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 042014

Two new rock titans are heading this way to Louisville’s coolest venue, the Louisville Palace Theater, on Wednesday, April 23. This should be a barnburner of a show and will sell out, so you might want to get your tickets ASAP. I’ve never seen Volbeat before, and would really like to. I kinda like them. It’s a lot better than most garbage on the radio these days. One cool fact I found out is that their manager (and the guy who discovered them), Scott Frazier, is a Louisville native, who also manages Saving Able and Flaw. Small world, huh? Congrats to Scott for his success in the music business. Volbeat is a juggernaut these days and the money should be rolling in bigtime.

Trivium is another band that has come a long long way. I remember seeing them/meeting them many years back at Jillian’s when they opened for Lacuna Coil. Very, very, nice young guys and talented, too. Nowadays, they are some serious shredders and their popularity has soared! They have evolved leaps and bounds since those Jillian’s days! The technical prowess of their music is off the hook. So ,yeah, this should be a monster of a show., in a pristine venue of epic porportions! Get your tickets NOW!! Or be left out day of show. And you know you would be one crying, whining mofo!

Aug 072013

On Tuesday September 10, actor/comedian/writer/producer Kevin James will be in town for a show at The Louisville Palace. He is the chubby, funny guy who played on “The King Of Queens” TV show, and many movies, including I now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Grownups and Paul Blart, Mall Cop. I didn’t even know he was a touring comedian! I’m betting that he would be a funny mofo live in concert though. Raunchy too!

A lot of these TV actors are raunchy as heck when out on their own with no rules. Just look at Bob Saget, whom I thought was a complete dork and not funny at all. I saw his comedy special on HBO and it was hilarious and very dirty, indeed. The man played guitar and sang a song called “Buttplug Made Of Leather.” So I think I might try to attend this show because I got to support the chubby guys like myself! I just saw Grownups 2 and it was very funny, so let’s see what Kevin James has to offer live in concert. Get your tickets, this might sell out!!

Jun 042013

Wow, what a fun night! I didn’t intend on making this show, but I’m not about to reject a V.I.P. pass to cover such an awesome and talented band at a sold-out event. So yeah, it was a last-minute type deal where I had to get my butt in gear quick to get the story going. Special thanks to The Louisville Palace and their staff for always being so good to us here at LMN.

I frikkin’ love that place and their staff is awesome!

I was startled there was no opening band on the bill. There is usually always an opening band on a big-time concert like this. It would have been nice to have a band from around here open the show with a few songs. The stage setup was as no nonsense as you can get. No big theatrics or gimmicks, just some guitar amps, a big screen projector, and some top notch rock n’ roll to go with it.

I had seen Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell a few years back at The Louisville Palace and it was a great show, but I had never seen Soundgarden before ever, so I was looking forward to seeing something new to me. The place was packed. Sold out! Which is very good for the venue and our city.

Chris Cornell’s voice is always good, and this night was no exception. Chris sang and played guitar on a wicked hollow-bodied electric Guild for over two hours and didn’t even seem like he got tired at all. Cornell is a battle-hardened vocal warrior. All the ladies were swooning over Cornell, too. I heard many women proclaim “He’s soooo hot!!” I bet dude has to keep the horny women off him with flyswatters and mace! The range and power in Chris’ voice is substantial and with proper effects and a good soundman, sound incredible. He has that really high vocal range, and when combined with killer effects and his extended notes, create an epic sound that few singers can achieve. A few parts of the set he opted to go for lower notes to ensure he didn’t crack, but they were few and far between. Mostly Cornell pulled it off as usual. He actually tries very hard to hit the notes fans are used to hearing with Soundgarden’s music. I have seen many a lazy/scared singer opt out with lower notes just to get by. Cornell pushed his vocals to the limit, only then does he choose to alter notes to get by safely.

I wasn’t too familiar with Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil, but if Rolling Stone magazine rated him #100, of 100 best guitarists of all time, then he must be great. I was looking forward to seeing what he has to offer live as a guitarist. The guy is a terrific rhythm guitarist who comes up with some very catchy/memorable rhythms, but live, his harder leads did not do too much for me. Sure he was very good on guitar, but the leads did not stand out as much as I had hoped. I am a guitarist so when I check out a guitarist to review for the paper, I study that chit like a science professor. Thayil kept things really simple. Guild SG shaped guitars and loud amps. Maybe a few effects here and there. Nothing major. I heard no major mess ups on his behalf, and he only seemed to be slightly off maybe once or twice, if that.

His slower, more melodic riffs sounded the best, like the trippy, melodic lead riff with wah in “Pretty Noose.” On slower riffs, Thayil really shined.

Bassist Ben Shepherd was a beast on bass. You could tell this guy was a pro by his movements and stage presence. He pounded and worked his way through the set like it was nothing. He has great bass tone and even used some bass wah on a few songs and even some bass distortion once or twice. He is the only guy I’ve sever seen using a wah pedal standing backwards. Kinda cool! Soundgarden’s original drummer Matt Cameron was very good as well and did not miss a beat the whole night long.

It’s impressive that these guys have been jamming together soooo long, and that they get along so well.

The band works well together and sounded very tight as a unit. It wasn’t pounding, fist-raising metal by any means, but there was some hunger still there musically. The bassist was all over the place, eating up the limelight. Cornell was so busy making sure the music was right, and Thayil was plodding around rockin’ those Guilds! They were not just some ancient dinosaurs slaughtering classic Nineties songs. They still have some fire! I’m not familiar with the names of the songs so I won’t pretend to know their names,” but they started off with a rockin’ “Spoonman,” “Jesus Christ Pose,” a new song “By Crooked Steps” off 2012’s King Animal CD (one of the better songs off the new album), “Flower,” “Outshined” (which rocked), “Hunted down” (a really simple riff when combined that with Cornell’s voice becomes something special), “Live To Rise,” a soundtrack single off the Mission Impossible movie and the first song recorded in 15 years by the band. Another song I really liked is “Blow Up The Outside World,” which has a real laid-back trippy Beatles feel to it (it sounded great!). “My Wave,” “Fell On Black Days” rocked. “Been Away Too Long,” the band’s newest single, I didn’t like at all. “Pretty Noose” was awesome and “Rusty Cage” is always a rocker of a tune.

The band said goodnight, but came back out for a encore, of course. They played “Taree,” and “Black Hole Sun” which had the crowd going nuts. The last song was “Rowing.”

As always at the Louisville Palace, I had a blast, all went well, except for a few very young teenagers in front of us, who wanted to stand up for the entire show and dance, with no regard for any of the people behind them. Oh well, some people are just not civilized and there isn’t much you can do about that, so I gritted my teeth and took one for the team (but I really wanted to kick those mofos in the ass and say “sit down, you little a-holes!”).

There was this one little old lady who was really high on something, because she was soooo into the music it was scary. She was on her knees in prayer mode right in the aisles, swaying with her eyes closed, and seriously rocking to the music while everyone around her was thinking “What the heck is this woman doing?” It looked odd.