Prophets of Rage 10/15/16

prophets

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

Marilyn Manson/Slipknot 8/17/16

Scan

This show was originally supposed to be on June 15th but it was rescheduled to August 17th due to Corey Taylor recovering from surgery on his broken neck. Due to the rescheduling I went from going with potentially 4 or 5 other people to going by myself. Not the first time I’ve went to a concert by myself and I’m sure it will not be the last. Sure it is way cooler to go with people that you know and share an awesome moment together but when the band hits the stage I’m on another planet regardless of who if anyone is around me. Of Mice & Men opened the show but I was really going to see Marilyn Manson and Slipknot, even though I had just seen the 2 bands on the same bill at Aftershock back in October. I ended up arriving about 10 minutes prior to Marilyn Manson going on.

Due to multiple reasons I had not only a rare solo concert outing but also a rare sober concert outing. No beer, no green stuff. It was fitting that the moon was full on this particular night. The lawn was sparsely populated and the entire 3rd Level Seating Section just below was virtually empty. Even so, because the show was not general admission no specific seat ticket = no seat.

Marilyn Manson came out with a furious version of “Angel With The Scabbed Wings.” I love that song. Marilyn Manson’s stage was relatively stripped down with essentially just a fixed backdrop and a lit up stained glass window sort of thing on both sides of the stage. This was the first time I have ever seen Marilyn Manson with 2 guitarists. It sounded great but still not as great as when John5 was guitarist (I am still bummed he left the band but am happy that I still get to watch him when I see Rob Zombie live). This set had its moments but it was not one of those fierce sets that I have been lucky enough to witness a few times. There was a comical moment where some of the ladies in the crowd threw bras on the stage to Twiggy, which he proudly hung from his mic stand.

About halfway through their set I did notice something that would change the course of my evening. There is a wide walkway that separates the lawn and the 300 section. To enter the 300 section you must present your ticket stub to the security guard manning the stairway. What I witnessed was a drunk guy going halfway between the nearest 2 guards and jumping over the rail to get into the section. He got away with it and I thought it was genius so after thinking it over for a minute and rationalizing it by telling myself the worst that could happen is getting kicked out and robbed of seeing a few bands I have seen many times before I stole his move. The upside outweighed the downside. So right after the band started playing “Sweet Dreams” I made my way down to the walkway and after a quick look around to make sure no security was near (you can see them coming a mile away in their bright red t-shirts) I was up and over in a flash and went down to the front of the section and grabbed a seat. It probably helped that I was wearing a black t-shirt and jeans (a trick I learned from unsuccessfully trying to sneak into Soma wearing a bright white t-shirt). “Hey a guy just jumped over! He has brown hair and was wearing a black shirt and jeans.” Gee thanks guy you just described nearly everyone here…I digress. Marilyn Manson is always awesome but it was a little weird seeing them open for someone. I’ve seen them on festivals where they were not the headliner but this was different. Different but still awesome. Marilyn did his stilt-walking during “Sweet Dreams,” they played “Coma White” which I have only seen them play one other time and they played a ferocious version of “Antichrist Superstar.”

When Slipknot came out they quickly made me realize why Marilyn Manson was the opener. Slipknot is so goddamn loud and full of frenetic energy that you cannot help but go as nuts as the NINE dudes on stage. After “Be Prepared for Hell” played through the speakers the band hit the stage for an absolutely intense version of “The Negative One.” Hell of an entrance and they never let up the relentlessness of their attack the entire time. Corey Taylor is a great salesman. He is always telling the crowd how much they are appreciated. You cannot help but like a guy that keeps telling you how much he likes you. “Eyeless” was fantastic, “Killpop” lost some of its mysterious power and “Psychosocial” was played way faster than on the album. “Left Behind” was also another personal favorite. This band has come back in a HUGE way with the newest album and like they used to say in McDonald’s commercials “I’m lovin’ it.”

MARILYN MANSON SETLIST: “Angel With The Scabbed Wings,” “Disposable Teens,” “No Reflection,” “mOBSCENE,” “ Cupid Carries A Gun,” “Irresponsible Hate Anthem,” “The Dope Show,” “Sweet Dreams,” Antichrist Superstar,” “Coma White,” “The Beautiful People”

SLIPKNOT SETLIST: “The Negative One,” “ Disasterpiece,” “ Eyeless,” “Skeptic,” “Before I Forget,” “Killpop,” “Dead Memories,” “The Heretic Anthem,” “Psychosocial,” “Pulse of the Maggots,” “Left Behind,” “The Devil In I,” “Wait and Bleed,” “(sic),” “Surfacing,” “Duality,” “Spit It Out”

P.S…As evidenced by the video I saw, apparently  after he performed Marilyn Manson found a karaoke bar in downtown San Diego and sang “I’m 18” by Alice Cooper and “Holy Grail” by Jay Z. Lucky bastards in that bar. Watch Here

 

Foo Fighters 9/24/15

Foo Fighters 15

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

Def Leppard 15

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.