Concert Review

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

Live Review: Cold at The Viper Room

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It’s always an interesting time going to see a band live that you haven’t seen in many years. There are so many thoughts that race through your mind, what are they going to play, how are they going to sound, what will these new members bring to the table, etc. Last night at The Viper Room, I got to see Cold live for the first time in well over a decade and it was full of nostalgia, good moments, as well as some interesting things.

As the curtain opened up and the lights and fog were cued, The members of Cold appeared through and began ripping through “Everyone’s A Devil” (side note, this song should have been included on the bands new album The Things We Can’t Stop). From there, songs like “Remedy,” “Give,” new song “Without You,” “No One (which is one of my all time favorite Cold songs),” “The Break,” and “Suffocate (another favorite of mine)” were played. At this point the crowd started to get louder and louder, singing along and at times singing louder than Scooter Ward. Other highlights from the night included my all time favorite Cold song “Confession” from 13 Ways To Bleed On Stage as well as “End Of The World,” “Happens All The Time,” and “Just Got Wicked.” Two other new songs “Shine” and their cover of Snow Patrol’s “Run” were played and sounded even better live, especially “Shine.” The set list covered a nice cross section of their albums and showed that they still got it!

This show was very intimate and a great way to welcome Cold back to the stage after an almost decade hiatus from playing live. There is one thing that seemed a bit off and that was the tone and sound of some of the songs. Granted I’m used to hearing the songs a certain way after all these years so, I do have a little bias. Having new members will definitely change things up and at certain moments, yes, there were times that it didn’t sound exactly right but, that’s what made this a very unique performance. The band was extremely tight though and you can tell they had finally hit their stride on that level. I have a feeling that with more and more shows and playing these songs, they will get those tones and sounds aligned and sound even better. That’s not to say, that the new members don’t play well, they do, it’s just going to take some getting used to. Playing at The Viper Room was a great choice as well. This room really brought the fans closer to the band and you could feel the unity among them all in attendance as they sang their hearts out. Here’s to Cold’s return and many more shows and albums from here on out!

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Cold Set List:

01) Everyone’s A Devil
02) Remedy
03) Give
04) Without You
05) No One
06) The Break
07) Suffocate
08) It’s All Good
09) When Angels Fly Away
10) Happens All The Time
11) Ocean
12) Confession
13) End Of The World
14) God’s Song
15) Shine
16) Stupid Girl
17) Run (Snow Patrol Cover)
18) Just Got Wicked
19) Feel It In Your Heart

 

 

Review and Photos (I was too busy watching to take many pictures) By: Brian Lacy

Live Review: Korn and Alice In Chains at FivePoint Amphitheater

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The summer concert season has long been full of great shows. Going back to the late 90’s and early 2000’s with things like Ozzfest and Warped Tour, along with the other fun package tours, summer concerts have always been a great experience. A few months back, there was a summer tour announced that seemed a bit strange at the time but, made sense. That tour was Korn and Alice In Chains.  When bands share the same management or booking agent (Korn and Alice share the same management) it sometimes really makes a lot of sense to pair the bands on the roster together. When you think about it, you get the sense that it doesn’t fit but, let me be one of the ones to attest to it, it sure does. This evening was quite a fun and awesome one.

 
I missed the first band, The Fever 333. I think they only got like 20 minutes to play too. Following them was Underoath. I’ve never really been a fan of them but, they really put on a good show. They brought the energy and seemed really stoked to be a part of this tour. I had seen them many years ago on Warped Tour and they were very energtic then as they are now. I have to say though, the bass player Grant Brandell and keyboard player Chris Dudley were really going for it all night. As I was listening to the band, I couldn’t help but think that, if Grant and Chris had a side project, I bet it would be something quite cool.

As the sun began to dim, Alice In Chains took the stage. This would be my 9th time seeing Alice In Chains and they didn’t disappoint. Seeing them in an outdoor venue is a totally different experience than when they are playing indoors. There’s an energy that is summoned as they play that inhabits any venue they play but, with the breeze, sunlight, and moonlight as backdrops, it makes seeing and listening to the songs totally something else. Beginning their set with “Angry Chair,” I knew that this was going to be a great performance from them. They wasted no time, just hitting all the right notes as they ran through songs like “Again,” “Man In The Box,” “Check My Brain,” “Stone,” and “We Die Young.” Certain songs though really stood out like “Them Bones,” “Dam That River,” “Love, Hate, Love,” “Would,” and “Nutshell.” William DuVal really knocked it out of the park on those. During “Nutshell” Jerry asked the crowd to turn the lights on their phones and shine them bright for Layne Staley and Mike Starr. When you looked around as that song played, it was a beautiful sight to see. Alice was their usual awesome selves this evening and didn’t disappoint. Getting to hear three of my top 5 favorite songs by them too really made it awesome especially, “Love, Hate, Love.” That song is so damn good.

The headliner for the night was Korn. I haven’t seen them live in over 12 years, so this was quite exciting to see. As the lights dimmed and the feedback began, the curtain dropped and they came out with a bang as they played “Here To Stay.” Which is one hell of a song to open up the show with. “Blind” and “Divine” followed and they sounded stellar, specifically “Divine” which is one of my all time favorites. Other choice cuts played were “Make Me Bad,” “Rotting In Vain” and the new song “You’ll Never Find Me” which sounded killer live. Of course the fan favorites like “Got The Life,” “Freak On A Leash,” and “Falling Away From Me” were played too. Korn has been going at it pretty much non stop just about 25 years and they are constantly bringing it. Its quite awesome to not see a band for a long time and then when you do, you realize they haven’t lost a step at all. Jonathan Davis sounded great as well as the rest of the band. Seeing Munky and Head back on stage again is fantastic. They really do compliment each other so well. It didn’t really work without them both. I also have to mention that Ray Luzier has added some much needed depth to the songs with the way he plays. Plus he’s an absolute beast on the kit and was a great choice as their drummer.

What a fun and great show. Both Alice In Chains and Korn were on top of their games and it’s no wonder why they were put together on this tour. You get a best of both worlds vibe when you are there. It was a varied crowd too which made people watching all that much more fun. I’m quite looking forward to the new Korn album, The Nothing and their upcoming tour. I have a feeling it’s going to be a good one. And Alice In Chains, what else can I say about this band that I haven’t already. They really are masters at what they do and those songs… Those songs are so damn good, it’s like they have a life of their own. The only thing I wish about the evening was that both Alice and Korn played longer. All in all it was a great evening with great songs, good vibes, and great company.

Alice In Chains Set List:

01) Angry Chair
02) Man In The Box
03) Check My Brain
04) Again
05) Them Bones
06) Dam That River
07) Stone
08) Rainer Fog
09) No Excuses
10) Nutshell
11) Love, Hate, Love
12) We Die Young
13) The One You Know
14) Would?
15) Rooster

Korn Set List:
01) Here To Stay
02) Blind
03) Divine
04) Rotting In Vain
05) You’ll Never Find Me
06) Twisted Transistor
07) Shoots & Ladders (with Metallica One at the end)
08) Got The Life
09) Make Me Bad
10) Somebody Someone
11) Freak On A Leash
Encore

12) 4U
13) Twist
14) Coming Undone (with Queen We Will Rock You)
15) Falling Away From Me

 

By: Brian Lacy

 

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

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: 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: Minus Knives at The Viper Room

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Over the last couple of years while doing Audioeclectica, I’ve been able to see and meet some really great bands. And over time I’ve been able to watch these bands grow and continue to get better and better. A while back I was informed about a new band that was forming with members of previous bands I really dug, and my curiosity was most certainly raised. Fast forward a couple months and that band would become Minus Knives. 

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Last night I had the pleasure of checking out Minus Knives live at The Viper Room and it was quite a gem. For it being only their second show, they really played with a sense of vigor and gusto along with an unrivaled belief and passion for the music they have created. Playing songs off their debut self titled album, heir 30ish minute set was chock full of hard hitting melodic riffs, soaring vocals and rhythms that pummeled all the while being bright and crisp. Songs like “Disfigurines,” “Seconds Past,” “Origin Of Fracture,” “Splntr” along with new song “Cope” were stellar and really showed what a great songwriting band Minus Knives is.

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Each member of this band brings something unique to the table in terms of their styles. Singer Brandon Espinoza sounded great live. He’s got this really cool voice that is a little similar to that of Daryl of Glassjaw mixed with a little Chino from Deftones in the Around The Fur era. Guitarist Bill Schultz was dialed in with the riffs and melody. Bassist Kevin Lewis really let it all out on stage while making sure the low end was steady and punishing. Drummer Greg Wroblewski was in time and made sure those fills were tasty.

 

Minus Knives are definitely a band to be on the look out for. They have the songs and live show that will leave you wanting more. Rock is not dead and never will be as long as bands like Minus Knives are delivering the rock!

 
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Review By: Brian Lacy
Photos by: Joshua Guesford (@gues_vita)