On this date in history, 7/31/2010, the Mayhem Festival touched down on Deer Creek soil to fulfill our metal thirst with another edition of the annual metal showcase. This tour featured, Korn, Rob Zombie, Lamb Of God, Five Finger Death Punch, In This Moment, Hatebreed, Atreyu, Chimaira, 3 Inches Of Blood, Shadows Fall, Winds Of Plague, X-Factor 1, and Norma Jean. To the best of my recollections, Norma Jean were in the middle of their set when we made it to the second stage area, and they were throwing down with a vengeance. Winds Of Plague impressed me by managing to be pretty brutal even with keyboards. Shadows Fall killed it, as they always do, Brian Fair swinging his floor length dreads in a windmill motion that is a mesmerizing sight to see. I truly hope they return from hiatus one of these days to make some new music and tour again. I didn't stick around for 3 Inches Of Blood. I heard part of their first song and just wasn't feeling it. Too much effort trying to sound like Rob Halford with the high screams. Hatebreed got bodies in motion in the pit, with Jamey Jasta barking out his empowering lyrics over the crushing power of his band's bludgeoning riff machine. In This Moment's Maria Brink pulled off a really cool trick by walking out to the sound tent and then coaxing the crowd to stage a massive circle pit that rotated around the tent in a colossal frenzy. It was quite a sight to behold. Maria and the band played a great set and earned their headliner status. Lamb Of God crushed us with a massively powerful main stage massacre of a set. Then Rob Zombie unleashed his trademark spectacularly sinful spooktacular show, anchored by a band that included the guitar athletics of John 5, and the sick drumming of Joey Jordison (on load from Slipknot at that time). Korn brought it all to a close with a stage set that even topped Zombie's…no easy feat! Mayhem made me happy by continuing the legacy laid down by Ozzfest. Now, all we need is a new festival to pass the torch to the next generation of metalheads!

Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 8/2/1976, I saw my very first rock concert. This was my Pandora's Box, the one that started a lifelong obsession. The show was at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, IN, and featured Kiss, Bob Seger And The Silver Bullet Band, and Artful Dodger. My father drove me and a couple of my friends there and back, seeing as how we were all 14 years old at the time. Tickets were $6.50 to see Kiss and Seger…seems like science fiction, right? I have so many memories from that first show. The general atmosphere inside the smoke filled arena (with the No Smoking sign on the giant scoreboard suspended from the ceiling, barely readable through the haze…and not all of it was cigarette smoke!), the sight of all those people, rock fans just like my friends and I (we were part of a movement…a tribe!), and the folks passing around a joint and offering it to us kids. Believe it or not, we politely declined…that time! When the lights went out and Artful Dodger hit that stage, I just grinned and let the music wash over me. I didn't know any of their songs, but it was gloriously loud, electric, and exciting. When Bob Seger and his Bullet Band followed, it got even better. Seger was touring in support of his incredible 'Live' Bullet album, and Night Moves was right around the corner. There was a palpable feeling that this band were already headliners. "Katmandu", "Turn The Page", and "Travelin' Man" were all superb. I distinctly remember Bob's sax player, the wonderfully named Alto Reed, standing atop the massive stack of PA speakers and wailing away on a solo on his shining golden horn. As great as Seger was, my buddies and I were on a holy mission to see our heroes, Kiss. I was literally transfixed by the sight of the larger than life (7 inch platform boots made them seem impossibly tall) superstars of my musical universe. From Gene Simmons breathing fire and vomiting stage blood during his bass solo, to Ace Frehley shooting sparks from the headstock of his Les Paul, to Paul Stanley's strutting, preening rock stud shtick, to Peter Criss bashing away on his huge chrome plated drum kit, this performance is indelibly tattooed on my teenage brain. Kiss had just released Destroyer, the album that (along with Kiss Alive the previous year) made nearly every young male rock fan in the country want to enlist in the Kiss Army! This show changed my life. This is where it all began. Thank you, Kiss and Bob Seger…and even Artful Dodger, for making my first time an event of a lifetime!

Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 8/2/1988, I saw Aerosmith and Guns N' Roses play a devastating show of hard rock brilliance at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. GNR were riding the insane wave of popularity surrounding their debut album, Appetite For Destruction, and word in the arena prior to the show was that the upstart Guns were set to blow Aerosmith off the stage. This did not happen, but not for lack of effort by Axl Rose and company. At this time, they were still the original 5 piece classic lineup of the band, and they were phenomenal. The energy, the attitude, the songs, everything coalesced into this massively dangerous rock n' roll entity. Axl and Slash were the latest in a prestigious line of singers and lead guitarists that included Mick & Keith, Robert & Jimmy, David Lee & Eddie, and let's not forget Steven & Joe, but more about them in just a minute. As I was saying, Axl and Slash lit it up and had the ravenous crowd in the palms of their hands. At one point, Axl made an impassioned speech about how Aerosmith was one of the only bands that Guns would consider opening for. Aerosmith's bad boy past reputation had paved the way for the new poster children of decadence, and this speech was a great acknowledgement of that fact. After their blazing performance, Aerosmith had no choice but to bring it on full steam ahead, and that is precisely what they did. Steven Tyler galloped around the circular ramp that went up and around the drum set 3 times in a row at top speed, riding his microphone stand like a horse during the beginning of the opening song, and never slowed down for the rest of his time on stage. Joe Perry showed no signs of being intimidated by Slash's playing, unleashing his own sneering attack on a variety of prime axes. While Guns had just one (albeit fantastic) album of songs, Aerosmith had a vault of them and used it to great advantage. All in all, it was a clinic on how American rockers can throw down the jams. Hats off to Aerosmith for bringing along the hottest band on the scene at that time and letting them bring out the best in the headliners.

Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 8/2/1992, a friend and I traveled to Illinois to check out Lollapalooza '92, at a venue that was a lot like our Deer Creek in Noblesville, but I don't recall the name of the place. The show itself included The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ministry, Ice Cube, Soundgarden, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Pearl Jam, Lush, and The Jim Rose Circus Sideshow. The first band that we heard was Pearl Jam, for some odd reason playing early in the afternoon. Regardless, they blazed like they should have headlined the show, with Eddie Vedder's manic energy transferring to both his band mates and the entire audience. Soundgarden brought the same intensity to their superb set, blasting through cuts from their Badmotorfinger album with savage intensity. During one song they were joined by Woody Weatherman from Corrosion Of Conformity and another highlight was when they covered "Cop Killer", the controversial song from Ice T's metal band, Body Count. I vividly remember Chris Cornell getting the whole capacity crowd to chant "Fuck the police" over and over during key moments of the song. Ice Cube followed this with a solid set of his gangsta rap solo material. He also utilized the power of the crowd, getting us to repeatedly yell "Fuck you Ice Cube" to hilarious effect. He played on the fact that he was the odd man out and actually won many of us over with his enthusiastic stage persona. Ministry brought their industrial metal insanity with frightening precision, accompanied by volcanic mosh pits and a mini-sod war that was quickly dispelled by Ministry's leader, Al Jourgensen, who informed us that he would be paid even if we managed to stop the show by ruining the soundboard. We stopped and the show went on. The Red Hot Chili Peppers ended the show with a funky flourish, bringing the crowd to a dancing, bouncing, joyful fever. Anthony Kiedis and Flea led the way, with new guitarist Arik Marshall taking the role of the "standing still guy", but playing really excellent guitar. Chad Smith kept the beats on the funky side and the band closed the show with a barrage of hits. A great show filled with a lot of diversity and magical performances, well worth the road trip.

Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 8/3/1990, Bad Company and Damn Yankees teamed up for a show at Deer Creek in Noblesville, IN. Radio station WFBQ sponsored the show, which was promoted as a "low dough carload show" and basically let fans pile as many people as they could into their various vehicles and get in for $5 per vehicle. This resulted in massive overcrowding for the concert, resulting in it being a one time thing. The show itself was stellar, with Damn Yankees starting the party with selections from their debut album and a few choice cuts from the all star bands main projects, Styx, NIght Ranger, and Ted Nugent's solo work. Vocally, this band was simply incredible, with Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades sharing the majority of lead vocals, and Uncle Ted being turned loose in controlled bursts of his gonzo style. Ted was utilized primarily as a lead guitarist, and he made the most of it, putting his indelible stamp all over the right places in the Damn Yankees pop metal arsenal. I particularly enjoyed seeing the Nuge in a band where he was part of a group of musicians who equaled his talent and had their own star power. A nice blend indeed! Bad Company were the headliners in name, but Damn Yankees were probably the crowd favorites on that night. Bad Company were lacking the soulful power of their original lead singer, Paul Rodgers, but Brian Howe did an admirable job of singing the classics and also the hits the band had recorded with him. Howe had spent a little time in one of Ted Nugent's bands, so that was a nice little coincidence that tied the two bands together. Despite the overcrowding (and an alleged naked guy setting a fire on the lawn area) the audience was relatively well behaved for being in such close quarters. The power of great performances and killer classic rock tunes kept everyone happy and gave those of us who were there a story to tell about our carload experiences!

Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 8/4/1995, an interesting little tour came to Deer Creek in Noblesville, IN, by the name of H.O.R.D.E. This eclectic mix of artists featured The Black Crowes, Blues Traveler, Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers, and G. Love & Special Sauce. I didn't see enough of the G. Love set to make a proper opinion on it, so if he is one of your favorites, I apologize for my lack of interest on the day of the concert. Ziggy Marley was quite excellent, and it was nice to see one of Bob Marley's sons carrying on the family tradition of quality reggae music. Actually, this was the first true reggae performance I ever witnessed, and the vibe was purely blissful and amazing. Anyone who could be angry or depressed when Ziggy is playing his music should probably not be allowed out in public. Blues Traveler didn't move me nearly as much, but John Popper proved beyond a doubt that he is the Jimi Hendrix of the harmonica. I just didn't hear a lot of songs that reached out to me, but every harp solo was razor sharp. Popper's singing voice is average at best, maybe even a little on the annoying side when he gets in his high register. Just a tad too whiny for my taste. The reason I went to this show in the first place was to see The Black Crowes for the first time and I was definitely impressed. The Crowes are a total road warrior live band and they were in beast mode for sure that night. Chris Robinson and company brought the goods and had us all dancing, singing and rocking out for the duration of their set. It is good to see a show outside of your comfort zone from time to time and this was one of those trips out of the ordinary for me.

Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History


On this date in history, 8/5/1982, Queen graced Indianapolis with a stop on their final tour of America in the Freddie Mercury era.
The show took place at Market Square Arena and featured Billy Squier as the opening act. By 1982 Queen were global superstars, touring on their latest (and arguably least popular) album, Hot Space.
They had embraced a keyboard heavy, dance and disco influenced sound for the record, but I don't recall that affecting their live performance.
Brian May's glorious guitar work was still front and center on the classic '70's material that comprised the lion's share of the songs they played at this concert.
One thing that never wavered in any of Queen's various styles was the majestic tone of Freddie Mercury's one-in-a-million voice.
That voice, coupled with his commanding and charismatic flair as a front man, was my primary memory of the performance.
In the studio, Queen were all contributing songs and ideas, but live, it was Mercury's playground, and he elevated the band to legendary heights.
The light show was state of the art and innovative for its time, and the sound was crystal clear and perfectly defined for those glorious Queen harmonies.
Billy Squier did a fine job with his opening set. Squier had just released Emotions In Motion, his second consecutive platinum album.
Freddie Mercury and Queen's drummer, Roger Taylor, sang backup vocals on the album's title track, and the co-producer of the record had previously produced Queen's The Game, so that probably accounts for him being on the tour. It proved to be a show full of great songs, great production and fantastic musicians making magical moments. This one was special and everyone felt it, beyond a doubt.

Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History