Live Show Reviews

Live Review: Mutoid Man, Helms Alee & Mustard Gas and Roses at The Resident

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Let me set the tone for the evening. It was a perfect Southern California evening. The weather was perfect and the mood was meant for music that would knock your socks off. It also seems that Downtown Los Angeles is fast becoming the place for rock/metal bands to play. Last night was worth the trip for sure.

Kicking off the night was the very alluring Mustard Gas & Roses. Their brand of doom metal set the standard for the evening. This Los Angeles based four piece is the perfect band to get you in the mood for a night of great music. They are cinematic and proficient in their performance. I’ve been hearing about this band for a little bit now and they were everything I thought they would be.

Next up was Helms Alee. This band left me absolutely breathless. I’ve been meaning to go see them live for some time and I finally had my chance and WOW. Their blistering set was visceral and inspiring. The magnitude of tone they delivered from their drums, bass and guitars made it seem like they were playing an arena. I’m always intrigued by melody and even with their doom approach, the melody was not lost. With all three members doing vocals, that really gives a whole different dynamic to their style of music, There were times during their set that they reminded me a bit of Siamese Dream era Smashing Pumpkins and self titled era Alice In Chains but with a bit of doom to it. Helms Alee is the type of band that releases great albums but, in order to fully grasp the greatness of this band, you NEED TO SEE THEM LIVE.

The main event of the evening was Mutoid Man. They are another band that I’ve been really wanting to see live. Their albums are stellar and the fact that drummer Ben Koller and singer/guitarist Stephen Brodsky were finally able to get together and form a band makes me extra happy, being as I’m a HUGE fan of Cave In and I really dig on Converge. The addition of bassist Nick Cageao adds a whole other layer and dimension of heavy to the band. Mutoid Man really knows how to deliver a great night of riffs, pummeling drums, jokes, and great performances. Like Helms Alee, Mutoid Man puts out great albums but, it’s really best to go see them live. Their set featured songs from both their full length albums (Bleeder and War Moans) along with songs from their debut EP. They drove the crowd into a frenzy, with a perfect mosh pit as well. My friend and I couldn’t resist joining in on the pit fun, as we moshed our way to the front of the venue.

What a great night for a show. Three great bands on one bill to make it known that heavy music is alive and well along with the take no prisoners approach. I highly recommend you all taking the time to go see them live and give a listen to these three great bands albums. You will not only thank me later but, you’ll feel compelled to go buy their albums.

 

 

Review By: Brian Lacy

Live Review: L.A. Guns at The Canyon Club

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I have a deep love of bands from the 80’s. When I was a very young kid, the 80’s were my jam. I loved (and still do) Bon Jovi, Guns N Roses, and Metallica but, I also loved Poison, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, and all the other bands in between like Ratt and L.A. Guns. Last night was a real treat as I finally got to see L.A. Guns, and boy did they rock the house. Last year singer Phil Lewis and guitarist Tracii Guns reunited for the first time in over 15 years. They rekindled their friendship and musical chemistry and are back firing on all cylinders just like it was back in the day.

On a Sunday night in the suburbs, the venue was packed, and fans were ready for rock. As the band took the stage to a thunderous roar from the crowd, you knew that this night was going to be a treat. Starting their set off with “No Mercy” was a hell of a way to get things going. The sheer magnitude of rock coming off the stage was contagious as the crowd was beyond into it. As the show went on, the band ripped through song after song in an uncompromising fashion. Other highlights of the night were “Electric Gypsy,” “Sex Action,” “Don’t Look At Me That Way,” “Kiss My Love Goodbye,” “One More Reason,” and my personal favorite “Over The Edge” complete with Tracii playing the intro with a violin bow. Even the new song they played “Speed,” was a solid song, and shows that rock music is alive and well. Closing out the night was “Never Enough,” “The Ballad Of Jayne,” and “Rip and Tear.”

There wasn’t one moment throughout L.A. Guns’ set that slowed down. They kept the fire burning through each song, making a statement that the band is back and are going to rock you to the core. Phil Lewis sounded great. His vocals are top notch and his delivery was impeccable, especially when he would go for the high notes. Tracii Guns is one of the most underrated guitar players in the last 30 some odd years. His solo’s are tasteful and astonishing. The ability and talent he has is without question. It’s really great to see Tracii and Phil back together doing what they do best. The other guys in the band really bring out the best in those two. All night long you could tell they were enjoying playing.

What a great night not just for me as a fan of the band but, for rock music as well. Seeing a band like L.A. Guns still out there and kicking ass gives me hope that rock music will never die, contrary to what Gene “I’m in it for the money” Simmons says. L.A. Guns wasn’t the biggest band in the world but, they sure do write great songs and perform the hell out of them. Do yourself a favor and go see them when they come through your town. You’re in for quite a treat.

 

My Favorite L.A. Guns song-

L.A. Guns- Over The Edge:

 

 

Review By: Brian Lacy

Photo By: Alisa Lacy

Live Review: Superjoint at The Whisky

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Last night was one hell of a night. The last time I saw Superjoint was in 2004 at the Ventura Theater. I don’t really remember much about the show but, I do remember the sheer intensity that came pouring from the stage to the audience. Fast forward 13 years and that intensity is still pouring from the stage, only this time, it was a direct punch to the face. After being on a “hiatus” (I really hate that word) for the past 10 years, Superjoint returned with a sense of urgency and truth. Their performance this evening was beyond what I thought it would be and then some. But first let’s get to the other bands on the bill.

When I arrived at the venue and stepped inside, Child Bite was just taking the stage. I purposely didn’t check them out before seeing them, because I wanted to experience something I have never heard. Wow, was Child Bite superb. They had an energy and attitude about them, the permeated through the Whisky. Those that were there early got to witness a truly enigmatic performance. Singer Shawn Knight, is one hell of a frontman. He’s got the screams, cleans, and charisma that every frontman needs. Sean Clancy (Bass), Brandon Sczomak (Guitar) and Jeff Kraus (Drums) are tremendous and tight. The band is a very interesting group, as their influences range from Mr. Bungle/Faith No More to The Jesus Lizard, with a bit of Black Flag and a dash of Pantera. Child Bite are a band to look out for when they come through your town and steal the show.

The direct support for the evening came from Detroit, Michigan’s Battlecross. I have heard them before and Battlecross sure brought the energy. Ripping through their set, the metal was delivered. Their sound is a mix of thrash metal and a bit of metalcore. These guys know how to play and rock a stage. Battlecross are on the right track of flying the metal flag. I have to give them their due for the showmanship while playing. The guitar solos and bass solo really added a layer of enjoyment to their performance.

Now Superjoint was what the crowd was waiting for all night. Philip was looking in shape and ready to get back to doing what he does best, decimating stages and audiences. Joining Phil in Superjoint are long time guitarists Jimmy Bower and Kevin Bond and two newcomers Joey “Blue” Gonzalez on drums and Stephen Taylor on bass. Both Joey and Stephen are perfect fits for the band. From the moment the set began with the instrumental “Obilvious Maximus” you knew that Superjoint meant business. Ripping through songs from their first two albums and their new one, Caught Up In The Gears Of Applications, Phil and company have never been tighter. Not only that but, they genuinely looked like they were having a good time. Other songs like “Ozena,” “Waiting For The Turning Point,” “Fuck Your Enemy,” “The Alcoholik,” “It Takes No Guts,” and “Everyone Hates Everyone,” really stood out to me. The new songs played, sounded better live than on the album. Interestingly too, the evening’s show was being filmed for a future release. Needless to say, this was a special show. Superjoint was on fire and blazing. The crowd was into every minute of it. This was a truly great show not just for the band, but those of us who were there.

I also feel the need to mention something else. The Whisky, has really stepped up their game in regards to making the bands sound great. The new system they have in there, really makes all the difference. So, thank you to the Whisky for doing what was necessary. Next thing, is getting a credit card machine at the box office!

 

By: Brian Lacy

Live Review: Oathbreaker at The Roxy

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Do you remember that feeling you get when you hear and see a band that leaves you utterly in awe? I’m still in a daze from seeing Oathbreaker last night. I’ve been looking forward to seeing them live since I first heard their masterpiece Rheia, and they were every bit of what I expected and more. Seeing Oathbreaker live is poetry in motion. The true essence of artistry and personal connection seethes through every note played and sung/screamed. The purity of how the music and words come through live is beautiful. This show and band is a perfect example of how to leave a lasting mark.

Kicking off the night was Jaye Jayle. Conceived by Evan Patterson of Young Widows, this group set the night off with a stark mood that was drenched in blues and dreary vibes all the while creating a sense of calm before the storm. I’ll admit when I checked them out before seeing them live I wasn’t sure what to expect but, as they played through their set, I became more and more engrossed in what they were doing. Mixing blues with bits of folk and southern gospel, Jaye Jayle is quite the sight to see live. As good as they sound on their album, seeing them live really makes it stand out.

Direct support came from Khemmis. Their doom metal meets 70’s rock vibe was a wise choice for the evening. Dueling guitar solos and tight rhythms bellowed through the Roxy as Khemmis played through a chunk of songs from their highly touted new album Hunted. At times during their set I kept thinking that Khemmis is what Rush would sound like if they were metal and didn’t have the synths. With that in mind, Khemmis delivered an epic set that left the audience lining up by their merch spot after they played.

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The main event of the evening though was Oathbreaker. To say that I’m totally enthralled by this band is an understatement. There is really something special about Oathbreaker. I haven’t been this excited by a new band in a long time. From the moment they started their set with “10:56/Second Son of R,” it was on. Unrelenting and beyond powerful, Caro Tanghe, Gilles Demolder, Lennart Bossu, and Wim Coppers delivered one of the most sonically menacing yet crisp sets I’ve seen in a long time. Other songs like “Being Able To Feel Nothing,” “Immortals,” “Needles In Your Skin,” “Where I Live,” and Where I Leave” each left their own mark. As I mentioned in the beginning of this review, Oathbreaker live is poetry in motion. Instead of the crowd stirring up a pit, everyone in attendance was fully engrossed in what the band was doing on stage. The translation from record to live is seamless and smooth and I’d even go as far as saying that their live sound is even more astounding than their album. Each song played seemed to really conjure up the sense of passion and belief from their band as they delivered their soul to you.

Seeing a band like Oathbreaker is a great reminder that music is art. And when you truly believe in what you are doing, the chances of making something substantial and great is even higher. My faith in music is alive and well because of Oathbreaker. I haven’t left a show in a while feeling this good and inspired. I truly hope that people recognize all the talent and art that Oathbreaker has to offer. They deserve to be held in the highest regards. Go check them out if they are in your area. You won’t be disappointed in the least.

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Review By: Brian Lacy

Photos By: Cam Smith https://camsmithphoto.com

Live Review: Code Orange & Youth Code

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I’ll admit, these days to get me to go to a show I have to be really into a band or at least extremely intrigued. Saturday night fell into the latter category. Code Orange is a band that has been getting bigger and more acclaim over the past year. They’ve been on tour with Deftones and will be on the upcoming Killswitch Engage/Anthrax tour. Their new album Forever is quite an interesting mesh of hardcore, industrial and some other genres. So naturally, my curiosity was peaked. Also playing this evening was Youth Code. Their blend of industrial beats, mixed with other electronic elements and harsh hardcore/thrash vocals, makes them a very wise choice for this tour.

Opening the night was two local bands Momentum and Disgrace. Both bands brought a strong energy to set the mood of the night. Maybe it’s just me, and over the years my tastes have changed but honestly, those two bands, while they are good at what they do, just didn’t leave a lasting mark on me.

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When Youth Code took the stage and their entrance music began, you knew you were in for something. Only a two piece, frontwoman/singer Sara Taylor and Ryan George on the synths/sampler and backup vocals, delivered a show stealing performance. The amount of energy mixed with their devotion to their craft was amplified as each song was played. There was a genuine amount of sheer excitement to their set. Personally, I was inspired at the end of their set. Sara and Ryan are masters at what they do. I can honestly tell you that Youth Code puts a majority of those EDM DJ’s (or whatever you call them) to shame. I can’t wait to see them again. Their 2016 album Commitment To Complications is a tour de force.

Headlining the night was Code Orange. As they took the stage, the crowd of many different ages began to assemble closer and closer. The younger kids in the audience were super pumped. As usual I was close enough to feel the vibe but far enough away to keep from getting hit by those kids that do their karate dance moves. On a total side note, that really has to stop. That’s not how you mosh. Kids today have no idea how to properly pit/mosh. But that’s for another day and topic. As Code Orange pummeled through their set a few things came across my mind. The first is, I’m really not sure they know what kind of band they want to be. They have so many influences in their music, that live it seems to get lost in translation. I’ve been to a slew of hardcore shows in my years, and there just seems like something is out of place. The bands drummer and main singer Jami,  has a growling/guttural scream, but I think he should pick either being the drummer or the singer. Jami Morgan is a talented hardcore drummer, but with pulling double duty live, it misses a step. The real bright spot of the band is guitarist Reba Meyers. She slays on her instrument and has the vocal ability to scream and sing. Certain songs played like “Bleeding In The Blur” and “Spy” were outstanding. I really dig these songs. It shows growth and maturity in their playing and ability to write. Other songs played that stood out were “Slowburn,” “My World,” “Forever,” and “The New Reality.”

All in all, this was a very interesting night, and Youth Code were outstanding. I’d really like to see them on a headlining tour in a dark small club with some crazy creepy visuals to accompany them. Code Orange with time, has the intensity to become a really solid heavy band. Once they figure out who they are as a band, they are going to be quite a force to be reckoned with.

 

Review and Photos By: Brian Lacy

Live Review: The Black Queen

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You know that feeling you get when you hear an album and after a few minutes of listening to it, you feel compelled to HAVE TO go see the band live? In early 2016 The Black Queen which features Greg Puciato (of The Dillinger Escape Plan), Joshua Eustis (of Telefon Tel Aviv) and Steven Alexander (former guitar tech for Dillinger and Nine Inch Nails), released their debut album Fever Daydream. The album is drenched in dreamy synth pop, with industrial tinges, and stunning melodies. There is a true sense of inspiration in these songs when you listen. There is something more to The Black Queen though, and for you to really grasp it all, you must see them live.

The Black Queen are quite spectacular live. There is a sort of hypnotic trance that comes through their performance. The normally very eccentric and wild card performances that most fans of singer Greg Puciato’s other band The Dillinger Escape Plan, are toned back and instead, Greg delivers a much more subdued yet empowering performance fronting this band. Not only does Greg have one hell of a voice, but you can tell in how he delivers his words, that there is more to him than you thought. Handling the electronics and synths is the very talented Joshua Eustis of the underrated Telefon Tel Aviv. His ability to create atmosphere and a vibe through the use of synths, adds another dimension to the band. Steven Alexander adds an extra layer with his guitar playing. His use of distortion and delay, really does add a lovely sense of heaviness.

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Drenched with smoke and sparce light, the sounds of the beginning of “Strange Quark” filled the room, the smoke and lights beginning to shine, with each member appearing on stage. From there to “Distanced,” the set begins in an almost dramatic fashion, as though there is a story being told. Other highlights of the set came when “That Death Cannot Touch,” “Silent Scream, ” “The End Where We Start,” “Ice To Never” were played. The sheer volume of the audience singing along, took the show to another level. By the end of the set when they played “Apocalypse Morning” everyone in attendance was absolutely transfixed by the charm and sensations of the music.

Do yourselves a favor, pick up The Black Queen‘s album Fever Daydream and keep watch for when they come back around and play in your area. It will be a night you won’t forget, and it juts might leave you inspired and feel uplifted!

 

Review By: Brian Lacy

Photos By: Alisa Lacy

 

The Black Queen- Fever Daydream:

Live Review: The Dillinger Escape Plan at The Regent Theater

The Dillinger Escape Plan Live Review | Audioeclectica

Epic, Fucking Epic is the best way to describe the beautiful chaos that occurred last night. In all my years of attending concerts, along with the hundreds upon hundreds of bands I’ve seen, there are very few bands and shows that can truly live up to being called FUCKING EPIC, and The Dillinger Escape Plan is just that and then some. On a Sunday night in Los Angeles, The Dillinger Escape Plan was able to sell out the Regent, and make it a memorable show, for all those in attendance. From all the opening bands, to the headliner, there was no way you would walk out of the venue disappointed after seeing and hearing what you just witnessed.

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The first band of the night was Entheos. This band features the very talented Evan Brewer formerly of The Faceless. Their short set, was a precursor for what was to come in the sense of brutality. Their intricate prog death metal djent based music was a great way to start it off. Screamer Chaney Crabb, was really delivered. She had a great presence on stage that allowed her to wrangle in the audience to pay attention.

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Next up was Cult Leader. I was very excited to see this band. And they absolutely killed it. They reminded me of Converge way back in the day. Everything about Cult Leader was top notch and brutal. Vocalist Anthony Lucero had a real knack for belting out guttural screams, all the while delivering a truly magnetic performance. Drummer Casey Hansen is one of the most talented drummers I’ve seen in a long time. Throughout their set, I kept feeling like I was being hypnotized by the band. Musically there is a bit of psychedelia, and ambiance to their heavy hardcore style. I would even go as far to coin a new sub-genre for them, Hypnotic Hardcore. Cult Leader should be on your radar to see live and to have in your music collection.

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The direct support for the evening came from Atlanta, Georgia’s, O’Brother. Their latest album ENDLESS LIGHT, is in my top ten albums of the year, so getting to see them with The Dillinger Escape Plan on the same night was an added bonus. Their set, although rather short, was truly epic. The use of three guitars and a beyond tight rhythm section, really added a few extra dimensions to their already grandiose and enormous sound. Songs from their new album like “I Am Death,” and “Bloodlines,” were absolute highlights for the night. Like Cult Leader, O’Brother are very hypnotic as well, and will leave you inspired at the end.

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Finally when The Dillinger Escape Plan took the stage, the entire audience broke out and began to exercise their demons. There is something to be said for the way that a band like Dillinger can have such an affect on people. Musically it’s something that you study, and vocally and lyrically it is something that you use as therapy. The combination of these two things really make The Dillinger Escape Plan truly special. Their latest and final album DISSOCIATION is a great summation of everything the band is known for, and these new songs live are absolute beasts. From the first notes of “Limerent Death,” to the closing notes of the classic “43% Burnt,” The Dillinger Escape Plan was on fire. As per usual, singer Greg Puciato and guitarist Ben Weinman were delivering performances that leave you speechless. Jumping off guitar cabs, leaping into the audience, and jumping from the second floor balcony, are just some of the things that were astonishing.   Their set list was a great collection of songs from their catalog. Highlights include “Sugar Coated Sour,” “Symptom of Terminal Illness,” “Panasonic Youth,” “One of Us is the Killer,” “Surrogate,” “Nothing to Forget,” “Prancer,” as well as “Room Full of Eyes,” and the very epic “Mouth of Ghosts.”

I’m going to put this out there in the ether and say, that this show is quite possibly the best show I’ve seen all year. Everything about the evening was perfect. From the bands, the company, and the crowd reactions, all this and then some made this a night to never forget. Dillinger will go down as one of the most legendary and dangerous bands, as they should, but they should also be remembered for creating music that is inspiring and full of passion. Everything that Dillinger has done in their 20 year career has been done on their own terms. They really are a band that deserves every ounce of credit due to them. What a band. And what a way to bring it each and every night. Thank you Dillinger for everything you’ve done!

The Dillinger Escape Plan Set List:

Limerent Death
Panasonic Youth
Symptom of Terminal Illness
Farewell, Mona Lisa
When I Lost My Bet
Sugar Coated Sour
Black Bubblegum
Surrogate
Hero of the Soviet Union
Milk Lizard
One of Us is the Killer
Nothing to Forget
Room Full of Eyes
Prancer

Encore:

Mouth of Ghosts
Sunshine the Werewolf
43% Burnt

 

Review and Photos By: Brian Lacy