Monthly Archives: May 2012

Ready to Rock? (Weekly Top 40 Playlist)

The experiment with using Spotify to share my current playlist has been at least a partial success. The version I embed here seems to only be available when I’m logged into Spotify but that seems to be at least as often as not so I’m going to continue with this at least for now.

If my luck holds out and the random shuffling problem really has been corrected/fixed itself, then I hope to also post the much larger version from YouTube soon as well.

Missing songs:
Soldiers – Otherwise, Let the Sparks Fly – Thousand Foot Krutch, You Waste Your Time – Mark Tremonti, Stone Faith – Colin James

New to the Spotify list this week:
Days Gone By – The Offspring, Legendary Child – Aerosmith, Unspoken – Red Line Chemistry, Bringing Down the Giant – Saving Abel

Dropping off the Spotify list this week:
How We End Up Alone – Hurt, This Time It’s Different – Evans Blue, Dry Bone Valley – Mastodon, Put Down the Drink – Emphatic

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Ready to rock? (Weekly Top 40 playlist)

I spend a fair bit of my free time listening to the music I like, I seem to spend nearly as much time finding and organizing it.  Call it one of the last remaining traces of my old radio days I guess, I think I enjoy the process about as much as the end result.

One of the challenges is keeping it organized in a way that makes it easy to share … another leftover from radio I suppose, part of fun of finding the good stuff is sharing it.  YouTube has been my primary form of both listening & sharing for the better part of the past year but recently it started randomly shuffling my meticulously organized playlists and that simply won’t do, not for someone as uptight about that sort of thing as I am.  Hopefully it’ll get straightened out soon and when it does I’m going to try to do a better job of sharing this each week, who knows, you might run across something you like.

In the meantime, I’m experimenting with a shortened version using Spotify  .  That has some flaws, namely a lot of songs missing from the usual 200 or so that I maintain on my YouTube playlist, but for at least a current Top 40 it might be worthwhile.  In a couple of trial runs, there’s somewhere between 80% and 90% of the songs I need available, so it’s at least coming close.

If the code works as it should, I believe you should see the Spotify version of the list above (looks pretty good when I preview it anyway).
Missing songs: Days Gone By – The Offspring, Soldiers – Otherwise, Unspoken – Red Line Chemistry, and Let the Sparks Fly – Thousand Foot Krutch

New to the Spotify list this week: Believe In It – Candlebox, Victoria – Eve 6, Like I Roll – Black Stone Cherry, and Band of Brothers – Hellyeah

Dropping off the Spotify list this week: Hell Yeah – Soulicit, Black – Trivium, Infected – 12 Stones, and Enemy Inside – Egypt Central

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Concert review – Project Cinco Party 2012

May 6, 2012 – at Verizon Wireless Ampitheater (Alpharetta, GA) – Project 961 Project Cinco Party with Shinedown, Five Finger Death Punch, Chevelle, Hellyeah, Volbeat, Adelita’s Way, Art of Dying

Another May, another radio station promotional concert, with the odd twist of being a party about the 5th being held on the 6th (since Carolina Rebellion tied up most of the hard rock acts currently on the east coast the day before).  I go into the show with mostly vague expectations/concerns since I’ve only seen two of the seven acts previously.

Art of Dying — right of the bat I start with an incomplete impression.  Unexpected parking delays cost me roughly half of the short set by the Canadian group that’s had a pretty good past year.  What we saw/heard was solid, not a complaint to be found with it as far as I’m concerned.  The one notable impression I came away with was that they’re a little more straight rock/less metal than my preconceived image of them.  Dunno why I was off like that in the first place, but I was, which is my mistake not theirs.  Not a complaint either, what they’re doing they’re doing well.

Adelita’s Way — I’m so tempted to say something like “it was what it was” but that might be taken negatively and that’s not my intent.  They did what they do, they sounded good doing it, it was a good case of a live act matching what we’ve heard from them on album.  No gripes, although I think they were pretty well placed in the lineup (unlike elsewhere on the bill which I might have shuffled a bit)

Volbeat — My most eagerly anticipated moment of the show.  What would these Danish shooting stars be like live?  I’ve certainly spent enough time listening to them for the past year+, and wandering around the house or riding in the car spontaneously singing snippets of their songs to be excited about this.  But, but, but … what if they suck live?  No worries, they definitely don’t suck.  They’re the anti-suck.  From the first note of A Warrior’s Call they brought it and brought it hard.  That their second song of the night (Guitar Gangsters and Cadillac Blood) was my 2nd/3rd favorite of their catalogue didn’t hurt my impression of them either.   They’re having fun on stage, they’re committed to making sure the audience has fun, they clearly work their butts off at their craft to make sure everybody gets their money’s worth.  They got the raw deal of  an earlier slot / shorter set but I could have listened to them for 2 hours with ease.

Hellyeah — I saw these guys live a couple of years ago so I knew what was coming: in your face, alcohol-fueled, dare you not to like it hard ass rock.  I was ready, eagerly awaiting a back-to-back ass kicking … and the sound guy completely f’ed up the sound for the first two songs (including the excellent Cowboy Way).  Improved by the third song of the set but still not right vocally until further in the set.  I know what these guys are capable of and they seemed to be bringing it, we just weren’t able to hear it properly.  By the time things wound down with Alcoholaulin’ Ass the gremlins were defeated and we got a solid dose of what Vinnie Paul & Chad Grey & Co. do so well, but a lot of people who hadn’t them seem truly excel like they did at Uproar 2010 may not have the right impression of them, which is unfortunate.

Chevelle — no doubt about it, these guys are on another roll.  Face to the Floor gave them their first #1 radio hit in seven years (since Vitamin R back in 2004), they’ve had at least two top ten singles from five straight albums, with the title track from Hats Off to the Bull.  Throw in a few more favorites, including The Red, and you’ve got a heck of a show … unless of course you’re me, and you’re more fond of what they do, or the style that they do it in, in smaller doses of a couple of songs here or there.  I find them to be very repetitive, the vocal style not particularly appealing, the songs interesting but not compelling.  That’s not them, it’s me.  Or something like that.  If you like them, see them.  If you aren’t crazy about them, you might find it more optional.

Five Finger Death Punch — This was the act I was most stoked about seeing for the first time when we heard the lineup and bought the tickets.   Still excited by the time the show rolled around but maybe with a little trepidation.  Nothing major, just maybe a little concerned by their occasional conflicts with arena security (VWA is fairly tight on moshing outside the stage pit) and kind of cooled by less time spent listening to them in recent months.    Call me hopeful but not dead certain I guess.

Once the opening of Under and Over It kicked things off, I spent the rest of the set considerably relieved.  This was clearly what the crowd – larger than last year’s by a fair bit – had been waiting all day for, and 5FDP responded to the challenge.   Whether it was a newer song like American Capitalist (which got a considerable pop from the crowd) or an older favorite like White Knuckles they just come at you in waves, a relentless lyrical and musical assault.  And let’s face it, that’s exactly what we want from them, anything less would be disappointing and I just don’t think Ivan Moody & his bandmates are really into disappointment.   Even when things slow down, such as their excellent cover of Bad Company or a nice acoustic version of Remember Everything, you still feel that energy.  Indeed, the crowd seemed as energetic and enthusiastic about those songs as anything all night.

See 5FDP … see 5FDP kick your ass … enjoy 5FDP kicking your ass … or else 5FDP might follow you to your car and beat your ass in the parking lot but in a much less enjoyable manner.

Shinedown — every show needs a headliner and Jacksonville’s Shinedown drew the straw for this year’s Project Cinco Party.  After seeing Five Finger deliver the goods, that decision seemed even more questionable to me than it was in the weeks leading up to the show.  Full disclosure is required here I guess:  I really don’t like the new album Amarylis.  Not hardly even a little bit.  Bully felt almost contrived to me from day one, Unity is as much an AC song with tempo as it is a rock song afaic, I could go on & on but that’d be beating a dead horse, you get the idea.  On the other end of the spectrum Sound of Madness is as close to a theme song for me as anything recorded in recent years, 45 is meaningful enough to me that I used it as a central theme for a recent blog.  That left me conflicted about this set and really as curious about what my eventual impressions would be as anything.

The opening of the set was rock solid & very well thought out.  Sound of Madness, Diamond Eyes, Enemies put a lot of energy up front, got the crowd engaged & ready to follow wherever the band chose to go next.  Over the next hour & change they deftly weaved from new material like the title track of the new album, the newest single and Nowhere Kids to older favorites ranging from The Crow & the Butterfly to 45 and Devour.    Somewhere along the way I got it, specifically I felt like I understood what I was seeing.

Make no mistake, Shinedown is headliner quality.  These are talented musicians who know exactly what they’re doing at any moment.  These are honest to goodness rock stars – in the positive sense of the phrase – and this is a top notch show,they deserve all the respect & acclamation they’ve been getting and seem likely to continue find coming their way.   But … in my don’t-know-them-personally-fan-sitting-on-the-lawn opinion, this is also not the same band who wrote Madness and45 either.  They’re at a different place & time in their lives, a successful & happier place (one of Brent Smith’s first comments of the night was about how they simply couldn’t be hardcore tonight, that they’d been smiling too much & felt too good all day to pull off that attitude).   I’m not a complete jerk, I’m genuinely happy for them that as both people & artists they’re in a better place in their lives … but musically I miss that grit, that raw nerve, that edge.  Maybe that’s really the perfect metaphor for what I’m trying to say: if you like polished rock – not slick, not lazy, just professionally polished – then you’re gonna enjoy Shinedown live.  If you need something with an edge to be completely satisfied, there may be a little something missing as you’re walking to your car after the show.

The Good – Taking in a show with an old friend that I hadn’t seen in more than 20 years.  That was a very cool thing (consider this your online shout-out Andy ol’ buddy) and made things more fun … seeing my 14 y/o son spontaneously & seemingly unconsciously pogo’ing during a song, he’s probably one good growth spurt away from daring his first mosh pit … being surrounded by what I’d guess was maybe 8k kindred spirits.  I don’t get that very often at all but it makes the world feel a little less lonely for a few hours

The Bad – The uncharacteristically bad handling of pre-show parking.  VWA is a nice facility and does a lot of stuff right but they appeared to be slow getting their butts in gear, not nearly aggressive enough putting cars where they needed to be so things could keep moving … the heat, or at least my reaction to it.  First time I’ve ever needed to take a little time in the shade away from things to cool down.  Ah the combined joys of getting older and spending as much time as humanly possible everyday down in my darkened cave

The Ugly – who in their right mind actually thought putting the absurdly bad radio station band “The Beatoffs” on stage even for a little while between Chevelle & 5FDP was a good idea?  I get the basic idea, put ’em out there when the crowd is largest rather than early when folks are still tailgating but c’mon, seriously?  It’s insulting enough to put that annoying jackass on air in the mornings, but don’t inflict him & his collection of talentless dimwits on people who are paying cash money to be entertained.

Gah, the “Ugly” portion of this entry was so ugly that I don’t want to end on such a down note.  Instead I’ll start getting ready for the next big show:  about seven weeks to go until Iron Maiden returns to Atlanta, complete with Alice Cooper in tow.  That’s a genuine bucket list affair for me — to see Iron Maiden with my son at least once — so I’ll just close with Up the Irons !

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