Category Archives: Show Reviews

Raven and Night Demon at The Whisky

raven1jl1Raven, Night Demon, The Whisky, October 20, 2014

The Dream of the 80s is alive, not in Portland, nor at the Inferno, but live at the Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood.

I’ve been hearing great things about this band from Ventura called Night Demon. My friends have been raving about them, saying that bands like this make it fun to go to thrash shows again. When I saw the totally awesome tour poster reminiscent of the Raven/Metallica Kill Em All For One tour posters in 83/84, with Night Demon replacing Metallica in the opening slot, I was excited in a way that made me believe I was going to experience something that I missed in the early 80s. I knew the Night Demon was a quality act and Raven is just legendary. I was not going to miss this show.

IMG_3240Being the 40-something fan-boy that I am, I show up early with my records and a sharpie. As I arrive I first run into Raven drummer Joe Hasselvander hanging out front. We are both from Washington, DC and have a few friends in common. I told him the first time I saw Raven was at the Warner Theatre in DC where they were opening for W.A.S.P. He told me he was at that show too. Then at the end of that tour the original drummer Wacko! quit. This is when Joe was asked to join. A few minutes later John Gallagher, the vocalist/bassist joins us. I introduce the band to the Highwire Daze staff members who are also arriving on the scene. Ken from Highwire Daze has the band do a couple station IDs for the website. John gets into character as he reads the script into the microphone. It was really touching to see other fans asking the band to sign their records. One kid had John authenticate an autographed record that was purchased on eBay. There are two kinds of people in this world, ones who love Raven and those who just haven’t really discovered them yet. The show hasn’t even started and I’m just stoked to be hanging out with these guys.

Apparently this tour has been a lot like the Social Distortion/Youth Brigade tour from the Another State of Mind documentary of the early 80s. Except these guys aren’t teenagers anymore. I’ve been following the band’s FB updates about vans breaking down and needing repairs. I was chatting with the merch guy, Richard at the merch booth and joked with him, “So you’re the roadie?” He said, “They carry my stuff!” So this kind of paints a picture of what was happing here. Four men over age 50 touring the States and Canada in a broken down tour bus acting as their own road crew. These guys are punk as fuck!

nightdemon1jl1Night Demon hits the stage literally minutes after being interviewed by Ken from Highwire Daze. THANKS SO MUCH GUYS!! They killed it. If you hate that Hot Topic exists, then you will be relieved to know that Night Demon does too. These guys bring fun back into Satanism. But it’s no joke. These guys are not a parody of 80s thrash, they are just younger dudes who for some reason are not at the Van’s Warped tour and are ripping through some kick ass songs about Satan and such. Definitely check them out when you can.

raven2jl2Next up, the mighty Raven. I’ve been a fan since the early 80s. I had their patch on my jean jacket in middle school. So yeah, this review will be biased. Fuck it. When the term Athletic Rock is coined because of your band and you want to continue that band well into your 50s, then you’ve got gumption. I love that these guys are still out there doing it. Their music and enthusiasm still has all the super-hyper energy it had when I first saw them in the mid 80s. John’s vocals are just as strong as ever and honestly, I never noticed how awesome Joe’s drumming was until this show. Such great fills and consistency and no triggers! These guys came from a time when musicians had to actually be good at their craft- a time before triggers and auto-tune. I was hoping to hear a few songs from the latest Walk Through Fire record but they stuck to a strictly vintage set. The classics, plus a few cool teasers from the new cover album called Party Killers. They do a great impression of Budgie.

ravI really enjoyed the math-rock persistent false-start section of the set. They were fucking around starting what sounded like the Raven songs but they would abruptly stop after a few seconds and false start another one. Just keeping us on our toes. Interestingly, it illustrated how well these guys can burst with energy from using just a few beats of a drum and a simple guitar riff. The Walk Through Fire record really illustrates their talent for song writing too. I highly recommend it. Great production, too. I stayed for the entire show, even though I had to work the next day! It was a great show. They played a good long set with extended guitar and bass solos. I look forward to more music and concerts from these guys for years to come. Which reminds me, if YOU want to hear more music from these guys, help fund their next record by going to www.ravenlunatics.com and contribute to their Kickstarter campaign from now till November 29th 2014.

(Review and Album Photo by Rich Dolinger – Live Photos by Jack Lue)

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Gerard Way at The Fonda Theater

gerardwaytf1Gerard Way, The Fonda Theater, October 14, 2014

Having missed my chance to see My Chemical Romance before they split, I took the opportunity to see Gerard Way at The Fonda Theater in Hollywood on October 14th. Way is currently on tour debuting his new solo album, his new material has an incredibly different feel from his previous work with MCR, and Way himself cites his return to his Britpop, and Glam Rock with influences such as The Smiths & David Bowie.

Both stops in Hollywood sold out for Gerard and his band, the Fonda was packed downstairs and up with many My Chemical Romance fans converting into Gerard fans. He and the band came out on stage with “The Bureau”, the first track off the album. He then played his first single “Action Cat” which got everyone singing along. In the middle of his set before he begins to play “Drugstore Perfume”, he introduces the song by letting everyone know it’s about his wife, Lindsey (Lyn-Z) and explains how much he loves her.

gerardwaytf2There was a cluster of girls there, many more than guys. That did not go unnoticed by Gerard, before he played “Television All the Time” he gave a mellow, lifting speech on feminism. He was kindly talking about how hard women have it sometimes, and he said something similar like women get treated the way they do because men are scared of women’s abilities and don’t want to lose their job. He is obviously a supporter of the whole feminist movement that’s become recently more active. After the speech, he then continued on to playing “Television All the Time” which was only released in Japan so it was a treat for everyone.

Gerard’s brother, Mikey Way happened to be at the show; before he begins to play “Brother”, he gives his brother a shout out and says, “This song is for my brother, I love you”. There were many guests at the show that he loves, but he also loves his fans and it was nice to hear how appreciative Gerard is, it made him out to be a modest musician. After he played “Brother,” he asks the crowd who wants to go up on stage and play his tambourine for the next song. Everyone goes nuts, jumping up and down and shouting, wanting that opportunity so bad. He chose a young girl who he said looked like a familiar face from previous shows he’s played, and starts playing “Get the Gang Together”.

At the close of the show, Gerard and the band exit the stage, the curtains close and the house music goes on. Everyone in the venue starts to chant, “One more song,” for a couple minutes, then starts to chant, “Gerard Way”. The chanting went on for a good seven minutes until everyone realizes he’s not coming back out to play an encore which was odd. Then everyone started to leave with smiles on their faces, telling their friends how good the show was and how much they enjoyed it.

In conclusion, Gerard Way’s new solo project is a huge success and he’s quite the performer, and one of the best singers of this millennial era whose energy is contagious. He had an amazing crowd, some great sound, successful new music, and a great show. On tour for the release of “Hesitant Alien”, Gerard Way and his band will be playing the album front to back with a few covers.

Setlist:
The Bureau
Action Cat
Zero Zero
Millions
Juarez
Drugstore Perfume
Television All the Time (written on the setlist as “Stop Leaving”)
The Water Is Wide (O Waly, Waly) – (James Cecil cover)
Brother
Get the Gang Together
How It’s Going to Be
Maya the Psychic
No Shows
Snakedriver (The Jesus and Mary Chain cover)

(Review and Photos by Talia Farber)

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Bring Me The Horizon at Shrine Expo Hall

bmthtl1Bring Me The Horizon, Shrine Expo Hall, September 24, 2014

Bring Me The Horizon at Shrine Expo Hall was nuts. Everyone there was so hyped to see them again since last been in the US during Warped Tour 2013.

They arrived on stage and and started their set with Shadow Moses off their latest album Sempiternal. The whole floor was flooded and the photo pit as well. I had little to no room to move around. Photographers were shoulder to shoulder.

bmthrl2Lee Malia was playing his new signature guitar model that night. The whole band just had an awesome set up. The venue was just rather large in every way possible. The song that got the very most hype was an oldie but goodie, Chelsea Smile off their older record Suicide Season. It definitely filled everyone’s head with memories, mine definitely filled with 8th/9th grade memories. It was a good revisit to the memories. Everyone just sang along to that song.

My favorite song they played that night was in my opinion their catchiest, Can You Feel My Heart. That’s got to be my favorite song off their latest album. All in all, there were so many crowd surfers, it was unreal and just so packed. BMTH just got a massive, appreciative crowd. They ended their night with Antivist off their latest album, and everyone just kept chanting “ONE MORE SONG!”.

Set list:
Shadow Moses
Go To Hell, For Heaven’s Sake
The House Of Wolves
Sleepwalking
And The Snakes Start To Sing
Alligator Blood
Chelsea Smile
Can You Feel My Heart
Antivist

(Review and Photos by Talia Farber)

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In Dying Arms at Cobalt Cafe

idapic3In Dying Arms, Darkness Divided, Trapped In The Past, Cobalt Café, September 21, 2014

TwoHearts Concerts has been consistently bringing some of the best shows to the venerable Cobalt Cafe in the San Fernando Valley, including the return of In Dying Arms on The Lives On Display Tour. This would be a massively memorable night, which would include In Dying Arms’ charismatic vocalist Orion Stephens making a surprise guest appearance earlier in the evening. An exciting collection of local and touring acts were present – here were three of the bands we covered on the night of September 21st in the wilds of Canoga Park…

Trapped In The Past

TrappedInThePast1The local act to go on right before the touring package was Trapped In The Past, whose sheer deathcore intensity really grabbed you by throat. I’ve seen a few of the members in other past local projects, and Trapped In The Past is definitely a solid entity they should continue to pursue. Songs such as Contemporary Fallacy and Blue Pants Are Officially Banned definitely left a lasting impression. In addition to their own combustible songs, Trapped In The Past covered Sloppy Seconds by In Dying Arms  – and IDA’s front man Orion Stephens joined them onstage for a grand finale that was nothing short of explosive. Trapped In The Past previously covered the IDA song at The Whisky, and the combination of Trapped’s front man Matt Reyes and IDA’s Orion Stephens was exhilarating. The talented Trapped In The Past lineup consists of Matt Reyes on vocals, Noah Martynstien on drums, Joseph Pineda on guitars, Nick Mendoza on guitars, and Bryant Mendez on bass. Expect Trapped In The Past to break out of Sylmar with intense performances like what they presented at the Cobalt Café.

Set List:
1. Uprising (Intro)
2. Contemporary Fallacy
3. Blue Pants Are Officially Banned
4. Such Things Happen
5. New Era Crumbled Down
6. Time Signature
7. Sloppy Seconds (In Dying Arms’ cover)

Darkness Divided

darknessdivided3Raging of out San Antonio, Texas, Darkness Divided made their way into the Southland and unleashed a riveting performance – surely making a whole new collection of fans and friends at the Cobalt Café. A recent Victory Records signing whose debut album Written In Blood has been garnering a good deal of attention, Darkness Divided delivered the goods in a big and glorious way. On the Christian metal side of the spectrum, there is no denying the passion and conviction Darkness Divided has to offer in a live setting. Highlights from their short yet persuasive set included A Well Run Dry, The Shepherds Hands, and The Hands That Bled. Included within the ranks of the Darkness Divided membership are Gerard Mora on vocals, Sebastian Elizondo on guitar and vocals, Christopher Mora on guitar and vocals, and Joseph Mora on bass. Judging by what was witnessed at the Cobalt Café, there is little doubt we’ll be hearing a lot more from the impassioned Darkness Divided in the months ahead. Fans of For Today and Haste The Day must make time out of “their day” and immediately check into the enlightening refrains of Darkness Divided!

Set List:
Eternal Thirst
A Well Run Dry
The Shepherds Hands
The Will Of Man
The Hands That Bled
Remnants

In Dying Arms

indyingarmscobalt3In Dying Arms is one of the most vastly underrated bands on the planet. Their debut for Artery Recordings entitled Boundaries is a stunning, wildly intense deathcore magnum opus that was a staggering assault to the senses. And the Baltimore, MD know how to bring their fiery songs to life with an all-out vengeance, presenting an in-your-face live performance that blew the walls out of the Cobalt Café. Opening with the punishing reveries of Famous Last Words, In Dying Arms sent the entire room into a heated frenzy. The sonic devastation kept emitting relentlessly from the stage, courtesy of Orion Stephens on vocals, Christian Becker filling in like a pro on guitar, John Myers on guitar, Terence Bright on bass, and Alvin Richardson on drums. One of the many highlights of the set was when the familiar opening strains of their should-be classic song The Core Of My Existence commenced, when the crowd went absolute insane, singing along to its wondrously infectious refrains. A rare encore at the Cobalt was even granted, with In Dying Arms returning to the stage to obliterate the room with the relentlessly heavy May I Have This Dance from their 2011 Self-Titled album.  Fans of bands such as Chelsea Grin and Oceano should seek out the auditory chaos of In Dying Arms, and prepare to be thoroughly enraptured..

Set List:
Famous last words
Womb of vital confinement
Lives of display
The core of my existence
Obsolete
Bathed in salt
Encore: may I have this dance

(Review and Trapped In The Past Photo by Ken Morton – In Dying Arms and Darkness Divided Photos by Jack Lue)

In Dying Arms on Facebook
Darkness Divided on Facebook
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The Ocean Blue at The Troubadour

theoceanbluejl1The Ocean Blue, The Troubadour, September 9, 2014

The famous West Hollywood venue was filling in for second support band Western Lows as the trio started out quiet and midtempo, their gazy style soon picked up tempo and distortion ending their short set to guitar squalls and glorious applause.

Perhaps as a joke to the Hershey, Pennsylvania band, Nirvana blared over the speakers as the members set up their equipment.  The Ocean Blue was an antidote to all the distorted guitar angst of the “grunge” bands.  They started out their set with Mercury, one of their peppier numbers from second album Cerulean, singer/guitarist David Schelzel and bassist Bobby Mittan still boyish after all these years. Their first two albums were written and released while the members were still teens and it is on the edge of the loss of innocence that some of their best music rests.  The band followed up with the more muscular Sad Night, Where Is The Morning? from their 2013 comeback album Ultramarine and it was evident that the band still has the fire and melodic sense to write thrilling and catchy tunes.  Shelzel prepared the audience to hear some new tunes, that it wasn’t going to be a nostalgia tour, yet their music is so timeless, decades of music blended into an exciting flashback and forward to good times throughout our lives, The Ocean Blue our soundtrack.

theoceanbluejl2The title track to their second album Cerulean came next, Shelzel’s ethereal vocals were well grounded by Mittan’s muscular bass playing. From the new Waterworks re-release the band broke out previously unreleased Can’t Let Go, a song that echoes 80′s British bands pre-Brit-Pop with well-paced vocals that channeled JAMC’s Jim Reid and Ian Curtis for thrilling effect.  Released on the original Waterworks, the lush Pedestrian had a shuffling beat and dramatic and jangly guitar work from Oed Ronne.

Sublime on album is one thing, but live, Mittan and Anderson’s rhythm section really boost the energy of the song, Shelzel’s lilting vocals took us on flights of fancy, the audience singing along “sub-bu-bu-buliiime”.  On Vanity Fair, from their S/T debut the boys took the song from twee to raveup with the tempo winding up, Mittan and Anderson looking at each other to see how fast they could get. On Give it A Try the band once again displays power and focus and Mittan’s slinky bass rhythm smoldered while Ronne’s guitars sizzled and sparked.

theoceanbluejl3After the double whammy of Ballerina Out of Control and Between Something and Nothing, The Ocean Blue presented us with a previously unreleased song that Shelzel wrote in high school.  The band originally recorded it for the movie Naked In New York but the song was cut.  Now fans can find it on the Waterworks reissue.  City Traffic sounds like the singer was listening to a whole lot of Peter Weller as a teen.  The breezy and fun song  kept the audience moving even as some were leaving the venue.  The Ocean Blue finished the night with a rough version of The Cure’s Just Like Heaven, Shelzel inviting the audience to sing along. We didn’t dissapoint, raising the song to a celebration of the power of music.

The Ocean Blue in 2014 look and sound like they’re doing it for all the right reasons, without outside stress, releasing their music on their own.  The sold out Troubadour proved that the boys still have much to offer from their past accomplishments as well as their future endeavors. I’ll be at their next L.A. show!

(Review by Bret Miller –  Photos by Jack Lue)

LINKS
The Ocean Blue 
Facebook
Korda Records
Shelflife Records
City Traffic Video
Can’t Let Go Video

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Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators

slashjl2Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators, Charm City Devils, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula, CA, August 9, 2014

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators are currently on the road opening for Aerosmith and then headlining their own shows throughout the country. One of the most extraordinary guitarists in the world today, Slash certainly did not disappoint with epic solos and searing axe work that was wondrous to behold. Complete with Alter Bridge vocalist Myles Kennedy devastating the senses with his vibrant singing and a lineup that brought it home with an all-out vengeance, their show at the Pechanga Resort & Casino would be an absolutely unforgettable event! In addition to their own songs, classic Guns N Roses tunes were also unleashed to a wildly appreciative crowd along with many other surprises.

Charm City Devils

charmcity2jlFirst up was an appearance by the Charm City Devils, a fiery rock and roll band that really tore down the house with their thoroughly dynamic set. Personally selected by Slash to open on various dates throughout the tour, the audience was clearly captivated by the Charm City Devils and their wildly infectious songs. Kicking off the set with the rollicking refrains of Spite, this Baltimore based collective clearly won over the Pechanga crowd in a big and glorious way. Devil Is A Woman is a down and dirty rocker, performed with a fiendish glee while True Love (Hell Yeah) had the audience singing along to its wickedly wonderful chorus. After an explosive cover of I Got Mine by The Black Keys, Charm City Devils let loose with a powerful version of the traditional Man of Constant Sorrow. The set then ended way too soon with their raging new single Shots from their forthcoming Battles magnum opus on The End Records.

charmcity3jlFront man John Allen displays a showmanship that is exhilarating to witness – performing each and every song with a heated amount of heart and soul. Superb musicianship was in full force, featuring the participation of Vic Karrera on guitar, Nick Kay on guitar, Anthony Arambula om bass, and Jason Heiser on drums. Judging by the line at the merch booth to meet the wildly charismatic John Allen after their set, there is little doubt that Charm City Devils is headed straight into the stratosphere. Raising hell and taking names, Charm City Devils left an indelible impression to be sure!

Set List:
Spite
Devil Is A Woman
True Love (Hell Yeah)
I Got Mine
Man of Constant Sorrow
Shots

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators

slashjl3And it was time for Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators to take over the stage, and they did so with an all-out vengeance, opening with the ferocious You’re A Lie from the Apocalyptic Love album. Then it was time to hear the first of several Guns N Roses cuts – Night Train was played full force, sounding first rate with Kennedy’s passionate vocals meshing well with the dazzling guitar work of  Slash. Then it was over to the devilish inflections of Halo rising throughout the cavernous auditorium. The raging rockers kept on coming, with the crowd reveling in standout tunes such as Stone Blind (from the upcoming album World On Fire), You Could Me Mine, and You’re Crazy.

slashjl5A stunning highlight of the night was when Rocket Queen was magnificently performed, featuring a mesmerizing solo from Slash – clearly demonstrating that he is true royalty on guitar! Not For Me was a power ballad leaving quite an impact with Kennedy’s emotional vocals and Slash’s equally effective playing enveloping the auditorium. Anastasia hit all the right notes and had many in the audience singing along. Towards the end of the 20 song set, the classic guitar riff of Sweet Child Of Mine was heard, and the entire venue rose to their feet to celebrate the timeless G’nR tune. And the closing out the show was Slither, a surprise selection from Slash’s Velvet Revolver days that thrilled the rocking Pechanga masses. A well-deserved encore then took place, with Slash and Company delivering a powerhouse tour through the streets of Paradise City – thoroughly enrapturing all in attendance.

If you live in the Los Angeles area, be sure to catch Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators as they take over the iconic Hollywood venues The Troubadour (9/23), The Roxy (9-25), and The Whisky (9/26). A night with Slash, Myles Kennedy and the mighty Conspirators is an epic experience that is not to be missed!

Setlist:
You’re a Lie
Night Train
Halo
Standing in the Sun
Back from Cali
Stone Blind
You Could Be Mine
Doctor Alibi
You’re Crazy
Not for Me
30 Years to Life
Rocket Queen
No More Heroes
Starlight
World on Fire
Anastasia
By the Sword
Sweet Child O’ Mine
Slither

Encore
Paradise City

(Review by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators on Facebook
Charm City Devils on Facebook

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Heartist at Chain Reaction

received_m_mid_1408059631039_43efff5cef34e22497_1Heartist, Chain Reaction, August 6, 2014

Heartist at Chain Reaction was out of control. Heartist is on tour with Our Last Night & Set it Off as support. Their stop at their local hometown venue in Anaheim was sold out and PACKED. These hometown heroes had a great amount of crowd interaction, between crowd surfing and stage diving it was just a ton of fun for everyone.

They opened up their set with ‘Pressure Point’, a single off their new album that just released on August 12th, called Feeding Fiction. People were singing along already knowing the lyrics since Heartist played this song on BlesstheFall’s Hollow Bodies Tour about 3 months ago.

Heartist played several new songs off Feeding Fiction at Chain Reaction, each one of them receiving a different, but good reaction. After the new songs, they played ‘The Answer’ off their EP “Nothing You Didn’t Deserve”. During that time, vocalist Bryce Beckley shared a special moment with a fan. A fan crowd surfed his way onto the stage and was singing along the lyrics while crying and hugging Bryce. It was a heartwarming moment and it’s always very touching when you see this happen at shows, a special connection.

Everything that night was on point, even their fill in drummer. Heartist almost dropped off the tour due to their drummer, Matt Marquez getting sick. Luckily, they found a fill in drummer just in time. Matt Marquez was reunited with the band that night and was set to join the tour the next day in San Diego.

Setlist:
Pressure Point
Black Cloud
Skeletons
Where Did I Go Wrong?
The Answer
Disconnected

(Review and Photo by Talia Farber)

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The Soundtrack of Summer Tour

styxsountrackThe Soundtrack of Summer Tour with Foreigner, Styx, Don Felder, The Greek Theatre, July 26, 2014

It was one of those perfect nights in Southern California under the stars at The Greek Theatre. The Soundtrack of Summer Tour had made its way into the Southland, featuring the  legendary duo of Foreigner and Styx co-headlining with rock solid support from Don Felder, formerly of the Eagles. The event was packed to the rafters – a sold out performance with fans of all ages ready to rock it out to the classic tunes from the 70’s and 80’s. Once again proving that a truly great song is indeed timeless, it was a joyful sing-along throughout the entire night as hit-after-hit emitted enthusiastically from the stage.

Don Felder

donfelderjl1First up on the bill was Don Felder and band, kicking off the proceedings on a wildly vibrant note with the Eagles ‘classic selection Already Gone. Instantly winning the audience over with his appealing demeanor and the suburb musicianship of all involved, daylight slowly merged to dusk as Felder and company thrilled the crowd. Felder co-wrote many of the Eagles’ greatest hits, and delivered a healthy dose of the supreme cuts, including One Of These Nights, Victim Of Love, and Heartache Tonight. Felder’s recent solo endeavor Road To Forever was highlighted with the striking sounds of the bluesy You Don’t Have Me reverberating throughout the Greek. The five part harmony of Seven Bridges Road was absolutely breathtaking – certainly a high point in the Don Felder set. Another wonderful treat was when Felder and company performed Heavy Metal (Takin’ A Ride) from the cult classic motion picture of the same name. And if you thought the auditory adventure was about the end, Tommy Shaw of Styx would join Felder onstage for a stunning rendition of Hotel California – breathing new life into one of the most haunting songs ever recorded by the Eagles.  Be sure to check into Road To Forever to find out what Don Felder is up to today – it’s been reissued with bonus tracks so it’s well worth seeking out!

Don Felder Set List:
Already Gone
One Of These Nights
You Don’t Have Me
Victim Of Love
Seven Bridges Road
Heavy Metal (Takin’ A Ride)
Witchy Woman
Heartache Tonight
Life In The Fast Lane
Hotel California

Styx

styxjl1With the progressive opening notes of the mighty Grand Illusion, you knew Styx was going to take over in a vast and glorious way. On the stage were Tommy Shaw, James “JY” Young, Lawrence Gowan, Todd Sucherman and Ricky Phillips – absolutely consummate performers ready to transport you back in time with their gigantic repertoire of hits! Early on in the set during a rousing rendition of Fooling Yourself (Angry Young Man), original bassist Chuck Panozzo joined Styx onstage, and the atmosphere was magical! One of the amazing new additions to the lineup of Styx is keyboardist Lawrence Gowan, a magnificent talent who can thrill the audience with his expressive voice and charismatic stage presence.  Just take a  listen to his solo turn on Lady, and you’ll be hooked! One of their more obscure songs Superstars from The Grand Illusion was performed with so much conviction; it was easy to be swept away by its majestic artistry.  Don Felder would then make his way back on stage, lending his talents to the lively Blue Collar Man. The ever resourceful Gowan then was left on stage to go solo, greatly entertaining the crowd with an imaginative medley of You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Live And Let Die, and Bohemian Rhapsody. This was the perfect segue way to an epic rendition of Come Sail Way, where Gowan was rejoined by the rest of the band unleashing a mesmerizing version of Styx’s most celebrated song.  For a much deserved encore. Panozzo joined his bandmates for spiraling rendition of Renegade.  Styx in 2014 remains a vital rock and roll force that can still rock the Paradise with a magnetic force!

Styx Set List:
The Grand Illusion
Too Much Time On My Hands
Fooling Yourself (Angry Young Man)
Lady
Light Up
Crystal Ball
Superstars
Blue Collar Man
You Can’t Always Get What You Want / Live And Let Die / Bohemian Rhapsody’
Come Sail Away

Encore
Rockin’ The Paradise
Renegade

FOREIGNER

foreignerjl1Even as Foreigner emerged on the stage with no original members in tow for the first part of the set; the current lineup was hot and heavy and ready for action. Unleashing a rocking trio of hits right off the bat, Double Vision, Head Games, and Cold As Ice instantly had the audience on their feet and ready to party.  One notices right away the powerful lead vocals of former Hurricane member Kelly Hansen, belting out the great Foreigner classics with a fiery sense of passion. Also among the current Foreigner lineup is Jeff Pilson, the former Dokken bassist, leaving a lasting impression from the pulsating low end of the sonic spectrum. After a remarkably moving performance of Waiting For A Girl Like You, Hansen introduced founding Foreigner lead guitarist Mick Jones, and the Greek responded with a rapturous applause. Jones would join Foreigner for the rollicking Feels Like The First Time, and stay for the duration of the set. One powerful highlight was when Jones took the time to introduce one of his favorite deep cuts Strarrider from their Self-Titled debut album, and then proceeded to sing lead vocals – perhaps the most poignant single moment of the entire evening. For the encore, Foreigner was joined onstage by The Imagination Choir from John Muir Middle School located in Burbank, and proceeded to play the heartfelt I Want To Know What Love Is. And then Tommy Shaw, JY, and Don Felder would join in for a hell raising performance of Hot Blooded, sending the music temperature into the stratosphere. An unforgettable Saturday night with truly great bands and musicians performing songs that will be revered for a lifetime!

Foreigner Set List:
Double Vision
Head Games
Cold As Ice
Waiting For A Girl Like You
Feels Like The First Time
Urgent
Starrider
Juke Box Hero

Encore:
I Want To Know What Love Is
Hot Blooded

(Review by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)

Don Felder Official Home Page
Styx Official Home Page
Foreigner Official Home Page

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Tigrilla at White Oak Music and Arts

tigrilla3_875x1200Tigrilla. White Oak Music and Arts, June 28, 2014

White Oak Music and Arts is a new venue in the heart of the San Fernando Valley, that is well worth seeking out. They’ve recently hosted bands such as The Dead Rabbitts (featuring Craig Mabbitt of Escape The Fate), Sworn Enemy, Kurt Travis of A Lot Like Birds – and many others. All ages and extremely comfortable, with a rock solid sound system, White Oak is sure to become a favorite to many a band collective and music aficionado.

On this particular Saturday night, Tigrilla was headlining, a young Los Angeles-based band performing their own wildly rambunctious brand of rock and roll. They drew an impressive crowd and it’s no wonder why – Tigrilla definitely knows a thing or three about showmanship and will keep you well entertained. Plus they can pull off a wickedly sensational rendition of the KISS classic Love Gun.

tigrilla2_1200x900Tigrilla opened their set with the rollicking refrains of Open The Door followed by Goodbye Piper, instantly enrapturing the audience with their infectious tunes. One noticed right away the charismatic Timmy Chainshaw, making a connection with the audience both onstage and off, delivering his vocals with a stunning sense of fiendish glee. Evangelos Lindley unleashed some tremendously tasty licks on lead guitar, while bassist Jonathan Derek and drummer Devin Knell made the tight rhythm section look smooth and effortless.

The aforementioned Love Gun was a blast to watch, and original cuts such as Six-Shot and Lay Me Down really won over the White Oak crowd with their sheer exuberance. The band even came back onstage for a well-deserved encore, presenting a final song entitled Vile Eyes to a thoroughly appreciative audience. Tigrilla definitely oozes with promise, caring not for the current music trends of the day.  Expressing their own individualism through genres such as classic rock, grunge, and even glam and beyond, Tigrilla is sure to captivate even the most jaded of music critic.  It will be interesting to see what the future has in store for the rip-roaring rocking animal known as Tigrilla.

(Review and Photos by Ken Morton)

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Falling In Reverse at Vans Warped Tour in Ventura

Jacky Vincent of Falling In Reverse

Jacky Vincent of Falling In Reverse

Falling In Reverse, Vans Warped Tour, Ventura, CA., 06/22/14

Falling In Reverse at Vans Warped Tour Ventura was shred-tastic. Lead guitarist, Jacky Vincent, was shredding so hard live. He’s a tasteful, clean, fast, and precise guitarist who has come a long way due to Falling in Reverse. The whole time he was playing he was looking down at his guitar, making sure he didn’t make any mistakes, and was very serious about his performance.

FIR came onstage with “I’m Not A Vampire”, an oldie, but goodie. The crowd INSTANTLY was hyped and singing along to this catchy song. Frontman, Ronnie Radke was very interactive with his crowd for this fun song! During the part where he says, “Hi, my name is Ronnie and I’m an addict”, the crowd responded with a big “Hi Ronnie!” This song although is meant to have crowd interaction, was fun to see everyone take part in. Next song they played was “Fashionably Late”, the crowd was LOUD during the whole song, and it was pretty humorous to watch because of Ronnie’s witty lyrics.

Ronnie Radke of Falling In Reverse

Ronnie Radke of Falling In Reverse

One thing that was nostalgic to see during their set was Max Green playing bass for Ronnie again, just like in the good old days of Escape the Fate! People were stoked to see Max and Ronnie back at it again. It was a huge surprise when Ronnie put their bad, drug filled past behind them and had Max join the band. Everyone could tell Max was extremely happy to be in a band with Ronnie again and just be best friends again, even though time has changed.  FIR has been through 3 bassists so far, but we all expect that Max is going to stay in Falling In Reverse because of his and Ronnie’s bond.

The last time I had seen FIR was in 2012, and honestly, they weren’t a very solid performance. Ronnie was singing like it was a joke, and it was just terrible. FIR has perfected their live performance, everything at Ventura was solid and spot on. Jacky’s solos even improved, and that’s a lot to say since he’s already an INCREDIBLE guitarist! I would definitely see FIR again, even though I don’t listen to them. They were very fun to watch and they had a great performance and great stage energy!

Setlist:
I’m Not A Vampire
Fashionably Late
Rolling Stone
Raised By Wolves
Bad Girls Club
Born to Lead
Alone
The Drug In Me Is You

(Review and Photos by Talia Farber)

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