Live Show Review

Live Review: Bush @ Hollywood Palladium

To say it’s been a while since I’ve seen Bush live would be an understatement. It’s been about 20 years since I have seen them live. I’ve still followed them and listened and purchased almost every album they’ve released (sorry I just couldn’t do Black and White Rainbows). Their last two albums, The Kingdom and The Art Of Survival have breathed new life into the band and revitalized them. The Art Of Survival is truly a superb album. One that I’d put in their top 3 albums. So, when it was announced that Bush would be back out on tour headlining, and how much I’ve enjoyed the last two albums, I knew I had to go see them again. And that I did, while wearing my Razorblade Suitcase tour shirt that I got in 1997 when I was 13 (the shirt is 26 years old, it’s ok to wear it to the show)! And what a show it was.

Opening the set with “Identity” from The Art Of Survival was a treat. That song has a very impactful opening riff and was quite perfect to open the night with. Though there could’ve been a couple others to pick from but, going with a new song showed that the band wasn’t relying on the past to kick things off. Next up was the classic “Machinehead” which sent the crowd into a roar that felt like it was the mid/late 90’s again when Bush was on top of the world. That song no matter how many times I’ve heard it, will always be stellar. Following that was “Blood River” from The Kingdom. This is probably my favorite song off of that record. It’s rifftastic and Gavin’s vocals/lyrics are quite profound on this one without all the metaphorical layers. Another track from The Kingdom that I love and the crowd was fully into was “Bullet Holes” which you also might have heard in John Wick 3. That song is so damn good. The set was quite well balanced with new and old songs mixed. Songs like “The Chemicals Between Us” struck a nostalgic chord amongst the crowd and the singing along during the chorus was quite loud and fun. Then they’d throw in some more new songs like “Flowers On A Grave” and Quicksand” that got the crowds energy going even more due to the heavier nature of the songs. Of course when “Everything Zen” was played it felt like 1994 all over again. I think the crowd sang it louder than Gavin at points. There were a couple definite highlights of this set for me. One was when they played “Heavy Is The Ocean” the first track off of The Art Of Survival. I love this song. It’s such a great song. I almost wish they started the night off with it. Live this song went a bit harder and heavier than the album version which I love when that happens. I couldn’t help but sing along, loudly during this one (as I did with pretty much every song this evening). This song has a classic Bush sensibility to it with a modern touch. Give that track a listen when you can! Another stand out for me was “1000 Years” which is the closing song on The Art Of Survival. Gavin performed it by himself and it was one of those subdued performances that had you listening close and going with the whole vibe of it. Closing out their main set was their number 1 hit song “More Than Machines” which is a really rocking song and it comes off live so damn good. And then to have “Little Things” round that out just made it all that much better. “Little Things” still sounds great and the way they extended it out a bit made it even more fun. For their “encore” they roared back with “The Kingdom” and damn did that one deliver. I still to this day don’t understand why that song was not the first track on the album “The Kingdom” but, that’s for another day and another topic. The final two songs of the night were classics “Glycerine” and “Comedown.” Gavin performed “Glycerine” alone and at times acapella which was so good. The sing along with the crowd during that point could give you chills. Then to end it all with “Comedown” just brought it all together. The extended version they played too was so much fun, I didn’t want it to end.

For a band that’s been around as long as Bush and to deliver a set this damn good makes me not only want to go see them again when they come through again but, also made me fall back in love with this band. Though there was nothing from Razorblade Suitcase played (I’ll let it slide this time hahaha), this set was great. As I mentioned, mixing the new with the old and a few other songs scattered through made this not a nostalgic set but rather one that felt fresh and captivating. For those of us in the crowd that were familiar with the new, those songs came off great and the classics felt alive and revitalized. I really do have to give it up to Gavin for his stage presence. He’s always been able to connect with the crowd and now when he goes off without his guitar it’s like he’s a new frontman with even more energy than before. Chris Traynor, you are seriously gifted and underrated. The style and vigor he plays with on stage is inspiring. Everything he’s been a part of from Orange 9mm, Helmet, Institute and now Bush, he fits perfectly. Corey Britz has a swagger to his style of bass playing and his backing vocals are the perfect compliment to Gavin’s vocals. Nik Hughes is one hell of a drummer. His precision and little bits he adds to the songs are subtle but, perfect.

Bush is back and I am stoked for how far they’ve come. If you haven’t yet heard The Art Of Survival or The Kingdom, I highly recommend you taking a listen to those albums. They really are good. It’ll have you back to being a fan of the band again. One of the other things I loved about this show was the audience. It was stacked with old and new fans. Some more rabid than others as Gavin still draws the ladies in for damn sure. This show though was on fire from the first chord till the guitars rang out during “Comedown.” And as the song says, as the show was over “I don’t want to come back down from this cloud.” I can’t wait till the next one!

Bush Set List:

01) Identity
02) Machinehead
03) Blood River
04) The Chemicals Between Us
05) Bullet Holes
06) The Sound Of Winter
07) Flowers On A Grave
08) Everything Zen
09) 1000 Years
10) Quicksand
11) Heavy Is The Ocean
12) More Than Machines
13) Little Things

Encore:

14) The Kingdom
15) Glycerine
16) Comedown

REVIEW/PHOTOS BY: BRIAN LACY

Live Review: Cobalt Night at Corbin Bowl 1/20/23

Growing up in Southern California, especially in the surrounding Los Angeles area, there has always been venues with storied histories. For example the famous Sunset Strip and The Whisky A Go-Go, Roxy, Viper Room and Rainbow. There was also a venue in the San Fernando Valley that had a very storied history as well. So many bands that you love today got their start, honed their craft and rocked the stage at the famous Cobalt Cafe. For years The Cobalt Cafe would become a sort of right of passage when being in a band no matter how big or small. It was an all ages venue that put on shows every night and provided a place for everyone to enjoy live music no matter the genre. However in, 2014 the Cobalt closed due but, in July of 2021 the Cobalt returned in a new fashion and a reignited fire to give up and coming bands a place to play. The Cobalt Presents now does shows on a constant basis around the LA area (Corbin Bowl, Hotel Ziggy, The Last Call, The Whisky A Go Go, Transplants Brewing and more) bringing in great bands and putting on superb shows.

The other night was no exception as The Cobalt kicked off 2023 with one hell of a bang at Corbin Bowl. The night was eclectic and featured varied bands from ska/punk, punk, skate punk, doom metal, thrash metal, and pop punk. The whole night and band after band was exceptional. The flow of the styles of the bands made it even more fun as the energy level kept rising with each band that took the stage. The place was packed and the familiar faces from back in the days of the old Cobalt were there as well, making it all come full circle.

Live Review: Cave In at Teragram Ballroom

Cave In have long been a band that I’ve been quite fond of. I still remember first hearing them around the year 2000 when Jupiter came out and thinking that this is on a whole other level. There was something about Cave In that stood out and from that point on, I was hooked. Now over 20 years later, I’m still hooked and this most recent time seeing them live was one of those shows that left you not wanting the show to end but, leaving you with the sense of wanting to create!

Riding high off the release of their fantastic new album, Heavy Pendulum (one of my Top 5 favorite albums of the year), Cave In took the stage to a roaring crowd and immediately hit the crowd with a dose of “New Reality.” From there it went into “Blood Spiller” and at that point you were engrossed with what was happening on stage. Not long after we were hit with the epic “The End Of Our Rope Is A Noose” which when you looked around the venue you could tell who goes a long way back with the band. After that was my favorite track off of Heavy Pendulum, “Reckoning.” This song is truly one of “those songs” that stay with you for years and years. Written by the extremely underrated Adam McGrath, the live version of “Reckoning” took it to another world. It was seriously a highlight of the set. And then they followed that up with “Joy Opposites” one of my favorite songs off of their (underrated album) Antenna. Those 2 songs alone made my night and to have them back to back was special. The band from there went back into the new album for a couple more “Careless Offering” and “Blinded By A Blaze” both of which were stunning. Then just when you thought things were calm, Cave In hits the crowd with “Halo Of Flies” and from there you knew that there was no turning back. Closing out the main set was “Wavering Angel” another favorite of mine off their new album. This song live too, was one of those that just hits you and stays with you. For their encore the eruption of “Big Riff” had the crowd in a frenzy and as about as loud as the band singing along. Ending the whole night was the always great and sentimental “Sing My Loves.”

Cave In delivered a show and a set that was definitely one that I will remember for a long time. Having one of my really good friends with me and it being his first Cave In show made it even better. As I mentioned above, when the show was all said and done, you could tell that there was still so much energy in the room that Cave In probably could have played longer and nobody would have left. It was that kind of show. The intimate nature of the venue too made it feel as though everyone was all together as the band rocked the night. It’s truly remarkable that Cave In, who have weathered just about every storm you can think of for a band, can collectively come together make another phenomenal album and continue onward and upward in a way that shows what the power of music and the right people together can do. If you haven’t seen Cave In, I highly recommend you change that and make it out to a show the next time they come through your town. One more thing I would like to add, Caleb Scofield was one of those guys that are pretty irreplaceable and so unique that it takes someone with the right understanding to come in and carry on their legacy and the one and only Nate Newton was the absolute best choice. Thank you to Stephen Brodsky, Adam McGrath, JR Conners, Nate Newton and Caleb Scofield for all the years of great music and shows! See you all when you come back!

Cave In Set List:

01) New Reality
02) Blood Spiller
03) Searchers Of Hell
04) The End Of Our Rope Is A Noose
05) Reckoning
06) Joy Opposites
07) Careless Offering
08) Blinded By A Blaze
09) Halo Of Flies
10) Wavering Angel

Encore:

11) Big Riff
12) Sing My Loves


Review and Photos By: Brian Lacy

Live Review: Holy Fawn, SOM & Grivo at The Echo

Last week (Thursday 11/3/22), I finally got to see a band I’ve been wanting to see for some time. Ever since I heard their album, Death Spells, I knew I had to go see Holy Fawn live. This year, Holy Fawn released their spectacular and absolute gem of an album with Dimensional Bleed. After hearing that album, I told myself, when they come through Los Angeles, I’m going and they did not disappoint at all. There was something about the night and how perfect it all came together.

One thing I’ve been trying to do more of is not check out the bands that are opening the show. This way, I can go into a show with a completely open mind and not have any preconceived notions. I’m glad I did too because every band this evening was perfectly chosen and provided the right vibe to make this one hell of an explosive night. The first band of the night was Grivo. This three piece band delivered a set that mixed bits of doom, shoegaze and 90’s alternative. While listening you could pick up bits of My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and even a little bit of The Smashing Pumpkins (Gish/Siamese era). They were heavy without being “heavy” and set a tone for the night that only got louder and more exciting. Grivo are the type of band that fit very well at The Echo. Looking around at the crowd, you could tell that this was the start of a very exciting night.

Next up was SOM and I was seriously blown away by them. Their self proclaimed “doom-pop” style is summed up perfectly. They have this perfect harmony of heaviness, atmosphere, melody and melancholy that makes for a sound that creates an ebb and flow of emotions that when the music, lyrics and vocals all hit, you are completely swept up by it all. By the second song I was completely immersed into their music. It was one of those moments that going to a show is all about. Being consumed by the music and letting it take over. Their new album, The Shape Of Everything is a stunning and deeply immersive album that you can listen to over and over again and get lost in it (in a totally great way). The band live was super tight and each member seemed to be drawn into the songs just as the audience making for a performance that left me high tailing it to the merch table after their set for a quick chat and to procure a few things for myself! Definitely go see SOM when they come through your town!

The main event of the night, Holy Fawn, was everything I was hoping for and more. They were hypnotic and mesmerizing as they delivered great song after great song. Their post-metal style has allowed them to explore other sub-genres and create music that not only is sonically bombastic but also thought provoking in a way that you find yourself even more drawn into the atmosphere that is created and the next thing you know the intensity awakens you and it’s like you’ve stepped outside yourself. Being able to shift between genres in songs is not an easy thing to do and still keep the audience engaged is astounding. Every song they played this evening was its own experience. One of the things about Holy Fawn that I love is their ability to shift between light and dark. They have this ability to draw you in with these delicate moments that shine the light then when you think it will explode with even more light, they flip the switch to the “heavy” and the dark shroud takes a hold and the emotional purge you feel from the music and vocals takes you to that other dimension.

What a great show this was. Each band brought the goods and delivered sets that were stellar. SOM and Holy Fawn as a 1, 2 punch was outstanding. This was a show that I not only knew I needed to go to but now will have to go see these bands each and every time they come through Los Angeles. SOM is definitely a band you need to check out and I will be featuring here on Audioeclectica very soon. Holy Fawn is one hell of a band that you really should take time to listen to and their new album, Dimensional Bleed is in my top 5 of the year. Shows like this don’t happen all the time but, when they do, you remember them for a long time. Thank you Grivo, SOM and Holy Fawn for one hell of a night to remember!

Live Review: Lamb of God & Killswitch Engage at YouTube Theater

Over the years as an avid concert goer I’ve seen so many bands and shows. My very first concert was in 1989. I was almost 5 years old when I went to that show (my birthday was only a couple weeks after I attended the show) and from that point I was hooked. 30 plus years later and I’ve seen some of the best bands in the world put on some of the best shows I’ve ever seen. One day I will actually sit down and try to put together a list of my absolute top ten shows I’ve ever been to. Through the years as my tastes have changed, I’ve not gone to see certain bands for many different reasons. Most of the time it’s because I don’t really like all the bands on the bill and don’t want to sit through things I won’t enjoy. I’ve already done and sat through enough opening bands in my life. During the whole world shut down, I started to go back and listen to a few bands that I haven’t listened to in a while and things started to shift for me. One of the bands I went back to was Lamb Of God. It was right around the time that they released their self titled album that I went back and delved into their catalog again. By doing so it revitalized me into a fan again. I’ll admit they had lost me a bit for a couple albums. Anyways, their self titled brought me back into the fold but, when I heard the first few songs released off their latest album, I knew what I had to do and that was go see Lamb Of God live again for the first time since 2008.

Lamb Of God are without a doubt one of the best live bands around today. Their most recent tour and stop in Los Angeles proved that. Riding high on the release of their savage and wicked album, Omens, Lamb Of God delivered one hell of a show. When the black curtain rose to cover the stage with just the band name on it and the beginning of “Memento Mori” starting, the excitement from everyone in the venue hit a level of anticipation that was about to explode, and as soon as that curtain dropped and the song kicked in, IT WAS ON! “Walk With Me In Hell” followed by “Now You’ve Got Something To Die For” absolutely kicked the audience into high gear. What a way to start the show. Through the course of the night, new songs like “Nevermore” and “Omens” were stunning to hear and live they are a whole other beast. The older songs played like “11th Hour,” “Vigil,” and “Ruin” were played with such precision and intensity that you’d think they were new songs. Other classics like “Laid To Rest” and “Omerta” were more than welcomed by the audience who seemed to get louder with each song that was played. Through the 80 minutes that Lamb Of God was on stage, they not only put it all out there, there was a definitely a renewed sense of being. The addition of Art Cruz on drums is the spark that they needed. His energy is contagious and it was found in each and every member of the band. As I mentioned before, it had been a while since I had seen Lamb live, and I’m sure glad I came back to it. Randy Blythe is one of the best frontmen. The way he takes over a crowd and has them in the palm of his hand is uncanny. His vocals have gotten better and better! Mark Morton and Willie Adler are one of the best guitar duos in the game. Both have their own style and together it makes for something quite intriguing. John Campbell is an underrated gem. His thunderous tone matches with the hard hitting and super energetic playing of Art Cruz. The five of them together have found their groove and I can’t wait for what they do next.

Joining Lamb Of God on this tour was Killswitch Engage. It’s been about ten years since I’ve seen them live and they were just as good as the last time. One of the best things about Killswitch live is that they always seem to have a good time and that filters out to the audience as well. Their set list was full of sing along songs that had the crowd singing louder than the band at times. Especially with “The End Of Heartache,” “My Curse,” “Rose Of Sharyn,” and “In Due Time.” I did hope for some more songs off of Alive Or Just Breathing but, that’s ok. We did get Howard Jones to come out at the end to join the band for “The Signal Fire” off of the bands most recent album, Atonement. Killswitch was a great band to have before Lamb destroyed.

This tour with both Lamb of God and Killswitch Engage was a really fun throwback to when they both started to come up in the early 2000’s. I remember seeing both bands back in 2003/2004 and was totally into it. Now here we are quite a few years later and both bands are still alive and kicking ass. I’m interested to hear what Killswitch does next. I’d love to hear them branch out a bit and explore some new ideas. Lamb Of God’s new album, Omens, is their best in years. It feels like a new band again. Plus I have to say it again, Art Cruz brought new life into this band that was in need of it. I would gladly go see Lamb Of God again.

Review By: Brian Lacy

Photos (except the LOG Banner) By: Gregory Flack

Lamb Of God Photos:

Lamb Of God Set List:

01) Memento Mori
02) Walk With Me In Hell
03) Now You’ve Got Something To Die For
04) Resurrection Man
05) Nevermore
06) Ruin
07) 11th Hour
08) Omerta
09) Omens
10) Contractor
11) 512
12) Ghost Walking
13) Vigil
14) Laid To Rest
15) Redneck

Killswitch Engage Set List:

01) Strength Of The Mind
02) This Is Absolution
03) Rose Of Sharyn
04) To The Sons Of Man
05) Unleashed
06) The Crownless King
07) Hate By Design
08) Know Your Enemy
09) My Curse
10) This Fire
11) The End Of Heartache
12) In Due Time
13) Holy Diver (Dio Cover)
14) The Signal Fire (with Howard Jones)

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: 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

Live Review: Slayer, Primus, Ministry, Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals at The Forum

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This past weekend were the “Final” Slayer shows. It was very appropriate that they close it out in Los Angeles, seeing as though they are from the great LA area. What was originally going to be one show, turned to two after the first night sold out immediately. Then they announced the lineup of the show. Slayer would be joined by one of the most diverse lineups they’ve played in years. Primus was direct support along with Ministry and Philip H. Anselmo and The Illegals performing nothing but Pantera songs.

 

The night began with a ferocious set by Philip H. Anselmo and The Illegals. Their short but sweet set was the highlight of the night (other than Slayer of course). For 30 minutes, they really delivered the goods as they ran through their Pantera set. Starting with “Mouth For War” was a great idea as it really got the crowd pumped. “Becoming,” “I’m Broken,” and “Strength Beyond Strength” were absolutely killer as well. During “Fucking Hostile” Anthrax’s Charlie Benante joined the band on the drums and that one just about crushed the pit. “This Love” was a great choice to play as well, with actor Jason Momoa running out on stage with his kids to sing along. Closing out their set was “A New Level” and they really knocked it out of the park with this one. Phil was absolutely on and sounded terrific. The guys in The Illegals really did a stellar job with these songs. Having Phil and The Illegals open up this show was the perfect choice.

 

Ministry was up next and they were pretty solid. Though they played the same exact set as the did the night before. It had been a minute since I last saw Ministry live and with an entirely different lineup. One of the best parts of seeing Ministry this go round was that on bass they have Paul D’Amor, who you might recognize as the original bassist for Tool. Watching him onstage going all out was pretty great. The band’s set was all classic songs like “Stigmata,” “Just One Fix,” “Thieves,” The Missing” and “Jesus Built My Hotrod,” so that made this pretty cool. It was just lacking something that I can’t quite put the right words to.

Primus was right before Slayer. It was definitely an interesting choice. Throughout their set, you could sense that something was a bit off. The crowd was losing interest and the energy was sort of being sucked out of the room the longer they played. I even fell asleep for a good 10-15 minutes during their set. Primus are a good band and great musicians. I can also see why they were asked to be a part of this tour due to the long history they have with the guys in Slayer but, they really really zapped the room almost out of the show.

Thankfully it wasn’t long until Slayer took the stage and the place went ape shit. A short video preceded the band coming on stage. The video featured fans thanking the band for all the years of music and blah blah blah… FUCKING SLAYER!!! Then, the lights came down and the visuals started and bang, right into “South Of Heaven.” For the next almost 2 hours, Slayer ripped through songs like “Repentless,” Postmortem,” “War Ensemble,” “Stain of Mind” Disciple,” “Seasons In The Abyss,” “Hell Awaits,” “Dead Skin Mask” and “Chemical Warfare.” Gary Holt was absolutely ripping it up on his leads and seemed to be having one hell of a great time playing. Tom Araya seemed to be very contemplative as his sang and played. Throughout the set, he couldn’t help but smile as he took it all in. Paul Bostaph was straight up killing it on the drums. And Kerry King was very locked into his playing but, even he seemed to be enjoying the moment a bit too. Ending their set with the trifecta of “Raining Blood,” “Mandatory Suicide” and “Angel Of Death” was pretty awesome

 

It was a very somber yet exciting night. If this is truly Slayer’s last show, they went out with quite a bang. For a band that’s been at it this hard for over 30 plus years, it’s never easy but, when you have a fan base as dedicated and die hard as Slayer fans are, it makes it all worth while. Sure I would have liked to hear a few other songs other than some of what they picked to play but, that’s ok, I got the favorites I wanted. I’ve seen Slayer many times over the years and this was one hell of a show. The Forum was a great place to see them close it out. Thank you Slayer for all the years of heavy tunes and inspiration! You will be missed

 

Slayer Set List:

01) South Of Heaven
02) Repentless
03) Postmortem
04) World Painted Blood
05) Hate Worldwide
06) War Ensemble
07) Stain Of Mind
08) Disciple
09) When The Stillness Comes
10) Born Of Fire
11) Payback
12) Seasons In The Abyss
13) Jesus Saves
14) Chemical Warfare
15) Hell Awaits
16) Dead Skin Mask
17) Show No Mercy
18) Raining Blood
19) Mandatory Suicide
20 ) Angel Of Death

Primus Set List:
01) Those Damned Blue Collar Tweekers
02) Too Many Puppies
03) Sgt. Baker
04) The Seven
05) Cygnus X-1
06) Southbound Pachyderm
07) Mr. Krinkle
08) Welcome To This World
09) Professor Nutbutter’s House Of Treats
10) My Name Is Mud
11) Jerry Was A Race Car Driver

 

Ministry Set List:

01) The Missing
02) Deity
03) Stigmata
04) Supernaut (Black Sabbath Cover)
05) Just One Fix
06) N.W.O.
07) Thieves
08) Jesus Built My Hotrod

Philip H. Anselmo and The Illegals Set List:
01) Mouth For War
02) Becoming
03) I’m Broken
04) Goddamn Electric
05) Strength Beyond Strength
06) Fucking Hostile (with Charlie Benante)
07) This Love
08) A New Level