Artist: The Aristocrats Venue: Gramercy Theatre (New York, NY) Opener: Travis Larson Band Date: 8/3/2019 Label:
Since I don’t always find myself getting to Progressive Music shows, I was really happy to be able to be on point for the recent appearance by a collective that I would say falls into the realm of Supergroup in terms of each members background. I am talking about none other than The Aristocrats, a group that formed in 2011 and features Guthrie Govan on guitar, Bryan Beller on bass and the inimitable Marco Minnemann on the drums. They would hit the ever popular Gramercy Theatre for an evening of mind-altering Progressive melodies and be joined by The Travis Larson Band. Going in I had no idea about the sound of either group, so I was very much looking forward to the musical education that I was in store for. Here is how the night progressed.
Artist: Slipknot Venue: Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater (Wantaugh, NY) Opener: Behemoth, Gojira and Volbeat Date: 8/28/2019 Label: Roadrunner Records
The mega-concert event known as “The Knotfest Roadshow” was rumbling through cities of these United States and laying waste to anything that stood in its way. One could not expect anything less from a touring package that brought together bands like Behemoth, Gojira and Volbeat who lead off the day before a crushing/thrilling/energetic set by the one and only Slipknot. The weather report was on the grim side which made the long haul out to Wantaugh in Long Island a bit of a bother as the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater venue is an outdoor space but once sufficiently prepped and packed for the adventure I girded myself properly for a sure to be fun time. The show started early, and I mean 5:30 early which was the slot held by Behemoth and there was no way that I was missing them so here is how their set and the rest of the event took place.
Behemoth: Now according to my concert playbook, I have caught Behemoth a few times over the last couple of years and I didn’t mind this at all since I absolutely love what they do on the stage. It was going to be interesting to see the Metal Blade artist in the daylight this afternoon and with their hitting the stage at this early a time if you were stuck in that Long Island traffic you were not going to catch them at all since they were only going to give us about a thirty minute set. After a brief audio playback, the incendiary might that is Behemoth were on the stage and sporting the masks one would see during a full headlining set. Though this was to be a brief performance the band was on fire and quite literally as jets of flame shot from the rear of stage while singer Nergal also brought some out and offered up some homage to the Dark Gods at one point. To say that they crushed would be an understatement and since this was really early the venue was not yet full so far too many people missed a really overpowering set. I cannot wait to catch this band when they headline or co-headline with another superpower in the future. Gojira was coming up next.
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: Slayer Venue: Santander Arena (Reading, PA) Opener: Lamb Of God, Anthrax, Behemoth, Testament Date: 6/4/2018 Label: Nuclear Blast Records
As you’re probably fully already aware, the legendary Thrash Metal band Slayer is putting their career to bed and is going out in style with a “Final Tour” that finds the bands Lamb of God, Anthrax, Behemoth and Testament coming along for the run. If you’ve somehow missed any of our “Upcoming Tours” notices about their last go-round please click HERE to know the full scoop so we can continue along together with as much of the same information as possible. The tour seemed to be skipping the NYC region entirely and instead would set down at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut and the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ but with a my scheduling being locked in with the annual Book Expo and The Book Con along with the Five Points Festival, I had to pass on these shows and instead brave a new adventure by heading to Reading, PA for the show that was taking place at the Santander Arena. It would be my very first time heading to this arena and it was something like 125 miles away from my home base. The advance weather report was bleak, but the day turned out nice for a lengthy drive and with good company and a couple of stops for eats along the way my media companion and I arrived at the arena shortly before the doors had opened. With the show starting early there were scores of fans lined up waiting to get inside. This is always a sight that I like to see when I go to multiple band bills like this one. Testament would be starting off this leg of the tour and they are always a solid experience. Let’s review.
Testament: I always love a Testament show because they are just one of the tightest Metal bands on the planet today. For the final Slayer run they would be continuing their “Brotherhood Of The Snake” tour but the early start time meant a very abbreviated set list from the Thrashers. The band hit the ground running with their first number and guitarist Skolnick was shredding like a madman while singer Billy screamed and rallied the fans that were already inside the arena. Sadly it wasn’t packed just yet, but it was a weekday, and this was a super early set time which I can appreciate being a difficult thing to be on point for. The set was a strong one and featured some of the bands classic tunes which I still consider favorites. Hopefully Testament will be doing some co-headlining runs in the months post this touring cycle because I’d love to be able to enjoy a longer set from them. Behemoth was up next.