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There were some very fortunate people in Los Angeles last night

Guns N Roses Reunited

Axl Rose and Slash, on stage together, playing music. Who would have thought such a thing would ever happen again? Last night at the Troubadour club in Los Angeles, the two feuding men buried their respective hatchets for a few hours and entertained fans along with original bassist Duff McKagan. Izzy Stradlin was replaced by Richard Fortus, and Steven Adler by Frank Ferrer, but there can be no denying the magic that was created by 3/5 of the original band last night.

I wish I had been there.

The fortunate rock fans who saw Guns N’ Roses last night did so for only $10. A limited number of tickets were made available to fans on a cash-only basis yesterday at noon. Cameras (including those that are sometimes used as cell phones) were not allowed in the venue, and there were reports of audience members being escorted out because they tried to snap a few shots or take video. A handful of photographs were posted on Twitter (like the one above, and I have no idea who originally posted it), and there are some twelve-second videos floating around Instagram.

Several questions were answered at last night’s show. First, as already mentioned, Adler and Izzy are not taking part in this reunion tour. It was already confirmed that Izzy would be a no-show, but rumors persisted that Adler would at least sit in for a few songs. That never materialized.

Second, songs from Chinese Democracy were a part of the setlist. The title track and “Better” were both performed by the band last night, and I would assume they will be a part of the set this summer since Slash and Duff took the time to learn them.

Third, Axl smiled. You can see it in the photo posted above. Whatever bad blood existed may still be there, but it is not boiling as hotly as before.

Will this lead to new music from Axl and Slash? I certainly hope so. While I plan to go to a show this summer, what I really want is new studio music from the bad boys of rock and roll. I love new music, and I can’t wait to hear what 3/5 of the original Guns N’ Roses has to offer fans after a 23-year hiatus.

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

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.

Queensrÿche

Setlist for Queensrÿche:
Anarchy-X
The Needle Lies
Walk in the Shadows
Jet City Woman
Silent Lucidity
Arrow of Time
Eyes of a Stranger
Empire
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.

Scorpions

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.

Scorpions

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
Dynamite
In the Line of Fire
Kottak Attack (drum solo)
Blackout
No One Like You
Big City Nights
Encore:
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.

Scorpions

Scorpions

Concert review: The Cringe, Alice Cooper, and Mötley Crüe (August 20, 2015 @ Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN)

My 16-year old son Joshua and I traveled to Indianapolis Thursday night to take in Alice Cooper and Mötley Crüe on the latter’s “All Bad Things Must Come To An End: The Final Tour” at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. I have seen both acts before, so I had an idea what to expect going in, and for the most part I was not disappointed.

Opening the show was a Manhattan-based band called The Cringe. The band is comprised of John Cusimano (who is married to TV cooking show host Rachel Ray), James Rotondi, Johnny Blaze, and Shawn Pelton. They opened their set with a catchy tune called “Anything You Say” from their forthcoming release Blind Spot, available in October. They have four other albums available now: Hiding in Plain Sight (2012), Play Thing (2010), Tipping Point (2007), and Scratch the Surface (2005). The Cringe also performed covers of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” and Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak.” A very good set to open the show that encouraged me to search out more about the band once I came home.

The Cringe will be playing with Alice Cooper and Mötley Crüe through September 6 in San Antonio. Click here to see a full list of The Cringe’s future dates.

Alice Cooper

I have seen Alice Cooper twice before, and Joshua attended one of those concerts with me. As expected, the classic shock rocker put on a spectacular show. Playing several classic songs from the 1970s through the 1990s, Cooper and his band rocked the Indianapolis crowd into a frenzy for the headliners. A very good video of the Philadelphia show with the same setlist can be seen here (part 1) and here (part 2).

The highlights of the show included “Feed My Frankenstein” and “Killer,” which led to the beheading of the singer and the song “I Love the Dead.” As an opening act, he had a shorter set than the last time we saw him, but still put on a wicked theatrical performance complete with the Frankenstein monster prancing around the stage and the guillotine.

Setlist for Alice Cooper at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, August 20, 2015:
1. The Black Widow
2. No More Mr. Nice Guy
3. Under My Wheels
4. I’m Eighteen
5. Billion Dollar Babies
6. Poison
7. Dirty Diamonds
8. Go to H***
9. Feed My Frankenstein
10. Ballad of Dwight Fry
11. Killer
12Love the Dead
13.School’s Out (medley with Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall)

Alice Cooper’s band is currently made up of Cooper as the lead singer, Ryan Roxie, Tommy Henriksen, and Nita Strauss on guitars, Chuck Garric on bass, and Glen Sobel on drums.

Purchase music by Alice Cooper.

Motley Crue

The headliner, of course, was Mötley Crüe, on what is being billed as the band’s final tour. Excuse me if I don’t entirely believe that, but time will tell. All of the band members have other projects in the works, such as Nikki’s Sixx:A.M. with James Michael and DJ Ashba, but it’s not difficult to envision a reunion five to ten years from now when the money made from this tour starts to dry up.

Thursday’s performance was not too disappointing to me, although if it had been my first experience with Mötley Crüe it may have been. Mick Mars, Nikki Sixx, and Tommy Lee all sounded great, and have every time I’ve seen them before. But Vince Neil was awful, and always has been in concert (at least since 1998, which was my first Mötley Crüe concert). He either forgets the lyrics or just doesn’t have the stamina to sing them all. He was backed on this tour by a couple of female singers to fill in some of the gaps, but there were still several missed lines throughout the night.

I have to admit a bit of disappointment in Vince’s incessant use of curse words as well. Before you object and say, “It’s a rock and roll show, of course he cusses,” let me remind you that Alice Cooper does not drop the f-bomb every third word in his show. I’ve been to a lot of shows, and it always bothers me to hear a continual stream of profanity from the bands. There is no need for it, and it detracts from an otherwise enjoyable night.

Then there was the song, “MF of the Year.” Am I alone in wishing this song was dropped in favor of “Too Fast For Love” or “Too Young To Fall in Love”? Even “Afraid” would have been a better choice in my opinion. And that’s all this is, my opinion, and I realize others may disagree but I’m tired of the foul language.

Back to the good parts of the show…four songs from Dr. Feelgood, personally my favorite Mötley Crüe record, were performed. The drum rollercoaster was fun to watch; Tommy Lee playing upside-down was a trip. The band highlighted songs from their entire career (except Mötley Crüe and Generation Swine) starting with “Girls Girls Girls” and finishing up with “Home Sweet Home” in the middle of the arena.

All in all, a great night, and one I will not forget anytime soon. I’m very glad I decided to catch the tour, just in case it truly is the last.

Setlist for Mötley Crüe at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, August 20, 2015:

1. Girls, Girls, Girls
2. Wild Side
3. Primal Scream
4. Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)
5. Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
6. Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room
7. Looks That Kill
8. MF of the Year
9. Anarchy in the U.K.
10. In The Beginning/Shout at the Devil
11. Louder Than H***
12. Saints of Los Angeles
13. Live Wire
14. T.N.T. (Terror ‘N Tinseltown)/Dr. Feelgood
15. Kickstart My Heart
16. (encore) Home Sweet Home

“All Bad Things Must Come To An End: The Final Tour” is supposed to wrap up December 31 in Los Angeles. Click here to see a full list of dates, and make plans to see Mötley Crüe one last time.

Purchase music by Mötley Crüe.

Learn more about Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Photoset: Gogol Bordello (July 29, 2014 @ Bogart’s, Cincinnati OH)

Gogol Bordello live in Cincinnati Ohio Bogarts July 29 2014

The gypsy punks from Manhattan, Gogol Bordello stopped by Bogart’s in Cincinnati, Ohio, Tuesday night to promote their latest album, Pura Vida Conspiracy. Eugene Hütz was in top form, entertaining the crowd with every chord he strummed and every word he sang. Violinst Sergey Ryabtsev as a joy to watch on the stage, and the newest member of the group, Pasha Newmer, relished his time on stage playing accordion.

The group played several cuts from the latest album, including “We Rise Again,” “Dig Deep Enough,” “Lost Innocent World,” and “Amen.” The movement on stage was non-stop, and the audience was in a frenzy throughout the show.

Gogol Bordello live in Cincinnati Ohio Bogarts July 29 2014

Want to see more photos from the Gogol Bordello show? Read the rest of this entry

Photoset: Man Man (July 29, 2014 @ Bogart’s, Cincinnati OH)

Man Man live at Bogarts in Cincinnati Ohio July 29 2014

Man Man from Philadelphia invaded Cincinnati Tuesday night, opening for Gogol Bordello at Bogart’s. A high-energy group led by singer/pianist Honus Honus, the band played a lively 45-minute set to get the crowd warmed up for the headliners. Honus Honus, Pow Pow, and the others looked like they were having a ball on the stage, helping to amp up the audience’s enthusiasm.

Man Man live at Bogarts in Cincinnati Ohio July 29 2014

See more photos of Man Man’s performance… Read the rest of this entry

Killer Dwarfs are coming to Cincinnati!

While checking out the upcoming shows in the area, I was shocked to see this…

Killer Dwarfs

Killer Dwarfs were an awesome Canadian band that never got a whole lot of airplay back in the day, but they made some great music. Their biggest song was probably “Dirty Weapons.”

I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to make this show at MVP Sports Bar & Grille or not, but it’s good to see they are back out on the road.

Check out the Killer Dwarfs tour dates to see if they’re coming to your area…and be sure to check for updates since the Cincinnati show isn’t even posted there yet!

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 raylamontagne.com for the latest news and updates.

Purchase Ray LaMontagne music.

Ray LaMontagne concert photos 2012

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

Stryper – Live in Indonesia at the Java Rockin’ Land DVD (2012)

Stryper concert DVD review

Stryper
Live in Indonesia at the Java Rockin’ Land DVD
MVDvisual, 2012
69 mins.

Hair metal, the once heralded king of the late 1980s and the butt of many jokes in the post-Nevermind 1990s, has some of the most rabid fans in the world. Over the past couple of decades, bands that once reigned the rock radio airwaves have been making a comeback, fighting the stereotypes and releasing new music. Religious rockers Stryper, however, may have been one of the last groups people expected to reunite. Singer Michael Sweet enjoyed some success as a solo artist and other band members found other projects, but a few years ago Stryper, whose name is a reference to Isaiah 53:5, decided to take the stage together once again.

With Live in Indonesia at the Java Rockin’ Land, fans have the opportunity to relive the glory days of the yellow-and-black attack (sans the spandex). Brothers Michael and Robert Sweet, Oz Fox, and Timothy Gaines blast through 69 minutes of classic Stryper material, from the big hit “Honestly” to the fan favorites “The Rock That Makes Me Roll” and “Soldiers Under Command.” The concert is what you would expect from a band that is three decades old; the songs still pack the same punch, even if the singer isn’t able to quite reach the notes after all these years. That’s not to say he sings poorly; on the contrary, Michael’s voice sounds good, just not perfect…but what’s the point of a live recording if it sounds just like the studio release?

Tracklist:
1. Sing-Along Song
2. Murder By Pride
3. Loud ‘N’ Clear
4. The Rock That Makes Me Roll
5. Reach Out
6. Calling On You
7. Free
8. More Than a Man
9. Honestly
10. Open Your Eyes
11. All for One
12. The Way
13. Abyss / To Hell with The Devil
14. Soldiers Under Command

Learn more about MVDvisual.

Learn more about Stryper.

Purchase Stryper – Live in Indonesia at the Java Rockin’ Land DVD.

Photoset: Summer of Ska (July 7, 2012 @ Bogart’s, Cincinnati, OH)

Reel Big Fish concert photos 2012 in Cincinnati

The “Summer of Ska” tour, headlined by Reel Big Fish with support from The Maxies, Suburban Legends, and Big D and the Kids Table, made a stop at Bogart’s in Cincinnati, Ohio, Saturday night. There was a great turn out with plenty of moshing and crowd surfing, and all of the bands received a warm welcome from the Queen City concertgoers.

There are several more photographs from the concert after the jump… Read the rest of this entry

Tonight at Bogart’s!

Reel Big Fish is headlining a big ska concert tonight at Bogart’s! Supporting acts are Big D and the Kids Table, Suburban Legends, and The Maxies. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. Click here to purchase tickets!

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