Artist: KISS Venue: Madison Square Garden (New York, NY) Opener: New England Date: 7/25/1979 Label: Casablanca Records
Today is a day for me to celebrate a personal Music Milestone and while we have a section devoted to such things here on PiercingMetal.com, the overall narrative will be filed in our Event Reviews area as it’s a milestone of a concert review. You see, it was forty years ago today that I would attend my very first concert ever and it would be the second night of the return of KISS to Madison Square Garden. In 1979 I was just past my fourteenth year and after some major begging had convinced my parents to take me to the concert. It took some doing and I think by the time that I had gotten my Dad on the same page that the first night was sold out. I was fine with the second night since at that point in my young life I had no idea about how to be about a concert. This was going to be my first time seeing the Hard Rock superheroes that I had been loving on record, in comic books, on trading cards and in action figures. Now it was time for the real deal spectacle as the guys would be touring for their “Dynasty” album and doing two shows in their hometown.
The ”Dynasty” album was getting a lot of radio play on the Rock Stations of the time thanks to the signature hit “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” which as you know was also more of a Disco number. That style of music was still riding high in 1979 and pretty much inescapable for those who wished to hide from it. Fortunately, my friends and I would find solace in radio stations like WNEW and WPLJ who were all Rock all the time. Anyway, so after a journey into the city braving the subway line directions from my parents, my friend and I met up with them and I guess we had something quick to eat before the show. I don’t recall that much but considering our age and the proximity, it was very likely McDonald’s. We entered the cavernous Madison Square Garden and I remember being floored by the amount of merchandise with the bands logo and faces on them. I didn’t manage to buy anything that night but I wanted the tour book and discovered that I could order one from the KISS Shop after the show so I would do that a few weeks later. Continue reading KISS @ Madison Square Garden (7/25/1979)→
Artist: Ghost Venue: Barclays Center Opener: n/a Date: 12/15/2018 Label: Loma Vista Recordings
There is a spectre haunting the world, the spectre of Ghost. Having gone from playing theaters only a year ago to dominating the same sold-out arenas as Iron Maiden, Ghost is a phenomena. From an outsider’s non-metal perspective, Ghost is “basically a satanic Alice Cooper mixed with KISS and a little bit of Marilyn Manson, right?” Although a decent attempt to brand Ghost with a single visual label, this endeavor is ill-fated as it forgoes the group’s depth, and even insults Ghost’s core ideology, and musical wizardry.
So if Ghost isn’t just a satanic Alice-KISS-Manson mashup, what are they and how is what they do any different from the others? Easy. Ghost, as explained by frontman Tobias Forge, is a Mass, a celebration if you will. An evil satanic Mass celebrating the Lord of the Underworld, you ask? Nay. The Ghost spectacle is a celebration of life, knowledge, exploration, and of course, heavy riffs, big drums, and a bass line that will “wobble your ass,” as Cardinal Copia might say. Still not following how a bunch of Swedes (or so we think) dressed up as ghouls commanded by the antithesis of religious piety is actually a loving, caring, and genius gift to the fate of humankind? Fair enough. Without going into further examination of their lyrical content, as I faithfully believe you can research the true meaning behind most songs by a click of a mouse, let’s highlight Ghost’s 2018 tour: A Pale Tour Named Death.
Artist: Judas Priest Venue: Prudential Center (Newark, NJ) Opener: Saxon and Black Star Riders Date: 3/20/2018 Label: Epic Records
As a card-carrying Heavy Metal fan for pretty much four decades now, I was super excited that 2018 would not only find us receiving a brand-new Judas Priest album, but also a healthy tour that would visit a lot of states on our side of the pond. The tour was sure to be an exciting one since The Priest had lined out that both Black Star Riders and the legendary Saxon would be joining them as they celebrated “Firepower”. Sadly, the band wouldn’t be hitting any of the Big Apple arenas outside of Long Islands Nassau Coliseum but that was fine since the nearby Prudential Center in Newark, NJ would be on the docket. Here’s my summary of the rock-solid event.
Black Star Riders: The BSR were up first and if you don’t know too much about the band, you should know that this began as an offshoot to a rebuilt Thin Lizzy. After a brief reunion tour by that famous moniker, the new material was released under a new branding out of respect of their storied past and would find Damon Johnson, Robbie Crane and Chad Szeliga joining up with Scott Gorham and Ricky Warwick. The band is a solid one and has been signed to Nuclear Blast Records for a few years now. Their set is a blending of new sure to be classics along with numbers that are long in our musical hearts from the Thin Lizzy catalog. Tonight, they would not deliver too many of the legendary bands numbers outside of “Jailbreak” and instead would focus on their new albums material. Speaking frankly, I would have preferred that they mixed it up a little better since there was a lot of people coming in tonight that would be getting into place by the time Saxon would hit and I think more would have tried to be earlier if they knew more of the songs. That being said, the early and short set that they delivered was a solid one. I still need to get the new album myself and once I do you can count on a comprehensive overview here on the website. Now it was time for Saxon so all the excite right? You betcha.
Artist: Tony MacAlpine Venue: DROM Club (New York, NY) Opener: John Ferrara, Felix Martin Date: 9/22/2017 Label: Sun Dog Records
Any fan of Metal guitar is probably familiar with Tony MacAlpine, a pioneering 80s musician, who along with Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Jason Becker, Marty Friedman and a few others redefined what was possible to do with the guitar as an instrument and influenced countless other musicians. Tony MacAlpine’s first 2 albums are widely considered guitar classics, especially by fans of the Neoclassical Metal style. MacAlpine has since branched out into more eclectic musical directions such as Jazz Fusion and progressive metal, both under his own band name and as part of groups like Planet X, Portnoy/Sherinian/MacAlpine/Sheehan, and CAB. He also toured with Steve Vai band as second guitarist/keyboardist. A few years ago, MacAlpine embarked on a rare solo US tour, playing the seminal Maximum Security record in its entirety. The tour was a success and was followed by another a year later. Both times the New York City dates were held at Iridium Jazz Club. This year the tour moved downtown, to the cavernous DROM space which has been hosting more Rock gigs lately, picking up the slack for the closed Webster Hall presumably. DROM is a nice venue with upscale ambiance, good acoustics, and, unlike The Iridium, no mandatory food/drink minimum.
John Ferrara, of progressive metal band Consider the Source, was the local opener for this date. To say that Ferrara merely plays bass guitar would be a massive understatement. Through use of various effects, loops, and innovative techniques, Ferrara weaved some really interesting melodies that were complex but still very listenable. It was easily the most musical use of electric bass I’ve ever heard. It was just him and a drummer but they generated enough sound to make you think of a much bigger ensemble. Continue reading Tony MacAlpine @ DROM (9/22/2017)→
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 and as already noted in one of the earlier chapters, PiercingMetal has NEVER been to the event despite the occasional interest. Fortunately, Agent Stolper was sending a final transmission to the Metal High Command from the field about this mission. Here now are his transcribed views bout the fourth and final day of ProgPowerUSA XVIII.
ProgPowerUSA XVIII Day 4: 3 days of nonstop music and parties take a toll on the body and the mind, so difficult choices had to be made and some sets were skipped. Pain and Amaranthe namely. All of the Day 4 bands except the opener were from Sweden, a testament to the country’s great contribution to the genre and popular music in general.
Seven Spires (USA):
Australia’s Teramaze was originally scheduled to perform in the opening timeslot, but unfortunately had to cancel a few days before due to health issues. That was upsetting because Teramaze was one of the bands I was looking forward to the most. Their latest album, Her Halo, was a really tasty slab of melodic prog metal. Boston’s SevenSpires answered the call and rushed to Georgia to bring their brand of metal to the masses. Seven Spires play aggressively melodic euro power metal with a female singer named Adrienne Cowan, who does both clean and extreme vocals equally well. Their video single, Cabaret of Dreams, sounded true to its name live, like a metallized groovy cabaret number. Other songs were more traditional, with many pounding harsh voiced numbers. The band had a very energetic stage presence and did a good job whipping the somewhat sleepy audience back into fighting shape. Continue reading ProgPower USA XVIII Day Four Musings (9/9/2017)→