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.

 

Tool, with Primus and 3Teeth (1/28, Orlando, FL)

To say that I got lucky being able to purchase face value Tool tickets off of the Ticketmaster site the moment they went on sale is an understatement. When Tool played Orlando a couple of years ago I was not as lucky. They are a band that sells out their concerts literally within minutes of tickets going on sale and just like last time, as soon as this show sold out the third-party ticket resellers had tickets for hundreds of dollars more than what they were just minutes ago. After having attended over one hundred and fifty concerts in my life, this was going to be my first time seeing Tool. The venue was over two hours away and the show was on a work night but that was not going to stop me and my three compadres who were also in for their first ever Tool show.Tool1-640x420 Continue reading “Tool, with Primus and 3Teeth (1/28, Orlando, FL)”

Avatar / January 24, 2016 (Pinellas Park, FL)

After discovering the band Avatar from Göteborg, Sweden about six months ago, and thoroughly enjoying their catalog of music I had kept my eye out for when they had a show local to my area. My first taste of the band was the title track video for their most recent CD in 2014 “Hail the Apocalypse” and instantly I was drawn into not only the crushingly heavy and groovy music, but also their look and antics reminded me of dark and twisted vaudeville carnival characters. Although the likes of HELLYEAH and P.O.D. were headlining the seven band event, Avatar played third, which meant not that long of a set time, yet they were the band I went specifically to see. Promotional flyers for the show described Avatar as ‘terrifying Swedish death metal’, while the band’s own Facebook bio describes themselves as ‘A dark, twisted circus sideshow that’s built around bombastically grooving melodic death n’ roll and mesmerizing merriment’ This was a show I was not going to miss! Continue reading “Avatar / January 24, 2016 (Pinellas Park, FL)”

Brian Fallon and The Crowes, Cory Branan (Columbus, OH)

Brian Fallon and The Crowes visited Columbus, Ohio on January 13th with Cory Branan. Branan hails from Nashville but has just as many roots embedded in rock n’ roll as he does in country which is reflected by the Chicago based record label he is currently on that has worked the who’s  who of punk went country artists. He started the sent off by informing the crowd he had went real hard in Pittsburgh the night before and followed that up by taking a long healthy drink out of his glass which he later informed us was bourbon. Branan’s set included what felt like the best of his discography because one after another they were barn burning hits and his acoustic guitar style is something to be seen. Brian Fallon and The Crowes Wild rock n’ roll show boating played with the amazing beauty and crispness of his acoustic plus the fierce explosion of the man’s stage presence was something I was not ready for but left wanting more. Continue reading “Brian Fallon and The Crowes, Cory Branan (Columbus, OH)”

Garbage – 10/14/15 – Stubb’s, Austin, TX

The 90s are back in full effect. Everywhere you turn, there is grunge fashion and retro stylings. Nirvana has been discovered by a whole new crowd; one that wasn’t even alive when the band was thriving. After checking out the Garbage show October 14th, 2015 at Stubbs in Austin, one can easily see that an entirely new crowd has fallen in love with the band. Fans of all ages seemed to enjoy the performance by these 90s alt darlings. Continue reading “Garbage – 10/14/15 – Stubb’s, Austin, TX”

The Sonics – 6/14/15 – Red7, Austin, TX

I have been waiting for years to see Tacoma’s finest, The Sonics. They burst onto the Washington scene in the early 1960s and to me, they are the band that invented punk rock. The guitars blast at a high decibel and the drums slam like the set could collapse at any moment. The music is hectic rock n roll played with what would later be describer as a “punk rock energy.” Continue reading “The Sonics – 6/14/15 – Red7, Austin, TX”

Chain and the Gang @ Ace of Cups, Columbus, OH 05/22/15

Tonight I got to witness Ian Svenonius at Ace of Cups in Columbus, OH doing again what that man was always meant to do and that’s to entertain. I don’t want to end up sounding like I’m biased but goddamn can that man put on a show! He has been doing this since ’88 with Nation of Ulysses, which was one of the bands that made that bridge between punk and hardcore almost seamless, which was a huge impact on me. Continue reading “Chain and the Gang @ Ace of Cups, Columbus, OH 05/22/15”