Archive for Thrash Metal

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Anthrax- Fistful of Metal

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2018 by 80smetalman

Normally, when I hear a band’s second album before their first one, I appreciate what a great album the debut was, even if I prefer the second one. That was the case with Twisted Sister, Van Halen and Molly Hatchet for sure. However, there’s always an exception and that comes in the form of Anthrax. My first experience with this band was the second album, “Spreading the Disease,” and you will hear me sing its praises to the heavens. Now, I in no way, shape or form, dislike Anthrax’s debut album, “Fistful of Metal,” it has some great songs which I will elaborate on in a minute. What I do think is that “Spreading the Disease” was a major improvement from this one.

The big improvement comes in the form of the lead singer. While I have nothing against the vocal ability of Neil Turbin, he does some great things on “Fistful of Metal,” it’s just I think Joey Belladonna is a far superior singer. That’s just my opinion. Therefore, I will cease the negative and go for the positive because I have always thought this was a brilliant, in your face, thrash album. In fact, I’ll change my personal history and pretend that I first heard “Fistful of Metal” when it first came out in 1984.

Power chords of Scott Ian and Dan Spitz, combined the shrieks of Neil begin the album in a totally mad metal mayhem. Even though I hadn’t yet heard the term ‘thrash,’ I would have thought that the opening song “Deathrider” comes out and grabs your attention. With the exception of Motorhead, I would have thought it was the most aggressive sound I ever heard back then. Following on immediately after is my favourite song on the album, “Metal Thrashing Mad.” It’s just as thrashy as its predecessor but there is a slight melody to the chorus and I do mean slight. Of all the tracks on the album, this one highlights Neil Turbin’s voice the best.

What I have always liked about the cover of the Alice Cooper classic, “I’m Eighteen,” is the fact that they don’t thrash it up and they pretty much stick to Alice’s formula. Hell, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The next three tracks go back to more mad thrash. It is on the tracks, “Panic” and especially “Subjugator” that I fully hear the brilliant guitar work from Dan Spitz. Also on “Subjugator,” rhythm guitarist Scott Ian has a cool guitar bit on it. It’s certainly the best song of the three and I’ve always questioned why “Soldiers of Metal” was released as a single as there are better tracks to choose from. It still gives you a good mosh. Oops, that word didn’t come out til 1985.

Scott Ian- Anthrax

“Death From Above” is my second favourite song on here. I can’t explain the semantics as to why but I really love this song. Maybe it’s how the song starts with a cool guitar solo from Dan but it just does it for me. The album concludes with “Anthrax,” followed by a very cool instrumental, “Across the River” and probably the best song for the closer, “Howling Furies.” Now there’s a song that lets you know you’ve just had year ears bashed by a cool album.

Track Listing:

  1. Deathrider
  2. Metal Thrashing Mad
  3. I’m Eighteen
  4. Panic
  5. Subjugator
  6. Soldiers of Metal
  7. Death From Above
  8. Anthrax
  9. Across the River
  10. Howling Furies


Neil Turbin- vocals

Scott Ian- rhythm guitar

Dan Spitz- lead guitar

Dan Lilker- bass

Charlie Benante- drums

Looking back at history, I now realize how important “Fistful of Metal” was in establishing Anthrax in the metal world and laying down a foundation for them to go onto to better things. The band is certainly hungry on this album, no doubt. The weird thing is that shortly after the album’s released, Dan Lilker would be forced out of the band by the same two band members whom he’d join up with a year later to make my all time favourite album. Still, that’s something to worry about in the future but if you want a thrashing good mosh, then “Fistful of Metal” is one to have.

Next post: Lee Aaron- Metal Queen

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to:






Great Metal Albums of 1984: Metallica- Ride the Lightning

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2018 by 80smetalman

I have said many times throughout the journey through 1984, it was the golden year of the golden decade for heavy metal. Many metal bands got mainstream exposure on radio and MTV. Not only that, the exposure gave many metalheads a look into bands that were up and coming or just out of the limelight. One of these up and coming bands was Metallica with their second album, “Ride the Lightning.”

Thinking back to that year, I don’t ever recall Metallica getting any airplay on the radio or MTV. As I listen to the album, I have to conclude that while mainstream media gave many metal bands some great exposure, I don’t think they were quite ready for a band like Metallica, even if metalheads were. After spending the year listening to all the great bands, Metallica was something different but interesting. It definitely had my attention. When I heard this album, I was blown away by the sheer power and hunger of this band.

While their debut album, “Kill’Em All,” just wants to pound the crap out of you, “Ride the Lightning” does offer some, I stress some, melodic moments. One gets that impression on the opening notes of the first track, “Fight Fire With Fire,” because it starts out with a full acoustic intro. However, it goes right into some very hard chords which lasts for three songs. In fact, all the times I’ve listened to the album, I seem to miss where “Fight Fire With Fire” ends and the title track begins. The comes the great “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” a loud pounding but at the same time rhythmic tune. I really like this track but I was disappointed when they played it at Donington 1987. It just didn’t grab me the way that it always does on vinyl.

Afterwards comes what I mean about melodic moments, my favourite track on the album, “Fade to Black.” The first half of this song is a near power ballad and while it would be another seven years before we got to hear their most famous ballad, “Nothing Else Matters,” I do hear some resemblances on “Fade to Black.” But it doesn’t stay melodic as the second half of the song goes back to more traditional Metallica soundings. An added bonus is the way that Kirk Hamett rips his guitar solo at the end.

With “Trapped Under Ice” and “Escape,” you get more great Metallica mashing and like the first two songs on the album, you have to listen carefully or you’ll miss where the one ends and the other begins. Then, if you thought your eardrums might get some relief, you’d would be sorely disappointed because “Creeping Death” comes along to kick your ass. This is a power song only slowing down slightly to deliver a more melodic chorus but then goes back to ear bashing. “Creeping Death” is decidedly my second favourite track on “Ride the Lightning.” It may not have the melodic approach of my number one but it lets you know it’s there and says you will like this song. Kirk’s solo on here is very cool too. The album ends with the very interesting instrumental “The Call of Ktulu.” All in all, this is a fantastic album and it reminds me of when Metallica were hard and hungry. The music on “Ride the Lightning” bears witness.

Track Listing:

  1. Fight Fire With Fire
  2. Ride the Lightning
  3. For Whom the Bell Tolls
  4. Fade to Black
  5. Trapped Under Ice
  6. Escape
  7. Creeping Death
  8. The Call of Ktulu


James Hetfield- lead vocals, rhythm guitar

Kirk Hammett- lead guitar

Cliff Burton- bass

Lars Ulrich- drums, backing vocals on “Ride the Lightning”

In the opening pages of “Rock and Roll Children,” while the main characters are driving to the first concert in the book, one of them introduces the others to a new band called Metallica. It was the “Kill’Em All” album. Yes, back then, they were still making their way in the world and “Ride the Lightning” provided a springboard that would help launch them to greater things.

On another note, this album has been labelled thrash and speed metal. These were terms which I wouldn’t hear for another year. I just considered Metallica great metal at the time. Furthermore, this trip down memory lane makes me sad that I missed the Metallica, WASP and Armoured Saint show. That must have been fantastic.

Next post: Anthrax- Fistful of Metal

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to:


Metal Madness in Reading

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2018 by 80smetalman

Not long returned from my short break in Reading with Mrs 80smetalman. We spent the Saturday afternoon at The Oracle, which is Reading’s big shopping precinct. While there were many eating places along the Thames River, which runs right through the precinct, we wanted to get out of the rain and went straight for the mall. With her ability to sense out these places, my wife found the Lush shop and added to her collection of bath stuff. We can also say that Lush staff are super friendly wherever you go. After that, we hit a few places in the mall, had dinner and then returned to the hotel where I prepared for big night at the Face Bar, where I was invited to attend the launch party for Black Emerald’s debut album, “Hell Can’t Handle All of Us.”

After a couple of detours down some dead end side roads, I found the Face Bar without any real trouble. On the outside, it looks like any other rock club I’ve been to and probably on the inside too. However, the first honour done to me on the evening was when I announced who I was on the guest list, the people at the door seemed to be expecting me. Once inside, I met Sharon, the mother of Black Emerald’s drummer as well as the bassist/lead vocalist’s father, who incidentally, was the one who gave me the Black Emerald demo CD at Bloodstock 2013 and told me to go check them out at the New Blood Stage. A recommendation I will forever be grateful for.

Sharon and me. Sharon worked her socks off to make sure the evening was top notch. Full marks to her!

Four bands were on the card this night and the first one on stage was Remnant. Here’s one band you can’t pigeon hole in any way. Remnant are a mix of thrash, groove and a few more genres of metal. They have dual male/female vocalists who share the duties but unlike say Amy Lee of Evanescence or Live Christine of Leaves Eyes whose vocals are very melodic, Tori Walter’s vocals are just as gritty as her male colleague Lee Gordine. Another gender stereotype broken here resulting in a one-two vocal punch that doesn’t let up. Both do a great job but what impressed me the most about this band was the lead guitar work of Andy Gunn. When you weren’t getting pounded by the two vocalists, he shredded in spectacular fashion. All of the combinations worked well together to make one great sound. It was a great way to begin the night!

Remnant begin the festivities

Tori and Leigh on the vocals

Andy Gunn shredding away

FFI on Remnant, go to:

The next band up was Thirty Giants, however, I never saw 30 giants go onto the stage. What I saw was four men who knew how to play heavy metal. Thirty Giants have a style I’ve become quite fond of in my waning years. They come out with some powerful metal during the verses only to go slightly more melodic while singing the choruses to their songs. Luca Cossu handles most of the vocals and does a great job with it but he has some good support from bassist Sam Yard. Meanwhile, Dave Gilburt does most of the lead guitar duties and solos very well but Luca does lend a hand at times on the guitar. They did do a solo trade-off on one of the songs and I always am impressed when that’s done well, which it was. My biggest impression of Thirty Giants was that I am convinced I heard a little Asphalt Ballet influence in a couple of their songs and that made me like them even more.

You can hear some of their offerings here:

Luca and Sam begin things for Thirty Giants

Guitarists Luca and Dave wailing.

Luca on the vox

Dave plays a solo

Anyone thinking that after the first two bands, they might have a reprieve, they were completely wrong. Up next was Gutlocker, who set out to pound the ears of everyone in the Face Bar with their brand of sludge metal. Lead singer Craig McBrearty has the power and range in his voice as well as the charisma of a good front-man, while the other three members did a great job in supporting his vocal efforts with power chords, thumping bass and drums. They might have only been on stage about thirty minutes by they let you know they were up there that entire time.

To hear more, go to:

Craig with guitarist Peter Tucker

Peter and drummer Dean Walker

Bassist Ben Rollinson

Three bands had come and gone. Three different styles of metal, all of which were completely enjoyable. Now, you might have noticed that I didn’t say anything about the rhythm sections of any of the bands. That’s because I would have been repeating myself three times. I can safely say that the rhythm sections for all three bands were spot on. All three bands also did a great job warming things up for the main event. After all, this was Black Emerald’s evening.

The atmosphere was almost electric by the time Black Emerald took the stage. I could have been back at the old Philadelphia Spectrum in the 1980s seeing such greats as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister or Dio. It was like that. The first thing I noticed when they took the stage was that while I said how good they were in 2013, they were miles better four and a half years later! Edd Higgs’s shredding had come on leaps and bounds and the vocals of Simon Hall sounded even better. Plus Simon and Connor Shortt had become an even more tighter rhythm section and I was very impressed with Connor’s drumming. They played their entire album, including the song “Dr Stein,” which I uploaded from  Youtube when I announced they were cutting an album. Plus, they played the songs from their demo, all of which I liked. During the set, Craig from Gutlocker came on for a guest vocal slot and it proves the versatility of this band, that they were able to fit their sound to his vocals. Just as good was when Andy Gunn from Remnant came up to play guitar on “Voodoo Princess.” It was a treat hearing Andy and Edd shred together on this song. When they announced their last song, the nearly ten minute long, “Jonestown,” I couldn’t believe that more than an hour had passed. Black Emerald were fab!

Edd shredding

Simon on bass and vocals

Connor on the drums

Craig on stage with Black Emerald

Simon working some more magic

Andy shredding with the band

Another shot of Edd

Simon has the pipes

Don’t forget Connor

Here’s an interesting observation. You hear all the time of parents disapproving of their children’s interest in playing music. Hell, even John Lennon’s mother told him that playing guitar was a nice hobby but it wouldn’t get him anywhere. Boy, was she wrong! Therefore, it was great to see the parents of the members of Black Emerald, truly supporting their sons. Special kudos goes to Sarah, (Connor’s mum), who worked tirelessly throughout the evening, helping to make it so good.

When I left the Face Bar, I began to ask myself: “Is Reading an unknown mecca for metal?” True, the other bands weren’t from Reading but close enough. Thirty Giants were the furthest away coming from Brighton. If it is, I must go there more. There was one more surprise in store for me. I went to purchase “Hell Can’t Handle All of Us” before I left but Sarah told me to hold on. Moments later, she returned with a goody bag which featured the CD, a flier signed by the band, a Black Emerald coaster and a Black Emerald mug! That was a nice surprise and I thank the band for it and all the bands for a great night of heavy metal in Reading.

My goody bag. Note: when I didn’t need to buy the Black Emerald CD, I bought Remnant’s one.


Next post: Black Emerald- Hell Can’t Handle All of Us

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: Metal Church

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2018 by 80smetalman

Constant vigilance in perusing the heavy metal and imports sections at the local record shops as well as word of mouth from like minded friends played a major role in severing my reliance on commercial radio and MTV for all of my musical needs. Besides, by my calculations, it was in the Autumn of 1984 that both started down that slippery slope into totally sucking. If I had totally relied on that, I might not have ever discovered the debut album from Metal Church. Fortunately, I had a friend, the late ‘Wild Swinging’ Stacy Kroger, (may she rest in peace), who introduced me to the album.

For a young metalhead in the 1980s, Metal Church is a brilliant album to listen to. This is a pure metal album to say the least. In fact, I think there are some features that would influence other metal artists, some of whom would be more successful than Metal Church. King Diamond, you’re one of the ones I’m looking at here. Take the opening track, “Beyond the Black.” It starts with a soft intro where a hoarse whispering introduces things. You know, after all these times, I still can’t fully grasp what the voice is saying. However, you can’t contemplate it more because before you know it, some great guitar work comes in and the song then proceeds to pulverize the crap out of you. Just when you think, you’ve got it under control, there comes a tempo change or two. The fact that the song is over six minutes long has one wondering if it’s the same song, but it is.

Things evolve nicely into the title track which is another metalhead’s dream song. Then comes an instrumental where guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof gets to show off what he can do with a guitar and it’s quite good. However, he’s even more impressive on “Gods of Wrath,” which is in similar style to the opener. A slow start before going into a mad frenzy.  Only this time, he shares the spotlight with the versatile vocals of David Wayne. On this album, Wayne can do it all. Sing almost ballad like and then screams the house down without straining his voice.

The second half of the album carries things over very well while at the same time, surprising you a little. All of the next four songs are why some future fans would call Metal Church thrash or speed metal. They are all very fast songs but the band shows they’re truly up to the task. Then, keeping with unpredictability, the albums ends with a cover of the Deep Purple classic, “Highway Star,” which is done very well at a blistering speed metal pace, or so I thought back in 1984.

Track Listing:

  1. Beyond the Black
  2. Metal Church
  3. Merciless Onslaught
  4. Gods of Wrath
  5. Hitman
  6. In the Blood
  7. (My Favourite) Nightmare
  8. Battalions
  9. Highway Star

Metal Church

David Wayne- vocals

Kurdt Vanderhoof- guitar

Craig Wells- guitar

Duke Erickson- bass

Kirk Arrington- drums

With the success of this debut album from Metal Church, they would be signed by the larger Electra Records and the rest would be history. Still, if you want to hear a band when they were at there lean, mean and hungriest, then I recommend this one.

Next post: Billy Squier- Signs of Life

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to:


Great Metal Albums of 1984: Motorhead- No Remorse

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2018 by 80smetalman

 Originally, the 1984 compilation album, “No Remorse” from Motorhead was on the list to be visited a little further down the line. However, with the recent passing of Fast Eddie Clarke, it would only be right and a proper tribute to not only Eddie but all three of the original members of Motorhead who are blowing the eardrums of the angels in that better place, to visit it now.

With all of the heavy metal floating around in 1984, I was certainly motivated into listening to as many heavy metal bands as humanly possible. Motorhead was one of them. I had heard a lot about them by then and wanted to listen for myself. Cue, the compilation album, “No Remorse,” which came out in that year. What an album for anyone unfamiliar with to cut their teeth on! If someone who knew absolutely nothing about Motorhead asked which album they should experience first, I would definitely recommend this one.

“No Remorse” is much much more than some greatest hits album. Sure all the great Motorhead songs up til then are on the album. Hell, it wouldn’t have been right if “Ace of Spades” wasn’t the opener on it. In fact, it would be sacrilege! Then, there all the other great ditties like “Iron Fist,” “Motorhead,” “Jailbait,” “Bomber” and “Overkill.” Most would be content with thrilling the fans with all of those great songs and a few more. No, not Motorhead, with “No Remorse,” there’s twenty four songs. Some are great Motorhead songs, others are recorded live and there’s the bonus of four previously unreleased tracks! So what you get here is a Motorhead party!

It was one of these new songs that would become my all time favourite Motorhead song. That song just happens to be “Killed By Death.” Man, I just love that song. Probably because of the way that guitarists Michael Burston and Phil Campbell just solo all over the song and of course Lemmy’s unmistakable vocals. While some may think it’s a bit more melodic than traditional Motorhead songs, there’s enough raw power in the song to let you know that it is indeed Motorhead playing it. Another great new song from the album is “Snaggletooth.” That was is definitely worth a listen as well.

Track Listing:

Disc One

  1. Ace of Spades
  2. Motorhead
  3. Jailbait
  4. Stay Clean
  5. Too Late, Too Late
  6. Killed By Death
  7. Bomber
  8. Iron Fist
  9. Shrine
  10. Dancing On Your Grave
  11. Metropolis
  12. Snaggletooth

Disc Two

  1. Overkill
  2. Please Don’t Touch
  3. Stone Dead Forever
  4. Like a Nightmare
  5. Emergency
  6. Steal Your Face
  7. Louie Louie
  8. No Class
  9. Iron Horse/Born to Lose
  10. (We Are) The Road Crew
  11. Leaving Here
  12. Locomotive

Motorhead (original line up) 

Lemmy- bass, lead vocals except on “Emergency”

Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor- drums on Disc 1 tracks 1-5 and 7-11; Disc 2 1-5 and 7-11

Fast Eddie Clarke- guitar on Disc 1 tracks 1-5 and 7, 8 and 11; Disc 2 tracks 1-5 and 7-11, lead vocal on “Emergency”

Brian ‘Robbo’ Robertson- guitar on Disc 1 tracks 9 & 10

Michel ‘Wurzel’ Burston- guitar on Disc 1 tracks 6 & 12; Disc 2 tracks 6 & 12

Phil Campbell- guitar on Disc 1 tracks 6 & 12; Disc 2 tracks 6 & 12

Pete Gill- drums on Disc 1 tracks 6 & 12; Disc 2 tracks 6 & 12

Motorhead was going through a lineup overhaul when “No Remorse” was released. Phil Taylor and Brian Robertson had left the band and guitarists Phil Campbell and Michael Burston and drummer Pete Gill would eventually join. Whatever the trouble that was going on in the Motorhead camp at the time, the sheer greatness of “No Remorse” cannot be denied.

Next post: Metal Church

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to:






R.I.P. Fast Eddie Clarke

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2018 by 80smetalman

Fast Eddie Clarke wailing away

I was hoping, I was nearly praying that in 2018, we would get a reprieve on rockers great and small departing this Earth. It seems it’s not going to be the case this year either. First, there was legendary record producer Rick Hall and I’ve just found out that Baby Metal guitarist Mikio Fujioka died on Jan 5 by falling off a balcony while stargazing. Now we lose Motorhead’s great guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke who died of pneumonia.

It would only be repeating others if I went on about what a great guitarist Fast Eddie was. He made up one third of the great Motorhead and contributed greatly to their early success. Eddie’s death now means that we have an entire band passing on in the last two and a half years. Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor and the great Lemmy himself both died in 2015.

Motorhead- all now wreaking pandemonium in a better place

All that there is left to say is R.I.P. Fast Eddie Clarke and put on a song in his memory.

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.


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.

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