Concert Review: Royal Blood & Cleopatrick In Oakland, CA

Yesterday (May 3), I attended Royal Blood and Cleopatrick’s show at the Fox Theater in Oakland, CA and it was a fun night of pure rock ‘n’ roll.

Cleopatrick opened the concert with a killer set. Singer/guitarist Ian Fraser and drummer Luke Guntz were very energetic as they powered through a variety of songs from their catalog. They really helped set the vibe for the show with a grungy display of alternative rock.

After Cleopatrick finished up, it was time for the headliners of the evening, Royal Blood. The band were firing on all cylinders as they blasted through a catchy set driven by Mike Kerr’s heavy bass riffs and alt-rock vocals and Ben Thatcher’s thunderous drums. The sheer talent of the two musicians was also complimented by touring member Darren James, who contributed keyboards and backing vocals to enhance the dancier material from the band’s latest album “Typhoons.”

In addition to the powerful display of musicianship, the band also had a solid stage production full of flashing lights. The colors and strobe effects helped add to the experience without taking away from the the group’s musical prowess, which served as the main focal point of the show.

As for the setlist, it was mostly composed of songs from their self-titled record and “Typhoons,” with a couple of songs from “How Did We Get So Dark?” thrown in for good measure. The band also performed their latest single “Honeybrains,” much to the delight of the crowd. Everyone sang and a danced to every song, while the band appeared to be having the time of their lives onstage.

All in all, the performance was absolutely phenomenal. Some highlights from the set included: “Boilermaker,” “Trouble’s Coming,” “Blood Hands,” “Figure It Out,” and the epic closer “Out Of The Black.”

Concert Review: Ice Nine Kills, Black Veil Brides, Motionless In White, & Lilith Czar In San Jose, CA

Last night (March 19), Ice Nine Kills, Black Veil Brides, and Motionless In White brought their “Trinity Of Terror” tour to the San Jose Civic auditorium in San Jose, CA and it was a fun night of music and horror.

The show kicked off with an opening set from Lilith Czar. The singer put on a rockin’ performance full of tracks from her debut album “Created From Filth And Dust.” Her powerful vocals and catchy music helped pump up the crowd and get everyone ready for the night ahead. Some highlights from her set included: “Anarchy,” “King,” and a cover of Stevie Nicks’ “Edge Of Seventeen.”

After Czar, Motionless In White were up next. The band put on a high-energy set consisting of fan-favorites and their latest single “Cyberhex.” Frontman Chris Motionless said he was having vocal issues and was relying on crowd participation to get through the songs. However, despite his self-criticism, he still sounded great and the audience enjoyed every minute of it. Notably, the band did have to stop at one point after a fan passed out and had to be taken away by paramedics. During the break, Motionless tried to check on the concertgoer and give them a water, before moving forward with the performance when it was appropriate. Aside from that issue, the set was solid with a number of highlights including: “Devil’s Night,” “Voices,” “Eternally Yours,” and the aforementioned “Cyberhex.”

Once Motionless In White finished up, it was time for Black Veil Brides to take the stage. The group were firing on all cylinders as they blasted through a career-spanning set. Jake Pitts and Jinxx’s shredding guitar work combined with Christian “CC” Coma’s thunderous drumming and frontman Andy Biersack’s strong vocals made for an immovable performance that had everyone going crazy. Say what you want about them, but the band always put on a good show and this was no exception. Some highlights from their set included: “All Your Hate,” “Crimson Skies,” “The Legacy,” “Fallen Angels,” and “In The End.”

After Black Veil Brides, Ice Nine Kills shook things up with a killer performance. The band were the strongest act of the night with a heavy set focusing on their latest albums “The Silver Scream” and “The Silver Scream 2: Welcome To Horrorwood.” The performance was musically and visually stunning as the band retold stories from classic scary movies through great songs and horror-tinged theatrics. It basically felt like watching live theater renditions of classic films like “Halloween,” It,” “Pet Sematary,” “American Psycho,” “My Bloody Valentine,” “Evil Dead,” etc. backed by a metal score. What’s not to love? Some highlights from their set included: “Hip to Be Scared,” “Stabbing In The Dark,” “It Is The End,” “Take Your Pick,” and “Ex-Mørtis.”

Concert Review: Metallica Play First 40th Anniversary Show In San Francisco, CA

Last night (December 17), Metallica took the stage at the Chase Center in San Francisco, CA. The special event was the first of two 40th anniversary shows and it was definitely a night to remember.

The band were firing on all cylinders as they shredded through a career-spanning set full of deep cuts and hits. To make things even cooler, the songs were performed in chronological order of when they were released. With this in mind, the band kicked things off with “Hit The Lights” off their debut album “Kill ‘Em All.” It was a perfect opener that pumped up the crowd right from the start.

The energy was infectious and continued to grow as the band moved onto “Ride The Lightning”-era tracks, “Creeping Death” and “Trapped Under Ice.” The latter was especially exciting considering it hasn’t been played live since 2012.

From there, the group continued to pull out bangers like “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” and “Orion” from their “Master Of Puppets”-era and “The Shortest Straw” and “One” from their “…And Justice For All”-era. The fan-favorite tracks hyped up the crowd even further as the band prepared to rock their ’90’s-era material.

As expected, that part of the show began with tracks from “The Black Album.” This included a bombastic performance of “Sad But True” and a beautiful performance of “Nothing Else Matters,” before things seeped into the “Load” and “Reload”-era with killer performances of “King Nothing” and “Fixxxer.” Notably, this marked the first time that “Fixxxer” was performed live, making it one of the coolest parts of the set.

At this point, the band pulled out their classic cover of Budgie’s “Breadfan” from “Garage Inc.” and “No Leaf Clover” from “S&M.” These were two more highlights from an already awesome set and they helped bridge the gap between the ’90’s and 2000’s.

When it was time to enter the 2000’s, the band blasted through a chaotic performance of “Frantic” off of “St. Anger.” It offered a perfect juxtaposition to the slow-burning “The Day That Never Comes,” which represented the “Death Magnetic”-era with style. From there, the group wrapped up the show with an explosive performance of “Spit Out The Bone” from their latest album “Hardwired… To Self-Destruct.” The heavy track was a perfect end to a fun night that took everyone through Metallica’s massive 40-year history.

Aside from the awesome music, the concert also featured striking visuals, special 40th anniversary clips, insane pyro, and incredible lighting that actually extended to the audience through special light-up bracelets that were provided to everyone in attendance. All in all, it was an amazing night on all fronts.

Concert Review: Evanescence, Halestorm, & Plush In San Jose, CA

Last night (November 9), Evanescence, Halestorm, and Plush took the stage for a rockin’ evening at the SAP Center in San Jose, CA.

The show kicked off with a killer set from Plush. The young band have been making waves in the rock world and it’s clear to see why. The group’s solid musicianship combined with Moriah Formica’s soaring vocals made for a perfect warmup for the night ahead. Some highlights from their set included “Athena,” “Hate,” and a cover of Heart’s “Barracuda.”

After Plush, it was time for Halestorm to take the stage. The band opened with a thunderous performance of “Back From The Dead” and sustained that energy throughout the whole set. Lzzy Hale’s powerhouse vocals commanded the crowd as the band continued to shred through songs from each of their albums. The group were firing on all cylinders with a full-on presentation of unadulterated hard rock mixed with one ballad, a powerful rendition of “Break In” featuring Evanescence’s Amy Lee. That track served as a highlight from the set alongside “I Get Off,” “Do Not Disturb,” “Freak Like Me,” and “I Miss The Misery.”

When Halestorm wrapped up, it was time for the headliners of the evening, Evanescence. The band were absolutely incredible with Amy Lee’s mesmerizing voice being the main driving force throughout the performance. The group played a majority of their latest album, “The Bitter Truth,” while also making sure to pull out the hits and an enthralling cover of Linkin Park’s “Heavy” featuring Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale. The stellar performance was accompanied by gripping visuals that were displayed through a triangular screen at the center of the stage. Lee also took some time to address the crowd with an emotional speech about the losses many people have suffered throughout the pandemic, while thanking everyone for being there during these strange times. All in all, the whole performance was phenomenal with many highlights including: “Heavy,” “Bring Me To Life,” “Use My Voice,” “Lithium,” “Call Me When You’re Sober,” “Far From Heaven,” and “My Immortal.”

The remaining dates for Evanescence and Halestorm’s fall tour can be found HERE.

Concert Review: System Of A Down, Korn, & Russian Circles In Oakland CA

Last night (October 18), I attended System Of A Down, Korn, and Russian Circles’ show at Oakland Arena in Oakland, CA and it was a fun night full of incredible music.

The show kicked off with a short set from Russian Circles. Despite losing a bunch of gear in a recent theft, the band still showed up and put on a solid performance that got everyone ready for the evening ahead.

Once Russian Circles finished up, Korn took the stage for a killer set. The band blasted onto the stage with an adjusted lineup featuring Aric Improta (Fever 333), who is filling in for drummer Ray Luzier as he battles COVID-19, and Roberto “Ra” Diaz (Suicidal Tendencies), who is filling in for bassist Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu as he takes time to deal with some “personal issues.” Despite the lineup change, the band sounded great. Frontman Jonathan Davis and guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer even appeared to be back to normal following their battles with COVID-19. Some highlights from their set included “Shoots And Ladders,” which included a partial cover of Metallica’s “One,” “Coming Undone,” “Y’All Want A Single,” “Freak On A Leash,” and “Blind.”

After Korn, it was time for the headliners of the evening, System Of A Down. The band put on the kind of chaotic, high-energy set that only they can. The show featured most of the songs from “Toxicity,” which is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, mixed with tracks from the band’s other four albums. They also performed their two new songs, “Protect The Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz,” which recently received their live debuts in Las Vegas, NV. The group were firing on all cylinders and looked like they were having a good time onstage, which is always cool to see. The crowd were also going absolutely crazy as they sang, danced, and moshed the night away. Some highlights from the band’s set included “Chop Suey!,” “B.Y.O.B.,” “Soldier Side,” “Lonely Day,” “Protect The Land,” “Aerials,” “Toxicity,” and their epic closer “Sugar.”

Concert Review: Green Day, Fall Out Boy, Weezer, And The Interrupters Rock Oracle Park In San Francisco, CA

Last night (August 27), Green Day, Fall Out Boy, Weezer, and The Interrupters brought their “Hella Mega” tour to Oracle Park in San Francisco, CA. The show was one of the biggest Bay Area concerts since the start of the pandemic and it was nothing short of incredible.

The Interrupters opened the show with a fun ska punk set. The short, energetic performance helped set the tone for the evening and those who showed up early were not disappointed. Some highlights from their set included “She’s Kerosene” and a rockin’ cover of Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy.”

After The Interrupters, it was time for Weezer to take the stage. The band really got things going with shredding songs from their latest album “Van Weezer” mixed with all of their hits. The crowd really went nuts for tracks like “Hash Pipe,” “Say It Ain’t So,” “Buddy Holly,” and the band’s cover of Toto’s “Africa,” which all turned into giant singalongs. By the time they finished, the audience was already at a high that only extended when Fall Out Boy took the stage.

Fall Out Boy were especially impressive with a set full of hit songs backed by cool visuals and massive amounts of pyro. Pete Wentz even performed with a flame throwing bass, reminiscent of the one famously used by Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx, while frontman Patrick Stump performed some tracks on a flaming piano. The band were one of the most entertaining acts of the night, keeping everyone dancing with hits like “Uma Thurman,” “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up),” “Dance, Dance,” “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down,” “Thnks fr the Mmrs,” and “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race.”

As soon as Fall Out Boy were done, it was time for the most explosive band of the night, the Bay Area’s own Green Day. The group kicked off the high-octane set with “American Idiot” much to the delight of the audience. Before finishing up the song, frontman Billie Joe Armstrong encouraged everyone to put their phones away, saying that we spent all of quarantine on our devices and that it was time to be together. From there, the group powered through “Holiday” and “Know Your Enemy,” before playing their newest single “Pollyanna,” which promised that “everything’s gonna be alright” in these unprecedented times. From there, it was just hit after hit with songs like “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams,” which saw the crowd light up the whole stadium with their phones, “Longview,” which sent everyone into a frenzy with Mike Dirnt’s iconic bass line, and “Basket Case,” which had everyone in full-on party mode. Aside from those tracks, other highlights included ballads like “21 Guns” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” rockers like “Minority,” and the group’s nine-minute epic “Jesus Of Suburbia.” The show appropriately wrapped up with “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)” and a blast of fireworks.

All in all, it was an amazing show full of great music that helped bring everyone together, while also providing a much needed escape from the outside world.

Festival Recap: Las Rageous Festival In Las Vegas, NV

On October 18-19, numerous rock/metal fans invaded Sin City for the third annual Las Rageous Festival at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center. It was a fun weekend full of loud music and good times.

The show kicked off on Friday with killer sets from artists like Words From Aztecs, Dead Girls Academy, and Sigil, before things really got going with awesome sets from He Is Legend and Poppy. Those two really helped bring up the energy to prepare everyone for Fever 333, who were one of the strongest acts of the night, Sleeping With Sirens, Dance Gavin Dance, and The Used. All those incredible bands paved way for the headliners of the evening, Bring Me The Horizon. The band were firing on all cylinders and had top notch stage production, complete with big screens, backup dancers, etc,. that helped make it a night to remember.

As Saturday arrived, there was no shortage of massive amounts of talent. This day kicked off with performances from Navarre, Mynas, Taking Dawn, and The Hu, the latter of which really got the audience fired up. Then it was time to bring on the heavy with Whitechapel, who had everyone raging before two of the best acts of the night took the stage, Beartooth and Atreyu. Their sets were followed by the relentless I Prevail and the phenomenal Chevelle, who got everyone ready for the one and only Rob Zombie. Like Bring Me The Horizon, Zombie’s band came out with all guns blazing and insane stage production with big screens and monsters. It was the perfect way to cap off the weekend, while also preparing everyone for Halloween.

Concert Review: Misfits, Rancid, The Damned, & Cro-Mags In Oakland, CA

Last night (September 11), I attended The Original Misfits’ show at Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA and it was an extraordinary night of legendary punk.

Harley Flanagan’s Cro-Mags opened the show, which they dedicated to the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The short, hard-hitting set was the perfect way to kick things off and those who showed up early were not disappointed. The group played a number of tracks from their catalog, but one of the highlights was “No One’s Victim” off their latest EP “Don’t Give In.”

As soon as Cro-Mags were done, The Damned took the stage for an awesome set. The band sounded great and they were certainly one of the strongest acts of the night. They were also very energetic, especially keyboardist Monty Oxymoron, who kept breaking out in crazy dances. Highlights from their set included “Smash It Up” and “Love Song.”

Once The Damned finished up, it was time for the East Bay’s own Rancid. The band busted right out of the gate with “Roots Radicals” and continued to play hit after hit with several songs from their latest album “Trouble Maker” thrown in for good measure. The band seemed to be having a great time onstage, which is cool to see and they even had a few humorous stories for the fans. One notable one was from guitarist Lars Frederiksen, who said he asked his son if he wanted to celebrate his 12th birthday with his dad’s band and the Misfits, or if he wanted to go see Iron Maiden at the same venue the night prior. He said the kid rejected the offer to see his band almost instantly, saying “Maiden bro!” Aside from that anecdote, other highlights from the group’s set included performances of “Fall Back Down,” “Time Bomb,” and “Ruby Soho.”

After Rancid, the legendary Misfits descended upon the stage to bring Halloween to the crowd 50 days early. The band opened with “Death Comes Reaping,” before launching into “I Turned Into A Martian” and “Vampira.” The nearly 30 song set was amazing and the band sounded absolutely incredible. Despite the years of feuding between Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only, everything went off without a hitch. Danzig’s vocals were as powerful as ever and Only and Doyle’s stage antics were fun to watch. Having a masterful drummer like Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer, etc.) and a killer guitarist like Acey Slade (Dope, Murderdolls, etc.) only enhanced the experience as well. Aside from the music and showmanship, the band also had solid stage production with big screens that changed the imagery for each track, cool light displays, big jack-o’-lanterns, etc. As far as highlights go, it was definitely cool to see the group perform tracks like: “Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?,” “Horror Business,” “Hollywood Babylon,” “Skulls,” Where Eagles Dare,” “Last Caress,” “Die, Die My Darling,” and their closer “We Are 138.” All in all, it was phenomenal show full of timeless classics.

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Rancid were sick earlier! #rancid @rancid

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The Damned killed it earlier! #thedamned

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Cro-Mags rocking earlier! #cromags

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Concert Review: Metallica Play Second “S&M²” Show With The San Francisco Symphony

Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony took the stage for the second of two “S&M²” shows at the brand new Chase Center in San Francisco, CA on September 8 and it was an insane show.

The SF Symphony kicked off the night with a performance of Ennio Morricone’s “The Ecstasy Of Gold,” which fans instantly recognized as Metallica’s intro track. As the song came to a close Metallica stormed the middle of the stage to break into “The Call Of Ktulu” as the symphony surrounded them. The instrumental set the tone for the evening with a perfect balance of metal and classical music. From there, the band really got the energy flowing with a rousing performance of “For Whom The Bell Tolls.”

The rest of the first set had a bit of a mixture of songs from the original “S&M” shows and new additions that definitely made an impression in the symphonic format. Highlights from the first part of the show included “The Memory Remains,” which the audience helped make into an epic sing-along, “No Leaf Clover,” which should only be played with a live symphony, “The Day That Never Comes,” and “Moth Into Flame,” which both took on new lives with the additional instrumentation. The band closed the first set with a fiery version of “Halo On Fire.”

After a 25 minute intermission, the SF Symphony returned to perform some “primitive” music for the crowd, an amazing cover of Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev’s “Scythian Suite, Op.20, Second Movement.” At its conclusion, Metallica returned to join in on a cover of Alexander Mosolov’s “futuristic” piece “Iron Foundry.” After that, things just continued to grow even more incredible.

The rest of the second half leaned heavier on the hits, but there was still several more surprises to find along the way. Among them were a moving performance of “The Unforgiven III,” which saw James Hetfield sing with only the symphony backing him up, and a performance of “(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth,” which saw the symphony’s principal bassist Scott Pingel paying tribute to Cliff Burton with masterful shredding on an upright bass. Other highlights from the second set included “One,” “Master Of Puppets,” and the band’s closer “Enter Sandman.”

All in all, the “S&M²” shows were once in a lifetime experiences that brought together fans from across the globe for two nights of spectacular music.

Concert Review: Slipknot, Volbeat, Gojira, & Behemoth In Mountain View, CA

Last night (July 26), I attended the opening night of Slipknot’s “Knotfest Roadshow” at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA and it was one hell of a concert.

Behemoth kicked off the night with a dose of blackened death metal. The group took the stage with skull masks and blasted into “Wolves ov Siberia” much to the excitement of those who showed up early to catch their set. From there, the band removed the masks to reveal their corpse paint, before powering through tracks like “Daimonos” and “Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer.” The group’s sound was completely on point and they definitely proved that they are a top notch live act. Some highlights from their set included the aforementioned “Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer,” “Bartzabel,” which frontman Nergal donned a Pope hat for, and “Chant For Eschaton 2000.”

After Behemoth, it was time for Gojira. The band’s brand of groove oriented death/progressive metal captured the audience from the get-go. The group opened with “Oroborus” before rocking tracks like “Backbone” and “Stranded.” They were definitely one of the strongest acts of the night with unmatched musicianship and technicality. If you have yet to see Gojira live, you are definitely doing yourself a disservice. Some highlights from their set included the aforementioned “Oroborus,” “Flying Whales,” and “Silvera.”

Once Gojira finished, it was time for the hard rock stylings of Volbeat. The band were firing on all cylinders and gave the crowd something they could dance to after the heavier nature of the previous acts. As frontman Michael Poulsen said: “Did Behemoth steal your soul? Did Gojira rip your face off? Well, we’re here to make you beautiful again.” The group kicked things of with “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown” and after that it was nothing but killer tracks and impeccable guitar work from Rob Caggiano (ex-Anthrax) and Poulsen. Some highlights from their set included “Sad Man’s Tongue,” which was complete with a partial performance of Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire,” “Slaytan,” “Doc Holliday,” “Seal the Deal,” and “Still Counting.”

After Volbeat, it was time for the headliners of the evening, nu-metal legends Slipknot. A giant banner with the band’s logo was on display as AC/DC’s “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)” rocked the amphitheatre. “(515)” then started to play through the speakers as everyone screamed. After the track, the banner fell as the group launched into “People = Shit” followed by “(sic).”

The band sounded absolutely perfect. Between Corey Taylor’s insanely powerful vocals, Mick Thomson and Jim Root’s masterful guitar work, Alessandro Venturella’s grooving bass lines, and Jay Weinberg’s incredible drumming, everything was solid on all fronts. Percussionist M. Shawn “Clown” Crahan, the new percussionist, who fans have been calling “Tortilla Man,” and DJ Sid Wilson were also extremely entertaining with their stage antics. Furthermore, Wilson and sampler Craig Jones seemed to be more audible in the mix, which was cool to see. On top of the phenomenal showmanship, the band also had awesome stage production that only added to the experience.

The setlist was amazing too. Fans got all the hits like “Before I Forget,” “Psychosocial,” “Duality,” and “Vermilion,” mixed with a couple of new songs including “Unsainted” off their new album “We Are Not Your Kind” (out August 9) and their 2018 single “All Out Life.” They even pulled out a deeper cut with a performance of “Prosthetics.” It’s too hard to even choose a highlight, but “Spit It Out” is always amazing, especially since the band have everyone get down on the floor only to have them jump back up when Taylor gives the signal.

All in all, it was a stellar show and if you have a chance to catch this tour, it will definitely be worth your while.