Summer is here! And what's the best way to have a lit summer than catching some of the biggest show on the road!
Metallica - June 16th - ATT Stadium - Arlington, TX
Metal legends Metallica, on the road for their WorldWired Tour, in support of their latest album, Hardwired...to Self-Destruct, hit the DFW area for the first time since 2009 in support of the previous year's Death Magnetic LP.
"Metallica does not give a shit," frontman James Hetfield declared early in the night, announcing an escape from these trying times & offering a place free of judgement, debate or ridicule. His rallying cry for the 60,000 members of the Metallica family in attendance, the majority of whom wore the band's T-shirts.
Personally it was also the first time I've seen the band in almost 6 years & as someone who (along with like everyone I know) when this band comes to town, it's not just an event, it's the most happening thing in the world. Growing up obsessing over the minutuae of this band & currently entrenched in the most excellent book Back to the Front that chronicles their most excellent effort Master of Puppets, I was ready.
The first time this band has done a stadium show solely on their own shoulders after being away for so long is a testament unto itself.
They tour only in two-week increments with two weeks off in between. And in between gigs, they fly in and out of the cities they're playing.
The stage is gargantuan, which stretches the width of the football field, that has the "M" and "A" from their logo on either end of it and is loaded up with pyro, video screens and inflatable balloons.
While naturally I prefer a more intimate setting, it was fun to see such a spectacle, the stadium is spotless & the dynamic of the Metallica has largely calmed. While sure their were younger fans moshing on the floor in the general admission section, largely this crowd was mannered & very appreciative. I consider myself to be a part of that thong as well, with a few matters I took exception to:
For one, the setlist is an odd one & the show is even more perculiarly paced - while the show was certainly enjoyable & I loved hearing the new stuff live, the show for me, never really peaked, like it never quite grew the legs I've come to expect.
For the first half 5 of the first 9 songs where from the new LP & then a few singles from the Black Album + a throw-away single from the much maligned Reload era. I kept thinking Creeping Death has got to be next, but it nor anything close to reaching an apex arrived & just like that it seemed the show was over in spite of it's 2 hour length.
For Whom the Bell Tolls
The Memory Remains
Now That We're Dead
Moth Into Flame
Wherever I May Roam
Halo on Fire
Sad but True
Master of Puppets
Fade to Black
Seek & Destroy
Nothing Else Matters
That's not to say the show wasn't fun, nor can we take anything away from the majesty of seeing this stadium full of eager fans having the time of their lives. At the end of the main set they convene on a mini stage up front to play Seek and Destroy aiming to recreate the garage atmosphere where it was written.
It is this that Metallica still remains & exudes who they are at their core & why 60K packed a stadium to see them 36 years in to their incomparable career. Good times -
The Cult - May 16th - House of Blues - Dallas, TX
Bounding on stage with Wildflower to kick off a blistering show, touring in support of their 10th studio album Hidden City. The simplistic stage set had no visual imagery, the focus purely on the music & the artists on stage. The only remaining original members of The Cult is lead singer Ian Astbury and lead guitarist Billy Duffy.
Duffy straddled the right while Astbury commanded center stage by doing his strut & prowl routine & thankfully his voice sounded stronger than the last few times I've seen him.
Throwing his signature tambourines around on stage and into the crowd, not much interaction with the other guys in the band (which is a welcome reprieve from a cringe-worthy show a few year where he openly berated them onstage).
However, musically complement each other perfectly along with drummer JoeyTempesta as they powered through the set.
The new music sounds great & effortlessly fits with The Cult’s well-known songs for a well-paced & thoroughly enjoyable show, closing with the hard rocking song Peace Dog, which was such an amazing surprise to wit Astbury humorously taught the audience how to sing the chorus.
Honey From a Knife
Birds of Paradise
Deeply Ordered Chaos
Sweet Soul Sister
She Sells Sanctuary
Love Removal Machine
The Sword & ZakK Sabbath - May 26th - Gas Monkey Live - Dallas, TX
So naturally the Sword is a band for me personally & my circle that we do not miss live. Excited as ever to see them kick ass as always, touring in support of the recently released live LP Greetings From....
Despite having a career that’s spanned over a decade, there hasn’t been too much in the way of official live tracks & being such a killer live act, this has been long overdue.
Starting things off on this tour however is Zakk Sabbath which can only really be described as something while totally entertaining, ultimately completely unnecessary, Zakk Wylde playing Black Sabbath songs.
Like why is this happening? I love these songs but I don't really need to hear them performed by Zakk Wylde & dude, if you played with Ozzy as long as he did, then wind up being in a cover band? Not sure the logic here, but again nothing has ever made sense for me as far as Wylde is concerned.
His whole biker gang getup & his other project Black Label Society is equally irrelevant - We had to joke that he must have some nervous twitch or compulsion to do that harmonic squawk on his guitar because he did every third bar, imagine hearing Paranoid with that shit - laughable & at times embarassing.
I get the connection however as The Sword are clearly influenced heavily by Sabbath - Upon their emergence from the very loudest corner of Austin’s music scene more than a decade ago, they were often dismissed as merely aping the monolithic riffage of Sabbath & Thin Lizzy.
Five albums later, the Sword has put that sort of thinking to rest & now a stalwart of American heavy metal, the group has helped inspire a new wave of interest in throwback guitar thunder, and not least of all here in their home state.
They definitely have found their own lane, as many were polarized by their most recent studio record High Country & prefer more of their heavier, derivitive sounding material from their first few records. I for one, love this current identity & much to the chagrin of the purists crying foul, this is who this band is. They have truly found themselves & they aren't looking back & we are all the better for it.
Maiden, Mother & Crone
Tears Like Diamonds
The Horned Goddess
The Chronomancer I: Hubris
Mist & Shadow
John the Revelator (Blind Willie Johnson cover)
Cloak of Feathers
The Hidden Masters
KEGL 97.1 The Eagle's BFD Festival - May 28th - Starplex Pavillion - Dallas, TX
If you have ever read this blog or met me for 10 minutes you probably know that I'm an outspoken, monstrously huge fan of Taylor Momsen & the Pretty Reckless
Proof of this is that their isn't another band on this roster left that I could give two shits about. In fact, most of what was left I actually despise.
So much so that if Taylor wasn't playing today I would have skipped this being in unspeakable Texas heat at 3pm on a Sunday, however if you have ever seen her perform, you know that missing it wasn't an option.
Did arrive just a tad bit earlier to catch WWE Superstar Chris Jericho's band Fozzy he formed over 15 years ago with the guys from Stuck Mojo that he has been putting at the forefront this year with the release of a new record Judas, that's been getting some respectable airplay.
Literally as a life-long wrestling fan just wanted to check it out as a curiosity & maybe seeing two bands to make the trek that much worth it
I did see Jericho perform a few songs with these guys back in 2011 at the Revolver Golden God Awards that he hosted that year. Jericho seemed like he was just simply living out some rock star dream and moving like he thinks he should. He also seemed like he was having a blast & that's all that really matters.
Now it was time for the real deal, the main thing: The erotic moaning sounds that are heard on the recording of Follow Me Down played through the speakers, before the four-piece took the stage, Taylor coming out last & ripped into the song,
You couldn't help but feel for her & the band - just a week prior they opened what became the final Soundgarden show in Detroit after the devastating loss of frontman Chris Cornell sometime that evening, a tragedy shrouded in mystery that will never make sense and never not be painful.
Following Taylor's career from the start, I know what a massive fan of Cornell's she is & it was her dream to be on the road with Soundgarden so to accomplish that & have your hero die the last night of tour your on is a darkness most will never comprehend. This was the last night of the band's own tour, she just had to get through one more before the grieving process could truly begin. She did the best as anyone could expect to given the circumstances & without a word ended the set & this very strange tour with a cover of Like A Stone that relieved the tension of what was on everyone's mind.
Taylor & the band still had press, meet & greets and other duties to get through as well which they did gracefully.
To the left of Taylor is longtime radio personality Cindy Skull, on-air talent for the dreadful radio station that's hosting today's soiree. In spite of her employer's appropriation of everything once sacred, Cindy was very nice and totally cool and I know that she's been outspoken on the air in favor of Taylor & the Pretty Reckless so it was cool to see her excited & seems to have a genuine friendship with Taylor whom still very guarded seemed fragile, given the circumstances & candid in a way like I've never seen her.
Just like when she performed at this event back in 2014 I bailed right after to avoid whatever nonsense was coming up after. However, the crowd at these things are almost always more entertaining than the bands.
Definitely starting to look alot like Summer around here! Have a great one :)