Eagles of Death Metal 8/4/17


It had been almost two years since the last time I saw Eagles of Death Metal when I saw them at Aftershock. The Del Mar horse races have “4 O’Clock Fridays” during the regular race season which includes a free concert after the last race. I usually only go to the races once a year and strategically plan to go when a cool band is playing. This was that occasion.

Larry was actually down to go this time (he bailed on Ministry) so I met him for a couple beers at a stuffy place not meant for lowlifes like ourselves called Red Tracton’s before we headed across the street into the races. I planned on meeting up with Dee, who I had not seen in several months, once inside and ironically right after we came in as I was texting him saw his good buddies Jesse and Julian walking by as I was waiting for Larry to relieve himself. It turns out they were looking for him too and we met up with him just around the corner. After a couple beers and many laughs we made our way toward the stage.

Once we got there I was in shock. The place was empty! I had seen several concerts here and all of them were packed – except this one. I would venture to say that it was about 1/3 capacity. Maybe the band’s name scared people away but I would say they lean way more towards the Eagles than death metal. Their loss. The band was still touring for the now almost two-year-old Zipper Down album and it was on from the start as Jesse “Boots Electric” Hughes took the stage by riding a motorcycle across it. From there the band set the tone by launching into “I Only Want You.” I knew the universe was with us when we got away with smoking a joint despite security guards walking by every five minutes. Boots made a point of this being the only time he played a horse track and said he had lots of family there at the show. He also made a point of saying guitarist Dave Catching’s name a dozen plus times. Dave is all ZZ Top beard, no face and killed it on his Flying V, especially on a fantastic cover of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream.” Maybe it was the pot but I had not noticed how good of a guitar player Boots was until this time seeing him. The female pigtailed bass player that Dee had a crush on and the drummer held down the rhythm section quite well also. I really wanted to hear “Cherry Cola” and the band obliged. One other memorable moment was when they started playing “Save a Prayer.” I could not figure out why everyone except for me was singing along with this song yet I somehow felt like I knew it. Then I said, “Is this Duran Duran?” to which I was greeted with a look I can only describe as “DUH!” (Full Disclaimer: I do not actually own Zipper Down and apparently have been living under a rock for the last two years.) Overall they crushed it. No Homme on drums and Boots did not really hit the high notes but crushed it. The exit in a King’s robe was a nice touch as well.

SETLIST: I Only Want You, Don’t Speak (I Came to Make a Bang!), Complexity, Save A Prayer, Whorehoppin’ (Shit, Goddamn), Silverlake (K.S.O.F.M.), Cherry Cola, The Reverend, I Like to Move in the Night, Secret Plans, Flames Go Higher, Wannabe in L.A., Heart On/I Love You All The Time, Moonage Daydream, I Want You So Hard (Boy’s Bad News), Speaking In Tongues


Kaaboo 9/17/16


Kaaboo is billed as an arts and entertainment “mix-perience” that combines art, bands and comedians rather than just a music festival. It is a 3-day festival held at the Del Mar racetrack/fairgrounds and this was its second year. I think organizers set out to have the event be an upscale Coachella with gourmet food options and craft beer. Single day passes were $119 and for that you get a fancy wristband that is sent to you in an even fancier custom box. Saturday was the only day I was interested in going because Lenny Kravitz was playing and he was one of the few musicians I wanted to see that I had not yet seen. As a bonus Aerosmith was also playing and I had not seen them for 15 years.

Ingrid and I, Ingrid’s 2 friends Emma and Jenna, Larry and his 2 Swedish friends all met at Calvin and his wife Jane’s place for a little pre-party since they are about a 10-15 minute walk from the fairgrounds. We then met up with Kyle and his friend who I had never met (cannot remember her name) at the venue. The first band Ingrid wanted to see was the Gin Blossoms so we left just in time to catch the last half of their set. Not really my cup of tea but I was amazed at how good the singer’s voice still sounded. After this I wanted to see what The Struts were all about just because the lead singer looks a little like Freddy Mercury but they were playing at the stage farthest from where we already were and majority won so I ended up staying at the stage we were at to see Flo Rida. This was REALLY not my cup of tea but it was entertaining and I somehow actually recognized almost all the songs he played. I remember thinking this was kind of like a hip-hop version of Slipknot in the sense that he had so many damn people on stage at the same time. After this we made our way over to see the end of Third Eye Blind (meh). The next band up I had half an interest in was Collective Soul because I like their songs “Gel” and “The World I Know.” Watching them was short lived since Lenny Kravitz was set to take another stage before Collective Soul was to leave this stage so I did not get to see them perform either song.

After much ado out came Lenny. At this point I may or may not have had a few drags off an e-cigarette filled with something other than tobacco concentrate…but I swear Lenny Kravitz only played about 6 songs during his hour and a half set. Alright I’m exaggerating but there were several times/songs where there was a lot of extended jamming going on. I guess I am just more a fan of the super tight set during the limited time on stage with festivals so more songs can be fit in, especially when you have a catalog as large as Lenny’s. Highlights for me were “Believe” and “Are You Gonna Go My Way.” Slowly but surely every person I was with left me until I was finally by myself watching Lenny. Ingrid and Emma were the last to leave to catch a little of the Goo Goo Dolls (meh). There was about 45 minutes after Lenny finished before Aerosmith would be performing on the same stage. I went to get a beer and then got a message that Ingrid wanted to meet back up with me to see a little of Aerosmith before going to see The Chainsmokers, who were playing on another stage at the exact same time as Aerosmith. I have to give it up for those old fuckers. They rocked! Their choice of songs spanned their 4+ decade career so there was a little something for everyone from the casual to more hardcore fan. They sounded great but should fire their sound guy. He kept turning down Steven Tyler’s vocals and Joe Perry’s guitar at different points where they should have been soaring. Some of my favorite moments were when they played “Love in an Elevator,” “Rag Doll,” Walk This Way,” and “Sweet Emotion” although it was pretty badass when they rolled a grand piano out on the stage for a performance of “Dream On” that brought down the house.

Aerosmith finished up promptly at 9:55 pm. There is a 10 pm noise curfew in effect due to the whiny ass snobs that live nearby… even though it was a Saturday night…even though the closest residences are not that close at all. Due to said noise curfew every performance after 10 pm was moved into one of the indoor buildings on the property. Just one problem: these 2 venues housing performances of Ludacris and Sarah Silverman respectively could only handle a small percentage of concertgoers in attendance, leaving a large number of attendees (myself included) unable to watch any of the remaining performances. This combined with extremely poor organization caused quite a chaotic scene outside of the venue where Ludacris was to perform. People were packed like sardines trying to force their way in and eventually about 9 police vehicles had to storm in to break up the madness. Everyone I had come with was able to get in but me and they were my ride so I decided to just start drinking heavily…on $12 beer night! Not long after I grabbed a beer I ran into another friend I had yet to see that day and we decided to walk down the street to the Hilton that has a lobby bar to get a little better deal. After about an hour of drinking there I got a text that I could walk right into where everyone else was, where Steve Aoki was now DJing. So I walked back and after some minor resistance from the guys manning the entrance I got in, found everyone and saw the end of Steve Aoki’s set.

San Diego Union Tribune Article

OC Weekly Article