Tag Archives: drums

Anchorhead vs. Galactic Empire


Anchorhead vs. Galactic Empire

Anchorhead vs. Galactic Empire

I have seen Galactic Empire blowing up lately, and I love it… but it makes me wonder what happened to Anchorhead, who was doing it first.  (Yes, I know scores of metal versions of Star Wars songs are all over the Innerwebs, but these guys are the best.)

Here’s some side-by-side comparisons…

Anchorhead:

…and check out this incredible entire live show!  Apparently all these cats ever left was one EP & a handful of performances.  Their guitars have so many strings, it takes 12 parsecs for any non-force user to make their way across the fretboard.

I did download all I could form MySpace, but all I could get of some of the stuff was some snippets of songs.  Their interpretations are proggy, masterful, eerie, and dark.  I would love to get my hands on the EP.

Galactic Empire:

Obviously, these scruffy-looking Nerf Herders rock too.  The costumes and video production are all-out.  The metal seems happier if that’s even a thing.  They used kickstarter to fund their eventual takeover of the galaxy.  Galactic credits go far with the Empire.  I’m anxious for their full-length album, too.

It looks like of the two, these guys are the only ones currently in existence.

Vote for Your Favorite:

I would love to see a fan mix of the movies using either of these guys to score the entire thing.  I don’t think Disney would go for it, unless like Darth Lucas they realize they can make more money by selling the movies again to the same people that already own all possible formats & variations.

Bonus:  Check out Sarlacc!

This is most likely more awesome than anything you will do today.


Thanks to Farcebook, these two articles about Finnish band Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät came on to my radar:

Besides being awesome new (to me) enjoyable punk rock, I feel like it served as some sort of cosmic reminder, warning, or inspiration.  Not only to me, but to everyone who happens to read this.

Not feeling a bunch of paragraphs today, so I will hit you with a bulleted list.

  • Don’t ever let anyone tell you “no.”  Don’t let anyone else set your limits.  You can do whatever you set your mind to, and tell them to shove it.
  • Don’t let anyone put you in a category.  If you feel like you’re different because of your gender, race, orientation, religion, or a disability… own it, don’t let it own you.
  • A little railing against convention, society, or any set standard is good for everybody.  Punk rock can be all about a healthy expression of primal aggression.
  • Learning about the lives of others who have things differently than you is incredibly enlightening.
  • Someone with special needs like Down Syndrome or Autism with different abilities ought not be an object of derision.  They have thoughts, feelings, and aspirations just like you.  They get pissed off just like you.  They rock just like yo
  • Shattering expectations is the most badass thing you can do.

I’m sure there’s more, but you get my point.  Notice little things like this in life.  Be thankful for your insight.  Be thankful that there are others out there reminding you to put forth your best effort.  Learn something or learn about something often.  Make some noise that gets heard.

Check out these videos.

…and more.

I need to get my hands on some music & get a peep at this documentary.  Anyone already have these cats on their radar?  Tell me more!

☘ Flogging Molly, fights, fiddles, friends, family, folk, & fools… ☘


Had a great time last night at Stage AE for the Flogging Molly show!  It was a nice evening out, much closer to home than the last Flogging Molly show that we had to drive to Cleveland for, and we didn’t wait too long to buy tickets this time.  (Last time, we waited too long & it sold out!)  After arriving home from work, Bethany & I headed to Dormont Dogs for a nice quick meal.  (I had the Connecticut Ave. dog minus the onions, it was fantastic!)  We then battled and easily defeated the tunnel monster on the way to the north shore.

We got there early, because I’m generally OCD about getting to shows early.  We lined up outside behind the mob of green & black T-shirts peppered with the occasional tartan patterned kilt or someone who didn’t get the memo about wearing green to a Celtic punk rock show.  There were more people than I had expected.  It was windy, but not unbearable.  We were entertained by the 3 or 4 scalpers passing by asking for extra tickets.  One guy had his leg in some sort of brace or cast, and one guy was on a bike.  They mustn’t have scored any, because I didn’t see anyone selling them.

This was sadly the first time I’ve seen a show with the big room opened up.  I need to get to more shows down there.  (The 1st time I was there was to see Dethlehem and they were on the smaller bar stage.)  It’s a fantastic venue.  You have a nice view all around.  The only thing I’d change is having the floor slightly sloped… but then again I’m just short.  After getting a superficial pat-down at the door, we stopped & said hi to Jeff who was working & not setting any fires.  Then we made our way to the bar where I got a Killian’s Irish Red because I can’t really take too much Guinness.  The wife opted for water.  At a Flogging Molly show?  Water?  She must be the more responsible half.

We joined the pack of Yinzers crowding the merch table as we tried to get a look and get up front.  It was easy to see that the dude wasn’t taking orders from any other dudes… so my wife ordered our shirts and a patch once we squeezed our way to the front.  As I was getting a dollar out of my wallet to pop into the tip bucket, it fell into my beer.  So, dude got a soggy dollar & a dry dollar.  Sorry.  Not that sorry though.  You can still spend it.  I picked up a Devil Makes Three CD too.  I saw them online & liked what I heard.  I asked the merch guy which one he suggested.  He showed me the 1st album & the live one.  He seemed to indicate that the live one was a nice cross-section, so I went with that.

To the floor!  It was still relatively easy to make our way to the center & almost front of the floor.  Things were starting to pack in as we got there, it was pretty good timing & placement. We thought.  Bethany thought she smelled a skunk, and we were too far away from the obligatory dreadlock kid for it to be Patchouli & BO, so it was most likely the extremely pungent weed that we were smelling burning much later. (I bet area Taco Bell locations had a surge of customers after the show.) Our friend Laurel made a last-minute decision to come to the show, so she joined us right as the lights went down…

Brothers of Brazil | Stage AE (Pittsburgh, PA) 05/10/2012

Brothers of Brazil | Stage AE (Pittsburgh, PA) 05/10/2012

The Brothers of Brazil were up first.  Imagine a young Fred Schneider (or Michale Ian Black) on guitar and Billy Idol (or maybe even Johnny Rotten) on drums.  These dudes were quite interesting.  The guitar-work was amazing, & the drummer was quite the showman & very entertaining.  They had this weird samba punk rock vibe… it was odd.  I’d see them again.  I dunno if I’d buy an album.  It was fantastic that they opened & closed with a theme song.  I believe these dudes will do well for themselves.  I don’t think Bethany & Laurel were as amused as I was.

The Devil Makes Three | Stage AE (Pittsburgh, PA) 05/10/2012

The Devil Makes Three | Stage AE (Pittsburgh, PA) 05/10/2012

Up next was The Devil Makes Three.  The crowd stated getting a little more packed in, and a drunken kid beside me ruined the first 2 songs by slurredly “singing” loudly & off-key directly into my ear, until he decided that the crowd wasn’t as into it as he was, and muttered something about us being lame & pushing forward.  These dudes rocked quietly, but they play really well.  They have great melodies & harmonies… even though they were minus their regular bass player.  I have no idea what to call it. Is it folk? Alt country? Blues? Punk? It’s close-to-but-not bluegrass or rockabilly.  All I know is that I like it.  I’m gonna say if you like punk rock, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, or old folk or blues stuff… you ought to check these cats out.  They win the award for coolest guitars too.  Cooper McBean played a mean-looking old archtop with what I think was a P-90 mounted in it.  it looked like it had been left out in a sandstorm after someone dumped some paint-thinner on it.  I wanted it.  He mainly rocked the banjo & a tenor banjo.  The lyrics are great.  Check out this comic set to the lyrics of the song “The Bullet”.  I will see this band next time they’re in town!  Bethany really dug them too, being a country fan and all.  I think Laurel was trying to figure them out.

Well, we enjoyed the part of the set that wasn’t ruined by belligerent drunken meat-heads.  Starting at about the same time as The Devil Makes Three, the crowd directly behind us was swaying & getting rowdy.  Oh well, it’s a concert. We’re in the middle of the floor. That’s what happens. Until these testoster-tools behind us start arguing about something.  I heard something about touching or talking to a sister. I’m not sure. Maybe they were bumping into each other, maybe someone was trying to bump uglies. I was trying to pay attention to the blisteringly talented  band on stage. There was arguing, shoving, and a guy getting in the middle. Somebody’s “bro” got in the middle and then calmed things down.  Security was eying them and pointing flashlights from the ramps on the side, but apparently not responding.  Then everything was “cool” and it remained calm, for a song or two anyway.  All of a sudden I hear “oh my god!” and my wife is on the floor on her ass.  I pulled her up and swung around and yelled something to the effect of “Who the [expletive] knocked my wife on to the [expletive] floor?”  Two dudes larger than me in height and girth (one in a kilt as well as a drunken stupor) looked at me with an expression that can only be descried as “oh shit”.  I turned around to ask Bethany if she was OK.  She nodded.  I swung back around to the now large gap in the crowd surrounding the two sweaty ass-clowns and demanded that they apologize to Bethany. They did, looking like a dog that just took a dump on the living room floor, as security arrived to further scold them and ask me if Bethany was OK. Next time how about responding before a bystander gets knocked over?  I guess she saw one dingleberry trying to choke the other dingleberry as she got knocked down.  I would expect this kind of crap at a metal show, but for folk punk?  Way to uphold drunken Irish fighting stereotypes, McPotatoheads.  I don’t know if I would have punched those guys, or what… but apparently my tone of voice or the look on my face told them not to mess with me.  I thought security was going to drag me into it too as he was asking if Bethany was OK.  Later Laurel laughed as she said she thought I was going to swing & she’d end up jumping on the fat guy & throwing punches too.  Maybe we’re all a little too violent?

Finally, it was time for Flogging Molly!  Despite all of the drunken violence, the smell of burning leaves in the non-smoking venue, the guy in front of me repeatedly backing himself into my junk, getting sweat on me from the shirtless guy, and paying $12 for parking, we were having one hell of a great time!

Flogging Molly | Stage AE (Pittsburgh, PA) 05/10/2012

Flogging Molly | Stage AE (Pittsburgh, PA) 05/10/2012

If you’ve never seen Flogging Molly in action, I’m not sure how to describe it.  Seven people come on to the stage and sound like 70.  The crowd really started moving so I pushed Bethany & myself forward & off to the side as we lost Laurel with the first wave.  She found us not too long after that.  Dave King & company ripped through a bunch of hits & some stuff that they don’t regularly do live.  I remember it being a long set & how I liked every selection.  I could have watched them go for many more songs, even after the encore.  I can’t pick a favorite track, I like so many of them.  I really enjoyed “What’s Left of the Flag”, “If I Ever Leave This World Alive”, “Float”, & “The Son Never Shines (on Closed Doors)”, & of course “7 Deadly Sins”.  The inter-song banter keeps things light with songs that can have such heavy lyrical matter all the while to a happy beat.  You get the feeling that they’re all playing right from the heart.  You have this killer group of musicians that can probably between them master any instrument you might have lying around.  Dennis Casey has his hands full trying to compete with & leave room for all of the other instruments.  I was glad he got a spot for a guitar solo of sorts, in with the Guinness chug.  Every time I see a Celtic punk band, I get the urge to buy a Telecaster.  At any rate, Flogging Molly did not disappoint.  We’ll see them next time they’re in the ‘Burgh, Cleveland, or anywhere else nearby.  I know Bethany loved it, I think Laurel did too.  After the show, we ran into my cousin Patience.  Taste in awesome Irish music must run in the family.

☘☘☘☘☘☘

Gig Checklists


Jim Dunlop Tortex Fin PicksInspired by a post called Gig Preparation, I thought I’d make some checklists.  I think we’ll need one (and a half) for our stuff, one for setting up the gig, and one for doing stuff at the gig.  The lists would change depending on who’s working the gig or who set it up, but you should be able to help with the flow of things even if you’re not the organizer.  This is also from the point of view of a guitar player, because that’s all I’ve ever been.  I’m guessing it would be the same for a bass player & quite similar for a drummer.

Gig Checklists…

-·♠·-

Before the gig:

☐ Get all the details in order:

☐ The bands
☐ The place
☐ The time
☐ The price
☐ All ages or 21+
☐ Is it a benefit?
☐ Any specials if it’s a bar?
☐ Selling tickets?

.
Promote!

☐ …using social media – Link the crap out of details/event pages.
Flyers – Hang ’em up, pass ’em out.
☐ Word of mouth

.
☐ Communicate with the other bands…

☐ Sharing equipment? – Cut down on changeovers between bands.
☐ Playing order?

.
☐ Do you need your own door person?

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Stuff to take:

☐ Guitar – In a case or gig bag, I actually saw a guy use a bath-towel once.
☐ Backup guitar(s) – Don’t kill the show when you break a string.
☐ Amp head & cab (or combo)
☐ The merch box(es)
☐ Your gig backpack or briefcase. (“What’s that.” you ask? Keep reading!)

.

|·| |·| |·| |·| | |:|  |  | · |   | · |   | · |  | · |   |   |

.

An acoustic guitar string. 0.044-inch (1.117 m...I make sure to have my backpack full o’ stuff with me at every gig.  Over the years, every item in it has proved useful and one time or another.

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In The Gig Backpack or Briefcase:

☐ Tuner (Get a pedal one, so no one can hear you tune.)
Wireless system (Certainly not a necessity, but fun.)
9V battery (Are the lithium ones OK for pedals?)
☐ Guitar cables (1 more than you need)
☐ Speaker cables (1 more than you need)
Strings (At least a full set, …any leftovers you’ve got should be in there.)
☐ Extra power cord
Power Strip (w/ Circuit Breaker)
3-Prong to 2-Prong adapter (or 2)
Duct Tape or Gaff Tape (or both… Gaff doesn’t leave a mess.)
☐ Tablet (Setlists, Merch Prices, Boredom)
☐ A sharpie or 2 (Setlists, Rock Star Autographs)
☐ A Leatherman-type tool. (Crazy or not-so crazy.)
☐ Guitar picks (I use Jim Dunlop Fins.)
☐ An Extra Strap
☐ Flashlight (A really bright one helps)
☐ Extension Cord

[::( )::]

Stuff that I don’t have, but might be a good idea…

☐ Pedal(s) – Wah, Distortion, Foot Switch, Etc.
Mic clip(s)
String Winder
☐ Pick strip or holder
Slide / eBow / Capo
☐ Strap locks
Trem poker
☐ Ear plugs
☐ Nail clippers
☐ acetaminophen / ibuprofen / aspirin
☐ Band-aids
☐ Cloth or towel

.

\m/_(-_-)_\m/

At the gig:

☐ Set stuff on the stage for the 1st band & any bands sharing
Backline the “main” act if there is one & set up in front of them.
☐ Tune (Silently! – No one likes the tuning song! – Tune your backup guitar too.)
Let the Sound Technician do their job.
☐ Set up a Merch Table/Corner/Counter/Box.
☐ Put your door person at the door.
☐ Using a setlist? Reach into that backpack & get one made!
☐ Have a drink? Water, Beer, or something harder.
☐ Tune Again (Silently! – No one likes the tuning song!)
☐ Unless you’re awesome & have a tech, get a string-wingman.

.

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Danelectro Vintage Power Source A cool looking...

I’m sure there’s stuff I’m forgetting, but I think this is a pretty decent start.  What do you think I’m missing from the list?  Do you have an emergency gig kit?  What’s in it?

D'Andrea Gmk1 Guitar Cleaner Maintenance Kit

Psst… It’s a bar, not a stadium.


Sound Mixing deskI’m always amused when I’m out at a bar gig (whether playing or just attending) and I hear bands spitting directions to the person at the soundboard.  Let the sound guy do his or her job.  (Is there a feminine or neutral  form of “Sound Guy” that doesn’t sound dumb?)

Sure you can ask for a level adjustment if something’s drastically off, but don’t demand.  It makes you look like a pompous ass.  Then again it’s rock and roll, and it’s a bar.  There are monitors at all?  What a luxury!  If you can’t plow your way through a set on instinct with your band mates & sound somewhat in-synch, it’s time to find a new band.  So shut up, grab a beer, and play… Rock Star.

Onlywatchthebandwithaguy(orgirl)thatIknowinit-itis


This ties in with an earlier blog post.  I’m just trying to figure out how to reach people.  When people who have never heard of us catch us play, we generally have people coming up to say they dig it. It’s a good feeling.  I’d like it to happen more often because I think the band is doing a fun thing, and I’d like more people to share in the fun.

Getting people to come out in the first place is one struggle.  Getting yourself in front of an audience that’s already there is another struggle.  Getting people to watch you once they’re there seems to be an entirely different struggle.

We'd like to thank Bobby for coming out tonight!

Has this ever happened to you? Yes, it has.

Lately I’ve seen a trend of bands telling people saying “hey we’re 1st, come early” or “hey we’re last, come late” then their fans show up for just them & don’t bother to check anyone else out.   I generally tell people to come for the whole show & check out the other bands.  We try to book shows with bands we dig, just for this reason.

Spider-\m/an

Spider-Man :: This has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that I found it hilarious.

I hate to come of as a whiner, and I know I will to some readers.  I’m just trying to express my frustrations, and this blog is a forum for just that.  In fact, it’s my forum for just that.  I’m trying to work it out for myself & to possibly get some insight from other local (and some not so local) musicians.

In fact, I think I have ranted about this very topic online before, maybe just a similar one… but I can’t seem to find it anywhere.

I also don’t want to dismiss the people that come see us at just about every show.  Your presence is incredibly important to us, and we value it.  We just want some more people there to watch with you, and we don’t want things to get stale where you’re seeing the same show over & over.  Even if you’ve only caught us once, or if you’ve bought a T-shirt, or told us you liked a video online… you are awesome and we truly appreciate your support & attendance.

I recently saw the worst case ever of this crazy only-watch-the-band-with-a-guy-I-know-in-it thing going on.  We played a show where people watched the band they came to see, then just absolutely bailed.  Not even the bands stuck around to check out the other acts, one of which was a touring act & the reason we were all playing the show.  It’s disrespectful.  I get that stuff comes up, & sometimes you need to go.  It happens.  Sometimes there’s burnout.  Sometimes there’s arrogance.  Sometimes there are good reasons.  Sometimes you’re just being ignorant.

I know personally that a bunch of people from my wife’s family came out to a show at a bar once where my wife & I absolutely love the wings.  We had told everyone how cool the place was, they all decided to come to the ‘Burgh to eat some legendary wings & watch my band play… killing 2 birds with one stone.  They sat through one band that everyone liked, then through a 2nd band that was just absolutely awful… one member was so drunk and/or high that he would strum the guitar and look down at it dazed for a minute or so while apparently hearing stuff that none of the rest of us could.  This was all endured just to see us play.  The place was packed all night, the bands & their fans watched each other, and everyone had a good time.

Not to judge a book by its cover, but I all kinds of judged books by their covers the other night and I hit the nail on the proverbial head.  A quick scan of the room revealed some crazy demographics.  More specifically a bunch of old people trying to look cool and standing on tippy-toes watching their kid play with no general comprehension of what was going on up on the stage or around them.  If I’m calling them old, you know they were old.  We knew these were parents, aunts, uncles, and neighbors… and they were going to split as soon as their kid’s bands was done.  Boy, did they ever.  If it was a cartoon, there would have been a cloud of dust & a cartoon noise.  Whoop!

It must be happening everywhere because the touring band had it written into their contract that they weren’t to be slated to play last on any of their shows.  You can’t blame them.  You tour to build support for your album, and if no one sees you play, no one’s going to buy your album or you merch or come see you the next time you roll through town.  We took the cleanup/closer spot because none of the other bands would.

Do you know what it's like to be on the bill and to play for fifteen minutes and the only people there to see you are the other bands and their girlfriends? Don't talk to ME about Rock n' Roll!  I'm out there in the clubs and on the streets and I'm living it!  I AM ROCK N' ROLL!

Do you know what it's like to be on the bill and to play for fifteen minutes and the only people there to see you are the other bands and their girlfriends? Don't talk to me about Rock n' Roll! I'm out there in the clubs and on the streets and I'm living it! I AM ROCK N' ROLL!

We didn’t help their cause because we apparently weren’t a draw either.  We watched the touring band, & they watched us.  The handful of people that came to see us were there for all of the sets that night… and the show started an hour or so later than it was supposed to.  It was awesome that the touring band actually stuck around to see us play.  I’m sure on the road they’ve seen crappy band upon crappy band night after night… but it was an unparalleled show of respect for us, and assured us that the sound guy & doorman had to stick around until we were done.  Ha ha.

My boyfriend's lame-ass band... live at the Radisson

Playing their new hit, ''Girl Girl Girl''!

Well, there were more people there to watch us… since it was a rare all-ages gig for us, we had an under-ager and her mom eager to see us… we were told we’d be rocking about 8:00pm.  We eventually went on much much later, way past the under-ager’s bed time.  So, two people who bought tickets & came out expressly to see us had to leave early and were unable to see us because of all the ridiculousness and shuffling.  Then the dozens of people who came out to see the other bands watched them then left.  Immediately.

The Sitter

Try as he might, Jeremy could just not meditate in front of a stereo. Live music is the only way to go.

It would be nice to say that whoever sold the most tickets had to go last… but then again, they did sell a lot of tickets, so that has a certain amount of pull as far as when you want to go on.

I didn’t hear any of the opening bands even mention the touring band… the headlining band that (again) we were supposed to be there in support of.

Before you say that my band sucks (you’re certainly entitled to your opinion), I’ll say that no one who left early would know, because they didn’t even give us a chance.  I’d rather clear the room myself than have it cleared for me.  How do you expose people to your live show, if the people in the place don’t even stick around for one song?

Dethlehem & more at Stage AE the other night… Review/Photos/Video ☠


This isn’t all an all-out super in-depth review, but I wanted to post that I really enjoyed the show the other night at Stage AE with Ascend the Fallen, The Bloody Seamen, Lady Beast, & Dethlehem.  All of the bands put forth a great effort, and the (giant) crowd was pleased.  I managed to take a ridiculous amount of photos, and some of them even turned out pretty cool.

Professor Richard Smallchange & Harry Valentine

Professor Richard Smallchange (Channeling Lord Bonecrush) & Hairy Valentine

Check out my photos on Photobucket & Facebook here…

If you’re on the Facebook and know the bands (or anyone else) in the photos, please tag ’em!

Ascend the Fallen

Ascend the Fallen

Ascend the Fallen was all over the place… literally.  They’re quite the active bunch up on stage.  They run n’ jump all over the place & had the crowd all riled up.  Those cats can shred.  They were a perfect opener for this gig, getting everyone ready for the things to come.

The Bloody Seamen

The Bloody Seamen

The Bloody Seamen always blow me away.  Their showmanship & dedication to character is unmatched.  My wife (who’s not a metal fan by any means) saw them for the first time the other night & became an instant fan.  Their catchy choruses, funny tales, and ridiculous stage presence will easily shanghai many a fan.  Something about everyone yelling during some of the aforementioned catchy choruses & the melodies have a very Dropkick Murphys/Flogging Molly sort of feel.  I’m sure the fife, accordions & bagpipes don’t hurt there either.  I’m going to have to try to barter with some doubloons to get my hands on some of their bootleg demos or something to hold me off until they have a proper album out for purchase.  Also… where else can you see a guitarist snap all of their strings with a machete at the end of their set, a fire-breathing sea-captain, and a bass player with a really creepy dead eye?  The highlight the other night was watching “Filthy” Cheswick Springdale decided to throw his guitar on the ground & assault it with his combo amp head while it squealed, only yo expertly cut it off when the song ended by unplugging the feedbacking beast.

Gunny

Gunny

Lady Beast

Lady Beast

Lady Beast rocked hard.  One dude on guitar had a Ravelle and made me extremely jealous.  Their singer is one hell of a positive role model for women into metal.  There were more ladies packed in front of the stage for their set than I have ever seen at a predominantly metal show in all my years of going to & playing shows combined.  It doesn’t hurt that she’s got great pipes and the band has a really heavy attack without sacrificing groove or melody.  These cats can play hard.  I’ll be anxiously awaiting their album, and I plan to check out more of their gigs!

Deb

Deb

Overlord Brom

Overlord Brom

Dethlehem

Dethlehem

Of course, I may have biased opinions on Dethlehem.  They are absolutely ridiculous, and no one deserved headline an all-local-acts show at Stage AE more than them.  These guys put a crazy amount of effort into not only the performance… but the song-writing, the shredding, the drumming, the singing, the over-all story arc, the costumes, and the entire production.  Someone needs to interview them & ask about the stuff they do to constantly take their playing & song-writing to the next level.  Trust me, it’s intense.  Sometimes people might look over that due to the theatrics.

Dethlehem

Dethlehem

It was great to be there for the first full show of the new Brutalitus the Bloodbeard, and it was very cool that Professor Dick Smallchange helped narrate and channeled Lord Bonecrush, joining the apparently chronic self-pleasuring barbarian-turned-blacksmith Sean “Hairy” Valentine for an encore.  The troll/ogre being made a eunuch, the birthing & bloody decapitation of said newborn, …both fantastic moments of on-stage debauchery.  The music itself was spectacular… with fretboard acrobatics by Bovice and Hildor, a helmeted Brom for nearly the entire show, Davidicus is truly a wizard of the low-end and keeping things going between songs with the interludes.  Bloodbeard proves himself to be a mighty vocalist, looking forward to his development with the band.

Headbangin' Harry

Headbangin' Hairy

I found a bunch of cool videos of that night online, enjoy!

If you have any links to more photos and/or video, please share!

If it’s too loud, you’re too old!


☢ BOOM! ☢

Phallic-Atomic Wall Art

That’s what I used to think, anyway.  Over the years I’ve come to appreciate things like volume & tone… and dialing in a bit of control to the chaos.  Recently the following open letter/plea to local & touring musicians was posted in a semi-private Facebook group for the bands that rock out at the Fallout Shelter.  I asked permission to re-post, as it seems like a cool discussion starter.  As a dude in a band, I’m always up for talking about such things.  Permission was granted, and so we’ve arrived at:

PLEASE READ – An open letter to the bands in our musical community from Rick at the Fallout Shelter –

July 27, 2011:

The Fallout Shelter in Aliquippa is well into its fourth year of providing local bands in Beaver County with a venue where they can hone their skills, develop a following, and join a sincere and optimistic musical community. We are very proud of that. We also are committed to bringing excellent quality sound and professionalism to the music patrons who attend our shows. And we strive to help the bands that perform become more professional and polished as they gain experience in front of the crowds. With all of that in mind, I feel compelled to write this letter to everyone who has contributed so much to our journey.

Rock music is traditionally expected to be performed at loud volumes. Although we welcome all musical genres at the Shelter, we have tended to present rock, punk and metal acts more regularly. As such, volume frequently reaches levels that would severely damage the sensitive ears of small animals. So, the question becomes, can “loud” be too loud? Despite your inner rock god’s rabid denials, the truth is that, yes, it can be too loud. On more than a few occasions, I have witnessed young rock fans leave the Shelter shaking their heads and declaring that “it is too loud down there!” How can loud be too loud?

The Fallout Shelter ☢

The Fallout Shelter ☢

As an old rock musician and former fine arts major who grew up in the 70’s listening to bands such as Zeppelin and the Who, let me offer my view on the matter: When the individual sounds of the instruments become too loud, they tend to meld together into what can essentially be described as a “mush” of sound emanating from the stage. As the on-stage musician, you no longer are providing the sustenance of musical nectar to the fans, but are instead dumping the digested excrement of the combined sounds upon them. Individual sounds are completely lost and thus, so are individual expression and critical accents of each musician which can significantly enhance the musical presentation. Some of you might argue that certain genres are intended to be presented as musical mush – and I cannot disagree because musical taste is indeed individual. But musical mush is not what we desire to showcase. The occasional unusual act that uses noise or volume for musical or artistic effect is welcome, but we do not wish to bombard our patrons with unnecessary volume. By beginning your performance at maximum volume, you lose nuance and dynamics, which eliminates your flexibility in making your performance so much more powerful. Being able to increase volume for that soaring lead, or for that key phrase, and using those skills, will make you better musicians and more polished performers. Dynamics is a natural emotional expression of the music, and its importance cannot be over-emphasized.

As a young bassist, I recall performing many times and falling into the same bad habit of turning up during performances – or leaning over to place my ear near my speaker so I can hear my bass. The sound was essentially blowing past my legs so I could not hear myself well enough. The temptation to turn up in such a case is inescapable. This problem can be solved by either asking the sound man to increase your instrument volume through the monitors, or by raising the speaker to be closer to your ear level. We provide one amp stand that leans back to direct the amp speaker to the performer for this purpose. We also intend to build crates to keep on stage which all amp speakers must be placed on to raise them up. Hopefully, this will solve some of the volume problems. We also provide a drum shield for those drummers who play very loudly. When our sound man asks you to use it, it is because he is trying to make you all, as a band, sound the best that you can. Please do not refuse to use it. Trust our sound man – he is working in a very small venue with a powerful sound system. If you maintain the volume that he requests, he will make you sound spectacular. Doing a sound check to establish an excellent level, and then turning up, just creates a cascade of each musician turning up, one after another, and destroys the effort that went into doing the sound check. When you turn up, he has to fight the instrument and drum volumes to bring vocals up to be heard and the result is often feedback and “mush” coming from the stage.

Please help us present the best local performances to your fans and experiment with volume for maximum effect, not just maximum levels. We will not continue to book bands at the Shelter who cannot realize that learning to use volume properly is as important as learning to master their instruments. Personally, I feel that such bands are either incapable of learning what it takes to perform meaningfully, or are simply fulfilling some narcissistic rock star fantasy.

Once again, thank you to all of the fine musicians and people who make the Shelter such a special venue. Let’s continue to work together to make it, and our bands, the best that they can be.

Rick

Ernie and one of the Berts

Ernie and one of the Berts...

You can pick up on the frustration in Rick’s message.  I get it.  There’s a good discussion already going if you’re part of the group.  Rick, Randy, & everyone at the Fallout Shelter have always been really cool to us.  The sound guys have been great…  I’m absolutely terrible with names or I’d mention them here.

My focus/attention span has been crazy lately, so I think the best way to organize my thoughts on this is a completely random bulleted list.

  • I used to want a wall of Marshall cabinets…  I don’t anymore.  In a stadium?  Sure!  But, the reality is that I play mostly bars…  Bars that are small, and sometimes too small to host bands but do it anyway.  Lately I have been digging using Erin’s little Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amp or Dave’s killer Egnater Rebel head with my 4×12 Mesa Boogie cabinet.  (My Crate Power Block is oddly “OK” live, but absolutely terrible when being recorded.)  Not only do we have to provide entertainment, but we have to carry our own crap in & out.  An amp that’s a quarter of the size & has twice the balls of most other amps?  It’s a win every time in my book.  Try it out!  (Especially if you’re playing a place downstairs like the Fallout Shelter or upstairs at the Smiling Moose.)
  • Let the sound guy do his job.  The sound guy at any given venue has been hired to make you sound good.  Don’t piss him (or her) off.  Don’t insist on turning your stage volume up until you hear the mix from the monitors, or go sit in the house yourself to hear the mix.  Want to have the most rock n’ roll attitude in the room?  Just play, and don’t give a crap what it sounds like.
  • Suck it up.  Shit happens.  Monitors screech, cut out, blow up, sound like mud, or are entirely non-exsitant at times.  There are still people sitting there waiting for you to play.  Play!  Don’t ask the sound guy to adjust a different level after every song.  Once one or two songs in?  No problem.  All night long?  Just deal with it.
  • Use the drum shield.  I think I’ve only ever played at one place where the drummer sits behind a shield.  They asked, so we did it.  I even put a sign on it that says something like “don’t tap on glass” that I think is still there.  It gives the sound guy further control over the room… and the monitors.  As long as you have a monitor in there for the drummer, it shouldn’t be a huge issue.  It might feel & look weird, but if Dave Grohl can do it, you can do it.
Please don't feed the drummer.

Please don't feed the drummer.

That’s all that comes to mind right now.  I’m sure there will be more.  For their part, it looks like the Fallout Shelter is open to suggestions in improving their monitoring system & the overall sound for the room.  I’d suggest some kind of acoustic wall tiles to keep already loud noises from reverberating, but that’s just me.

I’d like this to start a discussion about sound at smaller venues all around Pittsburgh, & well… everywhere.  In the comments section below, post your thoughts!

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Your attendance is required.


Sun. 08/14 @ The Fallout Shelter:

Ernie and the Berts
Hopeless Otis
The Awful Waffles

$5 / 21+ / 9:00pm

Click the link for details & links to the venue & other bands.

Sun.08/14 @ The Fallout Shelter - Ernie and the Berts/Hopeless Otis/The Awful Waffles - $5/21+/9:00pm Beat the heat, not your meat!  Hang out in the cool relaxing not-humid soothing basement of Sheffield Lanes… a little place we like to call the Fallout Shelter.  Well, they called it that, so that’s why we call it that.  We didn’t name it.  Although, it is a pretty good name.  For some reason, they like us there, and keep letting us come back.  Randy just may be a little insane.  That’s OK, I think we are too.  At any rate, they have good drink … Read More

via Ernie and the Berts

Epic Metal :: It’s not too late to join the quest!


So, the warriors of Dethlehem have dropped a second album, aptly named The Ghorusalem Codex Vol. 2: Of Magick and Tyranny(This would be a follow-up to their 2009 disc, The Ghorusalem Codex Vol 1: Enthroned Upon A Spire.)  If you’re a fan of metal, or a fan of chaos involving things like trolls and dragons and wizards… you need this album.

DETHLEHEM | The Ghorusalem Codex, Vol 2: Of Magick & Tyranny

DETHLEHEM | The Ghorusalem Codex, Vol 2: Of Magick & Tyranny

Listen to this and try to tell me I’m wrong:  Dethlehem “Hypergates of Infinitude”  It’s one of my favorite tracks off of the album.

I’m big a fan of their first album, but this one blows it away in terms of recording, production, and overall album cohesiveness.  The interludes in between songs have become a much better over-all narrative to help guide you along the quest.  (The full story is coming soon to their website.)

Bovice and Hildor are the six-string men-at-arms, and the musicianship here makes me sick.  The guitars are ridiculous, it’s almost too over the top… but with what Dethlehem has going on, it needs to be ridiculous.  I’m talking shredding, sweeps, blazing riffs, and all manner of fretboard insanity.  If I didn’t know these guys, I’d hate them… they make a punk rock power chord chump like me almost too embarrassed to pick up a guitar.  Luckily for the Ernie and the Berts fan(s), I have no shame.

A slight lineup change on this album, Davidicus the Black replaces Galagore… not sure what the official story is, if Gallagore was eaten by a dragon or transformed into a toad by an evil witch or what.  Davidicus is a wizard, and adds a dynamic both in story & in playing style.  You can hear less doubling of guitar parts by the bass, more restraint where called-for musically, and stomping all over the place where appropriate.

Overlord Brom bangs on the drums like nobody’s business, and even my untrained ear can tell there’s all manner of math going on here with time-signature changes.  This is not 4/4 rock n’ roll.  Plus, when he plays live… he starts out with a bucket-like Helmet on his head where it must be impossible to see anything.  (By the way, funniest character voice ever in the narratives.)

Lord Bonecrush has developed what I can only call a battle-hardened confidence in his vocals.  While they were strong on Vol. 1, on Vol. 2 they’ve progressed to a point where any shred of vocal uncertainty is gone.  The vocals are honed sharp like any good weapon should be before going into battle… yet there’s a double-edge… clean for slicing backed up with growling with a ferocity akin to aurally ripping you asunder.  The backing vocals also stand out a little clearer on their own on this one… not sure who’s where… but it’s all done sparingly, tastefully, and appropriately.

While not a technical review by any means, I hope to have conveyed the overall feel of the album, and to have piqued your curiosity.

These guys put on an incredible live show… I suggest you buy the album to learn their songs, and then go see them when they come to plunder and pillage a venue near you.  I’m not sure if you can fully appreciate the epic-ness through just a recording or video.  They’re on tour now if you can catch them!

(In the interest of full disclosure, this may not be a completely objective review… I do know the guys, and they awesomely thanked me in the liner-notes of this disc…  But I’d like to think that those who know me know I wouldn’t push crappy music on anyone.)