Thursday, July 16, 2009

Alice In Chains Listening Party

I haven't even recapped the Rocklahoma event and I'm already going to new events in LA. Monday night I got a text from a friend inviting me out to a listening party for Alice In Chains' new album, Black Gives Way To Blue, scheduled for a September release.

I landed back in LA Tuesday morning and then that night 4 of us went out to the listening party. The set up was nice, free open bar, free In 'N Out Burgers, and was set up in what looked like a modern multimedia theater. Two small screens flanking both sides of the stage and a very large screen in the middle.

I had never been to a listening party so I didn't know what to expect. As we walked in they had the video for "A Looking In View" playing on the big screen over and over again. One of either the marketing or label people got up and stage, welcomed everybody and then they played the CD with accompanying still visuals on the large screen.

The artwork accompanying the songs was distorted views of reality. My favorite was of an eclipse of the Moon covering the Sun, however the Moon was much larger than the Sun which is not a perspective you can see from Earth. Other distortions included two people sitting around a table with a child standing on the table that looked to be only 10" tall. Very fitting artwork for this band.

The CD is fairly steady consisting of heavy, dark material and material that started in the acoustic world. You would never notice that Layne Staley isn't on this material. Will DuVall, their new singer blends perfectly with Jerry Cantrell, and this material is fidelity wise an evolution of the band although the songs may not be.

After the CD the screen lifted and revealed Alice In Chains on stage in an acoustic setting. They were a five piece featuring Derek Sherinian, from Dream Theater fame, on keyboards. They ran through three songs and then left the stage. One classic, and the performance premiere of two of their new tracks.

Alice In Chains
July 14, 2009
The Ricardo Montalban Theater
CD Listening Party

Down In A Whole
Your Decision
Black Gives Way To Blue

They took our phones at the door so unfortunately I don't have any pictures from the event itself, although I was able to get a poster promoting the album, and a guitar pick.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Rocklahoma 2009 - Day 1

Terry and I made it to Rocklahoma 2009 yesterday. Nothing quite like coming back to the show and seeing familiar faces, and meeting up with friends we've made through the years at the event.

We arrived to the event around 3pm and once we got our wristbands
1. Age verification for drinking (check)
2. 4 day pass for event (check)
3. VIP Seat assignment (check)

As we walked into the venue Metal Church was wrapping up their set. We only saw one full song which ended up being a cover of Deep Purple's Highway Star. This also marked Metal Church's final performance as a band. It seemed a non event.

Next up was Anvil. I had seen their movie and although their music isn't the best I was looking forward to their set. Shortly before their show I bought their newest CD "This Is 13". The recording of this CD was featured prominently in their movie.

Sadly the Spinal Tap moments haven't ended for this group. Let's count.

1. They had no roadies and were loading their own gear onto the stage prior to their set. Spinal Tap moment #1.

2. Lips is their frontman and ran right out onto stage at the start of their set and then immediately tripped on a stair and fell on his face. Spinal Tap moment #2.

3. Lips is fairly chatty between songs, and he'd tell these stories that were a bit awkward. It's like the guy that tells a joke or story and the delivery is poor. Fortunately Lips is charming so although the stories were awkward you found yourself laughing anyway. Spinal Tap moment #3.

4. Near the end of their set Lips trips on the stage again, making for a total of 2 falls. Spinal Tap moment #4.


Soundcheck - This Is Thirteen

This Is Thirteen
School Love
Winged Assassins
Jack Hammer
Race Against Time
White Rhino -> Drum Solo
Metal On Metal

They were fun to watch and although their music isn't all that memorable I had a good time. However, I don't think Anvil did much for Terry.

Next up was Overkill, but we didn't see them. We were off to meet Saxon and Nigel their drummer. Out in LA one of the bands I'm in is called Spidersuit and features Pete on guitar. His sister married the drummer of Saxon a couple of years back so as we were driving up to the event and listening to music I noticed Terry had some Saxon on his iPod. A couple of emails and phone calls later we found ourselves backstage getting autographs and pictures with Saxon. A lot of fun and completely unexpected.

After the meet and greet we headed to the VIP tent and ate dinner and refreshed our beverages. Next up was Saxon!

I had maybe heard only 2 Saxon songs prior to the show, and I must say they put on a hell of a show. They gave the best performance out of all the bands on Day 1. Lots of double bass which was nice for me to see as a drummer and considering we had just met Nigel backstage, and since I'm connected via a couple of degrees of separation it was great to see them bring such a great show to the event.


Battalions Of Steel
Heavy Metal Thunder
Demon Sweeney Todd
Strong Arm Of The Law
Valley of The Kings
This Town Knows How To Rock
Dallas 1pm (Last minute addition to set list requested by Anvil)
Wheels Of Steel

Denim And Leather
Princess Of The Night

After the set Nigel texted me, and asked me how I liked the show. It was the surprise of the day for me and I had a great time. He said it was nice to meet me and Friday morning he heads back to England.

The final show of the day was Anthrax. Terry is a big fan but had never seen these guys live. I'd seen them a few times through the years so I knew they can bring a great show and this was the event I was looking forward to all day.

Anthrax's new singer is Dan Nelson and as the guys walked onto the stage Dan looked considerably different from the last time I saw him. He had a beard and looked a little more sinister, which is appropriate for metal. And Scott Ian had a full beard as well.

Their set had a slow start, the crowd interaction was poor and the guys in the band weren't hitting their stride. About 3-4 songs into the set they were getting into the rhythm of the show and Dan was working his best to get the crowd that had been out in the sun for as many as 12 hours to give some energy back to the band.


Got The Time
Fight 'Em (new song)
Caught In A Mosh
Safe Home
Room For One More
What Doesn't Die
(Birthday celebration for Frankie Bello. The brought out a cake and had the crowd sing happy birthday to him.)
I Am The Law

Whole Lotta Rosie (AC/DC cover)

I was standing by some guys we had met last year and starting with Caught In A Mosh we started some very light moshing and banging into one another. Only 3 of us doing it but fun nonetheless.

After the set I was able to get a Frankie Bello guitar pic, a Scott Ian guitar pic, and Rob's setlist. Considering the drought of after show freebies through the day it was nice to get some Anthrax after concert swag. Terry walked up after the set and was as hoarse as could be. Nothing like singing at the top of your lungs for 90 minutes.

Once Anthrax's set was over they showed the Anvil movie on the big screens. Terry hadn't seen it before so we stayed for the movie and were on the road back to our hotel shortly shortly before 3am. After a quick shower, and the after concert wind down we were asleep by 3:30am. Approximately 13 solid hours of rocking. Not bad for day 1.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Moving day for Darian

Moving D into her first apartment of her own in Santa Barbara. A big
day for all of us. Here is a quick pic of the front door.

She is what they call one of the Gillespie Cottages. A very fancy
name for a mult-unit four-plex.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


So they say you should not fear change. In the upcoming weeks we will be going through a series of life changes. Darian moves off to school on Tuesday, and by the end of July we will be moving out of our house in Santa Monica. A little downsizing, and time for us to start on our new journey, collectively and individually.

I can't say I'm looking forward to all of this change, but in life I've never been afraid of change. A couple of decisions through the years have significantly changed our lives and now 10 years later we find ourselves living in Los Angeles, having successfully raised Darian through school, and now we will send her off to experience life on her own. And in many ways we will be going through this new beginning and embracing new experiences, on our own, as she will do by herself.

Over the next 4-6 weeks I'll be moving from Santa Monica and will relocate into the Hollywood area. Only a short 9 miles, yet a world away.

Although this posting doesn't say everything, it represents one of those key turning points in my life.

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