Live Show Reviews

Live Review: Cold at The Viper Room

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It’s always an interesting time going to see a band live that you haven’t seen in many years. There are so many thoughts that race through your mind, what are they going to play, how are they going to sound, what will these new members bring to the table, etc. Last night at The Viper Room, I got to see Cold live for the first time in well over a decade and it was full of nostalgia, good moments, as well as some interesting things.

As the curtain opened up and the lights and fog were cued, The members of Cold appeared through and began ripping through “Everyone’s A Devil” (side note, this song should have been included on the bands new album The Things We Can’t Stop). From there, songs like “Remedy,” “Give,” new song “Without You,” “No One (which is one of my all time favorite Cold songs),” “The Break,” and “Suffocate (another favorite of mine)” were played. At this point the crowd started to get louder and louder, singing along and at times singing louder than Scooter Ward. Other highlights from the night included my all time favorite Cold song “Confession” from 13 Ways To Bleed On Stage as well as “End Of The World,” “Happens All The Time,” and “Just Got Wicked.” Two other new songs “Shine” and their cover of Snow Patrol’s “Run” were played and sounded even better live, especially “Shine.” The set list covered a nice cross section of their albums and showed that they still got it!

This show was very intimate and a great way to welcome Cold back to the stage after an almost decade hiatus from playing live. There is one thing that seemed a bit off and that was the tone and sound of some of the songs. Granted I’m used to hearing the songs a certain way after all these years so, I do have a little bias. Having new members will definitely change things up and at certain moments, yes, there were times that it didn’t sound exactly right but, that’s what made this a very unique performance. The band was extremely tight though and you can tell they had finally hit their stride on that level. I have a feeling that with more and more shows and playing these songs, they will get those tones and sounds aligned and sound even better. That’s not to say, that the new members don’t play well, they do, it’s just going to take some getting used to. Playing at The Viper Room was a great choice as well. This room really brought the fans closer to the band and you could feel the unity among them all in attendance as they sang their hearts out. Here’s to Cold’s return and many more shows and albums from here on out!

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Cold Set List:

01) Everyone’s A Devil
02) Remedy
03) Give
04) Without You
05) No One
06) The Break
07) Suffocate
08) It’s All Good
09) When Angels Fly Away
10) Happens All The Time
11) Ocean
12) Confession
13) End Of The World
14) God’s Song
15) Shine
16) Stupid Girl
17) Run (Snow Patrol Cover)
18) Just Got Wicked
19) Feel It In Your Heart

 

 

Review and Photos (I was too busy watching to take many pictures) By: Brian Lacy

Live Review: Korn- The Nothing Album Release Show

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It’s pretty crazy to me that just a couple weeks ago, I was in Irvine to see Korn and Alice In Chains, and then this past Friday, here I was seeing Korn again. Only this time, it was one of the coolest most intimate performances ever. I had no idea what to expect as I walked into this warehouse/sound stage. I really thought this was going to be a listening party with a pop up merch shop and a couple of the guys from the band would be there. What happened was, I walked into this giant room and there, all set up was the bands equipment. At that point, I knew it was on. Looking around there couldn’t have been more than 150 people there and we all were surrounding the barricade waiting for Korn to come out and play.

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After about 40 minutes of waiting, the room went dark with the exception of a few scattered lights, and the band started to appear. It was then that the notes began to ring and the intro for the classic “Falling Away From Me” started, and as soon as that one note hit, the crowd was fully engulfed into it. Following that was “You’ll Never Find Me” from their new album The Nothing. They had been playing this song on their summer tour and it surely sounded huge and the crowd knew every word. After that, Munky was playing with his talk box and some effects, and after a couple minutes of noodling, “Dead Bodies Everywhere” took the audience by storm and the place erupted at that point. That song has always been a favorite of mine and live it sounds soooo good. From there, they debuted “Can You Hear Me” for the first time. This song is a standout on the album and live it sounded even better. “Here To Stay” was after and again the crowd was going nuts singing along. “Cold” another new song from The Nothing was debuted this evening and this song hit so hard, it almost felt like an eruption occurred underneath us. At this point you could tell they were playing old songs than new songs and that was pretty awesome especially, as they then blasted out “Clown.” One thing I’ve noticed over the years is when Korn plays songs from their first album, the audience absolutely is taken over by these songs, and this was no different. The sheer volume of the audience singing along with Jonathan Davis was nuts. The next song was another new one called “Finally Free.” This song is one of those songs on the new record that leaves you with chills and live, let’s just say if you go see them and they play this song live, you’ll love it even more. Ending the night with “Faget” was pretty damn awesome. That song has always been a fan favorite and it was a great choice to be played this evening. This was another one of those songs that just hit the crowd in the right way and the rest is history.

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The band’s 9 song set was perfect. It was a great performance and one of the best I’ve ever seen Korn do. Looking at each member as they played, you could tell they were enjoying it and having a great time. The crowd reaction as they alternated between old and new songs was astounding as well as how loud the crowd was singing along to the new songs. I was thinking over the weekend as I replayed the show in my head and had the new album on repeat, that it’s pretty surreal to know that I’ve been listening to this band for 25 years. I’ll be honest there was a period of time that I didn’t dig on what they put out but, for the past few years I’ve been reinvigorated as a fan by their new material. The new album The Nothing, is phenomenal and outstanding. It’s surely the best album that have put out in years and it stands up with their ground breaking debut as well as my favorite album, Issues. I mentioned this in my album review but, it’s worth noting again, the original core 4 members have found their footing again in this band and having Ray Luzier on the drums really helps to elevate the band and allows them to go to different places musically. Korn is back in full swing and I couldn’t be happier to say that.

Set List:

01) Falling Away From Me
02) You’ll Never Find Me
03) Dead Bodies Everywhere
04) Can You Hear Me
05) Here To Stay
06) Cold
07) Clown
08) Finally Free
09) Faget

Review and Photos By: Brian Lacy

 

Korn- The Nothing:

Live Review: Korn and Alice In Chains at FivePoint Amphitheater

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The summer concert season has long been full of great shows. Going back to the late 90’s and early 2000’s with things like Ozzfest and Warped Tour, along with the other fun package tours, summer concerts have always been a great experience. A few months back, there was a summer tour announced that seemed a bit strange at the time but, made sense. That tour was Korn and Alice In Chains.  When bands share the same management or booking agent (Korn and Alice share the same management) it sometimes really makes a lot of sense to pair the bands on the roster together. When you think about it, you get the sense that it doesn’t fit but, let me be one of the ones to attest to it, it sure does. This evening was quite a fun and awesome one.

 
I missed the first band, The Fever 333. I think they only got like 20 minutes to play too. Following them was Underoath. I’ve never really been a fan of them but, they really put on a good show. They brought the energy and seemed really stoked to be a part of this tour. I had seen them many years ago on Warped Tour and they were very energtic then as they are now. I have to say though, the bass player Grant Brandell and keyboard player Chris Dudley were really going for it all night. As I was listening to the band, I couldn’t help but think that, if Grant and Chris had a side project, I bet it would be something quite cool.

As the sun began to dim, Alice In Chains took the stage. This would be my 9th time seeing Alice In Chains and they didn’t disappoint. Seeing them in an outdoor venue is a totally different experience than when they are playing indoors. There’s an energy that is summoned as they play that inhabits any venue they play but, with the breeze, sunlight, and moonlight as backdrops, it makes seeing and listening to the songs totally something else. Beginning their set with “Angry Chair,” I knew that this was going to be a great performance from them. They wasted no time, just hitting all the right notes as they ran through songs like “Again,” “Man In The Box,” “Check My Brain,” “Stone,” and “We Die Young.” Certain songs though really stood out like “Them Bones,” “Dam That River,” “Love, Hate, Love,” “Would,” and “Nutshell.” William DuVal really knocked it out of the park on those. During “Nutshell” Jerry asked the crowd to turn the lights on their phones and shine them bright for Layne Staley and Mike Starr. When you looked around as that song played, it was a beautiful sight to see. Alice was their usual awesome selves this evening and didn’t disappoint. Getting to hear three of my top 5 favorite songs by them too really made it awesome especially, “Love, Hate, Love.” That song is so damn good.

The headliner for the night was Korn. I haven’t seen them live in over 12 years, so this was quite exciting to see. As the lights dimmed and the feedback began, the curtain dropped and they came out with a bang as they played “Here To Stay.” Which is one hell of a song to open up the show with. “Blind” and “Divine” followed and they sounded stellar, specifically “Divine” which is one of my all time favorites. Other choice cuts played were “Make Me Bad,” “Rotting In Vain” and the new song “You’ll Never Find Me” which sounded killer live. Of course the fan favorites like “Got The Life,” “Freak On A Leash,” and “Falling Away From Me” were played too. Korn has been going at it pretty much non stop just about 25 years and they are constantly bringing it. Its quite awesome to not see a band for a long time and then when you do, you realize they haven’t lost a step at all. Jonathan Davis sounded great as well as the rest of the band. Seeing Munky and Head back on stage again is fantastic. They really do compliment each other so well. It didn’t really work without them both. I also have to mention that Ray Luzier has added some much needed depth to the songs with the way he plays. Plus he’s an absolute beast on the kit and was a great choice as their drummer.

What a fun and great show. Both Alice In Chains and Korn were on top of their games and it’s no wonder why they were put together on this tour. You get a best of both worlds vibe when you are there. It was a varied crowd too which made people watching all that much more fun. I’m quite looking forward to the new Korn album, The Nothing and their upcoming tour. I have a feeling it’s going to be a good one. And Alice In Chains, what else can I say about this band that I haven’t already. They really are masters at what they do and those songs… Those songs are so damn good, it’s like they have a life of their own. The only thing I wish about the evening was that both Alice and Korn played longer. All in all it was a great evening with great songs, good vibes, and great company.

Alice In Chains Set List:

01) Angry Chair
02) Man In The Box
03) Check My Brain
04) Again
05) Them Bones
06) Dam That River
07) Stone
08) Rainer Fog
09) No Excuses
10) Nutshell
11) Love, Hate, Love
12) We Die Young
13) The One You Know
14) Would?
15) Rooster

Korn Set List:
01) Here To Stay
02) Blind
03) Divine
04) Rotting In Vain
05) You’ll Never Find Me
06) Twisted Transistor
07) Shoots & Ladders (with Metallica One at the end)
08) Got The Life
09) Make Me Bad
10) Somebody Someone
11) Freak On A Leash
Encore

12) 4U
13) Twist
14) Coming Undone (with Queen We Will Rock You)
15) Falling Away From Me

 

By: Brian Lacy

 

Live Review: Onesidezero, Minus Knives, Antenna The End, Satellite Citi & Heavy Machinery at The Viper Room

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Saturday night was one of “those” nights, where it was just meant to be. The perfect venue, a solid bill from beginning to end and an audience that was full of energy and packed the house. Since their return, Onesidezero has been back with a vengeance. The few shows they’ve played have all been something to remember but, this one, this is the one that had it all and really cemented their return.

Opening the night and setting the tone was the great Minus Knives. I’ve been really impressed with this band. They’ve got the right amount of heavy and melody to compliment their sound. Playing songs like “Cope,” “Shallow & Grave,” “Seconds Past,” and “Splntr,” it was evident that the guys in Minus Knives came out with purpose to rock the house and destroy. Singer Brandon Espinoza, was in control of the audience and delivered a vocal performance that was seething with passion and determination. Bassist Kevin Lewis held down the low end with extreme precision and a sense of reckless abandon that was invigorating. Guitarist Bill Schultz got to show off his guitar chops and nailed it each and every song. Drummer Greg Wroblewski was in the pocket the whole show and his thunderous drums along with Kevin’s low end, created one hell of a pulse inside The Viper Room. I highly recommend you checking them out live and via however you listen to music these days. Minus Knives were the perfect band to get things going this evening.

Next up was Heavy Machinery. These guys continued to bring the energy that Minus Knives did. They brought a different flair to the night injecting a bit of funk into their music along with some cool prog influence to compliment their sound. You could tell by watching them, that they are super into their music and believe in it too.

After them was Satellite Citi. This band brought a really cool vibe to the night. Their spacey prog rock sound was perfect for the evening and time slot. Led by drummer/vocalist Anna Gevorkian  and guitarist/vocalist Shaunt Sulahian, they delivered a rocking set that kept the crowd engaged and dancing.

Antenna The End was on right before Onesidezero and they too delivered a set that was full of energy and rock. As Satellite Citi did, they had the crowd dancing a bit. During their set my friend and I were trying to figure out who they reminded us of and we came to the conclusion that if you mixed System Of A Down and Coheed and Cambria, you’d get Antenna The End.

The main event of the evening though was Onesidezero. As soon as the stage curtains opened, the roaring crowds attention was drawn straight to the stage and then it hit. Opening their set with a brand new song called “Preacher” everyone in attendance was immediately enthralled by the song. It’s one of those songs that when it hits, you know it’s Onesidezero. Throughout their set when the classic songs like “Tapwater,” “Shed The Skin,” “Instead Laugh,” “Holding Cell,” and “Eight” were played,  the audience was singing louder than the band. A couple other new songs were played as well. I have to say, when their new album comes out in the new year, these new songs are going to become instant fan favorites as well as be a very welcome sound to those that are missing great rock music with substance. Another highlight of the night was the inclusion of some really cool older songs that were never released but the audience knew like “U4IA,” Brocwurst” and “Chasing The Sun.” The latter of which will be included on the re-release of the bands self titled album (that never got the due it deserved). Closing out the night with the song “New World Order” was perfect. The lyrics to that song resonate ever so much to today’s climate and the crowd’s energy was so overwhelming that the microphone was passed into the audience to sing it. The band itself was absolutely on fire too. Singer/guitarist Jasan Radford was a monster this evening. His vocal delivery was top notch and the spirited audience only fueled his performance more and more as the set went on. So much so that during “Eight” the crowd was basically calling for him to jump off the stage and really get in the nitty gritty with the crowd. Guitarist Levon Sultanian is an absolute beast on guitar. He was playing with so much gusto that I swear I saw smoke coming off his fingers. Bassist Cello Dias really brought a roaring sound to the low end and kept that rhythm rocking throughout the night. I’d also like to mention that the backing vocals of both Levon and Cello were superb and are often overlooked. Drummer Michael Tarabotto really hammered his drums with rigor and brought it all together.

What a great evening all around. Every band on the bill brought something different and it all worked. I do have to say though that besides Onesidezero, Minus Knives were my other favorite band of the night. Nights and shows like this need to happen more in the area. This show was very reminiscent of what the Sunset strip used to be like. It felt alive through the entire night and that is something that the area is in need of. I’ve mentioned this before but, it’s true, having a band like Onesidezero back is very welcoming and actually refreshing. Knowing that they still believe in what they do, just shows that the power of music and especially rock music is alive and well.
Review By: Brian Lacy

Live Review: Birds In Row at Bootleg Theater

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When I first heard Birds In Row’s new album, We Already Lost The World, I knew I had to go see them live. There is this electric energy about this record and a sense of urgency to it that really was compelling. It’s like that book you’re reading and can’t put down. So, the moment I saw they announced a Los Angeles date, I was going to have to be there.

Around 9:15 on a cool May evening, the crowd moved in closer to the stage, the three members of Birds In Row took the stage and then an ferocious explosion occurred. For the next 50 minutes, the intensity that radiated from the stage to the audience was astounding. Blasting through their album We Already Lost The World with songs like, “We Count So We Don’t Have To Listen,” “We vs Us,” “15-38,” “I Don’t Dance,” “Love Is Political,” “Remember Us Better Than We Are,” as well as “O’Dear,” and  “You Me & The Violence,” showed that the punk spirit they inhabit is alive and well. These songs are more than just songs, they are anthems. This wasn’t just a show, it was an exercising of anger and frustration and a coming together of like minded people. Members B (guitar/vocals), Q (bass/vocals), and T (drums) are beyond tight and together as a band. They played off each others energy and absolutely crushed. As I mentioned above, the sense of urgency that they play with comes through in their performance. The songs live have a different vibe and really come to life.

 
Birds In Row are the type of band that take a chance and create something that is full of vigor and vision. The bands sound definitely blurs the lines of punk and hardcore but has a helping of melody to balance the aggression. They are definitely one of those bands that when they come through your town, you should run and go see. This performance last night is in the top 3 of the shows I’ve been to this year. I can’t wait for them to come back.

 

Review By: Brian Lacy

Birds In Row- We Already Lost The World:

Live Review: The Black Queen at The Regent Theater

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The Black Queen are the real deal. Everything about this band oozes inspiration and passion. Their two full length albums Fever Daydream and Infinite Games are beyond stellar. Their live show is more than just a concert, it’s a full visceral experience that will leave you in awe. Last night at the Regent Theater in downtown Los Angeles, The Black Queen made an impact with a show that will be on my mind for quite some time. There really is something special about how The Black Queen’s songs translate from record to the stage. It’s a totally different experience. It’s like discovering these songs for the first time.

From the moment the lights dimmed and the video images began, the roar of the crowd eagerly awaited the arrival of Greg Puciato, Steve Alexander and touring member Justin McGrath (filling in for Joshua Eustis). Once they appeared on stage, it was game on. They opened their set with a subdued number “Thrown Into The Dark” then moved right into “No Accusations” from their new album Infinite Games. Both of these songs live took on a whole new life as the beats pulsated from the stage to the audience which then got everyone there moving. From there the set was impeccable as they feverishly played songs like “Ice To Never,” “That Death Cannot Touch,” “Silent Scream,” “Maybe We Should,” One Edge Of Two,” and “Strange Quark.” Closing out the night was the remarkable “Apocalypse Morning” which featured live drums courtesy of former Poison The Well drummer Chris Hornbrook. This song is not only one hell of an end of the set song, it emits a feeling that I just can’t put to words.

Throughout their entire set, singer Greg Puciato’s vocals were exquisite and drew you in word for word. The melodies and effects emitting from Steve Alexander’s guitar were right on cue with the beats and synth layers from Justin McGrath. The three of these gents delivered a show that had those in attendance in a trance and compelled to either dance and sing along. The Black Queen is a band for today and the future. There is something truly special about this band and the music. Just ask those that were there, they will tell you the same thing.

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The Black Queen Set List:

01) Thrown Into The Dark
02) No Accusations
03) Ice To Never
04) Maybe We Should/Non-Consent
05) Distanced
06) Your Move
07) Taman Shud
08) That Death Cannot Touch
09) Secret Scream
10) The End Where We Start
11) Now, When I’m This
12) One Edge Of Two
13) Strange Quark
14) Apocalypse Morning (with Chris Hornbrook on drums)

Review and Photos By: Brian Lacy

Live Review: Mark Morton, Light The Torch & Moon Tooth at The Roxy

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On a clear Monday night in Los Angeles, at the legendary Roxy on Sunset, three bands, each with their own style, left an imprint on this fabled street and venue. Those in attendance (and there were quite a few, especially on a Monday), were witness to one hell of an energetic evening of heavy music. Led by headliner Mark Morton along with Light The Torch and up and comers Moon Tooth, there was no stopping the train of heavy from decimating the Roxy.

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Opening up the evening was Moon Tooth. Ever since I heard of them a few months back, I’ve been highly intrigued by them. Their blend of heavy and psychedelia mixed with bits of prog and jazz makes them one of the most exciting new bands to come along in a while. Their second album Crux (which comes out Friday March 29), is one hell of a record and it most definitely will be at top ten album of the year. Every minute of their set was absolutely on fire. As they ripped through new songs like “Trust,” “Omega Days,” and “Awe At All Angles,” there was no question that these four gents are primed for something great. Each member from Nick Lee (Guitar/Vocals), John Carbone (Vocals), Ray Marte (Drums/Vocals), and Vin Romanelli (Bass), really gave it everything for each song. Personally I was kind of bummed their set ended. I really wanted more. Moon Tooth really got the crowd going and delivered a performance that when they are headlining their own shows, will be talked about for some time.

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The middle slot of the night belonged to Light The Torch (formerly Devil You Know) and they brought the thunder with them. As the lights dimmed down, the frenzied crowd lost their shit when singer Howard Jones took the stage. For the next hour, Light The Torch, riding high off their new album, Revival, Howard Jones along with Francisco Artusato (Guitar), Ryan Wombacher (Bass/Vocals) and Mike Sciulara (Drums) delivered a set that was inspiring and crushing. Playing songs like “Die Alone,” “Calm Before The Storm,” “The Bitter End,” “The God I Deserve,” and “The Safety Of Disbelief,” there was no doubt on anyone’s mind that Light The Torch are here to stay. One of the best parts of their performance was the interaction between Howard and the crowd. It’s clear that Howard is a favorite among many people. His time in Killswitch Engage was something special and getting Howard back doing what he is meant to do is just great. Light The Torch are primed for a take over and rightfully so.

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The main event of the evening belonged to Mark Morton of Lamb Of God. His debut solo album, Anesthetic, is a departure from what most fans of Lamb Of God are used to. This evening though showcased what a talented songwriter Mark is as well as solidifying his status as a modern day guitar hero. For this tour Mark recruited drummer Art Cruz (Prong, Winds Of Plague and Chris Adler’s fill in for Lamb Of God), guitarist Doc Coyle (God Forbid, Bad Wolves) and Sons Of Texas members Mark Morales on vocals (who also sang the song “Blur” on the record) and Nick Villarreal on bass. This lineup along with Mark on lead guitar stormed through their set with vigor and passion. The songs on the album feature a diverse style of songs ranging from super heavy like “The Truth Is Dead” and “The Never” to more rock styles like “Cross Off,” “Sworn Apart,” “Save Defiance,” “Blur,” and “Imaginary Days.” The best songs though are the total curve balls like “Axis” and “Reveal” which truly show how good Mark Morton really is. The performances of these songs were right on target. Mark Morales did a stellar job handling the vocal duties for all these songs. The tandem guitars of Morton and Coyle were spot on and the pounding and thunderous rhythm of Cruz and Villarreal was right in the pocket. They even had a couple special guests joining them on stage. Naeemah Maddox was brought up to sing her song “Reveal” as well as staying on stage to perform “The Truth Is Dead” with Roy Mayorga (Stone Sour, Soulfly, Abloom, etc) pounding the drums.

 
What a great night for every band on the bill. Each band was different and brought an energy that carried on to the next. It’s shows and tours like this that get people excited and want to go see live music. Not only was that a great show but, it was a great way to start the week. I know I’ll be replaying the show in my head for sometime, especially Moon Tooth. I can’t wait for them to come through town again. And a special shout out to Heavy Grass for making it happen for me to attend this great show!

 

Review and Shots By: Brian Lacy

(I was too into the show to take many pictures).