Live Show Reviews

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

Live Review: The Cobalt Cafe 31st Anniversary

The Cobalt Cafe 30th Anniversary Part II | The Federal NoHo, North  Hollywood, CA | September 11, 2021

If you are like me and grew up in Southern California, there is a good chance you might have stopped by the legendary Cobalt Cafe at some point to see a show. For those of you that don’t know, The Cobalt Cafe was a little club in the San Fernando Valley and was around for over 20 years. It was an all ages venue and it was a staple in the area not just for bands to get a placeto play but many of your favorites over the years got their start on that stage like Incubus, Hoobastank, Jimmy Eat World, A.F.I., Linkin Park and Avenged Sevenfold to name a few. The Cobalt is back in a whole new way and bringing the fun vibes from back in the day to today!


The 31st Anniversary was a two day event that featured bands from The Cobalt’s past as well as up and coming new bands as well as a couple new bands featuring members that have played at The Cobalt in its heyday. Night one took place at Corbin Bowl and featured the bands Speed Of Light, The Moon Rocks, The Scuba Kids, and Angelo Moore aka Dr. Madd Vibe of Fishbone. Kicking off the night was up and comers Speed Of Light. This three piece band made up of siblings are ferocious and killer. Not only did they get the energy and crowd going, their set reminded me of being back at The Cobalt and discovering a great new band for the first time. Their hard charging punk rock energy definitely set the tone and made everyone in the venue look up and pay attention. Be on the look out for this band! Next up was Dr. Madd Vibe and his saxophone and introspective poetry. Listening to Angelo speak was very interesting. When you consider where the world is at today and you hear the words he was saying, you could definitely take something away from what was said and apply it to society today. Following that was The Scuba Kids. Their infectous ska/punk set was an absolute blast to watch. This was also the bands first show in over 6 years and it’s like they never lost a beat. I will admit I’m not much of a ska guy but, I do love a good ska show as fun as their set was. The Scuba Kids were one of the bands from back in the old school Cobalt days and they really made it a fun step back in time. Closing out the night was The Moon Rocks. Just like Speed Of Light, be on the look out for this band when they are playing shows. Not only do they rock but they absolutely kill! There’s a real sense of urgency and passion in the songs and performances of the three members of The Moon Rocks. They are one of the best bands in the Los Angeles area and it shows! What a great first night to kick things off!

Night two was just as fun if not more than night one. Just like on night one, this night was filled with bands from the past and present of The Cobalt featuring the reunion of Lava Diva, Centershift, Seven 40 Seven, Madam Bombs and Powder Pink and Sweet. The Federal in North Hollywood was on fire as every band that played brought the goods and slayed! First up for the night was dream pop/shoegaze band Powder Pink and Sweet. Their charming set got the night started off tremendously. Their songs have a very awesome 90’s alternative vibe mixed with a bit of an 80’s goth tinge a la Siouxie and The Banshees or The Cure. Next up was the explosive and electric Madam Bombs. These girls absolutely kick ass. Playing as a three piece this evening they took no prisoners and left the audience in awe. Their set was mixed with originals (which are killer) and covers that they have made their own including a cover of The Rolling Stone’s “Paint It Black,” which is now the only way I can listen to that song now. As I mentioned above about Speed Of Light and The Moon Rocks, Madam Bombs need to be on your radar as well!! Following the Madam Bombs is no easy task but, fellow Cobalt alumni Seven 40 Seven brought their rock to the stage and did just that rocked it! If you are looking for a really fun and good time rock band to see, Seven 40 Seven is that band for you. It was a pleasure to watch these guys love what they do on stage and it shows. Next up was a quick set by Dr. Madd Vibe and he delivered an inquisitive set as he set the table for Centershift to take the stage. My homies in Centershift just released their new single and video for their song “My Own World.” Check it out when you get a moment! It’s worth noting that Centershift singer/guitarist Jasan Radford (formerly of Onesidezero/Abloom) is also a Cobalt alum as he was instrumental in starting one of the first open mic nights at The Cobalt. Playing songs from their upcoming debut album, Centershift’s brand of melodic rock mixed with a bit of a post hardcore vibe makes for one hell of a fun set. Closing out the night was Lava Diva. If you don’t know, Lava Diva was a trio from about 1992 to 2002. The band is/was made up of Dawn Frinta on guitar/vocals, Johnny-G (Gianna Sabella) on bass and on drums/percussion was Greg Bernath.¬†It’s been a minute since the three of them have been on stage together and it’s like they never left. Without missing a beat they tore threw their set as though it was back in the bands heyday, complete with the crowd not leaving and demanding one more song at the end.

What a great celebration for The Cobalt Cafe and its legacy. As I mentioned, The Cobalt is back in a whole new way. Instead of having a set venue, Cobalt nights are coming to venues all across Southern California. Every person that attended these shows left with a smile on their face and some new Cobalt memories. Bringing together the new and older generations at shows like this is truly awesome. It’s a bit like passing the torch to the new school in a total good way. Do yourself a favor and check out all the bands that played and make a point to come out to the next Cobalt show (Friday February 4th at Corbin Bowl)!!!

Live Review: Centershift, Kiss The Scientist & Hoobastank at The Whisky A Go Go

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It’s always interesting to go see a band you haven’t seen in many many years. The other night I found myself at The Whisky A Go Go to see my good friends in Centershift play on the same night as Hoobastank. I’ll get to all the good stuff in a moment but, before I get too deep into the night, let me just say that this was one hell of a fun night. There was a familiar sense to what was going on this evening. Seeing Hoobastank for the first time in over 20 years was a trip all on its own and then you add the awesome Centershift and the up and coming Kiss The Scientist and you’ve got a recipe for a stellar night.

First up was Centershift. If you haven’t checked them out yet, get on it! Led by former Onesidezero/Abloom frontman Jasan Radford, Centershift not only set the tone for the night but the bar for how each band would have to perform. Playing songs from their upcoming debut album, Centershift hit a nerve with the sold out and packed crowd. Looking around the room you are watching people enthralled by the emotion and magnitude of the songs. The couple songs they’ve released so far “9” and “My Own World” sounded so damn good with the latter being a huge standout. Centershift is one hell of a band and they are super tight too. The combination of Jasan Radford’s vocals along with Ryan Stuber on guitar, Ted Wenri on bass and Michael Tarabotto on drums is a force to be reckoned with. I can’t wait for more from this band!

Following Centershift wasn’t an easy task but thankfully up and comers Kiss The Scientist were up for the challenge. These youngsters tapped into the energy that Centershift left the crowd with and delivered the goods. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing these guys before and they absolutely rock. They’ve got a sound that harks back to the mid 90’s mixed with a bit of indie rock. Not only do they have the charisma but the talent and ability to make people take notice. Take notice of these kids too!

Now the headliner, Hoobastank. This was a special night as they were celebrating 20 years of their debut album and playing said album in full along with some other fan favorites. I’ll admit, it’s been a while like I mentioned above, that I’ve listened to them but, the moment “Crawling In The Dark” started I was transported back 20 years. It was quite fun to hear these songs and see how excited the SOLD OUT crowd was. Watching the band on stage having a blast made the whole thing so much fun. The sing alongs the crowd had going were infectious and you could tell that the band was feeding off it as they played harder and a bit more loose. Ending their set with their song “The Reason” they had almost the entire venue singing along and just when you thought it was over, BOOM… one of the largest amounts of confetti I’ve ever seen in a small venue exploded and made it all festive. Hoobastank recently wrapped up a tour with Everclear and Living Colour and those shows made them quite prepared for this show as they were on fire all night long.

All three bands made this night something special. It mixed the old school with the new and the perfect place for this all to happen. Shows like this one especially in the times we are living in are much needed. Kiss The Scientist is going to go places. Centershift is without a doubt going to resonate with fans and will be a name you’ll know quite soon. Hoobastank for over 20 years now have been going strong and based on this performance, they seem to have the fire reignited! Do yourself a favor and check out these bands. You’ll thank me later!

Review By: Brian Lacy

Live Review: Quicksand at The Troubadour

Quicksand in West Hollywood at Troubadour

A couple weeks back I made a very bold statement that, “2021 is the year of Quicksand” and last night cemented that for me. I’ve long wanted to see Quicksand live since I first heard Slip way back when and now, that wish came true. Seeing Walter Schreifels, Sergio Vega, Alan Cage rock out was superb and the icing on the cake of them having Cave In/Mutoid Man/etc guitarist/vocalist Stephen Brodsky as their second guitarist just made it all something spectacular.

The moment the lights went down and the projections on the backdrop started, the frenzy of the crowd began to rev up and the second the first note of “Inversion” from their new and absolutely killer album, Distant Populations started, everyone knew, it was ON!!!. Plowing down the audience with the four songs off their new album immediately was tremendous. Just when you thought they were going to play the whole album (which they did) they burst into “Fazer” and there was no looking back. The setlist for the night was so good. Playing all of Distant Populations along with choice cuts from Slip, Manic Compression and Interiors, Quicksand could do no wrong. They even did a wonderful job covering My Bloody Valentine’s “Don’t Ask Why” and now I want to just listen to their version from now on. Hearing songs like the ones above along with “Colossus,” “Thorn In My Side,” “Dine Alone,” “Brown Gargantuan,” “Phase 90,” “Unfulfilled” and so many more was like being on cloud 9. There was no chance I could stand still. It’s a good thing I haven’t cut my hair in a while so I could head bang along like a crazy person. Watching Quicksand live is something everyone in a band should do. They had so much energy emitting from the stage it was contagious. You could tell these guys really enjoy playing. The chemistry of the four guys on stage was astounding. You can tell that Walter, Sergio and Alan are a tight unit. They play off each other so well. Adding Stephen Brodsky to the touring lineup was a perfect idea. His playing style and abilities really fit great in Quicksand. His mannerisms on stage too are so good. I really wish he could be a permanent member of Quicksand. I can only imagine how awesome the next album would be if he were a part of it.

Also playing this evening was Narrow Head and Creeps. Both bands had a very 90’s driven style with the latter sounding a bit more like Brand New. Both bands had solidly good sets and brought a lot of energy. The audience showed up early and that seemed to have a feeling that harked back to the days when people would show up to support all the bands on the bill. It’s always a nice thing to see bands like Quicksand bring out younger/up and coming bands on tour. It’s great to give them the opportunity to get their music out to as many people as possible.

Quicksand is the type of band that influences and inspires anyone that listens. Personally, I couldn’t even wind down when I got home from the show. That’s how good it was. Quicksand is a band that is essential listening and should be in your collection. I can’t wait for the next time Quicksand comes through Los Angeles. What a great show.

Quicksand Set List:

01) Inversion
02) Lightning Field
03) Colossus
04) Missle Command
05) Fazer
06) Thorn In My Side
07) Phase 90
08) Head To Wall
09) Don’t Ask Why (My Bloody Valentine Cover)
10) Under The Screw
11) Unfulfilled
12) Too Official
13) Illuminant
14) Warm And Low
15) The Philosopher
16) Compacted Infinity
17) Rodan
18) Omission
19) Brown Gargantuan
20) Katakana
21) Delusional
22) Dine Alone
23) Brushed

Review By: Brian Lacy

Quicksand- Distant Populations:

Live Review: Black Map & Centershift at The Whisky A Go Go

For the past couple weeks I’ve been eagerly anticipating seeing Black Map again live and for the live debut of Centershift and it most certainly did not disappoint! It’s really interesting to be seeing shows again after being away from them for so long. There seems to be a new life for live music and the bands. Sort of an invigorating sense of let’s go out there and kill! And this evening was just that…

Centershift is one of my favorite new bands. For a three piece band, these guys pack the volume for sure. Riding high off their debut single “9,” Centershift took the stage and immediately opened a can of whoop ass on the crowd. Singer/guitarist Jasan Radford (who you might know from Onesidezero/Abloom), was right at home on stage and that voice of his, resonated so well through their set. You could tell people were getting more and more into it with each note played and lyric sung. Bassist Ted Wenri and drummer Mike Tarabotto are a dominant force of a rhythm section. The prowess they played with really helped to leave a real impression with the audience as well as how tight they are. The other songs they played and debuted all kicked some major ass. Be on the look out for their songs “My Own World,” “Tell Me,” and “11.” Those songs were absolute BANGERS! Centershift has this really cool sound that fits perfectly well with Black Map. Their sound has a bit of a Quicksand/Thrice vibe mixed with a little bit of other 90’s tinges. Centershift is a band that should be on your radars as they will be a name you won’t want to miss.

Black Map is one hell of a band. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them since they came on the scene and I have to say, like a fine scotch or wine, they’ve only gotten better. As a three piece, it’s astounding how huge they sound. The combination of singer/bassist Ben Flanagan, guitarist Mark Engles and drummer Chris Robyn is an absolute force. Their set this evening was stunning. Picking songs from all their albums including their upcoming one, Melodoria (out Nov 5), Black Map tore up the stage. Songs like “I’m Just The Driver,” “Run Rabbit Run” “Let Me Out,” “No Color” all were stellar and the new songs “Chasms,” “Super Deluxe,” and “Madness (my personal favorite from the new album at the moment)” were impeccable and shows even more growth in their songwriting.

This was a terrific show. Seeing both bands at The Whisky was even better. The history of the venue makes shows like this one special. I have to say too, The Whisky sound was awesome this night. The bands sounded great and the vibe inside was just perfect. Black Map and Centershift is a match made in musical heaven. I’m going to be selfish here but, I really want a full tour with both bands. Hearing them back to back was absolute bliss. What a great night full of great bands, music, people and good times. This is what the music scene should be like. Do yourself a favor and go listen to and see to Centershift and Black Map when they come through your town. You’ll for sure thank me later!!!

Review By: Brian Lacy

Live Review: Guns N Roses at Banc Of California Stadium

08/19/21 - Los Angeles, CA - Banc of California Stadium - GUNS N' ROSES -  DISCUSSION & NEWS - mygnrforum.com Guns N' Roses Forum

This pandemic has been extremely difficult. We all know the hardships of it. One of the biggest things throughout the whole thing so far has been the inability of bands to tour and all of us to go to shows. So, when the opportunity presented itself amongst all the craziness recently to go see Guns N Roses, you know I had to. Not a bad way to start going back to shows. And as this review will show, Guns N Roses is still one hell of a live band and those songs, still hold up so damn well. Armed with my vaccination and mask, the night was about to begin…

It was a perfect clear night in Los Angeles and at a little before 8pm, the lights came down, the intro started and the shadow figures took the stage to a roaring and thunderous crowd. Then, it all starts with “It’s So Easy” and from that it was a barrage of great songs after another. The songs from Chinese Democracy that were played (“Better,” “Chinese Democracy,” and “Madagascar”) sounded so good. Way better than the album versions and having Duff and Slash playing on them changed them just enough that it sounded the way it should’ve when first released. I got to hear my all time favorite GnR track quite early on in the evening. “Estranged” live was everything I hoped for and more. It was beyond epic and there might have been a few tears dripping from my eyes. Throughout the rest of the night, more and more awesome songs were played like “Rocket Queen,” “You Could Be Mine,” “Civil War,” “November Rain,” and “Don’t Cry.” Even the choices of covers were outstanding. We were graced with a very extended version of “Knockin On Heaven’s Door” that knocked it out of the stadium. Also very awesome versions of The Who’s “The Seeker” and The Stooges “I Wanna Be Your Dog” with Duff on lead vocals. One of the coolest parts of the show and set were the way they extended the songs with little snippets of other songs like when they played “Civil War” they included Jimi Hendrix’s “Machine Gun” as part of the outro or Alice Cooper’s “Only Women Bleed” as part of “Knockin On Heaven’s Door.”

For the 3 hours that GnR was on stage, it’s almost as though time stood still. Everyone in the band was on their A game and looked like they were having a blast on stage. Axl was making jokes, running around, playing around with his bandmates and was on fire with his vocals. The chemistry also between the band was outstanding. Richard Fortus is a very great addition to the band. He’s one hell of a guitar player that gives Slash a run for his money but, he knows his role. Frank Ferrer is a monster on the drums. Dizzy Reed is such an underrated part of GnR. His ability to accompany the songs with the right keyboard/piano parts are so good. Melissa Reeves provides great backing vocals for Axl, especially the high notes that might be a little difficult. And of course you have the core 3 of Axl, Slash and Duff who sound better than ever together. The only thing I have to critique is the background videos they had playing. They just seemed a little outdated but, who really needs to pay attention to that with what you have on stage. Guns N Roses is back and hopefully for good. I am very intrigued by the possibility of them releasing new music. The song “Absurd” isn’t the best new song but, live it did sound good. All in all what a great show and night. My friend I was with, he and I couldn’t believe how awesome the show was. The GnR hangover lasted all weekend long too. Definitely would go see them again!

Opening the show was Mammoth WVH, Wolfgang Van Halen’s band. They were a solid opening band. Their set was a little over 30 minutes and they were able to connect with part of the crowd but, you could just tell the audience just wanted Axl and company. This was also the bands first tour and performances ever. Pretty tall order to be opening for a band like GnR but, they did a really good job.

Guns N Roses Setlist:

01) It’s So Easy
02) Mr. Brownstone
03) Chinese Democracy
04) Slither (Velvet Revolver Cover)
05) Double Talkin’ Jive
06) Welcome To The Jungle (w/ Link Wray’s “Rumble” intro)
07) Better
08) Estranged
09) Live And Let Die (Wings Cover)
10) You’re Crazy
11) Rocket Queen
12) You Could Be Mine
13) I Wanna Be Your Dog (The Stooges Cover w/ Duff on vocals)
14) Absurd
15) Civil War (w/ Jimi Hendrix’s “Machine Gun” outro- Band Intros)
16) Slash Guitar Solo (Muddy Waters “Mannish Boy” jam)
17) Sweet Child O’ Mine
18) November Rain
19) Wichita Lineman (Jimmy Webb/Glen Campbell Cover)
20) Patience
21) Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (Bob Dylan Cover w/ Alice Coopers Only Women Bleed intro)
22) Nightrain

Encore:

23) Madagascar
24) Don’t Cry
25) The Seeker (The Who Cover)
26) Paradise City

Live Review: Spirit In The Room and Elephant Rifle at Gold Diggers

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There are certain bands that I’ve written about that have left a truly lasting impression on me. Spirit In The Room is definitely one of those bands. Ever since I heard them a couple years ago, I knew that there was something special about this band. There is a real element of passion, excitement, artistry and danger that comes with each song and then when you mix in the live show, it all comes together to make for something spectacular.

It had been a minute since I had seen Spirit In The Room live but, that didn’t matter. The moment they took the stage, it was like I was seeing them for the first time again. The way the show started drew the audience into a trance and truly captivated those in attendance. It was all a calm before the storm like scenario because, the moment you were truly lost in it, BANG, all hell broke loose with a ferocious scream and a pummeling thunder of bass, drums and guitars. Dennis R. Sanders along with his live band Darren Howard (Bass, Synth, and Vocals), Kevin Bombay (Guitar), Brian Skipworth (Guitar), and Philip Bailey (Drums) are not messing around when it comes to performing and playing these songs live. I would even say, they are the best band in Los Angeles. Each and every song performed this evening was executed with precision but also with a take no prisoners approach. Songs like “But It Do,” “Sunset Nightmare,” “The Future Is Immediate,” “Monetary Prayer,” and Now That You’re Dead” were some of my favorites played this evening. As the show ended, I immediately wanted more but, that just means I’ll have to go see them again and again just to get my fix. What a great performance and band Spirit In The Room is. GO SEE THIS BAND LIVE!!!!

Also playing this evening was Elephant Rifle. I wasn’t familiar with them but, I was immediately intrigued when they started playing. These guys have a really cool, psychedelic approach to their Black Sabbath riffs along with some really engaging shoegaze elements and a good helping of noisy punk to make something that is enticing and provocative. Like Spirit In The Room live, Elephant Rifle too has a take no prisoners approach to their live show, making their set full of unexpected moments and sweaty shirtless hugs. I will definitely be checking out more from Elephant Rifle.

 

This show was just what was needed for starting 2020. The venue was intimate enough to make this even more special and both bands really delivered the goods. There were a few moments while watching and soaking it all in that my friend and I were about to start a circle pit from all the energy emitting off the stage. As I mentioned above, Spirit In The Room is THE BEST LIVE BAND IN LOS ANGELES. I truly believe that. Go see them for yourself and you’ll know why I say that.

 
Spirit In The Room:

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Elephant Rifle:

 

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Review and Photos By: Brian Lacy