Thursday, August 23, 2012

AMBASSADOR GUN Joins the Prosthetic Records Roster

Congratulations are in order to local grind/thrash band Ambassador Gun, whose signing to Prosthetic Records was announced last week. Their new album is slated for release this Fall. Blabbermouth dutifully copied the official press release verbatim here. With proper backing and some key tours, Ambassador Gun is poised to make a worldwide impact. Here's some pictures from the Dreaming Saturn record release show with The Crinn back on April 24, 2010 at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis (show review is here). Click on either pictures to see more photos of Ambassador Gun (13).

In Concert This Week - August 23, 2012

For once in a long time it seems there’s not an overload of concerts this week, but there’s some good ones!

Tonight, Thursday, August 23, local nü-metal crew Blue Felix plays a free show at Neisen’s in Savage.

It’s been a while since Canada’s Into Eternity has visited, but they are back with new singer Amanda Kiernan (who has replaced Stu Block, now the singer of Iced Earth) at Station 4 in St. Paul on Friday, August 24 with support from locals Cold Colours, Climactic, and Northsky.

Saturday, August 25 is an awesome night of death metal at Station 4 in St. Paul as Canadian heavyweights Kataklysm headline an impressive bill with Origin, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Vital Remains, and Rose Funeral. Origin leveled Station 4 back on May 17 (review with pictures here), so don’t miss then this time!

Click photo to see more pictures of Origin (56).

I’ve never counted the number of times Poison frontman/celebrity Bret Michaels plays solo dates here in a year, but it’s a lot. He’s back again for a solo acoustic show at The Pourhouse in Minneapolis on Sunday, August 26. Bret is performing as part of the Breathe Easy Music Fest II, also featuring the Tim Mahoney Band, Cole Allen Band, Crankshaft And The Gear Grinders, Saving Starz, BKS, and Clifton Wales, which is a benefit event for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. According to a great article in the Stillwater Patch, this festival was originally scheduled for last month outdoors at the home of organizer Rob Olson in Lake Elmo but was cancelled after he mistakenly killed his 40,000 square foot lawn with a grass-killing herbicide! Not only did The Pourhouse offer the venue free of charge for the event, but Scott’s (the lawn care company) offered to restore Olson’s lawn for next summer’s festival and provided the money to book Bret Michaels.

Christian metalcore outfit Mychildren Mybride play an all ages show on Tuesday, August 28 at The Garage in Burnsville with Betrayal, Lions Lions, and Famous Last Words.

If you’re willing to suffer the parking and crowd at the Minnesota State Fair, Kiss and Mötley Crüe have sold-out co-headlining concert at the State Fair Grandstand in St. Paul on Wednesday, August 29. Support will come from England’s The Treatment.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Concert Announcements - August 17, 2012

Christian metalcore band Mychildren Mybride will be playing at The Garage in Burnsville on Tuesday, August 28 with support from Betrayal, Lions Lions, and Famous Last Words. This is an early, all ages show that ends at 9:00.

I originally posted a few weeks back that a second Lagwagon show (with Dead To Me, The Flatliners, and Useless ID) at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis was being added on Wednesday, October 3. It turns out the October 4 show has now been moved to October 3. All tickets purchased for October 4 will be honored on October 3. There’s no word on whether refunds will be given if you can’t attend the new date, so contact the club or ticket outlet about this. This show now starts early at 4:00 pm to accommodate a late show from Local H and Ambassadors at 9:30.

Local metal band Nuisance has lined up a CD release show at G.B. Leighton’s Pickle Park in Fridley on Saturday, October 6. Joining in the festivities are Dead Horse Trauma and Gabrielle And The Apocalypse.

Bizarre grindcore act Iwrestledabearonce bring their show to Station 4 in St. Paul on Wednesday, October 17 with Oceano, Vanna, Within The Ruins, The Plot In You, Surrounded By Monsters, and The Disaster Radius in tow. This is an early, all ages show that ends at 9:30. Tickets go on sale this Monday, August 20 at 8:00 am.

Off!, the punk band featuring former Circle Jerks and Black Flag singer Keith Morris and ex-members of Redd Kross, Burning Brides, and Rocket From The Crypt, are scheduled at Station 4 in St. Paul on Sunday, October 28 with support from The Spits and Double Negative. Tickets go on sale today, Friday, August 17 at 12:00 noon.

Alternative synthrock band The Birthday Massacre plays Station 4 in St. Paul on Tuesday, November 6. Opening the show will be William Control and Aesthetic Perfection.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

In Concert This Week - August 16, 2012

There’s something going on every night this week of all rock/metal styles, so surely there is a show you should get out to see!

Doom metal guitar god Wino brings his acoustic/folk show with Conny Ochs to the Turf Club in St. Paul tonight, Thursday, August 16.

Friday, August 17 has rock band Saving Abel playing in St. Paul at Station 4 with Matchpoint and Aeous.

Of course, Saturday, August 18 is the big day for Knotfest at Somerset Amphitheater. You can read my final update (with set times and live streaming information) about the event here, but the confirmed bill at this time is Slipknot, Deftones, Serj Tankian, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Lamb Of God, Machine Head, Cannibal Corpse, Prong, and Gojira. Also on Saturday, the show for rockers The Classic Crime and Embers In Ashes has been moved from the North Star Room in Mounds View to Station 4 in St. Paul. Saturday as well has classic rock band The Guess Who headlining a benefit show for the Laker Educational Foundation with Patty Peterson and moZiak at Epic in Minneapolis.

It’s a brutal night of metal on Sunday, August 19 at Station 4 in St. Paul with Eyes Set To Kill, My Ticket Home, Awaken The Empire, Brothers Loyalty, and See The Rise. That same night Texas Hippie Coalition will be rocking at The Cabooze in Minneapolis with support from The Lost Wheels.

Things set even more intense at Station 4 in St. Paul on Monday, August 20 with Abolishment Of Flesh, Skinned, Sadistic Passage, What Lies Within, and Fetus Heist.

Station 4 in St. Paul then has an all-local bill on Tuesday, August 21 with Face Of Oblivion, Micawber, Ominous Conception, Australis, and Vessels For Our Ghost.

To wrap up the week’s event, Canadian thrashers Unleash The Archers bring their show to Station 4 in St. Paul on Wednesday, August 22 with local support from the mighty Dawn Of Valor and Eternalize, featuring Pyramaze and Echoterra keyboardist Jonah Weingarten in their first ever full performance.

SHINE (Pre-SPIRIT CARAVAN) - May 18, 1998

Shine – May 18, 1998
Lawrence, Kansas, The Bottleneck
Obsessed By Doom

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any live shows, so here’s a true gem—a full performance of Shine, the band formed by doom guitar legend Scott “Wino” Weinrich (of St. Vitus fame) after the demise of The Obsessed. After only one release in 1997, the Lost Sun Dance (b/w “Courage”) 7” single, trademark issues forced Shine to change their name to Spirit Caravan. Spirit Caravan went on to issue two albums before calling it a day in 2002.

This show was at the end of a short run of dates opening for Clutch. I got to The Bottleneck early to sit down for an interview with Wino, who was extremely gracious and in great spirits. When Shine hit the stage, I was the only person in front of the stage to soak in the power of Wino. How strange was this? Here was Wino performing to a Clutch crowd that was later filled to capacity, and not one person apparently knew that one of the godfathers of doom and stoner metal was in their midst!

During their 47 minutes, Shine proceeded to level The Bottleneck with an 11-song set that featured “Courage” alongside four other songs (“Healing Tongue”, “Cosmic Artifact”, “Melancholy Grey”, and “Powertime”) that later appeared on Spirit Caravan’s 1999 debut album Jug Fulla Sun. A healthy dose of songs from The Obsessed’s last album in 1994, The Church Within, were crushing: “Streetside”, “To Protect And To Serve”, “Streamlined”, and “Skybone”. To close the show, a crushing version of “The Way She Fly” from The Obsessed’s self-titled 1990 debut album was followed by a spirited rendition of The Animals’ classic from 1966, “Inside Looking Out”.

You have here this rare, complete set from Shine. This recording has remained uncirculated until now, and there is only one other complete live recording of Shine that I know to exist. Transferred directly from the original master VHS-C tape, the sound quality is excellent despite some tape hiss. There’s a rip in the audio and change in sound quality near the end of “Streetside”, likely due to a change in the tape speed while recording. The start of “Courage” also has a sonic glitch where a few seconds are sped up, probably an artifact from the digital transfer. These are just minor flaws, and any fan of doom and stoner metal should consider this download mandatory. Yes, I have the video of this performance, but, alas, this will have to wait due to the continued suspension of my YouTube account. The artwork was created using these screenshots from the video. I do have some pictures from the show but have been unable to locate them at this time.

The set list details are below the download link here. Again, please do me a favor and share the link to this post rather than just the download link.

Shine – Obsessed By Doom
May 18, 1998
Lawrence, KS, The Bottleneck
mp3@192 kbps, 65.4 MB, zip file includes artwork

1. Streetside – 3:16
2. Healing Tongue – 2:50
3. To Protect And To Serve – 3:06
4. Streamlined – 2:18
5. Courage – 4:00
6. Cosmic Artifact – 6:27
7. Melancholy Grey – 6:09
8. Powertime – 3:35
9. Skybone – 4:35
10. The Way She Fly – 2:33
11. Inside Looking Out – 8:24
Total time – 47:13

Bonus “Vault” content: A friend was visiting the Washington, DC area in the summer of 1987 and brought back for me this flyer from the infamous Mentors/St. Vitus tour. Adding to the coolness is the Destruction show that would have been on the tour to support Eternal Devastation and the Mad Butcher EP!!

Wino will perform with Conny Ochs tonight, Thursday, August 16 at the Turf Club in St. Paul. Wino then returns with St. Vitus to Minneapolis on Monday, October 1 at the Triple Rock Social Club with support from Weedeater and Sourvein.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

PRONG Album Review

Prong – Carved Into Stone
Long Branch/SPV, April 2012

You have to admire guitarist and vocalist Tommy Victor for the perseverance in keeping Prong alive all these years. It’s hard to believe that around 20 years have passed since game-changing albums such as Beg To Differ, Prove You Wrong, and Rude Awakening breathed life into a metal scene that was being overtaken by grunge, but Tommy still manages to crush skulls with intense riffs and catchy songs. Come on, listen to “Revenge…Best Served Cold” or “Keep On Living In Pain” and you can’t help banging your head to the addictive beats and biting guitar work. 2009’s Power Of The Damager was also a great album, but new bassist Tony Campos (Static-X) and drummer Alexei Rodriguez (3 Inches Of Blood, Walls Of Jericho) seem to have helped Tommy bring Prong up to a new level of song crafting. The drumming of Alexei is especially impressive as you wouldn’t expect his experience in his previous bands to enable him to adapt to the simplistic, rhythmic style frequently employed by Prong. I haven’t gone back and listened to the entire Prong catalog to confirm this, but Carved Into Stone seems to have way more guitar solos, licks, and fills than previous efforts, and this is perhaps the most striking difference from prior albums. Otherwise, Carved Into Stone contains everything you would expect from Prong—predominantly rhythmic, mid-tempo songs with killer riffs and melodies along with fast thrashers such as “List Of Grievances” and “Eternal Heat” as well as some slower numbers like the title track and “Path Of Least Resistance”. In addition to the aforementioned “Revenge…Best Served Cold” and “Keep On Living In Pan”, “Put Myself To Sleep” and “Reinvestigate” are the other standout tracks that raise the overall appeal of the album. The passage of time will tell if Carved Into Stone has the lasting appeal of Prong’s exceptional albums from the 90s, but it is certainly their best effort since Rude Awakening. Start to finish this is a fantastic listen, and an album that every Prong fan should own. Perhaps to highest compliment I can think of is that when listening to Carved Into Stone you know this is Prong. Not many bands have such a unique, difficult-to-imitate sound, and Tommy Victor continues to capture that sound in a way that remains fresh and exciting.

Since Prong is playing this Saturday alongside Slipknot I’ll throw out a little-known tidbit about the two bands. Around 1997 or 1998 before Slipknot was signed, they opened a show for Prong in Des Moines. As told to me from a direct source, Tommy Victor was so impressed with Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison that he tried to hire him on the spot as the drummer for Prong. Joey, of course, stayed with Slipknot but he’s gone on to play live for numerous bands over the years including Rob Zombie.

Prong will perform at Knotfest alongside Slipknot, Deftones, Lamb Of God, Serj Tankian, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Machine Head, Cannibal Corpse, and Gojira on Saturday, August 18 at Somerset Amphitheater in Somerset, Wisconsin.

Final Knotfest Update

Due to the unfortunate situation surrounding the well-publicized incarceration of Lamb Of God singer Randy Blythe in a Czech prison and cancellation of their planned tour with Dethklok and Gojira, there’s been a bit of uncertainty about the final bill for Knotfest this Saturday, August 18 at Somerset Amphitheater in Somerset, Wisconsin. A number of changes have been confirmed, and Randy has also been released from prison (on August 2) and is back in the US. Here’s the latest update on the performers at Knotfest.

The most important news is that Lamb Of God will be making one-off performances at both Knotfest events (the other in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Friday, August 17). They had initially cancelled, but now are back on the bill. With the Lamb Of God/Dethklok/Gojira tour up in flames, Dethklok has cancelled but Gojira will still be there. Taking the place of Dethklok is the mighty Machine Head.

According to a recent story on Blabbermouth, the set times for the final billing in Somerset is:

Main Stage
Slipknot: 10:20–12:00
Deftones: 8:10–9:10
Serj Tankian: 6:10–7:00
The Dillinger Escape Plan: 4:30–5:10 pm

Second Stage
Lamb Of God: 9:15–10:15
Machine Head: 7:05–8:05
Cannibal Corpse: 5:15–6:05
Prong: 3:45–4:25
Gojira: 3:00–3:30

If you can’t attend Knotfest, Event View Live is hosting Slipknot’s performance as an internet streaming pay-per-view event for $19.95. In addition to access to exclusive backstage footage and band interviews, Event View Live is also doing a cool thing by allowing you to stream the concert on demand for 30 days after the event. So even if you can’t (or don’t want to) sit at your computer on Saturday night, or if there are bandwidth issues when streaming live, you can watch the concert at your convenience.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

GOJIRA Album Review

Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
Roadrunner, June 2012

Gojira is the rare French band that’s made any kind of impact on the metal scene. In fact, the only bands from France I can recall off the top of my head are Trust, Treponem Pal, and Dream Child. There’s good reason why Gojira’s profile keeps rising worldwide—they’re one of the most original and inventive bands to emerge within the last few years. Any time a band steps up to a major label from the independents there will always be a nagging dread that the corporate suits will ruin a good thing, but Gojira has stuck to their guns and delivered an album that keeps their trademark sound intact. Imagine dissonant chords, chugging rhythms, and gruff, monotonous vocals all twisted into the musical equivalent of a bulldozer that mows down everything in all directions. Admittedly, this may not sound like a recipe for success, but Gojira manages to always keep it interesting by introducing some fast elements (listen to “Planned Obsolescence”), varying the vocal style a bit, and weaving through intriguing lines, such as the short, bass-led instrumental “The Wild Healer”, the mellow start of “Born In Winter”, and the surf-sounding guitar segment about two-thirds into “Explosia”. Other high points are on the first half of the album, including the title track, “The Axe”, and “Liquid Fire”. At about 50 minutes long, L’Enfant Sauvage is the perfect length to keep the listener interested for the whole ride. For those new to Gojira, the first listen may be a bit confusing, but with a couple more spins you’ll come to appreciate and understand their bizarre, unique style. It remains to be seen whether Gojira will be able to break into more mainstream ranks, but with the right push all of the other pieces are in place. L’Enfant Sauvage firmly places Gojira atop of the current crop of rising metal bands and should propel them to new heights of success.

Gojira will perform at Knotfest alongside Slipknot, Deftones, Lamb Of God, Dethklok, Serj Tankian, Cannibal Corpse, Prong, and The Dillinger Escape Plan on Saturday, August 18 at Somerset Amphitheater in Somerset, Wisconsin.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Concert Announcements - August 13, 2012

There’s been some lineup changes to Knotfest this Saturday, August 18 at Somerset Amphitheater in Somerset, Wisconsin. I’ll have more details about this in a separate post.

Station 4 in St. Paul is hosting a night of local metal with Face Of Oblivion, Micawber, Ominous Conception, Australis, and Vessels For Our Ghost on Wednesday, August 21 for a cheap ($5) all ages show.

Poison frontman Bret Michaels will headline the Breathe Easy Music Fest II with a special solo acoustic show on Sunday, August 26 at The Pourhouse in Minneapolis. This solo is a benefit for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and also features performances from the Tim Mahoney Band, Cole Allen Band, Crankshaft And The Gear Grinders, Saving Starz, BKS, and Clifton Wales.

Hard rock gods Boston return for a show on Saturday, September 1 at Treasure Island in Welch.

Offbeat metalcore band Blessed By A Broken Heart performs with local heroes Write This Down (their new album Lost Weekend is reviewed here) play Station 4 in St. Paul on Saturday, September 8. This is super-early (4:00 doors) all ages show with massive support from Children 18:3, My My Misfire, Rob Mahlum, City Of The Weak, and October Fades To Black.

Fresh off a show last month at the North Star Room, hard rockers 12 Stones play Minneapolis at First Avenue on Wednesday, September 12 with local support from 3 Pill Morning.

Rochester’s own rising metalcore band and Facedown Records recording artist Your Memorial blast into Station 4 in St. Paul for an all ages show on Saturday, September 15 with For All I Am, Erra, With Life In Mind, Revival, In The Line Of Duty, and Couriers.

Faribault Harley-Davidson in Faribault is celebrating their 35th anniversary with performances by Skid Row, L.A. Guns, and Annex on Saturday, September 22, along with a bike show, burnout pit, and other activites.

The original lineup of Taking Back Sunday has reunited, and they’re out on the road to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their seminal Tell All Your Friends album. First Avenue in Minneapolis will be hosting them on Thursday, October 11 with Bayside and Mansions for an all ages show.

John Lydon’s (Sex Pistols) Public Image Limited have released their first album, This Is PiL, in 20 years and are supporting it with a tour that hits Mill City Nights in Minneapolis on Monday, October 22. An old friend of mine had recorded a PiL show at First Avenue back in the late 80s, and I remember it being a really cool show.

Old school Canadian punk band Propagandhi are back on tour, and play the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis on Wednesday, November 7 with Off With Their Heads and The Menzingers.

Electronic/industrial act Assemblage 23 plays Ground Zero in Minneapolis on Thursday, November 8 with Espermachine and Thought Thieves.

Pierce The Veil plays on all ages show on Saturday, November 10 at The Cabooze in Minneapolis with Sleeping With Sirens, Tonight Alive, and Hands Like Houses.

The AP-sponsored tour of metal band Miss May I lands at Station 4 in St. Paul on Thursday, November 15. Support for this all ages show will come from The Ghost Inside, Like Moths To Flames, The Amity Affliction, Glass Cloud, Peter Says Denim.

Finally, the Savatage-led Trans-Siberian Orchestra brings their annual Christmas extravaganza to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul for two shows (3:00 and 8:00) on Saturday, December 29 to perform The Lost Christmas Eve for the first time. Ticket information has not yet been released.

TERATISM - Tonight!!

Yes, things have been a little quiet here but I'm back from a brief, self-imposed hiatus due to a family emergency. I'll have a post to get you up to date on the most recent concert announcements here in the Twin Cities area, to be followed by a backlog of album reviews, concert reviews, pictures, and some download goodies.

If you're a black metal fan, get down to the 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis tonight for a rare performance from our own mysterious Teratism. The band has been active for over a decade now, and recently released a split single with Morbus 666. Tickets are only $6 at the door, and Burning Bethlehem and Masshu will provide support.