Artist: Ace Frehley
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Label: e1 Entertainment
The man is electric and his electricity is contagious. Despite the nearby Megadeth and Scorpions show taking place just down the street at Madison Square Garden, Ace Frehley had the entirety of New York under his thumb right here at the Times Square staple B.B. King Blues Club. After all, this is his city. With a line of painted faces and a mix of KISS and solo Ace shirts forming outside at 3pm while the doors only open at 615pm, you could only expect that the Space Ace drew an international crowd of the most loyal fans fully ready to rock and roll all night. Sure enough, it was hard to even move in the club (unless, of course, the legend threw a guitar pick into the crowd, because everyone and their mother jumped and pushed for that square inch of magical plastic).
The Spaceman came in hot from Jendell between the hours of 8pm and 9pm and, without missing a beat, turned out a beautiful recreation of “Parasite,” a classic KISS fan favorite off of Hotter than Hell. The energy only intensified from then on out. His Space Invader hit, “Toys” was up next. Afterwards, the rock icon paused to appreciate 11 years of sobriety, but pointed out the fact that we were all still expected to drink just as long as we didn’t crash our cars on the way home, as he knows all too well how that feels. The night continued with Ace’s very own, “Rip It Out” off of his self-titled album, Ace Frehley followed by a version of Thin Lizzy’s “Emerald”. Each member of the Ace Fehley band had their night behind the mic, but first in rotation was Mr. Scot Coogan on drums who took lead on another KISS cover, “Love Gun”. After Ace sent a shout out to his former bandmate, Paul Stanley, Coogan performed doing the song a great justice and, no doubt, the crowd went wild for every reinvention of KISS. Ace grabbed back the lead with yet another KISS masterpiece, “Rocket Ride” and then took the energy right into his Anomaly release, “Sister”. Unlike most traditional rock bands (well, I guess KISS does it too), Ace gave way to a bass solo by Mr. Chris Wyse who proclaimed the integrity and significance of the bass guitar in rock music. Full of energy, Wyse took the lead on ANOTHER KISS favorite, “Strange Ways” again off of their 1974 release, Hotter than Hell.
Continue reading Ace Frehley @ B.B. King Blues Club (9/16/2017)
Venue: Highline Ballroom (New York, NY)
Opener: Sithu Aye
Label: InsideOut Records
Written By: Steven Stolper (copyright 2017) for PiercingMetal.com
Haken is a Progressive Metal band from England that has been steadily gaining popularity on this side of the pond. Last time around they packed Webster Hall’s Marlin Room and now it was onto bigger spaces. The Highline Ballroom is a bit larger in scope but I wonder if this show would have been held at Webster Hall if it was still open. Whatever the case, I do think Highline is a superior venue, with better stage, sound, and lighting. And no ceiling “thump” that The Marlin Room events often suffered from when The Grand Ballroom shows upstairs would get rowdy. As with Webster Hall though, there are late night events scheduled at Highline, so music, events can get pushed into early slots. This concert started earlier than posted, at around 7:10pm, not 7 30 as advertised. Sithu Aye, a proggy instrumental guitar shredder from Scotland opened. An enjoyable set, sort of what one might expect Joe Satriani to sound if he listened to a lot of modern Prog-Metal. I was disappointed to find the use of backing tracks for keyboards and some guitars. It kind of takes away from the live feel, and I don’t really see the point, considering that he actually brought a full band with him which included a second guitarist. Why not improvise, or play album keyboard parts on guitar?
Continue reading Haken @ Highline Ballroom (9/2/2017)
Contributor Steven Stolper was on point enjoying the findings at the annual ProgPower USA Festival that takes place in Atlanta, Georgia at the Center Stage Atlanta theater. Historically speaking, PiercingMetal has NEVER been to the event but we’ve occasionally had interest in going based on the lineup for the year. I asked for a quick briefing of the acts that he saw and here are his transmissions to the High Command from the field about Day Three
ProgPowerUSA XVIII Day 3: Day 3 (or “Day 1” as it used to be known as until a couple of years ago) is when the ProgPower machine really revs into high gear. There are more bands (six versus four), longer sets performed, more autograph signing sessions, more merch and a whole lot more Prog. This year, almost all of the “Day 3” bands were heavy on the Progressive side with one notable exception being the visitors from Spain, Lords of Black. I assumed that this is due to different musical tastes of the booking teams of Days 1-2 vs 3-4. Although, as mentioned before, this seems to vary recently, probably based on touring schedules of non-exclusive bands. Speaking of exclusivity, all of the bands playing Friday, except Mike Portnoy’s Shattered Fortress, are flying in specifically for the ProgPower event and are NOT doing standard tours of the regions around the country. This is what makes this festival so unique and attractive to fans of the genre living in the Americas. It is often the only opportunity to see these bands live.
Daydream XI (Brazil):
Brazilian newcomers opened the main event on Friday in a very impressive fashion. Smooth progressive metal with thick dual guitars and nice vox is a recipe that has very broad appeal for the ProgPower crowd. I was not familiar with the band’s material beforehand. I suppose that was true for most attendees, but the band’s music was easy to connect with. A friend described it as a more mellow and sexy Symphony X. Sounds about right. No one really wants to have to be too analytical about music at 2PM on a Friday anyway, especially after 2 days of the festival. Most impressively, singer Tiago Masseti also handled the second guitar duties, including many of the solos. Highlight of the set was a beautiful piano and vocals only ballad, which really showcased singer’s lovely voice.
Continue reading ProgPower USA XVIII Day Three Musings (9/8/2017)
Artist: Metal Church in Germany
Venue: Colos-Saal, Aschaffenburg, Germany
Label: Rat Pak Records
Three subways, a regional train from Hessen to Bavaria, one taxi, and ½ mile of walking, and I finally made it to Aschaffenburg, Bavaria. An intimidating trip to take alone as a stranger in a strange land, but well worth the trek.
Backwoods Germany is a strange place to see the very American Thrash legends Metal Church, but it was probably one of the most packed shows. Another group with the energy of fully functional teenagers. Mike Howe is back on lead vocals and has the same range that made his early albums with Metal Church classics. The other change in lineups since the last album/tour cycle didn’t slow the guys down as Stet Howland killed on drums and will, hopefully, be a permanent addition. Those only now following the bands activity should know that Howeland replaced Jeff Plate (Savatage, Trans-Siberian Orchestra) a few short months ago.
“Fake Healer” was an easy choice to get the crowd going and despite the remote location, this was a fair size audience for Church to hold Metal services. I was honestly shocked at how many enthusiastic fans came out to see them. At the end note of every song, the audience was screaming for “Metal Church” until the band relented and played their next hit. Seismic activity could probably be read as far away as London.
Continue reading Metal Church @ Colos-Saal, Aschaffenburg, Germany (6/12/2017)
The Kat was continuing her Metal prowl across Germany and tossing back some views on truly great artists and sharing the skinny with us back home at the Metal Command HQ in NYC. As these came in I also made notes on where I will need to go should I ever get there and now we hear a quick summary of her Scorpions experience.
Label: Universal Music
Written By: Katherine Wilson (copyright 2017) for PiercingMetal.com
After ditching me to see the historic Deep Purple, my dad thought we was going to enjoy a night of rest at home sans concert. Wrong. I’ve only seen Scorpions as a clueless and young kid with a lack of familiarity as to who the people with funny accents were talking with my father, so I was going to attend a show I would remember.
Germany has produced its fair share of hard rock and heavy metal, but no act has had the stay that the Scorpions continue to enjoy 50 years on! Every single member of this legendary outfit was running around the festival stage as if they were 18 again. I met 2 pre-teens who had never been to a concert before and all they could say was, “When is the next show?”. It was great to share this amazing experience with them.
Continue reading Scorpions @ Hessentagsarena; Rüsselsheim, Germany (6/11/2017)