Stone Sour/Korn 6/20/17

KSSticket

Back down to the amphitheater in Chula Vista that I had been to only four days prior. It was a smaller turnout of just Bob and I this time and smaller turnout in general as the whole lawn section had been closed off. This meant a free upgrade for us into the 300 level but probably some bitterness for the people that actually paid a little more for 300 level seats. We promptly found our way down to the front of the section dead center which was essentially the same view as the back of the 200 level. Score!

Stone Sour is one of my favorite bands but I am still sour about the departure of Jim Root. This appearance was for the new album Hydrograd that is set to drop on June 30th and is the first album without Root. Coincidentally or not the three songs from the new album they have already “released” and ended up playing tonight are not my favorite Stone Sour songs. The last time I saw Stone Sour over three years ago was the first time I saw them with Root’s replacement Christian Martucci and the songs just did not quite feel the same. Christian’s virtuosity cannot go unappreciated because he played all the old stuff note for note but again the songs just had a slightly different feel. I think part of it was also Corey Taylor who seemed to be doing the lazy thing of just not singing certain parts and kept doing this weird thing with his voice during screaming parts. To be fair maybe he was just trying to preserve his voice. Overall they still rocked and sounded tighter this time. The highlight for me was “Absolute Zero” which killed. Hopefully the other songs on the new album will make me feel like a big fat fuckface for some of the words I have just written…

SETLIST: Taipei Person/Allah Tea, Made of Scars, Say You’ll Haunt Me, 30/30-150, Tired, Do Me a Favor, Song #3, Through Glass, Absolute Zero, Fabuless

Stone Sour sounded good, Korn sounded GREAT. I am talking strictly on a sound quality level and feel bad for the opening bands because I am convinced this amphitheater dials everything back if you are not the headliner. It was going to be pretty hard for Korn to top the last time I saw them at Epicenter in 2015 when they played the entire first album, but I am not one to miss an opportunity to see my favorite bands when given the chance. Korn was touring for their 12th album The Serenity of Suffering that was released 10/21/16 but I somehow just learned about. Save for three songs off this album everything they played was from the first six albums. Head and Munky kept doing these badass call and response type things between songs that make them the best guitar duo in the biz. “Here to Stay” was as heavy as ever, “Somebody Someone” sounded thicker than the album version, Jonathan’s scat on “Twist” gave me flashbacks of the first time I had ever heard “Ball Tongue,” and “4U” was beautiful in every way. The visuals being projected onto a couple walls of white amps was a nice touch too.

SETLIST: Rotting in Vain, Falling Away From Me, Here to Stay, Did My Time, Somebody Someone, Clown, Black Is the Soul, Shoots and Ladders, Twist, Got the Life, Coming Undone, Insane, Make Me Bad, Y’All Want a Single, 4U, Blind, It’s On!, Freak on a Leash

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Prophets of Rage 10/15/16

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It seems I am destined to see Rage Against the Machine every 10 years in one form or another. I was lucky enough to see them at the Gorge in 1997 before they broke up the first time, in San Francisco in 2007 during a short-lived reunion/one-off show and now as Prophets of Rage with the instrumental core intact plus B-Real from Cypress Hill and Chuck D from Public Enemy filling in on vocal duties for Zack de la Rocha. Essentially this was as close as I was going to get to see Rage again for the foreseeable future so Bob and me got a ticket. This was one of those shows that tickets went on sale for way in advance of the show so by the time the show came around Bob had to bow out. Since most of the people that are down to go to concerts with me no longer live in San Diego, finding someone to take the vacant ticket presented more of a challenge than I originally anticipated even though the original date was changed from Sunday to Saturday night. After much effort I ended up convincing my beautiful not-so-into-metal wife to go with me because AWOLNATION was opening and I agreed to drive so she could drink.

After drinking premade Costco margaritas (deceptively strong) in the parking lot we started to hear a band playing inside the amphitheater. It was a band named Wakrat and as we made our way to our seat I realized that this 3-piece band was being led on vocals and bass by none other than the bass player from Rage, Tim Commerford. I also quickly realized that the entire lawn section of the amphitheater had been completely closed due to low attendance, which I have never seen before. It was cool for anyone that bought a lawn ticket because they were upgraded to the 300 level for free. It was not cool for us since we basically overpaid for the 300 level seats we already had. The highlight of Wakrat was during the finale when Tim Commerford dove into drums and wrestled with the drummer.

Next up was AWOLNATION. I am a casual fan that had never seen them but this was especially cool since I learned the drummer was Isaac Carpenter, who I went to high school with back in the Tri-Cities. He was a year younger but still to this day was one of the best guitar players I ever saw at the ripe age of about 15 shredding with Oil Can Boy before he turned drummer for Loudermilk/Gosling.

After a short intermission DJ Lord came onto the stage by himself and worked his way through about a 15 minute mashup of several popular songs before the rest of Prophets came on. B-Real was dressed up like a sheik with sunglasses and the band ripped into Public Enemy’s “Prophets of Rage.” All in all it was kind of like seeing 3 bands at once with the set being fairly balanced between songs from Public Enemy, Cypress Hill and Rage Against the Machine. I was impressed with how well the dual vocals worked on the Rage songs in place of Zack. “(Rock) Superstar” was killer with the instrumentation of Rage backing it up. Since this was the last stop of the tour they also had a surprise up their sleeve: they brought out Sen Dog for 2 Cypress Hill songs! At one point the members of Rage left Chuck D, B-Real and DJ Lord to do a mashup of Cypress Hill and Public Enemy songs before the “rock” came back to kick our asses back where they came from with songs like “Bullet in the Head” and “Killing in the Name.” Good shit.

SETLIST: DJ Lord Intro, Prophets of Rage, Guerilla Radio, Cochise/She Watch Channel Zero, Bombtrack, Miuzi Weighs a Ton, (Rock) Superstar, Know Your Enemy, Bombtrack, How I Could Just Kill a Man, Testify, Sleep Now in the Fire, Bullet in the Head, Cypress Hill/Public Enemy Mashup: By the Time I Get to Arizona/Hand on the Pump/Can’t Truss It/Insane in the Brain/Bring the Noise/I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That/Welcome to the Terrordome/Jump Around, Take the Power Back, People of the Sun, No Sleep Til Brooklyn/Fight the Power/The Party’s Over, Bulls on Parade, Killing in the Name

Foo Fighters 9/24/15

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Dave Grohl is the shit but you already knew that or you probably wouldn’t have clicked on this post. I already figured I would end up going to this show but did not know all the details until the last minute. After buying tickets for 4 and having one person bail I ended up going with Jason who literally got into town just a few hours before the show and Tom. We got into the venue as Gary Clark Jr. was finishing up. He rips it up on guitar but I was a little disappointed because Royal Blood had opened up for the Foo most other dates of the tour.

Foo Fighters were on tour for the Sonic Highways album/show (both excellent) but the big news was that Dave had broken his leg about 3 months prior to this during one of their concerts in Sweden. He is so badass that he came back onto the stage about an hour after he broke his leg to finish the concert. Apparently when he was getting his leg fixed up at the hospital and doped up on OxyContin he concocted a “throne” that would allow the Foo Fighters to continue on with the tour. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/watch-the-throne-dave-grohl-on-how-the-foos-saved-their-summer-20150730

Let me just say that I have never seen someone sitting down rock so hard. Dave always has a lot of energy and not an ounce of that was lost just because he was confined to sitting. They got “Everlong” out of the way right away to start the show and from that point on it was pure rock and roll that seamlessly transitioned from their hit songs to silly banter to cover songs and back again. Most of the other times I have seen them they have done a medley of just the beginnings of cover songs and then a full version of another. The full cover this time was “Under Pressure” by Queen/David Bowie. Phenomenal. Another  fun part of the show was when Dave invited a guy onstage that was dancing his ass off out in the crowd. He went by the name “Happy Feet Steve” and continued to dance his ass off onstage while the band played “Arlandria.” As a fan of all of their music I am always left wanting more of the lesser known deep cut hidden gems but these guys always play at least a solid 2 hours so I really have nothing to bitch about. I left the venue that night far from disappointed.

 

 

Def Leppard 9/22/15

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Before Nirvana came along there were exactly 4 bands that existed in my world: Guns N’ Roses, Motley Crue, Poison and Def Leppard. In fact the first album I ever received as a gift was Def Leppard’s Hysteria for Christmas right about the time I was in 5th grade. Despite this and all the concerts I have seen I somehow never got around to seeing Def Leppard. They usually come around every few years as a package deal with other aging rock bands and this time was no exception. How many more opportunities would I get to see them? I decided not to chance it and go it alone. I could not find any willing friend to accompany me partially because it was a weeknight and partially because I suspect most of my friends do not really give a damn about Def Leppard (they are hard enough to convince to go to more current shows). As a bonus I would get to see Styx.

Tesla is not a band I have ever really cared for. I do like their song “Love Song” but other than that I could not even name another of their songs. I was walking into the venue when they were playing “Love Song” and let’s just say it did not have quite the same warmth as the version that benefitted from studio magic.

Styx on the other hand was fantastic. This is a band that had always been in my subconscious because my dad listened to them. I just never realized I actually knew and liked many of their songs until one day I finally figured out who sang “Too Much Time On My Hands” and bought their Greatest Hits compilation. They rocked through a few of my personal favorites “Blue Collared Man” and “Miss America” with precision and energy. They also nailed “The Grand Illusion,” “Renegade,” and “Come Sail Away” but disappointingly left out “Mr. Roboto.” What I can tell you is Lawrence Gowan had an amazing voice and I never liked the song “Lady” as much as that night because he was singing his ass off and the band made it rock a little more than usual.

Def Leppard was touring for their soon-to-be released self titled album but to be honest I could have cared less. I love most of Def Leppard’s first 4 albums but after Nirvana opened up the musical floodgates for me I was too busy consuming new music to care about them any longer. My favorite moments were them playing “Foolin’,” “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak,” “Rock Of Ages” and “Photograph.” The band also did a great version of David Essex’s “Rock On.” Overall I was a little disappointed with Def Leppard. Whoever their sound guy was kept messing with Joe Elliot’s vocals to the point where it became distracting to me. I don’t know if he was trying to mask the difficulties he was having hitting the high notes or what. I’ll forgive Joe Elliot because when I was in 5th grade loving this band I wanted his mullet and he came out and played “Two Steps Behind” by himself. I don’t really care for that song but he did great and I did not even realize he could play guitar. The drummer Rick Allen continues to be a savage drummer despite having only one arm and guitarist Phil Collen (not to be confused with Phil Collins) looked decades younger than he is and tore it up. All in all I am glad I got to witness Def Leppard but the night belonged to Styx.