Ready To Rock (weekly playlists)

Two new arrivals in the latest edition of my weekly Top 40 on Spotify. It’s the best of today’s rock hits with all the non-rockin’, pseudo-rock alternacrap removed, replaced with more deserving songs.

Missing songs this week:
None

New to the Spotify list this week:
Rivers – Chevelle, Sorry Not Sorry – Gemini Syndrome

Dropping off the Spotify list this week:
Feed The Machine – Nickelback, You Don’t Know – Kobra & The Lotus

For the larger (nearly 200 songs) YouTube version there’s a half dozen adds including newcomers Greta Van Fleet, The Record Company, A Killer’s Confession, and more.    You can find it at this link 

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Ready To Rock (weekly playlists)

Four songs are added  to my weekly Top 40 on Spotify in the latest update.  Like always, it’s the best of today’s rock hits with all the non-rockin’, pseudo-rock alternacrap removed, replaced with more deserving songs.

Missing songs this week:
None

New to the Spotify list this week:
Alone – I Prevail, Coming Home – Falling In Reverse, Soul Addiction – Sylar, Blasphemy – Bring Me The Horizon

Dropping off the Spotify list this week:
Worth The Pain – Letters From The Fire, Lure & Persuade – Citizen Zero, Don’t Wait For Me – Youth In Revolt, Like A Nightmare – Never Say Die

For the larger (nearly 200 songs) YouTube version there’s over a half dozen adds including a new single from Chevelle, new songs from Fozzy and Of Mice And Men, and more.    You can find it at this link 

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Concert Review 5/7/17 – Fozzy, Kyng, Halcyon Way

TWO show reviews in a month’s time?  Is this my second childhood or something?

While that’d be fun — if I had the energy for it anyway — in reality it’s more simply good fortune that the stars have aligned for me to enjoy another quality lineup so close to the last one.  I’m sure not going to complain about it.  Especially not when the headliner features a Paragon of Virtue and Role Model.

First up for the evening, Atlanta scene veterans Halcyon Way.  Despite 16 years since their formation and around nine years since the release of their debut album this was the first time I’d actually seen the band in person.  I figured I had a reasonable idea of what to expect, since they’d cracked my regular playlist (“Home”, “Web of Lies” ) a couple of times in the past few years.   Alas, sometimes I figure wrong.

In a recent interview the band noted how, over time, they’d moved into a heavier and more aggressive style since their more prog-metal beginnings.  I believe that was in evidence here, particularly with the use of death/unclean vocals.  It’s a matter of degrees perhaps, but what had been somewhat subdued in some of their recorded work now feels very out front, and that simply didn’t work for me.  Their strongest points, in my view, are their musicianship and their downright striking vocal harmony.  The harder/louder/more prominent growls & death vocals simply aren’t what I’m looking for generally, and definitely not from a band that has more than enough ability to do other things not only well but also to do virtually everything else better.  Not even their energy and stage presence, both of which are obvious and plentiful, was enough to get me past the (too) frequent bursts of rawr.

HW recently returned from a run in Russia with Sabaton, the latest segment in a long history of touring Europe, and a new album in the works. I’m sure they’ll be just fine regardless of my take on them, at this point they simply aren’t my thing but your mileage may certainly vary.

Next up, the mighty Kyng.  It’s hard for me to believe that nearly six years have passed since I saw the L.A. area power trio for the first time, as part of what became one of the more memorable shows of my life.  That’s a lot of time and a lot of miles between shows, not to mention three full albums that had released in the interim.   What they proved on this night is that, sometimes, change can be good.

In a set that felt too short* (more on that later) I saw a band that has certainly evolved and matured since they broke onto the national scene with “California Heavy” sound.  Yet, despite the evolution, they still feel completely like … Kyng.   The impressions I had six years ago — “solid musicians that … have a good idea of who they are & what they want to do” — are still prominent in 2017.   They’ve expanded the boundaries of their classic rock influences over those years, reshaped their range not only between the debut album and the sophomore release Burn The Serum but expanded it again between that effort and the latest release Breathe In The Water.  And it just works.

They’re particularly good at keeping the audience in the moment, waiting to see what Eddie Veliz will do next, either vocally or instrumentally.    Tony Castaneda shares the front of the stage on bass while Pepe Clarke (not so) quietly keeps time behind them, combining into a great example of how a strong three-piece band can feel a LOT bigger than their numbers.  Even when they weave between one musical influence to the next, they have such a grasp on what they’re doing that they’re able to maintain a consistent hold on the audience, and that’s a gift.

Their performance took me back to something else I said six years ago:

“I don’t see Kyng as a band that’ll be defined by any one song or even a particular album.  They’re going to be about their body of work”

That’s a broader statement that narrows down pretty well how I feel about their live set this weekend.  It’s not about one song (no matter how much I still enjoy “Falling Down”) with these guys, it’s the sum of the entire set.   Their biography mentions how Kyng finds “grandiosity in simplicity” which is pretty spot on.  They bring it, and should not be missed.

And then, hailing from parts well known, that brings us to Fozzy.

It’s been a long journey for the headliner, from the Mongoose McQueen era to the (satirical) decades spent in Japan, through two albums of mostly cover tunes.  Then a funny thing happened on the way to the forum … what seemed to begin as some guys having a little fun on the side got more serious musically, transforming Fozzy from an amusing (though entertaining) side note into a very legitimate musical entity, starting with the 2005 release of their third album All That Remains and its lead single “Enemy”.  That’s about the time I realized “well, damn … they ain’t playing around”.

Three more albums have followed, with another now on the verge of release, building them from a novelty curtain-jerker to a full-fledged main event band in terms of my anticipation.

From the opening notes of the brand-new single “Judas” — which found a surprising number of the crowd singing along despite having been out for less than a week — to the final bow after “Enemy” , the band rocked fans from pillar to post, drawing songs from throughout their catalog to create a full on experience.

The set was briskly paced despite being sixteen songs in length, there were no prolonged rest holds in sight.  Jericho noted that this was the band’s first headlining set in something like sixteen months yet it was quite evident that they’re more than able to sustain a headline set without any problem whatsoever.

For all the charisma that the frontman brings, there’s more to Fozzy than his charisma or stage presence.  A lot more.    The energy of recently returned bassist Paul Di Leo,  the relentless pounding of drummer Frank Fontsere, the stinkin’ genius that is The Duke of Metal, Rich Ward, and the  standout work of guitarist Billy Grey, there’s no weak link to be found, every member stands out individually as well as working within the whole.  it’s all there for fans to drink innnnnn (man).

And yes, the cheesy wrestling references really ARE just too obvious for me to avoid entirely.  If you know who Chris Jericho is — at least arguably the best mic worker of the modern era of wrestling, as well as a versatile in-ring performer — then it’s nearly impossible to not have some of that knowledge creep in somewhere.   He does a great job of keeping the two world (mostly) separate, avoiding what has to be the temptation to cash in some obvious opportunities to get a cheap pop from a crowd that definitely knows about his other line of work.  The (in)famous light-up jacket makes an appearance, he very briefly teased (but didn’t use) his recent catchphrase just before the end of the show, but for the vast majority of the night he’s a just a singer in a rock n’ roll band, not the widely decorated future WWE Hall of Famer.  How he manages that strong separation, mentally, I’m not sure I could even begin to try to explain … but he does it, downright judiciously.

You can catch the crossover at times, in little things.  He knows how to work a crowd as well as anyone, there are little mannerisms and things that blur the line for just a second.  All in all, I think it really boils down to one Chris Irvine being a guy that was both born to be AND worked very hard to be an entertainer.   If he hadn’t been a pro wrestler and he hadn’t gotten the chance to be a musician, he’d have probably been the most entertaining salesman at the car dealership or the funniest guy at open-mic night.    There’s just too much of that “it factor” inside him to have remained hidden, and I get a sense that he genuinely enjoys letting it out to play for our benefit.

They came, we saw … and Fozzy kicked our ass.

As pretty much always, I’ll leave you with a few stray bits of The Good, The Bad, and (luckily not really much of) The Ugly …

The Revival, as a regular venue, is still in “soft-open” status.  It’s hard to grade it fairly aside from Incomplete.  Cash-only, limited bar, only one external food vendor, all those things seem like negatives and yet I think they worked very well within those constraints, so my net takeway is an optimistic one … I mentioned that the Kyng set seemed a little short on time, I’m not sure what was up with that exactly.   I’m not privvy to the timetables/ schedules for each of the bands obviously, but with a four-band bill that got shortened to three a couple of days before the event IF time could have been rearranged to give a more-than-deserving band a chance to play a couple more songs I feel like that should have happened.  Being/staying on time was mentioned briefly at both at the beginning of their set and again just before the end so it felt like there was definitely some sort of issue afoot … Health issues for a band member forced the planned 4th band, Die Once, to miss the show.  I wish them all well going forward, and want to give a tip of the cap to the other members of the group for showing up to support the other bands … As is too frequently the case when I go out & about,  I’m a little concerned/disappointed about the eventual turnout.   I’m as guilty as they come of not making it to shows but when other venues around the country are selling out shows and the Atlanta-area only manages 150-200 for a bill of this caliber, it makes it tough to keep getting dates on tours.  Atlanta simply isn’t a very good town for actual rock any more I’m afraid, similar to the reputation for not being a good pro sports town. The former continues to concern me a lot more than the latter.

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Ready To Rock (weekly playlists)

Three more new arrivals come the latest update to my weekly Top 40 on Spotify.  It’s the best of today’s rock hits with all the non-rockin’, pseudo-rock alternacrap removed, replaced with more deserving songs.

Missing songs this week:
None

New to the Spotify list this week:
The Violence – Rise Against, Song #3 – Stone Sour, Out Of My Hands – Chrysalis

Dropping off the Spotify list this week:
Monster – Starset, Pure Evil- Like A Storm, Die Tryin’ – Kaleido

For the larger (nearly 200 songs) YouTube version there’s over a half dozen adds including the aforementioned trio of new singles , brand new music from Fozzy, new Warrant, new Mark Slaughter, and more.    You can find it at this link 

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Three cents about … “Ten bands”

And yet again I see a little hate directed toward the whole “10 bands” viral thing. Hey, that’s cool, most of us get irritated with one viral / meme or another now & then.  But I’m a little bumfuzzled about this particular one.
 
Here’s the part I don’t get: the high percentage of those who are worked up enough to bitch about it that seem to be connected to the music business in some way.  Let me be clear though: not all musicians were snarking about it, only a few really.  And not every mealy-mouther has a connection to music.  But there was a noticeable overlap between music-related workers & complainers, at least in what I saw.  Well over half the gripes came from people — often tertiary types — that have some relationship to music
 
I can’t imagine an actor complaining because people were talking about movies or plays. I can’t imagine a preacher complaining because people listed their favorite scriptures. I can’t imagine a grocery clerk getting bent because people were talking about food.  And yet …

Now let me also try to make something completely crystal clear before I go any farther.  If you happen to be a musician that got annoyed simply by the viral repetition or whatever, you’re not the subject of my rant here.   See above, about how we all get tired of one thing or another. No, what follows here is about those folks who seemed to take some sort of bizarre offense at the very existence of the topic.

 
Since I happen to actually like a fair number of musical folks, let me try to help out their kindred who seem to have missed both the point of the whole exercise and any understanding of why it caught on so well:  I thought AdWeek hit on a big part of it as they analyzed the sudden success really,  it wasn’t about what bands you’ve seen, it’s about using your understanding of how people perceive you & playing around with it.

It was about conversations.  I saw a LOT of these across my FB wall in the past 2-3 days.  Virtually all of them not only talked about the bands mentioned but also about how they fit into the timelines of their lives.  Not the bands but rather, how the concert experience came to occur.  Where you sat, where you saw it, why you went.   You know, actual conversations rather than the same ol’ picture shares, meme shares, hoaxes, and fake news links.

It was about nostalgia.   A growing portion of the population doesn’t remember when “camping out for tickets” was a thing.  If you DO remember, odds are you have some fond recollections to go with the uncomfortable attempts to sleep and freezing your butt off.

It was about shared experiences.  “You were there too?  We didn’t even know each other then, how funny is that?” and “do you remember that one guy, down toward the front, who kept trying to …”.
I was there, you were there, that’s a connection.

I’m looking back through the things I saw and find myself even more perplexed by the angst they seemed to generate for some people.   I don’t see anything that does another musician any harm.  I don’t see anything that diminishes anybody in any way.  I don’t see anything that requires any more effort to ignore or avoid than any of dozens of things that must surely upset the equilibrium of these hyper-sensitive souls every single day of their glaringly unhappy existence.

Well buttercup, if you think those lists yanked your chain, let me show you what a REAL tug on it feels like:  take your pitiful little complaints, shine ’em up reaaaaal nice, and shove them up your tightly puckered ass.   You’re either so pathetically self-centered that you can’t fathom not being the center of attention for fifteen (more) minutes and you’re just pissed that everyone isn’t kissing your feet & posting about youyouyou OR you’re so out of touch with how actual humans connect with each other that you’re unlikely to contribute much, if anything, to the social media sphere.  Don’t go away mad, just go away.

Ah hell, who am I kidding? As long as you shut the hell up with the whining, I don’t really care if you leave mad or not.

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Ready To Rock (weekly playlists)

Three new arrivals are included in this week’s update to my  Top 40 on Spotify.  It’s the best of today’s rock hits with all the non-rockin’, pseudo-rock alternacrap removed, replaced with more deserving songs.

Missing songs this week:
None

New to the Spotify list this week:
Edge of Desire – Fight The Fade, You Don’t Know – Kobra & The Lotus, Like A Nightmare – Never Say Die

Dropping off the Spotify list this week:
My Champion – Alter Bridge, I Hate You – Rachel Lorin, Embers – Drive Thru Society

For the larger (nearly 200 songs) YouTube version there’s a half dozen adds including the aforementioned Kobra & The Lotus, new Blacktop Mojo, the latest from Hinder, and more.    You can find it at this link 

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Ready To Rock (weekly playlists)

Five changes come with this week’s update to my  Top 40 on Spotify in the latest update.  It’s the best of today’s rock hits with all the non-rockin’, pseudo-rock alternacrap removed, replaced with more deserving songs.

Missing songs this week:
None

New to the Spotify list this week:
Where’s Your Money – Bleeker, Now That We’re Dead – Metallica, Echoes & Reflections – Awaken, Sick Of Me – Beartooth, Die Tryin’ – Kaleido

Dropping off the Spotify list this week:
Take Me – Korn, Leave It All Behind – Last Day Rising, Right Here & Now – Message From Sylvia, All Or Nothing – Art Of Dying, Tongue Tied – Eve To Adam

For the larger (nearly 200 songs) YouTube version there’s over a half dozen adds including the aforementioned Metallica & Beartooth, album cuts from Art of Anarchy and Through Fire, and more.    You can find it at this link 

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