Thursday, September 29, 2016

Review: Anthrax live at Riverside Warehouse (Shreveport, La., Sept. 23, 2016)

It was my first trip to the Riverside Warehouse in Shreveport, and I was a little surprised by the venue. I was thinking warehouse – a big open space. Instead, it’s a cozy, but cool little spot, with a bar out front and the performance area in the back, an open floor and a balcony above, with good views of the stage from just about wherever you’re at.

It was also my first time to see Anthrax as a headliner and the only time I’ve seen them since the late 1980s, when I caught them opening for Ozzy Osbourne. (I was supposed to see them once during the John Bush years, but they dropped off the bill at the last minute.) I was looking forward to hearing some old favorites and plenty of stuff off their latest, For All Kings, my current favorite album of the year.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Sabbath: "Warning," from Black Sabbath (1970)

And we close our journey through Sabbath’s debut album out with the second cover, “Warning,” originally performed by the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation.

Given what I’ve said about Sabbath’s rhythm section through the previous pieces in this series, “Warning” provides them with a great opportunity. The absolute coolest thing about the original version of this song is how the bass and drums lock together in a rumble of thunder. Bill Ward and Geezer Butler follow through on that, but there’s a little more inflection on what they do that makes it sound kind of, for lack of a better word, “bendy.”

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Saturday Night Special: King's X, "Goldilox"

King’s X’s debut record, Out of the Silent Planet, stands as easily the band’s most straightforward rock record. Though there were hints at the progressive powerhouse they’d become, the songs here have more in common with other hard rock bands of the time.

At the time I got the record (which was my second King’s X record after the follow-up Gretchen Goes to Nebraska), I was vehemently opposed to ballads. So “Goldilox” didn’t really register for me. I was much more likely to be rocking to “King,” “Shot of Love” or one of the other higher-energy tunes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Review: Jackyl, "ROWYCO"

In case you’re wondering, the title of Jackyl’s latest album ROWYCO is an acronym for the phrase “rock out with your cock out” – advice that frontman Jesse James Dupree has been known to take quite literally. It’s also a phrase that pretty well sums up the band’s musical output over nearly 30 years, including the 10 rowdy tracks on this record.

I thought Best in Show, Jackyl’s 2012 outing, might possibly have been their best since the 1992 eponymous debut. So, ROWYCO had a lot to live up to. The songs on this one are not quite as punchy and immediately infectious as tracks like “Encore” and “Screwdriver” from that last album, but there’s still some really good stuff here.

Dupree knows what Jackyl does best, and that’s what he gives us: high-energy rock ‘n’ roll with plenty of attitude and raunch, and, of course, a good drinking song to go along with it.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sunday Sabbath: "Sleeping Village," from Black Sabbath (1970)

Here’s where we get into some more tracking weirdness. In North America, we have a medley “Sleeping Village/A Bit of Finger/Warning,” while Europe splits into “Sleeping Village” and “Warning.” Europe wins again. Sure, it all kind of melds together, but for some reason, I’ve always preferred separate tracks to “slash”songs.

“Sleeping Village” is an interesting song, opening with an ominous acoustic guitar and, of all the strange instruments to choose, a boinging jaw/mouth harp. It’s not a particularly dark sounding instrument, but Sabbath manages to make it one. Ozzy’s moaning vocal delivery adds to the melancholy and dark mood of the song before Iommi cranks up the distortion to finish out the piece as an instrumental.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Saturday Night Special: Anti-Mortem, "Path to Pain"

I absolutely hate it when a band puts out a completely badass album and then almost immediately breaks up. One of the most frustrating examples I can remember is recent years is Anti-Mortem. The Oklahoma band’s first album New Southern arrived in 2014, and it blew me away. It was a collection of fantastic hard rock with occasional hints of Southern rock and thrash. If Judas Priest hadn’t put out an incredible album that year as well, New Southern would have been, far and away, my pick for album of the year, and it's been a staple in my playlist for the last two years.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Review: The Dead Daisies, "Make Some Noise"

The Dead Daisies may have found their best lineup on their third record, Make Some Noise. For those not familiar, the band — which was founded by guitarist David Lowy and vocalist Jon Stevens (INXS) — features a rotating roster of all-star musicians. This time out, they’ve got vocalist John Corabi (Motley Crue, the Scream), guitarists Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Dio) and Lowy, bassist Marco Mendoza (Ted Nugent, Whitesnake) and drummer Brian Tichy (Billy Idol, Whitesnake).

While you’ve got three Whitesnake alums in the mix, the record sounds nothing like that band, though it is in the same ballpark — good, old-fashioned hard rock with blues underpinnings. The Dead Daisies don’t take themselves nearly as seriously as David Coverdale’s camp, though. Make Some Noise is pretty much party-ready, good-time rock ‘n’ roll from beginning to end.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sunday Sabbath: "Evil Woman," from Black Sabbath (1970)

After our detour to North America, we come back to Europe to pick up “Evil Woman,” the first of two covers that show up on that version of the album. This one was originally recorded by the Minneapolis based blues rock band Crow, but doesn’t appear on the American version.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Saturday Night Special: Jaco Pastorius, "Crisis"

You may have noticed I don’t cover much jazz here (and by much, I mean any). While I have an appreciation for it and enjoy it from time to time, I just don’t feel that I have the knowledge or qualifications to talk about it intelligently.

I have kind of an interesting relationship with Jaco Pastorius’ work. When I first picked up a bass many years ago, I read a magazine article about him, and decided that I needed to check this guy out. Well, one listen told me that I’d never be able to play a bass even remotely like that, and while I was stunned by his abilities, I really didn’t feel most of the music he recorded. The relatively mellow sounds of Weather Report just didn’t appeal to a metal kid, and still don’t appeal to a metal dad in his 40s.