Archive for Motley Crue

Sunset Strip Music Festival 2011

Posted in Metal Music Interviews and News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2011 by coletteclaire

For the 3rd year in a row, the Sunset Strip Music Festival came to block off the famous section of Sunset Boulevard known as “the Strip,” thus creating both an awesome musical experience and a traffic nightmare.

All Hands In the Air at the Sunset Strip Music Festival
All Hands In the Air at the Sunset Strip Music Festival

As if people weren’t still recovering from the night before when Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek played the Whiskey and Buck Cherry played Roxy to kick off the festival, numerous bands came to play the East and West outdoor stages as well as the Whiskey, Roxy and Key Club on Saturday, August 20th. And if there weren’t enough bands playing to keep you amused, there was also the Jack Daniel’s Experience traveling museum detailing the history of the Whiskey company and a Gibson booth complete with Gibson guitars plugged in and ready to play.

She Wants Revenge

She Wants Revenge was one of the acts playing the west outdoor stage earlier in the day. The band, which is normally a duo, had a drummer and a couple guitarists accompanying them on their danceable goth rock which, unfortunately, didn’t translate as well in a live setting. “Tear You Apart,” one of the band’s best known songs, was rendered unrecognizable with lead singer Justin Warfield playing a few weird notes on the guitar and singing with no accompaniment. With its monotone vocal style and long winded lyrics, the song quickly became more repetitive than epic and left one wondering why they didn’t utilize the musicians standing there doing nothing. Luckily, they didn’t try this treatment on equally catchy songs “Out of Control” and “True Romance,” which both sounded decent, though still better on the album. The best performance of their set was on the band’s current single “Take the World,” which uses a bit more instrumentation than the band’s previous albums and translated better live for it.

Bush

Bush performing on the Outdoor West StageBush performing on the Outdoor West Stage

Later in the afternoon after an unexpected twenty minute delay, the newly reformed Bush took the audience on a ’90s nostalgia trip, opening their set with an passionate version of “Machine Head” from their 1994 debut Sixteen Stone. Though Bush is from England, it was radio play from Los Angeles’s KROQ that really helped launch their muti-platinum career. During “Everything’s Zen,” lead singer/guitarist Gavin Rossdale started quoting The Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime,” singing “You may ask yourself, how did I get here?” in reference to how Bush found its biggest audience in the US partly because of this. Bush pretty much stuck to the hits with new songs sprinkled in from The Sea of Memories, which will be the band’s first studio album in ten years.

Judging from songs like “All My Life,” the material from Sea of Memories will sound much better live than it does on the studio recording. It had an upbeat, almost punky quality lacking on the version found on YouTube. Sounding better live isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It proves they can really play and don’t just rely on fancy recording equipment, despite the fact that founding member and lead guitarist Nigel Pulsford decided not to rejoin the band. Rossdale played and sang his heart out and had a penchant for getting as close to the audience as possible. He played “Glycerin” almost entirely by himself and even let the audience sing a good majority of it for him which was surely an epic moment for everyone who remembered being a teenager with that song constantly playing on the radio. “Comedown” was equally as epic with the audience again singing a majority of the song. The only complaint might be that the set was much too short.

Motley Crue
Vince Neil showing us his "Wild Side"Vince Neil showing us his “Wild Side” on the Outdoor West Stage

Of course, the biggest audience flocked to the West Stage for headliners Motley Crue, who as Tommy Lee so aptly put it, “have stumbled down these streets so many times, played that club, threw up in that club, done it all on these streets.” The image of the Sunset Strip is practically synonymous with Motley Crue, and they were a perfect choice for this festival. The Crue came out with the same energy, pyrotechnics, and half naked girls they have been providing their audience for nearly thirty years, opening with “Wild Side” and the extremely appropriate “Saints of Los Angeles.” The set continued with expected hits like “Girls, Girls, Girls,” “Shout at the Devil,” and “Doctor Feelgood,” though this particular performance had an extremely personal feel, as if they were playing a show at the Whiskey back in 1982. It was especially moving when Tommy Lee took to the piano for mega ballad “Home Sweet Home,” though they often perform the song.

Some unusual highlights were a cover of Gary Glitter’s “Rock N’ Roll Part 2,” played as the intro for their cover of “Smokin in the Boys Room”; and Tommy Lee’s drum set rotating in a circle like a carnival ride taking him upside down and sideways during his drum solo. Then surprise guest Deadmau5 joined him on the upside down drum ride for a techno version of “Love Rollercoaster,” proving that the Crue still has some surprises up their sleeve as well as the tried and true hard rock they do so well.

as posted on mxdwn.com August 24th, 2011

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Ozzfest: Back with a Vengeance

Posted in Metal Music Interviews and News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2010 by coletteclaire

August 14, 2010: The first date of this year’s Ozzfest tour kicked off in San Bernardino, California, on a hot and dusty day in this small town located just outside of Los Angeles. Kicking off the day was Immune, an unsigned pop-punk band local to L.A. who, along with California Wildebeast, were totally out of place with the rest of the lineup. (Luckily for Ozzfest, those two bands aren’t traveling with them.) Immune started on the second stage promptly at 12:15 P.M., which might as well be 6:00 A.M. in heavy metal time. However, by 12:45 the crowd was already starting to get packed, taking in a typically solid show by Midwestern black metal gods Skeletonwitch.

All photos by Gary Moratz

Sharon Osbourne appeared on the second stage to introduce little-known California Wildebeast, a band that was actually formed by Mike Fleiss, creator of the reality television show The Bachelor. Despite being an alternative rock outfit, they’re on the day’s bill because Fleiss is also working on a Black Sabbath horror movie to be scored by Tony Iommi. It was still awesome though to see the queen mother of metal herself taking the time to address the crowd. Say what you will about Sharon but she is a savvy, intelligent woman and truly an inspiration to many.

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After California Wildebeat, the pace and the mosh pit picked back up with thrash/death metal band Goatwhore making their second Ozzfest appearance and performing a truly punishing set. Then Saviours, a stoner metal band from Oakland who have been generating quite a buzz lately, kept the frantic metal madness going. It’s tough for a band to give a fair representation of their material in a 25-minute set at a festival like this, but Goatwhore and The Saviours both managed to pull it off.

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Thrash metal legends Exodus were up next and they never fail to give it their all. The fact that these guys have persevered over almost 30 years and the death of their lead singer is amazing—Kirk Hammett was in this band before Metallica, for God’s sake! The band opened with “The Ballad of Leonard and Charles” and “Beyond the Pale,” two songs from their new album Exhibit B: The Human Condition. The new songs stood up quite well next to old favorites like “A Lesson in Violence” from the band’s first album and “Toxic Waltz” from 1989’s Fabulous Disaster. Rob Dukes, the band’s current singer, got the crowd to separate then attack each other for one of the craziest mosh pits of the day.

Exodus08jpg

Exodus03jpg

Drowning Pool then took the stage and shifted the mood from pure metal to a little blues rock; it actually translated well alongside the other acts despite not being quite as heavy. The band played a mix of songs from all of their albums including “Feel Like I Do,” the first single from the band’s recently released self-titled album. They also played “Step Up” from the album Desensitized, and of course their hits “Sinner” and “Bodies” from their debut album.

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Black Label Society followed Drowning Pool, a perfect musical transition, but before they could perform Jody Barnes and Jennifer Knorr had to get married. That’s right, married. Apparently Ozzfest emcee Big Dave was ordained as a minister for his brother’s wedding, giving Sharon Osbourne the idea to make a wedding package available along with the typical VIP packages for sale. One couple took them up on the offer and were married before thousands of screaming metal fans. Apparently they also got to eat wedding cake back stage with Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne afterward—not a bad deal for heavy metal fans in love.

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It was then time for Black Label Society to play, wrapping up the second stage for the day. Nonpoint started on the main stage 5 minuets later which probably wasn’t the best scheduling for them since pretty much everyone was watching BLS. Especially since this was everyone’s only opportunity to see Zakk Wylde given the fact that Ozzy now has a new guitar player. The majority of BLS’s set was new material from ‘Order of The Black’ released just 4 days before the show including “Godspeed Hellbound” and “Overlord.”  The band sounded great and even did an encore playing their hit “Stillborn” from ‘The Blessed Hellride’ album. People finally began trickling over to the main stage after BLS wrapped up stopping for a beer and bathroom break along the way. This forced DevilDriver to play to a somewhat sparse crowd but a good amount of dedicated fans were standing on seats screaming the lyrics and showing love to the band that played a great set including “I Could Care Less” and “Fate Stepped In.”

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It was then time to break out the big guns, starting with one of Judas Priest front man Rob Halford’s solo bands, the appropriately named Halford. Rob took the stage decked out in aviator sun glasses and a floor length leather studded biker jacket complete with floor length arm fringe. He played a decent set of about ten songs mainly from Halford’s catalog. Many people shouted things like “Painkiller” hoping for a Priest cover and technically they got one but it was “Heart of a Lion” which was featured in Priests’ 2004 box set Metalology as a previously unreleased track. Some highlights from the Halford catalog were “Resurrection” and “Savior” off the band’s first album. The band itself sounded very tight and there weren’t a lot of effects on the instruments or in the mix so you could really hear what they were playing. Rob can still belt out every extremely high note perfectly and he still remains one of the most talented singers in heavy metal.

IMG_2382JPGHalford

IMG_2720JPGHalford

Motely Crue then proceeded to come out on stage and basically steal the show for the evening, nothing against Ozzy he was great too, but Motely Crue put on one hell of a performance. It didn’t hurt that it finally got dark giving everything a much more “metal” atmosphere. Starting off with “Kick Start my Heart” Motley came out in a foray of fireworks and explosions with red lighting shinning behind them on a giant banner with the bands logo. They then tore through many more of their hits for over an hour including  “Live Wire” “Shout at the Devil” “Dr. Feelgood” “Primal Scream” and of course “Girls, Girls, Girls” complete with the Harley motorcycle noises piped in. Vince Neil’s voice has gotten better since Crue Fest last year; he hit more of the higher notes than before. Although he didn’t feel it necessary to sing every line of the song since the audience was singing it for him, but no one seemed to notice. An especially epic highlight was when they brought out a grand piano for “Home Sweet Home” and Tommy Lee played the entire piano intro. Lighters and cell phones were quickly brought out by the crowd and held into the air as everyone got misty eyed while singing along. This was Los Angeles after all, so the song was most appropriate.

As if you weren’t already reeling from all you’d already seen and experienced it was then time for the man himself, the “Prince of Darkness” Ozzy Osbourne. The giant screen above the stage, which usually just shows you what’s happening on stage, began playing clips of popular TV shows and movies but with Ozzy superimposed into them. In one of the clips Ozzy was playing Beyonce’s part from the “Telephone” music video by Lady Gaga. Ozzy had on make up and a wig to look like Beyonce and then turned to Lady Gaga and proclaimed “you dress really weird are you sure you’re not a man?” In another Ozzy was Robert Pattinson’s “Edaward” character in the Twilight movie complete with a wig of puffy hair. When Kristen Stewart calls him a vampire Ozzy replies “Vampires are pussies I’m the prince of fucking darkness!” The final clip featured Ozzy in the Iron Man suit from the movie where he of course proclaimed “I Am Iron Man!” Seeing the clips was a little strange at first but ultimately very funny.

Then the band finally came out playing “Bark at the Moon.” Ozzy having just as much energy as always, even at 61 years old, hopping around and clapping his hands in his wild man way. The set list consisted of mostly 1980’s era Ozzy including “Mr.Crowley” “Shot in the Dark” and “Suicide Soultion” among others. This may have been an homage to his previous tour with Motley Crue over twenty years before which went down in history as one of Ozzy’s most notorious antics wise, including the infamous ant snorting incident. Missing from the set was any 1990’s era Ozzy like “No More Tears” or “Perry Mason” and in its place were 3 Black Sabbath songs which were “Paranoid” “Fairies wear Boots” and of course, “Iron Man.” Zakk Wylde’s replacement on lead is 29 year old Greek guitarist “Gus G” (which is somehow a nickname for Kostas Karamitroudis), who played with several bands including Arch Enemy and his own band Firewind before joining up with Ozzy. He has some pretty big shoes to fill including Toni Iommi and Randy Rhoads but he did it with no problem pulling off every solo and not missing a note. An added highlight was the appearance of Guinness Book of Worlds Records youngest professional guitarist 10 year old Yuto Miyazawa. He came out during the encore and played “Crazy Train” along with the rest of the band on his Randy Rhoads style flying V.  Yuto is an internet sensation who appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres show in 2009 where he was introduced to Ozzy. Ozzy’s set was a bit more effects laden than some of the others but the band ultimately sounded fantastic and Ozzy’s voice is as strong as ever.

Ozzfest seemed like it was dying out in recent years with the “free” ticket disaster in 2007,  the only one date played in Texas in 2008 and no tour what so ever in 2009. This year proved however that Ozzfest is back with a vengeance. Many people agree this was the best line up in years. Let’s hope the legacy continues for many more years to come.

By: Colette Claire

As reported on mxdwn.com 8/23/10