Some Def Leppard pix from the Fair. Photos by Michael W. Stout.
Devin Townsend Review:
Wow. And to think car troubles almost kept me from this show! Luckily, I had a little honey to drive my butt up there, because it was one badass show, the best I’ve seen at The Hill in a long time! It was a better crowd than I expected, and, boy, were they ever dedicated to Devin Townsend! Why shouldn’t they be? The former singer/songwriter/guitarist for Strapping Young Lad is a full-fledged musical genius of Mozart, Beethoven and Bach caliber.
I had band practice, so I arrived a little late, during Germany’s Obscura. I’m glad I left from practice a bit early, because I almost missed this wicked death metal band. Steffen Kummerer is a talented individual, and I really enjoyed watching him play intricate guitar riffs and sing/growl at the same time. As far as death metal goes, it don’t get much better. Steffen’s voice is mean and demented, and yet it’s not so much cookie monster somehow. He hits notes that are hard to hit, and his vocals are pleasant to hear, and not grating, like a lot of death metal bands are. With a killer effects rack behind his voice, he sounded like a very pissed-off demi-god. His guitar was wicked looking, too, an evil black 7-string custom guitar with white binding. Obscura’s guitars were chunky and rockin, with some killer, classically styled solos by a little German version of Randy Rhoads. Dude was so tiny, you could have put him in your pocket. He was a shredder, though! He was turned down too much during the set, though. There’s nothing worse than not being able to hear awesome soloing going on. The rest of the band was killer as well. Two thumbs up for Obscura! And here I thought I had seen it all in death metal, then along comes some fresh new foreign music that gets the blood pumping. I felt alive watching Obscura.
After watching Devin’s whole set, one is usually in awe. His unreal voice, his shredding guitar riffs, the computer programming that he does, the variety of musical direction in which he weaves in and out of during one set, dude is a friggin genius. Devin ripped the head off of Phoenix Hill Tavern this night, and I am so glad I was able to see it go down. What a show! Devin is the coolest, funniest, most entertaining MF I’ve ever seen in concert. If he isn’t shredding or singing killer stuff, he is making you laugh nonstop. If his voice ever went bad, or he lost a hand, Devin could make a killing being a comedian, I bet.
Devin took the crowd through a whirlwind roller coaster of musical emotion moving from one extreme to another. Some songs were trippy, some were great sex songs, some were heavy as sh*t, and some were downright weird. Weird or not, it was good stuff.
Devin was all over the Phoenix Hill’s saloon, moving one place to another, in the cage, by the bar, in the crowd, in the toilet (Thank god for wireless guitar packs eh?). It didn’t matter, the crowd ate it up like candy and wanted more. Devin had all his vocal and guitar effects programmed perfectly. He knows exactly what effects he wants to hear at any given time. He don’t like guessing, so he does all the sounds himself. I didn’t even see an amp, unless it was hidden somewhere back behind the stage. Devin always has a killer guitar tone when ever he plays, so I knew he would not have a chump setup. Everyone expects thick heavy guitars with melodic solos with Devin.
No, I think maybe Devin just plugged into some wicked sound program of some kind and started wailing, knowing full well what his sound will be, effects and all. It was very impressive. I’ve never seen a setup like that before. The effects he uses on this program are crystal clear and sound frikkin amazing. Devin is a musical whiz in the studio, but of course, everyone knows that. With the killer effects and Devin’s giant voice combined, the result is awe inspiring and most memorable! The high notes that Devin can hit are right up there with Rob Halford and Warrel Dane. Not many vocalists have that gift these days. The funny thing is, Devin gets equally aggressive with his lower, growly vocals too, when he does do them. You never know what you are going to get with this guy! It keeps it interesting though. Devin played “Om,” “Kingdom,” “Earth Day (which was odd),” “The Greys” and ended with “Deep Peace.”
My favorite parts were when they played “Deadhead” and “Super Crush.” The band was great and as a unit, they were tight as heck.
I noticed Devin made a connection with the fans that a lot of touring bands don’t. He talked to them and made the fans feel special and let them know that he does care, which I thought was way cool.
I did an interview with the genius himself, but unfortunately I didn’t get it back in time for the July Issue. BUT better late than never, eh? So here it goes!
Devin Townsend Interview
Eddy Metal: Hello Devin. First off I would like you to know that I’m a fan of your music and vocal technique (and sense of humor).
I first heard you sing when you sang for Steve Vai. Then I heard you sing a few blistering Judas Priest covers that were badass! You had me at that! I even got you hammered at The Toy Tiger in Louisville, Kentucky when SYL played there with Testament. Anyways, you have made a few changes in recent years. I came to see your new stuff once before, and you had already played! I ended up hearing maybe one fargin song!
What’s up with the Devin Townsend Project? How does it differ from what you were doing before in SYL? Is it less heavy? Or another vicious pummeling? It did sound a bit different I do admit.
Devin Townsend: The DTP (as the cool kids call it) is essentially a reaction to Strapping Young Lad, in that when I decided to change musical styles, I felt I needed to branch out into several different thematic directions that are represented on each separate album. Each is a different style, some heavy, some theatrical, some mellow, some commercial, the hope is that it demonstrates flexibility and honesty.
So who do you have in the Devin Townsend Project? Some wicked players, I’m betting. And do you do all the writing? Lyrics and all? Talk about pressure!
Devin Townsend: I do all the writing, yeah…I have 3 people who play the music (all of it) and they are great players from Vancouver. In terms of pressure, I enjoy the control I guess, so it’s not really pressure as far as I can tell, more so just a lot of effort that results in creative freedom.
Do you still record/mix/produce other artists? From what I hear, you are reeeeeally good at it. I bet you could make a lot of money doing that full time, but I imagine the love of playing keeps you going musically. What artists/bands have you helped so far?
Devin Townsend: I’ve worked with many bands and I believe I’m okay at it. My problem is that intended to interject my own style as opposed to really focusing on the bands. There was actually little or no money in it either. I thought it would be lucrative but it ended up being a bit of a bust financially, to be honest.
You quit smoking the green? Dude, that’s like Bob Marley quitting! What made you make that decision? Family? Kids? Or hacking up cheese every morning or the prices of some good chron?
Devin Townsend: Honestly man, it was combination of events, but more than anything, as I got older I found that it was making me really paranoid. Out of the blue as well, I’ve heard from other folks my age that ‘all of a sudden’ weed stopped being enjoyable, was more like work to avoid the freak out. No biggie, I had 10 solid years of being a hippie!
You have toured all over the world Devin, tell us Louevil readers what your wildest tour story is, and don’t hold back on us!
Devin Townsend: I have had two girlfriends in my life and I married the second one 20 years ago. I read books and listen to folk music in the back of the bus. Every now and then I’ll masturbate myself to sleep while crying, but for real, I’m not much of a party guy so I don’t really know what to tell you, except ‘this one time…at band camp’….
What would you like to say to your fans here in the Ohio Valley Region regarding you returning to Louevil and headlining (thank god) on July 7 at Phoenix Hill Tavern?
Devin Townsend: Sh*t yeah, fellow nerds! Let’s get totally sober together! Wooooooooooo!!! World of Warcraft bitches!!!!
Thanks for your time Devin. I’m stoked to be able to hear a full set of your new music! I got band practice that night, but I’m telling them they can suck it, I’m leaving early! I’ll be there for sure bro and will pass along the word the best I can.
Devin Townsend: If they end up sucking it, let us know!
Thanks to Alex Morgan for the Awesome pics!!!
In a way, Lizzy Borden taught me how to sing. I used to sing his albums word for word back in the Eighties and everyone knows that Lizzy is a vocal powerhouse, so I got better and better until I formed my own band. Thanks for the tips and practice. Lizzy! I love ya. bro.
When I first heard that Eighties shock-rock L.A metal master Lizzy Borden was coming to Indianapolis, I was beyond stoked. I had never gotten the chance to see Lizzy perform live, so I vowed to not miss this show even if I had to drive two hours.
Boy, was I glad I went to Indy.
Lizzy was always sort of an outcast in the L.A metal scene. His music was different and not so commercial as the other popular Eighties bands, like Motley Crue and Poison. Lizzy was more of an American Iron Maiden-type of music rather than the typical cheese that was so abundant back then. It was weird, it was hooky, it was fargin addicting! The musicians in his band were excellent, too. I loved his stuff from the get go. I got my whole darn neighborhood into Lizzy Borden as a kid. Before, those Kentucky redneck dinosaurs were listening to nothing but Sabbath and Zeppelin. So me introducing Lizzy to them was a welcome shocker, something heavy and different. Fresh. Those rednecks ate it up!
Lizzy’s voice decimated other L.A vocalists back in the Eighties, too.
Vince Neil? Brett Michaels? Stephen Pearcy? None of those dudes voices could hold a candle to Lizzy’s range and power live. Not even close. I once bought a bootleg of Lizzy ‘Live’ in 87, and his voice live in concert blew me the phuck away. Amazing!
So naturally, I was eager to see if Lizzy still had the goods.
The club was The Rock House, a 300 to 400 capacity venue kind of like Uncle Pleasants, but maybe a bit larger. We got there early and saw some good original bands from Indy called Pisstoff, Killzone, Raven’s Keep and Smoke Ring. Good bands, nice people. I really like the Indy scene. They are much more friendly and less arrogant than bands down here.
After a few difficulties, Lizzy and company hit the stage in full force, instantly making me happy I was there.
Then came those awesome vocals. Ahhhhhhh, it was like finally getting to bang a chick you’ve had the hots for forever. Lizzy sounded great and went for every note on his recorded outings! The band Lizzy had was phenomenal. The double-lead guitar attack of Dario Lorina and AC Alexander was badass, as good as the tapes I saw of the original guitarists! I’m a guitarist, so I pay special attention to guitar detail! The guitar tones, and lead sounds were top notch, and they worked very well together with the duo leads and switching, as you would have to be with the patented melodic lead work in most of Lizzie’s work. Yeah! These L.A long-haired, surfer-lookin dudes can shred. They had that Eighties L.A look about them, and the Indiana chicks there were all over them.
Drummer Joey Scott and bassist Marten Andersson were original members and I loved that! What a pair of showmen. They rock and looked young, especially Marten Andersson, who looked like he was still in his twenties. WTF? Dude has found the fountain of youth. Lizzy on the other hand was always in mask, or robe or some wild concoction of his making. Lizzy can put on a heck of a memorable theatrical show! He had a TV onstage that he busts through for the beginning of the song “Visual Lies” that was neat. I’m such a ham, I was eating it up and yelling my head off.
Lizzy played “American Metal,” “Me Against The World,” “Eyes Of A Stranger,” “Givem The Axe,” but my favorite parts were “Redrum,” “Voyeur” and “Visual Lies.” I was bummed that “Rod Of Iron” got cut because of the difficulties with Lizzy’s wireless. They should have left out another song! That’s like Alice In Chains not playing “Man In The Box!” Lizzy rubbed fake blood on people, and had a beautiful blonde with black electrical tape on her (very nice) boobies come onstage that he grabbed and started to bite into her neck so that a chitload of fake blood came pouring over her body whilst convulsing. Lizzy looked pretty demented, but it’s all for fun.
Lizzie’s voice was as unreal as ever. The only note he had trouble hitting was ‘loud’ in “American Metal.” But any of you who have heard that note know that it is a total beeyatch to hit, and most mortal men cannot come close to hitting it. Every other note seemed to be easy as pie to Lizzy. It was a treat to see a real show once again, and not just some trendy douchebags getting up there and boring MF’er’s to death.
Had I known a bit more beforehand, I would have tried to book Lizzy at the Phoenix Hill Tavern. I think he would have liked it and had a good crowd here in Louisville. Hear me, Lizzy? Next time, bro! Your blood-soaked skull-packin arse is coming to Kentucky . Thanks to Lizzy’s PR people, Steffi Scott for being a cool chick, and thanks to The Rock House for being good to a fellow rocker from another city.
What in the world? Why was there no word in Louevil about Cinderella coming to Lexington, Kentucky with all of the original members? It was shocking that no one in Louisville knew about it till I posted it. I was tripping, because this is kinda a big deal. Cinderella was a huge band back in the Eighties, and everyone knew who they were. While not their biggest fan, I did like several of their songs, so I was determined to see these guys again, after 24 years or so. I saw Cinderella open for AC/DC back in the mid-Eighties, but I was much too messed up that night to give great detail. I was young and dumb and did some very powerful LSD and I was bug-eyed and tripping my sack off. I do remember that Cinderella sounded frikkin great, and that I liked them much better than AC/DC! Now I’m goodly and drug free!
Cinderella. Photos (C) by Courtney V. Bearse
Well, it was time for a trip back in time, and that’s what I got alright. The venue was called Buster’s Billiards. I was expecting a smaller venue with the capacity of 300 to 500 people, but what I got was a monster of a club that was converted from a warehouse or storage facility. The place was twice the size of Headliners Music Hall.
At least 3000 crazed Eighties rock fans crammed into that place, until the walls were buckling. There was no air conditioning, so all those people were friggin roasting, like myself. It was probably 120 degrees in there.
Unfortunately, I got lost getting there and missed Lexington’s Superunknown, a super-good band of friendly rockers with a frikkin killer singer, probably one of the best in Kentucky . Then John Corabi played an acoustic set of decent tunes. You remember John Corabi, right? He is the cat who replaced Vince Neil in Motley Crue when Neil left the band way back when. John Corabi kicked Vince Neil’s ass in every category in my opinion. Corabi still looked young and sounded great, I must say, although I didn’t know the songs he was playing. He was just sort of fargin off a bit, I reckon. Corabi ended his set and people were getting excited, because it was soon to be Cinderella time! I saw all kinds of people I knew, from both here in Louisville, to people in central Kentucky who used to come see my old band Inhuman play in Richmond, Lexington and Frankfort. It was great seeing all my old friends again. Some I barely recognized, it had been so long!
And guys, the women in Lexington this night were amazing. Super hot Eighties tight-pants-wearin hotties. Smokin’ hot chicks! Cinderella doesn’t mess around, they draw the good stuff. I felt 15 years younger and if I hadn’t had a date that night, I would have been one naughty mofo.
Cinderella was coming on soon, so I took my butt up front in front of the stage to get pics. I was in front of the barricade by myself, looking at the sea of miserably hot but happy concertgoers who were packed like sardines in a can. About that time, the crowd parted and started yelling at me to get somebody who works there, that some chick had fainted in the crowd. I looked around and no guards were around but one tiny security guy who weighed 150 wet, if that. I was like “hey dude, some chick needs yer help over here!” So he comes over and climbs the barricade and looks at the woman on the ground. The chick was about 300 lbs and the little security dude was figuring out how to get her out of that sea of people/heat. Her shirt had come up and it was a hideous sight seeing dude try to pack her by himself. It took four dudes to get her over that barricade! I was like “omg.” She ended up being okay though, thank god. But yes, it was quite funny seeing those dudes struggle lifting her over that high barricade The owner of that club should have had some kind of cooling system installed, because this was dangerous.
Then the lights went out and out came Cinderella! It had been many years since the Eighties and I expected old men with some serious signs of aging, but I was happy to see that these guys were not bad off. In fact, they looked pretty darn good and moved about all night like teenagers. The sound system at Buster’s was awesome. Every lead from Jeff Labar was in your face and right on the money! Tom Kiefer was a blur of movement as he constantly changed guitars and mixed stuff up. He had Gibsons, Fenders, an acoustic and a double-necked Gibson, I think it was! I always admired Tom’s ability to play and sing at the same time. He makes it look easy. Bassist Eric Brittingham looked way different, I barely recognized him. He had short, dark hair and had gained a little weight (he wasn’t that big though), which is a big difference from the long, blonde spiky-haired and skinny kid we had grown accustomed to. Drummer Fred Coury was tight as hell, too.
The band ripped through songs like “Shake Me,” “Heartbreak Station,” “Somebody Save Me,” “Coming Home,” “Don’t Know What You Got Till Its Gone,” and ended the night with a killer version of “Long Cold Winter” that had a real good bluesy sound that reminded me of some vintage Stevie Ray Vaughn. They encored with”Shelter Me.” <y favorite parts of the show were when they played "Night Songs" and "Nobody's Fool." Jeff Labar's lead during "Night Songs" was dead on and sounded even better than back in the day! I liked that Jeff was playing Kramer guitars. Back in the day I used to love and have owned Kramer guitars! Tom's voice was a hair rough at first for a song or two, but then he warmed up and was rocking just fine. I thought he sounded pretty darn good, considering his rough raspy style that seems like it would be hard to do everyday and still keep your voice. This was a good show at a decent venue, even though it was extremely hot in that hotbox. It was a rare gem of a show and I'm glad I made the hour drive to see it. Thanks to Tim at Cinderella's Record Label for the tickets! Also thanks to the guys in Superunknown for going out of their way to help a friend. You guys rock!