May 052014
 

I needed to get out to see this show bad. I was craving some new music to review/look into/discover and this was just what the doctor ordered, literally. I almost did not go because I wasn’t feeling so great, but I toughed it out for the sake of you readers and a press request that I had made months earlier. I got the approval to review Volbeat/Trivium at the last minute, so I had to hurry up and get my stuff together fast. I love the Palace, and I love getting to see tons of friends every time I go there. And The Palace has always treated us here at LMN very well. So thanks to those guys! It’s my favorite Louisville venue to see a show at, by far.

First up was Trivium, a young melodic metalcore band from Orlando, Florida that I first saw many many years ago at the old Jillian’s. I met them and they were one of the coolest bands I’ve met. Real nice young guys. Well, those younguns have come a long way since then. Now they are crushing and shredding beyond belief. I have one of their newer albums and it slams! Their talents have really matured and the guitar playing and songwriting have come a long way. The music is more complex and layered. Their sound was tight, heavy and sounded really good through the house PA. Vocalist Matt Heafy sounded a bit dry, considering the music he was playing. Some deeper vocal effect would have gone well with that style of music, but he didn’t use much effects on his voice. The guy sings and shreds (on lead too) on guitar at the same time, so I’m still impressed. But I think he should get another guitarist so he can focus more on vocals. I wasn’t very impressed with the singing aspect of their show. The music, however, was pummeling, but still melodic and catchy. Lead guitarist Corey Boulieu is a beast on guitar. I love his creative lead solos (during the vocals) that accompany the rhythm guitar. Very melodic and heavy all at once. Never let it said that music has to be non melodic to be considered heavy. His solo is “In Waves” is sick. I really like his Middle Eastern/trippy feeling riffage that he does some of the time in his soloing. The guy has some serious chops, mucho feeling in his playing, and his amp tone was nice and chunky with the perfect amount of effect. No complaints on the drumming or bass playing. Bassist Paolo Gregoletto’s bass tone was crushing. Meaty and punchy. All were right on the money. I heard no meaningful mistakes. I don’t know their song titles or music, so I’m not able to tell you which songs they played. Luckily Mark Doss, my friend and a fan of Trivium, was there to help me out by telling me what songs they played! Thanks Mark. According to Mark, the band played their popular tunes: “Brave The Storm,” “Strife,” “Through Blood And Dirt And Bone,” “And Like Light To The Fires,” “Dying In Your Arms,” “Down From The Sky,” and “In Waves. “

The intricate and super-fast, muted picking that Trivium does is impressive. It’s crisp and tight as phuck.

Modern sounding and yet still very much metal. Nu metal? I dunno about that. As a guitarist myself, I heard some old-school influences here and there quite frequently in this music. Some serious Iron Maiden influences too, especially in “Dying In Your Arms. ” Almost like a young American version of Maiden without Dickinson. And I love Iron Maiden, so I enjoyed watching these guys kick some butt. But there seemed something missing in the overall performance. It was definitely in the vocals. Maybe not enough actual singing? Maybe the vocals were too dry? Maybe it was dude’s voice in general. With music that good and melodic, I was maybe expecting more old-school type vocals? I think that is what it was. Their music almost demands more of an old-school vocal sound. Regardless of the slightly subpar vocals, Trivium’s sound was awesome, and I enjoyed hearing this young band once again! Hail, Trivium!

Volbeat was up next. What can you say about a band from Denmark who came outta nowhere and has kicked some serious butt in so short a time? Not to mention the guy who discovered them, Scott Frasier, is a Louisville native. Well, it makes for an interesting story of success. Vocalist/guitarist Michael Poulson is a genius and quite a performer as he rips it up on his Custom Gibson SGs. The man has created something different and profited hugely off of it. The style of music he has come up with is rock, thrash, punk, metal, rockabilly, alternative, all thrown in with a healthy dash or two of Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley, all mixed into one big-ass crockpot of musical jams. It’s Metallica meets Elvis, meets Johnny Cash, meets Brooklyn hardcore band Life Of Agony, meets the Swedish Chef. I have noticed that Michael Poulson’s vocal style closely resembles that of Nineties hardcore band Life Of Agony’s singer Keth Caputo, now known as Miss Mina Caputo. I don’t know if dude was snipped or what, but he is now a she. Poulson really sounds like Caputo! Especially on the LOA song “Through And Through. ” Is this the vocal influence Poulson adapted his style from? Damn I’m good!

Guitarist Rob Caggiano, freshly recruited from metal legends Anthrax, seems to fit the bill perfectly. Dude is a wicked guitarist, but it was kind of weird seeing him play much easier riffs with Volbeat than what he was used to in Anthrax. Some of the Volbeat guitar rhythms were very easy to play, I thought. but Rob’s leadwork wasn’t so easy at all. It is the one instrument that really soars in this band, other than Poulson’s powerful vocals. I have to admit, Michael Poulson’s vocals were awesome. The guy sounded better live than on his recordings, and as a music critic, one does not find that very often. He projects his voice in a way that is majestic and uplifting. And he does all of this while playing guitar at the same time. And strangely, he doesn’t lose power in his vocals by concentrating on guitar riffs. He balances concentration between both chores very well in my opinion. As good as Chris Cornell does!

While I’m not a big Volbeat fan, I do admire what they have accomplished, and I like a few of their songs. Bassist Anders Kjolholm was all over the place and I couldn’t even get a picture out of the guy because he was non-stop. He had killer bass tone, too. I liked the way the guitarist/bassist did the backup vocals as well. Sounded great! Drummer Jon Larsen was quite good, as you would expect him to be.

The stage show was pretty basic, nothing fancy, just good music and some decent lighting. No gimmicks or monsters running around on stage. The band sounded great. Very tight as a unit. And the vocals soared this night for Volbeat. The crowd seemed to eat it up, every song! The band kicked offf with “Doc Holliday,” “Radio Girl,” “Lola Montez,” “Heaven Nor Hell,” “Fallen,” “Guitar Gangsters and Cadillac Blood,” “Maybellene/hofteholder” (complete with acoustic guitar intro), “Still Counting. “

The last few songs were “Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza,” “The Hangmans Body Count” (probably my favorite. I hummed that riff half the night after we left!) and “The Human Instrument/Warriors Call”. The crowd went nuts over every song. Volbeat could have pooted on the mic and the crowd would have yelled “Yeeeeaaaahhhh!” Ha! Speaking of pooting.

The night was marred by some person in front of me and my date who was crop dusting the most horrendous farts known to mankind. Worse than Egg McMuffin farts. And no, the smeller was not the feller! Ha. My nosehairs shriveled, and I almost melted as if Pepe LePew walked by! Unfortunately we never indentified the anonymous farter (lucky for them). I think this was Karma for what happened at Flaw (Read Flaw Review Below) a few nights earlier. Ha.

Earlier in the night I saw Volbeat manager and longtime friend Scott Frazier in the crowd with his children. He came up to me and we chatted for a few, and I congratulated him on his success these last 5 years or so. It was so cool seeing Scott up there with his very excited kids, who later on, got to go onstage with Volbeat for a song or two. Scott looked real happy to be there at Louisville Palace with his band headlining. He was smiling from ear to ear and was very friendly. Some people talk shit about Scott (fargin bitch ass haters), but he’s always been cool to me. He was very down to earth and humble despite the success he’s had recently. It’s awesome that a fellow Louisvillian has done so good on the world stage. Congrats bro!

Anyways, it was a great show of new music! The band played a good long set to an enthused crowd of rockers that had the Louisville Palace filled to about 90% capacity., I’m thinking. Some douche recently said I don’t cover enough new music, so this one is for you a-hole!

Feb 062014
 
Resonator - 9VoltRevolt

Louisville’s 9VoltRevolt has a new album, Resonator, and it’s available for free download at their website at www.9voltrevolt.net/
Here’s the track list:
1. Skin Deep
2. Not This Time
3. Nemesis
4. Building On Nothing
5. I’d Rather Die
6. I Give To You
7. Perfect Forever
8. Please Please Please
9. Skin Deep (Empyrean Asunder Remix)

Feb 052014
 

I noticed on Facebook the other day that other people and myself are getting tired of musical trends and the unsigned bands who strive to stay on top of all of them. It’s one thing that has vexed me from the start when trying to make my own music. When Korn came out everyone flocked to buy a 7 string, and suddenly there were 500 Korn knockoffs. Everyone tried to play grunge, too. Hip hop rock had been overdone, too, in my opinion. It just doesn’t sound very fresh anymore. All the “Yeh yehhhh’s” and the whiney rap vocals don’t do a thing for me. The brutal extreme metal has lost it’s allure as well, now that every heavy band sounds like the cookie monster, pretty much. Where has the actual singing gone in metal? Forget what’s popular, what’s in, and what people are listening to. Take the time to write music from your heart, no matter how weird or different you think it is. Who gives a crap what anyone thinks! I actually have a song called “Putt Putt and Anal,” which is a groovy lil’ tune about golf and slippin’ one up your ole lady’s tater! I’ve written some questionable music in my time, I know this. But I’ve written some awesome riffs, too, some music I’m quite proud of. Some of the best music, to me, is the very different, ground-breaking stuff. So when writing, be bizarre, don’t limit yourself or tell yourself what’s got to happen writing-wise. Let that sh*t go, and just go with the flow and see what happens. You could be pleasantly surprised. And for god’s sake, quit worrying about your band’s image and how cool you look. Concentrate on the most important thing, the music, dillweed!

I noticed on Facebook the other day that other people and myself are getting tired of musical trends and the unsigned bands who strive to stay on top of all of them. It’s one thing that has vexed me from the start when trying to make my own music. When Korn came out everyone flocked to buy a 7 string, and suddenly there were 500 Korn knockoffs. Everyone tried to play grunge, too. Hip hop rock had been overdone, too, in my opinion. It just doesn’t sound very fresh anymore. All the “Yeh yehhhh’s” and the whiney rap vocals don’t do a thing for me. The brutal extreme metal has lost it’s allure as well, now that every heavy band sounds like the cookie monster, pretty much. Where has the actual singing gone in metal? Forget what’s popular, what’s in, and what people are listening to. Take the time to write music from your heart, no matter how weird or different you think it is. Who gives a crap what anyone thinks! I actually have a song called “Putt Putt and Anal,” which is a groovy lil’ tune about golf and slippin’ one up your ole lady’s tater! I’ve written some questionable music in my time, I know this. But I’ve written some awesome riffs, too, some music I’m quite proud of. Some of the best music, to me, is the very different, ground-breaking stuff. So when writing, be bizarre, don’t limit yourself or tell yourself what’s got to happen writing-wise. Let that sh*t go, and just go with the flow and see what happens. You could be pleasantly surprised. And for god’s sake, quit worrying about your band’s image and how cool you look. Concentrate on the most important thing, the music, dillweed!
–>

Feb 022014
 

Howdy ye metal loving folks! OMG, this weather is hideous. It’s been so cold that water pipes burst during band practice (which caused chaos), and my nuts (Planters extra salty. Ha!) froze to my frikkin’ car seat. Not fun at all. And just think, an ex wanted me to move with her to Iowa. Ha ha! That’s a good one. No thanks, Pocahontas, I’m as far north as I care to be. It’s bad enough right here in Louisville with that cold-arse river. Things are always slow this time of year musically in tha Ville. And while it’s not so bad taking a break and hybernating like a big ole grizzly bear, one does tend to get bored a bit. One cool thing to occupy my time is that I am now an official board member of MERF, the Musicians Emergency Resource Foundation, formerly the Musicians Emergency Relief Fund. It is an organization that has been around since the Eighties, when friends of Marvin Maxwell founded it with money left over from benefits for Maxwell, who had torn up his ankle in a car wreck. The goal is to help musicians in a bind. Say a member of a band gets his hand mangled in a cheese grating accident? The MERF board has a meeting and decides if this person meets the criteria for assistance – a working Louisville (or from Louisville) musician, which includes the seven counties of the metropolitan area. If it is a valid case of someone needing help, and everyone votes to help, then MERF comes to the rescue. Is that not a great organization? It’s a wonderful idea, no doubt.

I don’t know why they asked me to a meeting, but I’m thinking my popular Rock For Kosair Benefit might have gotten me on the board. After all, $50,000 worth of toys donated to Kosair isn’t anything to laugh at.

Alas, everything has at least one negative aspect. I have to be 100% honest with you peeps, which is the way I roll (even though it pisses some people off). I kinda always thought MERF was a members-only organization for those who play top 40 covers, or only those who know or are in good with the MERF board/founders. I had heard numerous times that MERF didn’t really have anything to do with the true Louisvillerock/metal scene. There was even a long standing joke that I had heard “you had to know the Maxwells or someone in that group to get any assistance from MERF.” So, as you can imagine, us edgy high-gain hardcore rockers felt a bit left out.

Discarded. Rejected. Heck, bad stuff happens to us too. Probably more so!

But when I was invited to a meeting, I saw a ray of sunshine through a very cloudy winter day! If accepted, I would do my best to include the real Louisville original rock and metal scene the best I could. It turned out that they really just didn’t have a reputable representative of the underground rock/metal scene in the board/organization. The board was a group of super-cool people who only want to help folks. They do everything for free, and donate quite a bit of their time to do so. It was a delightful and very friendly meeting, and I’m so glad I went! Funny peeps, too.

So after the meeting, I was voted in. I really like to be able to help people, and now I’ll have quite a few more chances with MERF. I promise to try to get us rockers an equal amount of help out of this MERF money we raise. And you don’t have to be in a cover band playing “Bulls On Parade” every night! We will go over any application, and although we cannot promise anything, we will certainly do our best to review the case and see what can be done to help. In this doody economy, every little bit helps.

Another great thing about this is that MERF will be more than likely be having a Toy Tiger Nineties Hardcore Reunion late this summer (see info below).

Jan 072014
 

Rust N’ Bones has had a pretty darn good year, indeed. Coming from out of nowhere and playing shows all the time must have been grueling, but I don’t think band founder and one of the coolest guys in the scene, Justin Spicer, minds much. In fact, I know the man lives to play his music. He is like me, he doesn’t care if 15 people like his music, he is going to do his thing his way and that’s all there is to it. I respect that totally.</P>
<p>The band just recorded some tunes at two different locations. “The Things You Do” has some lovely, bluesy lead work starting out, though I’m not sure I like the rhythm guitar tone very much. Sounds a bit too fuzzy, kind of like a Crate amp of the Eighties. The lead sound works, well though. Justin’s vocals have a bluesy feel to it and sound pretty good in a Billy Gibbons sort of way. A raspy, Gravelly, gruffy soulful endeavor, but actaul singing, nonetheless. He’s like an old black man down South singing the blues in a Blind Lemon Jefferson sort of way, which makes Justin an original around these parts. I’m not into the drum sound on this recording, though. They are a bit weak to be effective. I have to admit I’m kind of spoiled on studio quality recordings, and I do pick at anything less than what the music deserves. The studio quality is not terrible, but it could be better. I like this band because they don’t care about trends or stupid crap like that. They have their own sound and be damned to everything else! This song reminds me of old ZZ Top or something other South Texas rock! Justin’s leads are rockin’. “Bad Love” is a love song of hurt and betrayal. The guitar tones sound a little better in this one. The use of the wah pedal is cool. The songs are a bit simplistic but who cares, it isn’t about how hard of stuff you can play, its about feeling and soul. And Rust N’ Bones have both. Yeah, they don’t sound like the cookie monster on vocals (thank god), nor do they play lightning fast, ridiculous death metal riffs, but what they do is play music with soul, from the heart. I like this song much better. It’s a good bluesy tune with a good rockin groove. If you like bluesy no nonsense rock n’ roll, then Rust N’ Bones is just what the doctor ordered! Seek them out at www.reverbnation.com/rustnbones</P>

Jan 042014
 

Well, after two years of lollygagging, Louisville’s Year Of The Gun has just finished recording five new tracks at EarlyGrayce Studios with studio engineer Jordan Haynes. In case you haven’t been paying any attention whatsoever, I play guitar in this band. I have heard about Jordan Haynes forever, about how good he is in the studio and how as a musician, you’ve got to get in there and record with him at all costs. Well, all that was true. The guy is awesome. These days, I’m pretty picky about studios and who records me, but everything worked out really good for our band at Earlygrayce Studios. Jordan was easy to work with. Fast at getting the music back to us. And he didn’t rush us like some engineers tend to do. This was the first time I had ever used a click track in a studio and to be honest, I was scared to death. I’m used to playing with the band and getting drum tracks first, and laying instrument tracks over that, but this way was very good. I ended up playing first to a click track by myself to a room full of people, which was stressful, but it ended up being much easier than I thought. I flew through it like poo through a goose! The end result is pretty awesome. I’ve been posting it like crazy. I’m a ham, what can I say! I’m proud of what the YOTG guys and myself have made. If you are in a band and are wanting to record soon, you should try to get in there with Jordan. He is booked a lot and turns away work a lot because of how busy he is, but if you are lucky you can get sqeezed in. The best part is that you will sound good, regardless. It doesn’t matter who you know, or if you are not real good friends with Jordan. He does his best every time. I’ve noticed some studios do you up better if you are good friends with them. With Jordan, you get the full service regardless. I like that.

As a long-time musician in Louisville, I highly recommend Jordan Haynes and another great engineer, Michael Sanders, to handle all of your recording needs. Both are really good and have a great ear for capturing what needs to be captured.

As for our five song CD? There are at least three singles that can be played on the radio “That Mouth Of Yours” “She Dreams” and “Beautiful.” Our singer, Steve Sawyers, killed and you can easily see why (in my opinion) he is one of the premier vocalists/songwriters in Louisville. Great lyrics and melodies are abundant in every song. It’s the best recording I’ve done. I’m pretty happy with how it came out. Of course there are always a few things you would like to change, and maybe we might spend some more cash down the road to fix things up a bit, but for now we are good to go.

Check out our brand new music at https://soundcloud.com/year-of-the-gun/that-mouth-of-yours and you can see us next on Friday, February 7 at Phoenix Hill Tavern with Popkiss Chainsaw and Some Kind Of Saint.

Jan 032014
 

My favorite Louisville cover band Scary Uncle is calling it a day after their New Year’s Eve gig. There is no drama or bad blood, just life catching up to the guys with family, jobs, kids and stuff like that. This blows, because I loved the variety of covers that Scary Uncle played over these last several years. How many band can play Guns N ‘Roses and make it sound good? This band played a lot of songs that most cover bands do not do, that is why I loved seeing them compared to other cover bands who always play the same crap over and over. (If I hear “Bulls On Parade” one more time, I’ll frikkin’ barf.) I wish more bands would be like Scary Uncle and mix that chit up a bit and throw your own personality in there. Vocalist Chuck Weber has a frikkin’ great voice and it will be a loss to the scene if he gives it up for good. I hope not! I do know that guitarist Frank Campbell and drummer from hell Danny Murphy are talking about putting together an Eighties cover band. That would be super cool, as I love Eighties rock. So good luck to those guys, who BTW, are awesome dudes all around, and a credit to the Louisville rock scene!! I hate to see you fellers go, but I understand.

I’ll keep you folks updated on the Eighties tribute when I hear more.

Dec 092013
 

Longtime Louisville rock/metal veterans Year Of The Gun will be recording four songs in early December. Chosen tracks are “Fallout, " “That Mouth Of Yours, " “She Dreams” and “Beautiful. ” We are excited about working with Jordan Haynes and look forward to getting these tracks done by such a good sound engineer.

Dec 092013
 

I am looking forward to seeing Steel Panther at Bogart’s on Sunday, December 22. I have been wanting to see those guys for some time now, but they never come to Kentucky, so I’m going to drive up to Cincinnati to see their legendary show. Steel Panther is one of the top cover bands in the nation if you haven’t heard of them before! They wear cheesy Eighties clothes like tiger-print spandex and they wear wigs and are raunchy to the extreme, and are very funny. If you haven’t heard of them before and you like Eighties music, then this is a must-see. Look up Steel Panther “Community Property” uncut on Youtube and you will see what I mean.