Concert Review: Hollywood Undead, Butcher Babies, & Demrick At The Catalyst In Santa Cruz, CA

Last night (October 23), I attended the Hollywood Undead, Butcher Babies, and Demrick concert at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz, CA, and it was a great show.

Rapper Demrick kicked things off with an interesting set. He was pretty good, if you like straight up rap music, but he seemed a bit out of place at this particular concert. Granted, headliners Hollywood Undead do rap, but they still have a rock vibe, which Demrick was lacking. A highlight from his set was a track called “Skyscraper.”

After Demrick’s set, Butcher Babies took the stage for a metal onslaught. I’ve seen the band live four times now, and they always manage to top their selves. This time, the group’s set was heavily focused on new tracks off their upcoming album “Lilith,” which will be out Friday (October 27). Frontwomen Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey were on point the whole time and were able to keep the energy in the room at a high point. That combined with guitarist Henry Flury, bassist Jason Klein, and drummer Chase Brickenden’s musicianship made their performance solid on all fronts. Highlights from their set included: “Monster’s Ball,” “POMONA (Shit Happens),” “Headspin,” and a “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, “Igniter,” and “Magnolia Blvd.” medley.

Butcher Babies finished up, and then it was time for rap rockers Hollywood Undead. The group took the stage with their trademarked masks, which they wore for three songs, and opened with their anthemic track “Whatever It Takes” off their new album V (out October 27). From there, they just kept the energy building throughout the night. The band were definitely having fun up onstage and it was infectious. They were also really good at getting the crowd involved, whether it be something simple like having them wave their hands or something bigger like inviting one fan onstage to perform “Comin In Hot.” There stage setup was appealing as well, with decent lighting and shooting sparks. Basically, all these elements wrapped together made for an awesome show. Some highlights from their set included the aforementioned “Comin In Hot,” “Undead,” “Dead Bite,” “War Child,” “Everywhere I Go,” and their finale “Hear Me Now.”

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Concert Review: Sublime With Rome, The Offspring, & The Menzingers In Mountain View, CA

Last night (September 27), I attended the Sublime With Rome, The Offspring, and The Menzingers concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA, and it was an awesome show.

The Menzingers opened up the show with a cool set. The Pennsylvanian natives were a good opening act, and it was worth getting there early to see the group. A highlight from their set was “I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore.”

Then it was time for The Offspring, the main reason I attended the show. The punk rockers kicked off their set by blasting into “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid.” After that, it was just hit after hit. In fact, the group played nearly every song on their greatest hits album, along with a few extra tracks thrown in. The group were very energetic and were able to keep the crowd dancing and singing along the entire time. Frontman Dexter Holland’s humorous stage banter helped keep things interesting as well. Highlights from their set included: “Want You Bad,” “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy),” “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” and “Self Esteem.”

After The Offspring, Sublime With Rome took the stage. Admittedly, I was unsure about watching Sublime songs performed live without the late Bradley Nowell, but the group put on a great show. Rome Ramirez’s vocals worked well with the reggae infused rock tracks the band was known for, and it was interesting to see his take on them. The band opened with “Date Rape” and followed that up with numerous other classics, along with a couple of Sublime With Rome originals like “Murdera.” All in all, their set was entertaining and helped keep Nowell’s music alive in a sense. Highlights included: “Doin’ Time,” “What I Got,” which featured a guest spot from Noodles (The Offspring), and “Santeria.”

Concert Review: Avenged Sevenfold, A Day To Remember, & HO99O9 In Mountain View, CA

On July 28, I attended the Avenged Sevenfold, A Day To Remember, & HO99O9 concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA, and it was a great show.

HO99O9 opened up the night with an insane performance. The group’s recorded music is considered hip-hop, but in a live setting they sound straight up punk. theOGM and Eaddy’s vocals mixed with Brandon Pertzborn’s (Black Flag, Doyle) insane drumming made for a cool set, which was worth getting there early for.

After HO99O9, A Day To Remember came out for a fun set. The group’s performance began with the stage “talking” to the crowd to introduce the band. Then they came out and blasted right into “All I Want.” The band’s high energy set was made only better by their crowd participation efforts, ranging from having people throw toilet paper, bounce beach balls, and catch shirts from a t-shirt cannon. Frontman Jeremy McKinnon was a little disappointed that people couldn’t mosh or crowd surf up front, due to a lack of a pit area, but that didn’t stop the band from keeping the crowd engaged. Highlights from their set include the previously mentioned opener “All I Want,” “Naivety,” and “If It Means A Lot To You.”

Then it was time for the headliners of the night, Avenged Sevenfold! The band’s show started with outer space-like imagery recreating the cover art of the band’s latest album “The Stage” across several screens, along with flashing lightning. Synyster Gates, Zacky Vengeance, Johnny Christ and Brooks Wackerman (ex-Bad Religion) then entered the arena to launch into the aforementioned album’s title track, before M. Shadows ran out just in time for the vocals to kick in. Their musicianship was impeccable, between Gates and Vengeance’s amazing guitar harmonies, to Wackerman’s thunderous drumming. This combined with the various onscreen imagery to accompany each track, and fire blasts, made for one grand spectacle. The images were especially powerful, due to the way they helped the songs come to life in a story-like manner, as Shadows’ powerful voice narrated. It didn’t stop there either. Shadows even made sure the audience was a part of everything by having them do things like throwing their fists to the sky, yelling “hail” during “Hail To The King,” putting lighters/cell phones up for “So Far Away,” etc. The concert was really phenomenal on all levels. Highlights of the night included “Nightmare,” “Almost Easy,” “God Damn,” “Sunny Disposition,” “A Little Piece Of Heaven,” and their finale “Unholy Confessions.”

Concert Review: Iron Maiden & Ghost In Oakland, CA

On July 5, I attended the Iron Maiden and Ghost concert at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA, and it was an epic show.

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Ghost kicked off the night with their brand of satanic themed metal. Tobias Forge aka Papa Emeritus was great at commanding the crowd and the Nameless Ghouls were definitely a solid musical unit, which is pretty impressive considering the drastic lineup changes the band has faced. Highlights from their set included: “Square Hammer,” “Cirice,” “Mummy Dust,” and “Monstrance Clock.”

Then it was time for heavy metal legends Iron Maiden. The audience went crazy as soon as they heard UFO’s “Doctor Doctor” blasting through the speakers, followed by a cool video game looking intro video. After the clip the curtain fell to reveal a elaborate stage setup that looked like an ancient Mayan temple, complete with flaming pillars and a smoking podium, where frontman Bruce Dickinson appeared to sing the first part of “If Eternity Should Fail.”

From there, the show just exploded with energy. Dickinson’s all powerful voice, Steve Harris’ bass lines, Adrian Smith, Dave Murray and Janick Gers’s guitar harmonies, and Nicko McBrain’s thundering drums only helped prove how much they deserve their icon status. The show didn’t stop at musicianship either.

The visuals were just as great, and ranged from simple things like Dickinson wearing a monkey mask for “Death or Glory” to spectacles such as the vocalist battling the group’s mascot Eddie, only to rip his heart out and toss it into the crowd. There was even things like a huge Eddie for a performance of their eponymous track “Iron Maiden” and a giant goat creature for “The Number Of The Beast.”

The show pretty much had it all, aesthetics, great music, and even things like a nice speech from Dickinson about diversity and equality. As far as song highlights go, I would say the following: The Number Of The Beast,” “Children of the Damned,” “Blood Brothers,” “The Trooper,” the title track of their latest album “The Book Of Souls,” and their finale “Wasted Years.” If you have a chance, you should hit one of the remaining dates, especially since the band are planning to retire “The Book Of Souls” stage setup very soon.

Concert Review: Seether, Through Fire, & Kaleido At The Fillmore In San Francisco, CA

Last night (June 5), I attended the Seether, Through Fire, and Kaleido concert at The Fillmore in San Francisco, and it was definitely a good night for rock fans.

Kaleido opened the show with a fun set. It was the band’s first time in San Francisco, and they managed to leave a lasting impression. Christina Chriss is an awesome frontwoman, and was able to keep crowd engaged with her great voice and stage antics. That mixed with the energy of the other members of the group made way for a solid rock performance. Highlights from the set include “My Rock And Roll” and their cover of Guns N’ Roses’ “My Michelle.”

Through Fire took the stage next for a sick show. If you enjoy hard rock, you need to catch these guys live. The band have a powerful sound, and all the members seem to be really into their music, which is always good to see. Highlights from their set include the title track to their album “Breathe” (an album that is worth picking up if you don’t have it), and the fan-favorite “Stronger.”

Then it was finally time for the headliners of the night, Seether. The band were tighter than ever, and the guitar work from frontman Shaun Morgan and guest guitarist Clint Lowery (Sevendust), who managed add a whole new element to the group’s sound, was especially impressive. On top of this, Morgan’s vocals were top notch. He didn’t talk much, but the songs are strong enough to stand on their own, especially under the dark lighting which helped give them a gloomy feel. The band tended to focus on hits such as “Remedy,” “Broken,” “Fake It,” etc., but their were some surprises, including an incredible cover of Thrice’s “Black Honey.” Aside from that, the highlights of their set included the above mentioned tracks as well as “Let You Down,” “No Jesus Christ,” and “Nobody Praying For Me.”

Concert Review: Green Day In Las Vegas, NV

On April 7, I attended Green Day’s concert at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV and it was definitely a night to remember. The band kicked off their set with “Know Your Enemy” complete with guest vocals from a fan in the audience. Then they started a “revolution” by sliding into “Bang Bang” and the title track of their latest album “Revolution Radio.” These three songs set the perfect tone for the rest of the night to come.

Billie Joe Armstrong’s vocals were amazing, and his stage banter took the show to an even higher level. He made it clear that he wanted the crowd to live in the moment and try to escape these troubled times we currently live in, but at the same time he was able to include some political statements such as “no racism, no sexism and no homophobia” as well as “fuck you Donald Trump,” which were all well received by the crowd. It is important to note that politics were not the theme of the night though, because as Armstrong said the show was truly about “unity.” He conveyed this by expressing the importance of people coming together, and by actively trying to make the audience part of the performance by having them do things like chanting “hey-oh,” clapping, and even having a few of them join the band onstage, like the previously mentioned fan, and two more including one who killed the vocals on “Longview,” and one who played a guitar (which they got to keep) on a cover of Operation Ivy’s “Knowledge.”

Aside from this, the band’s musicianship was absolutely impeccable. Everything from Tré Cool’s masterful drum skills, to Mike Dirnt’s groovy bass lines, to even Jason Freese’s awesome saxophone, playing made for a solid sound unmatched by many other live acts. This was clearly seen throughout every song in the setlist, which was mostly weighted with “American Idiot” and “Revolution Radio” tracks with some songs from the band’s other efforts like “Dookie,” “Nimrod,” “Warning,” etc. thrown in. Highlights from the concert included the title track to “American Idiot,” “Basket Case,” “Holiday,” “Jesus of Suburbia,” “Minority,” a medley featuring various covers (“Shout,” “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life,” “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” and “Hey Jude”), Still Breathing,” and their closing track “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).” All in all, it was a great show.

Concert Review: Metal Blade Records’ 35th Anniversary Tour Feat. Whitechapel, Cattle Decapitation, Goatwhore, Allegaeon, & Necromancing The Stone In San Francisco, CA

Last night (March 10), I attended the Metal Blade Records 35th Anniversary Tour, feat. Whitechapel, Cattle Decapitation, Goatwhore, Allegaeon, and Necromancing The Stone at The Fillmore in San Francisco, CA, and it was an awesome show!

The supergroup Necromancing The Stone opened up the show with their traditional brand of metal. They were a great opening band, who are worth checking out if you haven’t heard of them. The band’s music is like that of NWOBHM acts with some thrash and death elements mixed in, making them appealing to all types of metal fans. A highlight from their set was their performance of “The Siren’s Call.”

Allegaeon took the stage next for an energetic display of technical melodic death metal. Greg Burgess and Michael Stancel’s guitar work was a sight to see. On top of this, vocalist Riley McShane, who is still relatively new to the group, was also cool to see live with his powerful growls/screams. Highlights from their set include “Of Mind and Matrix” and “1.618.”

After Allegaeon, blackened death metallers Goatwhore came out to, as they say, “fuck [the crowd] with Satan.” They were definetly a contender to be considered the strongest act of the night. Between Sammy Duet’s unbelievable guitar shredding and Ben Falgoust’s vocals/stage banter they really put on a great show. Their whole set was basically a party, which was fitting considering Falgoust was celebrating his birthday, which happens to be today (March 11). Highlights from their set include “FBS,” “Baring Teeth For Revolt,” and “Apocalyptic Havoc.”

Goatwhore wrapped up their set, and made way for deathgrind legends Cattle Decapitation to destroy the stage. They were probably the most brutal band of the night, with frontman Travis Ryan being the main attraction of the group. His insane demonic growls and screams are just something you have to witness live, whether your a fan or not. There was so much intensity in their set, that the energy actually transferred to the crowd for the biggest circle pit of the night. If you’re a fan of extreme metal, you should go watch them live if you ever have a chance. Highlights from their set include “We Are Horrible People,” “Pacific Grim,” and “Forced Gender Reassignment.”

Then it was time for the headliners, deathcore masters Whitechapel. The band used dark lighting to create the perfect atmosphere for their music. This combined with frontman Phil Bozeman’s badass growls, and the band’s heavy riffs/sick breakdowns, made for one hell of a show. The group were also really energetic as well, and were able to keep the audience engaged throughout the night. As far as setlists go, they pretty much performed tracks spanning their whole catalog, offering a perfect balance of old and new. Highlights included their opening track “The Saw Is the Law,” “Our Endless War,” “I, Dementia,” “Mark Of The Blade,” and their encore “This Is Exile.”