On this date in history November 13th 2015 the blues-rock band Eagles of Death Metal are in the midst of performing their song “Kiss the Devil” at a sold-out show at Le Bataclan in Paris, France, when the venue is attacked by terrorists armed with automatic rifles, grenades and explosive suicide vests – one of many attacks throughout the city.
The band escapes unharmed through a backstage door, but 89 audience members are killed, including the band’s merchandise manager, Nick Alexander. In the wake of the tragedy, band members Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme start a campaign asking fellow musicians to cover a track from their Zipper Down album, “I Love You All The Time,” with 100% of the publishing proceeds going to the Sweet Stuff Foundation to aid victims of the attacks.
They explain: “Whether you’re Soul or R&B; Hip Hop or Hippy; Garage, Goth, Country, Punk or Pop; Death Metal or DJ; It matters not. Whether your version is faithful to ours, instrumental, uses only lyrics or fragments thereof or is completely reimagined in every way, it matters not. Your individual musical differences become our collective strength.”
Acts like The Dean Ween Group and My Morning Jacket are among the first to join the challenge. Duran Duran helps out by donating royalties from the Eagles of Death Metal cover of “Save a Prayer” to charity.
Eagles of Death Metal included the above illustration with their statement regarding the attacks.)
Written By Braddon S. Williams aka “The Concert Critic”
On this date in history, 4/8/2022, my stepdaughter and I attended The Trinity Of Terror Tour at Blue Ribbon Pavilion on the Indiana State Fairgrounds. This show featured a trio of bands with three-word names: Ice Nine Kills, Motionless In White, and Black Veil Brides, with opener Lilith Czar.
Originally booked at a smaller venue, this triple headliner tour had to be relocated to the much larger State Fairground location due to aggressive ticket sales. I’m the first to admit that I was not the target demographic for this one, but my stepdaughter Emma has been developing a taste for heavier music and I am both proud and supportive of her growing love of attending live shows. Having said that, I had previously seen Motionless In White and Black Veil Brides, and I knew there would be some high energy entertainment and I wouldn’t automatically hate being there. Taking one for the team is one thing, but Emma knew I wasn’t going against my will. Not too long ago her musical taste was obsessively consumed with K-pop, so anything hard rock or metal related feels like victory.
I knew next to nothing about Lilith Czar prior to the show, and I’m certainly not going to lie and say I became a big fan, but she proved to have a strong vocal presence and a genuinely grateful attitude that built a visible excitement in the crowd as her set progressed. I didn’t hear anything revolutionary going on musically, but after doing a bit of research I learned that she has been steadily building her career for the past decade and that she is married to the Black Veil Brides’ singer, Andy Biersack.
Lilith Czar appears to be a band on the rise. Speaking of Black Veil Brides, they confirmed what I had already determined from my previous experience of their live performance; these guys are an extension of the best qualities of glamorous L.A. hard rock that ruled the late ’80’s. With singalong choruses, gigantic riff fueled anthems, blazing guitar solos (both singular and harmonized), and endless energy, Black Veil Brides collectively never stop moving and absolutely never forget why they are on that stage…they are there to entertain the predominantly young female fanbase and they do it with enthusiastic excellence.
Front man Andy Biersack has charisma to spare and doesn’t stray from his comfort zone vocally, which allows him to stay on pitch and full voiced. The rest of the band are adept with support vocals and are definitely great players. I knew going into this show that they would likely be the highlight for me and indeed they were.
Motionless In White followed and arguably had the most rabid crowd response of the evening. Some of that comes from having the best time slot, but a lot of it was due to the performance of Chris Motionless, who (like Biersack) knows his audience and relentlessly involves them in the gang choruses and hype points of his band’s music. I had last seen Motionless In White on a package tour in support of Slipknot and Lamb Of God in 2015. Clearly, MIW have grown enormously in the past seven years and absorbed lots of lessons from some of the heavyweights in the extreme metal community.
Overall, I think I enjoyed them more when they were an up-and-coming band. Back then they felt like a more wholesome alternative to Marilyn Manson. This time around they felt a little too derivative of Manson to me, but once again, I’m not their target and their target was ravenous, so hats off to them for their growth. Ice Nine Kills performed the final set of the night and I have both good and bad opinions concerning the horror lyric based metalcore band. First of all, I love the staging, the visuals, and the horror stuff. Everything happening on stage looked so good to me, unfortunately (as is usually the case with bands I don’t like) the vocals just killed the vibe for me.
Ice Nine Kills have been described as symphonic metal at times, but to me it was almost more appropriate to label them opera metal…and I just couldn’t get around my inability to ignore all that high pitched (i.e., whiny) sound.
Emma and I decided to call it a night and leave early, both concluding that we had enjoyed a tremendously entertaining evening of heavy music with great theatrics, visuals, energy, and production values.
Blue Ribbon Pavilion doesn’t have ideal sound, but it was certainly packed with all the elements of a rock show that featured young bands that are carrying the torch for heavy music and helping spread the fire to a hungry young audience. I applaud Ice Nine Kills, Motionless In White, Black Veil Brides, and Lilith Czar for their efforts and their continued success.
Aug. 30 – Denver, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre# Sep. 03 – Omaha, NE – Liberty First Credit Union Arena (buy tickets) Sep. 04 – Pryor, OK – Rocklahoma* Sep. 06 – Fort Wayne, IN – Allen County War Memorial Expo Center (buy tickets) Sep. 07 – Cleveland, OH – Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica (buy tickets) Sep. 09 – Scranton, PA – Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain (buy tickets) Sep. 10 – Alton, VA – Blue Ridge Rock Fest* Sep. 11 – Asheville, NC – Exploreasheville.com Arena (buy tickets) Sep. 13 – Milwaukee, WI – Eagles Ballroom (buy tickets) Sep. 14 – Sterling Heights, MI – Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill (buy tickets) Sep. 16 – Bonner Springs, MO – Azura Amphitheater (buy tickets) Sep. 17 – Saint Charles, MO – The Family Arena (buy tickets) Sep. 18 – Cincinnati, OH – ICON at The Andrew J Brady Music Center (buy tickets)
Written By Braddon S. Williams aka “The Concert Critic”
On this date in history, 4/6/2022, my wife and I attended a highly entertaining show at The Vogue featuring The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Led by the wildly prolific and consistently unpredictable Anton Newcombe, The Brian Jonestown Massacre has produced a truly impressive amount of music since its inception in San Francisco in 1990.
The band has sustained a staggering fluctuation of members with many leaving and returning seemingly at will and all revolving around the only constant member, Newcombe. An award-winning documentary entitled Dig! provides a lot of insight into why there are so many lineup changes. Definitely check it out if you can. Apparently, Anton Newcombe is kind of difficult to work with, but he is certainly a man who knows what he wants and refuses to compromise his art. Knowing all of this, we went to the concert with an understanding that we would either see a visionary performance or possibly a massive trainwreck. Thankfully, I feel we saw hints of the visionary and a small bump in the road where Anton stopped a song not once, but twice, because he didn’t like the tempo. He seemed on the edge of an outburst as he admonished his bandmates and told them he didn’t have time to be their babysitter. After they locked into the tempo he was looking for, everything went smoothly from then to the end of the show.
Being unfamiliar with the genre of the band’s music (kind of misguidedly thinking it would be grunge due to their birth in the ’90’s) I was pleasantly surprised that they touched on psychedelia, country, blues, garage rock, folk, and a heaping amount of shoegaze. The band (or the touring version circa 2022) were laid back but reactive to each other, with no-one really standing out, including Anton, who stood at the far end of stage left. The songs performed at our show were all excellent, but the one that really stood out for me personally was the finale. It was just over twenty minutes long, but the actual song ended around eleven minutes when the guitar players set up some warm feedback on their respective instruments and left the stage, followed by the bass player and drummer. As the guitars continued to feedback most gloriously, Anton got behind the drumkit and started playing a simple but hypnotic drum pattern, accompanied by some random sound manipulations from the keyboard player. During the next nine or so minutes, these elements all just grew to an enormous wall of sound that was further enhanced by some cosmic rear screen projections of deep space and subliminal faces that perfectly complimented the psychedelic shoegaze symphony that this band effortlessly set in motion.
That twenty-minute demonstration of the genius of The Brian Jonestown Massacre guaranteed that I will at the very least always be a fan of this quirky and magical band that has survived against some pretty crazy odds. Hopefully we will see them again sometime, but this show will live on in my memory for that monumental final song at the very least.
Written By Braddon S. Williams AKA “The Concert Critic”
On this date in history, 12/8/2018, Steel Panther brought their Sunset Strip Live tour to Piere’s Entertainment Center in Ft. Wayne, IN.
The opening act was Wilson, from Detroit, Michigan. This was my 3rd time seeing Steel Panther, and the 2nd time seeing the two bands together.
Wilson played a high energy set of catchy hard rock, acting as the straight band for the comedy that was to follow.
Steel Panther are impressive on multiple levels. First of all, in order to parody any style of music, the musicians must be able to master that style, and Steel Panther are without a doubt Jedi masters at the art of hair metal.
The sky high vocals, shredding guitars, hook filled anthems, and let’s not forget the big hair and spandex; all of this is front and center at every Steel Panther show. Additionally, the four members of the band are playing characters, and staying in character at all times while pulling off the larger than life personas they have created and playing all this explosive music. Not an easy task, but they also manage to be hysterically funny and in the moment.
I would guess there is a loose script or outline for the onstage shenanigans, but these guys always manage to make it seem spontaneous and natural, like the best improvisation an audience could ask for.
On this night, Steel Panther were performing without their bass player, Lexxi Foxx, who was in sex rehab (according to singer Michael Starr and guitarist Satchel). Whatever the real reason for his absence, the band used the opportunity to inject massive amounts of speculation in a decidedly politically incorrect manner.
The fill in bassist, introduced as Spider, was dressed up as Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue, and of course he was mercilessly ridiculed as well.
Satchel and Starr do the lion’s share of the talking, and elicit a non-stop barrage of bragging, insults, and sexual banter directed at each other, the other members of the band (drummer Stix Zadinya catches a lof of remarks, too), and the audience. Speaking of the audience, many members of the crowd show up dressed appropriately to the over the top ’80’s, with wigs, spandex and all the props they can add to their costumes.
None of the jokes come across as mean spirited, and a general mood of fun permeates the entire show. As for the music, Steel Panther took the concept of the glory days of the Sunset Strip and ran with it, covering songs by Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, and Def Leppard. They also threw in a bunch of Steel Panther originals, including Tiger Woods, Glory Hole, Death To All But Metal, and Community Property.
Satchel demonstrated his guitar hero chops with a center stage display of fretboard pyrotechnics, and of course, no Steel Panther show is complete without the obligatory stage full of pretty girls from the audience joining the band on stage for a couple of songs to dance and interact with the band.
If you are looking for an evening of great ’80’s metal, gut busting comedy, and a heaping amount of FUN, I highly recommend checking out a Steel Panther show. You might even see me, because I intend to keep coming back for more!