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Concert review: Queensrÿche and Scorpions (September 22, 2015 @ Lifestyle Communities Pavilion, Columbus OH)

Two classic hard rock bands have joined forces on tour and stopped in Columbus, Ohio’s Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Tuesday night.


Queensrÿche, with new singer Todd La Torre, opened up for Germany’s Scorpions for a massive crowd. La Torre has been with the band since 2012, but they are just now preparing the first studio release featuring his vocal abilities. In concert, La Torre sounds great when he isn’t trying to imitate Geoff Tate’s distinct sound. He struggled with “Jet City Woman” and parts of “Silent Lucidity,” but regained his command of the microphone for the new song, “Arrow of Time,” and sounded strong on the classics, “Eyes of a Stranger” and “Empire.” It will be interesting to see how the new record is received. La Torre’s voice is powerful, but lacks the range of Tate. The rest of the band sounded fantastic, and lead guitarist Michael Wilton looked like he was having a blast. Queensrÿche is rounded out with Parker Lundgren on guitar, Eddie Jackson on bass, and Scott Rockenfield on drums. They played a solid 9-song, 45-minute set.


Setlist for Queensrÿche:
The Needle Lies
Walk in the Shadows
Jet City Woman
Silent Lucidity
Arrow of Time
Eyes of a Stranger
Queen of the Reich

Pre-order the new Queensrÿche album Condition Human,due out October 2, or pick up some classic releases by the band.


The main event was the Scorpions, who blazed through a selection of vintage and newer songs for over an hour and a half. Klaus Meine was at the top of his game, belting out timeless songs like “The Zoo” and “Blackout,” while Rudolf Schenker pranced around the stage thrusting his Flying V guitar into the air.

Scorpions Rudolph Schenker

Scorpions are celebrating their fiftieth year as a band, though Schenker is the only member who has been at it the entire time; Meine joined up in 1969, three years before the first studio album was released. The new material is remarkable and fits in perfectly with the band’s most enduring songs. Guitarist Matthias Jabs sounded phenomenal, and truly appeared to be enjoying the spotlight during his solo performances.

Scorpions Matthias Jabs

The group also includes Paweł Mąciwoda on bass and James Kottak on drums. Kottak’s drumset was raised high above the band, so his animated style was never hidden from the audience. The Scorpions never disappoint when performing live, always playing with energy and enthusiasm and encouraging crowd participation. This is a band that every rock fan needs to see live at least once. I have been fortunate enough to see them three times, and they sound better every time.


Setlist for the Scorpions:
Going Out with a Bang
Make It Real
The Zoo
Coast to Coast
Top of the Bill / Steamrock Fever / Speedy’s Coming / Catch Your Train (70’s medley)
We Built This House
Delicate Dance
Always Somewhere / Eye of the Storm / Send Me an Angel (acoustic medley)
Wind of Change
Rock ‘n’ Roll Band
In the Line of Fire
Kottak Attack (drum solo)
No One Like You
Big City Nights
Still Loving You
Rock You Like a Hurricane

Rudolph Schenker Scorpions

Purchase the Scorpions’ newest release, Return To Forever, or reacquaint yourself with the classics.



Concert review: GOASTT, Dinosaur Jr., & Primus (August 1, 2015 @ Lifestyle Communities Pavilion, Columbus OH)

Bass player extraordinaire Les Claypool brought his band Primus to Columbus’ Lifestyle Communities Pavilion on Saturday, August 1, supported by Sean Lennon’s Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger and Dinosaur Jr. Lennon’s outfit was the first to take the stage.

Ghost of a Sabertooth Tiger Sean Lennon GOASTT

There was an enthusiastic older crowd that showed up to seen the late John Lennon’s son in action, and GOASTT did not disappoint. I had viewed a couple of videos on YouTube earlier in the day to get a feel for the music, and I was not impressed, but in concert they sound much better. Their set was a short thirty minutes and intrigued me enough to investigate the band and their album Midnight Sun further this coming week when I find some extra time (I know I put that extra time around here somewhere).

Learn more about Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger and catch them on tour.

Next up was Dinosaur Jr., who got the crowd amped up with a powerful ten-song set, including “Watch the Corners,” “Freak Scene,” and their cover of the Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.”

Dinosaur Jr

The moshing began about halfway through Dinosaur Jr.’s set. I was only stepped on three times. The band finished their set with “Budge” from the Bug album. I went to the show to see Primus, but I definitely left a Dinosaur Jr. fan.

Learn more about Dinosaur Jr. and catch them on tour.

At 9:15, the headliner took the stage to a thunderous reception.


The moshpits and crowdsurfing were in full force (I stood my ground center stage about ten rows back, my feet never leaving the ground). Les Claypool, guitarist Larry “Ler” LaLonde, and drummer Tim “Herb” Alexander, rocked hard for a solid ninety minutes. There were no wardrobe changes, though Claypool did don a couple of masks during the performance.


The group galloped through sixteen songs total, including “Fisticuffs,” “Frizzle Fry,” “Mr. Krinkle,” “Lee Van Cleef” (my personal favorite), and of course, “My Name Is Mud” and “Jerry was a Race Car Driver.” They wrapped up with “Too Many Puppies” and “Groundhog’s Day” for an encore. Surprisingly, they neglected their most recent album, Primus & The Chocolate Factory With The Fungi Ensemble as well as their highest-charting mainstream hit from the mid-1990s. Regardless, it was a great show, and not a single fan left unhappy.

Learn more about Primus and catch them on tour.

See the upcoming shows at Lifestyle Communities Pavilion.

Concert review: Dawes & Hozier (June 16, 2015 @ Lifestyle Communities Pavilion, Columbus OH)

01 LC PavilionIt was a warm night in Columbus, Ohio, as Los Angeles band Dawes took the stage, opening for Irish singer/songwriter Hozier. The openers played for about 45 minutes to an enthusiastic, mostly young crowd at the LC Pavilion. Their folksy brand of rock was competent, but in the end mostly forgettable. New to the band was Duane Betts, the son of legendary southern rock guitarist Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers. He joined Dawes as a touring member last month, and his warm Les Paul sound is very reminiscent of his father’s.

Dawes has been active for several years, and the group is currently touring to support All Your Favorite Bands, released two weeks ago on Hub Records. The band ended their set with the title track from that album, a nice tune full of nostalgia: “I hope that life without a chaperone is what you thought it’d be / I hope your brother’s El Camino runs forever / I hope the world sees the same person that you always were to me / and may all your favorite bands stay together.”

02 Dawes

Learn more about Dawes.

Purchase music by Dawes.

After Dawes finished, it was time for the main attraction. The popular blues musician Hozier took the stage at 9:20 p.m. to a thunderous response from the Columbus crowd, launching into “Angel of Small Death & The Codeine Scene” to start the show.

03 Hozier

Highlights from the show included “To Be Alone,” which featured great crowd participation, “Jackie and Wilson,” “In A Week,” a duet he sings with Alana Henderson in concert (the studio version features Karen Cowley), and the hit “Take Me To Church.” Following a short break in which the crowd worked itself into a frenzy, Hozier returned to the stage and performed three more songs, including a cover of Ariana Grande‘s “Problem.”

04 HozierI was not sure what to expect going into this show. I was not very familiar with Hozier past “Take Me To Church,” and honestly I was a bit tired of that song. I listened to his album twice on the way to the show, and was not expecting the energy level to be very high. To my surprise, the live show was grittier and more energetic than the studio recording, and made the trip well worth it. If I have the opportunity to see Hozier again, I definitely will. He puts on a great show, and even the slower numbers were full of intensity.

My only complaint: the length of the show. Hozier was finished at 10:40 p.m., only an hour and twenty minutes after his show began. With only one album under his belt so far, I know it must be difficult to stretch that into a two-hour set even with a couple of cover songs thrown in, but I could not help but be disappointed that it was over when he left the stage. Hozier definitely left me wanting more.

Learn more about Hozier.

Learn more about LC Pavilion in Columbus, OH.

Purchase music by Hozier.

Photoset: Ray LaMontagne (December 3, 2012 @ The Palace Theatre, Columbus, OH)

Ray LaMontagne concert photos 2012

The Palace was packed, and the king of modern folk music reigned in Columbus for two full hours. In a solo acoustic show, Ray LaMontagne performed to an excited audience. Joined on the stage by bassist Zachariah Hickman for the entire show and vocalist Lisa Hannigan for a few songs, LaMontagne battled through illness to deliver an excellent performance. Two shows last week were canceled due to strep throat, and it was evident he was still struggling on Monday evening, but even on a bad night LaMontagne puts other entertainers to shame.

Halfway through the show, the singer explained to the crowd that he was not feeling well. He handed the spotlight over to Hannigan, asking her to perform a song from her record Passenger so he could “run backstage and throw up.” When he came back on stage, LaMontagne continued wowing those in attendance with his musicianship, energy, and voice.

The biggest crowd response came during “Jolene,” “Trouble,” and “Repo Man.” LaMontagne also broke out an unreleased song, “One Lonesome Saddle,” written for the Trouble album years ago. Refusing to play any songs from his planned next release, LaMontagne did drop the hint of “raw beats” concerning the forthcoming record, joking that the audience would have to determine whether that meant vegetables or funk.

Sick or not, LaMontagne has tremendous stage presence and puts on a great show. Take advantage of any opportunities you have to see him on tour. He only has two scheduled dates remaining; Wednesday in Nashville and Thursday in Atlanta. Visit for the latest news and updates.

Purchase Ray LaMontagne music.

Ray LaMontagne concert photos 2012

More photos after the jump…
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Ray LaMontagne set to take the stage in Columbus

Ray LaMontagne

A singer/songwriter with a velvet voice, Ray LaMontagne will be performing tonight at the Palace Theatre in Columbus, Ohio. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I should have photos from the show posted early tomorrow morning.

Purchase Ray LaMontagne – God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise.

Photoset: Cinderella (July 26, 2012 @ Lifestyle Communities Pavilion, Columbus, OH)

Cinderella concert photography Columbus OH

I am always amazed at how great Cinderella sounds in concert. This is my fourth experience with the band, and with the exception of one sub-par show due to the illness of singer Tom Keifer, they always impress. For a full ninety minutes, this classic hard rock outfit blasted through their biggest hits and even played a few deep cuts, including “Second Wind” from the Long Cold Winter record. While Keifer traded guitar licks with Jeff LaBar, Eric Brittingham and Fred Coury held down rhythm duties on the bass and drums, respectively.

It is difficult to ignore Keifer’s abilities on the microphone. Opening act Sebastian Bach strained to reach some of the notes from Skid Row’s heyday (and even a few of the notes from his Angel Down release), but Keifer’s voice sounded great from the beginning to the end of the show. Cinderella has not released an album of all-new material since 1994, but their live show never gets stale with the classics. Watching the band perform in concert is a treat, and an experience no hard rock fan should miss.

Cinderella concert photography Columbus OH

More photos after the jump: Read the rest of this entry

George Jones still going strong, even at 80

“I don’t need your rocking chair,” sings the silver-haired country music Hall of Famer. George Jones, who turned 80 years old in September, still tours and performs for fans who love his classic country sound, and his “No Show Jones” days are long behind him. This Saturday, February 18, he will perform at The Palace Theatre in Columbus, Ohio.

“The Possum” has several number one country hits, dating back to 1959 when he topped the chart with “White Lightning.” His 1980 ballad, “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” from the Platinum-selling I Am What I Am, is widely considered one of the greatest country music songs ever recorded. Those timeless tracks are included in his standard concert setlist, which is reported to last over 90 minutes.

One of the true living legends of country music, Jones has received numerous awards through the years from Billboard, the Country Music Association, and the Grammys. Just this past weekend, he was one of seven artists honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Recording Acadmey during their Special Merit Awards ceremony.

Jones showed humility in his reaction to the Lifetime Achievement Award. “I think this is one of the greatest things that can happen to you,” he said. “It’s not the end of my career, I hope, but we’re moving up awful close.” Given his advanced age, the end of his career is much closer than the beginning. Fans should take advantage of every opportunity they have to enjoy “The Possum” in concert now, before he walks off the stage for the last time.

Purchase your tickets to see George Jones on Saturday, February 18, at The Palace Theatre in Columbus, Ohio.

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