Concert Review: Explosions in the Sky, 4/26 Cleveland

It’s hard to describe the feeling that Explosions in the Sky’s music gives you, they blend indie rock, classical, even elements of metal into beautiful works of art. Their music has been known to move me to tears without a single word being said, and their performance in Cleveland on the 26th of April was just as emotional.It was my first time seeing Explosions in the Sky live and the show was so full of energy.

The sound was great and the House of Blues was a perfect venue for Explosions in the Sky. Each song was performed masterfully, I was totally blown away by the depth of their live musical talent. The show was intimate and small, the band performed a range of their songs focusing mainly on their new album “The Wilderness”. The band used wide range of instrumentation which they tweaked and distorted to their liking, hard hitting drums and soft strings kept my ears begging for more.

 

The night was all around amazing, the band really rocked the House of Blues here in Cleveland. One thing I can say is if you are a fan of great music and amazing vibes, check out Explosions in the Sky. I truly look forward to the next time that I can make it to one of their engagements!

Make sure to catch the remainder of Explosions in the Sky’s 2017 tour:

JUL6-9
Les Eurockéennes – Belfort, France

JUL11
Full Hit of Summer Festival – Linz, Austria

AUG17-19
ArcTanGent – Bristol, United Kingdom

SEP15
Sunshine Theater – Albuquerque, NM

SEP16
Orpheum Theater – Flagstaff, AZ

SEP17
Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre – San Diego, CA

SEP18
Greek Theatre – Los Angeles, CA

SEP21
McDonald Theatre – Eugene, OR

SEP22
The Showbox – Seattle, WA

SEP23
Knitting Factory Concert House – Spokane, WA

SEP25
Knitting Factory Concert House – Boise, ID

SEP27
Pub Station – Billings, MT

SEP29
Mishawaka Amphitheatre – Bellvue, CO

SEP30
Waiting Room Outdoors – Omaha, NE

OCT1
The District – Sioux Falls, SD

OCT4
Pabst Theater – Milwaukee, WI

OCT5
Wooly’s – Des Moines, IA

Explosions in the Sky / http://www.explosionsinthesky.com/

Explosions in the Sky tonight (4/26) at Cleveland HOB

Austin, Texas Post-Rock Quartet Explosions in the Sky will be making their Ohio stop tonight at the Cleveland House of Blues to promote their new album “The Wilderness”. The tickets are $35 and the will be alongside Narrow/Arrow. We’re really looking forward to the show the Cleveland House of Blues is small and intimate, perfect for the ambient and chilling sound of Explosions in the Sky. The weather is going to be absolutely amazing for this show, so come out an jam with us! Also, look back in about a week for our full write up of the show in the NeuFutur Magazine Concert Reviews section. Continue reading “Explosions in the Sky tonight (4/26) at Cleveland HOB”

Slayer / Anthrax / Death Angel (9/27, Orlando, FL)

 

As a long time Slayer fan I can tell you that purchasing a ticket upgrade and attending their sound check was about the second coolest thing I have ever experienced in my concert going history behind going on the Motörhead Motörboat cruise last year. I had some reservations after spending what I did for the upgrade as leading up to the show I saw videos from other stops on the tour where those that also upgraded their ticket posted video and it was not the entire band that was out for the sound check, instead a couple times the guitar tech for Kerry King was the one playing. Continue reading “Slayer / Anthrax / Death Angel (9/27, Orlando, FL)”

Metallica (Aug. 20, 2016, Minneapolis, MN)

To say that I had waited a long time in between Metallica concerts is an understatement. I, along with the majority or North America, have patiently waited as we fans have not had a proper tour by the metal icons in almost seven years. When the show in Minneapolis was announced back in March it was just a goof when I thought about trying to get in on the fan club pre-sale. So when the allotted time came and I scored some good lower level tickets, it was both instinct and impulse that trigged my finger to click on the ‘Buy” button. The first thing I did after the purchase was calculate out exactly how many days that the count would end in between Metallica shows for me – 2513. Two days after the fan club pre-sale once tickets went on general sale 50,000 tickets sold out in under ten minutes. Continue reading “Metallica (Aug. 20, 2016, Minneapolis, MN)”

“Weird Al” Yankovic (June 3rd, 2016)

 

The best way that I can describe seeing Weird Al live is that he puts on a show, not a concert. Weird Al has the ability to parody songs and engulf me into his performance that in any other instance I would not care to listen to the original. I can only describe his show as a comical musical journey filled with multiple hilarious costume changes and a very tight backing band that joins Weird Al with his non-stop energy on stage. This was my third time seeing him and each time I have been thoroughly entertained.

Being the metalhead that I am, I am not ashamed to admit just how much I have enjoyed his music over the years and going a step further that I actually prefer some of Weird Al’s versions to the originals, especially ‘Smells Like Nirvana’, the parody of Nirvana’s original ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’.  I captured Weird Al in his Curt Cobain outfit during that song and with the lighting behind him he has an almost heavenly glow around him.

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His parodies of hit songs are beyond catchy and even now, weeks after the show I find myself listening daily to his ‘White and Nerdy’ version of “Chamillionaire – Ridin’ (Dirty)”. He performs most of his songs in their entirety but in an effort to fit in as many as possible from his vast discography Weird Al throws in a couple of medleys which he and his band have perfected over the years. He has so many awesome parody songs and his own original music that is the only way he can even try to fit in every fan’s favorite that they came to hear. For most songs the audience knew his parodies word for word and were singing along which adds to the overall experience.

In between songs (the costume changes), video displays show funny mock interviews from “Al TV” in montages that flow right into the next song and hilarious busts of laughter erupt from the audience as Weird Al and the band appear in the next costume arrangement. His parodies cover just about every big hit on the music charts since the early 80s and his music is not only fun but educational as he tutors while singing about proper word usage in the song ‘Word Crimes’, a parody of ‘Blurred Lines’ by Robin Thicke. The costume changes are one of my favorite parts as it really sets the tone for the song and the videos playing alongside the stage, and Weird Al is very adept transforming into each character along the way.

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It was an audience of all ages as Weird Al’s music is clean and family friendly. He and the band engage the audience throughout the entire show with their antics, costumes, facial expressions, musical and vocal abilities, and Weird Al takes a couple of roaming trips through the crowd to engage unsuspecting audience members.

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Weird Al is also famous for closing out his shows dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi accompanied by Darth Vader and a group of Stormtroopers on stage who dance as he sings ‘The Saga Begins’ to the tune of ‘American Pie’ by Don McLean we hear the story of “…this here Anakin guy”.

Mahaffey Theater

I highly recommend seeing Weird Al as it is such an entertaining evening to a point that if it was your first time you almost regret not having seen him before it is that much fun. I never stopped smiling the entire show and even with a solid two hour set list I wish he had time for more. I have seen literally a ton of bands live over the years at many different concerts and I would most certainly rank Weird Al as one of my all-time favorite live performers. \m/

 

Set list:
Fun Zone
Tacky
Lame Claim to Fame
Now That’s What I Call Polka!
Radio Radio (Elvis Costello cover)
Perform This Way
Dare to Be Stupid
Fat
First World Problems
Foil
Smells Like Nirvana
Party in the CIA / It’s All About the Pentiums / Handy / Bedrock Anthem / Another One Rides the Bus / Ode to a Superhero / Gump / Inactive / eBay / Canadian Idiot
Wanna B Ur Lovr
Eat It / I Lost on Jeopardy / I Love Rocky Road / Like a Surgeon
White and Nerdy
Word Crimes
Amish Paradise

Encore:
We All Have Cell Phones
The Saga Begins
Yoda / Yoda Chant

“Weird Al” Yankovic/ June 3, 2016 at Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg, FL / Website / Twitter / Facebook

 

A Night with The Scorpions (5/7/2016, Atlanta, GA)

From my first steps into Chastain Park Amphitheatre I knew right away this was by far the coolest venue I have ever been to for a concert. The amphitheater was located within Chastain Park which is the largest city park in Atlanta. The band shell was set at the bottom of a sloped hill and the outdoor bleacher style seating extended upwards to where the whole venue is nicely tucked into its own little bowl and the sound would perfectly reverberate off of the curved slope. Tables were set up in the pit and lower part of the orchestra section as this venue allows guests to bring in their own food and beverage and many of the locals we saw had elaborate setups with prepared trays of food, tablecloths, candles and coolers full of whatever they wished. Continue reading “A Night with The Scorpions (5/7/2016, Atlanta, GA)”

Fort Rock / April 30, 2016 (Fort Myers, FL)

I was rather elated when the Fort Rock lineup was released for the fact that the majority of the bands I wanted to see were all playing on the same day given that this year’s event had been expanded to a two day festival. Tickets were soon acquired, travel and timing plans were made after the set times were released as this event was a little over two hours away from where I lived. The schedule was set so that there would not be more than a ten minute wait between bands and the five bands I wanted to see were playing one after another. In an all-day event like this each band is usually only allotted just under an hour to play, which I am fine with because then there is usually no filler of chat in between songs or drum and/or guitar solos, just five hours of straight up face melting metal from a few of my favorite bands. All of the bands on my radar had recently released new CDs, so given their shortened set times I knew we were in for a mix of a couple of new tunes as well as the fan favorites from each band. Continue reading “Fort Rock / April 30, 2016 (Fort Myers, FL)”

Iron Maiden – 2/24 (Sunrise, FL), 4/6 (Chicago, IL)

Back in early October of last year, having just spent the most metal week of my life aboard Motörhead’s Motörboat, catching up on the metal news that had transpired while we were away was the discovery that Iron Maiden had announced a tour, which was to open only a few hours from where I lived. All focus and discussion about the cruise was temporarily suspended while my cruise mates and I digested the news and planned for acquiring tickets to this metal event. Continue reading “Iron Maiden – 2/24 (Sunrise, FL), 4/6 (Chicago, IL)”

Amon Amarth / April 18, 2016 at The Ritz Ybor, Tampa, FL

 

This was going to be my third time seeing Swedish Viking metal legends Amon Amarth live and I knew from the two previous shows that the crowd that had gathered for the event this night was in for a treat of total metal brutality as well as a lesson in Viking mythology and history! For this show I opted for the VIP (or as the lanyard displayed, VIV, for Very Important Viking) package that included meeting the band and a very generous autographed memorabilia package that I thought was well worth the asking price.

Amon Amarth / April 18, 2016 at The Ritz Ybor, Tampa, FL

 

Knowing I was to meet the band and they are all hockey fans, I proudly wore my Amon Amarth hockey themed shirt and took the time I had while chatting with them to talk about their love of hockey, both in the European leagues as well about the current NHL playoffs with them telling me they try to catch what they can of the NHL West coast games, following their favorite countrymen after their sets when they are in the United States during hockey season. How cool is that – they were all very down to earth guys who certainly showed their appreciation for the fan support of everyone who purchased the VIP package and were genuinely enthusiastic about meeting their fans.

 

Amon Amarth / April 18, 2016 at The Ritz Ybor, Tampa, FL

The band Exmortus opened the show and wow did these guys kick ass! Some very high energy in-your-face extreme metal that surely had me noting to look these guys up after the show as I was not familiar with them at all going in. This band is definitely on my radar for the next time they come around to my area. Entombed A.D. was next up and took the heaviness to the next level with their aggressive death metal sound. Also hailing from Sweden, this is the new iteration of the band Entombed, and they mixed in both new and old tunes in their set. Both of the opening bands had the crowd pumped up and ready for the headliners.

 

The stage setup was an appropriate giant Viking helmet and Amon Amarth took the stage to a full house and dug right into their crushing hit ‘The Pursuit of Vikings’ which sent the crowd into an absolute frenzy of horns in the air, fists pumping, heads banging and of course a circle pit opened up in the middle of the crowd. Johan just looks like a fearsome Viking as he rears his head back and screams his appreciation of the crowd’s energy that is fueling the band to just crush this song and propel them into the next one.

 

Amon Amarth / April 18, 2016 at The Ritz Ybor, Tampa, FL

 

The band sounded amazing, the sound guys have them tuned in and dialed up just right and each member of the band literally fed off of their interaction with the crowd. They played a full 19 song set and the crowd never once stopped their energetic ways, enjoying every bone jarring song and expressing their appreciation for the gods of Viking metal. It was fascinating to watch and be part of the symbiotic relationship with both the band and the crowd feeding off of each other’s energy.

This band is simply freaking amazing to see live, they have such a stage presence and every song they played got a huge response from the crowd. This show was in support of their new release ‘Jomsviking’, which in and of itself is a fantastic CD, the tenth full length CD in their discography, where they just get better and better with each new release. For this show they played new and old material and certainly had great interaction with the crowd. If you’re not familiar with this band be sure to check out their tunes, and if you are a fan and have never seen them live, I urge you to make every effort to do so. \m/

 

Amon Amarth is:
Johan Hegg – vocals
Olavi Mikkonen – guitar
Ted Lundström – bass
Johan Söderberg – guitar
Jocke Wallgren – drums (touring member)

 

Rating: 9.5/10

Amon Amarth / April 18, 2016 at The Ritz Ybor, Tampa, FL / Website / Twitter / Facebook

 

Andrew Bird. April 15, 2016. (Express Live, Columbus Ohio)

Andrew Bird is not much of a man for words, which might surprise you if you’re a fan of his expressive songwriting. The empty stage bravado that marks the shows of his fellow artists is noticeably missing from his live performance. Instead, he appears on stage looking like a rather rumpled troubadour in a wrinkled suit. He picks up a fiddle and begins picking instantaneously, no words spoken. The crowd roars.

His strong, clear vocals pierce the hot, hazy theater. He is never off-key or wavering, yet his voice has a very folksy quality as he bellows out Old World-tinged melodies. While the impressive stage lights and his intense physical energy give the show an air of theatricality, Bird’s singing style is intimate and easy. You get the feeling that he would be just as comfortable crooning away in his kitchen as he is on a stage in front of hundreds of audience members. Out of the many artists I that I have seen perform live, Andrew Bird stands out in my mind for his comfort on stage and apparent mastery of his craft.

Bird and his band make their way through many of his more popular works while the crowd gains energy. He picks out a few notes of “Tenuousness”:

Tenuous at best was all he had to say/When pressed about the rest of it, the world that is/ From proto-Sanskrit Minoans to Porto-centric Lisboans.

Everyone around me is entranced, unable to look away from the stage.

Andrew Bird plays the violin throughout most of the set, but switches to guitar and even whistling at some points. Backed by electric guitar, it’s an odd combination, but it works.

Bird lets his music speak volumes; he is a master of mixing the mundane and high-brow. At the end of the evening, as we all depart, I feel as though I have witnessed a true artist at work.