Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Night Under the Streetlight

The night was Friday, Oct. 26th at the Plaza Live theater in Orlando. The mid size venue had no idea of what lay before it on that particular night as the Ska-Punk band Streetlight Manifesto was set to headline the concert of three bands for the night. The bands playing that night was The Chicharones, Lionize, and Streetlight Manifesto as the headlining act.

The first band that took the stage that night was a group that goes by The Chicharones. The band suffered from an absolutely horrible sound coming from the sound system, but nevertheless, still managed to put on a good show. This group was very confusing to begin with, but a few songs into their set turned out to be fairly entertaining, and interesting group. The band had the crowd fairly won over by the end of their set from their mix of rap and Hispanic influenced form of music, and energetic stage show. The most entertaining quality about the band was their pig mask wearing DJ running around like an absolute maniac on stage. In the end, even through the atrocious sound they had to play though, The Chicharones played an entertaining set and won over a few new fans.

The second band of the night was the reggae/rock group Lionize. To put a long story short, these guys were absolutely incredible. With their reggae based sound and hint of Clutch influence sprinkled in there, they were truly an amazing band. The singer had guitar chops to make even though most accomplished riff-master shake in his boots, and vocals that had more soul than a church choir on Easter Sunday. The keyboardist/organist had a sound that would impress Ray Manzarek of The Doors. The bassist and drummer both had the rhythm section nailed down absolutely solid, and gave them the rich sound to blow the roof off of the theater clean off. By the end of their roughly 45 minute set, I am sure their wasn't a single person in the crowd that wasn't Lionized by the band and their incredible music.

The last band of the night, and the one the vast majority of the crowd came to see, Streetlight Manifesto. The band took the stage to an uproarious applause, and commenced to whip the crowd into an absolute frenzy for their almost two hour set. Not a person within the first thirty five feet of the stage was standing still, and those who tried to were quickly thrown around by the intense mosh pits. Audience members were flying every which direction from the constant crowdsurfing, and moshing. Truly a time of joyous anarchy and insanity. Onto the band itself: they played incredibly! With their mix of Jazz, Ska, and Punk Rock, they truly put on an amazing show of musicianship. Not a single person in the crowd left without a smile on their face, and a ringing in their ears from the intense volume of the show.

That night was truly an interesting mix of live music, from Hispanic Rap, to Reggae influenced Rock, to absolute Ska-Punk insanity. I beyond recommend going to see any and all of the bands that performed that night! Whatever price you may pay for your ticket, will be worth every penny!

- Taylor Sandefur

Monday, October 22, 2012

Cosmic Music on the Florida Coast

The night was Saturday Oct. 20th at the tiny Capitol Theater in Clearwater Florida. The band playing was the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, solo project for front man Chris Robinson of the legendary Black Crowes. The venue held approximately five hundred people, with very few of those seats left empty for their concert.

Starting out their 3-hr concert consisting of two sets and an encore was the song Try Rock N' Roll. The band played this song absolutely incredibly, yet the crowd was still very uptight and unwilling to get up out of their seats for the band. At the end of the song though, Chris walked up to the mic and sand "Ya know, man. I don't know the customs of different parts of this land, but from we're from it's o.k. to get up and dance, man!" This statement alone had the entire crowd up onto their feet and dancing for the song Tomorrow Blues. That song being one of my absolute favorite songs by them, had me up on my feet and singing along with every word of the song, and dancing to every note of the music. The band played the songs Meanwhile In The Gods..., Crash on the Levee, Reflections on a Broken Mirror, and Star or Stone to absolute perfection, with every note played with soul and passion that no other group can match. After that round of amazing tunes it was time for one of the highlight songs of the night in the masterpiece that is Vibration and Light Suite off of their album The Magic Door. They turned the already thirteen minute masterpiece into a twenty five minute psychedelic freakout jam session with keyboard solos, guitar solos, and other cosmic goodies oozing out of the speakers faster than the speed of light.

The second set of the night was equally as ethereal and magical as the first set. Chris Robinson and company opened the second set with the song Sat. Night in Clearwater Fl. I am not one hundred percent sure as to whether or not they wrote the song specifically for this concert or not, but seeing that on the set list made it just a little bit more special for just having the thought that it was a possibility. The next standout track on this night of absolute perfection was Never Been to Spain. The band played this song with such power, and Chris sang this song with so much soul, that it will be forever burned into the fibers of my being, and into the deepest caverns of my mind. The Brotherhood then went on and played the songs Sunday Sound, Appaloosa, West L.A. Fadeaway, Ride, and their classic song Rosalee.

Finishing the night off with the songs Tumbleweed in Eden, and Hello L.A. Bye Bye Birmingham, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood ended their night of cosmic "California Head Music" on a definite "high" note. This concert was truly the best concert I have been to in my entire life, beating out bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd (Not the original lineup sadly), ZZ Top, Slayer, and the Dropkick Murphys. If the Chris Robinson Brotherhood keeps up with the amazing music they play, I would personally have no problem if the Black Crowes never return from hiatus. In short though, if you ever get the chance to go see this band, I beyond recommend that you go see them. You will not be disappointed!

Complete Setlist for the night. From the Chris Robinson Brotherhood Facebook page

Chris Robinson Brotherhood
20 October 2012
Capitol Theatre
Clearwater, FL [USA]

- Set One -

- Set Two -
- encore -

- Taylor Sandefur

A Lesson In Ultra-Violence You Won't Soon Forget

Starting of my concert review blog with one of my most recent concerts that I attended, and that is Death Angel on their 25th anniversary of their seminal debut album "The Ultra Violence". The concert was held at a very tiny club named The Social in downtown Orlando on Sunday Oct. 14th. The lineup for this all-in-all fantastic concert was Potential Threat, Wretched, Bonded by Blood, Threat Signal, and the almighty Death Angel.

Starting of this night of hit-and-miss bands on the 5 band lineup for the night was a thrash band by the name of Potential Threat. Potential Threat is a very little known thrash metal band from the San Francisco bay area, and their obscurity showed from their place on the bill as the doors opened at 6pm, and they were on stage at 6:05 playing to maybe 15 people by the end of their roughly 20 minute set. The band themselves were absolutely incredible, treating the very minuscule crowd to a mix of early Metallica, and Slayer style thrash metal that had myself and my friend throwing the horns and headbanging for their entire set.

The second band that played that night fell into the miss category of the hit-and-miss night of metal. The band  I am speaking of is Wretched, and their name was a perfect description of the absolutely awful Technical Death Metal/Deathcore that they played. The stereotypical Cookie Monster style vocals, with down-tuned guitars, and blast beat style drumming was truly a test for my headbanger ears to endure for their roughly forty five minute long set.

After the absolutely Wretched band that played before (yes, the pun was intended), the saving grace that was Bonded by Blood took the stage, and set the night back onto the hit path of the spectrum. The band played absolutely fantastically, guitar solos flying frantically out of the amplifiers, wailing vocals that could shatter glass from one hundred yards away, and a rhythm section that truly tests the durability of a buildings foundation. The band played an amazing set of early Megadeth style thrash that had the crowd whipped into a moshing frenzy in no time at all. The only downfall of their otherwise perfect show, was the extremely short set time of roughly 25 minutes. Bonded by Blood was absolutely amazing, and the next time they return to the Orlando area, I will surely be at the gig.

The band that followed Bonded by Blood was a Melodic Death Metal band by the name of Threat Signal. Similar in style to Wretched that played early in the night, Threat Signal also had a very cookie monster style vocals that was very heavy during the verse of the songs, but went to a lighter and very much safer tone during the choruses. All-in-all, Threat Signal was a very disappointing act to have as direct support for a band as Death Angel. That honor should have belonged to Bonded by Blood, as you can actually hear the influence that Death Angel had upon their style of thrash instead of the very modern and generic style of metal that Threat Signal played.

After the horrible let down that Threat Signal was, it was finally time for the headlining band of the night, Death Angel. Playing their legendary debut album The Ultra-Violence front to back, they treated the entire crowd of roughly 150 at that point to a brutal hour and a half set of pure headbanging thrash metal that will never be forgotten by anybody in attendance that night. The band opened their set with the song Thrashers that had turned the stillness of the changeover, into nothing but a wall of headbanging maniacs slamming their heads against the stage, and running into each other in the pits in no time at all. The songs Evil Priest, Voracious Souls, and Kill as One all had the same effect upon the crowd as Thrashers. After those few songs, it was time for the 10 minute instrumental thrash opus that is the title track of the album, The Ultra-Violence. The song with its incredible guitar solos, drum patterns, and bass lines had the entire crowd in headbanging unity for the entire length of the song. Finishing their set with the rest of The Ultra-Violence album, and a 3 song encore, Death Angel closed their set with a screaming crowd, and horns held high into the air.

Truly a sight to be seen the concert was, with Death Angel being nothing short of legendary. Although 2 out of the 5 bands playing that night did not fit the thrash vibe that was the concert, Potential Threat, Bonded by Blood and Death Angel redeemed their failures with absolute flying colors. Bad bands behind, this concert was a lesson in Ultra-Violence nobody will soon ever forget.

- Taylor Sandefur