"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Archive: Reports

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In Flames Plays the Commodore in Vancouver, BC

The Commodore Ballroom is easily one of the best live venues in Vancouver so I was stoked to see In Flames play there on the evening of November, 17th. A half hour before doors opened, there was already a horde of metal fans stretched down the block eagerly awaiting a packed line-up that included Portland's 36 Crazyfists, France's Gojira, All That Remains and the headliners In Flames. The show did not disappoint. Here's how it went down. More...

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Iced Earth Plays MacEwan Hall Ballroom in Calgary

The air may have been frosty when Iced Earth slid into a wintery Calgary on Monday night, but their reception could hardly have been warmer when the classic metal act performed to a sold out crowd at the MacEwan Hall Ballroom. More...

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Rock Against Diabetes 2008 Rocks Vegas

"Rock Against Diabetes 2008" was held at Club Rox in Las Vegas, Nevada. The club was kind enough to provide R.A.D. with a venue for the two-day event. Many artists gave of themselves to support the cause, which will not be forgotten by all of us that struggle with diabetes on a daily basis.

I got the chance to talk with the event founder and organizer, Darrin Buchanan, and he explained how all of this came about. Two years ago, Darrin's foot died on him virtually over night. He underwent a number of tests and the result was diabetes and that part of his foot would need to be removed. Here is a 36 year old man with a wife and young daughter and he was facing the fight of his life. From that experience Rock Against Diabetes began. The first event was held is Canada and Darrin, in his wheelchair, was keeping the show flowing and the event was a success. A chain of events led to a second surgery to remove more of Darrin's leg from the knee down, and now Darrin would be walking again after 2 years with the help of a prosthetic leg. It was fantastic to see Darrin running around for two days along with his lovely wife Lindsey. They are my heroes! I am sure glad we are on the same team in this daily fight that we diabetics face each day. They give me strength and hope! More...

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Down Goes Down Under and Rocks Perth's Metropolis

A good turnout for a small city like Perth is unfortunately about the size of a bad turnout somewhere larger, however, the streets of Fremantle were buzzing with anticipation on this particular Tuesday night (October 10th) as black-clad metal fans clogged pub doorways along the main drag. Inside Metropolis, the venue for the last date of Down's Australian tour, the feeling was even more intense despite the ridiculous $10 beers. More...

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Amorphis Performs at El Corazon in Seattle, WA

On the night of October 10th, Finnish mythology came to life at El Corazon in Seattle, WA when Amorphis dropped in town. Along with these Finns came Switzerland’s Samael and Virgin Black from down under. Also on the bill were two local Seattle bands, Black Breath and Asema. Black Breath opened the show with some extended groove-metal hardcore and metalcore screaming, pumping energy into the crowd and prepping them for the rest of the other bands. More...

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Zimmer's Hole Plays The Underground in Calgary, AB

Zimmer’s Hole descended into The Underground in Calgary, AB. on Sept. 29 for a high-octane onslaught of comedic thrash. Those who arrived early enough were in for a treat when local act Kilyakai got things started around 9:30. More...

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The Wild West Metalfest Rides into Tucson, AZ

The Wild West Metalfest rode into town with seven of the hottest hardcore/metal bands of the Wild West. Featuring Arizona acts - Grudgeholder, Animus Divine, You Apart, Scorned Embrace, Parasite, Fracture Point, and Silent Bliss.

The pre-sales for this show cost $7 and it was one of those great concerts you can see in almost every corner of the U.S. that won't break your bank account and in the process you'll see some great up and coming acts. The promoters for the Wild West Metalfest let me know they'd be taking the show on the road this fall/winter, so if you get a chance to see this tour or the bands involved, do yourselves a favor and check them out. You won't be sorry. More...

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Metal Masters Enlighten Chicago

In what will likely go down as arguably the best metal tour of the summer, The Metal Masters Tour has been treating fans with four legendary metal bands which include two of the first metal bands ever in Judas Priest and Heaven and Hell, a thrash pioneer in Testament, and Motorhead. This concert lineup is the equivalent to a festival main stage without having to sit through any dismal filler acts or bands that leave fans questioning their metal legitimacy for deserving to be on such a tour.

Being an Iowa resident, I rarely see any classic or larger metal bands roll through, so to see four bands that will likely not stop here again this year, on one bill, was incentive enough for me to make the trip to Chicago. The concert was held on August 19, 2008 at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheater (formerly the Tweeter Center). It was also a chance for me to see two of my personal favorite bands in Judas Priest and Testament that I longed to see at least once before they retire, can’t perform live anymore or I die. More...

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Pick Your Poison: Hemlock, et al Invade Arizona

The July 8 show at The Rock Niteclub in Tucson, Arizona started promptly at 7:00 PM with young metal band CURSED FATE taking the stage. These guys couldn't have been older than 14 or 15, but they played with an air of professionalism that some of the more experienced bands this night should have taken note of. Their sound though was reminiscent of most of the young metal/emo type bands. More...

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Boris and Torche Melt Vancouver

On July 30, Boris hit a mid-sized Vancouver bar called Richards On Richards. You should know for next time: before you head to a Boris show, you'd better square up with the universe. There's no nine-foot skinhead to boot your face in the moshpit, there's nobody in the bathroom doing coke off a bowie knife -- but you could still get hurt. It's those ultra-low frequencies, back and forth between your nervous system and bowels, until your spine explodes and paints the back wall pink. So square up first. I'm talking prayer bowls and mantras, I'm talking incense -- but shove the smouldering incense cones right into your eardrums, for Satan's sake. Sandalwood or patchouli earplugs. This is metal here, true metal, no matter how much attention the drummer pays to his huge silver gong. More...

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Monsters of Rock

Nearly 20,000 hard rock and metal fans braved the heat on Saturday to show their support for the one-off, one-day Monsters of Rock in Calgary, AB. While the line to get into McMahon Stadium stretched over a football field in length as ticket holders went through to the necessary ticket scans and bag checks, Zimmers Hole grabbed the stage by the bull horns and audibly spurred concert goers as they trickled in. Zimmers Hole, fronted by Chris Valagao (who later signed autographs wearing nothing but red body paint and a butt flap), gave a short, but high energy sampling of funny, thrashy goodness. And it was super cool of Ozzy to have a Canadian band kick start the festivities. More...

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Judas Priest Delivers a Metal Sermon in Vancouver

Ever wanted to rock out with your cock out? Well fans got the chance at General Motors Place on July 24th as Judas Priest and Testament played the 3rd date of their North American tour. Apparently belts with metal studs, chains and fake bullets are considered potential weapons and were confiscated before the show leaving many fans irate and holding up their pants. A first for any metal show I’ve ever been to. The crowd was a mix of everyone from teens getting their first taste of the Priest to the older fans of the band. It appears as though the metalheads from the Heavy Metal parking lot days have grown up and gotten real jobs and haircuts as the mullets were few and far between. More...

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Demon Hunter and Living Sacrifice Rock Philly

I recently had the chance to check out the Demon Hunter tour in Philadelphia, PA. The show was on June 22nd and featured Living Sacrifice, Oh Sleeper, The Famine and The Advent.

Being a huge Demon Hunter fan, I was excited to see who they had touring with them. Since I've only heard Living Sacrifice before, I had no idea what to expect with the other acts that were performing. More...

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New Lamb of God DVD Premieres In NYC

On Monday June 30th, 2008 I had the honor of attending Lamb of God's “Walk With Me in Hell” DVD premiere at the Chelsae Theater in New York City. I walked in early and took a seat in the center of the nearly empty theater. The theater had comfortable seats, great sound, and a screen suitable for the room. Seeing the DVD in a theater definitely made it a better experience than sitting at home watching the DVD. More...

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Norway Comes To Montana With Hostferd Tour

Up and coming black metallers Hennes Siste Host stopped in Great Falls for the first official day of the Hostferd tour to inject a little of Norway into Montana. Accompanying them were a diverse range of bands from around the state that ran the gamut from hardcore to death metal. Playing the Heritage Hall at the local college of technology, each band put on a great show and added their own unique take on metal. Despite a disappointingly low crowd turn out, the energy the bands brought and the amazing acoustics of the venue made the show a very satisfying experience for all involved. More...

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Dream Theater Slays Calgary Fans

Progressive Nation 2008 swung by Calgary, AB this weekend for a two-night musical extravaganza, featuring Dream Theater, Opeth, 3 and Between the Buried and Me.

While much of the sold-out crowd was still working its way through the doors at Friday’s show, the Woodstock, NY-based 3 kicked things off in MacEwan Hall. A wild blend of acoustic and electric guitars and a keyboardist pulling double duty as a second drummer fired up the crowd and a lot of people who came just for Opeth or Dream Theater were drawn into the hall, rather than going straight for the beer gardens – a rare feat for opening bands at shows of this caliber. A high energy stage presence and an increasing heaviness and rapidity to their music left the crowd wanting more – and 3’s frontman Joey Eppard probably wanting some new guitar strings as they snapped up from his acoustic at the end of their final song, “Amaze Disgrace.” When I caught up with him after the show and commented on the serious string breakage going on up there, he gleaned proudly and stated “I broke all of them!” Turns out the guy plays so hard, his Knucklehead strings can’t always keep up. Sometimes they stand up to the abuse, sometimes they don’t. Somebody get this guy an endorsement! More...

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Seattle Gets Progressive with Progressive Nation

The Progessive Nation Tour’s headlining acts are a match made in heaven for prog fans. Combining Opeth and Dream Theater on the same bill is something that should have happened a long time ago, and sweetening the pot with prog newcomers Three and the more experimental Between the Buried and Me created a perfect storm of progressive metal. To further set this tour apart from similar acts the bands chose to use almost entirely fully seated venues instead of the typical standing setup. More...

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Shadows Fall Brings A Variety of Metal To Jaxx

I was happy to hear just a week before this show that Shadows Fall's tour was hitting Jaxx in Springfield, Virginia on April 13, 2008. I had already resigned to missing the tour, which featured a great lineup with Droid, Arsis, The Showdown, and Kataklysm as support, because the Baltimore date was the day before Ministry's final stop in my area, and I'm just too old for back-to-back shows! The April 13 show worked out perfectly, as I really wanted to catch this tour. The show was also on a weekend and I had not been to Jaxx in quite a while, not that I needed so many reasons to go to this show. More...

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Mustaine's Smaller Gigantour Returns Strongly

The Bell Center is a pretty good venue in terms of size and sound quality, but for those of us who weren’t able to buy ground tickets before they sold out, the seats were a bit lame. I don’t want to complain, but the bands were really far away – you try headbanging from the stands with five inches of standing room without bashing into the people standing nearly on top of you.

On the other hand, the people-watching in the large arena was excellent, particularly because Megadeth tends to draw metal fans as well as metalheads. By this, I refer to the hordes of young teenage boys flocking to the over-priced merchandise stands to don $40 Megadeth tees as their girlfriends went about in whatever Hot Topic is peddling to the angsty-girl demographic these days. On the opposite end of the spectrum, overweight middle-aged men guzzled down expensive beer and sat in their seats looking bewildered until Megadeth came on. Before I become too disparaging of the crowd, however, I am compelled to note that the enormous pit where people are typically embroiled in hockey battling looked like a great deal of fun from where I was sitting. More...

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Kalmah Finally Delivers Finnish Metal To Canada

Although it’s a decent, smaller venue, something was clearly wrong with the sound quality at the Théatre Plaza on April 28, when Kalmah, Talamyus and WarCall came on Kalmah’s first-ever tour for this continent.

I’m not a sound technician, yet this is a problem I’m not as willing to attribute to the bands, as to the location, the equipment, the set-up, or something of that nature. The middle of Kalmah’s show offers an example of this issue, as the bass started producing an annoying, droning feedback – quite noticeable as I was stationed in front of Timo Lehtinen. Pekka Kokko had to stop the show and call for assistance, leading the audience into a shout of his new favorite curse word, “tabarnak!”

WarCall, a local band (from Montreal), opened the night and they were definitely sub-par, at least compared with the headliner. Their music was of a progressive nature that caused the mind to wander, and I ended up getting sucked into the saga of a large, drunk man harassing the bartender who waved water in his face, in vain.

Another Montreal act, Talamyus, picked up the crowd and got everyone thrashing about and ready for Kalmah. Even from closer to the back of the venue, where the sound is typically of a better grade, something was a little off in the performance of Talamyus, who did not manage to achieve their studio-quality sound. I don’t really enjoy admitting that, as I find this to be a talented and innovative group. They tackle Viking themes from a more brutal perspective than fans commonly see, tossing in old-school death metal growls more suggestive of earlier Amon Amarth work than melodic, folk-driven music.

The most recent release, “In These Days of Violence,” got a good deal of attention, and “God Of War” and “Conviction” were my favorite songs from their setlist.
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