PiercingMetal’s “Best Of” 2009: The Concerts and Events

Now that I’ve lined out all the music that blew me away during the 2009 year, its time to lend my focus on the Concerts and Events that we attended. In looking back on it, I would have to say that 2009 was probably the biggest year that I ever had as a music writer and photographer based on not only how many cool concerts there were, but how many I was able to find myself taking part in for your eventual entertainment as readers of the site. I think that I caught something like 95 shows which is a new record for me and probably one that will be very difficult to beat but of course I have been saying this for three years. Below are some of the events that I felt were the most exciting of them all.

The Best Concerts of 2009:

“Paganfest USA – 2”: This time around the tour would feature Korpiklaani, Moonsorrow, Primordial, Blackguard and Swashbuckle and really be an impressive one. What made it exciting for me was the chance to see Korpiklaani, Moonsorrow and Primordial for the most part because none of these bands had ever done a proper tour in the USA. I found Blackguard to be a nice surprise as well.

Judas Priest & Whitesnake (Epic Records/SPV Records): Judas Priest would celebrate their 30th Anniversary of the “British Steel” albums while the Snake would be celebrating two incredible releases of their own. The show featured a solid set from both bands and was a gig that many would talk about for months. According to reports, Priest recorded one of the shows and plans for the video/audio to be released with a special edition of “British Steel”. Whitesnake in turn also released deluxe editions of both “Slide It In” and “Slip Of The Tongue” this year.

Marduk @ The Gramercy Theatre (Candlelight Records): After having missed the Blackenedfest a few months earlier, Marduk was on US Soil to crush the Metal legions. This was an intense show that delivered on all counts and impressed all those fans who had wanted to see them a few months earlier.

Saxon @ B.B. King Blues Club (SPV Records): Saxon had not done a proper US tour in some years and this NYC show would be one of two appearances and be done for a sold out room. The mood and the Metal were intense this evening and proved to many that the Old School glory of traditional Metal had not and will never subside.

Paul McCartney @ Citi Field: I was lucky to catch one of the three performances by Sir Paul McCartney who did a night of wonderful tunes. Lots of Beatles and lots of Wings, which is all classic stuff and still relevant to all fans of good ole Rock & Roll. A DVD/CD would be released of this historic visit.

The 69 Eyes @ Gramercy Theatre (The End Records): The Helsinki Vampires were “Back In Blood” supporting a new album that really delivered the goods and reminded their fans why they remain so special to them. It also featured the talents of Dommin and The Becoming. A very dark night in NYC to say the least.

Mayhem @ The Fillmore NY (Season Of Mist Records): This was called the Blackened Metal Fest and while it depressed some that Marduk was off the tour, the True Mayhem delivered a frightening and powerful set of Black Metal that focused on the bands influential years.

KISS @ Madison Square Garden (KISS Records): Love them or hate them, NYC and Madison Square Garden are nothing less than home for KISS and their show always pulls out all the stops. The rousing good time celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the “Alive” CD and found much of the set focused on that live classic. A lot of other different and more unexpected numbers were in place this time around which made it a great experience. I could have done without Buckcherry as they bored me with their set.

Emilie Autumn @ Highline Ballroom (The End Records): Emilie and her Bloody Crumpets perform a little bit burlesque and a little bit Broadway along with some high flying circus like activity. Hearing her material and enjoying it in this clubs atmosphere made it all work out. I’ll see her again under the proper conditions without question.

Joe Perry Project @ The Fillmore NY (Roman Records): Joe Perry was performing solo with his band but that night Steven Tyler showed up as a surprise to dispel the media rumors about his exciting Aerosmith and I was there to enjoy it. Need I say more? I think not.

Renaissance @ The Concert Hall (Independent Artist): Renaissance had returned to the lovers of Classical meets Art Progressive Rock and singer Annie Haslam reminded us why her voice and melodies were so special once again. The tour was short, but the memories many and I hope they do this again. Inspiring would be an understatement.

Opeth & Enslaved @ The Grand Ballroom (Roadrunner Records/Nuclear Blast Records): Opeth was around once more and this time with Enslaved. The terrific bill was at the very difficult Grand Ballroom part of the Manhattan Center which was a bad move in the eyes of many of their fans. Time-consuming to access and kept many people away, but the show was fantastic. Each band worked well together.

Nightwish @ Nokia Theatre Times Square (Roadrunner Records): As promised Nightwish did return to astound our Symphonic Metal senses and bring the over the top musical show they always deliver. This year they brought Volbeat along who were a fantastic addition to the festivities.

Gwynbleidd @ Ace Of Clubs (Black Currant Music): A rising star performing their entire release in a cool NYC venue made for a great night. “Nostalgia” in full was a great dose of power for those in attendance.

Stryper @ The Fillmore NY (Big 3 Records): Celebrating their 25th Anniversary, Stryper showed the streets of NYC that they have not lost an ounce of that black and gold luster yet.

Metallica @ Madison Square Garden (Warner Music Group): While I was only able to take photos of this show and not report on the full thing, I got to enjoy three tunes and witness a band that was in command of their role and their audience. It was great to see how far Metallica has climbed since I first heard them and the electricity in the air was physical. Maybe next time around the fates will find me being able to remain for the whole gig. We made the best use of our time just the same.

Foreigner @ Nokia Theatre Times Square (Rhino Entertainment): I can definitely attest to it feeling like the first time since it was actually my first time seeing this iconic band in concert. There is a completely new lineup, but the material sounds the same. I have not sung along at a concert this much ever before.

Michael Schenker Group @ Gramercy Theatre (MVD Audio): No one will argue with me when I say that the MSG tours to this part of the world have been fraught with drama and when the mad axe man finally did get himself and company to the Big Apple once again all were hoping for the best and no surprises. Lucky us there were plenty of surprises as the musician delivered one of the best shows he has done here in years. Welcome back Michael, please come again.

Tarja Turunen @ The Fillmore NY (Universal Music): Many Symphonic Metal fans screamed in outrage when Tarja was ousted from Nightwish so one expected a madhouse for her solo appearance in NYC. Sadly this would not be the case and to say many missed the boat on this one would not be enough. We attended of course and found the show wonderful and the singer at her best.

The Good Rats @ B.B. King Blues Club (Uncle Rat Records): The greatest band that many of you have never heard of before. An original lineup show that was loaded with cool Rock tunes. More people should listen to this band if they get the chance.

Soilwork @ Highline Ballroom (Nuclear Blast Records): A great return to the headlining stage was done with Soilwork who brought along label mates Darkane, the Melodic Doom of Swallow The Sun and the odd but solid choice of Warbringer for an exciting show.

Meshuggah @ The Fillmore NY (Nuclear Blast Records): The show was being filmed for a live DVD and featured Cynic as the opener. Great Metal all around and did you expect Meshuggah to compromise the principles otherwise?

The Answer @ Mercury Lounge (The End Records): Seeing a band that had just performed for tens of thousands play in a 100 plus capacity room was amazing. The snow was on the ground and the temperature freezing outside but in the venue it was smoldering hot.

Semi-Precious Weapons @ Highline Ballroom (Razor & Tie Entertainment): My first time ever seeing this band in action and wow I was sold. Classic Rock vibe with electrified fence energy and a front man who is second to none in his presentation.

GWAR @ The Fillmore NY (Metal Blade Records): The monsters were back and most certainly would attack in this nothing less than over the top show. At points I feared for my life and I am sure that GWAR would have it no other way. Yikes was my easiest response after this madness.
Trivium & Chimaira @ The Fillmore NY (Roadrunner Records): Trivium proved to be a band on top of their own game with this one, and Chimaira were an assault force. The show also featured Whitechapel and Dirge Within and everyone who attended got a free download of the Trivium set. Not a bad deal

Dethklok & Mastodon @ Hammerstein Ballroom (Williams Street Entertainment): The world’s most infamous animated band had returned and was prepared to destroy their fans with the help of Mastodon and Converge. This was a wild night of cartoon fury.

Satyricon & Chthonic @ The Fillmore NY (E1 Entertainment): Yes it was great to have Satyricon back for the attack as a headliner act but when Chthonic from Taiwan were moved up to direct support the evening took a serious upgrade. I must admit I was as interested in them as I was in Satyr and look forward to more gigs from each of these Metal royals soon.

Steel Panther @ The Canal Room (Universal Republic): The “return” of these Rock Icons on April Fool’s Day in NYC was a hilarious blast. Bawdy Rock ‘N Roll that even found some classic covers being done by the band.

When you go to 95 shows you also see a cavalcade of opening acts and we did our best in our concert reports to document something about each of them as well. You can see many of these openers in our Photo Gallery section on the site. So while we had a lot of fun at those shows highlighted above there are also several that merit an honorable mention like EdGuy, Doro Pesch, Vader, and Zebra along with many more. Check out the concert review section on the site to find which ones were your favorites should we have attended something that you were also a part of. We cannot stress the fact enough that the fans need to get out and support their bands because if they don’t, it will be much harder for them to return to rock us again in the future. Save your pennies so you can see something unique that might not come back all that soon. If sacrificing some extra coffee visits or video game stuff is necessary, then do it so you can be a part of the action that so many of us are regularly enjoying. If you lack the cash which is always a possibility, try to follow those radio stations or online giveaways that let you take part in it. I know that they are out there, but you need to be creative as well and do the searching. Maybe someday we will offer free tickets to some shows. Only time will tell so see you at the venues in 2010.

The Best Events Of 2009:

Every now and then we learn of a special event of some kind and are permitted to access it for the purposes of journalistic adventuring and the moment we get into place, we have you readers in mind and look to bring you inside the story with us as best as possible. There were a number of cool events that took place in 2009 and while you can read all about them on the website, I’ve locked out a bunch that were my very favorites to have taken part in.

Anthrax performs at the Red Bull Snowscraper Event: Many Metal fans were at the Slipknot show at MSG that night but the hard core believers in the Thrash Metal way braved the absolutely brutal cold of the East River Park to watch Anthrax deliver three songs…….three!!! The snowboarding event ran past schedule and that meant the band would go on late and as result be cut off in the middle of their third song. When I say it was cold, I am speaking that it was below 0 Fahrenheit and I was numb for a day or so afterwards. This would be the only area appearance of the bands then new singer Dan Nelson who was kicked out not long after this show. I was glad to be there to document it even though I risked m health doing so. You’re welcome 

“Vamp Collection” Launch with Semi-Precious Weapons @ Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Annex: This was a private part to launch Justin Tranter’s new jewelry line but since this cat is all about the Rock and Roll, he delivered a crushing but short set of music with his band Semi Precious Weapons. It took place in the now closed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex in NYC and we were happy to bring a lot of this fun to you with our event coverage.

Ace Frehley & Company welcome The Hard Rock Café to new Yankees Stadium: I’ve never been the biggest sports fans and my friends can tell you this, but when Ace Frehley was announced as helping to open the new Yankee Stadium Hard Rock Café with a performance and guitar smashing then I knew I had to be there. It was an awesome morning to say the least. Scott Ian of Anthrax and Handsome Dick Manitoba were also present for the fun. Play Ball!!!
The 69 Eyes “Back In Blood” CD Listening Party: A listening party for a cool rock band like The 69 Eyes is awesome enough but I was fortunate to be able to wander around the shops of St. Mark’s Place with the guys as they selected new stage gear and etcetera. The new CD rocked as well and hence became a part of my year end best of list.

Woodstock – 40th Anniversary Gala @ Hard Rock Café (Warner Home Video): This was a rare treat and at first we documented all the folks on the green carpet but the musical fates that decree all things allowed us passage inside the soiree that celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the “Woodstock” festival and its documentary film. They showed scenes from the film on the big screen and also had live performances from many folks who were a part of the special day. It was an honor to mingle with such sorts and we hoped our narrative entertained any who happened to read it.

Twisted Sister/Stryper/Collective Soul and More help light the NYSE Holiday Tree: “Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree” would be the reason for gathering down in the cold outside of the NYSE on Broad and Wall Streets in NYC as members of Twisted Sister, Stryper, Collective Soul and the cast of Rock Of Ages all performed for the music loving holiday crowd. The cool event was like walking into a holiday television special and also featured music from Kate Voegele, David Nail and Billy Ray Cyrus. Talk about festive.

I’ve still got to outline the books and videos for you so please stay tuned. If you have some favorite concerts or events from this past year and want to share them with us you can do that down in the comments section below. I’d love to hear what ones made you go the craziest. Especially if it was something that we didn’t manage to see. Also, you can keep up with PiercingMetal via the two dominating Social Networks of Facebook and Twitter which I have linked below for you to follow with ease.

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