Live Show Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Live Review: Birds In Row at Bootleg Theater

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

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

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

 

Review By: Brian Lacy

Birds In Row- We Already Lost The World:

Live Review: The Black Queen at The Regent Theater

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

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

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

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The Black Queen Set List:

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

Review and Photos By: Brian Lacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Review and Shots By: Brian Lacy

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

Live Review: Ho99o9

I’m sure you’ve all had this thought before. You hear an album and it really impresses you and then you start to wonder how they are live. Will they be able to pull this off live? Will it live up to the feeling you got when you first heard the album? Well, let me tell you, if you’re like me and you listened to Ho99o9 and thought those things, you will absolutely 100% not be disappointed when you see them live. As I watched the crowd explode into a frenzy and the band utterly decimate the small venue, I knew from the first minute in, that Ho99o9 are without a doubt, the real deal.

 

At a little after 10pm, the lights went down and projections appeared on the brick wall behind the stage, then 3 figures appeared on stage. From that point, it was a burst of chaos and excitement. Eaddy and TheOGM owned that stage from the get go along with drummer Brandon Pertzborn. The amount of energy radiating off that stage was reminiscent of my time going to see punk and hardcore shows in small/tight venues. Over the course of an hour, Ho99o9 blazed through songs from their debut album United States of Horror as well as their Cyber Cop EP. Songs like “War Is Hell,” “Street Power,” “Money Machine,” “Face Tatt,” “Knuckle Up,” “United States of Horror,” and “Mega City Nine” were commanding and performed with a take no prisoners approach. Their unique blend of hip-hop, industrial and punk rock is pummeling and vigorous while at the same time full of piss and gasoline.

 

I’ve seen a lot of shows in my life (and I mean A LOT), and this was one of those shows that will be replaying in my head for days, weeks and months to come. Ho99o9 are taking over and you should prepare accordingly. If they are on the bill and playing early, do yourself a favor and get there to see them. They will also be the band that steals the show from whoever they are playing with. I can’t wait to see what they do next and where they go musically. As I said above, Ho99o9 are the real deal and they should be on your radar.

 

Review and Photos By: Brian Lacy

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

 

Live Review: Daughters, Cult Leader & Hide at The Regent Theater

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Awestruck is a word that comes to mind when describing what I witnessed the other night after seeing Daughters live. The plethora of adjectives to describe the sheer amount of awe is astounding. From the start of the show with Hide, to Cult Leader and then Daughters, there was magic in the room this evening, thats for sure. Every band on the bill brought something interesting and explosive to this evening. I’m still trying to piece together the right words to explain this amazing show.

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Hide was the first group to take the stage. The industrial goth group really knew how to set a tone for what was to come. Their short set was one of those that got you up and paying attention. The beats ruminating from the stage and the performance from singer Heather Gabel was quite stunning as she thrashed around to the music. The dramatic lights and strobes made the beats pulsate from the ground up. They definintely had the crowd building into a frenzy as they played.

 

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Next up was the mighty Cult Leader. I’ve now had the pleasure of seeing them four times now and they have fast become one of my favorite bands to see live. Also I’d like to mention that this is the second time I’ve seen them at the Regent and there is something about this stage and the band that are meant to be. Riding high off their most recent album, A Patient Man, Cult Leader tore the audience up with their blend of heaviness and poetry in motion. There is something about this band that is truly hypnotic. Every time I see them I get more and more into it as the set goes on. The use of just a red light as they play along with the driving force of the music and vocals is the perfect encompassing of controlled chaos. Their set included songs “I Am Healed,” “Great I Am,” and “Sorrow” as well as epic numbers like “To Achyls” and “The Broken Right Hand Of God.” It was a perfect set list for anyone that’s a fan of the band or if this was your introduction. I also have to note that even this performance was the best I’ve seen of theirs. I was at a show of theirs a couple months back that I thought was the best but, this one just blew me away even more. What a way to set the stage for what was to come next.

 

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Daughters took the stage to a roaring ovation and then unleashed a fury that I have been wanting to see for years. I have been a fan of the band for some time but, never got to see them live until now and it was worth waiting for and in no way did they disappoint. Their set contained a slew of songs from their new album (and first in 8 years) You Won’t Get What You Want, as well as others from Hell Songs, and their self titled album. Watching them on stage you wouldn’t ever think that they haven’t been a band for the past 8 years. Seeing them tear through songs like “The Reason They Hate Me,” “Satan In The Wait” “Our Queen (One Is Many, We Are One),” “Long Road No Turns,” “Less Sex,” “The Hit,” “Recorded Inside A Pyramid,” and “Ocean Song” was beyond words. The crowd was engaged from the very first note. While surveying the audience there wasn’t a still body in my line of sight. Getting to be right in the middle of the chaos and experiencing danger being restored in rock music was a joy to be around. Daughters are more than just a “heavy” band, they are artistic and poetic, thus providing a package of true substance. Having them back is a real treat. I truly hope they continue on and keep delivering inspired music and words.

 

Daughters Set List:

01) The Reason They Hate Me
02) The Lords Song
03) Satan In The Wait
04) The Dead Singer
05) Recorded Inside A Pyramid
06) Our Queens (One Is Many, Many Are One)
07) Long Road, No Turns
08) Daughters Spelled Wrong
09) Less Sex
10) The Hit
11) The Virgin
12) Guest House
13) Daughter
14) Ocean Song

Cult Leader Set List:
01) I Am Healed
02) Curse Of Satisfaction
03) Isolation In The Land Of Milk & Honey
04) To Achlys
05) Great I Am
06) Sympathetic
07) The Broken Right Hand Of God

More Cult Leader Shots:

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More Daughters Shots:
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Review and Photos By: Brian Lacy
(Side Note: I didn’t take many pictures because I was too into the show.)

Live Review: Onesidezero and Slant at Whisky A Go Go

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It’s always fun when bands you grew up with return to play the venues you once saw them at. Over the many, many years of going to concerts, there is still something fun about heading out to the Sunset Strip and seeing a show. Sure there’s a bit of a nostalgia factor and all the history that is there but, there is something else about seeing bands you really dig at places like the Whisky, Viper Room and Roxy. The other evening, I got to see Onesidezero rock the Whisky stage for the first time in a very long time and it definitely brought back many great memories of seeing them there so many times before.

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During this evening there were two additional bands that I saw that left a mark on my mind. The first band that intrigued me was Hyvmine. This four piece band reminded me of a proggy version of Sevendust with Meshuggah breakdowns. They were quite a good live band. Their set was full of great riffs and vocals that were soulful and melodic. I wasn’t familiar with the band before this evening and I’m most certainly interested to see where they go with their style of rock. Definitely give them a listen.

 

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The direct support for Onesidezero this evening was the band Slant. This band I’ve heard of and checked out before and was quite interested to check them out. Over the course of the last year or so, they have been building quite the fan base and leaving their mark on the scene. Slant’s set was quite rockin. They have a very cool alternative rock side to them with the right amount of “heavy” to accompany them. Something else that stood out about Slant is their positive outlook in their words. It’s not something you notice right off the bat but, as you listen you really start to hear it. They know how to put on a show and their excitement for playing live shows. I will say though, they really need to not play their cover of U2’s “With or Without You.” Perhaps it’s just me (and I’m pretty sick of bands playing covers) but, it just didn’t do anything for me and it was generic at best but, minus that song, they had quite a good set.

 

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Onesidezero took the stage later than scheduled but, those that were there to see them, like myself, made sure to stay. Since Oneside returned to the stage at the end of 2018, it’s been quite a welcome return. Looking around at the crowd as they played, I saw many familiar faces from over the years and it was quite cool to reconnect with a bunch of older fans like myself. Oneside’s set consisted of gems like “New World Order,” “A Point In Time,” “Instead Laugh,” “Eight,” “Carry Your Gun” and he very awesome “Sleep.” Also played was the soon to be released “Chasing the Sun,” as song that has been around for a bit in the bands history but never got the proper treatment and their new song “Eleven” which is one hell of a good song.

 

Having a band like Onesidezero back is genuinely a welcome return. They have always had great songs, and are still making great tunes. Plus it doesn’t hurt that they are nice guys too. The whole evening was a great night for rock music and rock music in Los Angeles. Bringing together bands like Slant and Hyvmine to accompany Onesidezero was the right choice. All three of these bands are definitely worth the time to check out and see live. You won’t be disappointed that you did! Also on a side note, the whisky seems to have updated their lights and sound equipment, making for a very enjoyable listening and visual experience!

 

Review and Photos By: Brian Lacy