There is a band that is out and about right now that is decimating audiences where ever they play. Their debut full length is leaving a lasting mark in the heavy music circles. And the best part is they are still so young. I’m talking about the band Vein. This is one hell of a band and they deserve your attention.
Vein formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 2013. Their music takes bits and pieces from metalcore, hardcore, punk, and a hint of early nu-metal. Their debut album Errorzone, is one of 2018’s most acclaimed albums. The album in no way sounds forced or out of place. You can tell that each member of the band has studied their influences and without trying to duplicate what they’ve heard, Vein has managed to make something that sounds inspired. There is a real sense of urgency to these songs and album. It’s almost like a call to arms of the entire scene. The length of Errorzone is barely 30 minutes. That tells you that there is no letting up. The eleven songs on the album pummel from the instant the album starts to the end.
Errorzone is just the beginning for Vein. They are on to something that reaches beyond just the hardcore genre. The way they experiment shows that they have so much more to offer. It’s going to be really fun to watch this band progress over the years. Vein is here to inject their style into you and let it take over.
How do you put into words a feeling that comes over you when you see a band that is truly amazing? Not to mention still being speechless about what you saw. Last night at The Palladium in Hollywood, Alice In Chains came though town like a tornado and left the town in shambles after their magical performance. I’ve now had the pleasure of seeing this incarnation of the band seven times, and each time only gets better than the last. Alice In Chains are not only living legends but they are also the epitome of what a truly great rock band is all about.
As the lights dimmed down and Sean, Mike, William and Jerry took the stage, you could already sense that this was going to be a night of epic proportions. Starting the night off with “Check My Brain” was a perfect choice to get things going. Then the quick follow up with “Again” just about set the audience off into a frenzy. Next up was the new single “Never Fade” from their most awesome new album Rainer Fog. This song was absolutely stellar live. It’s going to be one of those that will be in their live set for the rest of their career. All the classic songs like “Them Bones,” “Dam That River,” We Die Young,” “No Excuses,” and “It Ain’t Like That” were top notch. Certain ones though like “Down In A Hole” and “Nutshell” were seriously spine tingling. I still have chills just thinking about how amazing those songs sounded. William DuVall is a gem. He really brings the songs to life in his own way without tarnishing the legacy of Layne Staley. William absolutely inhabits the older songs with such precision it’s beautiful. Through the rest of the night songs like “Red Giant,” “So Far Under” from Rainer Fog were played along with “Man In The Box,” “Stone,” and “Hollow.” Their encore even was outstanding. Coming out with “The One You Know” and moving into “Got Me Wrong,” holy wow! Ending the evening was “Would” and “Rooster” which featured a special guest, Robby Krieger of The Doors. Just thinking of the moment when Jerry announced Robby was joining them on stage, is going to be one of those oh shit moments in my concert going history.
Playing before Alice In Chains was The Pink Slips. This band is a really solid rock n roll band. Led by singer Grace McKagan’s (she’s also the daughter of Duff McKagan of GnR), sass and attitude along with killer pipes made her bands blend of punk, new wave, and rock the perfect band to play before Alice In Chains. This five piece really delievered a great performance. They are definitely one of those bands that when you see live, you “get it.” They’ve got all the makings of a great rock band for the future. The riffs, rhythms, and prowess all blended together to make something really cool. I personally look forward to seeing The Pink Slips again and to watch them continue to kick ass.
What a wonderful evening. I couldn’t have asked for better. Alice In Chains is a powerhouse. William DuVall was not only the right choice to carry on the legacy of the band but, he adds so much to the band. I swear, there are moments when he’s singing the classics, that Layne’s spirit is inside of William. Especially during “Nutshell” and “Down In A Hole.” Holy shit… I can’t explain how amazing William sounds on those songs. Alice In Chains’ legacy is intact for generations to come. Their albums with Layne will always be classics and the new albums with William stand out on their own. I urge you to go see Alice In Chains. Not only will you have a brilliant time but, if you are a doubter about this new incarnation, your mind will not only be changed but, you’ll be blown away.
Alice In Chains Set List:
01) Check My Brain
03) Never Fade
04) Them Bones
05) Dam That River
07) Down In A Hole
08) No Excuses
10) We Die Young
11) Red Giant
13) It Ain’t Like That
14) So Far Under
15) Man In The Box
16) The One You Know
17) Got Me Wrong
19) Rooster (with Robby Krieger of The Doors)
Songs From Albums:
Jar Of Flies= 2
Alice In Chains= 1
Black Gives Way To Blue= 1
The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here= 2
Rainer Fog= 4
I love Cave In. Every album this band has put out is tremendous. They have never been one to stay complacent with the music they write or the direction the want to go. Back in the year 2000, Cave In was asked to contribute to a tribute album to The Cure. They chose to cover “Plainsong” from the album Disintegration. The Cave In version turned out really cool and spaced out. Check it out!!!
Dave Grohl is everywhere these days. From being in Foo Fighters, to his documentary projects, organizing the Cal Jam festival, as well as being a husband and father, how does he have the time. In addition to all that was mentioned he also finds time to make appearances in movies and TV. Check out these times Dave has made his presence known.
Tenacious D- The Pick Of Destiny (Dave as Satan):
Tenacious D- Tribute (Dave as Satan):
The X-Files (small cameo):
The Muppets (as Animool):
Dave also had small parts on Comedy Central’s Drunk History as well as the short lived show Ghost Ghirls, and Denis Leary’s Sex and Drugs and Rock & Roll.
One of the albums I’ve looked forward to most coming out this year was the new Alice In Chains album. Since the band released the single “The One You Know,” I’ve been all sorts of giddy about this album. As the band put out two more singles, “So Far Under” and “Never Fade,” my excitement only grew stronger. So, when Rainer Fog was finally released, it instantly hit a note with me. Not just because Alice In Chains is in my top two favorite bands of all time but, because this album is truly astonishing. Now three albums into their Mark II version of the band, Alice In Chains shows no signs of letting their fans down or losing their knack for making great music.
It’s really interesting and crazy to think that the first music video Metallica ever did was on their fourth album And Justice For All for the song “One.” I remember seeing it for the first time when I was about four years old and thinking that this was awesome. This video was without a doubt groundbreaking at the time as well as responsible for the beginning of making Metallica a household name.
The video for “One” was directed by Bill Pope and Michael Salomon and it debuted on MTV, January 20th, 1989. Something else that is quite interesting about this video is that there were three versions made. The first (the longest, album version) contained scenes of both the band and scenes from the film Johnny Got His Gun. The second was simply a shortened version of the first, and the third, often known as the “jammin’ version”, lacked scenes from the movie (the song and video fades at the last bridge in the third version).
“One” was the perfect song and video to really introduce Metallica to households across the world. The video to this day almost 30 years later is still impactful and chilling, which is what makes it such a great video.
In celebration of what would have been Layne Staley’s 51st birthday, let’s take a closer look at the side project Mad Season. I’m sure most of you out there know about this band by now, but for those that don’t here’s a quick history lesson. Mad Season was formed originally by Pearl Jam guitarist, Mike McCready and bassist, John Baker Saunders. The two had met in a rehab facility and returned to Seattle after their stint there. Not long after the move back, Mike and John recruited Screaming Trees drummer, Barrett Martin, to join them. After only a couple of jams together, they had written the instrumentals for what would become “Wake Up,” and “River of Deceit.” Needing a singer, Mike sought out Layne Staley to front the group. It was Mike’s hope that surrounding himself with sober musicians might also help Layne to get sober as well.
The album they made together, Above, is one of the most haunting, beautiful pieces of work to come out from that era. It’s right up there with how sentimental and profound as Temple of the Dog’s album is. The band originally called themselves The Gacy Bunch, but later changed the name to Mad Season, which is an English term for the time of year that psilocybin mushrooms are in full bloom. The albums music was recorded in about seven days, while the vocals took only a few more days to complete. Before the band went into record the album, while they were still writing, Mike McCready had told Layne that he could do what he wanted with this and write all the lyrics. And so, he did, and it marked a profound moment for Layne, not just as a writer but set him on a spiritual path through music.
The ten songs on the album stretch across genres, such as rock, blues, jazz, and some tribal elements. Some critics thought that Mad Season was just as though Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam had a baby, but the fans, the people that really mattered, saw this album as a gem. Every song on the album had a deep meaning and musically pushed those feeling and emotions. When you have an album with songs like “Wake Up,” “River of Deceit,” “I’m Above,” “Lifeless Dead,” “X-Ray Mind,” “November Hotel” “All Alone,” and “Long Gone Day,” it’s pretty hard to not be astonished by the magnitude Layne, Mike, John and Barrett created. Something else that is worth noting is the inclusion of Screaming Trees singer, Mark Lanegan, on the songs “I’m Above” and “Long Gone Day.” His contributions on those two songs add an extra level of chills to the already spine-tingling album.
In 2012, there was a re-release of the album which featured four unreleased songs. These songs were from the bands unfinished second album. The songs were musically done, so Mike and Barrett asked Mark Lanegan to write lyrics and sing on these tracks. Also included in the re-release was a DVD of the bands show at The Moore theater as well as the bands 1994 New Year’s Eve show at the now defunct club RKCNDY. These performances of Mad Season will leave you with the hairs on your arms and back standing up.
Mad Season was a band that was meant to be. Their album, Above, is beyond tremendous. Mad Season wasn’t just a side project, it was a band that really allowed Mike McCready and Layne Staley to show what they could really do. Not to take away from their contributions to Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains, this band just really allowed these two to be free to fully express themselves in a different capacity. Mike McCready is seriously one of the most underrated guitar players ever. His playing and songwriting on Above proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt. Layne’s vocals and lyrics are absolutely on another level. The lyrics go deeper than his previous work in Alice In Chains. Here he gets a bit more introspective and finds a balance of what he dreams of and what is reality. Barrett Martin continued to prove how talented of a player he is on this album. And John Baker Saunders added a level of subtle cool to these songs, that only he could.
Mad Season still lives on just as the memories of Layne Staley and John Baker Saunders. I like to think of Mad Season as more than just a side project, but more of a band that gave new life to everyone involved in this. All you have to do is listen and let it all sink in and you’ll fall in love with this masterpiece.
Back in 1996 on the heels of Alice In Chains doing MTV’s Unplugged, they were asked to perform on the Late Show with David Letterman. Their performance this evening was one of those spine tingling ones. Performing the songs “Again” and “We Die Young” in a bit of a medley, you could tell that David Letterman was very impressed with not only the band but the performance as well. Watch and see for yourself. This not only proves how great Alice In Chains is but also, how magical Layne Staley was as a vocalist and frontman.
After eight years away from the stage, is it possible to capture the magic you once had? Well in the case of One Side Zero, the answer is emphatically, yes. This past Saturday night at the Viper Room, the newly reformed One Side Zero took the stage for their first show in eight years and it seemed as though they never left. Armed with two new members, One Side Zero is right back where they belong.
As the curtain opened, the crowd erupted into a frenzy that was reminiscent of many years back. Opening their set with the classic (and my personal favorite) “Tapwater” from their unsung masterpiece of an album Is This Room Getting Smaller, was a perfect way to start things off. Throughout their set which consisted of songs like “Instead Laugh,” “Holding Cell,” “A Point In Time,” “Awake” “Eight” the crowd was united, singing along with singer/guitarist Jasan Radford. As they played through more and more songs like “Never Ending,” “New World Order,” “Shed The Skin,” and fan favorite “Summertime,” it became very apparent that the guys on stage were enjoying this and feeling the energy emitting from the crowd back to them. Guitarist Levon Sultanian, got to show off his lead guitar skills aplenty, as the band included extended jams and interludes between songs. New members Marcello Dias (bass) and Michael Tarabotto (drums) seem like they have been in the band for years. At the end of their set, a new song entitled “Eleven” was played and it was the perfect way to end the evening. The song itself shows the musical maturity of the band and is a great precursor as to what’s to come in terms of new music.
One of the other things that made this evening spectacular was that the mighty With Our Arms To The Sun were on the bill as well. They were the perfect band to play before OneSideZero. With Our Arms are the type of band that will light up a room with not just their music but their passion in how they perform. Their set included songs from both of their critically acclaimed alums A Far Away Wonder and Orenda. One song in particular that I’ve really dug since I first heard it, “Regret: Sailing Stones” was blistering live. The vocal brilliance of singer/guitarist Josh Breckinridge on that song is beyond powerful and the accompaniment of guitarist Joseph Leary and bassist Joe Breckinridge really drives that song right into the audience’s ears. I’ve said this many times before but, I feel I need to say it again, With Our Arms To The Sun are one of those bands that when they are playing in your area, they are a must see.
What a great night not just for OneSideZero and With Our Arms To The Sun. Being at this show made it feel like old times. The venue was vibrant and the Sunset Strip was full of people like how it used to be. The night felt alive and full of life. There was something else I noticed throughout the night and that is the fanbase that came out to support OneSideZero. They are dedicated to the music and art of it all, and each and everyone in attendance this evening was drawn into the songs and the thrill of it. So here’s to many more great shows and the long awaited third album from OneSideZero.
As a music fan I can appreciate the concept of artistry when it comes to making music. Not everything has to formulaic in the sense of verse, chorus and repeat. There is something provocative about a band that is willing to experiment and step outside the box. One such band that I’ve come to really enjoy over the past couple years is Daughters. This newly reformed band has now unleashed two songs from their upcoming and long awaited album You Won’t Get What You Want, which comes out October 26 (via Ipecac Recordings). Daughters is one of those bands that gets lumped into many sub-genres such as nosie-rock and mathcore but, to me they have always just been an alternative rock/metal band. The bands previous three albums, Canada Songs, Hell Songs and self titled album are expansive and show a band willing to change and evolve the right way. Daughters are one of those bands that when you really sit and listen to everything musically and lyrically, there is something truly astonishing about the artistic development and depth each member brings to the band.
Daughters- Satan In The Wait:
Daughters- The Reason They Hate Me:
Upcoming Tour Dates:
October 31 Richmond, VA Strange Matter
November 1 Baltimore, MD Metro Gallery
November 2 Philadelphia, PA First Unitarian Church