Brendon Small (Metalocalypse) @ B.B. King Blues Club (4/3/2009)

Brendon Small is the hero of many Metal fans based on his creation, the one and only and very, very infamous Dethklok whose antics are enjoyed in the Adult Swim cartoon “Metalocalypse”. Tonight the guitarist would bring the bands music to life with the help of the School Of Rock All-Stars and have the evening kicked off by both Misstallica (an all chick tribute to Metallica) and Tragedy – The All Heavy Metal Tribute To The Bee Gees. Sounds like fun doesn’t it? Well, it sure was and if you wish to learn and see more just scroll on down.

Logo - Brendon Small

Artist: Brendon Small of Dethklok
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Misstallica, Tragedy (The Metal Bee Gees)
Date: 4/3/2009
Label: Williams Street Records

Despite my having a relatively crazy and productive week already, there is nothing quite like a Metal show that leads you into the weekend to set you right. I had started the musical adventuring with the “Pagan Knights” tour that was on Sunday, and this killer show brought Tyr, Alestorm and Suidakra to their NYC fan base. Then Wednesday we caught Steel Panther who are suffice it to say “an experience”. The fun had at these two events left me wanting to keep the process going and when I learned that Brendon Small (creator of the hit animated series “Metalocalypse”) was going to be performing along with Tragedy and Misstallica I headed over to B.B. King Blues Club and Grill to see what was going on. The evening began rather interesting and for those who arrived early, they got to see the musician long before his set where he would offer up some Q&A with the audience. I’ve touched upon the core topics that he presented to the fans for all to enjoy and it pretty much went like this – the guitarist would do a brief introduction and then asked the crowd if they had anything that they wanted to ask. As expected everything was directed at the “Metalocalypse” show and that made sense since these kids were ravenous for news about their favorite imaginary band. When he was asked about new episodes he didn’t clue us into much more than to the fact that there would be a third season and that it would continue all the antics that we enjoy already. He was asked about giving over control of his Facebook or MySpace page to one of the crowd and he quickly dismissed those mediums and felt levels of disdain for them and maintained that he prefers to actually talk to people as opposed to doing all of this online. The question about guest stars came up and he offered some potential names more than he did locks on who we could actually count on for the new episodes and that made sense since you never know what is actually going to ever be used with you put on a television show. It seems as though being a part of the Dethklok mystique has become something that many bands want to be a part of. It reminded me of how The Simpsons became the “place to be” for celebrity guest voices on some of its characterization.

He let us know that big things were in store for the guys in Dethklok and the world upon which they walk and among them we would find not only a third season and its eventual DVD release, but another CD of music, another live touring set and even a comic book as the months went on. Being a really big comic advocate I am hoping that the boys translate well into the medium, and only time will tell us on that one. Now it was time for the music to get in progress and the first band up was going to deliver a little bit of Metallica music and the twist would be that this was an all-girl tribute to the Bay Area Thrashers – a little act named MISSTALLICA.

Misstallica: I had to say that I was aware of these girls a short time before this gig ever happened and that was based on an email arriving not too long ago that informed me about the girls I already knew as Queen Diamond. Apparently they were now involved in an all-female Metallica project and while the original names that they ran by me were rather scandalous I think that they hit the nail on the head with Misstallica. Teddi Tarnoff who is Queen Diamond handles the bass in this group while the singing and guitar comes from Gina Randazzo. There are two other guitarists in Allie Thrower and Gina Gleason and drums are adeptly handled by Kaleen Reading. There was a decent crowd for them and who doesn’t enjoy the sound of Metallica tunes in concert when they are done well. I had to give them credit for kicking the ass that they were kicking and how they really kept the technical structure and melodies of these tunes in place. I expected nothing less from girls or dare I say ladies who were at one time a part of the Paul Green School Of Rock themselves. The gig was very earlier in the bands own existence but one could not tell from the manner in which they delivered the set. We would sadly only get five tunes from them and that meant “Hit The Lights”, “Orion”, “Creeping Death”, “Master Of Puppets” and “Dyer’s Eve” would be it. I didn’t find any fault with the selection and can safely say that I would enjoy seeing them do this again. They appeared to be having as much fun playing these songs as the audience was having listening to them. Good luck girls. Now it was time for Tragedy, the Metal tribute to the Bee Gees and one never knows how a set from these guys is going to be so I was rather excited.

Tragedy, The Metal Tribute to the Bee Gees: I had already witnessed the hilarity that this particular group instills in a person when they performed with another mash-up band called Beatallica down at the Highline Ballroom when the club had just opened. With their appearance tonight as direct support for Brendon’s Dethklok project I could not resist the chance to find myself “Stayin’ Alive” once again. The group is truly entertaining and delivers exactly what you would expect to find had the Bee Gees been a Metal band as opposed to a Pop super group. It’s an ensemble group in some sense based on the amount of players involved but the action is focused primarily on Barry Gibb and Mo’Royce Peterson who handle most of the singing and guitar playing. Robin Gibbens sings as well but instead of the guitar delivers the goods on the cowbell, tambourine and triangle. The cast of characters also includes their bassist Chris, drummer Om Wrecker (who was new to the lineup to my eyes) and four of the sexiest backup singers I have ever seen in the Women’s Glibb. The ladies provide the angelic background vocals and eye candy appeal to the show and with Angelpussy and Olivia Newton-Chong in their number you can be rest assured that they have that criteria locked down. The band would open up with “Night Fever” and head right into “Jive Talkin’”, and it was funny to see the reactions on the younger Metal fan faces who were not really too sure what to make of the goings on when they began. Some decided to just go with the flow and dance and I had to admit that the need to boogie was hitting me as well even though the band was dishing out a much heavier riff base to the original songs melodic structure. There was a lot of crowd banter from lead singer Barry who even treated us to news about how the next song that they had written was originally intended for a movie called “Lube” – he then began the notes of “Grease” which was amusing to hear done as a heavier tune. They did “Nights On Broadway” which was always a favorite tune of mine and at the end of it when the crowd started to go wild we were told to hold out applause because the band already knew that they were awesome.

The antics continued through a very amusing set and various characters came up onto the stage and interacted with the group and when the need arose we found the musicians screaming out for their lackey Lance who was essentially performing the duties of intern, butler, roadie, hand maiden and slave all in one sitting. It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it, and who better than Lance to take care of business for the bands benefit. Some dramatic flair came when the ladies would don black attire and facemasks and perform while the band did a number that I cannot determine the title of at this time but it definitely changed the feel of the set for a few minutes that’s for sure. The band themselves were enjoying the whole night and everyone seemed to be covered in silvery glitter, with Robin being the guiltiest party in that regard. As their set drew to a close they delivered the seldom played Bee Gees tune “Stayin’ Alive” and would finish the performance up with the track that they snatched their name from “Tragedy”. The final number actually found both Brendon Small and Paul Green from the School Of Rock out on the stage jamming with the guys in Tragedy. To say that everyone was onstage now would be an understatement because we had the full band, the four girls, various fan characters who interplay with the set, Lance and some giant in a woman’s dress and wig. The guitars all shredded and at one point the audience was led to think they would see an onstage kiss between Small and Green but they were just teasing everyone. It was probably the most fun one could legally have at a Hard Rock/Metal show and if you think that Bee Gees songs cannot work within a Metal framework and that you cannot make a band like this work, then I suggest you go to check these folks out because they really do a fantastic job. I picked up a copy of their CD at the show and it’s called “We Rock Sweet Balls And Can Do No Wrong”. It features most of the songs that they performed tonight and I will definitely be seeing them again sometime in the future. It’s too good a time to not find this being the case. Now it was time to hear a little Dethklok and the crowd had been suitably warmed up for this whether they realized it or not.

Brendan Small: I caught the Dethklok show that was held at Nokia Theatre last year and was really impressed with how the creators pulled this one off. The band who did the music for the show performed in limited light while a giant screen presented us the guys in Dethklok and it was one fun filled night. Tonight Small would be the only member of his bands creative team in place but fear not, his musicians were the All-Stars from the Paul Green School Of Rock and without mincing any words these kids kick ass. The setup would essentially be Small handling the guitar work and most of the vocals for the Dethklok material while bass, rhythm and additional lead guitar, drums and keyboards were handled by the SoR’ers. This meant the material was in some really exceptional hands and I say this from having seen the School in action in the past as well. The first time I believe was when a group of them played some Metal classics as an opener for Bobby Blitz’s side project The Cursed. The night began with the song “Murmaider” and crushed the front row fans who were dealing with the folks moshing about behind them with “Birthday Song” which was actually sung by one of the members of the School. Don’t worry, the kid had the voice down pat and sounded exactly the way that singer Nathan Explosion does in the cartoon. What confused me a little would be the next number up which was Van Halen’s “I’m The One”. Now don’t get me wrong, since I love every single moment on the VH debut, but it was odd to find one of their tunes in the context of the presentation of Dethklok material. After all, that stuff is incendiary Death Metal while VH is Classic Hard Rock. Apparently part of the night’s plan was for Small to educate the fans a little bit by presenting numbers that he felt were very important to him as an up and coming musician way back when he started. I think that this idea could have worked better than it did and when the next few songs from the whole crew became these covers that they managed to lose some of the interest in the fans who were primarily there to hear the songs from Metalocalypse. Six songs in all would go by before we got back to the Dethklok stuff and I was really enjoying the level of play and vocal techniques that were being demonstrated by the School but I had to agree that I myself was more interested in the crux of the night remaining on the Death Metal stuff.

I did enjoy seeing tunes that deserve attention being played tonight just the same and was amazed at the choice of “Hocus Pocus” by Focus being pulled out of the hat along with “The Prophet’s Song” by Queen. These incredible tunes were delivered skillfully and will hopefully send some of the audience attendee’s home to look for the originals. Brendon and the Rockers got us back into the Metal with covers of King Diamond’s “Welcome Home” and Slayer’s “Angel Of Death” and I was proud to be able to report that these were presented in an on the money fashion. Green doesn’t seem to take chances with the skills offered up by these kids and makes sure that everyone knows their part and executes it really well. After these covers we got back to the business of Dethklok and we found the special guest of Dr. Rokzo up on the stage in all his skin tight leotard glory as he sang about being the Rock and Roll Clown who loves cocaine. As soon as he hit the stage I saw dozens of cell phones being put into action as the moment was captured on video to live on the likes of YouTube, MySpace and Facebook forever. From beginning to end the set delivered was great even though like many others I would have preferred it stayed on course with the Dethklok stuff a little more as opposed to switching it up but in the end I had no real complaints. The School Of Rock kids and Paul Green are to be commended for the things that they do and I feel that then one person bands who are touring should call if they ever find themselves down a member is him. These young ladies and gentleman are just that good and you will find yourself blown away when you catch anything that they do. We’ve listed all their names below for easiest reference so make mental note of them because they could very well be the next rising star.

The Cast Of The School Of Rock “Dethklok Plus”: Gina Gleason, Kaleen Reading, Olivia Millet, Emilia Richman, Pete Trafalski, Chris Greatti, Zach LoPresti, Elijah Austin, Ryan Shatinhorn, Max Bowman, Zack Smith, CJ Tywoniak, Danny Piselli, Asher Bank,
Mike Place, Jerald Liu, Aaron Sheehan, Malcolm Fisher, Mark Laura, Daniel Geraghty, Alex Disimine, Steve Henderson, Adam Egizi

Make sure to follow Small’s project when it airs its third season and if they do a tour again get your tickets early because this sells out quickly. The first two seasons of “Metalocalypse” are available on DVD so if you are one of those who still don’t “get it”, then this is the best way to be brought up to speed. Watch for Tragedy because they are a good time and those ladies in Misstallica sure show some tribute act promise. Next week will be the return of Destruction and interestingly enough it will be on this very same stage. Stay tuned.

Tragedy Set list:
1. Night Fever
2. Jive Talkin’
3. Grease
4. Nights On Broadway
5. If I Cant Have You
6. Woman In Love
7. How Deep Is Your Love
8. You Should Be Dancing
9. Stayin’ Alive
10. Tragedy

Brendon Small Set List:
1. Murmaider
2. Birthday Song/Bloodtrocuted
3. I’m The One (Van Halen)
4. You Could Be Mine (Guns ‘N Roses)
5. Four Horsemen (Metallica)
6. Takin’ It Easy
7. Peace Sells (But Who’s Buying)
8. Hocus Pocus (Focus)
9. Snake N Barrels
10. Awaken
11. Thunderhorse
12. Welcome Home (King Diamond)
13. Godzilla (Blue Oyster Cult)
14. Toki Medley
15. Angel Of Death (Slayer)
16. The Prophet’s Song (Queen)
17. Clown
18. Go Into The Water

Official Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brendon_small
Official Website: http://www.myspace.com/letsmaketragedyhappen
Official Website: http://www.myspace.com/misstallicaband

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