Thursday, October 20, 2016

Anthrax, Death Angel, Children of Atom | 10-16-16, Knitting Factory | Spokane, Washington

Anthrax, Death Angel & Children of Atom: Knitting Factory, October 16, 2016, Spokane WA.
October of 2014 was basically the beginning of my dialysis treatment along with my chemotherapy for a rare form of testicular cancer. My last concert was Nine Inch Nails & Soundgarden in Las Vegas with my buddy Jesse. Time has passed by quickly, but I have been through a living hell in those two years and I pray that my cancer does not flare up anytime soon (for I am not out of woods on that nightmare). Dialysis continues on for life now and you never really get used to the schedule and how it makes me feel afterwards. I am weakened, achy, lethargic and all I wish to do is melt into a chair or go to bed. Dialysis has ruined my daily schedule and it’s the focal point to three days of my week. I work while I’m there and so blessed I remain employed all these years through all this turmoil. It’s not easy on anyone in my life and I cannot feel bad enough about it for having so many deal with my issues. But, let’s not dwell too much on negative or the crap that slows me down, for this moment in time was long overdue…to get back to experiencing live music once again! A few attempts prior to this show did not happen but I was bound and determined to make this show!
What helped in making this show? A walker did. I’m weakened by dialysis, so I get short of breath and strength rather quickly but the more time away from dialysis, the better off I recover as my endurance increases by the hour. Still, I need the support of a walker now to REALLY get around. The walker really helped out a lot in getting around town to the venue from the parking garage. Once inside the attached restaurant to the venue, I was initially looked at in apprehension by a young blonde girl who didn’t know what to do with me, then another gentleman came along and said come on in and we’ll take you into the venue shortly. I was not expecting that kind of help/treatment but I gladly appreciated the opportunity to get in and settled before the crowd rushed in. When it was time, I was escorted through the restaurant, over to the wheelchair ramp to get into the venue. Once inside, I could basically pick anywhere I wanted to be “seated” for the night. If I wanted a table and chair, I could have taken one but I wasn’t interested in taking up any more space than possible and wasn’t about to drink so I did not need a table. I pulled up to a spot near center stage visually & high enough above the crowd to have a view basically without interference. I felt so blessed to have such access and felt very safe where I was at. Keep in mind, my walker has a seat built in and so I used that walker for my seat for the night, along with then having the ability to stand up when needed and the overall comfort in that walker seat was outstanding for such a long evening. It was all a great test to see how things would work out and I couldn’t have been more relieved. Another thing to keep in mind, having to swallow more pride in life and knowing that once you go out into the world with a walker, you’re that much less of a person in the eyes of the world. It’s an extremely lonely feeling. All eyes are on you for all the wrong reasons and I just tried to keep focused on the people that were kind to help out and then focus on the bands. When the night was over, get out without engaging a soul; it simply makes it easier to take.

Children of Atom ( comes from Spokane. I was pleased to hear them begin to play, for it brought a smile to my face that I was there in the moment! I have returned to live music events! Children of Atom has a stoner rock edge to them and can jam quite well to bluesy ZZ Top-inspired grooves to the harder edge blues/groove sounds of bands like The Sword.  I was truly pleased to hear very decent opening act and I would look that band up for more tunes to hear what they have to offer.
Children Of Atom

Death Angel

Death Angel ( has been a leader in thrash metal since its birth in the Bay Area back in the 80’s and the band continues to flourish and be an inspiration to all young rock n rollers today. Touring on the latest release “The Evil Divide,” the band played tunes from their beginning to now. I have seen Death Angel play before and I found them much tighter as they played with great precision and stronger than ever vocals by Mark Osegueda (I did have a giggle, though when Mark would speak to the crowd and he would try to get them excited for the next tune or thanked the audience after a song. I laughed because he sounded like Sam Kinison when screaming out). I still haven’t heard a Death Angel song where I feel any real connection and with that feeling, there’s a reason they are not part of the Big 4 in heavy metal. The next big four, perhaps. Exodus, Testament, Death Angel, & Overkill. Granted, Death Angel is a much respected and well-known founders/fathers of the Thrash Metal movement so much respect to them and their evolution in sound.

Death Angel
Death Angel 


Anthrax ( was simply fantastic once again! I have lost count how many times I have seen the band now, most have been in Spokane and each show just gets better and better. Joey Belladonna’s vocals remain incredibly strong. That’s what’s great about thrash metal, most thrash metal vocals are actually singing, not screaming. Not growling. Thrash metal is so well connected to orchestral music and grandiose theatrical elements; it flies off the walls with such intensity no one can sit still. Thrash metal remains such a vital part of the health of rock music. The technical playing by Scott Ian and lead guitarist Jonathan Donais was simply perfection and beautiful. Drummer Charlie Benante was not there but his clone was and played outstanding all night long. Setlist for the evening: (Impaled), A.I.R., Monster In the End, Caught In A Mosh, Madhouse, Got the Time, Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t, Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.), Medusa, March of the S.O.D., In The End, Antisocial, Be All, End All, Breathing Lightning & Indians. 


 When Anthrax played “In The End,” it was dedicated to Dimebag and Ronnie James Dio and I must say that tribute and some of the lyrics of that tune really seemed to hit home and I had a little happy-to- be-there tear in my eye thinking of all the shit I’ve been through in the last 2 years and again to make it back to the live music world and witness the mayhem, the smells, the sounds, the unfortunate greetings with drunk people and all the sights and senses that bring me back EVERY time to a live music event….there is nothing like it. So, thank the good Lord above and all the wonderful people in my life who help me every day so I can go out into the world once in a while and experience the great stuff in life like Anthrax! \m/

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden & Oneohtrix Point Never | July 19, 2014 | Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas, NV

Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden & Oneohtrix Point Never | July 19, 2014/Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas, NV

   The 40th year of life has been one with quite a few changes. Most have not been good changes but there have been special moments with good friends and family that will make life turning 40 worth remembering. 
    For example, my buddy Jesse and I continued to celebrate turning 40 by heading out to Vegas to enjoy life the best we can under personal changes and conditions we were both being directed into. Vegas is the place to let go of the bullshit in life and find good times. This trip was no exception but we both could feel a real absence of a certain soul in life that should have never left in the first place but you cannot dictate your desires for things to be as they were or are in life but this trip was an opportunity to let go and turn new pages and open doors into worlds ahead that were very unknown or expected to experience.

   As for the time in Vegas, it was all about enjoying new restaurants, bars, lounges, hotels or locations we haven’t necessarily been to or simply go back to some of the better spots we always enjoy best and tear shit up right there. Lots of discussions leading up to the trip always (to me) bring up going and doing something only in Vegas. A concert or an event you just may not see in your town. It turned out that a chance meeting with an funny little Irishman made that happen….

   Sitting at one of the center bars inside, I believe was the Hard Rock Hotel, we met this young kid from Canada, originally from Ireland who was in the country doing God knows what but I believe he was in America for school.  He was alone and spending plenty of money into the machine before him at the bar. The question came up, “what brought you to Vegas?” and he replied that he came to town to see Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden at Planet Hollywood. Somehow in my research I did not see that was going on the week we were there but with a little bit of liquor and fuzzy logic, Jesse and I both said, fuck it, let’s see if there’s tickets available. Off to StubHub at that very moment and with a little time, BINGO…tickets purchased! Finally something special to do while in Vegas!! Damn the costs! As for the young Irishman, we had him come with us over to the HofbrÀuhaus for a stein of  tasty lager. The odd thing was, he didn't last long for he looked at the both of us, got up, walked backwards and kept looking then simply darted off into the crowd. The behavior was weird, who knows what he was thinking! By chance, a few days later, we found him once again sitting at bar in some casino and nothing really ever got answered as to why he left so abruptly but we let it go and drank with him once again for a brief time.

   After some issues getting the tickets printed at our hotel the day of the concert, we finally got that adventure done and then spent the rest of the day doing what we do best then making our way over to Planet Hollywood that evening. God bless StubHub for this concert because we got seats 10 rows back from the stage, dead center. The seats were beyond tight but we knew we’d be standing once the show began. Everyone around us were in the same frame of mind so it was all good.

   The opening act for the night was a DJ named Oneohtrix Point Never. The DJ made the most God-awful techno bass EDM bullshit noise on the planet. You fucking people who find this shit entertaining live are idiots! Sure, it's fine for clubs who have no taste but NOT for this show/crowd! There’s a douche up on stage, in front of a computer pressing buttons that repeat like a skipping record! No soul, just a computer programmed with a guy who said NOTHING! I don’t think he even introduced himself to the crowd because the people around me were just as unimpressed as we were with the WTF expressions on their faces as well.

   Up next was Soundgarden and damn were they good! It’s taken me 20 years to come around to enjoy Soundgarden for what they are and what they have made over the years. Even after this concert, I don’t think I could call myself a big fan but I would say I have grown to respect and value Soundgarden’s musical contributions to Rock & Roll. The passionate, painful voice of Chris Cornell along with the solid guitar of Kim Thayil and the rockin’ angry spirit of bassist Ben Shepherd gave Soundgarden a larger than life presentation on stage. Matt Chamberlain was the drummer from The Smashing Pumpkins played for Matt Cameron who’s on tour with Pearl Jam. Soundgarden played all the hits and plenty more from their impressive catalog of work. The stage production and lighting was beautifully integrated with the song that was performed. All in all a great experience witnessing one of the biggest rock acts in the country.
    I knew I couldn’t last the evening without trekking all the way to the top of the venue to drain the main vein. Talk about an exhausting adventure to get in, out and back to my seat before Nine Inch Nails hit the stage but I literally made it right in time as the lights went dim. Nine Inch Nails was beyond fantastic and I can probably hear some of out there saying well, what the fuck, Nine Inch Nails is full of computer-generated beats and EDM experimental l bullshit but I’ll tell you right now, Trent Reznor was one of the originals who took the style and created MUSIC with it! Yanno, lyrics, a vibe, a voice, a band, and a soul to the style. THAT’S THE DIFFERENCE why Nine Inch Nails is so successful and their style will never feel dated. It’s timeless music.
    If you haven’t been following Nine Inch Nails’ music since The Downward Spiral, you may not have known a lot of the music played that night for they covered their entire catalog and then would do crazy industrial/techno solos of aggressive noise. The music in the last 15 to 20 years since The Downward Spiral has been fantastic, weird, unnecessary or wasteful but they played the best known tunes from those releases.  Being the first night of this tour, you could see some production issues that weren’t working on stage and it was somewhat acknowledged at a certain point during their set because some was that obvious. Nine Inch Nails overall was spectacular and the stage lighting that set the mood that was given during songs really made for a special event unlike no other. 
   A great trip to Vegas once again was closing down on July 21st. By then, I was physically so exhausted and begging for sleep along with a smooth flight home that it was the possible trigger of what entails for the remainder of my life. I took my sweet time getting to the Las Vegas Airport that day and took my sweet time navigating to get where I needed to be once there. Keep in mind as well, it’s been over 100 degrees the entire time we were there and my body no longer holds up too well to the heat no matter how much I love it so it was all I could to walk, cool down, walk and cool down again. 
   The silver lining to the discomfort was as I had just finished going through security then I took a few moments to find the first set of chairs before you board the tram to take you out the gates to cool down. No one was around me and I was facing the window so I really wasn’t turning over my shoulder to see who’s coming by at that moment.  Then I heard a voice who was right behind me talking to two other people and the voice was instantly recognizable! HOLY SHIT, it was Vinnie Paul from the legendary gods of Metal, PANTERA, DAMAGEPLAN & HELLYEAH!  I couldn’t stop turning over my shoulder at that point and his assistant couldn’t help by recognize that I had become an audience to their discussion. I apologize to interrupting their conversation but I took my moment to thank Vinnie for all the years of fantastic music he’s given to the world and my life. We started talking more about his new band, HELLYEAH which I think he thought I didn’t know existed but just kept saying "Yah, yah yah, I know!" He pulled out a promotional postcard of the new album Blood for Blood from his personal bag and I gladly accepted. They went on their way and that was that. I didn’t not shake hands or take a picture, just a very low-key moment to say thank you for the all the great memories and music that man created and continues to create today! CFH always! 
    It will be hard to top Las Vegas, 2014 with so much going in life…so this time around what happened in Vegas, needed to be shared…well…perhaps still not EVERYTHING ;) 

Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails - early in show

Nine Inch Nails - The different lighting productions were astounding!

Soundgarden - first song in set, Shepherd made his way around the audience to get them engaged!

Soundgarden - Great stage sets/lighting throughout the performance


Soundgarden - live n loud
The postcard handed to me by Vinnie Paul of Pantera/Damageplan/Hellyeah

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Floater, The Finns and Jimmy Nuge | June 7, 2014, Knitting Factory, Spokane WA

A Saturday night concert! Almost a rare treat to enjoy the weekend in full with early morning work at home until it’s time to stop then get prepared for a night out on the town. Floater just keeps getting better and better for as a band that you can rely upon when it comes to pulling out any album from their catalog and every song does not disappoint. The songs are timeless and melodic with energy drawn from sources like The Doors, The Police, Pink Floyd, Tool, and Primus. Floater STILL deserves to be known EVERYWHERE but everyone along the West Coast gets the special treat of seeing Floater at least once in year in their towns. Next time you hear Floater is coming, go hear the music and get lost in the vibes.
The opening acts were some local talent, starting with Jimmy Nuge doing an acoustic performance and what a mess of fun it was. I like the loose vibe of just getting up on stage and breaking into song but since he’s apparently a local favorite from a local band, you think he’d come and be a bit more professional, cleaned up (apparently he just came from work) and show off his talents vs clowning around so much. Yeah, yeah, relax, it’s music not a personal audition for me (I can hear people whining already). I just wish when someone gets up there, they come to do their best, present themselves in the best light possible. You’re trying to build an audience, not just fill the time.
Next were The Finns and I swear this ranks right up there with some of the worst I’ve seen live. AGAIN, they are up there trying and doing way more than I would do and showing more balls than most in this world but appeared to come from a high school music competition. Two young men and two young women with NO character or presence on stage. Staring at your instruments making sure you hit each note correctly comes off poorly. I’m sure they are brand new in the area as a band and have MUCH to learn to be a better band so perhaps years from now they will look like they know what they are doing up on stage they blow the doors of the room. There’s always hope.


The Finns

Jimmy Nuge

DevilDriver, WhiteChapel, Revocation, Carnifex, Rivers of Nihil, Fit For An Autopsy | May 26, 2014, Knitting Factory, Spokane Wa.

Tonight’s concert was a long one considering there were six bands playing. New bands are not necessarily a bad thing, of course and you’re always hoping to discover something special but if the bands get repetitive with sound and/or presence then the night can go long and the audience can fall apart by the time the headliner hits the stage, which in this case quite a few people decided they had enough after WhiteChapel had finished. This was their night, since they were currently hitting the charts with the song entitled “The Saw is the Law.” The crowd that left missed out on another fantastic set by one of the most prolific bands in heavy metal, DevilDriver, fronted by the now reborn Coal Chamber of the ‘90s.
The night started off with Fit For An Autopsy which did show me much regarding a sound all their own, nor did Rivers of Nihil but they got the crowd warmed up some for the long night of thundering noise and cookie monster vocals.
Next, was the band called Carnifex and I found them entertaining musically and visually. I swear the lead singer looked like a spitting image of Crispin Glover as the legendary George McFly from the Back To the Future. He had the same shaved side, slicked/combed over haircut, same slim body presence and profile of Crispin Glover. I heard some great potential I them and I know they’ve been around a while now but it’s still in general a band that makes for a great opening act.
Revocation played next and they were a good blend of metal and hard driving, straight ahead rock and roll. Their lead singer is really talented and is the glue to the success of that band. It’s rare you get great guitar solos that aren’t just metal-type solos, Revocations solos were filled with more soul and depth and draws you in to hear more of the complexity that they bring to their music. It’s almost too bad they are thrown in with metal bands with crazy text for a logo/brand. Their music is simply better than their marketing shows.
The highlight for many people that night was to bear witness to WhiteChapel. This band has been around for a little while now and are just hitting their stride with their latest release entitled  “Our Endless War.” I must say their light show and aura are impressive. The guttural vocals almost can frighten and the pounding the audience takes is quite impressive. I can see why and respect why people are digging this band at this time. There was some resemblance of witnessing Lamb Of God for the first time and being mighty impressed with the vibe but Lamb Of God have more range/depth than WhiteChapel.
As some of the crowd decided that WhiteChapel was their reason to come and were simply worn out after five bands played before DevilDriver hit the stage, the remaining audience were given another fantastic show by one of the best bands in metal music. DevilDriver played some new cuts off their latest release “Winter Kills” along with a plethora of classics along with a taste off their music catalog. Being one band that never disappoints, gets to your town at least once a year and releases new music more often than not in this day and age, I highly suggest you get into DevilDriver!



Fit For An Autopsy


Rivers of Nihil