that was not for me.

Mastodon pulled of a very solid, rhythmic, and heavy set, but was largely underappreciated by the crowd, who sadly seemed to be focused solemnly on seeing Metallica, and thus ignored some great and heavy music!

Soundgarden, was a risky move on the bookers side, but one that I for one massively appreciated! And Soundgarden thanked their few fans in the crowd with a really cool setlist that you would not expect as such at a festival show. It was not a best of show, but it was a kick your ass show! They focused on their older albums, which was gnarly, but the crowd, unfortunately did not know what happened to them, and confirmed that they wanted only Metallica, which is sad, looking at the great musicians on stage being ignored by people that for the most part can’t even play an instrument. All I can say is respect to Soundgarden, as my friend B. put it, not only are they heavy, but they also sound good! Here is a link to the setlist: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150978826935600&set=a.496741280599.301895.271730225599&type=1

Metallica started their show with a clip from an old Western, which was a nice intro! They started of their set with ‘Hit the Lights’, and ‘master of puppets’. ‘Ride the lightning’ and ‘for whom the bell tolls’, followed by the newer ‘hell and back’. Then Metallica left the stage, to start a short video with a few facts and figures about the ‘Black Album’, and they opened the show with the last track from the album ‘the struggle within’, and proceeded to play the entire album backwards. Fortunately people got a bit loose with Metallica being on stage, but even though the Black Album as well as Metallica’s performance were still as good as on the “where we may roam” tour in 1993, the crowd has lost just about all of its’ power, its’ rage, its’ readiness to rock! We got a small moshpit going a few times, but there were but a few people joining us. Long gone are the days where there were 4 or 5 different pits at a single show, at the same time, nowadays, you’re lucky if you have 1 or 2 small pits in a crowd of 70’000 people.. Metallica are pros, and they worked the crowed well, getting them to sing here and there, but the crowd was overall relatively lame (at least those in the black circle). My personal highlights were ‘Of wolf and man’ as well as ‘sad but true’ . They ended the show with an all hit encore: ‘Battery’, ‘One’ and ‘Seek and Destroy’. Overall for me still a very satisfying experience, and a great show, but I do miss the madness from the older days.

Here is a link for the setlist, as well as some pictures from Metallica: http://www.metallica.com/tour/may-28-2012-werchter.asp

Riders on the storm (aka the Doors, Robby Krieger & Ray Manzarek) in Budapest, Hungary 07.07.07

Riders on the storm (aka the Doors, Robby Krieger & Ray Manzarek) in Budapest, Hungary 07.07.07 This was quite an interesting trip! Riders on the storm (the doors) played on a Saturday 07 of July 07 in Budapest, and as life would have it, a friend of mine, G., knows Robby Krieger, and invited me to go see the show. Saturday morning I hopped on a plane to Budapest. After a little walk around the city, G. and I headed over to the band’s hotel where we met Brett Scallions (vocals), Ty Dennis (Drums), and Phil Chen (Bass). Shortly thereafter Ray Manzarek, and Robby Krieger came down. And off we were to go get dinner with Robby, and Phil. I did not quite expect that one! The hotel had called a restaurant which opened their kitchen a bit early so we were the only guests in the place. I was honestly stunned to be sitting at a table with a true music heavy weight such as Robby Krieger,hearing him tell stories of the old days with Jim Morrison was quite mind blowing! He told us how Morrison and himself had gotten into a bar fight the night before a TV appearance; they were in some town’s local bar, and of course stood out as the long haired hippies, Morrison was provoked, and provoked back, so they both ended up getting their ass kicked. And a few other stories which were quite funny! But honestly Robby Krieger is a really down to earth guy, who loves his music, and nowadays a good golf game as well! A tasty meal and a couple of glasses of good wine later we were in a cab following the band’s van to the venue, a picturesque little amphitheatre style place located on a small “island” in the middle of the Danube (Margaret Island Open Air Theatre). I had been listening a lot to the Doors throughout the years, so I was not sure what to expect! Especially since Morrison’s vocals, are quite distinctive, but, in my opinion Brett Scallions did a great job! The beginning of the concert was a bit odd, people were pretty much all stuck in their seats, which I watched from the side of the stage, up close, ready to let the music take me in, and dance! A cold beer and a smoke in my hands the intro started, and off it went into love me two times, so glad I did not sit in a chair! Scallions, I think agreed, and urged people to come closer right before break on through, and luckily people followed the call, and the party was on! With the first notes of break on through people just went off! Young and old(er), just going with the music! Knowing Robby, and the rest of the band, and crew personally, G. had the privilege of taking photos throughout the entire show. (If I get permission I’ll post some here) But I had no time to take photos, the music was just pulling me in. I think by the time of Peace Frog I was in a complete trance, flowing with the sound, and the people. The sound was great, the nature of the venue, made for a really full sound the crowd was perfect, and kept on asking for more, but after about 2 hours the band left the stage, a great applause later they came back for a great encore, with riders on the storm, and Light my fire. Having an all access pass, we went back stage, and hung out a bit with the band! But Robby and Ray, were quite exhausted from the show, which they had every right to be, these 2 men still love their music, and put their hearts and souls into it!

G. and I hung out a bit at the venue, and ended up getting a ride from one of the organizers back to his hotel. Luckily G. had a nice suite, where I could squad the sofa for some drinks and smokes, listening to music, and enjoying the afterglow of a great concert! As I was on a short trip, I had not bothered to book a room.. A mere 24 hours after my arrival I was on a plane back home to be back at work on a Monday morning ;) Short but intense, and well worth the ride !

Guns And Roses – Soundgarden – Faith No More 30.05.1992 Cologne, Germany

Guns And RosesSoundgardenFaith No More 30.05.1992 Cologne. This was my first concert ever, and as you can tell from the line up, it could not have been any better! I was a sweet 14 years of age, and had only for a few years been listening more intensely to music. At that time I of course knew all the Guns’n’Roses albums, and they were on the “Use Your Illusion World tour”. Backed by two of the great bands from the 90’s Faith no More who were touring “the Real Thing”, and Soundgarden who were promoting “Bad Motor Finger”!

We were about 20 people and had rented a bus, as most of us being under 18 had no drivers licence. Luckily my brother had joined as well, as otherwise I doubt I would have gotten permission to go. We arrived around 5 pm, and set out straight to the stadium where we realized that unfortunately we had ordered grandstand seats, but wanted to be on the main floor.. We ended up sneaking past the outside fence of a bridge connecting the stands to the floor.. Luckily none of us were thickset, as we would not have made it through that space. A few others found people that gave them a used ticket to access the floor.

I was about 30 cm shorter than the rest of us, but headed out to the front with everyone else, and faith no more sure did get the crowd going already! WOW, the closer we got to the front, the bigger the pressure got, and about 50 m from the stage the crowd was just going left and right, back and forth as one large mass. The others formed a circle around me, as otherwise I probably wouldn’t have survived! But with the protective circle I was able to fully get into the music, bouncing up and down like a mad man !

Soundgarden had “Bad Motor Finger” going, which was mind-blowing as well! I had never heard these bands, but was pretty much sold for life after this show! And the main act had not even started yet! Being that I did not know any of their songs back then, but I do remember that it was one hell of a powerful concert!

Guns’n’Roses was simply staggering! I think they played around three hours, something which nowadays is very rare. The entire show, stage, and performance were Guns’n’Roses at the peak of their career, and what more can one say than it was the “Use Your Illusion Tour”! Those who were there will never forget, and those that weren’t will never know!