Killswitch Engage/The Devil Wears Prada/Dark Tranquility - Bruce Kulick
Killswitch Engage/The Devil Wears Prada/Dark Tranquility - The Wiltern - Los Angeles, CA 03/10
By Jeff Easton
It was a dark and stormy night (sorry Charles Schultz, I had to throw that in). Where a ballistic show with an alternate Killswitch singer started off in a very rainy downtown Los Angeles, which is a rare event in itself. That did not bode well for the few thousand people standing in a line in said rain but the show was well worth it. Dark Tranquility creeped onto the stage armed with a new record in the form of “We Are The Void” and they were ready to unleash the wicked tunes from it. They were in sinister form as Mikael Stanne stalked the stage belching out the demonic urgings of their music. It was hard to cram a 20 year career into such a short set but they impressed a crowd that may not have seen them before and converted them to their way of music.
The Devil Wears Prada was next and after DK’s set the crowd was intense so they were ready to explode. Sassafras, Lord Xenu, Assistant To The Regional Manager and Danger:Wildman from their enormously successful new record With Roots Above and Branches Below were cranked through the stressing PA system to the massive hysteria of their fans. They peppered the set with past triumphs but for me it was the new stuff that got the crowd pumped. TDWP knows how to connect with a crowd and the engaging Mike Hranica was into what they were delivering that night.
Killswitch Engage was next and this was the set I was waiting for. Phil Labonte from All That Remains was in tow as the singer, renaming the band so to speak Philswitch Engage. I will go on record by saying this was possibly the best set I have seen them perform in their career. I think Howard Jones has an amazing voice but for some reason Phil channeled the aggression of Killswitch perfectly. The material seemed so alive, so menacing for some reason. They rolled through tracks from their acclaimed new S/T record as well as “As Daylight Dies and “The End Of Heartache”. Killswitch are the consummate live band as they strive to connect with the audience by any means necessary. Leave it to Adam to always come out dressed his best to amuse the audience. But back to Phil Labonte, as they blasted through tracks like Rose Of Sharyn, Reckoning, When Darkness Falls, Temple Within and My Curse it was clear to me that Phil was created to sing these songs, period. If you missed this tour then you missed a true spectacle.
Bruce Kulick - BK3 Record Release Party - The Cat Club - Hollywood, CA 02/10
By Jeffrey Easton
Bruce Kulick, formerly of KISS, has finally done it. He has dealt what should be known as his third and best solo record to date in the form of BK3. He has spent a lot of time making BK3 a work of perfection and it shows.
So it is out and how do you introduce a new record that has some big names tied to it? You blowout the Cat Club on Sunset BLVD with a tight band and some great guests. So Bruce and His band: Brent Fitz on drums, Todd Kerns on guitar and vocals, and Adam Kury on bass and vocals, take to the stage of the infamous Cat Club and rip the roof off. They kicked off the set with a crazy Nights cut in the form of Hell Or High Water and the lesser played KISS classics kept coming with Heart Of Chrome and I Walk Alone! Heart is one of my fav songs from Revenge and it sounded sick.
The hits were there with Hide Your Heart and Tears Are Falling as well as the remade anthem in the form of God gave Rock N Roll To You II. Nick Simmons, who sings lead on Hand Of The King from BK3, jumped up on stage for said song and really brought the house to a frenzy. No Friend Of Mine from BK3 was a stand out on the set list and one of the best songs on BK3. This was a great night for rock n roll and Bruce and his band really brought it.
Slipknot - Toyota Center - Kennewick, WA 10/09
By Ziggy Sawdust
Living where I do, in a smallish, old- money farming community, where the young and the young at heart have nothing to do after hours and things like Mushroomhead wanting to play a private gig outside of city limits are generally frowned upon and the religious factor denies their acceptance of the whole thing and metalheads are stricken with grief by the closed- minded mentality, the larger cities an hour's drive away are finally getting their act together and bringing in shows other than Country artists and The Blue Collar Comedy Tour. And so, with spirits braced, I set out this past October 11th to enjoy a late birthday gift from my old pal Scary: a ticket to attend, and an opportunity report on, at great risk to life and limb, a visit by none other than "The Nine", the 2009 Metal Hammer Golden Gods "Best International Band" and "Best Live Band" award winners: Slipknot.
Originally scheduled for the end of August with Anthrax and The Black Dahlia Murder as openers, the show was cancelled due to the illness of Joey Jordison, but not to be dissuaded, they came back and honored all tickets even after Anthrax bailed out and Black Dahlia had other dates to play. Fortunately, they recruited a somewhat local band, Kryterium, based out of Boise, Idaho who were something of an unknown but a quick background check assured me that it would turn out to be a decent show, since their music was solid and they've been sharing the stage with big names like Heaven And Hell, Alice Cooper, Suffocation, Trivium and many, many more for several years now, right?
So, come 5 o'clock, I get picked up for the drive to assure plenty of time to get in the door and with Jack In The Box tacos resting comfortably in the stomach, we hit the road for the Toyota Center in Kennewick, WA. in anticipation of the night to come.
Arriving on- scene, the lines were packed but a quick visit to the will- call window ensured a quicker entry through into the "floor" (pit) but I lost Scary at the door because they wouldn't let him in unless he took off his pants, which they considered a weapon since they were the modern "bondage" style with big straps and chains and metal skulls and whatnot, so while he had to head back to the car, I settled in as close to the stage as I could get at the time, which would be subject to change as the night progressed.
With the show set to start at 7, people naturally started getting restless and gave the security folks a run for their money as the clouds of smoke started rising with the house lights still on until about 8 when they finally went out and Kryterium took the stage and showed everyone exactly what they were all about as they broke necks through their setlist from their debut album "Control".
Although being used as a human plaything to a mass of sweaty heavy- hitters, I managed to whip out my sharpie and pad to scribble down "Control", "Kill The King", "Broken" and "Stand Down" as best I could, all of which and all the rest I didn't catch were done with strong energy from Mike Chaves getting down with the crowd all over the stage and with Kody Weaverman and John Karber taking turns shredding eardrums, with Karber hanging on the corner of the stage, hair- in- face Alex Webster style the whole time, as Troy Komula swung his bass like a pornstar and the heavy drumming of Mike Landerman kept the human washing machine in constant motion. The impressive thing was that although they came out of nowhere, they managed to come out onstage and inspire people to violence almost right away, and that's ok by me.
As the Kryterium set ended and the stage was being reset for Slipknot, it seemed like there were twice as many people around me than before ("...and a chill filled the room...") and the energy got tight as the red lights went on after more than half an hour and Jordison took the kit as the first one onstage to roars of approval while the rest of the band came on and it began to be a struggle to survive for yours truly as the mayhem ensued and all I could do was hope for decent pictures while being beaten by several hundred members of my fellow man at the same time trying my best to work my way from one side to the other and back, getting as close to the stage as possible.
I finally found Scary wandering the remnants of the crowd after the show in his skull and crossbones pajamas (remember the pants incident?) but found out I missed seeing our friend Kyle (Kyle!!!!!!). It was a natural decision, after all that, to hit the advertised afterparty for the chance to hang with Kryterium and catch some more bands: Seattle's Weapons Of Mass Persuasion and local Richland boys Stitched Open at Joker's Casino and Comedy Bar in Richland, a short road trip down the highway.