Astronomicon 3 Pop Culture Convention to Feature First Ever “Clerks” 25th Anniversary Reunion

 

Astronomicon3, the Detroit area’s newest pop culture convention, has added even more guests to the eclectic lineup of pop culture icons appearing at the convention the weekend of February 7-9 at Wyndham Garden in Sterling Heights, MI.
In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the cult-classic Clerks movie franchise, Jeff Anderson (“Randal”), in his first-ever convention appearance, with reunite with fellow actor Brian O’Halloran (“Dante”) for a once-in-a-lifetime fan experience. “I’m really excited to be returning to Astronomicon,”O’Halloran says. “The first year it snowed 10 inches and the fans still came out in record numbers. This year I can only imagine how many people will come out to meet myself and Jeff Anderson for his first ever comic con!”
From inside the squared circle, Astronomicon 3 has announced the appearance of WWE and Total Divas superstar Alexa Bliss, former pro wrestler and animal activist Amy Dumas (aka Lita), WWE Hall of Fame wrestling legend Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake and WWE superstar The Boogeyman.
As previously announced, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles creator Kevin Eastman will make his first Astronomicon appearance at this year’s convention. “I am so excited to get the 2020 convention season started at Astronomicon,” Eastman says. “Team Eastman hopes to see you there! Cowabunga!”
Anthony Michael Hall, the iconic “Brat Pack” actor known for his roles in The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, War Machine and Halloween Kills, has also joined the eclectic roster of guests. Says Hall, “I’m excited and looking forward to coming to Michigan in February. It’s going to be a fun show with lots of great people in attendance. We hope to see you there.”
In addition to Hall, Thomas Ian Nicholas (American Pie franchise, Rookie of the Year, Halloween Resurrection), RJ Mitte (Breaking Bad) and Alex Vincent (Child’s Play franchise, Curse of Chucky, Cult of Chucky) will join previously announced actors James Jude Courtney (Halloween), Tom Atkins (Halloween III, Lethal Weapon), Robert Carradine (Revenge of the Nerds), Bill Moseley (Rob Zombie’s 3 From Hell, House of 1000 Corpses, The Devils Rejects, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2), Charles Fleischer (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Nightmare on Elm Street, Back to the Future 2), CJ Graham (“Jason Voorhees” from Friday the 13th Part VI Jason Lives), Richard Brake(Game of Thrones, Rob Zombie’s 3 From Hell, 31), Walter Phelan (House of 1000 Corpses), Nathan Baesel (Leslie Vernon, Cold Case, CSI: Miami) and David Howard Thornton (Terrifier’s “Art the Clown”).
“In the words of Captain Spaulding, if you like blood, violence and freaks of nature, join me at the third annual Astronomicon convention,” says Bill Moseley. “It’s one hell of a show, and I’ll see you there!”
Astronomicon 3 promises to fulfill the pop culture cravings of fans attending from far and wide, with even more guests, including hockey legend and four-time Stanley Cup champion Darren McCarty; comic book writer Dirk Manning; Comic Book Men star and podcaster Ming Chen; creator of “Art the Clown” and director of horror phenomenon TerrifierDamien Leone; rapper Mickey Avalon; special FX artists Rob Miller (Face Off Season 8), Nora Hewitt (Winner of Face Off Season 9) and Get Dead Crew’s Megan Grant; MTV VJ and Scary Movie franchise actor Simon Rex aka Dirty Nasty; Troma Entertainment co-founder and The Toxic Avenger actor Lloyd Kaufman; James from the Dave & Chuck the Freak radio show; tattoo artists Saint Karlos and Steve Pelkey; speed painter/artist Dave Santia; cosplayers Ginoza Costuming, Ashlee Kalthoff of Disfusional Studios, Envy the Green Fairy and League of Enchantment; Ghostbusters Detroit; and Majik Ninja Entertainment artists AMB, Alla Xul Elu, Blaze Ya Dead Homie; and Astronomicon masterminds Twiztid,
The all ages event will not only feature appearances, signings and photo ops with many additional activities – including live music performances, Q&A panels, cosplay and tattoo contests, a free play video game room and tournaments, a scavenger hunt and trivia. Confirmed in-costume photo opportunities include CJ Graham dressed as Jason Voorhees, Walter Phelan as Dr. Satan, David Howard Thornton as Art the Clownand Bill Moseley as Chop Top.
Astronomicon 3 will take place at the Wyndham Garden in Sterling Heights, MI. Additional information on tickets, lodging, VIP options, full guest information, vendors and more can be located at www.astronomicon.com.

Live Review – Danko Jones w/ Double Experience

Canada has exported many bands into the international music scene over the decades with household names such as Bryan Adams, Celine Dion and Justin Bieber to name a few. In the punk rock genre, SUM 41 remains the most famous while others such as Danko Jones have been met with less international success. However, that doesn’t stop them from touring and fresh from their European tour opening for Volbeat, Danko Jones returned to their home province in Canada for a change of clothes and to play some “rock and roll shows”, as Danko himself put it. So on December 12, Danko Jones came to the Brass Monkey in Ottawa, Ontario to play on “a Thursday night when no one comes to a sold out rock and roll show” and to “fulfill his dream of playing next to a pet store”.
Consisting of Danko Jones (vocals/guitar), John ‘JC’ Calabrese (bass), and Rich Knox (drums), they have released 8 albums with numerous EP’s and a Live album since 2002. But it’s their energetic and humoristic shows that have made them famous here in Canada and Europe. With a large discography containing numerous singles thrown in with humoristic dialogue, energy is required to fill in a 90 minute setlist. So despite recovering from a cold so “phlegm ruins the notes but nobody cares cuz it’s a rock and roll show”, energetic is what can best describe a Danko Jones show.
And they crammed in all their hits such as “First Date”, “Lovercall” and “Do You Wanna Rock” to name a few. And the sold out crowd knew the songs as Danko Jones is a popular band locally with regular radio airplay. Newer songs included “I’m In a Band” from ROCK SUPREME and the song “Fists up High” from an upcoming album in the process of being recorded which was the big surprise of the evening. But it was the seamless interchange between dialogue with the audience and the music that made the 90 minutes an entertaining and memorable show, a more serious-comedy performance in the style of Steel Panther’s routine.
Double Experience was the opening band for the evening. They are a rock band based in Ottawa, Ontario that was formed in the summer of 2011. The band consists of vocalist and front man Ian Nichols and guitarist Brock Tinsley. They have released three albums with most of their success obtained in Europe, where they tour regularly.

 

 

Editors Note *

I saw Danko Jones once a few years ago . He stated at the time he was the best Rockstar on the planet and that we as fans are lucky to be in his presence. I never planned on doing any coverage of this artist due to the off-putting nature of that performance and although I only stayed about five minutes into his set I was glad John was covering a current performance because I believe firmly in the freedoms we all have t0 like certain artists or to walk away  and listen to something else . Thanks John for your honest review .

 Danko Jones at Rock On The Range
Danko Jones at Rock On The Range

 

Third Annual INKCARCERATION Music and Tattoo Festival Announces Weekend Lineup Featuring Limp Bizkit, Weezer and Blink-182

Ohio’s Rock Event of The Summer is Back July 10-12, 2020 at the Historic Ohio State Reformatory
Tickets Available Now – Just in Time for Holiday Gift-Giving!
40 Bands on Two Stages, 60 Tattoo Artists, Reformatory Tours, Gourmet Food Trucks, Camping and Escape from Blood Prison Haunted Attraction
Tickets are now on sale now for the third annual INKCARCERATION Music and Tattoo Festival, featuring headliners Limp Bizkit, Weezer and Blink-182, at the famous Ohio State Reformatory, a.k.a. Shawshank prison, in Mansfield, OH, on July 10, 11, and 12, 2020
“We are extremely humbled by the support the fans put behind this festival in 2019 and wanted to bring them something even bigger in 2020,” the INKCARCERATION Festival team says. “For year three, we put together an extremely eclectic lineup that brings together all forms of rock. This festival is becoming known as the most unique event in the country, so we wanted to construct a lineup as unique as the venue itself! And, of course, it’s still the only rock festival held at a famous haunted prison! Expect lots of site upgrades from VIP to camping. We can’t wait for everyone to see what we have in store!”
INKCARCERATION Festival will feature over 40 bands on two outdoors stages, 60 tattoo artists, reformatory tours, gourmet food trucks, the best drinks, camping and the return of the popular haunted house attraction Escape from Blood Prison.
Joining Limp Bizkit, Weezer and Blink-182 will be a diverse lineup that includes Papa Roach, Halestorm, Mastodon, Underoath, Hollywood Undead, Steel Panther, Falling in Reverse, Candlebox, Badflower, Atreyu, Static-X , Puddle of Mudd, New Politics, All That Remains, We Came as Romans, The Devil Wears Prada, Emmure, Attila, Stick to Your Guns, New Years Day, Escape the Fate, Cold, Carnifex, The Aquadolls, Band-Maid, Stitched Up Heart, September Mourning, Damn Nation, Paralandra, Along Came a Spider, A Killers Confession, MissYou, Sink the Ship, Dread Engine, Mollo Rilla, Saving Escape, and more.

Live Review- The Beautiful Oblivion tour ft. ISSUES and Polyphia

With the advent of music streaming, it’s hard for bands to stay relevant nowadays and as we approach the 2020’s, it’s even harder for young bands who started after the days where CD sales ruled the roost. So with the launch and headlining world tour in support of their third album BEAUTIFUL OBLIVION, it should be commended that ISSUES tried to mix things up a bit to appeal to a larger audience.

An American metalcore band founded in 2012 and based in Atlanta, Georgia, the band currently consists of lead vocalist Tyler Carter, guitarist/vocalist AJ Rebollo, bassist Skyler Acord, and drummer Josh Manuel. They are known for their combination of metalcore, nu metal, pop and contemporary R&B. The self-titled debut album, ISSUES, climbed to #9 on the Billboard charts in 2012 based on a DJ infused metalcore sound which was unique to the market at the time. But things evolve and on December 4, Issues brought their Beautiful Oblivion tour to Club Soda in Montreal, Canada.

Playing all 13 tracks as well as their singles from their first 2 albums, ISSUES played an electrifying set covering all the checklists required for metalcore bands from hand pumping to encouraging moshing. What was fascinating was the standout differences between the songs from their earlier work to BEAUTIFUL OBLIVION. From a traditional metalcore sound to a more broader pop-synced sound found in BEAUTIFUL OBLIVION, it shows that ISSUES tried to make themselves appealing to the larger, commercial audience – with a large amount of success. BEAUTIFUL OBLIVION songs such as Tapping out and Drink About It blended perfectly with the set while the more dance-like song Flexin’ fell flat as it required a pre-recorded background beat to which the band hand to play to instead of creating their own sound with their performance. R & B songs like Without You and Get It Right were capable of getting the crowd going like COMA does. The crowd did not slow down to the slower song like Rain, Your Sake, Beautiful Oblivion or Downfall.

With the thirteen song from BEAUTIFUL OBLIVION, as well as Stingray Affliction, COMA, Never Lose Your Flames, The Realest, Slow me Down and, Mad At Myself as encore – ISSUES played a full setlist for their show and the energy did not stop from beginning to end. Although they still have far to go to be a “headliner”, their intent and drive to become one was apparent that evening.

Opening for ISSUES was POLYPHIA, a progessive rock band from Dallas, Texas. Not familiar with the prog rock scene, POLYPHIA were touring in support of their album NEW LEVELS NEW DEVILS released in 2018. A young band, yet were formed in 2010, played a melodic rock sound similar to bands like Supertramp but had no vocals.

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Album review – Transcedence by RavenWord

Many aspects of heavy metal music have historically originated through Gothic culture dating back to the 18th century. Many classic literary novels were also born through that culture including Edgar Allen Poe’s work in the 19th century. For those who have forgotten high school English classes, he is an author most known for his novel “The Raven” which has been popularised many times throughout Culture from movies, video games and even The Simpsons. So naturally, the time has come for heavy metal music and The Raven to merge forming RavenWord, an Italian symphonic power metal band who are releasing their first album, Transcendence, out January 31 via Rockshots Records.

Consisting of singer Chiara Tricarico (Sound Storm, Moonlight Haze), drummer Michele Olmi (Chronosfear, Skeleeton) and bass/guitar player Cesare Ferrari (Choirs Of Veritas) , RavenWord captures the romantic and decadent poetic themes typical of Edgar Allan Poe’s period, combined with an equally decadent symphonic metal sound. Containing 13 tracks, Transcendence plays out to a similar style compared with other European metal bands with crisp toned vocals, polished guitar solos and quick bass rhythms.

Starting off the bat with the opening track Blue Roses to the third track (and opening single) No More, Tricarico carries the songs using her mezzo-sopranic voice. Handling all of the axe work, Ferrari notes were produced and synced well creating a seamless transition between the three tracks. The Fourth track, Lullaby Of The Last Petal is when things slow down with Tricarico lowering her voice to more soprano level and keeping that range to the fifth track, Purity. The tempo picks up by the sixth track, Rain of Stars, after a brief piano solo. The rest of the album follows the same formula with The Swansong replacing Lullaby of the Last Petal on the ballad list. The stand out song was The Distance, the twelfth song on the album which contained subtle Celtic overtones at the beginning which created a stand out effect from the rest.

Transcedence is a well produced and organized album with consistent and clear sound from each artist. Riffs and Rythmns are distinctly separate with Tricarico’s notes coming in distinct and clear while remaining in the same key. The album features a calm, haunting sound with an underlying beauty, similar to themes found in Edgar Allen Poe literature. With her signature vocal style, Tricario tells stories of love, intrigue and fear while keeping in form with modern European metal style. With Transcendence, RavenWord captures the romantic and decadent poetic themes typical of Edgar Allan Poe’s period, combined with an equally decadent symphonic metal sound.

Live Review – Stitched Up Heart

Cleveland , Ohio – The cold and windy gusts blowing off Lake Erie last week were not a deterrent for the music fans that descended on The House of Blues for a night of great music . The band Stitched Up Heart returned to the north coast in support capacity for Steel Panther and it was a winning combo .

I had the opportunity to do an exclusive interview with singer Alecia ‘Mixi’ Demner which will be posted in a separate article , it is not to be missed .

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The stage was dark and ominous at Stitched Up Heart took it over like a smooth military operation immediately kicking into high gear with the song ” This Thing ” and pleased fans and gained new ones in the mix .

The opening of ” Stranger Things Theme ” ( A TV show I adore ) really was a nice addition to the anticipation of the night as well . My favorite songs played were of course ” Warrior”  , ” Monster ” and ” Catch Me When I Fall”

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The band has gone thru a few line up changes until the right mix of dedication , ability and personality emerged triumphant , Stitched Up Heart is

  • Alecia ‘Mixi’ Demner – lead vocals (2010–present)
  • James Decker – drums/backing vocals (2012–present)
  • Merritt Goodwin – lead guitar (2012–present)
  • Randy Mathias – bass/backing vocals (2014–present)
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If you don’t believe there are not any new bands coming thru , then you are in for a shock , because this band is one of the best around . In support of their upcoming release ”  Darkness ” they are sure to be stopping by a city near you soon .

 

Make sure you check out the official site at http://stitchedupheart.org/

Live Review -Ensiferum w/ Kalmah & Abigail Williams- Montreal

A number of heavy metal genres have developed since the emergence of heavy metal during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Some genres overlap or are difficult to distinguish, but they can be identified by a number of traits such as drumming, tempo, song structure, vocal style and instrumentation. And that is what Montreal received on November 27, 2019 as Finnish folk metal legends Ensiferum came to tour with supporting acts Kalmah and Abigail Williams for a four-hour mixed evening of European and American heavy metal.

It has been well documented that Heavy Metal fans are a very dedicated and passionate bunch and the energy was raw as Ensiferum opened their headlining set. First founded in 1995, they are a Finnish folk band with 7 albums released. Through many personnel changes, they have continued to play and record music based on Nordic concepts and stories. Opening with riffs off of “Ad Victoriam”, lead singer markus Toivenen cranked the riffs for “Blood is the Price of Glory” and then through gas on a hot crowd with “One More Magic Potion”. “Token of Time”, “From Afar” and “Smoking Ruins”. Taking a break to salute a crowd chanting Ensiferum, guitarist Petri Loondis started “Two of Spades” with “Heathen Horde” next. Still chanting Ensiferum, the crowd jumped to “For those about to Fight for Metal”. Toivenen quieted down the crowd for a tribute to fallen warriors over the world before “Way of the Warrior” played. “Burning Leaves”, “In My Sword I Trust”, “Ahti” and “Victory Song” closed the set with “Hero in a Dream” and “Lai lai Hai” playing out an encore that finished right at midnight.

Kalmah

 

Supporting act Kalmah could have been mistaken for the headlining band with the reaction they received. Playing what amounted to almost an hour-long set, they played their songs from their 8 album history since 1998. Opening with “Swamphell”, the crowd was pumped. “The Evil Kin” and “Moon of the Knights” followed suit. Pausing to give a quick background of the band, lead singer Pekka Kokko clearly didn’t understand that Kalmah needed no introduction here in Montreal. Appreciating the roars of support, he kicked into “They Will Return” before playing the single (and title) of their latest album “Seventh Swamphony”. “Heroes to Us, “The Third, the Magical” and the “Black Waltz” followed before Kokko had to remind the audience that they were the “supporting” act. They crowd roared as Kalmah played their last song of the evening, “Hades” and they chanted for more.

Abigail Willaims

Opening the evening was “Abigail Williams”, a black metal band from Olympia, WA founded by Ken Sorceron. Fresh off the release of their fourth album “Walk Beyond the Dark”, they played a memorable and entrancing performance filled with rapturous bursts of string accompaniments with melancholic tones of shadow and despair. Powerful guitars by Bryon O’Sullivan shifted between slithering rhythms, contemplative grooves and all-out assaults of pure metal riffs. Playing through an eight song playlist, Sorceron proved that he is the heart, soul and mind of Abigail Williams.

Live Review -Degenerates Tour with A Day to Remember, I Prevail, Beartooth

It’s always fun to watch a long-term successful band play during their prime years. So pop-metalcore band A Day to Remember (ADTR) brought their Degenerates tour to Place Bell in Montreal on November 5, 2019. Also featuring I Prevail, Beartooth and Can’t Swim, the evening promised to be a long evening filled with chart topping rock hits and It did not disappoint.
But bands can’t do it alone if the audience doesn’t bring in the energy. The modest crowd were clearly true metalcore fans as the floor area of the show clearly came to mosh – a trademark staple for this genre of music and something ADTR has built their name on throughout their careers.
As headliners go, ADTR have been around since 2003 and have paid their dues. Their 90 minute setlist played the hits (with some notable omissions) but with the upcoming release of their seventh album, You’re Welcome, ADTR had a large catalogue of songs to fit in and did not waste any time opening with “The Downfall of us All” and then immediately breaking into “All I Want”. With the mosh pit kicking into gear, ADTR played “Mr. Highway”, “Paranoia and Sticks and Stones”. Lead singer Jeremy McKinnon then encouraged the crowd to surf the crowd surfer, where someone stands on another crowd surfer and surfs them like a surfboard. Following an immediate “safety” warning, people proceeded to surf the crowd surfer to some funny live footage shots on the background screen.
“Better off this way” kicked off next to “Right Back at it Again”. ADTR gave the audience a foreshadow of their upcoming album by playing their first single off the album, “Degenerates”. “Bullfight”, “Sometimes You’re the Hammer” and then the tempo slowed through to “End of Me” until McKinnon encouraged the crowd the thrash to old-school metal and then “2nd sucks” cranked out closing with “I’m Made of Wax”. Encores included an acoustic of “If it Means a Lot to You”, “All signs Point to Lauderdale”, and “The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle”.

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Not to be missed out, and hardly an opening act, I Prevail set the tone with a metalcore performance of their own. Fresh off the success of their second album Trauma, singers Brian Burkheiser and Eric Vanlerberghe needed little effort to pump up the crowd who were chanting “I Prevail” many times in between songs. Playing mostly songs off of Trauma, they also mixed in “Scars” and “Come and Get it” from their debut album Lifelines. The reaction they received from the crowd and the energy in the mosh pit was equal to what ADTR received. They will certainly be playing again in Montreal.
Beartooth is a band from Michigan who have just released their third album, Disease. Their sound is described as a mix of metalcore with nu metal. Can’t Swim opened the evening. They are from New Jersey and released an album titled This Too Won’t Pass, on November 16, 2018

Live Review-Elton John Farewell Yellowbrick Road Tour

Cleveland, Ohio- A winter storm blew into the north coast but that in no way was  going to deter they sold out audience at Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage Field House from tonight’s concert  .This being the final and farewell tour for Elton John this was a night that very few will ever forget . The popular singer is still riding high from this years biopic ” Rocketman ” of his life and this is the second leg of his tour and his last stop in Cleveland and the sold out crowd could not have been more thrilled .

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The night started off with Bennie and the Jets and continued for close to three hours . The iconic line from the Spinal Tap film  ” Hello Cleveland ” was of course produced but from Elton it really seamed genuine . Some of my favorite songs were ” Tiny Dancer ” , ” Daniel ” which brought a tear to my eye and of course ” Candle in the Wind ” for which made many a fan cry .

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Elton’s band were top notch musicians as well , each a skilled artist in their own right . I can understand why Elton will be retired from the road , he honestly moved a little stiff on stage but damn he is 72 and he moves better then I do so he deserves a whole lot of slack . He still rocked for almost three hours .

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If you are anywhere that he will be performing  on this final leg , run don’t walk and get a ticket you will want to say you say him when he was still on top of his game and ladies and gentleman , he commands the game .

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I can honestly say I was very glad to be part of this final tour and see him perform and as Elton says , love one another .

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