Dream Theater @ The Theater at Madison Square Garden (4/3/2004)

Logo - Dream Theater

Artist: Dream Theater
Venue: The Theatre at Madison Square Garden (New York, NY)
Opener: n/a
Date: 4/3/2004
Label: Atlantic Records

Given that I first heard of this band when they were a new signing on Mechanix Records back in 1989 I essentially consider myself among their earliest supporters. Though I have enjoyed their music for so long they were one of those bands that I just never got to see. Tonight, at “The Theatre” (which is beneath Madison Square Garden, and is the former Felt Forum) I had the chance to rectify this issue. This is the perfect setting for this band as not only is the room acoustically sound – but you can see the performers very easily from almost any vantage point. However for this particular show there was not a lot of sitting going on for many fans decided to stand for the entire show. As a result the tall folks in immediate front of me prevented me from actually seeing a lot of the show. Without being disparaging I must declare that there are not a lot of antics onstage that merit your consistent attention at a Dream Theatre performance. You are there to absorb and enjoy their skilled musicianship and standing thru the entire set is only bound to annoy someone behind you.
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“Rebel Meets Rebel” by Rebel Meets Rebel

Artist: Rebel Meets Rebel
Title: “Rebel Meets Rebel”
Label: Big Vin Records
Release Date: 5/2/2006
Genre: Country Metal
Rating: 8/10

Rebel Meets Rebel was a unique collaboration between Country legend David Allan Coe and both Dimebag Darrell and his Brother Vinny Paul from Pantera/Damageplan. The fun project would be an interesting blend of Country Music and Heavy Metal thunder that fans of the musicians will most likely enjoy. It’s an album that one needs to approach with an open mind as the blending of Country and Metal is not something we see done often. The last instance that I knew of was with Iron Horse, the band that featured former Metal screamer Ron Keel. The effort proved that it could work when done properly and given the level of talent that the members of this group possessed and their creative edge it was bound to be able to do the same. The recording of the album clearly shows that the members were having a blast doing it and some of the songs totally rock when it comes down to it. Best examples of this are during “Get Outta My Life” and “Cherokee Cry” and despite the normal level of a Country singers voice, Coe does well by trying to raise his volume up a little more like we hear in music like Molly Hatchet. My favorite track on the album is the most Metallized track “No Compromise” and as you listen to a lot of the riffing you can see that it’s not a far cry from the playing Dime was doing during his career in Metal. With Rebel Meets Rebel it just gets a different wrapping. There are some comments from both Vinny Paul about the recording and some by Coe and each state that Dime loved doing this project. Had he not been killed this might have very well seen some performances during breaks in the touring schedule.
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HIM @ Bowery Ballroom (4/20/2004)

Artist: H.I.M.
Venue: The Bowery Ballroom
Date: 4/20/2004
Opener: Kill Hannah

There is something to be said about checking out a concert from a band like H.I.M. in a venue like The Bowery Ballroom. The club capacity is not that big and seems to hold just a little over 500 people. This makes it quite the intimate setting especially if you get close enough to the stage. This week, H.I.M. made their first trip to New York for two sold out shows, and I was lucky enough to attend. I have been enjoying the music of H.I.M. for many months now and was looking forward to being at this show. I was unable to secure tickets for the first show which sold out in minutes. As a matter of fact when I went to purchase my pair, the man selling them said to me “hey who are these guys that they sold out so quick”. I made sure to educate him on what to expect that evening.
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KISS’ “Symphony: Alive IV” CD Release/Fan Meet and Greet (7/23/2003)

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Artist: KISS
Venue: Best Buy – 86th Street (New York, NY)
Event: “Symphony: Alive IV” CD Release/Meet and Greet
Date: 7/23/2003
Label: Sanctuary Records

Earlier this year when it was announced that KISS was going to do a concert with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra I said “oh great, KISS is following in the footsteps of Metallica & the Scorpions” who had each released a similar effort over the past years. Who ever would have guessed it? Certainly not me but despite my reservations about it I had to admit that the idea was a little more intriguing when I took the time to think it over. This is primarily due to the fact that when it comes down to the brass tacks; KISS will always deliver no matter what the skeptics will say. This case would be no different as I would later find out once I had time to absorb the release after a couple of spins.

The CD for KISS Symphony: Alive IV” arrived here in the States back in July and to celebrate it there was a promotion from a mass retailer called Best Buy which said to come in and purchase the CD on the day of its release and not only get a signed copy, but also the chance to get to meet the band who would be in full makeup and even get your photo taken with them. There were two editions of the CD being released that day and one was a standard type and another would be a limited edition deluxe version that was housed in a beautiful douoble-gatefold package with raised, embossed lettering.
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“Tinnitus” by Backyard Babies

Artist: Backyard Babies
Title: “Tinnitus”
Label: Liquor and Poker Music
Release Date: 2/22/2005
Genre: Rock Punk
Rating: 8/10

The Backyard Babies have been around for about 10 years and this is far too long for the United States to have waited to get a taste of their brand of old school rock and roll mixed with a touch of Punk. Their latest CD entitled “Tinnitus” will be the first time the music will be available to us in the USA and this is due to the efforts of the folks at Liquor and Poker Music. What I first found amazing about the band was the fact that this kind of music was coming from Sweden as opposed to someplace like Hollywood California or New York. I mean, Sweden has so many grinding and dark styled heavy metal bands that it is a refreshing change of pace for those that grow tired of that stuff. This is more akin to the glory days of the Sex Pistols and New York Dolls (though some folks will argue there is Clash and Social Distortion influences in this as well). I enjoyed the CD very much and found myself with quite a few favorites after only one listen. This is no-nonsense foot stomping music, it makes you want to grab a beer and your boots and slam and bop while the band plays on late into the evening in some crap bar.
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Where Heavy Music & Pop Culture Collide

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