Archive for the ‘Live Recaps’ Category

John 5

LIVE PHOTOS
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Review by Greg Maki
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Instrumental rock music can be a tough sell, even for someone who loves music as much as me. Too often, it comes across as self-indulgent, with endless noodling and shredding. It’s as if the musicians forget the song is what matters most.

Over his eight solo albums, John 5 has avoided that common pitfall, and when John 5 and the Creatures came to the area earlier this month, I jumped at the chance to see them live for the second time in two years. (more…)

Lexxi Foxx, Michael Starr and Satchel of Steel Panther

LIVE PHOTOS: Steel Panther, Citizen Zero
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Review by Greg Maki
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It’s nothing short of amazing that Steel Panther, a band originating from–and still based on–a joke, still is going strong today. The ‘80s hair metal parody act just released its fourth studio album, Lower the Bar, and is out on a headlining tour across the United States. It nearly filled Baltimore’s Rams Head Live on a recent Friday night, and for good reason–you won’t find a better rock ‘n’ roll party. (more…)

Scott Ian of Anthrax

LIVE PHOTOS: Killswitch Engage, Anthrax, The Devil Wears Prada, Jasta
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Review by Greg Maki
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One of the most anticipated metal tours of the spring–dubbed the “Killthrax” tour–brought together bands–and fans–of different eras. On one hand, there was Anthrax, one of the “big four” of thrash and possessing a history of more than 35 years. On the other, there was Killswitch Engage, one of the pioneers and leaders of metalcore, but also with a lengthening history of its own–its seminal, subgenre-defining album, Alive or Just Breathing, turns 15 this year. It’s all metal in the end, though, and ultimately the bill, which also featured The Devil Wears Prada and Jasta, was a testament to how this powerful, empowering, often misunderstood style of music has shifted and endured through the years. (more…)

Elize Ryd of Amaranthe

LIVE PHOTOS: Amaranthe, Failure Anthem, Citizen Zero, Cypher16, Smash into Pieces
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Review by Jeff Maki
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It had been more than two years since I had seen Amaranthe open for Within Temptation (read review), also in Baltimore, Maryland. Now, with the success of Massive Addictive and its most recent album, Maximalism, Amaranthe has graduated from opening act to headliner. This was the third to last show of its North American Maximalism Tour, which featured four bands in support. (more…)

Dez Fafara of DevilDriver

Review by Jeff Maki
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DevilDriver, the headliner of the Bound by the Road Tour, now has seven studio albums under its belt. Yes, seven. The band has been around that long, and I’m getting that old. But the band in direct support on the tour has been around way longer—Death Angel. Thirty-five years to be exact.

Death Angel has been an absolute machine in recent years, churning out its style of Bay Area thrash metal with albums Killing Season (2008), Relentless Retribution (2010), The Dream Calls for Blood (2013) and last year’s The Evil Divide, which earned an honorable mention on my “best of the year” list. I also interviewed frontman Mark Osegueda in 2010 (read here) and again in 2016 (read here). Both times, his excitement and enthusiasm was unlike anyone I’ve interviewed. It turns out he carries this enthusiasm over to the stage (more…)

Alexi Laiho of Children of Bodom

LIVE PHOTOS: Children of Bodom, Abbath, Exmortus, Oni
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Review by Greg Maki
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With four bands from four different countries, Children of Bodom’s I Worship Chaos tour was an international affair. Even better, each act brought a very different sound to the stage, making for a pleasantly diverse night of metal in Baltimore.

The progressive metal stylings of Oni, from Canada, kicked off the evening. This is an interesting, talented band that hasn’t quite put it all together yet, but it was fun watching them as they’re figuring out how the pieces fit. Guitarists Martin Andres and Brandon White each can shred with the best of them, and the band’s secret weapon is John “D” on the xylosynth, a sort of electric xylophone that hasn’t been used in metal before. Vocalist Jake Oni’s clean singing complemented the music better than his barks and growls, but this definitely is a band to keep an eye on as it matures. (more…)

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Simone Simons of Epica

LIVE PHOTOS: EpicaFleshgod ApocalypseArkona
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Review by Jeff Maki
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Epica’s North American Principle Tour made one of its last stops of its month-long trek at Baltimore Soundstage, and judging by the energy of the band and its fans, this show should go down as one of the strongest of the tour. According to Epica’s official Instagram, Soundstage won the “award for most crowdsurfers” of the tour, as hundreds of fans came to see the Dutch goddess Simone Simons lead the symphonic metal masters, who are supporting their new album, The Holographic Principle. The tour was an international affair, with Epica from the Netherlands, Italian symphonic death metallers Fleshgod Apocalypse, the Russian pagan tribe Arkona and The Agonist, which hails from Montreal, Canada. (more…)

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Anders Fridén of In Flames

Review by Jeff Maki
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Only a weekend had passed since In Flames released its 12th studio album, Battles, and despite my less-than-enthusiastic review (read here), I was still ecstatic to be seeing the Swedish metal pioneers kick off their U.S. co-headlining tour with Hellyeah at the Fillmore Silver Spring. Since I discovered the band in 2004, its albums have been my go-tos time after time, even as the years have gone by. (more…)

Papa Emeritus III of Ghost

Papa Emeritus III of Ghost

LIVE PHOTOS
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Review by Greg Maki
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On the eve of the U.S. presidential election, with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton ending their campaigns here, Nov. 7 was a momentous day in Raleigh, North Carolina. But for a couple thousand people at the Ritz, a concert venue located in an industrial park just outside the city’s downtown, politics took a back seat. Differences were tossed aside as the assembled masses all partook in the ritual of Ghost.

The Swedish occult rockers have rocketed to worldwide stardom, winning a Grammy Award along the way and inspiring some of the most devoted fans any band can claim today. Everyone at the show seemingly wore a Ghost T-shirt or stood in line at the merch table to purchase one. Many came in costumes inspired by the demonic papal figure Papa Emeritus III and the masked Nameless Ghouls who provide the instrumentation behind him.

The band’s North American “Popestar” tour is its biggest production here to date, with a tiered stage and elaborate backdrop fit for an arena. At the rate they’ve been growing their fan base and with performances as strong and dynamic as this one, Papa and the ghouls could find themselves in venues that size before long. (more…)

Zakk Wylde

Zakk Wylde

LIVE PHOTOS: Zakk Wylde, Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown, Jared James Nichols
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Review by Greg Maki
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Even as he built Black Label Society into the metal monster it is today, Zakk Wylde cultivated another side as a musician, mixing the occasional acoustic number or piano ballad among the Sabbath-esque riffs and face-melting guitar solos. He’s emphasized it more of late, first with the BLS Unblackened album and tour, and this year with his second solo release, 20 years after the first record bearing his name, appropriately titled Book of Shadows II.

On both Book of Shadows albums, Wylde leans into his love of Southern rock, with mellow, melancholy tunes that highlight him as a songwriter in addition to being one of the few remaining bona fide guitar gods. Yet lIke the Unblackened run last year, the tour supporting Book of Shadows II is anything but “unplugged.” (more…)

John 5

John 5

JOHN 5 LIVE PHOTOS
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Review by Greg Maki
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Sometimes just putting on a concert is a feat worth celebrating.

John 5 was scheduled to bring his solo tour to Hard Times Cafe in Hagerstown, Maryland. But less than a month before the show, the venue, which had seemed from an outside perspective to be growing in prominence in the past year or so as a regional concert destination, abruptly closed its doors. (One of the owners cited years of poor sales as the reason. Read about it here.)

Undeterred, the promoter quickly found a new location for the show, which also featured well-known area acts Silvertung (which just signed a record deal with Pavement Entertainment and has started to make a splash nationally), Small Town Titans and Pain. (more…)

Review by Greg Maki

The hottest ticket in metal this winter undoubtedly is Lamb of God’s first U.S. headlining tour in support of its latest album, VII: Sturm und Drang, released last summer. The Richmond, Virginia-based band has grown steadily through the years to a point where it could fill the venues it’s playing on this tour on its own. But on this run, it chose to repay an old debt, bringing out Anthrax, which, as vocalist Randy Blythe said onstage, took Lamb of God on tour 12 years ago, becoming the first of the “big four” to take a chance on them. It was a near perfect match, and on this frigid January night, fans of both bands packed the sold-out Fillmore to take in some of the very best in American metal today. (more…)