Metal Monday – Open Your Ears And Your Mind

One of my favorite quotes is from the amazing Rabbi Noah Weinberg who said we must “Listen With Our Ears.” What he meant is that way too often we listen from our position, from our entrenched beliefs, and so we fail to actually hear what people are saying. We immediately take a defensive posture and argue, rather than simply listen… and hear… and take in.

This is an accurate description of the world in which we currently live… and it is soooooo not good. We need to get over who said what, and accept that a good idea is a good idea. The sooner we do this and realize that the big picture must be to help and problem solve and work together, rather than block and blame and fight on separate sides, the better off we and the entire world will be. Truth and fact MUST be respected and honored… and it is from here that we need to start and accomplish.

Soap Box… Stepping off.

Sorry, but coming off the most recent news cycle has my brain in a dizzying spin and I needed to vent a little.

But… I LOVE the fact that I could just quote a Rabbi in a blog about Metal, but this is who I am… a man of many sides and passions. I yearn for spirituality in different forms… life, religion and music!

So what does his quote have to do with music?

Too often we dismiss certain bands or genres because we have pre-conceived notions, ideas we have formed from others, instead of allowing ourselves the objective opportunity to hear, and observe and decide for ourselves. I am and have been guilty of this.

As I began to write these posts on Metal, I went back to bands I had dismissed out of hand… and found that there is a lot of music I actually like. This week’s playlist includes Queensrÿche, Motörhead and two completely new discoveries… bands I had NEVER EVEN HEARD OF, but found because of my research, and OPEN EARS!!! The Sword from Texas and Witchcraft from Sweden are now on my weekly playlist. And yes, I do laugh at myself for both my late arrival to Metal and for my embracing bands that many family and friends roll their eyes at me for.

Some band notes from Wikipedia:

The Sword is an American heavy metal band from Austin, Texas. Formed in 2003, the band is currently composed of vocalist and guitarist John D. Cronise, guitarist Kyle Shutt, bassist Bryan Richie and drummer Santiago “Jimmy” Vela III.”

“The Sword has been categorized as a stoner rock and doom metal band, and is influenced by groups such as Black Sabbath and Sleep. The band has toured with a wide range of fellow rock and metal artists since its formation, including Metallica, Lamb of God and Clutch, and in recent years has also headlined its own tours. The Sword’s first album Age of Winters failed to chart, but subsequent releases have all gained increasing commercial success in the US and the UK, with High Country also charting in other regions.”

“Magnus Pelander (formerly of Norrsken) formed Witchcraft in 2000 in order to record a tribute to Pentagram’s Bobby Liebling and Roky Erickson.”

“Their debut album, Witchcraft (2004), was worked on in a basement studio with vintage equipment, which gave them their very seventies-esque sound. Mats left the band almost immediately after the recording was done. Mats was also the drummer in the surf trio “The Hollywoods” and 50’s rockin “Eva Eastwood and the Major Keys”. In mid-2004, the band toured Europe with Orange Goblin and Grand Magus.

In May 2012, the band announced that they had signed with Nuclear Blast Records. Their fourth studio album, Legend, was released in September 2012.

The new album marked the recording debut of the band’s new members, including Simon Solomon (guitar), Tom Jondelius (guitar), and Oscar Johansson (drums) formerly of TruckFighters, with singer Magnus Pelander focusing only on vocals instead of both vocals and guitar.”

Kind of odd that if I had ended the blog before this sentence, the word count was 666.  Seriously!

So no, I am not into that part of the music… nor the doom and dark… but there is a lot worth listening to. I dig the retro sounds and the influences of bands I love, like Thin Lizzy and Rush and other Metal bands I am coming around to… and encourage you to do the same!

Just listen with your ears and decide for yourself.

The Sword

Witchcraft

Witchcraft Acoustic

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“But In The End It Doesn’t Even Matter” – Thoughts For Chester Bennington

This is the official Tweet from the band… No words… Just this photo…

I can only imagine that words are too painful for now… or there are no words… no sentences that can be formulated… And a picture says so much… THIS picture says so much.

And yet… all that is not enough. The lights, the music, the adoration… the fame, and maybe fortune… None of that can inoculate any of us from pain and sorrow and whatever other dark forces try to pull us down.

In one of my favorite Linkin Park songs, “Bleed It Out”, Chester sings:
“Filthy mouth, no excuse
Find a new place to hang this noose
String me up from atop these roofs
Knot it tight so I won’t get loose.”

Chilling.

I always liked this band and their hybrid of Metal, Rock & Rap. I liked that they were mostly local boys… the band is usually referred to as coming from Agoura Hills, CA… and while definitely not my generation, they were close enough.

I had the pleasure of seeing them live once, at the Epicenter Festival at the Pomona Fairplex, and they were fantastic. And all seemingly nice guys. I’ll never forget that day… Saturday, August 22, 2009. My buddy Russ hooked us up with the full VIP… backstage… All Access… It was great..  Definitely spoiled by that one!

The line up was epic… Street Sweeper Social Club (Tom Morello’s side project at the time), Hollywood Undead, Atreyu, Wolfmother, Alice in Chains, Linkin Park and Tool.

Wolfmother, Alice In Chains and Linkin Park were the highlights for me… and seeing all those guys backstage was pretty amazing.

Today was a pretty shitty ass day, so I guess I was raw and nervy to begin with…

I guess that happens when you wake up to find someone had rummaged through your car late the night before, and had stolen a bunch of shit. Technically, they did not break in, since it seems that I left the car unlocked… Trusting bastard that I am… or most likely I just forgot.

And I got lucky in that they dropped a ton of stuff on my lawn… gift cards… sunglasses… a wallet with my insurance and registration in it. But the whole thing is just creepy and bizarre… and yes, you feel violated. I was actually shaking when I realized what had happened.

They took quarters out of a box I kept change in, but left some dimes and pennies on the car floor… They got away with some certificates for The Habit, but left some for Souplantation.

Apparently at least seven other cars were hit, including four or five of us here… so this was a well executed night. No one was hurt and it is just “things” but the idea of buying a gun has crossed my mind yet again.

And oh yeah… OJ was granted parole. I know the law is the law, and he paid his dues for THIS CRIME…but this spouse-abuser and double murderer does not deserve a minute of non-prison air. Not one.

So I was edgy and not happy, but is that the reason I shouted out loud when seeing the news of Chester Bennington’s death by suicide (hanging)? Or was it that he was only 41? Or perhaps it was the notion that fame and fortune and success could mean nothing in the face of whatever pain lies on the other side?

Clearly we’ll know more in the coming days… drugs… depression… all of the above. But six children… a wife and an ex-wife… I mean… I am speechless. Cannot wrap my head around that. Or maybe as I get older, I can and that is what scares me.

What signal does this send to the fans… to kids who have no fame, no stardom… to see their lives as lost and hopeless?

For someone who is sometimes stuck in the “If this happens my life will be better” mentality, things like this strike me to my core…

Life has to be better now… and if we need to scream or even whisper for help, we need to do that! Do NOT hold things inside. There is ALWAYS SOMEONE OUT THERE TO HELP!

And for those on the other side… SEE THE SIGNS… HEAR THE CRIES AND SOMETIMES ALMOST SILENT WHIMPERS AND INVISIBLE TEARS…

ALL OF US need to be present… ALIVE in each and every moment… And while we certainly can and should strive for more, we MUST FIND JOY in what is in front of us… and in what we have… NOW. 

“What I’ve Done”

“Formed in 1996, the band rose to international fame with their debut album Hybrid Theory (2000), which was certified Diamond by the RIAA in 2005 and multi-Platinum in several other countries. Their following studio album Meteora continued the band’s success, topping the Billboard 200 album chart in 2003, and was followed by extensive touring and charity work around the world.

Having adapted nu metal and rap metal to a radio-friendly yet densely layered style in Hybrid Theory and Meteora, the band explored other genres in their next studio album, Minutes to Midnight (2007). The album topped the Billboard charts and had the third-best debut week of any album that year.”
(Wikipedia)

Ironic that I have been writing a lot about Metal music lately, and this band was considered to be in the Nu Metal genre. And perhaps most ironic and chilling yet again, are the lyrics from their hit song “In The End.”

It is hard not to grab onto some of the lyrics given what happened… Apparently Chester did not like this song initially, but it wound up being the “highest charting single in the US, debuting at #78 and peaking at number 2 on the Hot 100 in March 2002.” (Wikipedia)
“I kept everything inside
And even though I tried, it all fell apart
What it meant to me
Will eventually be a memory of a time when

I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn’t even matter
I had to fall
To lose it all
But in the end
It doesn’t even matter”

Life matters… Life matters.

“In order for us to truly experience everything the world has to offer, we must first come to appreciate all that we already have.” (Deepak Chopra)

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July 20, 2017 · 5:31 pm

Metal Monday – General Thoughts And Rockin’ Ramblings (Part Two)

What the heck is happening to me? What have you done, Jason and Barry?

I’m starting to dive in a little deeper… and the cool, metallic blue water is fine.

So no, this is not a mid-life crisis, although there are far worse things I could be doing… and I do like the sound of having a Metal Mid-Life Crisis… don’t steal it… it’s my phrase!

So in addition to the countless TV series I need to binge on, I want to watch a few of what are considered the best Metal documentaries out there. My list of four is:

The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (1988)
I have not seen this Penelope Spheeris film, but hear good things.

Get Thrashed: The Story of Thrash Metal (2006)

Anvil!: The Story of Anvil (2008)
I have seen this film twice, but have not seen it in a while. I originally described it as the real-life Spinal Tap, but an incredible story of tenacity, heart and ultimate triumph!

Iron Maiden: Flight 666 (2009)
I have also seen this one, but I can use a re-do, especially after my first Maiden live experience. And yes the fact that Bruce Dickinson actually pilots the 747 (Ed Force One) is pretty amazing!

When I went to look up the year of this film, I also got a few more suggestions from Wikipedia:

“Flight 666 is co-produced by Toronto-based Banger Films, known for their documentaries Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, Global Metal and Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage.”

I have seen the Rush film… fantastic… but not the others.

To give you an update… I have Iron Maiden and the 30th Anniversary Remasters of Judas Priest in my steady rotation. And so you know how eclectic my tastes are… those records are balanced out with Cheap Trick, CRX, Maximo Park, Haim, London Grammar, Charles Bradley, Bob Dylan, The Book Of Mormon Cast Recording, Weezer, The New Pornographers, Seu Jorge and Bleachers as part of my July Summer Playlist!

Plus… and this is where it gets interesting, and we can blame Jason and Barry… I have Motorhead (yes, I am fascinated with Lemmy) and some more Metallica coming in from the library. And with the latter, I am really enjoying the ride! I know they are playing LA soon, so hmmm…

Now, I do NOT see myself becoming an aficionado of Thrash Metal, even though Metallica is in the “Big Four of Thrash” which also includes Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer.”

I both love and am frightened by this description from Wikipedia: “Low-register guitar riffs are typically overlaid with shredding leads. Lyrics often express nihilistic views or deal with social issues using visceral, gory language. Thrash has been described as a form of “urban blight music” and “a pale-faced cousin of rap.”

They say: “Thrash metal emerged in the early 1980s under the influence of hardcore punk and the new wave of British heavy metal, particularly songs in the revved-up style known as speed metal. The movement began in the United States, with Bay Area thrash metal being the leading scene. The sound developed by thrash groups was faster and more aggressive than that of the original metal bands and their glam metal successors.”

And speaking of Glam Metal, that would include 1980s Mötley Crüe and Poison, both of whom I liked growing up. Again, not a crazy, major fan, but their music was fun.

Death Metal… Ain’t gonna happen, and not just because it “utilizes the speed and aggression of both thrash and hardcore, fused with lyrics preoccupied with Z-grade slasher movie violence and Satanism.”
It’s just not my thing…

But Retro Metal seems to be, as I have loved Wolfmother for a long time! Though they are definitely more influenced by Led Zeppelin and seemingly not hardcore screaming Metal.

 

 

Other bands in this sub-genre are ones I have never heard… well, until now… like…
The Sword (from Texas)… So far, so good. I need to explore more for sure, and according to an iTunes reviewer, they were on an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, sampling Texas BBQ… so there you go! How could I NOT like them?
High on Fire (from California)… A little too “screamy” for my tastes… Will pass.
And Witchcraft (from Sweden). So, yes… the name scared me, but I am really digging their Self-Titled album and especially their Legend record. Hmmm… Although their song “Her Sisters They Were Weak” reminds me of Jethro Tull, who I really cannot listen to. But that is another story for another day. Their music just makes me feel uneasy and creeped out. Strange.

So if Punk was sloppy, Metal does seem to be quite precise. Both Barry and Jason agree on that, and it’s part of why they love it! I can see that so much more now!

Also from WikipediaNew York Times critic Jon Pareles writes: “In the taxonomy of popular music, heavy metal is a major subspecies of hard-rock—the breed with less syncopation, less blues, more showmanship and more brute force.” The typical band lineup includes a drummer, a bassist, a rhythm guitarist, a lead guitarist, and a singer, who may or may not be an instrumentalist. Keyboard instruments are sometimes used to enhance the fullness of the sound. Deep Purple’s Jon Lord played an overdriven Hammond organ. In 1970, John Paul Jones used a Moog synthesizer on Led Zeppelin III; by the 1990s, in”… almost every subgenre of heavy metal” synthesizers were used.”

Who wouldathunk that I’d be listening to, exploring, seeking out, and writing about Metal?

All the more reason to listen with your ears and be open to the music of the world…the music of EVERYTHING!

 

 

 

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lovelytheband – Lovely The Night

So for full disclosure, Jordan Greenwald who plays guitar, keys and sings back up is my second cousin’s son… And if I understand the whole cousin thing, he is my second cousin, once removed.

Regardless, I would not give him a pass just because of our relationship. If he and the band were off, I would find a diplomatic way to say something…maybe not here…but I would speak up and be constructive.

Luckily for me, and for all of you, Jordan is a kick ass musician, and also one of the nicest people you will ever meet. His stage presence is phenomenal and his talent is huge. I have had the pleasure of watching him blossom from a beginner, to a total shredder and to see him happily in a truly fantastic band is a really great thing!

lovelytheband features Mitchy Collins, of the band Oh Honey, a great pop duo, who has released a number of really enjoyable EPs. This new band is definitely a step away from the bright and poppy anti-Civil Wars, but clearly Mitchy’s talent moves in many sensibilities.

In addition to that, I got to watch him work behind the scenes a little bit, and there is a real class and kindness to him, as well. I tell you, that is a refreshing thing to see and gives me hope for the future of music. Talent is one thing, and there is a lot of it out there, but to be nice and decent on top of that is sadly unique and a real standout. So here’s hoping that will go a long way!

They band was opening for Goody Grace, and had special guests on drums and bass for the night, but will now be joined by new drummer, Sam Price (he is the one on the left, Mitchy is in the middle and Jordan is on the right)

 

Arriving on the Sunset Strip brought back many memories… and seeing the line of young people, mostly girls, made me feel old. It’s an odd thing when you realize you could have fathered…literally…90% of the audience. Sigh…

 

Once we got inside, I realized that The Roxy needs a major overhaul! They are notorious for either not running the AC or not having it work, and Monday night a few weeks back was no exception. The place is a sticky floored, sauna. The band was drenched, we were drenched… and even young women, who always seem to be freezing, were perspiring. Yeah yeah… it’s historical, but come on. It’s clearly a “confused” venue…

But that mostly did not matter… The crowd was so into this band, and the fact that this was their very first live performance gave it that extra energy boost. Though I will say, you would never have known this was a first show! This is a band to watch… killer musicianship, great songwriting, and great guys! And…they genuinely love playing together, which is infectious. The audience was eating it up!

Their seven-song set featured:
Emotion
Make You Feel Pretty
Coachella Weekend
Stranger
Passionfruit (Drake Cover)
Broken
Friends

The closer, “Friends” is another hooky, catchy song that had the crowd singing along. I can easily hear many of these songs on a great movie soundtrack or TV series.

Billboard claims (and thanks for the article Rania Aniftos) this “Brand-new alt trio… came together on a drunken night in West Hollywood.” I know nothing about that… fingers in my ears… but from the opening notes of their amazing, catchy and still stuck-in-my-head hit “Broken” the influence of MGMT is clear.

Mitchy says that “Broken” “is about finding someone who is just as f—ed up and lost as you are, but somehow you make it work together. Everyone is a little bit broken inside, nobody’s perfect. This song is an ode to the broken ones.” The song is utterly infectious. Again, in a good way… You want this infection, trust me!

Billboard also mentions Pixies, who I’m not sure I agree with, and Grouplove, as other influences. The last one I totally get, especially their album Never Trust A Happy Song. 

So go checkout lovelytheband! They’ll be in Chicago and New York next week, and “Broken” has hit over a million plays on Spotify. Boom!

Also special kudos to Julia, the best Merch Girl in town! MERCH!
FullSizeRender.jpg

 

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Metal Monday – General Thoughts And Rockin’ Ramblings (Part One)

So a couple of general thoughts hit me as I was writing my Iron Maiden posts. I knew I wanted to do something about Metal in general…the history, the different styles, etc.

Then my buddy Jason posted something that I thought was worth exploring, specifically about Maiden. And then my friend, fraternity brother and other Metal Mentor, Barry gave some awesome insight into his love of the genre… and Boom!

Since neither are guest blogging, you’re stuck with me. But these are the two who Metaled me up… And hey, look, Boys! Thirty some odd years later it worked! I’m hooked!

METAL MUSIC
So where does one start when looking for info. on any given subject? Wikipedia, of course.

“Heavy metal… developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and the United States. With roots in blues rock and psychedelic/acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. Heavy metal lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.”

“In 1968, the first heavy metal bands such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple attracted large audiences, though they were often derided by critics. During the mid-1970s, Judas Priest helped spur the genre’s evolution by discarding much of its blues influence; Motörhead introduced a punk rock sensibility and an increasing emphasis on speed. Beginning in the late 1970s, bands in the new wave of British heavy metal such as Iron Maiden and Saxon followed in a similar vein. Before the end of the decade, heavy metal fans became known as “metalheads” or “headbangers”.

A couple of things stand out for me. First, it amazes me how things that are on the fringe become so mainstream at a certain point in time. Zeppelin and Deep Purple are Classic Rock bands to me! Granted I came to them later in their careers, but that was normal FM Radio/East Coast listening. And let us not forget that The Beatles started off as the enemy to many a parent. Then the Stones came out as the even more evil rockers! And of course, speaking of Metal, Iron Maiden was cast as devil worshippers.

Some folks consider AC/DC a Metal band, but to me they are just hard rock and one of the highlights to come out of Jason’s Boom Box. Same with KISS. And while Judas Priest was always blasting that summer, I never really listened to Metal on a regular basis. In fact, when people asked me what musical genres were the ones I knew the least about, I would always say Rap, New Country and Metal.

Now Rap and Hip Hop come pouring out from behind my daughter’s closed bedroom door (No, that is not really it!!!), along with a fair amount of Show Tunes! Though I am also happy to say that her playlist has a heck of a lot of Classic Rock on it!

I will admit that I got into NWA, Dr. Dre, Tupac and others all “after the fact.” Way before my daughter, but after the fact…and I will also admit that I do get “parental” from time to time, as I hear certain lyrics being sung by my kid. Ugh.

And I always had a soft side… and I guess I still do… as my favorites of the time were Steve Miller Band and The Eagles. My first concerts were more Classic Rock than anything else, too. Chicago and Orleans was my first. Then The Eagles, Heart and the Little River Band

Usually as people get older their musical tastes get smaller and more “refined”.  Not me! My tastes have been growing and expanding for a long time now. And as I said, I seem to come to certain things late… like Metal! Which also has friends accusing me of doing to try to stay young. That’s not the way I work. I listen to what moves me, what grabs me and I do not care where and who it comes from. More politicians need to do this with good ideas! It should not matter what side of the aisle it comes from! A good idea is a good idea, and the goal must be to problem solve, help and create joy.

But this post is about MUSICAL JOY! So what is it about Metal that has taken such a hold on me? Iron Maiden is in regular rotation. I love the new Metallica album, and the Judas Priest 30th Anniversary CDs are kicking me into gear. I wrote about how studies have shown that this music can actually relax people. I can actually see that, but for me, it just makes me happy and energized, and I love to CRANK IT! To 11!!!

Barry wrote:
“It’s all about the energy. Metal still motivates me and gets me pumped like no other genre. And the metal bands that I like best – the ones that exhibit extreme technical precision like Dream Theater, Iron Maiden, Queensryche, etc. – appeal to me from my early years as a classically trained pianist. (Which is probably why I enjoyed grunge, but never got into it as much as I did metal – the precision was always a little lacking for me.) I am also a huge fan of guitar virtuosos like Reb Beach, Paul Gilbert, Nuno Bettencourt, John Petrucci, George Lynch, et. al. – their craftsmanship and precision continue to astound and inspire me.

Right on, Barry!!!

Robert Walser (author of Running With the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Musicsaid that Metal’s “most influential musicians have been guitar players who have also studied classical music. Their appropriation and adaptation of classical models sparked the development of a new kind of guitar virtuosity [and] changes in the harmonic and melodic language of heavy metal.”

 

And specifically on Maiden, Jason wrote:
“I think another thing that is important to mention — for the uninitiated — is to not pre-judge Iron Maiden because of Eddie (their mascot, who is on all their graphics). Maiden is not what you might hate about metal — in fact it’s quite the contrary. Musically, their material is high-energy and rocks hard (and they are great players), it’s mostly very melodic and their lyrics are unobjectionable (no cursing, no objectifying of women, and many have historical context, e.g., “The Trooper,” about the Crimean War, “Aces High,” about the WWII air wars and Battle of Britain, “Where Eagles Dare,” based on the great WWII film, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” based on the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem, etc). They are all smart individuals, family men, and their lead singer actually flies the band plane (a fully loaded 747 with the band gear, not a little prop plane.). With streaming services, it’s easy to sample their music or their bio-pic, “Flight 666.” Enjoy the journey and Up the Irons!”

So you can see how and why these two are my Metal Mentors… Jason on a Teen Tour, and Barry as my Frat House roommate in College! We listened to a hell of a lot of great stuff back then, Boys! And this does not even include all that Al Jarreau and Spyro Gyra, Barry! What? We needed to charm the ladies!

Come back next Monday for Metal Monday – General Thoughts And Rockin’ Ramblings (Part Two) when we talk about all the different sub-genres of Metal and more!

 

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My Maiden Voyage – An Iron Maiden Virgin No More (Part 3 – The Concert Review)


I really did not expect this post to be a three-parter, but they say that 600 words are about all people want to read in a blog…and there was just so much fun, side stuff that came up, so here we are! (And do NOT word-count this one… DOH!)

Let me set the stage again. The venue is The Glen Helen Pavilion. My first visit, so I was also a Venue Virgin. Yes, this was a big day for me. The stage and sound are great… unlike the Forum, whose sound can SUCK, depending on where you sit. But as I said, the venue is a pain in the ass to get to and park at, especially in brutal holiday traffic.

Since there are no ins and outs we missed Exodus, which in retrospect was probably a mistake. Though I heard they had major sound issues. We caught a bit of Kamelot, who were okay and got to see a lot of Ghost, who were actually pretty good. The whole gothic, all wearing masks thing freaks me out a bit (Jason warned me)…as do songs mentioning Lucifer (Read Nice Jewish Boy) but this Swedish metal band formed in 2008 had some skills and really got the crowd going.

And speaking of the crowd… As I was coming out of the Men’s “Lounge” a guy at the very back of the line asked me “European?” Clearly I was too hot to get it, so when I said no, he said “Neither am I, but hopefully I will be soon.” (Insert Rimshot.) There were lots of “in bathroom” jokes flying around. Ahhh… men and our beer!

Maiden apparently does not call audibles like the other Bruce (Springsteen, that is) and so their set list has not changed in a long, long time. Fine for the first time viewer…but I would guess long time fans would want it mixed up a little. I knew going in I would not get to hear my favorite Maiden tune, “Run To The Hills,” so I guess I will just have to go back for the next tour. And yes, I WILL BE BACK!

Do they have huge “Eddie” inflatables, changing backdrops and monsters attacking the band? Hell to the yes!!!
About 25,000 in attendance? Check.
A few first timers? Oh yeah!

So away we go! Buckle up, Michelle, Casey and Christian. Rocking with you was a blast!!! Thank you for the food, drink and everything else! Thanks to KLOS for the tickets… Thanks to Leihua and Larry in advance for the kick-ass shirt… And Jason, thank you, thank you, thank you for the intro and kick in the butt! Your money is safe!!!

The PA system started blasting UFO’s “Doctor, Doctor” which we knew was their entrance tune and is such a great rocking song! And then my first Iron Maiden show shot out of the gate. The songs were heavy from the new album, Book Of Souls, (six out of a 15-song set) but I quite like the first two songs they did (also one and two on the record), “If Eternity Should Fail” and “Speed Of Light”…which I really, really dig. I also love the sing-along anthem “The Red And The Black” and it’s “Whoa oh, oh oh oh… Whoa oh, oh oh oh…”

But of course the biggest reaction was for the classics… and Maiden’s catalog is deep. Highlights for me were “Children Of The Damned,” “The Trooper”, and the set closer “Fear Of The Dark.” The encore was a perfect trifecta with “The Number Of The Beast,” “Blood Brothers” (soooo NOT the other Bruce’s tune) and the great ender “Wasted Years”!

The band is currently made up of:
Founder and bassist, Steve Harris (1976-present)
Guitarist Dave Murray, who has been there almost as long (with a short stint in 1977, and then from 1979 on)
Bruce Dickinson on vocals… and NOT the famed producer with the same name. (1981-1993 and then 1999 to present)
Janick Gers on guitar and with the band since the ’90s.
Adrian Smith on guitar, who went from 1981-1991, then took a break and came back in 1999 to present.
Nicko McBrain is the band’s fifth drummer, but has been playing with Maiden since 1983!

These guys are in their ’60s and rocking like 20 year-olds! Jumping, bouncing, running, going crazy and having the time of their lives. That on-stage joy is infectious, and while I know they have had their in-fighting issues, as does almost every band, it sure seems like this is a Rock N’ Roll Brotherhood!

Also keep in mind that Bruce Dickinson had throat cancer AND throat surgery. I caught his voice dropping out from time to time, but DANG… What a showman, and ALL OVER THE STAGE!

It was at this show that I realized the true meaning of Head Banging!!! Actually, head banging, neck snapping, body aching!!! In fact, Michelle and I both kept commenting on how physically sore we would be the next day… and as my head went up and down to the beat, I could feel almost a Rock N’ Roll concussion coming on. Ah, to be young again. And why did I not get into Metal in my ’20s???

Before the show was over, Bruce said a few things I wanted to share. He pointed out that we may have noticed a few mistakes…but that is what happens when a band plays live and without hiding people backstage or using “canned” vocals. Cheers to that!

I cannot tell you how many bands do this… bands that you would never think would do this. Hell, when I saw Fleetwood Mac in Anaheim on the last tour, we were sitting so high and to the side we could see an extra drummer “hidden” behind the wall next to Mick’s drum set up… and while he did not drum on every song, I was floored!

The last things Bruce said were pretty powerful. Basically he said that “everyone came in safe… and everyone needs to leave safe. Right?” The crowd roared, though I have to say, the huge bonfire some of the fans made in the lawn area gave me concern…and I questioned how security did not shut it down. But…
Oh yeah!!! They made an actual and rather large BON FIRE in the middle of the lawn sitting area, and danced around it all night long… actually ran around it in a circle!!!

The band takes their bows and throws guitar picks and drum sticks out into the adoring crowd and heads off stage as Monty Python’s “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” comes over the PA. This is more than appropriate as Metal music often seems to have a dramatic flair, and regularly involves a battle between Good and Evil. It can be mythic and iconic, in music and lyrics…and certainly in stage antics!

Here is the setlist…

  1. If Eternity Should Fail
  2. Speed of Light
  3. Wrathchild
  4. Children of the Damned
  5. Death or Glory
  6. The Red and the Black
  7. The Trooper
  8. Powerslave
  9. The Great Unknown
  10. The Book of Souls
  11. Fear of the Dark
  12. Iron Maiden
    Encore:
  13. The Number of the Beast
  14. Blood Brothers
  15. Wasted Years

But what I would like to leave you with, is one of the last things Bruce said to the crowd:

It’s a message that should resonate with all of us. And as I posted on Facebook, it’s a shame that so few of our leaders and politicians speak up like this.

He said: “We need to come together, do no harm and go to bed with whoever we want to because we love them.”

Amen.

 

And Long Live Rock!!!

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Filed under Live Music Reviews, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me

My Maiden Voyage – An Iron Maiden Virgin No More (Part 2)

As my buddy Rob and I were leaving a post workout meal at The Habit two weeks ago, we decided to do a quick Trader Joe’s run before they closed. He asked me if I was going to see America at the Canyon Club on July 1st, and while I LOVE America, I told him I HAD to go see Iron Maiden that night, but as of yet, I had no tickets.

I got in my car for the two-minute drive to Trader Joe’s, and as the radio came on, I kid you not, the DJ on KLOS was literally announcing free Maiden tickets for the 10th caller.

Dial, busy, hang up. Again. Dial, busy, hang up. Again… Ring, ring, ring…
“Who’s this?”
“Marc.”
“Hi, Marc. You just won a pair of tickets to see Iron Maiden.”
“Ummm. Wow! Okay… I have to tell you this story…”
And so I regaled her with what had just happened… and yes she loved it!

Talk about putting something into the universe…WOW!!!

July 1st – Glen Helen Pavillion – San Bernardino, CA… CONCERT DAY!
The build up was a bit crazy… My first buddy bailed. Then my cousin bailed. But that gave me the chance to offer the ticket to my friends Michelle and Casey (He had NEVER seen them either!) Casey’s son Christian (21) also joined us… and yes, unlike his Dad and me, he had seen them about 9 years ago.

The drive out there SUCKED. And because of Waze re-routing my friends, I wound up doing the whole drive solo… and it was a CRAWL… THE. WHOLE. WAY. OUT!

Who the HELL is going to San Bernardino for the 4th weekend???!!!
I pulled into the very first and “UNMARKED” lot, and was told by a kid working it:
a) I was in Lot 6
b) It was a short walk to the venue. Ha!

It took me about 15 minutes before I could even see the venue… And yes, I got horribly lost at the end of the night and might not have found my car if it had not been for my good, visual memory)… BUT… This lot offered a very easy out! I think I was at least 30-45 minutes into my drive home, when my friends called to tell me they were STILL stuck in the lot! So much for the $20 “VIP” lot.

Thanks to KLOS for the tickets and a pre-show BBQ, which kept me fed and hydrated and had me winning a Judas Priest CD (Ironic) and a Cheap Trick download of what I thought was the great new album, We’re All Alright!, but was only three songs… Strange!

After that it was back to the grassy parking lot, where we found some shade and drank some beers in the parking lot… Another irony since the venue information says no tailgating, but EVERYONE was doing it. Yes, I am a rule follower… Ha! Thanks to Michelle for bringing a nice selection of booze and making everyone sandwiches! Mahalo!

And what is with you Millennials???  You claim to be so high and mighty on the environment, and then leave ALL your trash on the ground, when a trash can is five feet away. Lazy, entitled you know whats! Another Wow right there!

We missed Exodus, because we thought they were on second. Bummer… though apparently they had some sound issues. We walked in when Kamelot was playing and they were not bad… but not quite my thing.

This was most definitely not my usual concert crowd, and I think many folks thought I was a NARC. Literally! I was NOT wearing black, nor an Iron Maiden shirt… I had no tattoos, and probably looked a bit… well… conservative in my grey and black camo shorts, my Under Armor shirt, my black Nike Big Ten baseball cap and my Ray Bans.

One guy selling bootlegged t-shirts LITERALLY stopped hawking them when he saw me walking towards him, and immediately shoved them under his own shirt and walked quickly away. Doh!

So back to the shirts for a second… I know, I know… I seem obsessed… but there is a method to my MADNESS!

This is an actual picture of Jason’s “A” Maiden Shirt. Look at the care he takes! That is a perfect Gap fold right there, folks! Did you use a board, Jason???
Now I want this one, too… and the Best Of The Beast shirt. Hint, hint… Bday in August… Wink, wink, nudge, nudge… What? Maiden shirts are HIP! But here is my bigger point on all the Maiden shirts.

I was always led to believe that unless it was a really unique shirt, and there were some of those, too… that it was UNCOOL to wear a band’s shirt to see THAT band. Clearly that is NOT the case for a Maiden show!

ALMOST EVERYONE had a Maiden shirt on, which is a HUGE TESTAMENT to their marketing prowess and skill at selling EVERYTHING MAIDEN. There were multiple times when we stopped and told people what a cool shirt they had on. So there you go!

Maiden is one of the few bands that continues to sell out shows around the world… and may also move the most Merch of any band! And believe me…the lines at the Merch tables were deep and wide. Should have snapped a photo of that… and of the selection of probably at least 12 different shirts.

And then there was this…

Genius. Expensive genius!

My buddy Jason did not think I would like Ghost, as they all wear masks, which can be a bit creepy… but they were great musicians and this Swedish Metal band really played to the crowd. Again, the Lucifer references made this nice Jewish boy a bit uncomfortable, but today was about the head banging.

And being with family and friends, of course. I don’t know who these people are, and what you can’t see is that the kid’s jacket also had an Elmo patch on it! And yes, he was wearing ear plugs.

Long live Rock N’ Roll! And yes, I am flashing the Metal Horns!

Come back Friday for the final Part 3, and the actual review of my first Maiden show!!!

 

 

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Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Live Music Reviews, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me