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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Upcoming pagan music ritual: Korpiklaani/Moonsorrow/Tyr/Metsatoll!

Get your bear pelts and horns of ale out. It's pagan time in Kansas! Korpiklaani is bringing their party to the Granada in Lawrence on September 3rd! Along with them are Moonsorrow, Tyr and Metsatoll. That's one of the best lineups I've seen in a few years. Awesome!

Upcoming show: White Wizzard/Icarus Witch/Widow

I'm not well-versed in any of these bands, but the thought of this show coming here is amazing. This is going to be such a solid night of heavy metal! These great bands will be at the Riot Room on August 9th. Attend in your patch jacket, or don't come at all!

Upcoming show: Nachtmystium!

Nachtmystium announced a small tour in the late summer, and Lawrence is getting one of the dates! They'll be at the Bottleneck on July 30th with Krieg and Murmur. Totally awesome!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Alice Cooper -- Kansas City, MO -- June 15th, 2012

A late birthday present/early Father's day present, I went with my Dad to Alice Cooper in Kansas City. We had seen him four years ago at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson, KS, but everything from Alice's voice to the musical performances and everything in between was MUCH better tonight.

The main difference between this performance and the one I saw a few years ago was that Alice was much more concentrated on the music aspect of the show this time around. There definitely wasn't as much vaudeville interactions as in the past, but it only worked in his favor. He brought out the sword stabbed through stacks of money for Billion Dollar Babies and also got his head chopped off in the guillotine after Wicked Young Man, but it was definitely a rock show. The biggest laugh of the night came when a giant Eddie-esque Alice ran out of stage during Feed My Frankenstein!

Alice's backing band is better than ever. The main noticeable addition to me is Orianthi on guitar, who I absolutely love. She blew me away. Might be one of the best guitarists I've ever seen live! All the musicians had a pretty nice jam session within Halo of Flies, and the two main guitar players had a great call and return shred session in Under My Wheels. There was a bass and drum solo as well, but Orianthi and the guitars were where it was at!

Alice himself actually sounds better now, too. He had a much larger range than he did a few years ago. He hit all the tough notes (well, tough for someone that age) in Only Women Bleed. Great stuff.

So yeah. If you're seeing Alice open for Maiden on their tour coming up, you really don't want to miss him. He's a legend and he's on top of his game right now.

1. The Black Widow
2. Brutal Planet
3. I'm Eighteen
4. Under My Wheels
5. Billion Dollar Babies
6. No More Mr. Nice Guy
7. Hey Stoopid
8. Is It My Body
9. Halo Of Flies
10. I'll Bite Your Face Off
11. Muscle Of Love
12. Only Women Bleed
13. Cold Ethyl
14. Feed My Frankenstein
15. Caffeine
16. Poison
17. Wicked Young Man
18. I Love The Dead
19. School's Out
20. Elected

Alice Cooper: 9.5/10
Venrez: 3/10

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hail!Hornet -- Lawrence, KS -- June 13th, 2012

It seems that the best sludge metal shows are often paired with super hot/muggy weather, small venues and/or dedicated crowds. Lawrence was a combination of all three factors, and sludge supergroup Hail!Hornet took advantage of it all.

The first band to open the night was local metallers The Melting Point Of Bronze. They are all incredibly tight musicians, but it's a little hard to pinpoint exactly what they sound like. As far as genres go, I'd call them (even though I really hate the term) "post-thrash." Kind of like is Pantera, Iced Earth and Metallica had a baby that grew up on Sci-Fi cartoons. If that intrigues you, then you'd be a fan! They had some great call and return shredding guitar solos in most of their songs. Lots of headbanging during them. Looking forward to seeing them more.

When I saw The Gates of Slumber down in Austin, I enjoyed them but I thought the sound was very thin. That wasn't a problem here. They had a commanding guitar tone and guitarist/vocalist Karl was in complete command of his instrument and its pedals. Some of the effects he put on it were just classic heavy metal staples. One word to describe their performance: "Sabbathian." They are riff-lords, as evidenced by how straight-forward and pounding "Ice Worm" is. They ended with "Coven of Cain" and it was a throwback to the glory days of good ol' fashioned heavy metal. Horns up!

Hail!Hornet loves to drink. Hail!Hornet loves to get high. Hail!Hornet loves to play loud music. That's the holy trinity of heavy metal. The band sounded just as good as they did in Texas, but the venue in Kansas was more suited to them. That dirty little bar with a handful of devoted fans in the crowd. Those are always the best shows, right? Once Hail!Hornet kicked in, they really didn't let up once during their set, unless it was to take shots and drinks that were bought for them from the crowd. Troy on vocals really sets the bar for vocalists in sludge metal. They were consistently amazing throughout the entire set. And Dixie Dave Collins is just so much fun to watch, as always. He literally turns into a madman when playing. They were really, really loud. In a good way. Totally heavy, and lightning fast compared to their contemporaries. Hail!Hornet is a must-see if they come near you in a small venue. Absolute metal goodness.

Hail!Hornet: 9/10
The Gates Of Slumber: 9/10
The Melting Point Of Bronze: 7.5/10