BL’AST

Live Show Review: Down at The Wiltern

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It’s always exciting when a band in your all time top ten comes to town.  The sheer enjoyment and anticipation is beyond any normal show. With that in mind, I bring you a report from the Wiltern after seeing the mighty Down.

First band up for the night was Australia’s King Parrot. Their on stage antics were more memorable than their actual music. The singer kept enjoying mooning the crowd. Granted this was sort of funny, it was a real distraction. Their 30 minute set seemed like it would never end, especially when all their songs all sound the same. Though there were a couple highlights from their part of the show. The singer got in the crowd to mosh around with people in the pit, causing a bit of a frenzy and the last song of their set featured a very brief cameo from Phil Anselmo who was watching on the side of the stage.

Next up was the newly reunited Bl’ast. Playing their first gig of this tour, Bl’ast put forth a solid performance but it lacked a lot of energy. I saw them late last year open for Neurosis and they came out firing on all cylinders and actually left me wanting more. Joining the band for touring was, Nick Oliveri on bass and Joey Castillo on drums, both former members of Queens Of The Stone Age.  Perhaps it was just an off night for the band, but it sure didn’t resonate with the crowd very well. They seem better suited in playing smaller places with a more intimate vibe,

The last opener for the evening was London, England’s Orange Goblin. Their blend of Black Sabbath and Motorhead influence really shined this evening. The bands 40 minute set was entertaining and fitting, knowing that Down was next. I’ve only ever heard a couple of songs by Orange Goblin before tonight, and when they were done I made a note to go out and pick up their albums.

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Finally after 3 opening bands, Down took the stage to a thunderous roar. I’ve seen Down quite a few times over the years and they never disappoint. Their set though only 14 songs stretched to just over 2 hours. Material from their first 2 albums was the majority of the set along with a few newer tracks from their most recent EP releases. Sadly though nothing from their third album was played. Phil Anselmo was on his game this evening too. His banter in between songs came across as funny and charming. The band themselves were top-notch as well. New additions to the band Pat Bruders and Bobby Landgraf are perfect fits to take the place of Rex Brown and Kirk Windstein. Jimmy Bower and Pepper Keenan are still masters of their instruments. As usual when “Lifer” was played, Phil dedicated it to his fallen brother Dimebag Darrell. Other songs that really stood out, as they are favorites of mine were “Losing All,” “Ghosts Along The Mississippi,” “Temptations Wings,” and the new song “Conjure.” One other funny note from the show, the guys in  Down jokingly broke into snippets of David Essex’ ‘Rock On’ on two occasions, and sang it surprisingly well. For the encore “Stone The Crow” and “Bury Me In Smoke” were played. And as usual during “Bury Me In Smoke,” random friends of the band made their way on stage to help out. One friend that really caught my attention was Danny Lohner (formerly of Nine Inch Nails). Pepper gave him his guitar and the rest was history.

 

The evening as a whole was very interesting and spanned many different genres of heavy music. The main highlight though was Down. They really are the real deal. It is definitely a different beast seeing them live. There is just such passion amongst all the guys in the band and their chemistry really shines. This is one of the best Down shows I’ve seen yet.

 

Down Setlist:

01. Lysergik Funeral Procession
02. Lifer
03. Hail The Leaf
04. Witchtripper
05. We Knew Him Well
06. There’s Something On My Side
07. Ghost Of Mississippi
08. Losing All
09. Pillars Of Eternity
10. Temptation’s Wings
11. Conjure
12. Eyes Of The South

Encore:
13. Stone The Crow
14. Bury Me In Smoke (with members of King Parrot, Orange Goblin, and Danny Lohner)

 

Photos by: Levan TK (http://instagram.com/levan_t_k)

Neurosis at The Observatory

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As the fog rolled in on a damp December night in Orange County, it only seemed fitting that the atmospheric pressure would drop as Neurosis came to town. The thunderous Neurosis came back to Southern California for the second time in 2013. This time they rode into Orange County with a mission to obliterate the audience with it’s signature apocalyptic heaviness. Earlier in the year the band decided to stop using any visual aspects in the background as they played, thus leaving 5 members on a dark lit stage. Their new setup really takes things into a different dimension. The songs invoke more use of the audiences imagination and taps into a different part of the psyche. Still riding high on the release of 2012’s Honor Found In Decay, Neurosis’s setlist for the night was one for the books. While playing a few from the newest album, the band tapped back into “A Sun That Never Sets” for the evening. (I’m quite partial to that album, especially “Stones From The Sky,” which closed out the set). Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till carry the beast of the band vocally into the dark sub conscious of the musics being. Their accompanying guitar work on the songs fit perfectly with how Jason Roeder and Dave Edwardson tap into the brooding rhythms, and Noah Landis adds the extra prowess with his ambient landscapes behind the band. The pure energy and emotion that pours throughout the band during their live show is quite a sight. Scott Kelly tends to draw blood during the set, showing that “All we are is blood.” At the end of the night there was no mistaking why Neurosis is one of the most influential bands of the last 20 years. Their mastery of their craft and art is undeniable and reigns true to themselves and the fans.

Before Neurosis took the stage, BL’AST got the audience into a fine frenzy. BL’AST recently reunited and came back with quite a vengeance. Coming off their reissued album “It’s In My Blood” (which was remixed by Dave Grohl), and armed with Nick Oliveri playing bass for the band live, BL’AST delivered a very hardcore set. Cliff Dinsmore despite being a tad out of breath at the end of their set, commanded the stage as though he never left. Armed with the signature AMPEG acrylic guitar Mike Neider chugged through the riffs with authority.

YOB was one of the openers for the night and laid down some heaviness to get things started. Even with their technical problems, the band churned out a well rehearsed set with a good amount of energy to help flow though the night. Also opening the night was Helen Money. Helen is a one person act with a cello that plays deconstruction music. Her sultry cello sounds mixed through distortion and delay radiated though the venue as people started walking in, providing a very diverse sound for the evening.

Neurosis Set List:

A Sun That Never Sets

Locust Star

At The Well

We All Rage In Gold

From The Hill

The Tide

Water Is Not Enough

Bleeding The Pigs

The Doorway

Stones From The Sky

Review by: Brian Lacy

Photos by LEVAN TK instagram.com/levan_t_k