Archive for hard rock

Download 2017: Sunday

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2017 by 80smetalman

I wonder if anyone obliged them.

Sunday, the final day of Download., we all thought we better make the best of it. Most of the bands I wanted to see this day were playing on the main stage so I didn’t have to travel very far, especially with the headache of packing and loading the car. Everyone in my group all wanted to catch the day’s opener on the main stage, Fozzy. I had seen them at Bloodstock in 2013 and was very eager to see them again and when they came out on stage, they were determined to impress. Lead singer Chris Jerico, now with darker hair, still was the main attraction to this band. Like when I saw him at Bloodstock, he has a stage presence that singers with greater vocal talent don’t. However, he did give his band a little more of the limelight this time around. After all, he does have a good band behind him and I have to say that they seemed to have better material this time around. Check out the new song, “Judas.” A great start to the final day.

Fozzy begin

Jerico goes to the front

With the rest of the band behind him

Chris came my way

The rest of my group returned to camp but I stayed because I very much wanted to see the second band of the day, Orange Goblin. I have some of you bloggers to thank for that, I’m looking at Stone and HMO specifically, because what I have read about them made that decision for me. I have been told that while their music was good, they lacked stage presence, however, I saw no evidence of that when they hit the stage. True, singer Ben Ward is not the showman that Chris Jerico is but he sings well and can get the audience motivated behind the band. I thought they had some good stuff with their combination of doom metal and stoner rock. Will definitely be listening to these guys more and I’m serious about that.

Orange Goblin do have the presence

Ben Ward serenading the Sunday morning crowd

After being wowed by Fozzy and Orange Goblin, it was time to head back to camp, finish packing and load up the car. We managed to do this but because one of the assistants sent us to the wrong car park, we were late in getting back so when only caught the last twenty minutes of Devil Driver on the Zippo Stage. Still, twenty minutes of hard core thrash from Devil Driver is miles better than none at all.

The closest I could get to Devil Driver

After Devil Driver, I headed back to the main stage to see the remaining four bands on the night. The first of these were Australian hard rock band, Airbourne. Remember what I said about Northlane are evidence that not all Australian bands are influenced by AC/DC?  Well, forget about that in this case because the AC/DC influence came through the minute Airbourne was out on stage. The other thing I noticed straight away was that lead singer/lead guitarist, Joel O’Keeffe was the main attraction in the band. Like, Devin Townsend and another artist I would see later on in the day, O’Keeffe was good at both. However, he wouldn’t be so great without the rest of the band behind him. Most of the songs they played were from the “Breaking Out of Hell” album but that’s not a bad thing. I did like the song “It’s All For Rock and Roll, so it’s another album on my to get list. Airbourne warmed things up nicely in preparation for the rest of the evening.

Joel O’Keeffe going straight to the front

O’Keeffe belts out a guitar solo with rhythm section in support

The album cover alone is worth getting the album.

O’Keeffe leading the finish

After Airbourne, I was totally pumped for the next band, Steel Panther, and my feelings were justified. Steel Panther were the unsung heroes on the day. I loved them start to finish and let me put to rest any doubts about their ability, these guys can play, they proved that the second they stepped out on stage with “Eyes of the Panther.” Sure, there is a lot of humour in their songs and I was quite surprised they played, “Thar She Blows” live but whoever said that there can’t be humour in metal? I laughed and rocked out at the same time to the Tiger Woods song. In addition to the great metal, there was some great banter with the crowd and between the band themselves. Bassist Lexxi was the butt of most of the jokes, with constant insinuations he was gay but it was also said that lead singer Mike Starr was 72 years old. If that’s true, then all the power to him I say. Besides I believe them when they say the reason all the other bands hate them was because they sleep with all their girlfriends. I only had to wait halfway through the set to hear the famous “Death to All But Metal” and they played “Fuck All Night, Party All Day” straight after. The biggest surprise was when they played “17 Girls in a Row.” While playing it, they invited ladies up from the crowd on stage and before you knew it, there was a wall of young women across the entire stage and four deep. Most of the ladies seemed content with taking selfies with the band and giving them kisses, not that they minded. Once the girls were back off stage, they ended with what’s for me, the best song possible, “Community Property.” You bet people sang along to that one. So, after seeing them, anyone who insists Steel Panther are a joke band can come see me and I’ll show them my US Marine Corps training.

Feel the Steel

Michael Starr sings while Satchel hammers a solo

Starr and Lexxi come my way

The ladies answer the invite to come on stage

Ladies on stage

I only became familiar with Alter Bridge a week before I went to Download but after hearing their mix on Youtube, I made up my mind to go and see them. Myles Kennedy was already known to me on account of his work with Slash so that made me more determined to see them. He is a great singer but what I never knew was that he can play a guitar a bit as well. He really wailed away on quite a few of the songs so I was doubly impressed. While I can remember specific song titles, I can say that the songs I heard were absolutely brilliant. I think that after seeing them onstage, they are quickly becoming a favourite with me.

Welcome Alter Bridge

Myles came my way to play a solo

Don’t forget, there are three other great musicians in Alter Bridge

We all know Myles is a great singer too

More great guitar work

They played on til the end

Now common sense says that I should have stayed put after Alter Bridge so I would have a spot for headliners, Aerosmith. However, who says I have any sense? What did I do? I went over to the Zippo Stage to catch twenty minutes of headliners Slayer. Sure, I have seen them twice recently but who in their right mind would pass up any chance to see Slayer? I didn’t and don’t regret it.

Slaaaayyyeeeerrrrrr!

I did manage to get back well before the main event and managed to jockey into the best place possible to see the band that helped me through high school. Aerosmith came out to all the royal fanfare a band of their magnitude deserved. While I knew that their set would be a ‘greatest hits’ one, neither I or any of the tens of thousands there to see them cared. The hits came straight away, their was “Crying,” “Love in an Elevator,” “Living on the Edge” and “Jaime’s Got a Gun” for starters. It was common knowledge that the last song was about domestic abuse but I was a little surprised at Steve’s revelation that he got the idea for it while he was in rehab. Sometime in the middle of the set, guitarist Joe Perry was allowed to sing lead on a couple of songs, the first one was a blues number and the second one, Brad Whitford played a guitar solo. I always suspected Brad was capable of such things. After all, he’s been a brilliant rhythm guitarist for over forty years! After Joe’s spot, Aerosmith went back to the hits starting with the film classic, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” It was here that Steve Tyler introduced guest keyboards player Buck Johnson. Believe me, he went well with the band. Tom Hamilton played a bass solo but there was no surprise which song was to come after when Steve introduced him as Mr Sweet Emotion. This was the icebreaker for more of their 70s and 80s stuff. There was “Dude Looks Like a Lady” and of course “Dream On,” which the band left the stage. No fooling they would come out for encores and the audience was treated to a song I can’t remember before “Walk This Way.” The night ended with confetti and great fanfare. Now, there are rumours that this would be Aerosmith’s last tour. If so, they went out on an absolute high.

Aerosmith ended a night and a weekend of great metal! I went home feeling very satisfied and fulfilled. Download was great but I will not enter into any debate as to which is better between Download and Bloodstock. Both offer me everything I look for in metal. One thing, I must do in the future is to save my pennies so I can go to both festivals in the same year.

Steve and Joe in the front

Aerosmith rocks!

They rock some more

Cool lights

Tom’s bass solo

More Steve and Joe

A great end to the night!

Rock and Roll Children is still available on Amazon.

Next post: Honeymoon Suite

Download 2017: Saturday

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2017 by 80smetalman

I forgot I took this picture of System of a Down the previous night.

Saturday mornings at festivals for me are always a time of moving in slow motion for me. I slept in and took my time getting going. When, I finally got going, I discovered there were no bands playing on the main stage at the time of my entry. However, my ears caught hold of some cool sounds coming out of the Avalanche Stage, so I thought I’d better go and check it out. I discovered what was making those wonderful sounds, it was the band, Greywind.

On all four of my trips to Bloodstock, I came across a band who I never heard of but impressed holy hell out of me. I thought it would be nice to keep up that tradition at Download. Greywind kept that tradition going for me. The band was tight but their best asset is their fiery red haired lead singer, Steph O’Sullivan. Let me just say that this band was awesome and the lead singer has an amazing voice along with a good stage presence. Their debut album “Afterthoughts” was released in the beginning of the year and let me tell you, I’m going to get it.

Greywind making their mark

After Greywind, I did something controversial on the afternoon. Some people might think it was that but I don’t. I didn’t go see any bands! Instead, I attended an NXT Wrestling event. For those who aren’t familiar with it, NXT is the farm team, reserves, second division (put in which term applies best to your sporting interests) of the WWE.  There were two events on each of the three days at Download. The one I went to had six matches on the card including tag team champions, Authors of Pain. I enjoyed it immensely but the best part was before the wrestling started, some chap got down on one knee in front of the crowd and proposed to his girlfriend. I thought it was sweet.

No Way Jose beat Wolfgang in the opening bout.

Ember Moon defeated Billie Bey in the first women’s match.

Although you wouldn’t have though so in this photo

Another misleading photo. Lars Sullivan ( I wonder if his parents were Metallica fans,) would defeat Trent Seven.

Ruby Riot and Aaliyah square off in the second women’s match.

Ruby Riot would eventually get the win.

Moores and Sabitelli battle Authors of Pain for the Tag Team Title

Authors of Pain did hold onto their belts.

Cien Andamadama and Alleister Black meet in the Main Event. Alleister Black would win this one.

Nice flying move though

I had a great time watching the wrestling. After all, now that I’m in 1984, that year began the origins of the rock and wrestling connection. More on that at a later time.

Heading back to the main stage, I was fortunate enough to catch the end of Pierce the Veil, I liked what I heard and lead singer, Vic Fuentes, tried to get two mosh pits going simultaneously. The ended things with their best known song, “Kings of Pain.”

Fuentes out in front

And here’s the rest of the band.

After feeding my face, I ventured back to the Avalanche Stage in the hopes of discovering another band. Every Time I Die was on stage and I am convinced that their loud, angry tones scared their record producer into signing them. They made two bands, who I never heard of who impressed me. Actually, Northlane and Motionless in White from the previous day makes it four.

Every Time I Die frightening children

When ETID finished, I went back to the main stage to catch some of A Day to Remember. I happened to stand among some true ADTR fans who sang along to every song they played. I have heard of this band before but have only heard snippets previously. I liked what I heard on this day.

They are under there somewhere

And they appear

Some A Day to Remember fans singing along

Lead singer Jeremy McKinnon goes out in front.

When A Day to Remember left, I immediately beat feet over to the Zippo Stage for the rest of the night. The first band out was the Devin Townsend Project. I had seen Devin at Bloodstock in 2010 and he was good but he was even better this time around. For one, he didn’t have any equipment malfunctions so there was no delay in starting the show. He just completely wailed on his guitar the entire time. Two songs that really stood out for me were “Sugar Crush” and “Dead Head,” the latter of which could sum up his entire performance. It had a melodic start before going more power metal along with some great guitar soloing and his interaction with the audience was superb. I also like how he can change his voice during a song, from traditional to almost thrash metal to fit the song. Before he left, he said he was amazed at the fact that he was 45 and could still make a living out of playing metal.

DTP takes the stage

Devin plays a guitar solo

Belting out another guitar solo.

Devin Townsend paved the way for the final act of the night, Rob Zombie. Before he made his entrance, there were test screens on the stage. This led me to wonder where all this might lead. That was answered when he came out in his silver suit with cowboy hat and fringes. Those screens showed old films and TV shows while his band played. At one time, the screens displayed large red letters, “Get High” when he sang that song. When he saw someone with a blow up doll, he told them they must be desperate. Rob joined in when he threw two blow up aliens into the crowd and instructed the audience to let them crowd surf to the back. He also expressed ‘concern’ over the fact that alien abductions aren’t talked about by politicians. It was an amazing show, attended by many because I was near the front and packed in like a sardine. Had great effects and light show as well. When the show ended, I wasn’t the only one who thought Rob should have headlined the main stage instead of Biffy Clyro.

What would these screens reveal?

Cool colour display

And there was fire

Best shot of Rob I could get.

Biffy had already finished so I couldn’t have watched them if I wanted to. I’m sure the eight people who did see them enjoyed the show. I went back to my campsite fully drained and in need of refreshment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download 2017: Friday

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2017 by 80smetalman

Up early and eager to go on the first full day of metal mania at Download. Teal, my stepson and his friend Joe, were disappointed that the sport of bin jousting hasn’t caught on at Download and is exclusive to Bloodstock. However, Friday at Download is a dress up day and the theme was wrestling. Therefore, there were a lot of people dressed up as such. Some dressed up as other things like super heroes. I did like the Supergirl outfit I saw.

This gentleman was ready for the day’s festivities.

Inside the arena

I noticed that it has been a sub-concious tradition on my part at all festivals to go check out the first band on stage. On this day, it was Australian metal core band, Northlane. Now, it is the stereotype belief that all Australian bands are influenced by AC/DC. Obviously, somebody forgot to tell that to Northlane. If anything, they sounded more like Marilyn Manson than AC/DC. They came out on stage with the determination to leave their mark on the day and they did with their hard sound. They did slow things down in the middle of their set with songs “Rotten” and the newly released on video, “Solar” but they came back even harder after that. Even though they were only on stage thirty minutes, Northlane was a great way to start the weekend.

Northlane begins the festival

And they kept it going

Teal advised me to stick around for the second band and so with no plans to go anywhere else, I did. After their acoustic sounding intro, Motionless in White blasted onto the stage. While Northlane might have sounded like Marilyn, Motionless in White’s lead singer, Chris ‘Motionless’ Cerulli sort of looked like him. He did have a great stage presence. While being bashed about by their hardcore metal sound, they did introduce their new song, “Unnecessary Evil” and ended things with one of their best known songs, “Abigail.” When they finished, I was glad that I had listened to my stepson’s advice.

Chris ‘Motionless’ leading the charge.

And the band followed.

It had always been my intention to catch the next band out on the main stage, Sabaton. I saw these Swedish metalers at Bloodstock two years prior so I was looking forward to more of the same. This time, they wasted no time in getting the tank on stage as I watched it being set up before the band even got on stage. When they did, the tank did it’s job in producing a great display of firepower in support. The pyro in the first song, gave way to their classic, “Art of War.” As always, Sabaton put on a great stage show and they played great songs like “Sparta” and “Primo Victoria” to commemorate the 73 years plus three days anniversary of D-Day. The audience also found out that the tank was named Walter and so the crowd started chanting the tank’s name. All very amusing and I if they had played more than forty minutes, I would have said they were better than what they had been at Bloodstock. With the time cut, they were about the same.

Wheeling in Walter

Sabaton under a cloud of smoke

Sabaton leads to victory.

After watching three bands back to back, I thought I needed some lunch. So after a quick refuel, I headed over to the Zippo stage for the next band I wanted to see. When I got there, I managed to catch the last five to ten minutes of Machine Gun Kelly. Normally, rap metal isn’t my thing but these guys were pretty good. On the last song, the lead singer sang directly to a lady in the audience. What I saw of them was okay.

Machine Gun Kelly finishing up.

Once MGK left the stage, I managed to manoeuvre my way to the front in anticipation for a band I had been waiting over thirty years to see, Suicidal Tendencies. When they propelled themselves onto the stage, they were manic from start to finish. Lead singer Mike Muir was a complete psycho. He would rev himself up by doing this little dance and than dart madly across the stage. Opening with “You Can’t Bring Me Down,” they went straight into their own version of “God Save the Queen,” “I Shot the Devil.” For those familiar with that song, it actually begins with Mike bellowing out, “I shot Reagan!” These days, it might be cool if he changed Reagan to Trump. But the audience sang along to it anyway. We were also treated to “War Inside My Head” and “Subliminal” to name a few. During the set, Mike spoke to the crowd about doing things for yourself instead of blaming others and he jumped off stage and high fived people in the front. One of them was me. One surprise they unleashed was when they announced that Slayer’s Dave Lombardo was on the drums, that got lots of cheers.  The other thing I can say about ST is Dean Pleasants is very underrated as a lead guitarist, the man can lay down some jams! I would like to say that it was the perfect forty five minutes. Unfortunately for me, there was a major disappointment. The band played neither of my two favourite tracks, “Institutionalized” and “I Saw Your Mommy.” While they were absolutely brilliant, I can’t say they were perfect.

Welcome Suicidal Tendencies

Mike Muir and Co

Pleasants wailing away

On my way back to the campsite, I stopped again at the main stage because Five Finger Death Punch were playing. Their good aggressive metal enticed me to stay and have a listen. What I didn’t know was that they had been previously banned from Download, I don’t know the details. There was one part, where lead singer, Ivan Moody stated guitarist Jason Hook could play any song. Left to his devices, Hook began to play the Ozzy classic, “Crazy Train.” When told to stop, he began playing “Smoke on the Water.” After that, Moody told the crowd they were ‘bad company’ before going into a cover of the classic tune. I have to say, even their acoustic number was pretty good. I have since been told that Moody has left the tour and checked into rehab. Tommy Vext will take over the singing duties for the rest of the European tour.

Five Finger Death Punch

Back to the Zippo Stage, this time to get ready for the headliner. But before they came out, I did catch a good chunk of Good Charlotte. I only know the one hit, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” which they closed with. However, I thought they’re overall performance was good.

Good Charlotte on stage

See, I must have liked them, I took a second picture

And a third

Friday’s headliner at the Zippo Stage was Sum 41, a band I have always liked but never admitted it to anyone over the age of 40. Although fifteen years ago, my eldest son thought his dad was cool because he liked them. Let’s just say right away that they were brilliant from start to finish. In the early minutes of the set, they got three people out of the audience to view the show from back stage. No, I wasn’t picked. They did play a good combination of material and a crazy mosh pit opened up near me. One lady went especially crazy but after the show, she said she had waited fifteen years to see this band, so one can’t really blame her. In the middle of the set, they played some covers. They began playing Maiden’s classic, “The Trooper” and were astounded when the crowd sang the lyrics back to them. They also played a little of Metallica’s “Master of Puppets.” Lead singer Deryck Whibley played the opening chords to the first two songs he learned to play on the guitar, “Smoke on the Water” and White Stripes’s “Seven Nation Army.” Sum 41 ended the covers portion with one of Queen’s famous “We Will Rock You,” played very similar to the way it’s done on the “Live Killers” album. At one point, the band left the stage to see a skeleton inflate behind the drums. When fully inflated, it was making the ’41’ hand gesture. Deryck also told about the time he spent in hospital and what got him through it was a picture of himself playing a gig in the UK. I thought that was touching. The brilliant night ended with their two best known songs, “In Too Deep” and of course, “Fat Lip.” That ended things very well.

Sum 41 under the lights

This young lady was really into them

A good shot of the band

They disappear under the lights

Only for the skeleton to emerge

Sum 41 finish in a flurry

After Sum 41, I did venture past the main stage to watch a little of System of a Down. I stayed long enough for hear “Chop Suey” but didn’t stay too long, not my thing. For me, Sum 41 was the best end to a thrilling first day.

Hopefully, Rock and Roll Children will have its own link again soon. It is still available on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download 2016: Thursday

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2017 by 80smetalman

The Campsite village

The most difficult thing for me not to do with these next four, possibly five posts is to make constant comparisons and contrasts between Download and Bloodstock. In the hopes of avoiding this, I will sum the two festivals using a quote from my stepson’s girlfriend, Gemma. She states that the two festivals are siblings. I can see that, some of the bands I would see at Download over the weekend I had seen previously at Bloodstock. However, Gemma reckons that Download is the calmer elder sibling while Bloodstock is the angry younger one. She certainly has a point.

We left Stroud just before one in the afternoon and our journey wasn’t too bad as far as traffic goes. The Disturbed and the tribute to Twisted Sister album provided the in flight entertainment. What we did realize shortly into our journey was that I had forgotten to pack a pan to cook all our wonderful gourmet meals in over the weekend. There were a few other things as well. So, we had to make an unplanned stop a few exits before the one we needed. That added forty-five minutes to our journey. Still, we managed to get Donington Park by quarter to four.

Learning our lesson from Bloodstock, we packed our gear into to small carts and followed the procession to the main gate. Once we got there, we had to wait in a large queue as all bags were searched. I was expecting this after the recent attacks here in the UK. With security not able to find drugs or explosives on us, we began the long walk to the campsite village. This seemed to be a trek and there was a second gate where some of our stuff was searched again and we exchanged our tickets for the weekend wristbands. After more walking, we finally got to the campsite village where we met our friend Joe. Only instead of heading into the campsite, after some queries with the stewards, ended up taking us back the other way to the caravan site. It turned out that Joe had some friends who let us pitch our tents by their camper van. That would prove to be a distinct advantage over the weekend.

Once all the campsite necessities were completed, including drinking a couple of cans, which I sorely needed to do, we headed back to the campsite village. Lots to do and see and there was a band playing at one of the tents when we arrived, though they finished shortly after. So, we headed for the Comedy Tent to catch the last three comedians of the night.

The first comedian was an American lady called Abdiliah, I didn’t catch her last name. She was quite funny and like so many American comedians in the UK, make funny comparisons between the two countries. As normal, this put a tiny number of people off who left but for the most part, she was very funny.

Next up was a British man named Andrew O’Neil. What I remembered most about him was his ripping on Saturday’s main stage headliner, Biffy Clyro and his impression of System of a Down, which he got the audience to assist him with. One side of the tent did the bass bit while the other side impersonated the lead guitar. Obviously, I can’t show it here but it was pretty hilarious. All his material was very funny.

The final comedian of the night was a Canadian by the name of Greg Campbell. He talked about his trip to Russia and how the Russians, unlike Americans or Brits, don’t have a word for getting people to hurry up. Americans use ‘pronto’ and Brits use ‘stat.’ He did an impression of a Russian who stated that when they want something done, they expect it to be straight away and don’t need buzz words. I know it doesn’t sound funny here but the way Greg Campbell told it, had me rolling on the floor.

When the comedians finished, I ventured back to the tent the band had been playing. The band had left but there were two young ladies on stage dancing with flaming batons. Unfortunately, with all the lights, I couldn’t get a decent photo. However, most of the action in the late night was in the cinema tent. No films being shown but many people were gathered around the screen as the news of the General Election began to come in. Let’s just say that if the election had been decided by metalheads, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party would have been elected by a landslide. I didn’t stay to long into the night knowing that I needed my beauty sleep for the day’s metal which lay ahead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Opinion: Would It Have Been Cool if HSAS Continued After One Album?

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2017 by 80smetalman

HSAS

Thinking more about my previous post on the only album from HSAS, I continue to speculate what would it have been like if they didn’t stop at one album. In the last post, I put forward the historical evidence that Journey went completely downhill and that Sammy went onto join Van Halen and received a lot of unfair criticism for it. My feelings are that they would have gone on to make at least two more killer albums before any super group egos began to get in the way. Hopefully, I might be wrong there. So, what I’m doing is putting the question out there to the cosmos. Would any of you liked to have heard more albums from HSAS and gone to see them live? Let me know your opinions and don’t be shy! I will look at both sides of the argument with equal eyes.

Now, in two days I’ll be off to Download and have come to an interesting situation. It was my intention that on the Sunday, I was going to see the top four bands on the main stage so I can get a good position for Aerosmith. Having not seen them since 1990, I was prepared to give Slayer who are headlining on the second stage a miss. Particularly because I have seen them at Bloodstock twice in the past three years. However, Slayer will be on before Aerosmith so I do have the chance to see them. To throw a further spanner in the works, I really want to see Airbourne and Steel Panther who are on the main stage before Slayer but had not heard of the band between Steel Panther and Aerosmith, Alter Bridge, who are on when Slayer goes on. I know that I can easily move stages but I fear I won’t get a good place for Aerosmith if I do. Furthermore, I have familiarized myself with Alter Bridge and am very impressed with what I heard. So, I’m tempted to stay and see them. What would you do?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1984: HSAS- Through the Fire

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2017 by 80smetalman

Late in 1983, Sammy Hagar and Journey guitarist Neil Schon did a project together along with bassist Kenny Aaronson and drummer Michael Shrieve. Together, they formed a band called HSAS which was short for Hagar, Schon, Aaronson and Shrieve and the result was their one and only album, “Through the Fire.” Was it a success? Maybe not according to the charts but it made my spring in 1984 and continued to do so for years after.

Confession, I never bought the “Through the Fire” album, I cheated. Instead, I recorded their full performance from an MTV concert. Besides, they played every song on the album plus a few songs that didn’t get on it. Having finally listened to the album, I feel no shame as it simply brings back all the great memories of that taped concert.

While most trendy types might not remember HSAS, I’m sure that a lot of metalheads and a few non ones do. When Sammy Hagar toured solo at the end of the year and even during his first tour with Van Halen, there were signs around many a concert venue that read, “Sammy Hagar, Top of the rock.” That’s because it’s the best known song from the album. He played it that night I saw him and it is a brilliant song. However, it’s only my second favourite. The top slot goes to the very next track, “Missing You.” That song really cooks and Neil belts out great guitar solo on it.

Hearing the next three tracks, I am now convinced that when the band played live, they played all three together as one song. Each track quickly goes from one to the next so you don’t really get a break. Furthermore, all three are in the way out space rock mode and they fit very well together. In the MTV concert, only the title of the first song, “Animation” was introduced but it went on for far longer than the four minutes it says the song lasts on the label. Actually, I am pretty sure that the song lasted for the duration indicated by the three songs.

There is one blip in comparing the album with the concert and that comes in the form of the band’s cover of the classic, “Whiter Shade of Pale.” The song closes the concert and I think it was a great song to close the show with. However, it’s not the closer on the album and now I wonder if it should have. It’s still done very well and I think that Procol Harum would have been impressed. After that comes the hard rocker, “Hot and Dirty,” which Sammy stated in the concert that it was about Kenny the bass player’s girlfriend. Can’t fault the song, it’s really good and Neil Schon shows his talent up and down all of it. While not a ballad, “He’ll Understand” is, to quote Sammy, on the tender side. It starts out as a ballad but that changes not far into it and has a smoking guitar solo. The irony is the closer because I am fairly certain that it was the opener for the concert. However, it works both ways.

HSAS in concert

The reason why all nine songs are so good is down to the talents of the four men who comprised HSAS. Sammy’s vocals and Neil’s guitar work were always going to be a lethal cocktail, no doubt about that. But we should raise a glass to the rhythm section of Aaronson and Shrieve because together, they make a fine one.

Track Listing:

  1. Top of the Rock
  2. Missing You
  3. Animation
  4. Valley of the Kings
  5. Giza
  6. Whiter Shade of Pale
  7. Hot and Dirty
  8. He’ll Understand
  9. My Home Town

HSAS

Sammy Hagar- vocals

Neil Schon- guitars

Kenny Aaronson- bass

Michael Shrive- drums

For the last 33 years, I have been asking myself “What if?” What if HSAS went beyond this one project and put out more albums? I think that they would have made a huge impact on the music of metal’s golden decade. History does sort of support me. When Neil went back to Journey, they didn’t make any impact after, at least not on me. Then there’s the case of Van Hagar, although I’ve always said that Sammy can’t be blamed for that. What we are left with is one fantastic album and three decades of me wondering, what if.

Next post: There will be no post at the end of the week because I am off to the Download Festival this week. I’m going to rock to Aerosmith, Steel Panther, Rob Zombie, Suicidal Tendencies and many more. Of course I will give you a day by day report once I return.

Still no new link for buying Rock and Roll Children direct but it’s still available on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Dennis DeYoung- Desert Moon

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2017 by 80smetalman

Journey wasn’t the only band whose members carried out solo projects in 1984. By the way, Steve Perry wasn’t the only member of Journey with his fingers in another pie in this year but that’s a story for another time. Styx had only disbanded less than a year before and by the end of 1984, two former members of the band had released solo albums. The first of these was by former singer and keyboards player, Dennis De Young, who came out with “Desert Moon,” in the middle of the year.

Styx

Like Steve Perry, if I allowed myself to be influenced by singles on radio or MTV, I would have ignored this album. The first single, the title track, while not a bad song, sounds a little too much like the very successful Styx single “Babe.” While a big hit for the band, “Babe” was never in my top ten of favourite Styx songs. Fortunately, it’s not the best song on the album which bears its name.

When I first heard the opener, “Don’t Wait for Heroes,” I was quite upbeat. Maybe Dennis was taking the progressive/hard rock formula that worked so well with his former band and incorporating it in his solo album. For me, this is the best song on the album. The next track, “Please,” tries to carry this on and does so reasonably but doesn’t quite come up to the opener. “Boys Will Be Boys” is a better track and could have been as good as the “Don’t Wait for Heroes” but Dennis goes a bit too new wave with it and I found that a turn off. After the title track, “Suspicious” is a very interesting track. It’s a definite progressive rock track, in fact, it sounds very suspiciously (yep pun intended) like 10CC. Still, it’s a very upbeat and enjoyable song, with some good guitar solos compliments of Tom Dziallo. It gives the opener a very close competition for my top spot.

My biggest criticism of “Desert Moon” is the cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic, “Fire.” I know Dennis was a keyboards player and that song would have worked if done right but it wasn’t. He tries to make it too new wave or something and it just doesn’t work. The album ends with two softer ballad type songs. Dennis’s voice was well suited to such songs, although the former, “Gravity” transforms into a cabaret type of song, which doesn’t rock me until the guitar solo which does save it a little.

Track Listing:

  1. Don’t Wait For Heroes
  2. Please
  3. Boys Will Be Boys
  4. Fire
  5. Desert Moon
  6. Suspicious
  7. Gravity
  8. Dear Darling (I’ll Be There)

Dennis DeYoung

Dennis DeYoung- vocals, keyboards, piano, percussion

Tom Dziallo- all guitars, bass, backing vocals

Dennis Johnson- bass

Tom Radtke- drums, percussion

Steve Eisen- conga, saxophone, conductor

Rosemary Butler- duet vocal on “Please”

Sandy Caulfield- backing vocals

Suzanne DeYoung, Dawn Feusi, Pat Hurley- additional backing vocals

Dennis DeYoung was the first former Styx member out of the starting blocks with a solo album. “Desert Moon” has some good moments and overall is an okay album. However, it doesn’t rock all the way through leaving it unbalanced. Still might be worth a listen, I’ll let you judge from my two favourite tracks.

Next post: HSAS- Through the Fire

Hopefully, there will be a new link for “Rock And Roll Children” soon.

Meanwhile it’s still available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London