Written By Braddon S. Williams aka “The Concert Critic”

On this date in history, 8/7/2019, Heart brought the Love Alive

Tour to Deer Creek in Noblesville, IN. Along with the Wilson sisters, we were rocked by stellar sets from Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and Elle King.

It was a smart move by the veterans to bring fresh new talent along for this all female front line tour, because Elle King got that crowd pumped up from the very beginning.

I hadn’t heard much of her music prior to this show, but I was impressed with her powerful vocals, her energy, her easy rapport with the audience, and her musical diversity. Elements of rock, blues, country, and pop all weaved in and out of her songs that were born for the stage.

Her song Ex’s & Oh’s is an anthem for certain. That one had the crowd in the palm of her sassy hands! I was an immediate fan watching her play a Flying V guitar that was nearly as big as she was…and handling it like a boss.

Speaking of bosses, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts wasted no time in asserting their badass brand of punk tinged hard rock. Jett is beloved nearly universally, and she effortlessly exudes cool confidence and sexy swagger.

Even on the big screens, one can see that glint of playful excitement in her eyes, and it is as contagious as a rock ‘n roll epidemic. When she lights into Bad Reputation, Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah), and I Love Rock ‘n Roll, everyone in the venue feels like they are 16 again, at least in spirit.

Heart proved beyond a doubt their legendary status with a sterling selection of their career spanning deep treasure chest of classic songs.

Not content to just play their own stuff, Heart tossed in some absolute gems of cover songs, including Your Move by Yes, The Boxer by Simon & Garfunkel, and an absolutely breathtaking tour de force rendition of Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin. Ann Wilson’s voice was a force of nature throughout, and younger sister Nancy played electric and acoustic guitars and mandolin with masterful intensity, contributing some lovely lead vocals and harmonizing beautifully with her sibling.

All 3 bands were comprised of men playing their roles with anonymous but fierce contributions; content to let the legendary ladies claim the spotlight. My only complaints about this show were that it was too quiet (crank it up!), and that the crowd on the lawn were too lazy to get off their lazy asses and feed these amazing artists with some well earned energy. Everyone sounded great, but it was almost like someone has decided that the audience is old and tired and might want to just sit in their trendy little lawn chairs and not have to deal with that loud rock music.

I sure hope that doesn’t become the norm, because these artists deserve a better fate than that.

On This Date in History

Written By Braddon S. Williams aka “The Concert Critic”

On this date in history, 7/11/2019, I saw Alice Cooper for the 10th time. The show took place at the prestigious Honeywell Center in Wabash, IN.

It is challenging to do these reviews after seeing some of my favorite artists so many times. Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, and Slayer are all similar situations. On the one hand, I keep going back because these artists are ingrained in my musical consciousness and I have absolute passion for everything they do and all they stand for. A simpler reason is that they continue to play incredible shows.

Alice Cooper hit the stage with a brand new set (a haunted castle…quite amazing to behold) and dug deep into his treasure chest of songs and pulled out some gems I had never heard him perform before. The song My Stars from 1972’s School’s Out album was terrific, as was the title track from 1973’s Muscle Of Love. Not only did these songs bring some new energy to the show, they provided some exciting riffs for Alice’s all-star band to add their magical touches to.

Another deep cut that got a particularly hard rocking makeover was Roses On White Lace from 1987’s Raise Your Fist And Yell, providing a fast metallic riff for the shredding of Nita Strauss, one third of Alice’s assassination squad of lead guitar aces. Each of these three got plenty of space to shine, and each have their own distinctive style that suits different facets of Cooper’s career.

During one early song, Cooper displayed some tasty blues harmonica, accompanied by Wabash native Tommy Henriksen, who played some back and forth lead guitar with the bosses harp licks.

Ryan Roxie, the longest tenured of the trio, played lots of melodic and soaring lead lines from some of the most classic songs.

Once again, drummer Glen Sobel delivered an absolutely jaw dropping drum solo on the capacity crowd, accompanied by bass playing muscle man, Chuck Garric (who has been a mainstay since 2002).

As admittedly superb as the musicians are (and they are the top of the line, each and every one), no Cooper show is based solely on music, and this was no exception. The theatrics were all in place, from the giant Frankenstein monster who made a brief appearance during the opening Feed My Frankenstein, and a full rampage later on Teenage Frankenstein, to a truly spectacular larger than life evil baby (looking a bit like the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man with Alice Cooper makeup!). This baby took place in the onstage “execution” of Alice by guillotine. Although the guillotine had a malfunction, the old gag still provides a great bit of suspense and entertainment. Alice did his straitjacket appearance while singing Steven from the magnificent Welcome To My Nightmare album (1975), and segued into Dead Babies from Killer (1971).

Cooper’s wife Sheryl played the part of the evil nurse with sadistic glee. So, this was the 10th time for me, but I’m not done yet! Going back for more in November, when Alice brings the show back to the Murat Theatre at The Old National Centre…to be continued!

On This Date in History

Written By Braddon S. Williams AKA “The Concert Critic”

On this date in history, 6/11/2019, I ended a 40 year ban and saw REO Speedwagon for the first time since 1979! This happened because a wonderful new friend won free tickets and invited me.

The concert took place at The Lawn in White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis. I had never been to this venue before and I was quite impressed with the sound and visibility of the stage area.

Sister Hazel opened the show, but I must confess that they basically served as background music for a really interesting conversation my friend and I were having. To their credit, Sister Hazel sounded quite good.

When REO hit the stage, we moved up much closer to the stage and I must say the venerable classic rockers played all their biggest hits and managed to breathe some new life into some older deep cuts as well.

Lead singer Kevin Cronin did a lot of talking between songs, but his speeches served a purpose, such as his introduction of the band, particularly describing lead guitar player Dave Amato as the “new guy”, even though he joined the band in 1989. Cronin also talked about the songwriting process before performing Golden Country on solo acoustic guitar. That is one of my favorite REO songs, and the intimacy of just voice and guitar was a nice little change of pace.

Another speech involved the song 157 Riverside Ave., which was featured on their first live album. Cronin reminded us that the live version on that album was recorded in Indianapolis at the Convention Center.

Since REO hails from Illinois, Cronin played up the neighborly aspect of the band’s relationship with Indiana.

All in all there was a good balance between the big power ballads and grittier rockers like Back On The Road Again, Keep Pushin’ and Ridin’ The Storm Out. The crowd was singing along and swaying to the hits for the duration of the show. I’m glad I lifted the ban, because this time around was way more fun than the show I saw 40 years ago!

On This Date in History

June 9th 1992 #Deicide released the album “Legion” #InHellIBurn #HolyDeception #RepentToDie #DeadButDreaming #Trifixion #DeathMetal

Did you know…

The album was produced by legendary death metal producer Scott Burns.

June 9th 2017 #Suffocation released the album “…Of The Dark Light” #YourLastBreaths #ReturnToTheAbyss #TheViolation #TechnicalDeathMetal

Did you know…

It was their last album to feature vocalist Frank Mullen before his retirement in 2018.

June 9th 2008 #Venom released the album “Hell” #HandOfGod #EvilPerfection #KillTheMusic #BloodSky #EvilutionDevilution #ThrashMetal

Did you know…

It was their last album to feature Anthony Lant on drums.

June 9th 1997 #Testament released the album “Demonic” #MurkyWaters #TogetherAsOne #DistortedLives #TenThousandThrones #ThrashMetal

Did you know..

The album cover art for Demonic was done by Dave McKean who also did the cover art for the prior Testament studio album, Low.

June 9th 1992 #Tankard released the album “Stone Cold Sober” #BrokenImage #BehindTheBack #Mindwild #UglyBeauty #ThrashMetal

Did you know…

The band did a cover of the J. Geils Band song “Centerfold” on this album.

June 9th 1992 #TheGathering released their debut album “Always” #KingForADay #Subzero #Stonegarden #SecondSunrise #GothicMetal

Did you know..

The band was founded in 1989 by brothers Hans and René Rutten and vocalist Bart Smits in Oss, North Brabant.

June 9th 1998 #MercyfulFate released the album “Dead Again” #TheNight #SinceForever #SuckingYourBlood #Banshee #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

It marked the first album from Mercyful Fate that Michael Denner is not present on.

June 10th 1983 #Pantera released their debut album “Metal Magic” #RockOut #BiggestPartOfMe #RideMyRocket #TellMeIfYouWantIt #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

The album was produced by Jerry Abbott.

June 10th 2013 #BlackSabbath released the album “13” #GodIsDead #EndOfTheBeginning #LiveForever #AgeOfReason #DamagedSoul #HeavyMetal

Did you know..

It was the only studio album released by Black Sabbath since Forbidden (1995).

The album reached number 1 on the #Billboard chart.

June 10th 1999 #PrimalFear released the album “Jaws Of Death” #IntoTheFuture #ChurchOfBlood #PlayToKill #UnderYourSpell #PowerMetal

Did you know..

The band did a cover of the Rainbow song “Kill The King” on this album.

June 10th 1996 #Carcass released the album “Swansong” #BlackStar #FirmHand #Polarized #GoToHell #ExtremeMetal

Did you know…

It was their only album to feature guitarist Carlo Regadas.

The album peaked at number 46 on the #Billboard heatseekers chart.

June 10th 1983 #Tank released the album “This Means War” #LaughingInTheFaceOfDeath #EchoesOfADistantBattle #HeavyMetal

Did you know..

On this album, the band expanded to a four-piece, with addition of second guitarist Mick Tucker, former member of the #NWOBHM band White Spirit.

June 10th 1992 #Loudness released the album “Loudness” #PrayForTheDead #BlackWidow #WakingTheDead #HeavyMetal

Did you know..

Original bass player Masayoshi Yamashita was replaced with Taiji Sawada and the American vocalist Mike Vescera with former Ezo singer Masaki Yamada.

June 10th 2016 #Rage released the album “The Devil Strikes Again” #MyWay #TheFinalCurtain #War #SpiritsOfTheNight #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

The band formed in 1984 by Peter “Peavy” Wagner.

June 10th 2014 #Hellyeah released the album “Blood For Blood” #DemonsInTheDirt #SayWhen #Moth #Hush #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

Producer Kevin Churko handles the bass duties in the studio due to the departure of Bob Zilla.

The album reached number 18 on the @billboard chart.

June 10th 2014 #ArchEnemy released the album “War Eternal” #AsThePagesBurn #OnAndOn #YouWillKnowMyName #Avalanche #MelodicDeathMetal

Did you know…

This was their first album with Alissa White-Gluz on vocals.

The album reached number 44 on the #Billboard chart.

June 10th 1986 #Candlemass released debut album “Epicus Doomicus Metallicus” #Bewitched #CrystalBall #ASorcerersPledge #DoomMetal

Did you know…

This was the only Candlemass album to feature vocalist Johan Längqvist until he joined the band, officially, in 2018.

June 10th 1982 #Rainbow released the album “Straight Between The Eyes” #StoneCold #DeathAlleyDriver #RockFever #Power #EyesOfFire #HardRock

Did you know..

The album title allegedly came from a phrase from Jeff Beck, describing Jimi Hendrix to Blackmore.

June 11th 1991 #SkidRow released the GREAT album “Slave To The Grind” #WastedTime #RiotAct #MonkeyBusiness #TheThreat #HeavyMetal

Did you know..

The album debuted at number 1 on the #Billboard chart.

June 11th 2010 #OzzyOsbourne released the album “Scream” #LetItDie #LifeWontWait #LetMeHearYouScream #Fearless #Crucify #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

The album reached number 4 on the #Billboard chart.

The album is the only one to feature guitarist Gus G.

June 11th 2002 #WASP released the album “Dying For The World” #HallowedGround #MyWickedHeart #TrailOfTears #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

The album was dedication to all those who perished in the attacks of the 9/11 events, especially heard on the ‘Hallowed Ground’ track.

June 11th 2013 #TheBlackDahliaMurder released the album “Everblack” #GoatOfDeparture #IntoTheEverblack #MelodicDeathMetal

Did you know..

It was the first release by the band to feature drummer Alan Cassidy and bassist Max Lavelle.

The album debuted at number 32 on the #Billboard chart.

‪June 12th 1985 #Megadeth released their debut album “Killing Is My Business.. And Business Is Good” #Mechanix #Rattlehead #ChosenOnes #ThrashMetal‬

‪Did you know…‬

‪It has a version of Nancy Sinatra’s classic “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'”, with lyrics altered by Mustaine.‬

June 12th 1995 #ParadiseLost released the album “Draconian Times” #TheLastTime #ForeverFailure #Shadowkings #HallowedLand #GothicMetal

Did you know…

The album reached number 16 on the #OfficialCharts

June 12th 1989 #Lion released their last studio album “Trouble In Angel City” #ComeOn #LoveIsALie #StrangerInTheCity #HungryForLove #HardRock #GlamMetal

Did you know…

The band did a cover of the Slade song “Lock Up Your Daughters” on this album.

June 12th 2015 #Stormhammer released the album “Echoes of a Lost Paradise” #FastLife #Leaving #HolyWar #TheOcean #PowerMetal

Did you know..

The band was originally called Lizard.

June 12th 1999 #SixFeetUnder released the album “Maximum Violence” #ShortCutToHell #Brainwashed #MassMurderRampage #Bonesaw #DeathMetal

Did you know…

It was the first Six Feet Under album to feature Steve Swanson on guitars.

June 12th 2001 #AsILayDying released their debut album “Beneath The Encasing Of Ashes” #WhenThisWorldFades #ForcedToDie #TheInnocenceSpilled #Metalcore

Did you know..

The band was founded in 2000 by vocalist Tim Lambesis.

June 12th 1988 #BoltThrower released their debut album “In Battle There Is No Law!” #ForgottenExistence #NuclearAnnihilation #DeathMetal

Did you know…

German melodic death metal act Heaven Shall Burn used the same album title for their debut EP as a homage to Bolt Thrower.

June 12th 2018 #FleshConsumed released the album “Hymn for the Leeches” #BowBeforeMe #SerpentAmongstMice #AlphaOmega #TechnicalBrutalDeathMetal

Did you know..

The band is from Santa Cruz, California and formed in 2003.

June 13th 1985 #Ratt released the GREAT album “Invasion Of Your Privacy” #LayItDown #YoureInLove #GiveItAll #HardRock

Did you know…

The album reached number 7 on the #Billboard chart.

The album was produced by Beau Hill.

June 13th 1988 #NuclearAssault released the album “Survive” #FightToBeFree #RiseFromTheAshes #GreatDepression #ThrashMetal

Did you know..

The band did a cover of the Led Zeppelin song “Good Times Bad Times” on this album.

It peaked at number 145 on the #BillboardCharts

June 13th 1995 #FearFactory released the album “Demanufacture” #ZeroSignal #Replica #BodyHammer #ATherapyForPain #Flashpoint #HeavyMetal

Did you know..:

Many regard it as the band’s best album and a heavy metal classic.

June 14th 2019 #Helix release NEW album “Old School” #Closer #Cheers #SouthernComfort #TieMeDown #HardRock

Did you know…

Three of the tracks were recorded for the Back for Another Taste album but never released and have Paul Hackman playing guitar on them.

http://www.planethelix.com

June 14th 1982 #MetalMassacre album is released from #MetalBlade

Did you know…

The first pressing featured a version with guitar solos by Lloyd Grant and Dave Mustaine.

The second pressing featured Dave Mustaine on lead guitar and Ron McGovney on bass.

June 14th 1956 Legendary #KingdDamond was born!!! #HappyBirthday #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

On stage, King Diamond uses a microphone handle consisting of a femur bone and a tibia bone in the shape of a cross.

June 15th 1981 #IronMaiden released the single “Purgatory” and would be their last with singer Paul Di’Anno. #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

The track is a remake of one of the band’s earlier songs, entitled “Floating”, of which “Purgatory” is a faster re-arrangement.

June 15th 1999 #MercyfulFate released their final studio album “9” #BurnInHell #HouseOnTheHill #TheGrave #Insane #KissTheDemon #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

The band formed in 1981 by vocalist King Diamond and guitarist Hank Shermann.

June 15th 1993 #Sacrifice released the album “Apocalypse Inside” #Flesh #Salvation #TheLost #Incarcerated #ThrashMetal

Did you know…

The album was produced by Razor guitarist Dave Carlo.

June 15th 2009 #Artillery released the album “When Death Comes” #RiseAboveItAll #SandboxPhilosophy #TheEnd #DamnedReligion #ThrashMetal

Did you know…

It was their first recording since their second breakup from 2000 to 2007.

June 15th 1996 #GatesOfIshtar released their debut album “A Bloodred Path” #TheSilence #Tears #TheDreamingGlade #IntoSeasonsOfFrost #MelodicDeathMetal

Did you know…

The band is from Sweden and formed in 1992.

June 15th 2018 #LizzyBorden released the album “My Midnight Things” #LongMayTheyHauntUs #RunAwayWithMe #ThePerfectPoison #ObsessedWithYou #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

It was the first album from Lizzy in over 11 years, since “Appointment with Death”.

June 15th 1997 #PaulDiAnno released the album “As Hard As Iron” #RockTheBoat #DangerLines #SearchingForYou #SheGoesDown #HeavyMetal

Did you know..

The album also featured ex Iron Maiden guitarist Dennis Stratton.

June 15th 2011 #InFlames released the album “Sounds Of A Playground Fading” #AllForMe #ThePuzzle #DarkerTimes #TheAttic #Liberation #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

This was the first album recorded by In Flames without founding guitarist Jesper Strömblad.

June 15th 2018 #TadMorose released the album “Chapter X” #Nemesis #Liar #LeviathanRise #TurnToDust #Apocalypse #HeavyMetal

Did you know…

Their style has been described as “a power/classic heavy metal hybrid with slight progressive tendencies”.

Nov 15th 2011 #WhiteWizzard released the album “Flying Tigers” #Starchild #FightToTheDeath #FallOfAtlantis #WarOfTheWorlds #HeavyMetal

Did you know….

It is the last album to feature Wyatt Anderson on vocals, released after his departure from the band in June 2011.

June 16th 1991 #TypeONegative released their debut album “Slow, Deep And Hard” #PreludeToAgony #XeroTolerance #GothicMetal

Did you know..

The album was originally titled “None More Negative” and released in 1990 under the group’s former name Repulsion.

This Week in Rock & Metal

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Pink Floyd: Dark Side Of The Moon

Shortly after I began this marathon project last year it occurred to me that my start date was 4/21, meaning my final review would fall on 4/20. From that point it became clear that there was only one possible outcome for the last album in the series…Ladies and Gentlemen, I give to you Dark Side Of The Moon (1973) by Pink Floyd! Everything about this album is classic, iconic, and larger than life.

It spent an unfathomable amount of time in the charts (over 900 to date), sold a staggering 45 million units (and counting!), has one of the most recognizable covers in all of rock music (with no title or band name listed), and continues to be a staple of rock radio all these many years later.

Dark Side Of The Moon explores timeless topics like death, greed, mental illness, and time itself.

The music was impeccably recorded and engineered, appealing to audiophiles and casual listeners alike. Dark Side was also a more collaborative effort from the band, recorded in a time before Roger Waters became the primary songwriter.

Of course, the songs themselves have become beloved to generations of Floyd fans; Money, Us And Them, Brain Damage, Time, Breathe, Eclipse, and The Great Gig In The Sky.

David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Rick Wright, and Nick Mason created something epic and cosmic and ultimately relatable to countless people across the globe and across a significant span of time.

Music is indeed the universal language, and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon speaks to the universe.

https://youtu.be/JwYX52BP2Sk

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

The Beatles: Abbey Road

“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make” – Paul McCartney

As I near the end of this most satisfying journey into my musical inspirations and taste, I think it is appropriate to discuss Abbey Road (1969), the final time The Beatles were all in a recording studio together.

Abbey Road featured all the things that made The Beatles so wonderful: the melodies, the harmonies, the creativity, the usage of the studio as a component of their compositions…and the one-of-a-kind chemistry the Fab Four generated.

Lennon & McCartney were now challenged by George Harrison as a writer equal to their immense talents. Harrison contributed Here Comes The Sun, and the incomparable Something, proving he had established his own voice as a composer.

John and Paul had their own triumphs, adding to their own legacy, with Come Together, Golden Slumbers, I Want You (She’s So Heavy), and Carry That Weight.

Ringo Starr even got a fun entry with the whimsical Octopus’s Garden.

The suite of song fragments on Side Two of the original vinyl release was a brilliant display of The Beatles acting as their own editors; making something timeless and thrilling out of songs that might never have been completed otherwise. On The End, the boys had some fun flexing their musical muscles, with the roundabout of lead guitar trade offs from Paul, George, and John, and even a quick drum solo from Ringo.

The album cover generated a lot of speculation, conspiracy theories, and controversy on its own…and though it didn’t include the name of the record or even the band’s name…it wasn’t necessary, because everyone in the world knew The Beatles. They were a phenomenon, and Abbey Road is a phenomenal album.

https://youtu.be/hL0tnrl2L_U

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Jimi Hendrix: Electric Ladyland

Jimi Hendrix was so much more than just a gifted guitarist. With his final studio album, 1968’s double disc opus Electric Ladyland, Hendrix exploded the boundaries of what was possible in a recording studio.

Assisted by ace engineer Eddie Kramer, Hendrix was able to utilize every aspect of the limited (though state of the art for the time) amount of tracks available, seemingly inventing sounds out of thin air and panning them left to right and surrounding the listener with a dense array of sonic textures.

Jimi had influences just like any other artist, but what set him apart was the fact that there was really no precedent for much of what he did in his short career. He had such a vivid musical imagination, and he found ways to make his visions come to life. Guitar effects pedals were invented from ideas he had and was able to communicate to the manufacturers.

In addition to all this innovative playing, the Experience also gathered some top notch guest stars, like Steve Winwood, Jack Casady, Chris Wood, Al Kooper, and Buddy Miles.

Jimi’s writing and singing always lived in the shadow of his playing, but he both wrote and sang some great stuff on Electric Ladyland. Voodoo Chile, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Gypsy Eyes, House Burning Down, Crosstown Traffic, 1983 (A Merman I Should Turn To Be), Burning Of The Midnight Lamp, and Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland) were all great pieces of work, but of course his iconic cover of Bob Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower was the song that drew the most attention. It was so good that Dylan himself started performing Hendrix’s arrangement of it in his own concerts.

Electric Ladyland stands as a monumental achievement of the psychedelic ’60’s, and a testament to Jimi Hendrix’s lasting status as one of the greatest guitarists (and musicians) in history.

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind