Ravenz (Reviews)

  • Anvil @ The Phoenix Theater, Petaluma, CA 05-30-18

    Anvil are a Heavy Metal band from Ontario, Canada that launched in the 80's. These guys were way ahead of other metal bands and actually paved the way influencing groups like Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica etc.
    They just released their 16th studio album "Pounding the Pavement" in 2018. The trio lineup is Steve "Lips" Kudlow lead vox/guitar, Chris Robertson on bass, and pounding it out on the kit is Robb Reiner. Lips and Robb are the original members from the beginning.
    I'm not going to go deep into their history, but how I came about this show will sum it up quite well and lead you into the direction of their story.
    Aproximately one month ago I was at the library checking out dvd's to rent when I came across a documentary "The Story of Anvil". This came out in 2008. I remembered the band name, but couldn't quite piece it together. I went right home and played it. Then it all clicked and I was so inspired by their courage, dedication and awesome music that I decided to search their name in the Bandsintown app on my phone. To my surprise I couldn't believe my eyes that not only were they on tour, but there was a show scheduled on my side of town in a month. I quickly put in my request at the magazine and contacted the publicist. I was super excited to hear back with the approval, and started counting down the days to the show.
    The show was on a Wednesday night and I was given an opportunity to shoot at a new venue,
    The Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, Ca. This night was a metal fest consisting of five bands in total. Two were local bands, one from New York City, one from Brazil and then Anvil from Canada.
    First up was a local band Tempest from Northern California. A rippin' four piece with exceptional sound and style. Right up my alley with flavors of Rainbow, U.F.O. and Black Sabbath to name a few. Really dug there sound, and their guitar player Frank Guiles shreds it. Nikki Scott on vocals strikes up some depth in his vocals. They had a solid fan following as well.
    Next up was Space Vacation from San Francisco. I don't even know where to start with this Amazing melodic-metal band. Scott Shapiro lead vocals & guitar delivers untainted lyrics as he rips it up on guitar. Kiyo Morgan on lead guitar is a one-man show shredding insanely. Then you have Eli Lucas on drums, whom is truly gifted with fluidity and style. Steve Hayes on bass holds down the rhythm section with some sick deep lines. Their sound is a unique mix of Motorhead, Judas Priest and Def Leppard with some Iron Maiden as desert. This is a Must See Band! https://www.spacevacationrocks.com
    Shadowside the Quartet from Brazil were explosive!! Driven with fast drum precision by Fabio Buitvidas, and quick machine guitar riffs by Raphael Mattos. The second part of the rhythm section laying down some beefy bass lines is Magnus Rosen. This trio is exceptional at fusing traditional metal with harsh powerful tunes, then waning into pleasing choruses. The lead singer is a dimunitive dynmo in Dani Nolden. But don't let her size fool you, she can throw down some deep belly growling lines and smooth it out on the backside. This lady packs a solid gait, she is a powerhouse. I really liked all of their songs, and was extremely impressed with her lyrics on the song about depression and not giving up. Shadowside just released a new album in 2017 called "Shades of Humanity". I highly suggest you check this band out! https://www.shadowside.net
    Fourth band of the night was SunLord from New York City. This three piece is lead by Alfonso Ferrazza on guitar & vocals, Bobby Dead on bass and Jeff Almeyda on the kit. OMG!! The night just kept up the stellar pace of pushing the bar higher with different styles and yet exceptional musicianship amongst all the bands. SunLord is heavily influenced by Motorhead, and I would have to say that Alfonso has an uncanny vocal resemblance to Lemmy. There music is heavy heavy hard and fast metal. I was astonished how lightning fast Alfonso shreds, just like his song "The Lightning Man". His rhythm section were driving it exceptionally fast as well. I was super impressed with these guys, solid and great lyrics.I want to give a shout out to Alfonso, as he is super nice and he gave me a cd for taking pictures of his band. 
    He understands the laws of artist appreciation.
    All of a sudden the fans thickened in front of the stage, they were ranging from ages 16 to 60. It was the most diverse age group at a show thus far this year. As I looked around I saw many home made jean vests and jackets with heavy metal band patches on them. There were several people that had some vintage Anvil t-shirts as well. I could smell the metal at this point. Just as I was striking up a conversation with a gal about a concert, Anvil took the stage. "Lips" came straight up front smiling, welcoming us, and thanked the bands that played tonight. Then we were off into the first song of their set "March of the Crabs" off their highly acclaimed album Metal on Metal. This is a straight up two minute instrumental metal piece, a brilliant intro! "666" was next on the list, followed by "Ooh Baby" off Hard 'N' Heavy. His lyrics are smart, witty, and he has an incredible voice that can scale with the best of 'em. I would have to agree with him that he has one of the best drummers around in Robb Reiner. Robb hits lots of quads and triples on the kit. Super fast with exceptional timing that really drives their sound.
    In "Bad Ass Rock N Roll", Lips shreds it up the neck hitting some high notes, and all the while smiling. Both he and Chris Robertson on bass are goofy fun. They are playing really hard metal but not acting like they have attitudes. They actually make it look easy. At one point Lips broke out a vibrator and was using it as a pic while playing guitar, then he actually turned it on. The fans loved it! Lips takes some time inbetween songs to either tell a story about his first meeting with Lemmy or how a song was inspired. It felt like I was in the middle of the "Story of Anvil". What a great ride!
    Lips dedicated the song "Free As The Wind" to Lemmy."Running wild crazy and free, being anything you want to be" is a phrase from the song.
    Chris Robertson on bass joined the band in 2014, and he is quite spectacular on his 5 string. He definitely lays down some nice bass lines, and takes to flight in air.
    Anvil played a solid tight set of 14 songs which spanned 8 albums. They weren't able to play the two encore songs, as time got away from them due to so many bands prior. It was ok though, the band stayed on stage as the die hard fans were getting their albums and memorabilia autographed.
    It was an epic night of metal new, old and from different parts of the world. I was extremely happy that I did not miss this memorable event. Pick up a copy of Anvil's newest album Pounding the Pavement. 
    Long Live Metal!! Check their tour dates here. http://my.tbaytel.net/tgallo/anvil/


  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club @ The Fillmore 5-23-18

    Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC) Released their 8th studio album "Wrong Creatures" in January 2018 through Vagrant Records. BRMC have been going strong for 20 years producing new sounds for each and every song. They are currently on a world tour in support of their new masterpiece, which favorably landed them a support slot opening a few shows for Depeche Mode on the last leg of Depeche Mode's "Global Spirit Tour". With this being said, you can assure how fortunate I felt acquiring the credentials to cover BRMC headlining at The Fillmore for MNPR Magazine.
    On this Wednesday night the show was not sold out as I had anticipated, even though it appeared to feel as so. The fans seemed to exude an overly excited energy awaiting for BRMC to hit the stage.
    The opening band Restavrant are a duo from Los Angeles. Troy Murrah lead singer on guitar and Tyler Whiteside on drums. Summing up their sound is something of a swamp-punk-junkyard hillbilly bluegrass. Tyler's kit includes a 5 gallon bucket and a couple of bent up license plates on top of a tambourine. Troy's vocals spew from distorted microphone filters, in addition to slide action and loops. Restavrant create an eclectic sound that clearly defines their unique band. One thing for sure, there is never a dull moment in their performance.
    BRMC took the stage at 9pm opening with 2 songs off their newest album Wrong Creatures; "Little Thing Gone Wild" and "King of Bones". Robert Levon Been on bass drives these songs with his dark hypnotic lyrics supported by Leah Shapirio's steady back beat of frequent tribal lows on the kit. Peter Hayes layers distorted fuzz on guitar as the stage fills with thick fog and strobing white and green lights enhance the dark mysterious rock-punk-shoe gazing sound. Peter and Robert not only share the spotlight on the mic, but they also traded it up on instruments throughout the set. Peter played guitar and the harmonica on a several songs including "Ain't No Easy Way" off the album Howl for their 3rd song of the night. He delivers a combination of southern rock and blues. This was definitely a crowd favorite. Robert indulged us with his piano skills and emotional lyrics on "Annabel Lee". "Spread Your Love" was the last song before the 3 song encore. This song is infectious, musically and lyrically. Definitely one of my favorites. BRMC ended the set with the infamous "Punk Song". The crowd did not seem restless at all, it felt more like the beginning of a concert.
    BRMC played a solid 22 song set list spanning their massive discography including 7 songs off their newest album. The one thing for sure is that this trio will blow your mind musically. They somehow have managed to dig below the depths, struggling to avoid self plagiarism. Clearly unique individuals with like minded musical geniusness that will fuel your soul.
    Little Thing Gone Wild
    King Of Bones
    Ain't No Easy Way
    Question Of Faith
    Circus Bazooko
    Conscience Killer
    Shade Of Blue
    Beat The Devils Tattoo
    carried from the start
    Shuffle Your Feet
    Annabel Lee
    Let The Day Begin
    In Like The Rose
    Red Eyes And Tears
    Spread Your Love

    Feel It Now
    Punk Song


  • Sons Of Apollo @ Slims SF 5-2-18

    For those of you that do not know this Rock Supergroup "Sons Of Apollo", just check out the musicians names and bands they have been in. So much talent put together on one stage is unbelievable.
    Jeff Scott Soto (Ex Journey) - vocals, Billy Sheehan (Mr Big) - bass, Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater/Winery Dogs) - drums & vocals, Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (Ex Guns 'N' Roses) - guitar & vocals, Derek Sherinian (Ex Dream Theater/Alice Cooper) - keyboards.
    The show initially was slotted for The Regency in San Francisco but got moved to Slim's which is a smaller but more intimate club. Thus being said, it was packed tight! I think the real downfall here was the stage area was too compact, and the load bearing poles that block the crowds visibility of the musicians from the balcony and back of the room.
    I spotted several fans sporting their Dream Theater t-shirts and hovering over the merch area. I would say the average age of the concert-goers was forty and over. True fans that appreciate the extremely talented seasoned musicians, were ready to be Rocked!
    At 9:30 the house lights dimmed and Van Halen "Intruder" errupted over the PA system. Then like a bolt of lightening, Sons Of Apollo exploded onstage for their first song, "God Of The Sun" off their new album Psychotic Symphony. I actually found myself in a quarry about whom to photograph first, there was so much talent rocking out in front of me, I was awe struck. I have never seen a double bass and double guitar share the same stage, this was over the top insanity of talent. I enjoyed the middle eastern tempo paired with Mike's drum beats, and watching Billy and Bumblefoot shred insanely on their instruments. Jeff is a natural singer, his voice is pure and he is very charismatic on stage. This song is 11 minutes of pure high-octane-fusion metal prog/rock!
    Fasten your seat belts, as we were just primed for what the next two hours would consist of. Individual showcasing of expertise technicality primarily focused on Billy and Bumblefoot mastering their quick fingered riffs and impeccable timing with one another. There was no letting up on either instrument as both Bumblefoot on guitar and Billy on bass shredded insanely the entire evening. Mike Portnoy effortlessly displayed strict control on the kit all the while smiling. Derek Sherinian on keyboards layered every song with magical nuances.
    I could feel the appreciation and respect amongst the musicians for one another, and watching them play together displays exactly that. At one point Jeff Soto said that he could watch the musicians all night, and that he too was in awe of their musicianship.
    Sons Of Apollo played 16 songs in total, all 9 from their album Psychotic Symphony, a couple from Dream Theater including "Lines in the Sand" and a beautiful solo by Jeff of Queen's song "Save Me", (this actually brought tears to my eyes it was so heartfelt), along with a cover of Van Halen's ", And The Cradle Will Rock".
    This was an evening of musical overload to the highest extent. A rarity of super talented musicians blazing a trail through cities now. You need to go to https://www.sonsofapollo.com and get on this train.
    God of the Sun
    Signs of the Time
    Divine Addiction
    Just Let Me Breathe
    Lost in Oblivion
    Save Me
    The Pink Panther Theme
    Opus Maximus
    Figaro's Whore
    Lines in the Sand
    And the Cradle Will Rock
    Coming Home


  • The Fratellis @ The Fillmore 4-30-18

    I just recently discovered The Fratellis band through a publicist client list that I occasionally freelance for. Sometimes I discover new bands in person at a show which are opening for a band that I am covering. Other times I get the buzz from photographers, musicians, or just by surfing the web. My main mission is to seek out new talent or discover artists that I have not seen, and to help expose them to new fans. I surely came upon great ones this evening!
    The show was at the infamous Fillmore Theater in San Francisco. If you haven't been there and live in the bay area, I highly suggest you catch a show here. The venue has a very intimate feel to it, and the staff are so friendly. The upstairs has 4 sections of balcony seats that gives you an opportunity to capture the show with an outstanding view. You definitely want to get in line first for these seats. The eye catcher is the poster room that displays tons of old and new show flyers up on the wall. This is a large seating room with a bar and restaurant. Very cool! Also if you stay to the end of the evening, The Fillmore will give you a free poster from the event. 
    That is worth the ticket alone!
    Tonights opening band was Blood Red Shoes, a rock duo from Brighton, England. Laura-Mary Carter is the lead singer on guitar, and Steven Ansell plays drums and shares the spotlight on vocals. This was my first exposure to the band, and let me tell you they played some of the best alternative, garage and indie rock. Straight out of the gate with opener "The Perfect Mess", Blood Red Shoes took the crowd by surprise. It's impressive how two musicians can sound like a complete rock band. Full throttle driving drum beats coupled with some sick guitar riffs and effects. Laura-Mary and Steven ricocheted vocals on their fifth song "This Is Not For You". They harmonize so well together, and their chemistry is spectacular on stage. This is most definitely enhanced due to the fact that Steven's drum set was stragetically placed sideways at the front of the stage facing where Laura-Mary stood, which ensured optimal band interaction with one another, and gave us an intimate experience with the drumming. 
    I found this to be exceptionally brilliant!

    Every song is great, at least in my opinion and they gained a new fan in me. Blood Red Shoes played 11 songs in total and left us wanting more. I highly recommend you catching this band live, they will blow your mind.
    In between bands I started up a conversation with a couple of fans Mc Coy and Hunter. I wanted to hear how they discovered The Fratellis. I try to engage with fans and gather their stories of the events. I throughly enjoy everyones experiences surrounding the music industry. Mc Coy said he lived in Chicago 6 years ago and was at a Blackhawks hockey event, he heard the song "Chelsea Dagger" over the PA system. Apparently the song was used as an anthem for the team at this time. He immediately liked it, which lead into researching the band. Mc Coy has been an avid fan since, and now lives in the bay area. Hunter had just discovered them 3 days prior to the event, and made it a mission to track down a ticket. Neither one of these guys knew each other prior to the show, but somehow music brings us all together that bonds us for life.
    A little info about The Fratellis, they are three brothers, Jon Fratelli (vocals/guitar), Mince Fratelli (drums/vocals), and Barry Fratelli (bass/vocals). Straight out of Glasgow, Scotland their music is a mixture of Indie rock, garage rock, and post alternative punk. They have two songs that have been on the top 10 singles list in the UK, "Chelsea Dagger" and "Whistle for the Choir".
    This tour was in support of their newest album "In Your Own Sweet Time". Their 5th studio album since 2006.
    I could sense the show was about to begin as the crowd moved up closer to the stage. For this event there was no barricade for photographers, which gave the fans a chance to get right up front. The house lights went down and The Fratellis opened up with "Henrietta", from their first album Costello Music. I could tell this was a popular song amongst the crowd, as they started to sing and dance immediately. The quick guitar hooks and rolling drum beats are part of their signature sound. Jon was sporting a brim hat that made it difficult to see his eyes, although he was smiling all the time. I could tell he was in good spirits tonight as he welcomed us to the show before they rolled into "Starcrossed Losers" for the second song (one of my favorites), off their newest album In Your Own Sweet Time.
    Jon clearly captivates the crowd with his lyrical wisdom enhanced by his lustrous voice and grace on stage. When they rolled into "Sugartown", I could tell the die hard fans as they knew the lyrics to everysong.
    Tonight felt like a large party as the crowd was interacting with one another and the band was just having a good ol' time on stage. On their 16th song "Too Much Wine", I particullary enjoyed Jon's guitar solo. Although it was hard to not focus on the charismatic front man, Mince on the drums kept you entertained as well with his ever changing gleaming expressions and fun interactions amongst Barry and Jon, not to mention his impeccable timing of killer beats.
    Spanning their discography we were treated to 20 songs which include two encore songs, and ending the evening with "Chelsea Dagger".
    On this impeccable evening of events I discovered two brilliant bands that I will be a forever fan of. If you haven't had the opportunity to see The Fratellis, I am urging you to seek them out.


  • Cradle Of Filth @ The Fillmore Theater San Francisco, Ca. 4-22-18

    Cradle Of Filth ended their 'Cryptoriana' U.S. tour on Sunday night at The Fillmore in San Francisco, Ca. 'Cryptoriana - The Seductiveness Of Decay' is their 12th studio album that was released in September of 2017. Cradle Of Filth are a British hardcore/extreme metal band, and I was stoked to get approval to cover this show for MNPR Magazine.

    Not only was this show sold out, it was also a trifecta! Clearly all three bands on the bill are headliners, well in my opinion anyway. COF have been touring with Jinjer and Uncured for a couple of months now, but tonight was to be their parting as each band would go their separate ways.
    There was a long line waiting for the Cradle Of Filth meet and greet before the show. Lots of fans dressed up in their goth wear and make-up. I always enjoy seeing the people that take the time and energy they put into this. It's quite a spectacular compliment to the artists/bands, not to mention entertaining eye candy.
    Showtime was 7:30 for the opening band Uncured. They are a 4 piece death metal band from NYC, which consists of teenage brothers Zak & Rex Cox. Zak is the lead singer on guitar, and his brother Rex is a back up vocalist and plays lead guitar. The brothers are teamed up with Liam Manley on bass and Jon Kita on the kit.

    Tonight was their 48th and final show of the tour with Cradle Of Filth, and I could feel the buzz on them as I entered the photo pit. There were two other women whom were filming and photographing the band. I asked them if they knew anything about the band, and one woman said "they are Amazing, and get ready to be Rocked!" These ladies were right!!

    Right out of the gate with their first song "Stygian Valley", I was blown away! These guys are extremely talented musicians that combine guitar technicality layered with harsh vocals and beautiful melodic intervals. Uncured are an almighty thunderous force on stage, thrashing hard. Their set was short with only 6 songs, but I know they gained some new fans. Uncured are on the rise, and surely turning heads . They will be headlining shows soon!

    Next up was a band named Jinger from Ukraine. Jinjer is a combination of death progressive/alternative nu-metal combined with funky jazz grooves. Fronted by lead singer Tatiana Shmailyuk, and backed by Roman Ibramkhalilov laying some knarly guitar lines, Eugene Kostyuk holding down the heavy bass grooves, and Vladislav Ulasevish driving the music on drums. Jinjer has been voted best metal band artist twice since Tatiana joined the crew in 2013.
    Tatiana was sporting a yin/yang shirt symbolizing how contrary forces may actually be complementary and interconnected. Spot on with her performance that is like no other. Jinjer is one of a kind, a spiritual demonstration of the alter egos that clash and blend within oneself. Tatiana is a beautiful dimunative dynamo on stage. Kicking, thrashing, and jumping around all the while digging deep down in her diaphgram thrusting male growling heavy vocals smoothed out with beautifully wholesome notes and graceful hand jestures. Tatiana captivates the fans!
    The performance was enhanced by the stage lighting, which appeared to be fueled from her lyrics inconjunction with the music. Constant mood flashing between black, red, blue and surges of strobes in yellow and white.
    I was unfamilar with this band so I can't tell you what songs were played, and I was unable to locate a set list anywhere. But truthfully it didn't matter, because I too was spellbound by Tatiana's performance and Jinjer's music. I am looking forward to the next time they come to town, and I highly recommend you catching their show as well. I'm sure they will be headling next time.

    There was a beautiful large painted back drop of Cradle Of Filth's new album cover across the back of the stage. A towering drum cage made up of plastic see thru vinyl panels on stage right, and lead singer Dani Filth's mic stand was a gothic cross which had a metal skeleton attached to it. The house lights turned blue and were strobing, creating a mysterious atmosphere. There was smoke streaming into the front as Cradle Of Filth made their way on stage. Keyboardist Lyndsay Schoolcraft played a slow gloomy symphonious intro leading us into "Gilded Cunt" for their first song of the night. This track is an extremely fast metal tempo that promotes massive headbanging. The fans cheered loudly as the show had begun.
    Dani's outfit was crafted into an armour suit of sorts with massive spikes on his shoulders and arms. His vest and shirt resembeled a skeleton, and the gothic metal boots were massive. Dani's face was painted white with black outlines on his eyebrows and chin. He looked like a villian out of a comic book or horror movie, as did the rest of the band.
    Good thing I was wearing ear protection, because Dani's screams are very high pitched like shrieking bats. Cradle Of Filth exploded into their second song "Beneath The Howling Stars" off the 1998 album Cruelty And The Beast. This song starts off with a keyboard intro and fast drum beats, and continues to drive the fans into a mosh circle. The music slows to keyboard overatures with haunting nuances and back up vocals from Lyndsay which lead into a beautiful yet creepy harmony between Dani and Lyndsay.
    Richard Shaw and Ashok both on guitars lead this metal mayhem ripping guitar solos and laying down beautiful melodies. There are many layers to their musical mastery combined with Dani's vocals. Cradle Of Filth's songs are long storytelling up to 7 minutes. Although it was hard for me to distinguish his lyrics at times partly due to his thick accent and shrills, I still found myself in a dream world of mystical victorian gothic era.
    It would seem quite challenging to span two decades worth of material into one evening, but Cradle Of Filth managed to do just that playing 14 songs in total with 6 encore songs, making this a night to remember.

    Gilded Cunt
    Beneath the Howling Stars
    Blackest Magick In Practice
    Heartbreak and Seance
    Bathory Aria
    Dusk and Her Embrace
    The Death of Love
    You Will Know the Lion By His Claw

    A Bruise Upon the Silent Moon
    The Promise of Fever
    Her Ghost in the Fog
    From the Cradle to Enslave
    Blooding the Hounds of Hell


  • Jonathan Davis @ The Fillmore 4-18-18

    Jonathan Davis is known as the lead singer/songwriter of the industrial metal band Korn.

    He is now touring for his solo project album "Black Labyrinth" to be released on May 25th.
    Jonathan said his new material had been accumulating on his computer for 10 years, but due to the constant touring with his band Korn, and other complications he was unable to complete it.
    Now finally the break and time needed, Jonathan and band kicked off his tour on April 6th in Portland with dates currently scheduled through June at the Hellfest in France. Jonathan also announced that Ray Luzier, the drummer for Korn will be playing on this tour.
    I was more than honored to cover the show for MNPR Magazine at The Fillmore. I have always felt a deep connection with Jonathan's music, and finding out that he completed his solo project and would be touring, I wanted to experience it live.
    I stood outside the Fillmore watching people line up for this highly anticipated evening. I was actually surprised to find the show was not sold out. I spoke with a young lady regarding this, and she replied, "I don't think folks know he is the lead singer of Korn". Hmm I thought, maybe so but I know one thing for sure, they will surely be sorry they missed this event once they hear his new music.
    The opening band for the evening was Palisades, known as a post-hardcore band from New Jersey. They are supporting Jonathan Davis on most of the tour, and I can see why. Frontman Lou Miceli's lyrics are intense and realistic. They hit it hard opening their set with "Through Hell", then into "Personal", and "Better Chemicals". Palisades ignited the evening delivering 10 songs with their high energy and musical synchronization. I see a big future for this band
    indeed! Band members are Lou Miceli vocals/guitar, Matt Marshall guitar, Xavier Adames on bass, and Brandon Elgar on drums.
    We had a half hour break between bands, and were entertained by the exceptional house music at The Fillmore. Concert goers started moving to the front of the stage eagerly awaiting to be up close and personal with Jonathan. Then finally the music stopped, the lights turned red and the crowd started yelling, clapping, and whistling as Jonathan walked across the stage to his mic, spreading his arms wide open giving us a massive hug. Jonathan opened the set with "Underneath My Skin", a drum driven, up beat song which consists of penetrateable lyrics like, "Somethings Crawling Underneath My Skin, Somethings Dying Somewhere Within". They rolled into "Everyone", the second song which definitely feels like a Korn song, super fast lyrics and power guitar riffs. Jonathan's passion is channeled while he moves about the stage waving his hand and bending back to dig deep in his vocals barring his soul. I knew this was going to be an intense heartfelt show. The crowd was going crazy!
    Up next was "Forsaken", a deep sound from the upright bass and melodic balance between the mandolin. Before the next song, Jonathan was humble in his moment thanking the fans for continually supporting him along his path. It was beautiful to feel the sincerity of deep blessings. He also stated that he wanted us to hear his new project "live", before the release of the album on May 25th.
    Their seventh song was "Slept So Long", a Korn favorite. The musical layers between the mandolin, synthesizer, and upright bass produced an eruption of middle eastern spiritual beats that drove the tempo. Jonathan's voice echoed an erie chill. The harmonics between he and the guitarist were exceptional and raw. This song started the mosh circle in the middle of the crowd, and continued to the end of the show.
    The band left the stage after playing a very warming Neil Diamond cover of "Love On The Rocks". The fans chanted for more, and after a few minutes of encore we were treated to two more songs including "What It Is", (definitely one of my favorites) which is a new song from the American Satan Soundtrack. The last song for the evening was "Happiness", also from his solo album.
    They played all 13 songs from Black Labyrinth and two from Korn, including "System", from the movie soundtrack Queen Of The Damned, and "Slept So Long".
    This was a powerful performance indeed. Jonathan Davis knows how to penetrate your soul and open your eyes through his experiences in life. You will feel the depths of self discovery through his music. The songs from his album "Black Labyrinth" are masterful, down to earth and life changing. I am hoping to catch another show, and I really encourage you to experience this monumental event.
    Set list;
    Underneath My Skin; Everyone; Forsaken; Final Days; What You Believe; Basic Needs; Slept So Long; Medicate; Walk On By; System; Please Tell Me; Your God; Love On The Rocks; What It Is; Happiness.


  • John 5 & The Creatures @ Harlows 4-15-18

    I only knew of John 5 as Rob Zombie's lead guitarist, so I didn't know what type of band he had put together. All assuming a metal band of sorts, I was elated to check out his side project at Harlows night club in Sacramento on a Sunday night.
    This was my first time at Harlows, located in the outskirts of the city but surrounded with Victorian homes. Nice intimate venue with exceptional sound and lighting. Not sure if the show was sold out, although for a Sunday night it was exceedingly packed tight.
    The first band up was Hero Jr. from Indianapolis. A straight up four piece classic rock band that impressed the crowd. Lead singer/guitar Evan Haughey delivers some pretty killer lyrics driving tunes like "Jump Ship", which was their opening song. Hero Jr. creates a loud powerhouse sound with dual guitars, as Evan is paired up with side kick lead guitarist Ken Rose. The rhythm section is definitely a solid core in David DuBrava on Bass and Ryan Keyes whom hits so hard, he creates an thunderous explosion on the kit. Hero Jr. rocked their souls out while delivering 8 top notch songs, ending their set with "Anger Room". 
    If you love Rock and Roll, then this is the new band to discover. Catch them on tour now!

    During the intermission, another photographer informed me that Gary Holt, guitarist from Slayer and Exodus would be joining John 5 on stage for a couple of songs. This was exciting news, and I was very happy that I got to the venue early to assure my spot up front since there is no photographer pit.
    The stage was being decorated with two huge blow up Halloween arches one on each side for entry of the musicians. Colorful skulls and pumpkin lights were strategically placed for ambiance. Then I noticed two rather large light boxes on the stage, that were programed to randomally show horror movie scenes like Carrie throughout the set.
    The house lights went down, and out came John 5 with his signature glow mouth piece and makeup on. He ripped us right into "Flight Of The Vulcan Kelly" from his album Careful With That Axe. This song is a frenzy of sorts, super fast guitar notes driven by quick tempo drums and a slower walk on the bass lines. Definitely an introduction song showcasing John 5's talent in his guitar mastering skills. He bridged into "Here's To The Crazy Ones". Third song up was "This Is My Rifle", definitely a standout with a militant feel which started to feel a bit like a guitar riff out of a Rob Zombie song. John 5 played several different guitars including a red laser, and a steel guitar, a mandolin, and banjo on "Jiffy Jam", giving us a bluegrass ride. Throughout the evening flowing into musical themes, John 5 would change up his disguises of masks, and random creatures would appear holding babies and assorted props. He kept us entertained anticipating what disguise would come next.
    When they started to play "Enter Sandman", a Metallica favorite, we were blessed with the entrance of Gary Holt. Smiling and ready to rock! Gary jammed hard for a couple of songs and appeared to be having fun on stage with the rest of the band. So epic!
    John 5 And The Creatures are, Ian Ross on bass rocking his 5 string, and Logan Nix on drums. They played 17 instrumental songs plus some rock medley samples from bands like The Police, Van Halen, Alice In Chains, and a snippet of Michael Jackson's "Beat It".
    Although it is truthfully hard to catoragize his style of playing as he breaks down into metal/rock/jazz/country and bluegrass fusions, all the while bending and sustaining notes.
    This was a night to remember, and I am more of a John 5 fan than ever before. 
    I highly reccomend you catching him on tour now. You will be blown away!

  • Sabroso Music Festival In Sacramento 4-8-18

    The Sabroso Music Festival has been going strong for 5 years, bringing top notch Punk Rock bands such as The Offspring, Pennywise, The Vandals, Unwritten Law, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, and Los Kung Fu Monkeys from this years line up at Papa Murphy's Park in Sacramento. Not surprising this festival is growing and selling out shows from New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, Northern and Southern California. What a brilliant concept to couple punk music with beer, tacos and Lucha Libre style wrestling. This was an afternoon of pure adrenaline fueled fun! The festival was from 1pm - 9pm, music started at 2pm and you could sample local beers up to 4 hours.
    In addition to headling this years festival, Dexter Holland (lead singer of The Offspring), featured his hot sauce Gringo Bandito, which gave concert goers a chance to sample all flavors while stuffing their faces with delicious tacos.
    It was a relief the rain had stopped just in time for the festival on Sunday. The sun was peaking in and out of some remaining mid-afternoon clouds which allowed for an enjoyable event. This was my first time at Papa Murphy's Park located at Cal Expo in Sacramento, which is actually a soccer stadium. Thus being said, there was plenty of room for all the breweries, taco, food, and miscellaneous vendors. I was there in plenty of time to walk the complete festival as I wanted to get an idea where everything was located. 

    There was one main stage that the bands would play, and off to the left was where the wrestling ring was staged. This allowed for entertainment in between the set up and break down of bands. There were top global Lucha Libre wrestlers battling for the Sabroso Championship title.
    Los Kung Fu Monkeys took the stage first at 2pm. Originated from Tijuana, lead singer Bang Bang and band were loads of fun. Rolling through a 30 minute set of ska punk which got the fans moving. I especially like their cover of The Cure, "Boys Don't Cry".
    Unwritten Law from San Diego kicked it into high gear with songs like "Teenage Suicide", driven by guitars and hard hitting drum beats. Scott Russo lead singer is constantly moving about the stage whipping his mic cord in time with the songs. Their music is power driven punk with an alternative influence. Chris Lewis on guitar is stimulating to watch as he shreds up and down the neck of his guitar and then launches into flight. Johnny Grill on bass has some beefy lines, and somehow manages to hold down his tempo all the while moving about the stage. Wade Youman on the kit hits so hard while singing, I don't know how he stays seated. They gave us a half hour of non-stop fueled music.
    The Vandals, an Orange County favorite took the stage next. These guys are humorous while playing their punk-pop songs. Warren Fitzgerald, lead guitar wiz showcases his goofy facial expressions all the while delivering guitar yoga on stage. David Quackenbush on vocals started the set off with "Urban Struggle", (I want to be a cowboy, I'm going to be a cowboy, I'm born to be a cowboy). I love the way this song bounces you from each instrument and in between the lyrics. The fans came alive, and started to crowd surf. "Euro Barge" was their second song which showcases Josh Freese on the drums skill of quick hits and timing, coupled with David's speedy lyrics. The Vandals played a total of fourteen songs that stemed from albums Hitler Bad, Vandals Good, and Peace Thru Vandalism to name a couple.
    The fourth band to take the stage was Me First and the Gimme Gimmes from San Francisco. I have heard a lot of hype about their shows and diva-esque cover songs of Cher's "Believe" and Elton John's "Rocket Man", but I had not seen them perform. Front man Joey Cape dressed in a black sequin jacket delivered his flair and humor throughout their set. He engaged the crowd in sing alongs while mocking up artists like John Denver's "County Road" and Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl". They performed 14 songs in total and were silly fun.
    Pennywise emerged out of the OC Music Scene and are known for their political, melodic hardcore punk music. Jim Lindberg lead vocals and his band came out with a powerful surge straight into "Wouldn't It Be Nice", off their self titled album. Then they ripped right into "Can't Believe It" off their album Straight Ahead. It was clear to me that Jim had everyone's attention, and the crowd became chaotic. Crowd surfing would continue on through every song, not to mention the shoes and hats that were flying towards the stage. I was happy that there were a lot of security up against the pit barrier, watching our backs. They were going to get a lot of action now. Pennywise drive hard, and play loud! Jim delivers a straight up crowd engaging performance, and even at one point was asking photographers in the pit for their camera so he could take a pic of the fans. Fletcher Dragge lead guitarist and Randy Bradbury on bass attack their instruments with precision. Byron Mc Mackin on drums has his work cut out for him, nailing the quick hard beats. Pennywise is a massise attack that sucks you into the mayhem. They played a tight set of 19 songs including "Fight Til You Die", "Society", and "Date With Destiny", to name a few. Their new album Never Gonna Die comes out on April 20th, be sure to get one.
    The Offspring from Huntington Beach was the headling act, and as usual played to a sold out crowd! Dexter Holland front man/guitarist is quite a brilliant lyricist and musician. His songs are catchy, familiar and just damn good! They opened up the evening with "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid", "All I Want", and "Come Out And Play". Their music was tight, and guitar god "Noodles" was spot on. Ripping through their set of iconic songs including "Genocide", "Bad Habit", and "Gotta Get Away", the fans were singing along to every one of them. It was mind blowing and heart warming. Dexter played a really cool stripped down version of "Gone Away" on the piano. They played 18 songs in total and ended the fun filled festival with "Self Esteem".
    This was definitely one of the most fun and well run festivals I have been too. I highly recommend the Sabroso Festival.

  • Ace of Spades @ Ministry 3-26-18

    Ministry, known as American Industrial Metal Pioneers,showcased their 4th gig of a 26 concert North American Tour in Sacramento on March 26th to a sold out show at Ace of Spades. Their performance was a force to be reckoned with, like a massive political music movement.
    Al Jourgensen of Ministry is angry about what's going on in America, and you can hear and feel the build up to the explosion in his newest album AmeriKKKant that was released on March 9th. Al has gathered a supergroup of musicians for this tour supporting their 14th album, ie; Al Jourgensen - guitar/vox/harmonica, Sin Quirin - guitar, Cesar Soto - guitar, Tony Campos - Bass from (Fear Factory & Static X), Derek Abrams on drums, John Bechdel - Keyboards from (Killing Joke), DJ Swamp from (Crystal Method) - live scratcher, and Burton C. Bell of Fear Factory, delivering some vocals on a few songs.
    The venue was so packed, you could barely move through the crowd. The stage had two large white blow up Donald Trump chickens on each side, with anti-nazi symbols on them. There was a large video screen as a back drop, that sampled through various political images throughout the show.
    Ministry opened their set with "Twilight Zone" from their new album AmeriKKKant. This song is eight minutes of guitar riffs and pounding drums, and gave us a chance to watch Al skilfully play his harmonica between two mics.
    Next up was "Victims of a Clown" , also from AmeriKKKant, which creates a circus atmosphere. Lots of loops and samples on this song. Burton C. Bell was the featured guest vocalist. Sporting a t-shirt that says Police the Police, Burton was extremely charged for his performance, ranting towards the fans.
    "Punch In The Face", off the album From Beer to Eternity was their third song. Apparently the first two songs warmed up Al, as he kicked it into overdrive delivering killer effects between the two mics. On "Lies Lies Lies" , Al pumped up the volume and distortion with a megaphone.
    Sin Quirin and Cesar are guitar wizards. Sin was interacting with the fans and shredding up close to the pit. Both Cesar on guitar and Tony on bass master their instrument. Derek pounds hard on the kit keeping perfect timing. DJ Swamp and John mix it up through samples and loops.
    Burton C. Bell came out on two more occasions, for lead vox on "We're Tired of It" and a part in "Wargasm".
    During "Antifa", there were two soldiers wearing black masks , marching with red and black flags on stage. I could feel the crowd brewing, like a Crescendo was beginning. Then when Ministry forged into "Just One Fix", "NWO", and "Thieves", the mosh pit started up. "So What" , from their album The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste was their last song of the set. Then we were treated to an Encore song, "Bad Blood" from their album Dark Side of the Spoon . This song was highly acclaimed and nominated for a Grammy Award . Featured in the movie "The Matrix".
    They played 5 songs off the AmeriKKKant album - "Twilight Zone", "Victims of a Clown", "Wargasm", "Antifa", "We're Tired of It", and sampled through their powerful discography for the other 10 songs.
    There were two opening bands for the evening, The God Bombs from Brooklyn, New York are a three piece band consisting of Justin Symbol on vocals, Jabbath Roa on guitar and Edrick Subervi on drums. They were a great opening band for this show. Their music consists of heavy beats that collide with dark synths, punk, alternative metal, and hip-hop. They are unique and innovative. I really enjoyed their show and music. Their cover of The Cure's "Killing an Arab", was off the hook.
    After the show I spent sometime talking with lead singer Justin. This is a band I highly recommend you see live.
    Chelsea Wolfe playing in their hometown of Sacramento are; Chelsea Wolfe guitar/vox, Ben Chisholm Keys/bass/electronics, Jess Gowrie on drums, and Bryan Tulao on guitar. 
    They played a solid set of Experimental, gothic rock and doom metal. I could tell the hometown fans were happy to see them.
    Both bands are supporting Ministry on tour. Be sure to check dates and buy your tickets early, as their shows will be Sold Out!
    Ministry are on fire with a hot off the press album "AmeriKKKant" and an revolutionary tour that you do not want to miss out on!
    Be sure to pick up their newest album AmeriKKKant, you will want this in your collection.

    Ministry Set list :
    Twilight Zone/Victims of a Clown/ TV4/Chan/ Punch In The Face/ Senor Peligro/Lies/ Rio/ We're Tired of It/ Wargasm/ Antifa/
    Just 1 Fix/ NWO/ Thieves/ So What/ Bad Blood/


  • The English Beat @ Raven Theatre 02-24-18

    When I found out The English Beat were on tour and in my neck of the woods, I knew this was an opportunity to capture this legendary band. Their music is labeled as British Ska, Reggae and New Wave. Originally formed in 1978 in Birmingham, England. The English Beat Aka, The Beat took the music industry by surprise with their unique sound and collection of radio friendly hits.
    The English Beat Original front man Dave Wakeling and his new lineup of talented musicians is selling out all of their current shows.
    This was my first time at The Raven Theater, located in a small town of Healdsburg, Ca. nestled between the wine country of Mendocino County and the dairy farms in Sonoma County. 
    The air was crisp, the sky was clear, and as I drove by the theater I watched the concert goers, (majority in their late 50's) line up for the 7:30 opening of the doors. The Raven Theater seats 400 and has a standing room capacity of 100. I did not know this until I spoke with the nice ladies out front that were taking care of the tickets. Wow, I thought, this is a special intimate evening. The night just kept getting better, in fact I was the only photographer there, so they let me shoot the whole concert. Usually you have a three song rule, not in this case. The stage was open, no barrier between the crowd, which ultimately delivered an up close and personal bond with band. There was an opening D.J. that spun some great songs from Blondie to The Buzzcocks. The music was entertaining and set the theme quite well for the evening. I didn't catch his name, as I was interacting with other fans, security and checking out the lighting. 9 pm rolled around and the theater was packed full of mellow, happy folks. Dave Wakeling came out on stage first.  The fans started yelling and clapping. My hair rose up on my neck from the excitement. Dave looked very happy, picked up his guitar and plugged in. He welcomed the crowd of Healdsburg, and they responded with a Happy Birthday to Dave, which was on the 19th of February. The rest of the band took their positions, smiled at one another then rolled into Rough Rider by The Beat, off the album I Just Can't Stop It. Instantly the crowd started dancing and singing along. The Beat's music is infectious and takes hold of your body and mind. I too found myself grooving between shots.  The lighting was good and consistent, and when I looked up from my camera, I realized that I had not put in my earplugs for the first song. I was surprised at the clarity of the sound. My ears were not ringing at all. This was the first venue I have ever been too that knows how to operate their sound board without blowing your eardrums. Hats off to the sound person, and perhaps to the venue as well.  The English Beat played their hit songs like Tenderness, Save it For Later, Mirror in the Bathroom, and even a new single, How Can You Stand There? They delivered a tight solid set of 15 songs in total.
    Yet it wasn't so much as hearing their discography that caught my attention, it was the interaction of playfulness among the musicians that was unique. King Schascha, (lead vocals/Toaster) not to mention energizer bunny, has a charismatic quality that oozed on stage and overflowed into the crowd.
    The kinship between he and Dave was fun, kind and solid.  
    Another highlight was observing Dave and Brad Engstrom on Bass. Watching them play chords back and forth from guitar to bass, and seeing their eyes light up and smile at one another. The energy on stage overflowed into the crowd, which left a massive footprint.  It was evident The English Beat are here to bring togetherness, joy and inspiration through their music. All the musicians had their moment in the spotlight at the end, as they were being announced. The line-up is; Dave Wakeling lead vocals/guitar, King Schascha lead vocals, Brad Engstrom Bass/vocals, Brian "Nucci" Cantrell Drums/vocals, Matt Morrish Sax/vocals, Minh Quan Keys/vocals, Kevin Lum Keys/vocals. If you haven't ever seen this band, or want to be reminded why you continually played their music, this is your chance. The English Beat is a Must see show!

    Click here to go to The English Beat's website


    Wednesday November 4, 2015 was a very happy day for me in the music world.  On this day I was not only going to see one of my favorite all-time musicians/singer/song writers Scott Weiland and his new project with The WildAbouts at the House Of Blues in Anaheim, I was also granted a photo pass with all access by the opening band Slater Slums.

    Scott Weiland is known as the frontman of Stone Temple Pilots that emerged into the mainstream in the early 90's with his dynamic vocal range and natural lyricism he wedged his band into a new catagory that forged them thru the charts and has forever etched their music into history.  Scott didn't stop there, sometime in mid 2000 Scott became part of a supergroup band called Velvet Revolver which included members Slash, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum and Dave Kushner.  Once again Scott landed a golden egg with this band and his song "Slither"  helped pave the way for a Grammy Award in 2005 for the bands best hard rock performance.

    In 2014 Scott started a new project called Scott Weiland & The WildAbouts.  They released an album in March of 2015 called "Blaster".  Scott has expressed his excitement within the making of this album relating this experience to that of his first two album releases with STP.  He has stated feeling an infectious child like enthusiasm that has brought a new light back into his artistic mind.   

    The House Of Blues show was the bands second round touring in support of their new album. The Wildabouts consisted of a newer group of musicians different from his previous tour back in January of 2015. The WildAbouts are Nick Maybury guitar, Tommy Black on bass and Joey Castillo on drums.  Once again Scott has landed a super group of musicians that enhance his creativity to another level.  Although the venue was not sold out,  the evening had an intimate feeling amongst die-hard fans that have long-awaited the return of this legend. They opened up with "Crackerman" from the first STP album Core and spun into "Modzilla" and "Amethyst" from their new album Blaster.  The music was tight and there was a friendly fun interaction going on between Scott and his side kicks Nick and Tommy.  Scott looked happy to be back in the saddle again as he grabbed his signature megaphone swinging it around and singing thru it "getaway, gotta to getaway" in Crackerman.  Scott didn't appear to be 100% as he slagged on the vox a bit and his pace was slowed.  But by the time "Big Bang Baby" played out, it appeared Scott found a groove and rode it out through the 15 song set list which included songs from STP, Velvet Revolver and his new album Blaster (see set list).  I really thought his cover of David Bowie's "Jean Genie" was sensational, as did the crowd.  The third and final encore song was "Unglued" from STP's album Purple and it really felt like a new beginning for this talented man.  By this time I was backstage experiencing a once in a lifetime opportunity upclose with this legend.   I will always remember this night and now wish I had waited longer to see if Scott would take a picture with me.   I had decided that at The Roxy show on Dec. 21st I would make sure I would stay and wait for as long as it takes.

    Unfortunately sad news came on Dec. 3rd while on tour that Scott Weiland passed away.  I was actually shocked at first because I was hoping he would gain his strength and could finally overcame his drug addiction.   I will not and can not comment on this matter for I have not lived in his shoes or anyone that has a drug addiction.  I will state that I am sad as are many other people including his family, close friends and bandmates.  My heart goes out to each and everyone of you.  I hope everyone will remember what love, joy and happiness his artistic expressions brought us through his music.  Scott Weiland's music will live forever.  R.I.P.

    Click here to go to Scott Weiland's Facebook Page



     Knot Fest returned to San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino, CA. for the second consecutive year on October 24th & 25th featuring headliner Judas Priest on Saturday and Slipknot would close out the festival Sunday evening.

     The three day Musical Festival was created by the Heavy metal band Slipknot in 2012. The line ups have always been packed with some of the best metal bands ever including LAMB OF GOD, LIMP BIZKIT, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, DANZIG, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY and DEFTONES to name a few.  So it wasn't surprising to see the band listing for this years epic return including headliner JUDAS PRIEST, KORN, BRING ME TO THE HORIZON, MASTODON, TRIVIUM, CORRISION OF CONFORMITY, CLUTCH, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES and the list goes on.  

       Initially I was only going to cover day one (Saturday) for On Request Magazine, but the other individual wasn't able to make the second day so I opted to fill in. This was a great decision I made, as I hadn't experienced one of these festivals and knew I was in for an amazing ride!  

      Saturday morning came and the weather was utterly perfect! I really was expecting hot blistering temperatures since the last few weeks had been unbearable. But on this day and through the weekend we were blessed with mild temperatures, sunny skies and a nice cool evening breeze.  I was also elated to find that when I arrived at the festival, parking was FREE! This was incredible and the weekend already started off with a great beginning. Most times we tend to get gouged on the front end coupled with ticket prices and other expenses, but not the case at San Manual Ampitheater.

     There were four stages in total. The main stage was located ontop of a hill and the other three stages were on the lower level. The festival was set remotely in the San Bernardino Hills with open skies and mountain tops. Breath taking!
     Inclusive of this faultless line up of some of the best bands in the world, Knotfest jacked up the festival with carnival rides, extreme motocross arial tricks, stilt walkers, fire breathers and a fighting dome. Not to mention the dozens of vendors selling music memorabilia and an eclectic array of food vendors. There just wasn't enough time to see and be part of it all!

     Since there was a 3 song limit for photographers and the stages were a distance apart, I knew I would have to sacrafice not watching bands complete sets, so I could obtain the coverage of more bands. Time to focus in and work.

     Some of the exceptional performances that arose to mind from Saturday were At The Gates, a death metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden. Earth Crisis whom are a metalcore band from Syracuse, NY that really hit the stage hard. You will find yourself challenged deciding which musician to focus on. Straight up great music! Then Rapper Ice-T and Body Count got the crowd surfing stirring up the dust singing "Cop Killer" and "Talk Shit". We were led to the main stage where Corrosion Of Conformity, Trivium, Mastodon each delivered stellar over the top performances pushing each other. Korn was up next and I had been anticipating their show for weeks. It has been over a decade since I last saw them and now upfront with camera in hand.
     As the band came out on the stage, the fans cheered louder and louder and it felt like they were the headling band at this point. They drummed into "Blind" and Jonathan Davis came out front looked at the crowd and shouted "Are You Ready"? Everyone went absolutely crazy including myself. Jonathan Davis radiated an emotional powerful performance thrusting his head up and down and side by side as he gripped his personalized mic stand that appeared to be a womans body naked laying back with an alien head with it's tongue out.(See pictures) He was in the zone and we were all on the ride together. Korn could of stayed on stage all night long, they were that Great!! "Coming Undone" and "Falling Away From Me" were just a couple of the many amazing songs delivered in their set. Korn stole the show!  
     Judas Priest are the godfathers of metal. They have been one of my all-time favorite bands since the early 80's and still are. Getting the chance to shoot them and capture their performance has sent me into heaven. Rob Halford, Glen Tipton and Ian Hill have been playing for over 40 years with 17 studio albums. Back now on the 2015 Redeamer Of Souls Tour headling the Knotfest.

      A large Judas Priest banner scaled the backdrop for the stage as the curtains opened and Black Sabbath's "War Pig" was playing overhead. Then out came the band members followed by Rob dressed in his black leather with chains and studs wearing his cop sunglasses holding the mic high pointing in the air. The metal god has arrived!  The crowd was going nuts and this was even larger than I had expected. They rolled right into "Dragonaut" from Defenders of Faith and "Metal Gods" from the British Steel album. Songs spanning from decades of albums including "Victim Of Changes", "Turbo Lover" and "Screaming For Vengeance". Rob had removed his leather jacket by now and gave us a treat by rolling out on his motorcycle mid-show on "Breaking the Law".  They were really rockin' the Knot Fest and never let up. 16 songs in total wrapping up the show with "Pain Killer" for their encore. Judas Priest just forever etched his metal-god existence amongst new and old fans.
     What a perfect day 1 at Knot Fest.

         Sunday  Day 2 of Knot Fest appeared to have even more intensity than the first day.  I'm sure for the repeat offenders such as myself there was some soreness and a bit of a cough from all the dust in the pit that was constantly stirring up, but this was not going to keep the die hard fans away. As a matter of fact I believe the second day was SOLD OUT, at least that is what I heard the actual number of attendence was somewhere in the 40,000's.  

      Early afternoon I decided to walk around and check out some of the activities and take a break from shooting bands to get a complete feel for the festival.  There were so many activities going on it was really a mass sensory overload that caused a bit of anxiety within because I wanted to see everything, but it was physically impossible.  I caught the tail end of the motocross exhibition of arial insanity, then I met some friends over at the Cold Cock tent and listened in on others stories and adventures from the previous day.  I also decided to eat at this  kebob stand and the food was delicious.  Then I headed over to stage 2 & 3 which was on the lower level of the hill.  What was magnificent is when one band finished playing the stage rotated and the band up next was  ready to go. This helped keep the crowd elevated as there wasn't a break in between.    

     I caught Cannibal Corpse whom are a Death Metal band from Buffalo, NY and apparently have quite the cult following.   Up next was Suicidal Tendencies and they literally exploded on stage.  Front man Mike Muir had everyone locked in on him.  He was on fire trotting across the stage and pumping up the crowd. He got the pit all riled up especially when he broke into "Institutionalized".  Then madness broke loose when he encouraged fans to come join him on stage.  Fans went crazy and were just swimming over security to be part of the action, it was Awesome!  The set ended with Mike jumping out into the crowd giving everyone hi-fives.

     Now we all headed up the hill to the main stage and first up was Rapper Ghostface Killah with Mobb Deep.  It was hard to engage with them especially just coming off the intense set from Suicidal Tendencies,  I just couldn't feel the fit and when I looked around that seemed to be the consensus.  Clutch was up next and picked the tempo back up.  They are more of a rock, blues stoner funk style with exceptional grooves.  I really dug them.  Bring Me The Horizon came all the way from Sheffield, England bringing forth a new generation of youth, this alternative rock/metal band is fueled by lead singer Oliver Sykes emotional lyrics.  His passion and rage on stage will pull you into his stories like "True Friends" and "Happy Song".  This band is tight and the light show was incredible.  Their set consisted of 11 songs in total and ended with "Drown".  I thought they delivered one of the best shows at the festival.
     Slipknot are clearly one of the largest metal bands ever and always deliver and over the top performance with dual drumming risers, balls of flames across the stage and a spectacular slide show.  They opened up with a new song "Sarcastrophe" and pummeled through  some of their mega hits "Wait and Bleed", "Before I Forget", "Me Inside" and "Prosthetics".   Lead singer Corey Taylor is like a General on stage leading his army into Mayhem and captivating all 40,000 fans.  Slipknot closed out the evening with "People=Shit" and "Surfacing".   

     The crowd started to exit but many remained by the fire pit talking about the bands and festival.  It was incredible to see so many happy people sharing the same passion together.  

     Knot Fest was one of the best musical festivals I have ever been to,  but I believe with an addition of more Kick Ass women fronted  bands or all women bands could prove to be an asset.  
    See you next year!



    Slash made his claim to fame with Guns N' Roses in the early 80's thru the 90's. Before the break up he started Slash's Snakepit and then he created a super group of musicians in Velvet Revolver.  Slash  has three solo albums out and continues to raise the bar in every side project.  I have remained a big fan since the beginning and was extremely stoked to obtain a photo pass for his new project
    Slash with Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators at the Hollywood Palladium on this warm October evening.

      I made a point to get to the show super early to assure a good parking spot and check out the venue since I have never been to the Hollywood Palladium and of course this show was SOLD OUT!.  Fans had already started lining up by 6:00 pm and the doors weren't open until 8pm.  I couldn't help but flash back to the 80's when I would wait for hours outside a show with my friends sharing stories of shows we have gone to, are going to and just talking about bands and music in general.  Good times!

     Walking amongst the crowd alongside Sunset Blvd there was a massive energy that flowed.  I saw so many different Guns N' Roses
    t-shirts, a few of Slash's Snakepit and Velvet Revolver as well.  I was sporting my Guns N' Roses t-shirt.
     Feeling extremely nervous wanting to capture fantastic shots hoping some would be approved by management.  Yes Slash has a waiver that photographer's must sign stating pictures must pass approval with management prior to exposure.  Ok I can flow with  this and worst case scenerio they don't approve any, but hey I got a photo pass and would have photos for my portfolio.

     The opening band was RavenEye from the UK and they exploded right out of the gate.  They delivered High Energy Rock N' Roll that ignited the fans. Lead by a multi-award winning guitarist/singer Oli Brown, this trio is not to be missed!
     I was more than elated to see that Slash would pick an Amazing opening band, sometimes this isn't always the case.

      There was a 45 minute break in between bands which gave all the straglers time to pack in tight on the floor and try and find a place that wasn't already claimed in the upper level.  There was a large banner stretched along behind the drummer that read
    SLASH in bold letters with Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators.  I noticed two large canons on each side of the stage which looked like there would be confetti shot out over the crowd.   I thought this is going to be Huge I can feel it!

      The house music stopped and the crowded roared as Slash came running out across the stage followed by the rest of the band.
    WOW!!  Immediate goose bumps rose on my neck as I locked into position right in front of Slash on stage left.  I just realized at this very moment I was watching and shooting one of the top 10 best all-time guitarists ever.  Let's be honest, I really was here for Slash and stayed with him almost through the opening song "You're A Lie" from their 2012  album Apocalyptic Love. But when they rolled into "Night Train" ( a Guns N' Roses hit ) , I couldn't help but realize the uncanny resemblance that Myles Kennedy had of Axel Rose and Myles vocals were over the top as good if not better.  I should of expected Slash would have Amazing musicians and of course a lead singer that could carry his own.  This definitely proved to be true throughout the evening.  Slash continued to awe the fans with his quick signature guitar riffs and gallops across the stage in and out of the fog effects. This was massively incredible!

     They played three songs off their 2012 album,  more than a handful of Guns N' Roses hits including "You Could Be Mine",  
    "Welcome To The Jungle", "Rocket Queen" and the encore "Paradise City".  Slash and Myles left us with a night to remember playing 20 magnigicent songs that will be forever etched in our souls.

     I highly encourage all you Rock N' Rollers to get out and experience first hand Slash's new project with Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators,  you will be throughly energized!




    Zakk Wylde needs no introduction. This man is a legendary guitarist/songwriter and is most noteably known as the former guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne. Although his aftermath project Black Label Society is definitlely one of the best heavy metal bands of all time. Like I said Zakk is a genius.  So when I heard he was playing covers of Black Sabbath in his new side project Zakk Sabbath, I knew I needed to catch this epic event for this would go down in history.

      Zakk's three piece ensamble included Rob "Blasko" Nicholson on bass formerly of (Ozzy Osbourne & Rob Zombie), and John Tempesta (The Cult/Exodus/Testament) on drums. I bet right now you are kicking yourself for not going to see this show.

      They started off with a nice intro warm up playing The "Void". Man do they nail it and even take it up a few notches. Yes oh yes this is a show you need to see.

      Zakk dominates his signature Les Paul flying V with the spiral black stripe. Zakk attacks his guitar like a Viking devouring his prey. Massively poised holding his guitar upright as he finger shreds his chords. I couldn't take my eyes off his quick hit attack tactic and lyrically he actually sounds a lot like Ozzy.

     Hammering down "Fairies Wear Boots", "Lord" and "War Pigs" you will be taken back to the early 70's.  I was blown away with the intensity and passion that these three men were laying out. John Tempesta on drums fills fills crashes and rides, this man is King of the Kit. He is in the drivers seat through the whole show.
     Just when you thought you had seen it all, Zakk Sabbath broke into "Snowblind" and Killed it with their finale of "N.I.B.".  

     I don't really want to say this, but man I think this was even better than the last Black Sabbath show I saw especially since It was an intimate setting.

      Zakk has chosen two of the best musicians to join him on this powerful new side project. I suggest you go get your metal on!




      Fireball Ministry has been kicking ass and claiming territory since 1999.
    I was fortunate to have connected with them in their awakening of early 2000.
    From the first time I caught their show at the Troubadour I knew this band had the potential to go huge, so it wasn't a surprise to see that Fireball Ministry was opening for Zakk Sabbath on this October night at The Viper Room. Even though they are headlining material, I knew this would be a legendary show and of course it was SOLD OUT!

      Their was a line waiting down the block, and like I said before I wasn't surprised with this line-up. Apparently this was a repeat performance from the night before since it sold out so fast, they added another show on Saturday night. It was an unusually hot October evening and anyone whom has been in the Viper Room knows the ceiling is low and it gets quite toasty in there especially when it is a full house. We were packed in like sardines and sweaty hot!
      Fireball Ministry opened up with "Saved The Saved" then kicked into "Flatline", one of my favorites. The crowd was headbanging and pushing forward with no where to go. After the third song "He Who Kills", Jim Rota shouted out "I can't hear you?" "You better get louder than that for Zakk". Everyone was really into it I just think possibly wiped out from so many endless days of heat and or really stoned and dehydrated from drinking. Most likely a combination of the three.
     Jim Rota is the lead guitar/singer songwriter. He is a lyrical genius (take a listen to Flatline and King). With his pure thought provoking messages you will find yourself intertwined within the stories and heavily penetrated by their massive metal-assualt rock and roll. A mixture of Ozzy meets Lemmy but with more sauce in their catchy riffs that will surely keep your heading banging throughout the complete set.
     By the time they rolled into "Daughter Of The Damned" (another favorite) Emily Burton on guitar and backing vocals proves that she is a pillar of strength to this band. The songs are heavily driven by her guitar riffs and she definitely dominates her chops.  It's so awesome to see a kick-ass lady guitar player shredding hard while her hair flips through the air.

     Onto the rhythm section teamed of Scott Reader on bass and John Oresnick on drums. John seriously kicks down some killer hard hitting beats with perfect timing.
    Scott is the newest edition originating from Kyuss and The Obsessed, and he is straight up one hell of a bad ass bass player. Wow!!  

     Fireball Ministry played nine songs in total ending their show with "King". I would say their biggest hit. Although truthfully every song is brilliant and I was hoping for a longer set.
     If you haven't seen this band yet, there is still hope for you. Anyone whom comes in contact or has a brief listen will be a lifetime fan.
    Don't stop at the music you must see this band live period!



  • THE DARKNESS @ The Glass House 10-9-15

    We are so fortunate to be graced once again by this British band The Darkness.
    Justin Hawkins lead front man is teamed up with his brother Dan on guitar, Frankie Poullian on bass and Rufus Tiger Taylor on drums (son of Queen drummer Roger)
    Forging strong since 2000 and now supporting their 4th album "Last Of Our Kind", The Darkness remain as one of the top Amazing shows to see.

     Not surprising whatsoever this show on Tuesday night at The Glass House in Pomona was SOLD OUT! There was suppose to be an opening band but something must of happened as they did not show up. But it was ok really, everyone whom was here waiting in line clearly came to see The Darkness. In other words no band could prime you for their unique sense of humor and sing-a-long anthems like " I believe in a thing called love" off of their 2003 "Permision To Land album".  

     What was cool though is the venue reacted quickly and found a fantastic DJ (didn't catch his name) that played an amazing set of Punk Rock spins for us. As I looked around the room It seemed as though everyone was either singing to the jams or nodding away. Great job Glass House!

     The house lights went out and the fans started cheering, it sent shivers up my neck as the cheers echoed louder. Drums beating, bass rocking and chunky guitar  sounds pierced through the dark stage in their opening song "Barbarian".A perfect intro song building up the crowd for Justin's grand entrance sporting a black and white pin stripe suit strutting from one side of the stage to the other hitting those piercing high notes shaking his hips. He then grabbed his guitar 3/4 of the way through and drove it home. His vocal range is spectacular, I had no idea! They rolled into "Growing On Me" from their first album "Permission To Land" and raised the roof with "Black Shuck" in which Justin took his overcoat off and unbuttoned his white silk blouse exposing the pin stripe suspenders attached to his pants and showing off his sleek fit sexy tatted chest. BAMM!! The house is Rocking Now!

      I can't help but think how he reminds me a lot of Freddie Mercury of Queen whom I saw over a dozen times in my youth. Justin Hawkins is quite charasmatic like Freddie was and I mean in a sincere way. You feel a part of the band especially with all the sing-a-long songs like "Get Your Hands Off My Woman" and " One Way Ticket".

     The set was a spectacular 18 songs that will leave you craving for more. One of the highlights of the night was their encore song "Love On The Rocks" in which Justin climbed up on the security guards shoulders and played his guitar all through the crowd.

     The Darkness are a fun, funny punk-glam rock band with great musicians doing it their way. You will want to see one of their live shows so I suggest you connect with them and see when they are playing in your city.



  • SCORPIONS @ The Forum 10/3/15

    I imagine that we all figured "The Last Sting" was in fact Scorpions last tour ever in 2012. Well in fact they stated this, but as we have seen before sometimes artists aren't quite ready to retire.  Especially if they have more music to express to the world. Apparently this was the case for the Scorpions with a brand new album out called "Return To Forever". But lets not overlook the biggest fact is that this year marks their 50th Anniversay which makes for a perfect exit.

     Queensryche opened up for the Scorpions and are slotted to support the Scorpions North American tour. They are currently supporting their new release "Condition Human". This heavy metal band was a great fit to the bill and from the buzz I heard in the pit everyone states they think the new singer Todd La Torre is better.

     This was my first time seeing them live and I was impressed at his vocal range and interaction with the other bandmates. Straight up great metal with lots of solos and constant drum fills. I'm glad I finally got to see them live.

      Scorpions came out huge as to be expected opening up with their new hit song
    "Going Out With A Bang". They rocked into "Make It Real" and really turned it up with "The Zoo".  Klaus Meine's voice is still flawless hitting every note.
      Rudolf Scheneker/guitar, Matthias Jabs/guitar, Pawel Maciwoda/bass and James Kottak/drums all looked healthy and super happy to be playing again. These guys have been together for a long time and have rocked the world over many times.

     The stage was huge and each musician took turns going out on the 20 foot catwalk (well it felt like 20 feet) playing for the crowd and photographers laying down their solos.

     The sound and lighting was perfect. There was a huge screen set up behind the drum kit that displayed really cool images, colors and at times projected the musicians larger than life.  

     Apparently they played 18 songs in total and their was a massive light show. Unfortunately I was not able to stay for the conclusion of the show as their was a misunderstanding or should I say mishap with my ticket being scanned prior to the show. Got to love the security when they ruin your night. But from the 8 songs I saw I knew this was going to be a show that would forever stay in your memory.

     The Scorpions never falter to "Rock You Like A Hurricane"

     Scorpions are on tour now and you can track them from the link below




  • PEACHES @ The Observatory Oct.5th 2015

      Peaches is from Canada and is most noteably known as a Gay Icon pushing the barriers with her bold vivid imaginative over the top performances. Where Madonna left off Peaches has interwoven her political views on the genderbending jaded America and turned it into a raving electronic showcase of space oddity outfits and large pink vaginas.

      I was somewhat shocked she was playing at The Observatory in Orange County. The OC is known to be anti-gay as they actually banned gay pride back in 2004, but then again how fitting. I was curious to see the turnout since she was also playing at the Regent Theatre in Los Angeles only a couple of weeks apart.

     Peaches set was at 12:30am on this particular Friday night and the last of 3 concerts.

     When the doors finally opened at 11:30pm the crowd began to fill the floor. The photo pit was removed so each fan could get right up against the stage. I'm sure this is what Peaches wanted for a more intimate evening.

     Looking around at the fans I saw a mix of punkers, ravers, men, women, older folks and the youth.  I imagined anyone coming to see Peaches either has seen her before or were ready for a shocking provacative clit-rubbing, dildo flashing, "Fuck The Pain Away" evening. A title from her new album "Rub".
     Anyone whom is easily offended not open and judgemental should not attend a Peaches show period!

      Peaches is basically a one woman show aside from her two dancers one male and one female. She has a large mixing console in the middle of the stage about 3 feet high. Every song is played out theatrically as Peaches changes her persona from coach as she encourages the sexually explicit push ups, to domantrix thrusting her chain around her neck while the human props are chained to one another insinuating possible sex slaves of some sort. Her beats drive the scenerios perfectly, one wonders which came first the music or the idea? Either way Peaches is a Phenomenal performer.
    Her brilliance is masterfully portrayed and she is the Queen at entertaining her fans. She graced us with walking on the crowd stating "Jesus walked on water and Peaches walks on you", as she zipped up her black shiny vagina intertube and instructed everyone to hold her straight up from the bottom of her boots as she covered almost half way thru the pit and then ended it with a blissful crowd surf.

     She played a handful of new songs from her 2015 album "RUB" which included
    "Dick In The Air", "Sick In The Head", "How You Like My Cut" and oldies like
    "Fuck The Pain Away" and "Set It Off" just to name a few from the solid 60 minute set.
     One of the highlights of the evening was the large gerbil looking plastic tube that rolled out into the crowd which allowed Peaches to walk amongst her fans.  
    I have never seen this tactic before. Brilliant!!

     She ended the set with an celebration of champagne fountains into the crowd.

     Peaches is touring now supporting her new album "RUB". It has been over six years since her last one.  I highly suggest seeing her. You will be floored!

     For more information about PEACHES click on the link below







    Let's just get down to it! Radkey blew my mind. I really didn't know what to expect seeing these young guys setting up at Alex's bar last week. I knew there must be something good in here, as they were headling and my friend Endele said "just wait til you hear them". And he was right!

     This three piece brother band from St.Joseph Missouri have been tearing it up since 2010.
    With Dee Radke guitar/lead vox, Isiah Radke Bass/vox and Solomon Radke on the kit, they drive a thunderous rock and roll show.  Loud, fast energetic with catchy songs.

    "Start Freaking Out" is soon to be an anthem song, I can feel it. This song pushes you to limits of expression that builds and builds, basic but brilliant.  Dee's vocals are Amazing. I can't believe the depth he has. It's like a combination of Danzig and Dave Vanian's mixed in with an electrifying guitar sound and style that reminds me of Lenny Kravitz and Jimi Hendrix.

    Take a listen to "Romance Dance" and you will feel the vibe that is spreading. Isiah on bass is captivating as he manages to cover the entire stage dancing, jumping, singing and rolling around on the ground never missing a bass line. Younger brother Solomon keeps it all together on the drums with awesome crashes and fills.

    "Dark Black Makeup" states how kids today want it all but all they do is trip and fall. Their lyrics are brilliant, mature, meaningful and connect with every genre. They have two EP's out "Cat & Mouse" and "Devil Fruit", their 2015 newly released LP is "Dark Black Makeup".

     Radkey is a band you should not miss! They are touring now and heading for the UK.  

     Check out their facebook and website here.





    I was recently turned onto Plaque Vendor and after watching their video "Black Sap Scriptures", I was highly anticipating the show.

     Plaque Vendor are four longtime friends from childhood that originated from Whitier in 2009 and have emerged into the scene, opening up for big names such as Iggy Pop, Jello Biafra and Social Distortion to name a few.

     Brandon lead vocals is somewhat of a mix between Lux Interior of The Cramps and Iggy Pop. He has an uncanny style that is charged by their eerie garage fused Rockabilly/Psychobilly music. His lyrics are of personal experiences and perhaps visions of future encounterments. Nonetheless you will find yourself engaged into his stories and moved in many different directions by their musical flow of tenacious beats and twangs from the guitar. Brandon delivers high pitched howling screams from time to time, combined with his bam-a-lam and bursts of hypnotic shakes and stares. His energy is high-wired and I felt he was limited due to the small stage at Alex's Bar.  

     Plaque Vendor played a solid hard driven 45 minute set which included songs from their new LP, "Free To Eat".  "Black Sap Scriptures", "Cursed Love, Hexed Lust" and "My Tongue Is So Treacherous" are a couple of my favorites, but I assure you the whole album rocks! I purchased one to add to my library.