Operation Domination – live at The Studio At Webster Hall August 31st, 2016

Funny isn’t it?  Just one night after I published a scathing piece on why I basically would like to see New York City burn to the ground…I’m back in New York City.  But at least it was for something awesome; I was there to see Angel Vivaldi and Firewind/Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Gus G on their Operation Domination Tour at The Studio At Webster Hall.  Angel is on the heels of re-releasing his 2010, EP The Speed Of Dark, with it’s tracks being completely re-recorded with his current band, and Gus recently released his latest solo album, I Am The Fire, a more straight forward album compared to what he does with Firewind.  Also, I guess he needs to keep himself busy until Ozzy comes calling to do his next excuse of an album.  Hey, just maybe Ozzy will actually let Gus write material for it this time.  That’s a maybe.  If you follow me on facebook then you already know how I feel about Ozzy’s plans to record after Black Sabbath’s last show.  But if you don’t…I’d rather Ozzy just call it a day, he hasn’t made anything meaningful in decades and the ONLY reason I even bought Black Rain in 2007 was because Zakk Wylde wrote eight of the album’s ten tracks.  So Ozzy…if you ever see this…you were great when I saw you with Sabbath at the Garden.  Do yourself a big favor and just go on a high note like Tony Iommi is doing.

Webster Hall is right around the corner from the 111 year old art store that’s being forced to close so the Marriot can make it into a hotel aimed at millennials.  So yeah I did go check it out before I went inside.  Someone was talking to the owner, who clearly looked distressed.  Then again his family ran the place for three generations.

There are two rooms in Webster Hall: The Marlin Room, which is the main room for popular acts, stupid raves and 80’s prom bullshit and, once upon a time, WWF Shotgun Saturday Night.  Let’s see who remembers that one!  And then there’s The Studio, which is essentially a small bar with a good size stage.  Gus and Angel were to play The Studio…I guess the guys running Webster Hall decided that some shitty rave was more important that a fucking YouTube sensation and Ozzy’s guitarist, right?

Angel went on stage and just blew everybody the fuck away.IMG_20160831_203439988

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Showoff!

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Alex fuckin’ Bent!

I actually met Alex when he was opening up for Crowbar with Battlecross last year at Saint Vitus In Brooklyn.  Really cool kid…incredible drummer.  On this tour he’s actually doing double duty, playing with both Angel and Gus.  Here’s a picture I took of us outside Saint Vitus last year.

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I wanted to talk to him and praise the hell out of him but before the show ended I found myself bailing out early because my knees were in excruciating pain – having flat feet is a real bitch.

Angel’s Setlist

An Angel’s Poem On A Grave

An Erisian Autumn

._ _ _ _

A Mercurian Summer

. . . . _

Acid Reign

Guitar Solo

Sea Of Heartbreak

Crystal Planet (Joe Satriani Cover)

A Martian Winter

Gus G?  Loud as fuck!  So loud that a few songs into his set I had no choice but to go to the back, where my girlfriend was…because she already knew better.  Oh yeah, the guy’s an incredible player, real easy to see why he got the gig with Ozzy.  His whole band – which included Alex and Jake, Angel’s bassist, sounded fan-fucking-tastic.  But I had one complaint:

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Dude…you don’t have to play “Crazy Train” just because you’re in Ozzy’s band bro.  Hell, most people there for you were actually Firewind fans.

In fact the band did play two Firewind songs d I have to say I was kind of impressed.  I hate Power Metal with a passion but Gus’s playing was so muscular – very similar to Zakk – that it gave the songs some BALLS.

As I said before…I left after the “Crazy Train” cover because my knee were in pain.  But I know for a fact that I missed Angel join Gus on stage for what was probably a really sick jam out.

Gus’s Setlist

Burn

Brand New Revolution

Vengeance (instrumental)

Eyes Wide Open

Come Hell Or High Water

World On Fire (Firewind)

The Quest

Terrified

Redemption

I Am The Fire

Crazy Train (Ozzy)

Fire And The Fury (Firewind)

G.O.T

 

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R.I.P. New York City…or Why I’m Glad I Got Out!

This is actually going to be full article based on a random thought I wrote about just last year, regarding the decline of New York City’s diversity and character because let’s face it…it’s just gotten worse and will continue to do so.

So it all started just two nights ago, when I came across this article:

http://ny.curbed.com/2016/8/12/12452636/target-east-village-opening-date

Wait…what the fuck?  A new, two floor Target in the East Village?  With a 30-year lease on the building?!  First off, I’m a bit biased here because I used to work at Target but…ew!  Also…why?  Why Target and why in the East Fucking Village??  Then, I reminded myself of exactly why: money talk$.

I wrote a year ago that many of the places I used to know were going away at a pretty steady pace, especially at my old haunts, specifically St. Mark’s Place, which I had said was at least hanging on a thread so long as Sounds was still around, even if it was open just three days a week by that point, if anything for the sake of posture.  Whoops!  Not too long after I wrote that piece Sounds finally did close down for good, signaling THE end of the more culturally diverse St. Mark’s Place I used to know once and for all.  Why?  Because who the fuck can afford these fucking rent hikes?  Oh wait…chain stores can!

Oh, I can go on and on about when I first noticed this change, and how it changed the entire landscape of Manhattan alone – don’t even get me started with Brooklyn!  But instead I’m going to rant about who we can all blame for this and if you live or used to live anywhere in New York City (like me) you already know why: yuppies and especially hipsters.  The hipsters started fucking everything up when they came to Williamsburg, Brooklyn from whatever bumfuck towns/states they grew up in during the late 90’s/early 2000’s with their daddys’ checkbooks in search of somewhere cheap as hell.  In just a few years time a once extremely dangerous part of Brooklyn now had hipster themed bars and vintage record shops on almost every street corner.  And not only that, rent was now fucking sky high.  I was an intern for a music marketing firm in Manhattan in 2007 and a considerable portion of the hipster fuckheads I worked with lived in “Billyburg”.  The only way they could be living there was if their parents were paying the rent because I can tell you right now they sure as fuck weren’t making even remotely decent salaries at this particular firm.  I’d look for apartments in Brooklyn on craigslist and some of these prices were retarded.  $2000 for a studio off of Bedford Ave?  Really?  But if you want to know how I truly feel about hipsters just watch this amazing clip from The Gentlemen’s Rant.  Skip to the 1:50 mark for my favorite part!

This was just the beginning, of course.  Soon, the resulting trickle down effect happened: Manhattan followed suit.  The hipsters lived in Williamsburg in order to be as close to Manhattan as possible so before anyone knew it any area near the Williamsburg Bridge, especially the Lower East Side, started changing at that steady paced I mentioned before to cater to these motherfuckers.  The trickle down effect here?  Long standing Mom and Pop stores began to close shop to be replaced by some really strange fucking things.

This also spread, of course, throughout most of Manhattan, not just the Lower East Side.  Old buildings were being knocked down to make room for high rise condos that I know I sure can’t afford.  Here’s a quick story.  My dad’s been in real estate since 2005, having gotten his real estate license from NYU in 1988, and he was responsible for one of these buildings in the Lower East Side being knocked down in 2007.  He told me that while on site a girl came up to him asking him to please sign her petition to stop these developers from knocking the building down, obviously having no idea she was talking to the very person behind the whole thing.  Oops!

To some of you reading this I risk coming off as yelling at yuppies and hipsters to get off my lawn like a bitter old man.  You’d be wrong.  Yeah, I hate yuppies and REALLY hate hipsters.  But my big problem is that because of them, and more specifically about their lack of history, having not grown up in the city like I did, they appear to truly lack any appreciation for the charm New York City once had.  It was once such a diverse city.  I don’t just mean for the reputation of it’s many areas – not just the parts I mentioned – but because you could go into any street corner and find something completely random and enjoyable.  Hell, twelve years ago I could just turn to W 48th St in the tourist trap that is Times Square and I’d just happen to find the once infamous Music Row.  You’re reading correctly, there was once an entire block of just music instrument stores.  Several Sam Ash buildings, each one dedicated to specific instruments, Rudy’s, the world famous Manny’s Music, just to name a few.

Oh, here’s my favorite.  A 111 year old art supply store right around the corner from Webster Hall is being forced out of business because the building was sold to some jerkoff who plans to make the building into a hotel geared toward…millennials??  What the fuck does that require exactly that a piece of HISTORY is being forced to close down for this?  Someone please tell me.  What exactly makes millennials so fucking special?  Is it the computer thing??  Since the age range for millennials is between 1982 and 2002 I guess I’d be considered a millennial on paper, being that I was born in 1984.  But I’m no millennial because just about anyone born in the 80’s knew how to survive without cellphones and computers.  Ask the kids today when they last experienced a fleeting, random moment.  You’d probably hear crickets for a long time because that’s how often their heads are down at their smartphones they honestly have NO BUSINESS carrying around at twelve years old.

So here’s my main point to all of this.  Gentrification my ass!  If I wanted to go to an outdoor strip mall I’d go to probably any other city…or an outdoor strip mall.  I used to live in a city that had a very special charm to it, one that was different, one with so much diversity and excitement, one with character.  These were the things that made it The Greatest City In The World, because it’s not that anymore, not when I see Subway restaurants on nearly every street corner and increasingly more homeless people on the streets because they were evicted for their inability to pay their rents.  If you’re reading this and are as disgusted with what’s become of it all like I was, do yourself a favor and get out while you still can…like I did, because it’s no longer just the East Village that’s dead – all of New York City is!

There are times now where I drive on Route 3 E and if I catch it around sunset I get a gorgeous view of the city from afar.  But every time come across this brilliant view I sadly can’t help but always think to myself the same thing over and over again: “New York City…beautiful to look at…ugly to live in…”

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Show’s I’ll Be Attending This Summer

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Anaka live at Black Bear Bar, Brooklyn, NY, July 16th, 2016

On the heels of celebrating more than 15 years together Brooklyn’s own Anaka will be playing Black Bear Bar in Brooklyn this coming Saturday.  Also on the bill are Proxima Control, The Last Alliance, and The Crimson Collective.  And I’ll be posting a few videos of the show on my YouTube page.

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One Foot In The Grave Tour f/ Carcass, Ghoul, Crowbar, and Night Demon live at Gramercy Theater, New York, NY, August 4th, 2016

I’m a little disturbed by the title of this tour just because I’m not really sure if this means Carcass are breaking up again or not.  If so, it was awesome of them to release one more album, Surgical Steel, back in 2013.  That was probably the album of the year for me.  If not then that’s fine too!  I just entered Metal Injection’s contest to win free tickets to the Gramercy show, and I’ll find out in two days if I won.  I’m afraid I don’t know much about Ghoul or Night Demon…yet, but I’m definitely filming Carcass and Crowbar for sure.  Haven’t seen Crowbar since that night last June where I nearly died about three times because that so-called moshpit turned into a barwide fist fight!  So it’ll be interesting to see what happens this time, especially since hearing that ex-bassist Todd Strange came back to the band after sixteen years away.

2016 Announcement

This Is Hardcore Fest Day 2 f/Nails, Iron Reagan and Ringworm live at The Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA, August 5, 2016

Let’s face it, I’m not really a hardcore fan and the only reason I want to go to this is to see the three bands mentioned above.  Of course there are a shitload of other bands on the bill but those are three I give a shit about the most.  I’ve heard Electric Sleep and they can blow me.  The others I haven’t heard.  When I imagine how Nails’ set is going to unfold I pretty much see a moshpit so brutal it outdoes the barwide fistfight I went through last June when I saw Crowbar in Brooklyn.  They are brutal as fuck, and their disgusting new album is getting a LOT of buzz, more so than even the band itself probably expected.

I’m also looking very much forward to Iron Reagan because their lead singer is Tony from Municipal Waste.  Waste actually knew me personally for the better part of a year between 2006 and 2007 but that’s a story for another time.  Here’s one of my favorite songs from Iron Reagan!

I last saw Ringworm opening up for Goatwhore in Broooklyn just a week after nearly dying at the Crowbar gig.  I actually filmed them twice because when I tried to film them some jackass in the pit threw another guy elbow first right into my ribs.  That hurt so bad.  After my better second attempt at filming them I was pushed against the wall twice tailbone first.  Here’s that second video now!

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Operation Domination Tour with Angel Vivaldi and Gus G live at Webster Hall, New York, NY, August 31st, 2016

I was just told about this by my girlfriend a few days ago and it was immediately decided that we are going.  The YouTube sensation is obviously showing no signs of slowing down at all and here’s the proof.  It’s not everyday an internet darling gets to play with Ozzy’s current guitarist!

This is going to fucking rule!

As I said before I’ll be filming all the shows I go to and you’ll be able to find them on my YouTube page.  If you’re reading this and plan on being at any of these shows l free to contact me, maybe we can hang.  I’m also on Facebook.  Click here to like my page and get quicker notifications on new blog posts.

All Aboard The Asshole Train!

So, if you know anything at all about old school jazz, big band or Dixieland, you just might be familiar with a song called “Take The A Train”.  Here’s the legendary Duke Ellington featuring Beverly in 1943, telling you all about the quickest way to get to Harlem!

Guess what?  Fuck Harlem.  Fuck Harlem back then and fuck Harlem now, especially now for the gentrification!  But more than that, fuck the A train – or as I like to call it – the Asshole train!

So, what makes me call the A train what I call it?  I’ll tell ya!  So, before I moved to New Jersey at the end of August 2015, I’d take an express bus into Manhattan.  From there I’d take either the 4 or 5 express trains to get to my job in the heart of Carribean Brooklyn, Crown Heights.  If I remember anything about that ride the clientele totally changed the closer we got to Brooklyn and beyond, since I’d have to get off at Franklin Ave and then transfer to the Shuttle from there to get to my job.  Crowding wasn’t that big of a deal; of course, it’d get a bit more packed as I’d head back toward Manhattan to go home on the bus.  Needless to say I didn’t really feel like I was on my way home until I was on that bus.

After I moved to Jersey everything obviously changed and I needed to find a new route.  Oh, I did all right.  The train needed?  That much sung about and once glorified A train.  When I began using my new route to get to work I left so early that the train seemed to arrive exactly when I got to the platform.  Convenient, right?  Well, things do change.

I started leaving for work a little latter because I was struggling to get up in the morning and suddenly the train was becoming more and more unreliable for time.  And every time I do catch it, it is ALWAYS jam packed with people literally FORCING THEMSELVES ON TO THE TRAIN regardless of how full it is.  There have been times were I’d straight up wait for another train or take the C train because these people are some dumb motherfuckers!

Ever since taking this train I’ve come across some of THE dumbest, rudest motherfuckers I’ve ever seen on ANY train.  I’ve been on the underground septa trains in Philly and even those people didn’t crush each other to get on the train!  Oh, and did I mention that some of these people are so fucking rude?

Just yesterday, I was on my way to Port Authority on the train.  Someone comes on the train at 34th St, a stop away from mine.  I was playing Angry Birds Pop on my phone, a tad bent over as most of us tend to be when this ghetto looking loser had the balls to tell me:

“Yo, lean back, you’re in my way!”

“I don’t know who you think you’re talking to like that but say ‘excuse me’ and just maybe I’ll do it!”

“Alright, excuse me”

“Good!  And look at that – here’s my stop.  Have a good day!”

What the fuck does this asshole think I am, a fucking Fat Joe song??  And just today, like most days when I’m headed home, no matter how many times the conductor tried to close the doors at certain stops, more and more people were seriously forcing themselves into the train, making it extremely difficult for ANYONE to get out.  Very safe, right?  It was about a few months into my time on the A that I knew what I was really on: The Asshole train.

See, I’m sure things were very different in 1939, the year that fucking song was written, but times change of course and sadly it did so for the worse.  Forget the fact that I already hate New York City as a whole and most of the jerkoffs that live in it in general, but the fucking trains are the absolute worst – especially the Asshole Train.  What I’m very much looking forward to in a just a matter of weeks is two months away from feeling like a can of sardines, away from junkies, that one jackass kid that always wants to sell candy so he can buy more candy and do something positive – “anybody wanna BUY!” – the stragglers that seemingly wait until the last minute to get on the train as the doors are closing, making anyone feel trapped.  That day isn’t coming soon enough.  For the rest of you?  All aboard the Asshole Train and remember: “Stand clear of the closing doors, please!”  But I already know you motherfuckers won’t.  Suck it.

 

Corrosion of Conformity live at Gramercy Theatre 12/4/15

This was a last minute thing for me.  I totally wasn’t expecting to go to this because I had somewhere to be the next day but all I can tell you was it was so fucking worth it.  I was amazed I was even able to get tickets because according to my girlfriend the show was very close to selling out, which did surprise me just a bit.  I mean, Pepper Keenan hasn’t done shit with Corrosion of Conformity in a decade and the band went on without him for a few years as a three piece hardcore band for the first time since their 1985 album Animosity.

When I think of Corrosion as a band I can’t help but think of that swinger couple that lets it get out hand for far longer than usual.  Mike Dean left the band after 1987’s Technocracy EP and didn’t come back until the year before the band made 1994’s Deliverance.  Reed Mullin left after 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer, only to come back in 2010, just in time for him, Woody Weatherman and Mike to go back out as a three piece.  And then there’s Pepper.  Oh, Pepper…this guy is without a doubt THE biggest WHORE in this relationship.  After the band’s last studio album with him, 2005’s In The Arms of God, he basically ditched his jilted lovers for Down along with ex-Pantera singer and childhood friend Phil Anselmo so he could jerk off to slugde metal on record.  Together they made one GREAT comeback album, followed by two not so great EPs.

But in this swinging relationship, man do things swing in both directions because this year Pepper finally returned, seemingly getting it all out of his system and here we are.  They recently signed a new deal with Nuclear Blast Records and they plan to make a new record next year.  And judging by the assault on my ears a few nights ago I’m convinced the wait will be worth it.

After I bought my tickets I went out for a bit, but upon going back to the building I found Mike Dean outside the building having a cigarette.  Drugs are bad, mmmkay?  Because this motherfucker, as amazing a bassist as he is, looks like Doc Brown on meth.  I went up to him to introduce myself.  He shook my hand and even said hi but, with his looking around at everything but me, I figured he just wanted to be left alone so I let him be.

I sat on the ground for a few minutes when Pepper came out for a cigarette.  He had cowboy boots on with his worn leather jacket.  His face?  Aged like a motherfucker, but then again, if I was childhood friends with someone like Phil Anselmo I’d age badly myself!  I said “what’s up bro?” to him and he was about to shake my hand before we were rudely interrupted by these two tramps who bragged to Pepper that “we came ALL the way from New Jersey just to see you!”.  Oooh wow, you came from across the fucking Hudson River??!!?!?!  WOW!!!!  Did you swim across the river?  Because THAT would’ve been impressive!

While these two fuckheads where doing their thing Pepper quickly turned to shake my hand before something else happened.  We shared some small talk, nothing major, nothing long.  I asked him if bitches annoy you like that often, “Sometimes…”, he said in his Louisiana drawl.  I then asked him if he was enjoying playing out with the guys again. “Yeah man, I’m having a blast.”, he said before being warned by this drunken Brooklyn buffoon waiting on line to hide his beer in his jacket because the NYPD are hardasses with nothing better to do.  As much as I thought the buffoon was annoying with his drunken bellowing about seeing Savatage while high I couldn’t help but echo back his warning to Pepper.

After my girlfriend arrived we went on line and were able to grab a seat to the right of the mixing board.  On tonight’s bill alongside Corrosion were Mothership, Saviours and Brent Bjork and The Low Desert Punk Band.  I also declared this night the Orange Amplifiers Apocalypse.  What’s with stoner bands and their fixation on Orange Amps?  Did they not get the memo that the only reason Tony Iommi used an Orange Amp in that televised German performance on Beat-Club was because it belonged to the TV studio?  Not too long after I noticed Jimmy and Peter Pallis of Anaka up front we were taken by surprise by this sudden fucking screeching amp feedback.  As my ears were getting fucked up the projection screen on stage went up and there was Mothership.

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Now…I’m still not sure a week later how I feel about this band.  There is no doubt in mind of their musical direction: not too heavy, aggressive enough.  There’s no question in my mind that Kelley Juett played his fucking ass off throughout Mothership’s entire set.  Very good guitar player with a very good amp tone as well.  I wasn’t too surprised to hear them play Led Zeppelin’s “heartbreaker”.  I felt like something was missing though.  What exactly?  Not sure…maybe it’s sounded to early 70’s hard rockfish for my tastes.  I don’t hate Mothership…just not sure what to think.

Next up was Saviours.

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Geez…Austin Barber and Kelley Juett sure do look alike!  The guy sitting next me and I were sure that it was the same guy in two bands.  Aside for that this band to me are what Mothership maybe should’ve been.  They were definitely edgier, heavier, more badass solos, more badass riffing, more badass everything while keeping it in a sludge/stoner context.  Imagine a mix of High on Fire if Matt Pike hired a second guitarist and they played Iron Maiden style harmonies.

Brent Bjork and The Low Desert Punk Band should go into a room with the surviving members of The Grateful Dead, suck each other off and then go kill themselves in a suicide pact with all of them shooting themselves in the fucking mouth.

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This is exactly why I HATE jam bands so fucking much.  Stupid name: check.  Unnecessarily long jams: check.  Shitty songs to be jamming out to: check.  But forget all that for a second.  What the fuck are they doing on a bill with bands they sound nothing like??

They finally showed us mercy but getting the fuck off the stage around 10pm.  The real fun began a half an hour later:

The last time I saw Corrosion of Conformity over ten years ago opening up for Motorhead they sounded damn good; but on this night they sounded absolutely fucking brutal.  They all came off as completely re-energized – especially Pepper.  His voice was real strong here, full of energy, as if he really was happy to be back with the guys.  I was so pumped!  After “Broken Man” they went right into “Paranoid Opioid” and I dare say this time around it sounded better than the album version.  They broke into a lot of tracks spanning their entire Pepper-era run between 1991 and 2005, including “Vote With A Bullet”, my girlfriend’s personal favorite, as well as “Albatross”, which Pepper personally dedicated to Mothership.  Why?  “Because they owe me a lot of money.”, he declared on the mic.

Before the show ended for good Pepper said he was dedicating the last song to the Eagles of Death Metal as a result of the Paris attacks where a few of their own crew members were killed in the Bataclan while the band was on stage.  Scary shit.  The song?  “Clean My Wounds”.  Gee Pepper, thanks for showing me that I’ve been playing the riff wrong all these years.  Fucker.  After the guitar solo the band broke it down into a reggae groove that lasted nearly ten minutes and showed off how great a bassist Mike Dean really is.  Reed Mullin?  Absolutely underrated as a drummer, he truly has come such a long way in thirty years.  After nearly ten minutes the band jumped right back into the song’s original groove before calling it a night.

This was an absolutely brutal, incredible show and I’m happy to say that it did in fact sell out half way into the night.  I’ll be first in line to buy their new CD when it comes out.  This is my last concert for the year until Black Sabbath in February unless I get tickets to see Lamb of God in January with support from Power Trip and Anthrax.

Abigail Lives! King Diamond live at Playstation Theater 11/20/15

It was an eerie night on that 7th day of July in 1777…alright it was more like last Friday in Manhattan and I was actually going to see King Diamond.  On this tour he’ll play a few classics before playing in its entirety Abigail, the album that made King a metal GOD.  Thanks again Courtenay!  So I went to pick her up at her job and off we went to PlayStation Theater in Times Square, where we were searched twice, including being patted down because of the ISIS attacks on Paris…as well as ISIS claiming Times Square was next.  Oh, and if you live in NYC and really thought they’d do it you’re dumb.  It’s too big and too obvious.  I think they’d hit a much more low key area.

We got there long before the doors even opened and sat because she hurt her calf just walking to meet me and my knees were in exquisite pain from squatting 210 for 6 reps without my compression gear on.  So more than an hour passed before people stared coming in and man, this show got stereotypical real quick.  I saw a lot of Mexicans walking in and you just knew they were there to see Exodus, the opening band.  There’s always been a connection between Mexicans and thrash or even some death metal.  I can’t explain but if you’ve ever gone to a thrash show you know what I’m talking about.  I saw dudes coming in with bandanas on with unbent baseball caps over them and 2nd generation Exodus and Slayer t-shirts.  It never fails…ever.

Sitting a few seats next to us were the stereotypical awkward/not so good looking couples who are bonded by that one little thing…their love for metal.  Awww.  Then someone said something to me that had me looking.  “You notice how many morbidly obese guys are here?”  Oh yeah, it was real bad.  I’m totally convinced that it’s the result of years of devotion to Dungeons and Dragons, staying indoors all day and playing online video games with thirteen year old boys and eating like shit their entire lives.  You know these motherfuckers came out of the woodwork just for this and then ran back home to their video games.  I’m not the best looking guy out there but I’m sure I was maybe one of the most in shape guys in the whole fucking building at that moment.  Ladies and gents – another metal concert stereotype.  Don’t ever be that guy.

So around 8pm Exodus were getting ready to hit the stage.  Their entrance music?  “Piano Man” by Billy Joel.  Once Exodus came on they opened with a track off their new album Blood In Blood Out.  My biggest problem with this band forever will always be Sousa’s vocals.  I said it in my last blog but canning Rob Dukes was THE dumbest thing they could’ve done.  Dukes gave Exodus much needed new life with his intense screams and barks.  I even bought an Exodus album for the first time!  Forget that they way the canned him was pretty scummy it was just a bad artistic call.  The are so fucking heavy that Sousa’s nasal delivery just sounds so fucking dated.

Aside from that they played great.  But why did Gary Holt look so different here?  What a sec…..that’s not Gary!  Where is he??  I texted my friend Maureen, who was waiting in line to get searched, if she knew anything.  I had no idea that he was not going to be there because of Slayer commitments.  It seems crazy at first, Exodus hit a goldmine, opening for King Diamond and having three additional dates added in New York City alone because the initial date sold out so fast.  But then again, Gary’s now in Slayer as well as Exodus and probably making much more money in one show alone.  Good for him.  So who was his replacement on this tour with King?  It’s Heathen guitarist Kragen Lum, who did a damn good job playing Gary’s parts.

Exodus played for not even an hour.  Zetro did his expected nod to L’Amour’s to get the older fans to jizz all over themselves, and they did.  The hit their signature tune, “Toxic Waltz”, right in the middle of the set.  The dudes in the pit went apeshit.  It was a decent show.  I don’t hate Exodus and I never really did.  But Zetro just annoys me to no end.  He is to the west coast what Blitz from Overkill is to the east coast – really annoying!

After a little waiting period, the curtain opened.  Then…this happened….

I have to admit, I was a bit worried.  Over the last several years he suffered a herniated disc and most recently heart surgery.  I saw a clip of him with members of Mercyful Fate playing with Metallica on their 30th anniversary show in 2011 and he wasn’t that good.  But that was then, because as soon as he wailed out “GRANDMAAAAAAAA!!!!” all my fears were gone.  Holy shit he was amazing.  His band were spot on.  Andy LaRocque’s solos?  Total.  Fucking.  Jizzfest.  He can solo all day and I’ll never get bored.  The stage?  Two staircases with a balcony with two inverted crucifixes and a pentagram behind it.  So eighties, so amazing.

After “Welcome Home” the band kicked right into “Sleepless Nights”, my personal favorite from King.  It’s so different from the rest of his material up to that particular album for me, I guess because of the chord structuring and the emotion that’s actually in that song.  Yeah I know that Conspiracy is a concept album like everything else from Abigail on; but every time he shrieks out that line “Killing The PAAAAIIIINNNN!!!!!” it always hits me and now here I was hearing it live and my response was no different here.  They broke into “Halloween” after that and then two Mercyful Fate tunes, “Evil” and “Melissa”.

I have to admit I’m one of the many people would’ve never known “Evil” or ANYTHING related to Mercyful Fate or King Diamond if I never bought Metallica’s Garage Inc.  So when King shrieked “I was born in a cemetery….” I immediately heard Hetfield singing it in my head.  At the end of “Melissa” King says in a raspy voice “I think Melissa’s still with us…”, before slowly walking up the steps, them limping.  Then, as he reached the top, the pentagram, crucifixes and band logo on the side of the stage descended.  Then shit went DOWN!!!!!

I had to get the first two songs recorded.  “Arrival” is such a dark and ominous song, foreshadowing the rest of this creepy ass story about a pregnant woman whose baby is possessed by the spirit of Abigail, the illegitimate, stillborn child who was mummified by Count La’Fey.  Hearing every single track was intense.  The band were spot on.  King’s voice was much better than I would’ve ever expected.  I should also note that while most aging bands will tune lower so the singer can handle the songs, King played EVERYTHING in their proper tunings.  Not bad for a guy who’s sixty years old.  And there’s one more thing I need to point out.  My girlfriend pointed out King’s makeup, which looked NOTHING like his usual look, inverted crucifixes all over his face.  This time it actually looked a lot more like his classic look from the 80’s, you know, the one Gene Simmons tried to sue him over in the late nineties like an asshole.  Hey Gene, fuck you!

As the show came to an end with “The Black Horsemen” King yelled out to the crowd “Thank you so, so much New York!”, and rightfully so.  Only in New York City could one show turn into four and it was easy to tell he was moved by it all.  He’s lucky to be alive and I’m sure he knows it.  After the band finished up “Insanity” from King’s album The Eye, could be heard through the PA speakers.  It served to me as one last reminder of how talented a songwriter King really is.  He’s extremely underrated and deserves much more credit than he gets, even after Metallica exposed him to the world seventeen years ago.  I’m pretty sure King stayed on stage for five extra minutes even after the rest of the band walked off just to high five the fans, soaking it all in.  This type of thing doesn’t happen to him in the states often and I know it had to have felt amazing at that moment.  He’d go on to play two more shows in the next two nights and I’m sure the results were the same.

 

Upcoming Show’s I’ll Be Attending

So here’s a short list of the next few show’s I’m going to in either New Jersey or Manhattan within the next week and again in February.

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King Diamond w/ Exodus live at PlayStation Theater, New York, NY  – Friday, November 20, 2015

This was very last minute.  I wasn’t counting on seeing this show because this date in particular is sold out but a co-worker of my girlfriend offered her his tickets.  Sucker!  This is going to be amazing.  I love King.  She can’t stand him but is willing to go see him out of respect, knowing that there’d probably never be bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax or Slayer had it not been for Mercyful Fate, King’s pre-solo band.  Being that this will be my first time seeing King, it’ll also be interesting to hear how he sounds after years away, having recovered from back AND heart surgeries.  I also know I’m absolutely going to jizz myself silly when I finally hear Andy LaRoque solo his brains out for the first time ever!  Not looking too forward to Exodus.  I’m probably one of the few would cannot stand Souza’s voice…at all.  What the fuck was Gary Holt thinking when he got rid of Rob Dukes?  Was he even thinking at all?!?!  You dumb fuck.

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Angel Vivaldi live at Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ – Sunday, November 22, 2015

Since I last wrote about Angel Vivaldi this YouTube sensation has been on the road for the last two months, promoting his most recent album, Away With Words, Pt.1.  This show will be his homecoming show, bringing that tour to an end.  If you haven’t heard him yet I suggest you go to Dingbatz on the 22nd to see why he gets namedropped by peers such as Alice Cooper guitarist Nita Strauss.

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Black Sabbath live at Madison Square Garden, New York, NY – Thursday, February 25, 2016

Well, here it is.  And more important than that, it’s for real this time.  Tony Iommi himself has gone on record saying that he finally cannot handle it anymore.  It’s incredible he was able to hang on for as long as he has, all things considered.  But it was going to happen eventually – I’m just grateful that their last show wasn’t an Ozzfest gig in Japan!  What really got me mad was finding out after I bought the tickets that they’re playing another show at the Garden two days later – on a Saturday.  But I honestly don’t mind taking a day off from work the next day – especially with the jackasses I deal with on a day to day basis!  They’ll also be playing throughout the summer including dates at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ.

I just hope that Ozzy doesn’t fuck this up.  The two times I tried to see Sabbath he was sick, but I’ll definitely get into those times in future blogs, trust me.  I know for a fucking fact that I’m not the only one who’d LOVE for Bill Ward to be a part of this last tour.  But I guess it’s up to Bill in the end; but hell, he should be a part of this, if not even for us at least for himself!  I’d love to see the classic line up that started it all just once.  C’mon Bill!  Ozzy fucked it up for me twice – don’t you be the one to fuck it up this time!