Live Show Reviews

Live Review: Cobalt Night at Corbin Bowl 1/20/23

Growing up in Southern California, especially in the surrounding Los Angeles area, there has always been venues with storied histories. For example the famous Sunset Strip and The Whisky A Go-Go, Roxy, Viper Room and Rainbow. There was also a venue in the San Fernando Valley that had a very storied history as well. So many bands that you love today got their start, honed their craft and rocked the stage at the famous Cobalt Cafe. For years The Cobalt Cafe would become a sort of right of passage when being in a band no matter how big or small. It was an all ages venue that put on shows every night and provided a place for everyone to enjoy live music no matter the genre. However in, 2014 the Cobalt closed due but, in July of 2021 the Cobalt returned in a new fashion and a reignited fire to give up and coming bands a place to play. The Cobalt Presents now does shows on a constant basis around the LA area (Corbin Bowl, Hotel Ziggy, The Last Call, The Whisky A Go Go, Transplants Brewing and more) bringing in great bands and putting on superb shows.

The other night was no exception as The Cobalt kicked off 2023 with one hell of a bang at Corbin Bowl. The night was eclectic and featured varied bands from ska/punk, punk, skate punk, doom metal, thrash metal, and pop punk. The whole night and band after band was exceptional. The flow of the styles of the bands made it even more fun as the energy level kept rising with each band that took the stage. The place was packed and the familiar faces from back in the days of the old Cobalt were there as well, making it all come full circle.

Live Review: Cave In at Teragram Ballroom

Cave In have long been a band that I’ve been quite fond of. I still remember first hearing them around the year 2000 when Jupiter came out and thinking that this is on a whole other level. There was something about Cave In that stood out and from that point on, I was hooked. Now over 20 years later, I’m still hooked and this most recent time seeing them live was one of those shows that left you not wanting the show to end but, leaving you with the sense of wanting to create!

Riding high off the release of their fantastic new album, Heavy Pendulum (one of my Top 5 favorite albums of the year), Cave In took the stage to a roaring crowd and immediately hit the crowd with a dose of “New Reality.” From there it went into “Blood Spiller” and at that point you were engrossed with what was happening on stage. Not long after we were hit with the epic “The End Of Our Rope Is A Noose” which when you looked around the venue you could tell who goes a long way back with the band. After that was my favorite track off of Heavy Pendulum, “Reckoning.” This song is truly one of “those songs” that stay with you for years and years. Written by the extremely underrated Adam McGrath, the live version of “Reckoning” took it to another world. It was seriously a highlight of the set. And then they followed that up with “Joy Opposites” one of my favorite songs off of their (underrated album) Antenna. Those 2 songs alone made my night and to have them back to back was special. The band from there went back into the new album for a couple more “Careless Offering” and “Blinded By A Blaze” both of which were stunning. Then just when you thought things were calm, Cave In hits the crowd with “Halo Of Flies” and from there you knew that there was no turning back. Closing out the main set was “Wavering Angel” another favorite of mine off their new album. This song live too, was one of those that just hits you and stays with you. For their encore the eruption of “Big Riff” had the crowd in a frenzy and as about as loud as the band singing along. Ending the whole night was the always great and sentimental “Sing My Loves.”

Cave In delivered a show and a set that was definitely one that I will remember for a long time. Having one of my really good friends with me and it being his first Cave In show made it even better. As I mentioned above, when the show was all said and done, you could tell that there was still so much energy in the room that Cave In probably could have played longer and nobody would have left. It was that kind of show. The intimate nature of the venue too made it feel as though everyone was all together as the band rocked the night. It’s truly remarkable that Cave In, who have weathered just about every storm you can think of for a band, can collectively come together make another phenomenal album and continue onward and upward in a way that shows what the power of music and the right people together can do. If you haven’t seen Cave In, I highly recommend you change that and make it out to a show the next time they come through your town. One more thing I would like to add, Caleb Scofield was one of those guys that are pretty irreplaceable and so unique that it takes someone with the right understanding to come in and carry on their legacy and the one and only Nate Newton was the absolute best choice. Thank you to Stephen Brodsky, Adam McGrath, JR Conners, Nate Newton and Caleb Scofield for all the years of great music and shows! See you all when you come back!

Cave In Set List:

01) New Reality
02) Blood Spiller
03) Searchers Of Hell
04) The End Of Our Rope Is A Noose
05) Reckoning
06) Joy Opposites
07) Careless Offering
08) Blinded By A Blaze
09) Halo Of Flies
10) Wavering Angel

Encore:

11) Big Riff
12) Sing My Loves


Review and Photos By: Brian Lacy

Album/Live Review: Centershift- A Different Shade Of Color

The art of the album has been lost in recent years. Everyone seems so focused on the “single” that the lost art of making an actual album has sort of gone by the wayside. That’s not the case for the band and album I’m about to talk about. You’ve heard me talk a lot about Centershift in the past year and rightfully so. This band is making strides to not only become one of your favorites but, also took the time to really make an album that from start to finish you feel it all. Every ounce of emotion poured into one fantastical ride through the trials and tribulations of life and this is only their first full length album. Centershift’s debut album, A Different Shade Of Color marks a triumphant return of making great albums.

The release of A Different Shade Of Color was put out in parts/EP’s in order to get parts of the story a little at a time and make you wonder where the next part will take you. The first seven songs present a very raw and emotional context to where the story takes you. Starting with “9” the story begins with a revelation of one’s self and the search for a new discovery but, before that can fully happen, the whole story must be told. As “My Own World” starts to take shape, you the listener start to get immersed into what is happening. As the album continues and flows, more of the story comes out as songs like “Dry Well, “Tell Me,” “Couldn’t Tell,” and “Kingdoms” all fit a balance that have a fury to them that while still melodic, brings out a heaviness both lyrically and musically that grabs you and sinks it’s claws in. With those claws sharply dug in, the journey continues with a bit of an epiphany with the song “And So.” This track leads you down another interesting road as the story unwinds a bit and goes through all the phases one might go through when dealing with a volitile situation or grief. The stages you go through during those times come out quite present on songs like “From Where We Are,” “Falling Into,” “Arise,” and the very deep and dark “Everything And Nothing,” The latter being quite the mini epic that will give you chills in a way that you can only feel by listening. Rounding out this chapter is “What If” a song that leaves you with a question while at the same time sets up the final chapter. “After All” kicks off the third act and signals the change and the light starts to shine a bit brighter. While “1014” delivers a bit of a kick to the head of positivity that reminds you to let the past go and enjoy the life and light that has begun. “Here Like Always” is one of those songs that gives you hope but also has a sensitivity to it that shines like the sun finally coming out after a cloudy day. The ending song of the album “Fade Away” brings it all together, recapping the whole journey but instead of falling backwards and back into the dark, the fading away into the light brings that new joy and life that “9” brought about to start the whole album off.

A Different Shade Of Color is an album not just for 2022 it’s one of those albums that is much needed in today’s musical world. The way this album flows and hits you is spine tingling and eye opening. The album provides hope and choices without the sense of giving up. Singer/Guitarist Jasan Radford’s voice is still top notch and the way he delivers the lyrics are astounding. The clarity and enunciation of the words make them stand out when it matters most. Guitarist Ryan Shane Stuber adds so much texture and balance to the songs with his style of playing. And the rhythm section of bassist Ted Wenri and drummer(s) Stefan Storace (and Michael Tarabotto who plays on certain songs) is thunderous and shattering without being too overtaking of the delicate melodies that ring throughout the songs. Also, having Jim Wirt (Incubus, Onesidezero, Fiona Apple) behind the boards and producing this album definitely helped to keep it as real and raw as possible.

I highly recommend this album to anyone and everyone. There are so many different moments and songs on the album that you will love instantly and others that will sneak up on you and hit you like a ton of bricks. One thing is for certain, Centershift made one of the most honest and pure albums of 2022. Over the past weekend as well, Centershift celebrated the release of the album with a Live Stream event. The concert was full of energy and excitement. The way the 4 of them connect on stage and throughout the songs shows that the chemistry between them is in full effect. I personally love the way that you can listen to the songs on the album and feel one way about them, then when you hear these songs live, they take on a new life. If you haven’t seen Centershift yet, that’s something else I strongly suggest you do! Cheers to Centershift on one hell of an album. One that not only they can stand tall and be proud of but, for those of us that long for an actual album that start to finish connects!

Overall Rating: A

Review By: Brian Lacy

Centershift- A Different Shade Of Color:

On Apple Music:

https://music.apple.com/us/album/a-different-shade-of-color/1651606893

On Spotify:

Live Show Review: Greg Puciato at Don Quixote

There are certain bands/artists that over the years I’ve become rather enthralled by. One of which is Greg Puciato. I still remember the first time I heard Greg in The Dillinger Escape Plan and thinking that this voice and presence is something to really pay attention to. And that I did. Through the years, Greg has become one of my favorite lyricists, vocalists and performers. When it was announced that Greg was going to be putting out a solo release, needless to say I was excited. What we got in the course of two years are three releases has taken the best of what Greg does and melded it into one project. Child Soldier: Creator Of God, Fuck Content and Mirrorcell have been some of the best releases in the past years and I can only imagine what the next release will be. The live show debut that I attended was something else. It was everything I wanted and then some.

Taking the stage a few minutes after 11pm, the crowd roar was getting louder and then the oddest intro song started it all, Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” and then things got started as “In this Hell You Find Yourself” went right into “Reality Spiral” with a go straight for the throat approach. From there it only kept cutting deep with “No More Lives To Go.” The first song Greg released as a solo artist “Fire For Water” was next and the crowd response from that song was overtaking you basically didn’t even get caught in the mini technical mishap. The recovery from that was impeccable and made the song go ever harder than it was. After that it was just an onslaught of songs that not only are stand outs on the albums but truly some of my favorite songs that are a part of these releases. Songs like “Deep Set,” “Do You Need Me To Remind You,” “Absence As A Presence,” and “Down When I’m Not” were just banger after banger, and Greg and the band were on fire at this point. Then the moment that brought it all together was when the next two songs were played. “Lowered” the first single off of Mirrorcell was performed with the additional vocals of Reba Meyers. What a performace. The way Greg’s and Reba’s voices match and play off each other is sublime. It was one of those moments that had everyone in the audience completely drawn into. My favorite song of the set was next and it hit me more than I thought it would. That song would be “Never Wanted That.” This song just hits me in a way that I can’t (and won’t get into at the moment) put into words at the moment. After that going into “All Waves To Nothing” really hit me in another way that gave me chills in a such a great way. Followed by a short “encore break,” the fun continued as “Creator Of God” was the perfect way to come back out. From there a surprise cover of the Carpenter Brut song “Imaginary Fire” was performed (Greg provides the vocals on this track). Then it went into another couple favorites of mine “A Pair Of Questions” and the ever awesome and explosive “Evacuation.” Ending the set and the night was the great “September City.” It was quite the perfect way to end this debut show.

Opening the night was Trace Amount. His mix of industrial and noise gave the night a bit of a nervous yet frenzied energy as to what was to come later on. It was interesting to see this live and see how physical the performance was. After Trace Amount was a band that I’ve been curious about live too, Gost. Gost brought in a more Industrial sound mixed with a bit of EDM that really got the crowd pumped up. Looking around the room and seeing people dance was quite fun to see. Both bands gave energetic performances and prepared the crowd with just enough of an excitement that when Greg and his band hit the stage, it all exploded into something spectacular.

For a debut show, despite the few technical issues, it was absolutely superb. Even the odd choice of venue added to the charm of the night. It’s really quite awesome to see someone that has inspired and influenced you putting it all out there under their own name and delivering material that is this damn good and then being able to put on a show that not only will stand out but left a lasting impression on those of us that have been so drawn into the work of the artist. The band that Greg put together for this show was outstanding. I will say that having Chris Hornbrook on drums is kind of a cheat code as he is just so damn good. And the way he plays fits Greg’s style so well, that it’s a perfect combination. Guitarists Nick Rowe and James Hammontree were great together and then holding down that low end was Jeff Geisser. I can’t wait for the next show! I left this show on such a high it took forever to come down from it. Even the long ass drive home I was still pumped from this night. Thank you Greg and company for a night that I won’t forget and for the songs that I have yet to stop listening to since they came out! I’m sure there is more that I could ramble on about but, I’d much rather leave it at this and say, when the time comes and Greg’s solo show rolls through your city, don’t hesitate to go see it. What a show!

Review and Photos By: Brian Lacy

SET LIST:

01) In This Hell You Find Yourself
02) Reality Spiral
03) No More Lives To Go
04) Fire For Water
05) Deep Set
06) Do You Need Me To Remind You
07) Absence As A Presence
08) Down When I’m Not
09) Lowered (with Reba Meyers)
10) Never Wanted That
11) All Waves To Nothing

ENCORE:

12) Creator Of God
13) Imaginary Fire (Carpenter Brut Cover)
14) A Pair Of Questions
15) Evacuation
16) September City (with “One Of Us Is The Killer tease”)

Live Review: Holy Fawn, SOM & Grivo at The Echo

Last week (Thursday 11/3/22), I finally got to see a band I’ve been wanting to see for some time. Ever since I heard their album, Death Spells, I knew I had to go see Holy Fawn live. This year, Holy Fawn released their spectacular and absolute gem of an album with Dimensional Bleed. After hearing that album, I told myself, when they come through Los Angeles, I’m going and they did not disappoint at all. There was something about the night and how perfect it all came together.

One thing I’ve been trying to do more of is not check out the bands that are opening the show. This way, I can go into a show with a completely open mind and not have any preconceived notions. I’m glad I did too because every band this evening was perfectly chosen and provided the right vibe to make this one hell of an explosive night. The first band of the night was Grivo. This three piece band delivered a set that mixed bits of doom, shoegaze and 90’s alternative. While listening you could pick up bits of My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and even a little bit of The Smashing Pumpkins (Gish/Siamese era). They were heavy without being “heavy” and set a tone for the night that only got louder and more exciting. Grivo are the type of band that fit very well at The Echo. Looking around at the crowd, you could tell that this was the start of a very exciting night.

Next up was SOM and I was seriously blown away by them. Their self proclaimed “doom-pop” style is summed up perfectly. They have this perfect harmony of heaviness, atmosphere, melody and melancholy that makes for a sound that creates an ebb and flow of emotions that when the music, lyrics and vocals all hit, you are completely swept up by it all. By the second song I was completely immersed into their music. It was one of those moments that going to a show is all about. Being consumed by the music and letting it take over. Their new album, The Shape Of Everything is a stunning and deeply immersive album that you can listen to over and over again and get lost in it (in a totally great way). The band live was super tight and each member seemed to be drawn into the songs just as the audience making for a performance that left me high tailing it to the merch table after their set for a quick chat and to procure a few things for myself! Definitely go see SOM when they come through your town!

The main event of the night, Holy Fawn, was everything I was hoping for and more. They were hypnotic and mesmerizing as they delivered great song after great song. Their post-metal style has allowed them to explore other sub-genres and create music that not only is sonically bombastic but also thought provoking in a way that you find yourself even more drawn into the atmosphere that is created and the next thing you know the intensity awakens you and it’s like you’ve stepped outside yourself. Being able to shift between genres in songs is not an easy thing to do and still keep the audience engaged is astounding. Every song they played this evening was its own experience. One of the things about Holy Fawn that I love is their ability to shift between light and dark. They have this ability to draw you in with these delicate moments that shine the light then when you think it will explode with even more light, they flip the switch to the “heavy” and the dark shroud takes a hold and the emotional purge you feel from the music and vocals takes you to that other dimension.

What a great show this was. Each band brought the goods and delivered sets that were stellar. SOM and Holy Fawn as a 1, 2 punch was outstanding. This was a show that I not only knew I needed to go to but now will have to go see these bands each and every time they come through Los Angeles. SOM is definitely a band you need to check out and I will be featuring here on Audioeclectica very soon. Holy Fawn is one hell of a band that you really should take time to listen to and their new album, Dimensional Bleed is in my top 5 of the year. Shows like this don’t happen all the time but, when they do, you remember them for a long time. Thank you Grivo, SOM and Holy Fawn for one hell of a night to remember!

Live Review: Lamb of God & Killswitch Engage at YouTube Theater

Over the years as an avid concert goer I’ve seen so many bands and shows. My very first concert was in 1989. I was almost 5 years old when I went to that show (my birthday was only a couple weeks after I attended the show) and from that point I was hooked. 30 plus years later and I’ve seen some of the best bands in the world put on some of the best shows I’ve ever seen. One day I will actually sit down and try to put together a list of my absolute top ten shows I’ve ever been to. Through the years as my tastes have changed, I’ve not gone to see certain bands for many different reasons. Most of the time it’s because I don’t really like all the bands on the bill and don’t want to sit through things I won’t enjoy. I’ve already done and sat through enough opening bands in my life. During the whole world shut down, I started to go back and listen to a few bands that I haven’t listened to in a while and things started to shift for me. One of the bands I went back to was Lamb Of God. It was right around the time that they released their self titled album that I went back and delved into their catalog again. By doing so it revitalized me into a fan again. I’ll admit they had lost me a bit for a couple albums. Anyways, their self titled brought me back into the fold but, when I heard the first few songs released off their latest album, I knew what I had to do and that was go see Lamb Of God live again for the first time since 2008.

Lamb Of God are without a doubt one of the best live bands around today. Their most recent tour and stop in Los Angeles proved that. Riding high on the release of their savage and wicked album, Omens, Lamb Of God delivered one hell of a show. When the black curtain rose to cover the stage with just the band name on it and the beginning of “Memento Mori” starting, the excitement from everyone in the venue hit a level of anticipation that was about to explode, and as soon as that curtain dropped and the song kicked in, IT WAS ON! “Walk With Me In Hell” followed by “Now You’ve Got Something To Die For” absolutely kicked the audience into high gear. What a way to start the show. Through the course of the night, new songs like “Nevermore” and “Omens” were stunning to hear and live they are a whole other beast. The older songs played like “11th Hour,” “Vigil,” and “Ruin” were played with such precision and intensity that you’d think they were new songs. Other classics like “Laid To Rest” and “Omerta” were more than welcomed by the audience who seemed to get louder with each song that was played. Through the 80 minutes that Lamb Of God was on stage, they not only put it all out there, there was a definitely a renewed sense of being. The addition of Art Cruz on drums is the spark that they needed. His energy is contagious and it was found in each and every member of the band. As I mentioned before, it had been a while since I had seen Lamb live, and I’m sure glad I came back to it. Randy Blythe is one of the best frontmen. The way he takes over a crowd and has them in the palm of his hand is uncanny. His vocals have gotten better and better! Mark Morton and Willie Adler are one of the best guitar duos in the game. Both have their own style and together it makes for something quite intriguing. John Campbell is an underrated gem. His thunderous tone matches with the hard hitting and super energetic playing of Art Cruz. The five of them together have found their groove and I can’t wait for what they do next.

Joining Lamb Of God on this tour was Killswitch Engage. It’s been about ten years since I’ve seen them live and they were just as good as the last time. One of the best things about Killswitch live is that they always seem to have a good time and that filters out to the audience as well. Their set list was full of sing along songs that had the crowd singing louder than the band at times. Especially with “The End Of Heartache,” “My Curse,” “Rose Of Sharyn,” and “In Due Time.” I did hope for some more songs off of Alive Or Just Breathing but, that’s ok. We did get Howard Jones to come out at the end to join the band for “The Signal Fire” off of the bands most recent album, Atonement. Killswitch was a great band to have before Lamb destroyed.

This tour with both Lamb of God and Killswitch Engage was a really fun throwback to when they both started to come up in the early 2000’s. I remember seeing both bands back in 2003/2004 and was totally into it. Now here we are quite a few years later and both bands are still alive and kicking ass. I’m interested to hear what Killswitch does next. I’d love to hear them branch out a bit and explore some new ideas. Lamb Of God’s new album, Omens, is their best in years. It feels like a new band again. Plus I have to say it again, Art Cruz brought new life into this band that was in need of it. I would gladly go see Lamb Of God again.

Review By: Brian Lacy

Photos (except the LOG Banner) By: Gregory Flack

Lamb Of God Photos:

Lamb Of God Set List:

01) Memento Mori
02) Walk With Me In Hell
03) Now You’ve Got Something To Die For
04) Resurrection Man
05) Nevermore
06) Ruin
07) 11th Hour
08) Omerta
09) Omens
10) Contractor
11) 512
12) Ghost Walking
13) Vigil
14) Laid To Rest
15) Redneck

Killswitch Engage Set List:

01) Strength Of The Mind
02) This Is Absolution
03) Rose Of Sharyn
04) To The Sons Of Man
05) Unleashed
06) The Crownless King
07) Hate By Design
08) Know Your Enemy
09) My Curse
10) This Fire
11) The End Of Heartache
12) In Due Time
13) Holy Diver (Dio Cover)
14) The Signal Fire (with Howard Jones)

Live Review: Nine Inch Nails at Santa Barbara Bowl

It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen Nine Inch Nails (this was number 19), I’m always left speechless at the end of their shows. It’s more than just a band playing a show to me. There is so much more to it and the level at which Trent and Company perform at is astounding. Plus seeing them at the Santa Barbara Bowl makes it a little more special as that venue has it’s own cool, mystic vibe with it being tucked away in the hill and the sound there is just incredible.

The night was perfect for this show. The cool night air coming off the pacific was coming in creating this very distinct atmosphere that was shaping up for something to explode, and that it did. As the clock struck 8:15 pm the rumble began and out came Mr. Self Destruct right out of the gate like they just released the bulls in the streets of Spain. Then the assault kept coming as “Wish,” “Last,” and “March Of The Pigs” utterly destroyed and decimated the audience. Then came “Piggy” which has always been a live favorite of mine. There was something about this version of “Piggy” that hit a bit harder than usual. Perhaps it’s all the things going on with me but, I keep having “Nothing Can Stop Me Now” repeating in my head as a mantra and I hope that doesn’t go away.” Then Trent moved along to “The Lovers” a track off their EP, Add Violence that hits so well live. It’s a song with tinges of the Pretty Hate Machine era mixed with a bit of a Fragile vibe. Next up is where I’m pretty sure I lost my voice as The Frail/The Wretched were played. I apologize to the guy next to me but, something came over me and I was in another place while screaming my lungs out during that song. And it didn’t help my voice much after that song as NIN charged into one of my favorites from The Downward Spiral, “Reptile.” After that there was a bit of break with the inclusion of a really great live version of “God Break Down The Door” and “Copy Of A.” The one song I could have done without and gave me a break was “Closer.” Then a quick talk with the audience with Trent saying “now how bout we play a sad song” and then they broke out “This Isn’t The Place” which is one of my favorite newer songs. It’s such a beautiful song that really hits you in the feels. Listen to it and you’ll hear it. Then another eruption happened with “Heresy” and right into one of my top 5 NIN songs of all time “The Perfect Drug.” As the night was winding down we got a very rocking (almost extended) version of David Bowie’s “I’m Afraid Of Americans,” a heavy hard charging “Gave Up” into the closing staples of “The Hand That Feeds” and “Head Like A Hole.” For the encore, I couldn’t have been more elated to have “Even Deeper” be part of it. I love that song. Finally, the end came and “Hurt” closed it out.

I’ve seen now seen Nine Inch Nails 19 times and each of them have been their own experience. It’s truly something remarkable to have seen a band this many times in the 22 years since the first time, and still walk out of the show like it’s something fresh and new. Trent Reznor never disappoints. The songs are classic and timeless. On a performance level, to be able to go out there and still give it everything they have each night, on top of the intricate lights, and other behind the scenes work, makes each Nine Inch Nails tour and show special. I will go every chance I get to see this band. Thank you Nine Inch Nails for all the years of amazingness! I will see you again very soon!

Review and Photos: Brian Lacy

PHOTOS: NINE INCH NAILS- Live at the Santa Barbara Bowl

SET LIST:

01) Mr. Self Destruct
02) Wish
03) Last
04) March Of The Pigs
05) Piggy
06) The Lovers
07) The Frail
08) The Wretched
09) Reptile
10) God Break Down The Door
11) Copy Of A
12) Closer (with The Only Time breakdown)
13) This Isn’t The Place
14) Heresy
15) The Perfect Drug
16) I’m Afraid Of Americans (David Bowie Cover)
17) Gave Up
18) The Hand That Feeds
19) Head Like A Hole

Encore:
20) Even Deeper
21) Hurt

Live Show Review: Anthrax, Black Label Society & Hatebreed at Hollywood Palladium

When this tour was first announced, I was pretty stoked on it. You get the 40th anniversary of Anthrax, Black Label and to top it all off Hatebreed is opening the night. Sounds like a pretty damn good recipe for a metal tour. Plus all this happening at the Hollywood Palladium was the cherry on top as this venue for metal shows have a long history. As I arrived, the marquee said it was sold out, and when I walked in the venue, it was packed to the gills with fans waiting to open up the pits.

Hatebreed was first and I have to say, they stole the show. They way they came out and just absolutely destroyed was classic. It had been at least a decade since I last saw Hatebreed live and they haven’t lost a step at all. In fact, I’d dare say they have gotten even better live. Jamey Jasta is still one hell of a frontman and his voice still sounds crisp. I’ve long thought that the rhythm section of bassist Chris Beattie and drummer Matt Byrne are one of the more underrated duos and this show proved just how damn good they are together. On guitar Wayne Lozniak and Frank Novinec played with a blistering aggression that when all 5 elements came together made for one hell of an eruption. Their set list too was damn near perfect. Playing a chunk of songs from my two favorite albums of theirs (Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire and Perserverance) along with some other gems from The Rise Of Brutality, Supremacy, The Concrete Confessional and their newest, Weight Of The False Self really drove home that Hatebreed wasn’t here to just warm up the crowd. They came to destroy and conquer and that they did!


Black Label Society was next and to be honest, it seemed a little bland and phoned in at times. The last time I saw them live was quite a few years ago when they were on tour with Children of Bodom and Clutch. I remember being bored and annoyed by all the pinch harmonics. Thankfully this evening there was a limit on those but, there just seemed like there was something a little off about it. Perhaps they weren’t the best choice as a direct support band, perhaps too, following Hatebreed was a bit difficult. Either way, they still put on a good show and Zakk Wylde is still a monster on the guitar. My friend I was with at the show mentioned to me mid set too that he had seen them play better. So it wasn’t just me that thought it was off a bit.


Anthrax was the reason why most of us were in attendance (I was there for Hatebreed too) and when it came time for them to take the stage, the Palladium was in a frenzy. 40 years as a band is quite an accomplishment. Even if they have had different eras of the band, the legacy of the albums and songs are still intact. Kicking off their set was a little video package of their peers talking about Anthrax and the impact they had on them. That was a fun way to kick things off but I did notice something interesting in the video package, John Bush was left out but Paul Crook was shown. After that, “Among The Living” really got the party started followed by “Caught In A Mosh.” That’s one hell of a 1, 2 punch to start a show. from there the set included songs like “Madhouse,” “Metal Thrashing Mad,” “I Am The Law” newer songs like “The Devil You Know,” and “In The End.” Personally the highlight of their set was them playing “Only.” Though the way Joey Belladonna sang it, he didn’t do it justice and at times it seemed like he was mocking the song by adding extra vibrato to his voice. Plus, I’m just gonna say it, you had John Bush in the damn crowd, why not bring him up to sing the song and sing it right?! Anthrax wrapped up their set with “Bring The Noise” and brought out Chuck D from Public Enemy for performance. That was pretty rad to see and hear. (I have my own issues with Chuck D and Public Enemy but I’ll save that for another time and place). Closing everything out was the song “Indians.” Anthrax put on a really good show and were super tight especially Scott, Charlie and Frank. The three of them are one hell of a trio. It was kind of disappointing though that this was their 40th anniversary tour/show and they didn’t cover every album. They completely bypassed Volume 8, Stomp 442 and We’ve Come For You All. Which is a shame because there are some really great songs on those records, especially on We’ve Come For You All. Thankfully, the last time I saw Anthrax before this show was back during the We’ve Come For You All era and the show I saw was at The Whisky and that show was amazing.


All in all this was a very good show. It was what you’d expect at this point from Anthrax and Black Label. Like I said early on in this review, Hatebreed stole the show and after the bar they set, good luck beating that. One thing I can say is that a show like this proves that rock and metal is alive and well. It just went more underground a bit. I for one am looking forward to what Anthrax comes out with next on their upcoming album as well as what Hatebreed does next! It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the show, I really did, it just didn’t feel like a proper anniversary show. Plus I’ve always liked the John Bush era of Anthrax better than with Joey and John has this way about his voice, presence and writing ability to take the songs to a whole other level! Perhaps a “Bring John Bush Back Petition should be started?!


Hatebreed Set List:

01) Proven
02) Destory Everything
03) A Stroke Of Red
04) Before Dishonor
05) Seven Enemies
06) Driven By Suffering
07) Betrayed By Life
08) To The Threshold
09) Smash Your Enemies
10) Empty Promises
11) Tear It Down
12) Perserverance
13) Live For This
14) I Will Be Heard
15) Looking Down The Barrel Of Today


Black Label Society Set List:

01) Funeral Bell
02) Destroy & Conquer
03) Overlord
04) Heart Of Darkness
05) A Love Unreal
06) You Made Me Want To Live
07) In This River
08) Trampled Down Below
09) Set You Free
10) Fire It Up (With Extended “Boring” Guitar Solo)
11) Suicide Messiah
12) Stillborn


Anthrax Set List:

01) Among The Living
02) Caught In A Mosh
03) Madhouse
04) Metal Thrashing Mad
05) The Devil You Know
06) Keep It In The Family
07) Antisocial
08) I Am The Law
09) In The End
10) Only
11) Bring The Noise (with Chuck D)
12) Indians

Live Review: Billy Howerdel & VOWWS

There is something to be said about putting certain bands together on tour. When you put the right bands together, the end result tends to be something that leaves those in attendance in a state of WOW and inspired. Well that happened with this tour having VOWWS as the opener for Billy Howerdel’s solo album tour behind his new album What Normal Was. The combination of VOWWS and Billy Howerdel is a perfect match. The way their sounds play off each other and sets the tone for the other is pretty special.

VOWWS is one of my favorite synth driven bands. Ever since I heard them a couple years back I’ve been hooked. They have this distinctive sound to them that is part post-punk, part synth driven, and I’d even put in a little dreamgaze in there as well. Put that all together and you’ve got a recipe for a band that delivers great songs but a vibe that really sets the night on fire. The fact that they are a two piece band makes it all the more interesting. Being able to deliver the sheer force and magnitude they do is something a lot of bands in their genre could learn from. Having VOWWS open for what Billy’s solo album is was the perfect choice. I’m very intrigued to see where VOWWS goes next and what’s in store for them.

The main event for the night was Billy Howerdel. Being a fan of his work in A Perfect Circle and Ashes Divide made this a very exciting night. His new solo album, What Normal Was, is an album I’m hooked on. It’s got this very cool Depeche Mode/New Wave vibe to it but not in a way that it seems contrived but instead inspired. Listening to the album and reading about the mindset of where Billy was at the time makes this album even more special as it’s the album he truly wanted to make. The band he assembled for these shows is superb. Plus having the one and only Danny Lohner out there on stage playing guitar just warms my heart even more. Danny if you don’t know worked with Billy on his new solo album but also in Ashes Divide and in A Perfect Circle. As Billy’s set ripped through his new album, I couldn’t help but notice how these songs translate from album to live and the way that you get a different feeling from those songs. For example a songs like “Ani” “Follower” and “Selfish Heart” had a bit of a heavier delivery than the album and it made it more impactful. Other tracks like “Beautiful Mistake,” “Bring Honor Back Home” “Poison Flowers” and “Free and Weightless” were others that really stood out during the set. Also the addition of the Ashes Divide song “Forever Can Be” was a nice surprise and sounded great with this arrangement. You could tell from watching each member on stage that this was fun and exciting for them. Billy and the band sounded just as good as the album if not better live.

Seeing a show like this that leaves your inspired is a wonderful feeling. And then when you add bands and that really deliver the goods but also believe in what they are doing is contagious. The pairing of VOWWS and Billy Howerdel is/was a match made in musical bliss. I walked out of that show feeling glad I went and now I want more. It was a truly great evening, the bands played great, the people in attendance were all into it, and the other little surprises along the way just made it a perfect Sunday night for a show.

MORE PHOTOS:

VOWWS:

BILLY HOWERDEL:

REVIEW & PHOTOS BY: BRIAN LACY

Live Review: Audioeclectica’s Birthday Bash

Finding the right words to describe this show has been quite difficult. I could sit with a thesaurus for hours and think of different adjectives and descriptive words but instead I’m just gonna go with the night was FUCKING AWESOME! Everything about it from the venue, the bands, the people in attendance and the overall vibe was something truly memorable. For those that don’t know, in the past year I’ve partnered up with Cobalt Dave from the legendary Cobalt Cafe along with my own partner Jasan Radford from our company RMG to put on live shows again. We started in July 2021 right in the heart of the pandemic and we have been killing it since. This show though, was a true labor of love for me as I handpicked each band to be a part of this night and let me tell you, there was not one ounce of disappointment!

Kicking things off and setting the tone for the night was the mighty Fact Pattern. Their industrial doom style of music created the right attitude for the night and got it all started with one hell of a bang. Performing this night as a two piece the energy radiating off the stage and into the crowd was contagious. Fact Pattern is a band that does the industrial genre justice and beyond. Singer/guitarist Ian Flux and bassist Jack Lowd delivered a sonic pummeling to get the blood pumping for everyone this evening.

Next up was Don’t Panic from Arizona. This alternative rock band just released their stunning new single/video for their song “Time Machine.” Their set was one of those that not only rocked but was visually intriguing with the lights that hit with the beats. Their songs are full of life and vigor. Singer Dylan Rowe has a voice that stands out. Her vocal range is astounding and to have the music that Jeffy, Ryan and Mundo create makes the whole package something tremendous.

Following that was my homies in Centershift. This night was not only my birthday bash but a celebration for them as they just put out their debut EP, A Different Shade. From the moment they stepped on stage, there was no stopping the guys in Centershift from giving their all. It’s been a pleasure to see the progression of this band and on this night, perhaps there was something in the air but, this is exactly how I have heard this band in my head since the inception. Songs like “Dry Well,” “9” and “Kingdoms” were stellar as well as new single “And So.” The new song they brought out for the night kicked some major ass and shows where the band is headed with their writing. Centershift is on their way to making a name for themselves and quick!

Royalty Kult was next up and the delivered their blend of melodic metal. They are one of my favorite up and coming bands in Los Angeles. Since their beginning they have been honing their craft by writing songs that really hit at your heartstrings and delve deep into your feels. Their song “Enjoying The End” with Doc Coyle of Bad Wolves/God Forbid is a banger and the new material they have been working on like the song “Peacemaker” have the hooks that will stick in your head for days. Performance wise, they kept the energy going and delivered just as I knew they would.

Closing out the night was the live debut of Alphamega. I personally couldn’t be more stoked to have them on the show. In the past couple months they have dropped 3 banging singles in “No Longer Broken,” “Annihilator,” and “Pariah” and those 3 songs were definite highlights of their set along with the very first track they ever released “Lords Of The Flies.” Alphamega has a melodic metal sensibility with a bit of a harder edge that is reminiscent of the Swedish Death Metal style of classic In Flames and Soilwork. The stage presence of singer Adam Ryan is commanding but it’s his voice that shines. Guitarist Mike Muenzer adds the perfect tone of distorted and brightness that fits the pocket as drummer Chrissy Warner sends his drums to purgatory with his hard hitting and swing.

All in all, this show was not only memorable for myself but for the scene that we are bringing back. If you were in attendance you could really sense that this was a night that brought many people together and felt like a classic show back in the heyday of live music in Los Angeles. I can’t thank every band enough for being a part of this night. You all killed it! Thank you to everyone that came, bought a ticket, and had a blast! Special thanks to my partners Dave and Jasan. Thank you guys for entrusting me to be a part of this with you and letting me put together a show that rocked! This is only the beginning, stay tuned for more!

PHOTOS COMING SOON!!!

By: Brian Lacy