Roy Mayorga

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).

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Live Review: Abloom

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When a band reunites after a long time, especially 10 years later, the expectations are very skeptical. But there are some instances when its as though the band never left. That’s exactly how it went down for the shows Abloom played this past weekend. Starting in Santa Barbara at Velvet Jones and then again at the Sunset Strip Music Festival, Abloom picked up right where they left off. The bands energy on stage mixed with the perfect setlist of their songs was awe inspiring. The dueling guitars of Levon Sultanian and Sonny Mayo (filling in for Mikey Doling) were beyond in sync. Roy Mayorga pounded away on his drums with authority while Marcello Dias’ bass thumped perfectly and Jasan Radfords vocals were top notch. When the band started playing, all the lyrics came back in my head as though it were 10 years ago. Those that remember them from way back really went all out during both shows. More on Abloom in a moment.

 

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Opening the show at Velvet Jones was The Broken Stems from San Diego. Their blend of indie rock, mixed with a laid back vibe fit perfectly against the back drop of Santa Barbara. Next up was the very fantastic With Our Arms To The Sun. Their sound encapsulates doom metal, sludge, and prog rock. These guys are beasts live. Think Tool meets Neurosis. The energy from their set radiated throughout the night. Their 35 minute set was smart and intriguing. They were the perfect band to be a part of the night. After them was Soma. They carried on with the energy of With Our Arms. All that momentum carried on to Abloom. The guys in Abloom came back with a vengeance. They don’t need much on stage since their repertoire of songs is unbeatable. Songs like “January 2nd,” “What You Came For,” “After That Quiet,” “So Softly,”  Blood Sweat and Tears,” and “Alone We Sing” have all been personal favorites of mine for years and they sounded great. Their sets at both Velvet Jones and Sunset Music Fest were on fire

It’s a breath of fresh air now that Abloom has returned. Now they can finish what the started properly. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Abloom Setlist:

1. January 2nd
2. What You Came For
3. Nothing Left To Do
4. After That Quiet
5. Burnt Offerings
6. So Softly
7. Blood, Sweat & Tears
8. Cover Up
9. Along We Sing

 

 

 

By: Brian Lacy

Band Of The Week: Abloom

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In 2004 there was a band that broke onto the Los Angeles music scene and turned it upside down. They had all the right elements of melody, heaviness, sultry sounds, and a live performance that rivaled any big name. Abloom was formed by Jasan Radford and Levon Sultanian of One Side Zero, Mikey Doling, Roy Mayorga and Marcello Dias (Who all played together in Soulfly amongst other bands). Now in 2014 they have returned in a revitalized form to decimate audiences. The first song they released back then was “What You Came For,” a great track with tons of emotion and intricacies. The other song released ” After That Quiet” has that genuine sensual melody mixed with sultry vocals, all the while still packing quite a punch. There are some other songs of theirs floating around the interweb, and its definitely worth searching out! During their time the first go around, I saw them at least a dozen times (I’m not kidding). They are that good!!

What  You Came For:

 

After That Quiet:

 

By: Brian Lacy