Live Review -Crazytown X In Montreal !

Throughout the history of music, there has been many examples of musical artists or performers who have had a successful song or album and, for whatever reasons, have not been able to duplicate their previous success. Sometimes, artists dubbed “one-hit wonders” in a particular country have had great success in other countries. Others break into other facets of industry such as production or management. And some, like CRAZYTOWN, continue to tour based on their prior success to small audiences, like the one in Montreal on November 3, 2019.

It’s not to say that CRAZYTOWN is bad, after all, their debut album THE GIFT OF GAME was a platinum seller based on the success of their #1 international single “Butterfly”. Their follow-up album, DARKHORSE in 2002 failed to achieve the same level of success, contributing to the band’s break-up in 2003. They reunited in 2015 to record BRIMSTONE SLUGGERS but separated again in 2017. Original member Shifty Shellshock rebranded the band into CRAZYTOWN X and continues to perform the bands hits.

And with only about 30 people in the audience, which included friends and the opening bands, Shifty with Roland Banks on drums and Elias Tannous on guitars with bass and mixes pre-recorded, they gave a high energy performance. A product of rap-metal from the early 2000’s, CRAZYTOWN X singles contained interesting experimental music as many of their songs contained different styles of mixes to go along with the popularity of the musical genre at the time. And Shifty performed admirably in that style, playing a random order of their songs from THE GIFT OF GAME and BRIMSTONE SLUGGERS. Their set opened with Black Cloud leading into Darkside, both from GIFT OF GAME before kicking it into Lemonface from BRIMSTONE SLUGGERS and then Lollipop Porn. Surprisingly, the played “Butterfly” next. Afterwards, they played (in no order) Megatron, Born to Raise hell and songs from DARKHORSE. They even played an encore, finishing the evening with “Revolving Door” and “Toxic”. Shifty then stayed for pictures and to chat with people. It was a very entertaining performance.

Opening for CRAZYTOWN X was a band Called BLACK OXYGEN from Kansas City. Formed by brothers David and Nick Lyle, they were a two-piece band whose style was reminiscent of Swirl 360 – a previous band form the late 90’s who had a “one-hit-wonder”. The band has released four Albums “The Times of Our Lives (Collection)”, “City Of Angels” EP, “Beating Time”, and “The American Dream”.

Warming up the crowd was SPECIAL OPS, a local Montreal rock band who are releasing their fifth(!) album in November 2019. First formed in 2002, the band is currently composed of lead singer A.K. Johnson (Sam Odeh), guitarists Alex Crowe and Christopher Groulx, bassist Waldo Thornhill, and drummer Manuel Bessette.

Live Review- Tom Keifer Brings ” Rise ” To Akron

Its a show not to be missed . Four out of four stars .

Akron, Ohio- The Goodyear Theatre was the perfect venue for a  concert and Tom Keifer of Cinderella came to rock ! The band was on tour supporting their brand new release ” Rise “which is getting both critical and fan praise since it’s release last  month .

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Tom played an impressive fifteen song set and with the support acts of Enuff Z’Nuff and Billy Morris you were presented with a four hour show . Now that is what I call a night out on the town .

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Tom Keifer with Chip Z Nuff before the show

The set opened up with ” Touching The Divine ” and continued with hit after hit , both classic songs  and a new  to be classic hits . Songs such as ” Night Songs ” ” Shake Me ” and ” You Don’t Know What You Got (Till Its Gone) ” .The new material included ” Rise ” and ” Death of Me ”

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Tom is a great performer along with being  a powerful singer and song writer and he surrounds himself with nothing but the best artists around . Tom’s band features Tom Keifer – Vocals, Guitar, Keys Savannah Keifer – Vocals, Percussion, Piano Tony Higbee – Guitar, Vocals… Billy Mercer – Bass guitar, Vocals Kendra Chantelle – Vocals, Percussion Jarred Pope – Drums, Vocals Kory Myers – Keyboards.

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The bands shows are always exciting and each member gives it their 100% on stage . If you see Tom listed at a venue near you make sure you get out and see him , its a show not to be missed . Four out of four stars .

Album Review -Wizards of Winter – The Christmas Dream – Album

As the autumn leaves change color and fall to the ground, the weather becomes colder with the Halloween costumes put back into the closet, the preparation for winter and the holiday season begins. And so, the time begins for Christmas shopping as both online and retail stores brace for the annual gift giving season. Christmas music comes alive in malls, restaurants and radio. And with that, comes annual releases of holiday themed music by musical artists.

Less of a band and more of a musical performance, THE WIZARDS OF WINTER are an annual progressive rock holiday tour founded in 2009 by Scott Kelly, Sharon Kelly and Steve Ratchen as a way to give back to the local community (see THE WIZARDS OF WINTER pages for scheduling and ticket info). In 2019, they have grown to consist of multi-musicians with a range of musical backgrounds such as former members of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Rainbow, Blue Oyster Cult, Ted Nugent, The Irish Tenors, lead vocalist and auxiliary keyboardist Alexis Smith, and last but not least, lead guitarist Steve Brown. They have also released their third album, THE CHRISTMAS DREAM, which contains 10 new original songs.

THE CHRISTMAS DREAM is essentially a creation of, well, traditional Christmas songs. But it isn’t necessarily an album but more of a soundtrack to an artistic performance. Containing original written and composed Christmas songs set to a range of musical compositions and pieces, THE CHRISTMAS DREAM contains a mix of contemporary to progressive rock music. Sharon Kelly’s vocal performance is similar to other traditional musical song performances and stands out in songs featuring her vocals like “Gonna Snow” with Kornelia Rad leading the accompanying string section. On the male side of things, Vincent Jiovino had more “traditional” Bing Crosby-like vocals and led songs such as “A Toast to Time”. Karl Scully, another vocalist, also contributed to songs such as “In Plain Sight”. “Christmas Dream” was a musical reworking of Salzburg Chamber Orchestra reworkings of Mozart. Other songs like “Four Kings” were reworkings of traditional Christmas stories.

THE CHRISTMAS DREAM is an album containing original Christmas songs from an original Christmas performance. Therefore, as soundtracks go, it’s the live performance that provides the experience and the music provides the memories of the experience which is what THE CHRISTMAS DREAM does. Although, it may not replace The Carpenters in grandma’s annual holiday playlist, what THE CHRISTMAS DREAM provides is a great holiday stocking stuffer for any music lover to be placed atop the fireplace mantel on Christmas Eve waiting to be opened the next morning while the family dines on holiday turkey and yams.

Live Review- The Crystal Method -Montreal Canada

Montreal ,Canada -As this decade ends, we can begin to reminisce about the special things in the 2010’s such as fidget spinners, Farmville and cornrows. And as the 2020’s roll in, we can prepare for 2000’s nostalgia fazes. But that decade hasn’t started yet and as we are still in 2019, there is still time for late 1990’s nostalgia and nothing says 1990’s such as electro beat music. So more than 20 years later, THE CRYSTAL METHOD is still playing and lighting up the club.

The Crystal Method originally had two members, Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland. However, in early 2017, Ken Jordan decided to retire from music, and left The Crystal Method. Scott Kirkland continues to produce and play shows under the CRYSTAL METHOD name and has released a new album, THE TRIP HOME, last year.

Playing to a multi-generational crowd at the Foufounes Electriques in Montreal, Kirkland clearly had experience in playing to his audience. He performed a 2-hour set starting at midnight as the crowd started to enter the venue at 11:30 in the evening. Kirkland, a well-known Star Wars fan, in a tight black T-shirt with a storm trooper pic and what looked like white sunglasses worn backwards but was actually his headphones draped over his eyes. He mixed songs on several turntables and with lots of electronic and Crystal Method favorites such as “Name of the Game” “Busy Child,” “High Roller,” “Trip Like I Do”– and 20th century hits including Clash’s “Should I stay or should I go”, Beastie Boys “Intergalactic” and “No Sleep ‘til Brooklyn”, The Doors “Roadhouse Blues” and The Cars “You’re all that I got tonight”.

Kirkland remained animated throughout his set, turning knobs with gusto, using lots of hand gestures, and playing air guitar and air drums. Kirkland was there to perform and maintained a live energy level few performers can achieve. This was evident as he made his way into the crowd to sign autographs and pose for pictures with the audience. A true rarity nowadays.

So, as this decade ends, it’s good to know that the influences of it’s past is still going strong today and that twenty years later, some things have aged like fine wine.

Live Review- Italian Metal Giants ” Lacuna Coil ” Return To Cleveland !

Cleveland, Ohio- The powerhouse  band from Italy returned to the north coast this past week, of course we are talking about Lacuna Coil . Now in its 25th year , yes 25 years, the band started in 1994 in Milan ,Italy now are considered one of the best and the brightest in the metal community .The band is currently on its ” Black Anima” tour with co-headliners All That Remains ,the packed house and the tons of Lacuna Coil fans that came from other states show  the massive drawing power of the band . I met fans from Michigan who drove about four hours for the show .

Lacuna Coil live on stage
Lacuna Coil live on stage

The evening started with “Blood, Tears and Dust ” and continued with eleven more hard and heavy hits the drove fans over the edge . Songs such as ” Spellbound ” and ” Layers of Time ” were some of the crowd favorites .

Lacuna Coil live on stage
Lacuna Coil live on stage

I had the opportunity to meet the band several years ago at ” Rock On The Range ” and I found them to generally well adjusted with out the rock star attitude Ive seen in so many others  .

Lacuna Coil live on stage
Lacuna Coil live on stage

The band runs as a well oiled machine with the different band members each playing their roles but working together to highlight each others strengths . The bands accomplishments are many fold but here are just a few .

Here are the highlights from Lacuna Coil’s incredible 20 year career:

  • 71+ Million US Streams
  • Over 1.1 Million Records Sold
  • 6 Top 40 Billboard Top 200 Charting Albums & 5 Top 10 Top Rock Charting Hits
  • 3.57+ Million Reach Across Social Media Platforms
  • First Female Fronted Band to Co-Headline Ozzfest
  • Performed on Revolver Music Awards (2016)
  • Awards:

o   2006 MTV Europe Music Awards – Nominee, Best Italian Act

o   2012 Revolver Golden Gods Award – Nominee, Best International Band

o   2012 Female Metal Voices Fest Award – Winner, Best Album 2012 “Dark Adrenaline”

o   2016 Metal Hammer Awards (Germany) – Winner, Best International Band

o   2018 Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards – Best Live Act

If you ever have the chance to see them ,  get to a  Lacuna Coil performance ,you will not be disappointed and pick up a copy of ” Black Anima” the brand new release from the band !

 

 

Album Review- Blame Zeus – Seethe

Portugal is the oldest country in Europe, renown for its port wine, piri-piri chicken and surfing. Although established Portuguese bands who had begun their careers during the 1980s and 1990s are still around, much like in other European and Anglo-American countries, the rise of hip-hop, dance music and more pop-oriented acts predominate the current music scene. So, it is quite an accomplishment for BLAME ZEUS, a female-lead rock/alternative band from Oporto, Portugal to make a name for themselves on the international scene. With their third album titled “Seethe” set for release November 8 on Rockshots Records, BLAME ZEUS is breaking into the North American market with their first single “The Warden” available on all music streaming services.

“Seethe” is a ten-track album produced by Ricardo Fernandes. Featuring Sandra Oliveira on vocals,
Paulo Silva and Tiago Lascasas on guitar, Celso Oliveira on bass and Ricardo Silveira on drums, Seethe provides a mix of raw, edgy songs with melodic choruses, harmonies and two ballads. Sandra Oliveira’s spectrum of notes is evident starting with the album’s opening track “How to successfully implode” and carrying through to “Down to our bones” as she, along with her brother Celso on bass, played with synchronistic harmony and flow. The fourth song “White” and the ninth “The Warden” were ballads that are playable for Rock Radio and Easy Alternative music playlists, respectively. Songs like “Bloodstained Hands” and “No” had melodic choruses reminiscent of 1990’s alt-rock music.

Lyrically, “Seethe” deals with traditional alternative music issues such as pain, unexpressed anger and encouragement to express your opinions, voice and identity. Musically, “Seethe” provides a darker, edgier sound then past BLAME ZEUS albums with crisp riffs from Silva and Lascasas set to intense rhythms by Oliveira and Silveira. With influences that range from blues to metal, their music can be described as an intense and heavy rock, but also with intimate and nostalgic ballads.

Since forming in 2010, the band’s two previous releases “Identity’ (2014) (Raising Legends Records) and “Theory of Perception” (2017) have garnered much praise in their home country along with securing opening slots with bands Lacuna Coil, Moonspell, Cradle of Filth, Cellar Darling, R.A.M.P. among many others established acts. In 2018, they were invited to perform at Vagos Metal Fest, one of Portugal’s biggest heavy festivals. Follow them on social media for North American appearances to support “Seethe”.

Motorhead – 1979 Boxed Set Review

In a here-today gone-tomorrow music industry utilising streaming and social media as platforms to reach an audience, it is getting more difficult to remember a time where bands made a name for themselves through recording quality albums. And it is even more difficult to keep a band together for over four decades. Mick Jagger has done it with the Rolling Stones – Bono with U2 is another. And so has Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister. Although MOTORHEAD has had alternating members, Lemmy is synonymous with the name MOTORHEAD equally as Jagger and Bono are with theirs.

So almost four years after the tragic demise of Lemmy, MOTORHEAD and BMG have released the “1979” boxed-set, consisting of Both the original Overkill and Bomber albums half-speed mastered and pressed on 180 gram vinyl created from the original master tapes, Two double-live albums of previously unheard concert material from the ’79 tours, The Rest of ’79 Vinyl, featuring B-sides, outtakes and rare tracks, A 40-page period-accurate “music magazine” featuring unseen photos and fresh interviews regarding the era amongst other goodies and surprises from the vault.

As the majority of the MOTORHEAD catalogue is available on music streaming and video services nowadays, the advantages to box sets nowadays isn’t the compilation of all MOTORHEAD’s hits, but the availability of all the music and video in a consistent and high-quality audio and video formats. The “1979” boxed set was compiled with “the assistance of key people who were part of their ’79 circle of friends, crew, and accomplices”. Available on the MOTORHEAD website, these releases have been created with the full cooperation and involvement of the estates of Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, “Fast” Eddie Clarke and Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor. The “1979” Boxed set will be available October 25, 2019.

Track Listings
Disc: 1
1. Overkill
2. Stay Clean
3. (I Won’t) Pay Your Price
4. I’ll Be Your Sister
5. Capricorn

Disc: 2
1. No Class
2. Tear Ya Down
3. Limb from Limb

Disc: 3
1. Overkill (Live at Aylesbury Friars, 31st March 1979)
2. Stay Clean (Live at Aylesbury Friars, 31st March 1979)
3. Keep Us On the Road (Live at Aylesbury Friars, 31st March 1979)
4. No Class (Live at Aylesbury Friars, 31st March 1979)
5. Leaving Here (Live at Aylesbury Friars, 31st March 1979)

Disc: 4
1. Iron Horse / Born to Lose (Live at Aylesbury Friars, 31st March 1979)
2. Metropolis (Live at Aylesbury Friars, 31st March 1979)
3. The Watcher (Live at Aylesbury Friars, 31st March 1979)
4. Damage Case (Live at Aylesbury Friars, 31st March 1979)

Disc: 5
1. (I Won’t) Pay Your Price [Live at Aylesbury Friars, 31st March 1979]
2. Capricorn (Live at Aylesbury Friars, 31st March 1979)
3. Too Late, Too Late (Live at Aylesbury Friars, 31st March 1979)
4. I’ll Be Your Sister (Live at Aylesbury Friars, 31st March 1979)

Disc: 6
1. I’m Your Witchdoctor (Live at Aylesbury Friars, 31st March 1979)
2. Train Kept A-Rollin’ (Live at Aylesbury Friars, 31st March 1979)
3. Limb from Limb (Live at Aylesbury Friars, 31st March 1979)
4. White Line Fever (Live at Aylesbury Friars, 31st March 1979)
5. Motörhead (Live at Aylesbury Friars, 31st March 1979)

Disc: 7
1. Dead Men Tell No Tales
2. Lawman
3. Sweet Revenge
4. Sharpshooter
5. Poison

Disc: 8
1. Stone Dead Forever
2. All the Aces
3. Step Down
4. Talking Head
5. Bomber

Disc: 9
1. Overkill (Live at Le Mans, 3rd November 1979)
2. Stay Clean (Live at Le Mans, 3rd November 1979)
3. No Class (Live at Le Mans, 3rd November 1979)
4. Metropolis (Live at Le Mans, 3rd November 1979)

Disc: 10
1. All the Aces (Live at Le Mans, 3rd November 1979)
2. Dead Men Tell No Tales (Live at Le Mans, 3rd November 1979)
3. I’ll Be Your Sister (Live at Le Mans, 3rd November 1979)
4. Lawman (Live at Le Mans, 3rd November 1979)
5. Too Late, Too Late (Live at Le Mans, 3rd November 1979)

Disc: 11
1. Poison (Live at Le Mans, 3rd November 1979)
2. (I Won’t) Pay Your Price [Live at Le Mans, 3rd November 1979]
3. Sharpshooter (Live at Le Mans, 3rd November 1979)
4. Capricorn (Live at Le Mans, 3rd November 1979)
5. Train Kept A-Rollin’ (Live at Le Mans, 3rd November 1979)

Disc: 12
1. Bomber (Live at Le Mans, 3rd November 1979)
2. Limb from Limb (Live at Le Mans, 3rd November 1979)
3. White Line Fever (Live at Le Mans, 3rd November 1979)
4. Motörhead (Live at Le Mans, 3rd November 1979)

Disc: 13
1. Too Late Too Late
2. Like a Nightmare (B-Side – “No Class” Single)
3. Over the Top (7” Single B-Side)
4. Stone Dead Forever (Alternate Version)
5. Sharpshooter (Alternate Version)

Disc: 14
1. Bomber (Alternate Version)
2. Step Down (Alternate Version)
3. Fun On the Farm (Bomber Outtake)
4. Treat Me Nice (Bomber Outtake)
5. You Ain’t Gonna Live Forever (Bomber Outtake)

Disc: 15
1. No Class

Disc: 16
1. Like a Nightmare (B-Side – “No Class” Single)

Disc: 17
1. Like a Nightmare (Demo)

Disc: 18
1. Poison (Demo)

Live Review – Five Reasons Why Styx Are Not to Missed !

If you want a great night to rock out and feel young again get to a Styx show .

Northfield, Ohio – The multi platinum award winning iconic band Styx stopped by the North Coast on their latest tour in support of ” The Mission ” ( An amazing album , make sure you get a copy )  . In honor of them giving an amazing performance this week we decided to list the five reasons why Styx are not to be missed !

Styx Live On Stage
Styx Live On Stage

One -Creativity

Why many bands or classic rock band rest on their laurels , Styx does not . They continually test their musical chops by creating new challenges and music . Case in point ,” The Mission ” an amazing rock opera of a mission to Mars and emotions and feelings of it and guess what . They are doing the complete album live on select dates on the tour . I remember being a kid and every time a new tour came to town,  being one of the first to see the music performed live  was special  and this recreates that time in my life .

Styx Live on Stage
Styx Live on Stage

Two-Musical Range

The musical range and ability of the Styx members cannot be understated . The range of Tommy Shaw’s voice and his virtuosity playing his Gibson guitar is a sight to behold and a treat for the ears . The voice of Laurence Gowan along with his beautiful keyboard playing on both classic songs such and ” Come Sail Away ” and modern classics at ” Khedive ” and his stage persona ( think acrobat meets comedian think stage actor ) makes it a fun night ! The aggressive guitar of  James ” JY ” Young  and rough and tumble vocals on classics as ” Miss America ” really make it a well rounded band .Bassist and guitarist/vocalist Ricky Phillips ( formally of The Babys/Bad English ) proves he is rock n’ roll royalty every night and beings it all together . The drumming of Todd Sucherman was as sight to behold. I was watching as he switched grips from a jazz grip to the power grip of a rock song . Subtle little things like that show a true professional in his prime ! Last but not least is founding member Chuck Panozza without whom Styx would not exist . His drive and ambition to create music cannot be understated in it’s importance .

Styx live on stage
Styx live on stage

3-Drive

Styx tours more then any other band that I know of . They continually sell out venues across the US for one simple reason .They give the fans what they want , two hours of great music and an escape from reality . For a band that literally could live off of their royalties they don’t , they get out there in front of the live audience and show them you can rock at any age from 17-70, the spirit never dies .

A fan recording a Styx moment in time
A fan recording a Styx moment in time

4-The Hits

The list goes on and on but the hits are not just songs , but time capsules to a different era when life simpler and not so complex. ” Blue Collar Man ” ( Long Nights ) , ” The Grand Illusion ” and ” Lady ” will live on and on in our memories. The new hits such as ” Gone , Gone , Gone ” and “Radio Silence ” are a beloved update as well to the mega list of hits . If you want a great night to rock out and feel young again get to a Styx show .

Styx live on stage
Styx live on stage

5-Giving Back

The band continually gives back to the community in both musical and financial means . Their history of playing a full concert with the Cleveland Youth Orchestra , showing the kids of today that classic and classic rock can be combined in a fun and exciting way . The  Rock To The Rescue charity  in which fans buy raffle tickets to a signed guitar with the funds  going to a local charity  takes place on most dates of the tour .

Lawrence having fun on stage !
Lawrence having fun on stage !

With all that mind , these are the five reasons Styx are not to be missed . Please don’t forget to listen to our interview with Laurence Gowan in a previous post. Until next time don’t be a ” Renegade ” and get to a show !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2lR2r-FjM8

 

Exclusive Interview -Lawrence Gowan of Styx

One of the best interviews you will ever hear !

In this call in  interview we talk with Lawrence Gowan of Styx . We discuss family ,how they got the name of the ship from “The Mission ” , bands changing members and audicnce reaction , comic books and fan interaction . This is one fun interview so please have a listen and enjoy .

https://youtu.be/W2lR2r-FjM8

 

 

Live Review – Black Label Society-True Metal At It’s Best !

Get Loud, Get Heavy , The Metal Has Arrived

Cleveland , Ohio – The mighty Black Label Society returned to a capacity crowd this week at Cleveland’s House of Blues . The almost intimate venue was the perfect stage for which Zakk Wylde to sonically shake the ear drums of all within those hallowed walls . One of the most respected guitar  players around , along with a band that has to prove their musical chops on a nightly basis . This was metal for the masses . Imagine guitarist Dario Lorina stress as a musician . You are Zakk Wylde’s guitar player , that is one hell of a supervisor as your job .

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BLS

The crowd was packed at the House of Blues with BLS shirts and tattoos everywhere . It was almost cult like but not , these were well versed metal heads ranging from 14 to 60 years of age and they came to rock . Zakk played close to two hours of music and the fans could not get enough ,all 17 songs were ingested like a warm meal with an ice cold beer to wash it down .Some of the fan favorites were ” Heart Of Darkness” ,” In This River ” and ” Fire it Up ”

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Black Label Society is

This is one well oiled metal machine and we highly recommend you check a performance if they are anywhere within your state. Until next time , Rock On !

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