Pat Bruders

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)

Album Review: Down IV- Part 2

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When Down announced they were going to go release a series of EP’s instead of a full length, I was excited. What that meant was more swamp-y, punishing riffs to go around. Not to mention More Philip Anselmo, Pepper Keenan and Jimmy Bower! Down IV Part II is 35 minutes, of sludgy riff madness. This EP is a more focused approach than Down IV Part I. Even though Rex Brown and Kirk Windstein are gone, Pat Bruders and Bobby Landgraf hold their own and bring in some fresh perspective to what Down is known for. Opening track “Steeple” is their best album opener since “Temptations Wings” from their classic debut NOLA. The riff is filled with such groove. Phil’s vocals are in top shape. “We Knew Him Well” is a solid jam with the heavy chunky riffs that down has become known for. “Hogshead Dogshead” opens with a swirling solo then jumps right into a crooning Phil. This could also be the weakest track on the album. “Conjure” has a very distinct Black Sabbath vibe. This is also one of the best songs they’ve ever written. Hopefully this becomes a live staple for all shows to come. “Sufferers’s Years” has a great intro and the guitar work throughout the song. Pepper and Bobby really play well off each other. This song really showcases that. Closing out the album is “Bacchanalia.” This song definitely has that 70’s vibe to it. Almost bordering on Thin Lizzy. Jimmy and Pat really shine as a rhythm section on this song. The outro explores the more acoustic nature of the band. This song could be foreshadowing into the realm of the next EP. 

All in all Down has made an EP that they can be proud of. If at first you aren’t into it, give it a couple more listens and immerse yourself in the EP. Your mind will be changed. Down makes music in an honest fashion. There are no gimmicks when it comes to this band. What you see and hear is what you get. And with a lineup like this, you wouldn’t expect anything less.

Click below for the album stream:

http://noisey.vice.com/blog/stream-the-new-down-iv-part-ii-ep

Video for “We Knew Him Well”

 

By: Brian Lacy

A Second Look: DOWN (and 2 For Tuesday)

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Many “supergroups” have come and gone. Some have been great while others were put together to capitalize on the members names. One group that has always stood out to me is Down. During it’s inception, Down was meant to be a side project for the members during their downtime while in Pantera, Corrosion Of Conformity, EyeHateGod, and Crowbar. Comprised of Philip H. Anselmo, Pepper Keenan, Jimmy Bower, Pat Bruders, and Bobby Landgraf, (Rex Brown and Kirk Windstein have since parted ways with the band to focus on other projects) these gents have put together a formula of righteous heaviness. A lot of people pronounce Pantera as the holy grail of heavy, but I’ve always though that Down was the better band. Sure I get a lot of flack for this opinion, but I stand by it. All you have to do is listen to the songs. There really is something special about the music that these guys made. Not to take anything away from Pantera, Down just has had more of an impact on me.

Their first album NOLA, is quite a classic in todays heavy rock circles. Songs such as Temptations Wings, Stone The Crow, Losing All, Jail, and Bury Me In Smoke, all portray such vulnerability and strength in the delivery of them. After NOLA was released and a few shows were played, Down was put on the back burner until 2001. When Down reconvened, they did so at Phil’s home and transformed his barn into a studio and wrote and recorded their next album Down II: A Bustle In Your Hedgerow in 28 days. While the album wasn’t as solid as their debut, there are still quite a few gems on the album such as Ghosts Along The Mississippi, Learn From This Mistake, Beautifully Depressed, The Seed, and New Orleans Is A Dying Whore. In 2002 Down toured as part of Ozzfest, only to take another break soon after. Then again in 2006 they reformed in the wake of the travesty of Hurricane Katrina and the death of Dimebag Darrell. The result was Down III: Over The Under which proved to be every bit of what fans would expect the album to be. It’s raw and filled with anger, remorse, sadness, and hope. Quick side note it’s also the only of their albums not to have any profanity on it. The album features some truly great well written songs including The Path, On March The Saints, Beneath The Tides, In The Thrall Of It All and the epic Nothing In Return (which has become one of my favorite songs ever). In 2012, the release of part 1 of their 4 EP set was released. The Purple EP was a slight return to the raw unpolished sound of their original material. Misfortune Teller the closing track on the album really showcases this return.  Down are now gearing up to release part 2 this year.

Down has been able to wrangle themselves into quite the group. They are honest musicians that create music that satisfies the savage beast in all of us. They can write songs that are heavy as heavy can be but also can take you on an epic trip. If you’ve never really given Down a listen you should really sit back and enjoy what they have to offer.

Nothing In Return: I love listening to this song to end my evening after a night out or just when I’m coming home from work.

Bury Me In Smoke: Another great song to end the night to, also a great song to just listen to while driving with the windows down.