Category Archives: Show Reviews

Motörhead and Graveyard at Club Nokia

motorheadnokia3Motörhead, Graveyard, Club Nokia, April 11, 2014

I’m back from the dead! Anyway, let’s get started before I drop dead!” the venerable Lemmy Kilmister exclaimed at the start of Motörhead’s lively performance at the Club Nokia in Downtown L.A. It was a Friday night, and the place was packed to the rafters by an interesting cross section of music fans. There were the metal heads, the punk rockers, and the Coachella hipsters, all waiting for the legendary three piece collective from England to tear down the house with their down and dirty music. And Motörhead did so with an all-out vengeance, clearly demonstrating to all why they remain one of the greatest rock and roll bands on the planet.

graveyardnokia1Opening for Motörhead was an dynamic entity of musicians known as Graveyard – and the only thing these two bands really seemed to have in common was they were both playing Coachella for the next two weekends. Nevertheless, many in the crowd appeared to be familiar with Graveyard, and showered a good deal of respect and admiration throughout their entire show. From the opening strains of Randy through Ain’t Fit To Live Here and beyond, Graveyard presented a performance that was absolutely captivating. Hailing from the music mecca known as Gothenburg on Sweden, Graveyard channeled bands such as Deep Purple and The Sword, creating an energy that sent the room spinning. Delivering tracks culled from their Nuclear Blast release Lights Out as well as other crowd favorites, the mastery and imagination found within Graveyard’s music reached out to many in the overflow Club Nokia room. Glorious remnants of heavy rock, blues and psychedelia weaved its magic throughout, courtesy of Joakim Nilsson on guitar and vocals, Jonathan Ramm on guitar, Rikard Edlund on bass, Axel Sjöberg on drums. Many were understandable\y excited to see the main act hit the stage, but there is little doubt that Graveyard made a good deal of new fans at the Club Nokia with their absorbing live presentation.

motorheadnokia4And then it was time for the almighty Motörhead – with Lemmy and company opening the set with the ironically titled I Know How To Die from their The World Is Yours magnum opus. Circle pits ensued through the entire venue, as well as fans jumping up and down frenetically, all enraptured by the massive sounds of Motörhead. Damage Case and Stay Clean continued the raging assault to the senses, showing a rejuvenated Motörhead at the very height of their musical prowess. Although Aftershock is their latest release on UDR – a true masterpiece possessing many future Motörhead classics, it was interesting that the only track they played from it was the magnificently smoky Lost Woman Blues. The Chase Is Better Than The Catch and Rock It maintained our trip into the sweeping Motörhead catalog of classics, with the audience singing along with fiendish glee. Killed By Death was a definitive highlight- the track Motörhead would close with right before a well-deserved encore. And speaking of an encore for the ages, Motörhead was joined onstage by none other than Slash of Guns N Roses fame – unleashing rousing renditions of Ace Of Spades and Overkill.

motorheadnokia5Although Lemmy has been dealing with health issues, the legendary front man was in tip-top form, exuding his classic stage presence and acerbic wit throughout the entire show – not to mention his trademark vocals and pulsating bass work that has rendered him a rock and roll icon for the ages. At 68, Lemmy still tears up the stage like no other rocker on this earth. Phil Campbell on guitar and Mikkey Dee on drums unleashed magnificent performances, and manifested some thunderous solos throughout the set. Motörhead has been in your face with their sonic reveries since 1975, and judging by what was on display at the Club Nokia, there shall be no stopping this truly great collective. As the affable Lemmy stated at the conclusion of their set, “Don’t forget us. We are Motörhead and we play and roll!” And may they do so for the many years ahead!

(Review by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)

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Gideon on The Mosh Lives Tour

gideongh1Gideon on The Mosh Lives Tour, The Glasshouse, March 28, 2014

The Mosh Lives Tour consists of the following bands: Sworn In, Gideon, Thy Art Is Murder, Volumes, & headliner Emmure. All of the bands had a great performance in Pomona on a sold out Friday night at the Glass House. Each band except for Emmure had a short set, so it was hard to see each bands full potential on stage. Although they only played 5 songs, Gideon really did stand out. They had a fantastic set that night, not putting down any of the other bands, or thinking any less of them at all either. I have seen them before, but not when they had such a short set. They truly showed how capable they are at owning their short set time.

While being in the photo pit for 2 out of 5 songs I still paid attention to my surroundings and the crowd behind me. Photographers got kicked out early due to the amount of crowd surfers there was, it was [a] ridiculous [amount] to say the least. Gideon had people bouncing the whole time, more than any of the other bands due to the energy their grooves were giving off. Not only were people bouncing the whole set, but there was also a huge pit with hardcore dancers/moshers the whole time too. This band had a ridiculously good crowd response, better than I expected since I thought it wouldn’t be much cause of their short set time. Gideon is definitely a band to see live.

Setlist:
Prodigal Son
Kingdom Minded
Mask
Gutter
Bad Blood

(Review and Photo by Talia Farber)

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Memphis May Fire at House of Blues – Sunset Strip

mmflive1Memphis May Fire, House of Blues – Sunset Strip, March 26, 2014

I had the opportunity to go to the second to last night of the Unconditional Tour, Memphis May Fire’s tour in support of their new album Unconditional. The tour was supported with opening slots from The Word Alive, A Skylit Drive, Hands Like Houses, and Beartooth. The date wasn’t sold out, due to everyone attending Self Help Fest instead, but had a pretty good amount of people there. The Unconditional Tour was a success to say the least.

Memphis May Fire opened up their set with an oldie-but-goodie “The Sinner” off their album The Hollow from 2011. I was somewhat surprised they opened up with that song; I’d have thought they’d start out with either a new one or “Without Walls”, which they didn’t even play. Before Memphis even went on and while they were setting up, the crowd started to chant the lyrics of “Without Walls”. It was insane how excited they were, I’d never been to a show where that has happened. The things that really surprised me about their set
was how they played some old songs like “The Unfaithful,” “The Sinner,” “The Deceived,” and “Be Careful What You Wish For”. What really shocked me of all things though was they played “You’re Lucky It’s Not 1692”, a song off their first album Sleepwalking which was released in 2009. I’ve seen Memphis a few times, but they never played a song off that album. They took it far back for their old school fans which was awesome.

mmflive2Memphis May Fire is a band that really tries as hard as they can to connect with their fans. There were a few prime examples that night that showed they care and understand. When they started playing “Miles Away,” Matty Mullins dedicated the song to any military families and the military. That was a beautiful, heartfelt moment during their set. Also, Michael Jagmin, the singer of A Skylit Drive, came out and sang Kellin Quinn’s part of the song which was pretty cool and accurate since both singers have a very similar vocal range. Another example would be when Matty dedicated their song “Sleepless Nights” to anyone with anxiety or depression. He said he understands what one goes through, and he kept saying things like a lot of us are here tonight because we need this, and we are here for you, you’re not alone, etc. At one point during their set, Cory Elder, the bassist, jumped down off the stage into the crowd and gave them a big group hug. It’s so touching to see a band care so much for their fans.

The crowd was so wild their whole set, so many crowd surfers that the photographers got kicked out of the pit after a song and a half! There was lots of connection during their set. People said it was a crazy experience, and some even said it was life changing.

Setlist:
The Sinner
Alive In the Lights
No Ordinary Love
The Deceived
Be Careful What You Wish For
Miles Away
Vices
You’re Lucky It’s Not 1692
Sleepless Nights
The Unfaithful

Encore:
Prove Me Right
Legacy

(Review and Photos by Talia Farber)

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The Used at the Hollywood Palladium

theusedtalia2The Used, Hollywood Palladium, March 19, 2014

The first California date for the Taking Back Sunday & The Used tour was on Wednesday, March 19th at the Hollywood Palladium. The tour is headlined by Taking Back Sunday in debut of their new album; Happiness Is, and co-headlined by The Used. Support on the tour coming from Australian, female-fronted Jenna McDougall, Tonight Alive, and Spencer Chamberlain of Underoath’s new band, Sleepwave. The date had sold out some hours before the show, and so far, all but 7 dates of the whole tour have sold out.

The Used came out on stage opening with their intro and going right into their new single “Cry.” This band sounds so different from what they used to, they’ve evolved and matured. Their new single is super catchy, it has its poppy elements, but they still keep their root elements, adding some screams and some heavy riffs over those screams. I’m stoked to hear what their new album, Imaginary Enemy, has in store. I have personally been a fan of The Used ever since my sister showed me their song “Lunacy Fringe” back in 4th grade. Ever since I’ve been following them, I’ve loved everything they’ve put out and everything before In Love And Death.

theusedtalia1Anyways, as soon as they started playing everyone in the audience, and even the photo pit, started to sing along. This is the best performance I’ve ever seen live so far, by any band. They were perfectly in sync, they moved around and danced a lot, they were funny, and they were lively from what I saw. It was hard for me to find a place to watch them after my 3 songs in the photo pit, and being so short really doesn’t help. It took me a while, but I found a spot to watch them in the middle of their set. At that point, Bert McCracken, the singer, told the crowd in front of him to make a huge mosh pit. After they played “Buried Myself Alive”, Bert told the crowd to split. I think he was trying to start a wall of death, but I’m not sure, since it wasn’t too successful due to the whole floor being full.

My favorite part of their set was when they played “A Box Full of Sharp Objects”, their last song for the night. It was pretty awesome; the way they started it out was by playing the intro to Nirvana’sSmells Like Teen Spirit.” At first, I thought they were going to play a cover, but then they started playing “Box Full.” Not only did they introduce the song by playing “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, but they finished the song with Rage Against The Machine’sKilling in the Name.” I’ve never seen a band do something like that, only play the full song as a cover. That was super creative and very clever, superb way to finish off their set.

theusedtalia3The Used’s set was flawless, and I couldn’t have been any more pleased by it. Everything on the visuals side (rather than the music) of the set was awesome. Their lighting rig is the coolest I’ve seen, a bunch of old TV’s with random faces and a red line across their eyes on the screens, and then they light up. The way they’re placed looks just like a block of old TV’s, but when they all light up, they spell out The Used. All together, just everything was amazing, and I had never seen a better show in my life. I am so glad I got the opportunity to shoot them and see them live; they never come around anymore, at least not very often.

(Review and Photos by Talia Farber)

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Take Action Tour 2014 at the Ventura Theater

takeactiontour2014Take Action Tour 2014 with The Devil Wears Prada, The Ghost Inside, I Killed The Prom Queen, Dangerkids, Ventura Theater, March 12, 2014

The First Stop of the Take Action Tour 2014 took place at the Ventura Theater on March 12th, co-headlined by The Devil Wears Prada and The Ghost Inside. The solid support this year arrived in terms of Australia’s I Killed The Prom Queen and the up-and-coming Dangerkids from Dayton, Ohio. Just down the street from Seaside Park where the annual Ventura stop of the Vans Warped Tour takes place, fans were ready to rock, genuinely excited by the tremendous lineup at hand.

This year, the charity benefiting from Take Action would be Living The Dream, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing hope and inspiration to children and young adults afflicted with life threatening diseases. The cavernous Ventura Theater was filling up fast, and it was now time for the Take Action Tour 2014 to commence!

Dangerkids

dangerkidstakeaction1First up on the stage was Dangerkids, one of the newer bands on the Rise Records roster of talent. Presenting a stunning mixture of hip hop and post hardcore, the inspired songs on their debut recording Collapse succeed beyond anyone’s expectation within a live setting. Opening up with the triumphant refrains of Countdown, Dangerkids blasted into a solid collection of songs – and really had the early arrivals taking notice. Other standout cuts included Paper Thin, Hostage, and the anthem-like Waking Up.

Hip-hopping front man Tyler Smyth exuded a great deal of passion and charisma, reeling the listening in with his infectious delivery. Andy Bane supplies the perfect juxtaposition to Smyth, firing off the unclean vocals with a fervent sense of conviction. Guitarist Jake Bryant and bassist Jake Bonham unleashed the grooves like total pros – and then there was drummer Katie Cole blasting a vibrant and tremendously solid beat onto the proceedings at hand. If you missed Dangerkids at Take Action, you’ll have an opportunity to see their not-to-be-missed set at this year’s edition of the Vans Warped Tour!

I Killed The Prom Queen

ikilledthe2014_2I Killed The Prom Queen from Down Under took to the stage next, amidst massive sound problems that nearly killed their set. It’s been six years since the release of the last effort, and the band was on tour promoting their just released album entitled Beloved on Epitaph Records. The delays cut into a good deal of their time allotment, and the band would decide to play in spite of all the complications – unleashing a raw amount of energy and aggression that sent the mosh pit in flight. Even in their abbreviated show, I Killed The Prom Queen presented raging tunes such as Calvert Street, To The Wolves, and the mighty Say Goodbye.

Featured in the lineup is new vocalist Jamie Hope from The Red Chord, a now defunct Australian collective whose final album The Avarice Of Man was released in 2011 on Roadrunner Records. Even in spite of the complications, the band for the most part slaughtered it with a sense of humor – and where many would have just walked off the stage and blew the performance off, I Killed The Prom Queen presented the crowd with a wildly memorable show!  Sheer brilliance indeed!

The Ghost Inside

theghostinside2014Local hardcore heroes gone on to worldwide success, The Ghost Inside rampaged the stage next, unleashing a mesmerizing selection of tunes that nearly blew the walls out of the Ventura Theater. Opening their set with the searing refrains of Engine 45 from their Epitaph album Get What You Give, The Ghost Inside scorched through fan favorites such as Unspoken, Grownup, Sacrifice, 33, and Faith And Forgiveness. Halfway during their set, front man Jonathan Vigil expressed a sincere admiration for playing to a home crowd, conveying that he grew up in the neighboring city of Thousand Oaks. The Ghost Inside has toured the world, and remains one of the very best melodic hardcore bands to rage out of the Los Angeles music scene.

Giving their all in a live performance with an ardent fan base responding tenfold, there is little doubt that The Ghost Inside will be haunting the masses for the many years ahead. The Ghost Inside consists of Jonathan Vigil on lead vocals, Aaron Brooks on lead guitar and backing vocals, Zach Johnson on rhythm guitar, Jim Riley bass and backing vocals, and ex-For Fallen The Dreams member Andrew Tkaczyk on drums. The Ghost Inside will also be on the Vans Warped Tour this summer!

The Devil Wears Prada

thedevilwears2014The town of Dayton, Ohio was being well represented on the Take Action Tour this year, first with the openers Dangerkids and then at the night’s grand finale with a thunderous appearance by The Devil Wears Prada. The band has grown tremendously since their formation in 2005, and their lively performance at the Ventura Theater presented The Devil Wears Prada at the very height of their sonic artistry. From the rapturous opening strains of Sailor’s Prayer followed by the wondrously intensive Escape, The Devil Wears Prada unleashed a fury of tunes that sent the crowd into a spiraling wall of moshing and singing along. Mike Hranica remains a dynamic force to be reckoned with, delivering the compelling lyrics like a front man possessed. Also notably is the persuasive work of Jeremy DePoyster, delivering the goods with conviction on rhythm guitar and vocals.

This overall lineup is tremendously effective, leaving an indelible impression. Their latest magnum opus 8:18 is now available from Roadrunner Records. Expect The Devil Wears Prada to be burning up stages all across the country on the Vans Warped Tour this summer. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, be sure to catch The Devil Wears Prada, The Ghost Inside, I Killed The Prom Queen, and Dangerkids on the remaining dates of the Take Action Tour 2014!  An incredible lineup rendering this year’s tour one of the very best the long running concert series has offered!

(Review by Ken Morton – Photos by Edward Brandon)

Dangerkids on Facebook
I Killed The Prom Queen on Facebook
The Ghost Inside on Facebook
The Devil Wears Prada on Facebook
Take Action Tour 2014 Official Home Page

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HIM at the House Of Blues – Sunset Strip

himlive1HIM, House Of Blues – Sunset Strip, March 7, 2014

The best word to describe HIM at the Hollywood House of Blues would be crammed. The show was completely sold out, it sold out pretty quick due to the fact the Finnish band doesn’t often come to the U.S. Although, the last time they came was September 2013 since their planned Spring 2013 tour got cancelled due to the fact Ville became ill on the first day of the tour. They co-headlined the Rock Allegiance Tour in September with headliner Volbeat, and support from Airbourne and All That Remains.

HIM brought along Anathema to open for them on this tour. There really wasn’t much action during their set, and the crowd was pretty dull in all honesty. Once they got off stage and HIM started to walk on, the place went nuts. People were screaming, jumping up and down, chanting, just so excited and energized to see them. They opened their set with a fun one, Buried Alive By Love, and riled up the crowd even more. Everybody started singing along and screaming the lyrics at the top of their lungs. After BABL, guitarist Mikko Lindström (aka Linde), crazed the crowd when he started playing their most popular song, Wings of a Butterfly. This is when things got over-the-top nuts.

himlive2After my three songs in the photo pit, I ran around the whole venue trying to find a place to stand and watch the show. It’s difficult for a short person to find a place to see when a show is sold out and jam packed. The lady working in the VIP section noticed I was having trouble seeing, so she then let me stand in VIP to watch, and when security tried kicking me out she then told him that I was allowed even though I had a general admission ticket. That lady was awesome, thanks whoever you are.

I continued to watch the show from the VIP balcony and had a clear view from where I stood. The place was so packed, when Ville was talking in between their songs, I couldn’t hear a word he was saying – it was that loud in there. Even though I couldn’t hear him when he was speaking between songs, I could hear him while he was singing. HIM always puts on a glorious show, they’re one of few bands with the most solid and best performances in my book.

(Review and Photos by Talia Farber)

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Parkway Drive at House Of Blues – Sunset Strip

Parkway Drive-169_375Parkway Drive, House Of Blues – Sunset Strip, February 1, 2014

Parkway Drive at the House of Blues in Hollywood was a sold out, packed show. Tickets had sold out that night at the box office. There was literally max capacity of people in that venue. One would expect nothing less though, being that Parkway Drive are from Australia, so they don’t come out to the US too often, let alone California. Last time they played here was March 30th, 2013 with The Word Alive co-headlining. That was also a sold out show. Anyways, California should feel very lucky that Parkway decided to have their mini-tour on the west coast.

The tour package is rather small; just 2 bands supporting Parkway. San Fernando Valley’s hardcore scene was shocked when they heard that Betrayal, a San Fernando Valley locally signed band, was opening up the show. That’s probably a huge accomplishment, touring with a legendary (in the metalcore scene) band. It was also rather odd seeing Upon A Burning Body in this package; the whole lineup was actually weird, in a good way due to the diversity. You have Betrayal, a hardcore band, Upon A Burning Body, a deathcore band, and then you have Parkway Drive, a melodic metalcore band. Seeing a mixed lineup is always fun.

Parkway Drive-234_375xParkway played a killer, hour long set in Hollywood. The standing room only floor was squeezed in tight, the upstairs balcony was packed, and the walkways you couldn’t even get through without pushing someone! During the whole time they played, there was non-stop crowd surfing, with front-man Winston McCall encouraging his fans to do so. There was also a lot of moshing, the pit was so small, too many people on the floor, and Winston just kept saying, “Open that pit up! Wider, Wider!”

These guys were smiling the whole time they played. They were just so grateful and happy to see that many people and be in SoCal again. A sold out show is more than just a feeling of success. To add to the feeling of success, on that night, The River, was the loudest sing a long they’ve ever had, Winston said. He explained how it’s a song about death; it’s a narrative about the passing of a close friend of the band. For such a sad song, it’s just so beautiful, the lyrics, the slow music… The fact that this band makes such amazingly-melodically-heavy music, but yet can write a slow, calming, and melodic song just adds to the fact that they’re amazing musicians.

The River wasn’t the only song that got a ton of interaction; each song they played got so many different things going on. Every song had a sing a long, and most songs had people doing speedy fingers while Jeff & Luke were playing their solos. Parkway gave it their all that night, they were wildly energized on stage and never stopped moving. This band is definitely worth seeing. They need to tour America more often!

(Review and Photos by Talia Farber)

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Red Dragon Cartel at The Whisky

RedDragon1Red Dragon Cartel, The Whisky, December 12, 2013

The Whisky A Go Go is synonymous with bands like Van Halen, Led Zeppelin and Mötley Crüe, so it is fitting that this would be the place that such a rock god would make his comeback in! When you think of hard rock metal guitarist there is one name everyone seems to mention and that is Jake E Lee! Over 20 years ago Jake left Ozzy, then Badlands and has been out of the spotlight ever since. After a 20 year absence he is back with a new band and album called Red Dragon Cartel. The music started about 8pm with a some great opening acts like Good Deeds, Resistance, Swirl, Will Wallner & Vivien Vain! After Eddie Trunk (the man who is a big reason Jake is back) gives away an autographed Jake E. Lee Charvel guitar, he introduces Jake E. Lee and Red Dragon Cartel. The band takes the stage and busts into Ultimate Sin which was such a killer way to start the show. Jake seemed like he never left the music scene and just screamed right through it! “Deceived” was up next and the crowd quickly learned that this new album was going to be filled with great riffs and solos from Jake.

RedDragon2Red Dragon Cartel then pulled out “High wire” from Jake’s Badlands‘ days and Jake just blistered the riff he made famous years ago. Next up was “War Machine” which is another new tune and it seemed to go over very well with the packed house at the Whisky A Go Go!

Rock and Roll Rebel” was next up which is one of my personal favs! Jake was just on fire throughout this song! D.J. Smith seemed to be totally caught up in the moment or he was doing his best (David Lee Roth) impersonation as he was forgetting the words at times and was reading from the monitor in front of him which seemed to not be working correctly. Being the 1st of many shows I’m sure he was just nervous and will do a great job moving forward!

There was a great mix of new, old and very old music from Jake’s career! The new music has some amazing riffs and solos that have that Jake E. Lee sound to them! The bass and drum lines are deep and powerful! After quick minute off the stage the band came back for the encore and blew the roof off the place with “Bark At The Moon”. This song of coarse had the crowd shouting the lyrics and singing all the way through! What a way to end such a great night for Jake!

SETLIST
The Ultimate Sin (Ozzy Osbourne)
Deceived (Original)
High Wire (Badlands)
War Machine (Original)
Shine on (Badlands)
Rock ‘N” Roll Rebel (Ozzy Osbourne)
Shout it Out (Original)
In A Dream (Badlands)
Rumblin’ Train (Badlands)
Sun Red Sun (Badlands)
Feeder (Original)
Bark At The Moon (Ozzy Osbourne)

The new album will have some great quest appearances from the music world such as Robin Zander (Cheap Trick), Sass Jordan, Todd Kerns and Brent Fitz from Slash’s Conspirator’s, original Iron Maiden vocalist Paul Di’Anno, former Pantera bassist Rex Brown, Scott Reeder of Kyuss and The Obsessed, Five Finger Death Punch’s Jeremy Spencer, and Maria Brink from In This Moment.

The night also included rock stars who came out to support Jake which included Warren DeMartini, Joe Holmes, also famed rock photographer Neil Zlozower was shooting away too!

Red Dragon Cartel is made up of Jake E. Lee (Guitar) D.J. Smith (vocals), Ronnie Mancuso (bass) & Jonas Failey (drums). The band’s self titled album is due out on January 28th.

(Review and Photos by Dave Brandon)

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Winds Of Plague at Rock City Studios

doaksl1_1Winds of Plague, Impending Doom, No Bragging Rights, City In The Sea, Destruction Of A King, Rock City Studios, December 6, 2013

Destruction of a King
Recently the Southern California Hardcore Music Scene has been in a rut that we can’t seem to get out of. Well, Los Angeles hardcore band Destruction of a King brings new light to the somewhat of a dying scene. Opening with their hit song Dirty Diana, nobody was standing still (including this reviewer). It is such a relief to see and hear a band going back to the roots of hardcore/punk music that we’ve been missing for so long.

Vocalist Alex Portugal spits out lyrics that you can’t help but loving. Along with Diego Figueroa on guitar and Justin Marino on bass, the band completely owns the stage without holding back a step. The energy emitted by these dudes is undeniably outstanding and I wouldn’t hesitate going to another one of their shows.

I would highly recommend checking this band out if you like the classic, hardcore sound with a mix of punk and metal.

cityintheseaeb1City In The Sea
Where do I start with these dudes? The first time I saw them was at the cobalt café about a year ago. At this point their album Below the Noise was just about to drop. All I can say is WOW at how far they have come in just a year. Vocalists Todd Christopher and Jeffrey Christian (Also on guitar) deliver such a good tag team of lyrics that you cant help but love it. Along with Jeffery, Nick Rossi Is also on guitar and both of them together have created some of the heaviest metal riffs of the scene!

The rhythm section by Dan Marinaro on bass and Matt Horn on drums bring that in your face punch that makes this band so unique. Playing songs such as Convuluted and The Purge nobody can resist jumpin in that mosh pit. Not one person in the room was standing still. In my opinion they were the perfect opener for the bands to come.

nbreb1No Bragging Rights
Coming from Riverside California, No Bragging Rights brings along a fiery performance with some brutal aspects to all of their songs as well as something to sing along too. This melodic hardcore band wastes no time getting the crowd into the show. I love when a crowd of people get right in the singers face and scream the lyrics.

Vocalist Mike Perez had no problems sharing the mic with each and every person in the room. The dual guitars by Christian Lee and Daniel Garrow fed off of each other like guitar players truly should. Drummer Martin Alcedo had so much energy from behind even the drum kit that everyone in the room could feel it radiating. Ryan Warrel had some killer bass riffs that gave that chest-thumping boom that makes this music so awesome. Playing songs off of every album, the bands energy was one for the books and no other band will be able to replicate what they were able to put off

impendingeb1Impending Doom
Let me just put it this way, I was in the very front and center for this band trying to shoot, and the crowd was so insane I had to get to safety BEHIND the entire stage. Never before have I seen such an insane and violent crowd. Brook Reeves encouraged everyone in the room to basically go nuts and don’t stop until the last note was played. I was lucky enough to shoot these guys from behind the stage so I could see all of the chaos go on. Ever heard of a breakdown? Probably not until you’ve heard the intense riffs of Manny Contreras and Eric Correa. I love when guitar players can basically play in complete sync without missing a note. These guys had it down to a T.

When I was backstage I got to stand right next to Brandon “BTown” Trahan the drummer of Impending Doom. I could hear the raw power of both him and bass player David Sittig perfectly and I could definitely feel it in my bones. The energy emitted from this band was absolutely magnificent and honestly, if you don’t like being pushed, shoved, or jumping constantly, stand back! But in a good way! Definitely look them up and go to a show as soon as possible.

windsofrcs2Winds of Plague
Winds of Plague have been dominating the Melodic Metalcore/Deathcore scene for years now. With songs such as Reloaded, The Impaler and Decimate the Weak, nobody from all types of genres can resist these guys. Although missing both of the guitarists (fill in was very good and talented although could not find his name) they were still as good as all of the other times I’ve seen them, if not, better! I was super excited because of the recently released album Resistance so I was very much looking forward to witnessing the new songs live. Going straight into a new song by the name of Open The Gates of Hell, Winds of Plague was off to a perfect start.

Playing hit songs such as Refined in the Fire, Decimate the Weak and Drop The Match, the fans got a mix of hardcore and deathcore that is absolutely perfect. Sonic highlights included the melodic keys of Alana Potocnik, the hard-hitting drumming of Brandon Galindo and the heavy as hell bass by Andrew Glover. They together make up such a rad back up to vocalist Johnny Plague. Ending the night with the crowd favorite Reloaded, the crowd was jumping on stage and singing with Johnny and completely going insane. After the show Johnny Plague waited around to talk to each individual person and take pictures with them. They are honestly one of my favorite bands in this scene and I will forever support them.

(Review by Edward Brandon – Photos by Edward Brandon and Steven Lipson)

Winds Of Plague on Facebook
Impending Doom on Facebook
No Bragging Rights on Facebook
City In The Sea on Facebook
Destruction Of A King on Facebook

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August Burns Red at Club Nokia

Beartooth

Beartooth

August Burns Red, Blessthefall, Defeater, Beartooth, Club Nokia, November 15, 2013

Beartooth

What can I say, if you want to see a show with pure (as vocalist Caleb Shomo puts it) CHAOS, then you better buy a ticket to the nearest Beartooth show. After just forming and releasing a four song EP by the name of SICK, the guys in this group are on their way to the top. Starting off with my personal favorite song from SICK, Go Be the Voice, the band went absolutely nuts. What I kept thinking was “how can they go that hard for that long?” It was absolutely amazing. Playing the entire EP along with two new songs The Lines and Dead, the “Chaos” was most definitely there for the entire set. With guitar player Taylor Lumley, Brandon Mullins on Drums and Nick Reed on Bass, this group of musicians prove to be something unique and different. Ex Attack Attack! Vocalist Caleb Shomo has proved that he has moved on from that chapter and has opened up a new one. Singing about he past life and struggles with depression, he belts lyrics such as “I’m sick of drinking my life away, I can’t remember anything, this isn’t fun anymore!” the music Beartooth unleashes proves to be coming from his true heart and soul. To go see a Beartooth show is a privilege and I honestly cannot wait until they come back so I can see them again. Fear the tooth!! (Edward Brandon)

Defeater

Defeater

Defeater

Based out of the legendary Boston music scene, Defeater made their way to Los Angeles in a support slot of the August Burns Red tour.  Bringing the hardcore complete with highly charged lyrics and dynamic musicianship, the music of Defeater makes you want to take on the world at large.  Playing songs from their recent Letters Home release on Bridge 9 Records as well as other older cuts, Defeater exploded into the pulsating sounds of Bastards.  Many in the crowd may have been unfamiliar with their music, but there is no doubt that this passionate band gained a good deal of new fans who were hellbent to see Blessthefall and August Burns Red.  Priding themselves as writing “forward thinking music,” the lyrics were filled to the brim with passion and conviction, performed with the skill and depth that really made a listener stand up and take notice.  Closing with the fiery strains of Cowardice, Defeater’s music reverberated throughout the room.   It won’t be long before the band finds themselves headlining their own big shows, especially if performances like the one they unleashed at Club Nokia are indicative of greater glories ahead!  Thanks to Defeater for bringing their musical diversity and lyrical insights to this tremendous tour!  (Ken Morton)

Blessthefall

Blessthefall

Blessthefall

Seeing Blessthefall is like a big ball of energy, passion, and rage all in one. Clean Vocalist (and sometimes unclean) Beau Bokan ignites a feeling of acceleration as he works the crowd from left to right. As the opening track which happened to be the same single they played at Warped Tour, You Wear a Crown But You’re No King, fires up, nobody in the room is standing still. From clean choruses to the no gritty screams of bassist/vocalist Jared Warth the head bangers and singers of the crowd got their fix. Also included in this five-piece group of musicians are Elliot Gruenberg and Eric Lambert on guitars and Matt Traynor on drums, the group ignites a feeling in the room that makes everyone excited. Playing classics such as What’s Left Of Me and Promised Ones was something to get excited about. What was especially cool was during the third song of the set, they played two of their heaviest songs off of the album Awakening by the names of The Reign and Bottomfeeder. Before they started these crowd favorites, Mr. Bokan decided to tell the crowd to make the security do their jobs! It was like a wave of crowd surfers crashing into the photo pit. So much in fact that they told us we had to leave because there was no room! I wasn’t mad. It was pretty awesome. I just wish I could have been crowd surfing as well. I especially got to see the crowd reaction being after we left the photo pit I went and stood behind the drums. It was a very cool Blessthefall experience and Beau was even nice enough to pose for a picture during the set. Blessthefall never disappoints when playing a show. If you want a high energy and fun show to see or party to, Blessthefall is your band.  (Edward Brandon)

August Burns Red

August Burns Red

August Burns Red

August Burns Red has been dominating the metalcore scene for years now. Personally I think this band is more than just a metalcore band. They put so many other things into their music with influences of rock, blues, and a little salsa dancing !! What should you expect at an August Burns Red show? Complete insanity. ABR was the first metal show in this scene I had ever been to a few years ago so it was pretty cool to see these guys again. When the lights turned off all that was heard from the crowd was “ABR! ABR!” As soon as the band came out, they busted into the extremely aggressive Provisions which is off their newest release Rescue and Restore and in the song the circle pit was spinning as fast as I’ve ever seen. Vocalist Jake Luhrs spit out the lyrics in such a fiery passion that even someone who isn’t a fan of this music could be into it. Along with the electric riffs by guitarists JB Brubaker and Brent Rambler, the booming bass of Dustin Davidson and the monstrous drums of Matt Greiner, this group cannot go wrong. Using experimental aspects in their music they are hard to compete with. Playing songs, not just off of the new album, such as my favorite Backburner and Meddler, the variety of the material played were sure to be a treat to everyone. It’s all too often that a band doesn’t play any old songs but with ABR you don’t need to worry about that. From heavy breakdowns to ripping guitar solos to salsa dancing, the ABR live show is sure to be a treat both for your ears as well as visually. Ending with their biggest song Composure, the ABR guys aren’t slowing down anytime soon. If you want a fast show with a lot more, go see this band!  (Edward Brandon)

(Review by Edward Brandon and Ken Morton – Photos by Edward Brandon)

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