Category Archives: Concert Review

The Dead Kennedys Keep Punk Alive

Dead Kennedys are here to proclaim that punk is NOT dead!
(L to R: Vocalist/ Ron “Skip” Greer, bassist Geoffrey “Klaus Flouride” Lyall and guitarist Ray “East Bay Ray” Pepperell)

Here at the Ugh Metal site, we’ve covered shows that for the most part  the Klown and his sibling attend the shows  together because we mutually go to experience the moment. This time, however, the punk and metal gods clashed and caused a divide amongst us. July 21 was an interesting day not just for us but for San Diego. That Friday just happened to be the SD Comic Con International’s second official day and as if last year wasn’t enough to convince us of how the scene can surprise us, this year a splitter was thrown. “WTF are you talking about Klown?” you may be asking. Gather ‘round the fictional campfire, my droogs as your savior of misbehavior shall treat you to Team Klown’s time at the sold out Dead Kennedys show at the Brick by Brick.

The Klown got his night of drunk and punk started with local punk scene legends Systematic Abuse formerly known as The Resentments, winning the attendance portion of the split. The Klown knew then that two things were going to happen, his goofy ass was about to get kicked and that he was going to experience what the diehard punkers have with Systematic Abuse. The collective first treated us to “No Escape” from their 2015 release No Escape. Once drummer Adam Cripe began to hit his house drums and pick up the pace, guitarist Erik Dogol added more liveliness to this punk style mix.

Local legends Systematic Abuse kicked off the sold out show.
(L to R: Drummer Adam Cripe , vocalist Match and bassist Grim)

That speed would later be picked up once again after bassist Grim joined in. Once Match accompanied the ensemble with his harsh vocals, he added the much-needed attitude that night craved. Also from the same album, the band treated us to the energetic and guaranteed circle pit starter “Slasher” which also featured Dogol and Grim doing the backing chorus to amplify the song.

The real treat of the night was when Systematic Abuse paid tribute to our metal god, Lemmy Kilmister as they covered “Ace of Spades” and gave it a faster and punk twist to the metal anthem. The performance had left the early birds clamoring for more and the ones trickling in with intrigue.

Systematic Abuse left people wanting more!
(L to R: Guitarist Erik Dogol, vocalist Match, drummer Cripe and bassist Grim)

As the exploits of the Abuse left intrigued, Authentic Sellout had fans enjoying, moshing and headbanging throughout the show. The band kicked off their set by having a comic con vendor known as The Wizard act as a hype man for the night. Lead guitarist, Christian Borja, immediately followed after The Wizard with an infectious opening riff to lead the charge with “King of Rock n Roll.” Frontman Sulo King will have you doing a double take, at first, because of his resemblance to that of WWE superstar Dean Ambrose.

Once King began his vocal work, it began to sound like a decree to this dynamic song and he would immediately be joined, vocally, by bassist Rice Enright and rhythm guitarist Andy Danger. King continued to  showcase his showmanship by not only starting a circle pit but even joining it during the performance of “American Dream.” Not one to leave a fallen mosher laying on the floor, King helped a female mosher up who happened to tumbled down in the pit and serenaded the rest of the song to her before climbing back up to the stage.

Bassist Rice Enright and guitarist Christian Borja of Authentic Sellout make it rain with sime sweet riffs.

King seemed to be a fan of The Walking Dead because he had brought Lucille with him. For those unaware of Lucille, it is a baseball bat wrapped in barb wire at the base. King used the prop to send a clear message of their latest song “Technology.” King decreed that anyone on their cell phone would get them knocked off their hands by Lucille. King would then jump off stage to seek out anyone on their phones to knock them off their hands, like he said he would.

Authentic Sellout closed out their time with their hit song from their 2009 Live By The Dollar Sign, Die By The Dollar Sign EP, “Working Class Stiff.” Authentic Sellout left quite the commotion and accomplished to soften the crowd for the kill. Prior to that night, the Klown didn’t know what to expect and was glad that he had a hell of a surprise with these gents.

Sulo King of Authentic Sellout wants to show us his friend Lucille while guitarist Christian Borja strums an epic funeral song.

The local punk powerhouse known as Sculpins took the stage and the Klown, alongside all the attendees, could feel a new commanding and confident presence from this quartet. Although the last time the Klown saw these gents was a little over a year ago,  the Klown still believes that these gents represent the current generation of punkers. Sculpins do a great job to remind you that the death of punk has been greatly exaggerated. The quartet kicked off their set with “Social Acceptance” from their 2015 Force Feeding An Obese Society LP.

From the moment guitarist Branden Parish’s erratic guitar riffs began, the crowd was immediately in a fevered frenzy. But the true spectacle of the band was frontman Adam Gomez. For those who have had the chance to see this man in action, y’know exactly what the Klown is talking about. However, for those who haven’t, you my child are missing out because Gomez will one-up you when it comes to feeling the music.

Sculpins made us feel, man!
(L to R: guitarist Branden Parish, vocalist Adam Gomez and drummer Jarrod Monday)

When Gomez is not spazzing out  while he shows off his vocals, he will carry his mic stand with one hand, flip it over his shoulder and parade the stage with it while still blaring his powerful, screaming vocals. Another thing to note about Gomez is that the man embodies the punk attitude and spirit by sharing anecdotes of social justice or social commentary as a footnote and an intro to the songs he’s about to perform. After the band’s performance of “Reluctant,” Gomez would show his humility and gratitude for the opportunity given to them. This show was the first time a high profile and sold out show featured a lineup consisting of local bands with one major headliner at the helm.

Much like Sulo King, Gomez also got off stage to join the pit serenaded a female punker that was caught in the mosh before heading back to the stage, and serenaded a lucky lady that was sitting on a knee scooter and had a cast on her leg. Sculpins also premiered a brand new song titled “Peace Offering” and closed their unforgettable performance with “Aiding & Incorporating Death.”

Adam Gomez of Sculpins had a duet with the mic stand!

As much as the Klown really wanted to continue speaking of the show stealing Sculpins, it is time that the Klown chats you up about the legendary Dead Kennedys.  No matter the history, issues, or the roster changes, they are legendary through merit and have managed to stand the test of time. Although the Klown amongst many wish that Jello Biafra would still be part of the band, Ron “Skip” Greer does a great job filling the shoes that were left behind.

The group preceded their sold out affair with “Forward to Death” and the reception they got was bar-none as the crowd erupted and almost brought down the Brick. Greer not only had an infectious personality, he has a voice that can closely match Biafra’s and is not afraid to use humor when he has to. By the time the band finished playing “Police Truck,” Greer was aware of what was taking place in San Diego and took the time to address and joke about the Comic Con. Such jokes were not only comic book related but also pop culture such as Twin Peaks with the implication that the eleventh season was being announced, and the 20th Transformer movie featuring a very old Mark Wahlberg.

Ron “Skip” Greer of Dead Kennedys happy to see all the Comic Con Pop figures.

By the time “Kill the Poor” was finished, Greer once again started to joke and address an issue most aren’t aware of including musicians, having to look for some regular employment to make ends meet. In this case, he would turn that around and claim that he had taken a job with the Trump Administration and finished the joke with a confession of him being responsible for Trump’s alleged leaks to Russia. Of course, it would be rather incomplete if the band didn’t dish out their famous hits before the night was through which was done during the band’s encore.

That arsenal consisted of “California Uber Alles” and the band’s satirical cover of Elvis’s “Viva Las Vegas.” The night truly erupted when the famous surfer rock riffs of their mega hit “Holiday in Cambodia” began. Much like some of the other songs, it had crowd participation to sing along with Greer especially when he presented the microphone to someone in the crowd. The band teased the ending by giving us one more encore in the form of “Chemical Warfare.”

East Bay Ray uber alles!

This show was great and the Klown could only wish that a lot of you could have joined him alongside to partake in this moment. No matter what your feelings are regarding the Dead Kennedys, these men show that true artists must go on for the better or worse. But most importantly, the fact that these gents allowed the local punk scene to lead the way for them spoke volumes.

This shows anyone how much of a class act the Dead Kennedys truly were since it’s not too common for a titan to let the local bands pull the crowd in like moths to a flame. The Klown can only hope to see DK pop back in for another night. Most importantly, many thanks to DH Peligro, your drumming skills are exceptional but your humbleness truly defines you.

Metal Assault Brings #ThrashThursday To San Diego

Nihilist headlines Metal Assault’s Vol.2
(L to R: Guitarist Matt Smith,, bassist/vocalist Loren Tipton)

July 20 was kind of a significant date for San Diego especially of the nerdy and geeky variety. That’s right kids, the San Diego Comic Con International was already in full swing and it was sold out. Luckily for us, Ugh Metal and all the metalheads had a buffer and headed over to Metal Assault’s second concert volume at the Brick by Brick. Unlike the first installment, which the Klown regrettably didn’t get the chance to partake in, the second installment bolstered the night and cured the Comic Con blues.

The night kicked off with the OC quartet known as Siva. The Klown didn’t know what to expect from these gents but he was glad that they were a pleasant surprise. The quartet’s performance was rather refreshing and reintroduced the brand of metalcore that has sprouted known acts such as a Atreyu, Stick To Your Guns and Avenged Sevenfold just to name a few. The Klown witnessed the invigorated frontman, Kory Anderson, move voraciously throughout the performance. His performance reminded the Klown of Whitechapel frontman Phil Bozeman’s performance minus the platforms. Just like Bozeman, Anderson was a man of few words and allowed his actions and vocals to do the orating for him.

Kory Anderson of Siva let his motion do the talkin’.

Anderson and company treated us to songs from their 2015 album The Evolution of Decay such as the album’s forerunner “Leading the Blind.” Anderson also showed off some skills on the keyboard but the real treat wasn’t his skills on the keys. Anderson delighted the present congregation with a brand new, yet-to-be released song titled “Stone to Sand” which sounded pretty awesome and gave everyone in attendance more reasons to look forward to their next installment in the near future. The Klown will admit that these gents left quite an impact on him and the rest along with him. Siva did justice kicking off Metal Assault’s shindig.

Speaking of justice, the quartet from Torrence known as Heavy Justice took the stage front and center to dish out their brand of metal. The Klown can describe their style to be an unholy but awesome marriage between Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. Something worth noting was that amongst this pool of testosterone, some kick ass amount of estrogen was in the mix in the form of drummer Michelle Pickerine.

Heavy Justice was so ready to prevail!
(L to R: Vocalist/ bassist Neil Moutrey, drummer Michelle Pickerine, and lead guitarist/back up vocalist Greg Mullen)

The group treated us to “Gold Digger” and then “Apocalyze.” The best way to describe bassist/vox Neil “Neilio” Moutrey is that he looks like a younger version of the Undertaker during his American Badass phase from the early 2000’s. Moutrey’s vocals resemble W.A.S.P’s Black Lawless and are accompanied by lead guitarist/ backup vox Greg Mullen’s harsh vocals for an extra oomph.

Mullen was a treat because he was a spectacle in and of himself. When he wasn’t running back and forth on the stage to meet up with Irvin Garay for a strumming duet  replicating moments much like K.K Downing and Glenn Tipton. Not a fan of Priest? Fine. How about the combo from Dave Murray and Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden?

Greg Mullen’s enthusiasm level was off the charts!

Heavy Justice also treated us to “Fall of Giants” from their And So We Fall LP. Before the band vacated the stage, they gave the present masses a rewarding send-off with a brand new song, “TV Fails.” The song not only gave everyone something to look forward to but also left the crowd hungry for more.

As soon as Justice served, Monolith picked up and continued Thursday’s debauchery. This local quintet definitely began to turn the steam left behind into smoke. As we all know, when there’s smoke there’s fire. The collective from Oceanside sparked their flames by opening with “The Emperor (The Suffering of Fools)” from their 2015 debut LP Against the Wall of Forever which was released through Funeral Noise Records. The Klown can describe the song as thrash in its infancy but with Keith McIntosh’s vocals reminiscent to that of a young Bruce Dickinson.

McIntosh really showed off his windpipes and sang with feeling with “Against the Wall of Forever” totally had the Klown and the crowd eating it up. McIntosh would once again take the same singing approach with the toned down “Kindly Dr. Jest (The Interrogator)”which had lead guitarist Doug Walker show off a nice and slow guitar solo towards the end as a perfect ending for their first half. The second half of their performance consisted of Monolith introducing a new song titled “Wings of Steel” and played from their 2014 The Notebook EP with “I’m Going Home” and “Pyromania.” After the performance, the Klown understood why these gents were suddenly featured heavily.

Monolith bust out the coolest conga line!
(L to R: Guitarist Jared Bliss , guitarist Doug Walker, bassist Kevin Vickers and front man Keith McIntosh)

Thrash Thursday was capped off and met with one of the underground thrash locals, Nihilist. Although Nihilist is not widely known, they are an absolute treat especially if you are truly big on thrash. The trio kicked off with “Destroyer” from their 2006 Call Down the Thunder and also played “Blood Portraits” from their namesake 2009 release.

The band didn’t just stick too much in their past, they treated us to “Dethmacheen” which happens to have the same name as the EP. It didn’t seem to matter what these gents played because it still caused a commotion. Although the attendance didn’t exactly cause the Brick by Brick to implode, the pit that it garnered on that night is best described like the Grinch’s heart. If you don’t get that analogy, the summary is that the small pit grew threefold. The Klown may be exaggerating a bit but mark his words, that that pit was ever present and showcased how a dedicated and true fan base looks like.

Matt Smith and Loren Tipton of Nihilist keep the pit going on Thrash Thursday.

The frontman/ bassist Loren Tipton was a man of very few words who let his actions and performance do the talking. Not leaving guitarist Elliot Sloan out of the mix, he did a great job showing off his heavy and energetic riffs which complimented the brand of speed thrash that this band has been producing.

Nihilist originally finished with “Nihilist Kills” but fulfilled the request from the crowd, one more song. The band’s encore and final hurrah came in the form of Judas Priest’s “Freewheel Burning.” If you weren’t fortunate to catch this show, then the Klown pities you. Even though this show wasn’t a showcase of metal immortals it was still great to partake and be a part of. Sure, the Klown wasn’t present in the first volume of Metal Assault’s show in San Diego but hopefully this will give you an idea of what to look forward to in the upcoming editions the publication will bestow here.

Lord Dying Rules The Merrow

Lord Dying on their limited tour at The Merrow!
(L to R: Bassist Matt Price, guitarist/vocalist Erik Olson, drummer Chase Manhattan and guitarist Chris Evans)

It was a hot night in July 8, and the Ugh Metal team had the fortune of returning to The Merrow for the second night in a row! The night before we went to the sweet show Metal Assault and Dark Gem Entertainment put together, if you missed out no prob! Read all about it here. If you did not catch our Firey Sides Chat with Lord Dying, feel free to catch up afterwards or during, who are we to judge? We didn’t remise the invitation Lord Dying guitarist Chris Evan and Bret August of Black Arrow Entertainment extended to us. It was truly an offer we could not refuse especially because it was Lord Dying’s limited engagement.

Jenny Oh: We be special! Lord Dying chose to come to our shitty town! *Weeps*

Chuggo: Emphasis on shitty. *Winks* Either way the Klown was looking forward for some booze and Bastard Saints!

J: The members from father’s cult? Why do you care so much about them? They don’t even share their Coronas with us. Bastards!

C: The Klown meant The Bastard Saints. And that’s okay, they can keep their shitty Corona lights! The Klown wants REAL beer. Such as the stuff they serve at The Merrow.

J: So I guess you’re not a beer slut after all, huh? But The Merrow sure serves delicious booze especially when you’re enjoying a nice gig from The Bastard Saints.

The Bastard Saints are far from lame with their brand of thrash!
(L to R: Bassist Rowland Bluntz, drummer Nick Trzos, vocalist/guitarist Fernando Ramirez, lead guitarist Jason Trzos)

C: Enough of the gratuitous advertisement of The Merrow’s big ass beer selection! Not that there was much advertisement to begin with. ON TO THE BASTARD SAINTS! They had the ability to bring the old school back to the new school.

J: Fernando Ramirez made us see colors and clouds every time he nailed them high notes! You go, boy! They even played a cool song we will be using for our revenge montage called “Wrath.”

C: Yeah! Death to O’Douls! The Klown shall wear his “Evil Crown,” no longer will he be the jester but the Klown King…

J:  Whoa there! Hold on there you angry little man…

C: Wrong concert dumbass! “Evil Crown” touched basis on the Teutonic thrash movement most famously pioneered by Kreator and Drunkard. It was a good substitute if you didn’t have the chance to catch Kreator on the Decibel tour earlier this year.

Bassist Nick Trzos and vocalist/guitarist Fernando Ramirez of The Bastard Saints serenade the beer selection at The Merrow.

J: The Bastard Saints ended their set “Ripping the Stitch” which was just as ruthless as the title. This song had a foreboding sense of doom with great riffs from Ramirez and lead guitarist Jason Trzos. Snitches beware!

C: Now we go from raising our drinks to these Bastards and raising our guns!

J: With Raise The Guns! The trio became a quartet for the night by having their buddy, guitarist Chris Kim, join them for this performance.  Some fun facts about these guys is that Dylan Marks drums for this band aside from Beekeeper and Eukaryst, and the frontman/guitarist is Bret August. What can’t these guys do?

Raise your drinks for Raise The Guns!
(L to R: Guitarist Chris Kim, vocalist/bassist Bret August, drummer Dylan Marks and guitarist John McMillan)

 

C: The Klown has asked himself the same question but has yet to get an answer. Enough unanswered questions, it’s time to talk about the Guns! They shot off with their own brand of Thrash.

J: Raise The Guns shot up the place…with extreme adrenaline! Especially when they shined the light, the “Light Of Malice.” August’s presence commanded the stage and you knew he meant business and Chris’s enthusiasm was contagious. Who wouldn’t be after they get to play with a cool band?

C: I don’t know some plebeian? Pardon the first person, I’m pretty sober at the moment. Enough about the Klown, the song that stuck out to him was the song that should be made into a law, “Silence By Law.” The opening riff alone is enough to hook anybody!

Bret August of Raise The Guns is your neighborhood badass.

J: Indeed Klown their set was not long enough! But quality over quantity, if you guys ever have a chance you must catch Raise The Guns, it will be a decision you will not regret. Now because it was Sinday eve, we had to receive our Eukaryst.

C: We were treated to our local sacrament, at long last. Worth nothing since the sister already took Dylan Marks away from me as a fun fact, the Klown has one of his own. This is the band that has Belisario Dimuzio as a full time guitarist when Cattle Decapitation isn’t borrowing him.

J: Oh yeah! Well here’s another fun fact Klown, SCREW YOU! Also Dylan Marks was on double duty that night and drummed his heart out for Eukaryst too.

Vocalist of Eukaryst Ben Marotta preaching their prog death metal hymn.
(L to R: Guitarist Belisario Dimuzio, vocalist Ben Marotta, and bassist Gino Fontana)

C:  They indoctrinated us into their “Lost Tribe” of Prog Death Metal.

J: They added more emphasis on the death metal with “Eucharist.” This unholy beast comes right at you a la Facehugger and is sure to start a pit.

C: The only thing the Klown is thankful for is that there was no actual “Anthropophagy” happening at the time of the performance. He was beginning to think there was going to be some giving the state of some of their possessed congregates.

J: Not even Ben Marotta could resist the power of the Eukaryst and when he wasn’t growling like the creature from the black saloon, he was rolling on the floor succumbing to this possession.

C: I still wish they woulda showed the Klown where the actual “Witch  House” was. The Klown needs a booty call.

Ben Marotta of Eukaryst stars in the “Creature of The Black Saloon,” an Ugh Metal Production of course ;P

J: You’re too much of a bitch for her, but enough about you Klown. It was nice to finally see these locals in action especially after hearing so much about them.

C: Indeed*cough*bitch*cough* we were dying a bit from the musty air but the angels of doom,  Lord Dying, revitalized us.

J: They started off with their hit “A Wound Outside of Time” which has a starting riff that will give you all the right chills in all the right places. Though to be fair this whole song is teaming with amazing and definitive riffs.

C: Lest the Klown forget the pit it immediately started. He was a little flabbergasted because he is not used to seeing that in a doom/sludge show that often. With that pit it felt like “[All Hopes of a New Day] …Extinguished.”

All hails Lord Dying!
(L to R: Bassist Matt Price, guitarist/vocalist Erik Olson, drummer Chase Manhattan and guitarist Chris Evans)

J: Lord Dying resurrected some of their older stuff and briefly triggered a tiny existential crisis with “What Is Not…Is” which totally was where it’s at and it is what it is.

C: Settle down, Jenn-den Smith! Not even today’s top philosopher’s can decipher both of you! Here’s a bit from Klown-fucious, when you think there is light “Darkness Remains.”

J: With your shitty “philosophizing,” enlightenment is just a myth. But this song, however, is the shit especially when Chris Evans and Erik Olson lay down more super sweet guitar solos. Olson’s screaming vocals are sure to give any metalhead enlightenment.

BFFS/ Founders of Lord Dying, Erik Olson and Chris Evans, jamming side by side.

C: Olson’s vocals were harsh, but not too harsh. In fact, they were rather soothing despite of the harshness he incorporates. The rest of the band’s rhythm and melody suited the vocals like the perfect blend from your shitty Starbucks drink, right Jenny Oh?

J: As a newly enlightened person, I will ignore the low blow of bringing Starbucks in to our personal disputes but I will agree with the rest of your statement. I’m sure the rest of the gleeful and/or inebriated moshers would too. The pit was very much alive and well for the entirety of Lord Dying’s set. This special show worked all sorts of magic on the crowd.

C: The Klown concurs although he is weary as to why they sang about the Klown’s ex-girlfriend.

J: The snooty lady clown from Railing Bros.? She didn’t even know you existed. And I don’t think Lord Dying had the misfortune of seeing that three-ring shit show.

C: They may have and that bitch always likes to spread lies about not being with the Klown. She was always expecting the Klown to be “Suckling At The Teat Of A She-Beast.”

J: I doubt they garnered inspiration for this brutal song from your failed endeavors. It was a great song to close their night and yes the pit grew into a mighty whirlpool where fans were having their last hoorah. It was an honor to serve in the court of Lord Dying.

Erik Olson of Lord Dying’s voice is not of this world!

The No Name Gang Keep The Party Going

The No Name Gang headlining this party.
(L to R: Bassist Zac Harriot, guitarist John Haskin, vocalist Justin Hendrick and guitarist Dana Roselli)

The Merrow was teaming with energy and all sorts of hooliganism on July 7 and not just because of ‘Mericuh’s birthday. Hooliganism on a Friday night? How perfect! Metal Assault and Dark Gem Entertainment kept the 4th of July party alive with local cool kids The No Name Gang and a supporting acts that made the night all the more memorable.

Lighting the first spark of the night was Tijuana heavy metallers Meltdown which happened to be their first time at The Merrow. Frontman/guitarist Ian Roa was the embodiment of old school heavy metal not only because he was donning the tight pleather pants but because he had that charisma metal vets posses. Roa along with bassist Daniel Cázares and guitarist Carlos Savage lit up the stage when they lined up and played side by side and had a mini riff battle.

Meltdown stir The Merrow
(L to R: Guitarist Carlos Savage, vocalist/guitarist Ian Roa, and bassist Daniel Cazares)

When Roa wasn’t hitting those impressive high notes and owning the stage, he was sharing stories of their eager fans while they encountered minor technical difficulties. If you think Tijuana doesn’t get down, well think again. Meltdown reinvigorates an old sound with their jovial energy and will certainly spark your interest. The quartet showcases the type of fun and fresh new acts Tijuana is producing that will appeal to both the youngins and the diehard metal OG’s.

After Meltdown finished their impressive set, Long Beach busted out their big guns with Railgun. No, it was not the Klown’s signature move from his short lived days in the Railing Bros. Circus but it was the kick ass band called Railgun! Railgun came out and meant business with their unique brand of thrashy power metal or whatever they classify themselves as, but all yours truly knows is that they’re damn addicting!

IDK what type of genre Railgun identifies themselves as but we lurrrve it!
(L to R: Bassist Brice Snyder, vocalist/rhythm guitarist Cole Jones and lead guitarist Luke Cohen)

Frontman/rhythm guitarist Cole Jones wasn’t wrangling onstage like a mad man but his storytelling vocals and diligence in his guitar playing was more than enough to reel you in. Guitarist/back up vocalist Luke Cohen, however, didn’t hold back and let it all out. WHOA THERE! Not ALL out, he is a classy gent!  When Cohen wasn’t in a frenzy because of his awesome riffs, he was engaging with fans and playing alongside Jones and bassist/backup vocalist Brice Snyder. These guys certainly gave this night more oomph, not that it needed any.

The night didn’t die there. Not even close! Especially when Livin Alive took over and lived up to their name and stirred the amped crowd some more. Livin Alive shredded with their brand of skater thrash and was the band of cool rockstar kids you went to school with. The vocalist/lead guitarist of the group put the wow in Wowie which is not only his stage name but we’re also going to assume that it’s his birth name ‘cause trust us we be investigators… The drummer Big “This is his real name too…” D, shined brighter than the stage lights by giving us a badass drum solo that resonated even when the show was over. Livin Alive can and will resurrect the dead.

ITS ALIVE!!!! With Livin Alive!
(L to R: Bassist Alain Simental, drummer Big D and vocalist/guitarist Wowie)

After we learned to live with Livin Alive, it was time to give in to the secret society of The No Name Gang. Okay they are not a secret society… YET. They are but a “simple” band…ok ok you caught me again! They are NOT just a simple local band. They were the headliners of the night with an alluring moniker. Though the quartet were not the original headliners of this gig, the hometown collective stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park to say the least. Vocalist Justin Hendrick made us feel the profound power of his lyrics as he belted out the songs and shut his eyes channeling each emotion in to the verses. They even premiered a new song called “I Fear,” guess you shoulda been there huh?

There were many things to celebrate that Friday night, aside from it being Friday, ‘Meriuch, and life. Speaking of which, it was a special birthday show for bassist Zac Harriot who was giddy because who wouldn’t be? Harriot was all of us especially because it was his b-day AND he was performing in the headlining band. Someone buy him a shot! Who cares if it’s a month late, buy him an unbirthday shot! You know what, buy everyone in the band an unbirthday shot.

Justin Hendrick of The No Name Gang can’t contain his excitement over that unbirthday shot you promised him…

Though this band has only been around since 2012, they continue to leave an impression on new and old fans alike. The No Name Gang didn’t need any fancy props, lasers or fog machines to reel the audience in. Sometimes all a band needs to catch a crowd’s attention is the simple humility and passion for the craft which is something this band of free spirited dudes has.

Rammstein Was Hotter Than Vegas

Rammstein heat up the T-Mobile Arena in Sin City!
(Photo courtesy of Al Powers for T-Mobile Arena)

In life, there are a lot of firsts that you will never forget. The Klown knows he won’t. His most memorable first will always be the first time the Klown slapped on a pair of his buddy’s earbuds and listened to Rammstein’s 2001 masterpiece Mutter. The Klown would then obtain his own copy and listen to the album religiously. The Klown has never looked back since.

On July 1, the Klown and his aggravated sibling took off to Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena for the first time, in forever, to adorn ourselves with our lederhosen and yodel our hearts out in the 100-plus degree weather. Before the Klown proceeds, many thanks to everyone that kept up with us on this journey through our Facebook and to those that tuned into our Snapchat and Instagram live feeds, you know who you are.

The Klown would also like to thank Combichrist’s drummer Joe Letz for acknowledging us when we recognized him. Most importantly, to Ugh Metal’s new bestie, Corey Pino, and all the other kick ass Rammstein fans Ugh Metal had the pleasure of meeting that day. So without further ado…

Stone Sour inaugurated this show and it would be the first time the Klown has seen the original pet project of the prolific Corey Taylor. Before the Klown continues, a confession must be made because the Klown didn’t see the whole performance due to the fact that he was outside in the beating sun greeting some fans from his days at the Railing Bros. circus , meeting new peeps, getting merch and attempting to get through the door. It was chaotic but worth it. Although he did not see the beginning of the performance, the Klown was fortunate to hear “Made of Scars” as he finally made it through those doors.

Corey: Look! It’s Till Lindemann with his “Engel” wings!
(Photo courtesy of Al Powers for T-Mobile Arena)

The Klown was surprised that the one song he caught in its entirety was their 2006 hit “Through Glass.” Taylor’s voice resonated across the arena and tamed the crowd as he and lead guitarist, Christian Marducci, shared and complimented each other’s guitar riffs.

Taylor, not letting the musty air and Vegas heat stop him from being a showman, he hyped the crowd and invited them to partake in the performance especially during the chorus. Most importantly, Taylor got a huge roar from the crowd just by mentioning Rammstein and Korn performing after him. Stone Sour also played “Absolute Zero” and finished with confetti spewing “Fabuless.”

Corey Taylor? FabuLESS?! More like FabuYASSSS!
(Photo courtesy of Al Powers for T-Mobile Arena)

After Stone Sour bowed out gracefully, the most iconic nu metal band of all time took the stage. The sextet known as Korn took the stage and sent the Klown and the rest of the Korn faithful to a frenzy, heat be damned. In fact, the Klown’s inner pre teen lit up as bright as the stage the moment the ensemble took the stage and flowed like frontman Jonathan Davis’ kilt.

The group initiated their set with “Rotting in Vain” and followed with a classic “Falling Away From Me.” Of course, the very visible pit began to replicate Slayer’s infamous mosh pits once Korn’s Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu’s bass and Brian “Head” Welch’s iconic D-chord guitar riffs dropped for “Here to Stay.”

Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu and Brian “Head” Welch of Korn made the pit grow vicious with a few chords.
(Photo Courtesy of Al Powers for T-Mobile Arena)

Of course, it goes without saying how Davis can manage to impress his loyal fans one way or another. One really great example was when he busted out the bagpipes for the infamous beginning to “Shoots and Ladders.” But a real surprise was how Davis managed to get all of the T-Mobile Arena singing when he incorporated Queen’s “We Will Rock You” during the brief pause that the song has.

The band took it back to their 1994 self-titled debut by performing “Blind.” Lastly, Korn closed with the hit that set the height of their popularity and took the Klown on a nostalgic trip to the first time he heard “Freak on a Leash” in 1998. Aside from the Klown having a borderline heat stroke, he joined the rest of the plebes, vocally and physically. It was a great set and the Klown highly recommends you go to a Korn concert should the opportunity present itself.

Jonathan Davis and the rest of Korn made us all into a “Freak On A Leash.”
(Photo courtesy of Al Powers for T-Mobile Arena)

Even though the Las Vegas heat was already at an upper 90’s, borderline 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the legendary German sextet brought out their stockade to perform their infamous fire laden extravaganza and over-the-top theatrical antics. Yes, the Klown was overheated and sunburned from his left side but that wasn’t enough to stop the Klown from enjoying his first ever Rammstein show in the US of A… especially not this time!

The living legends shrouded the stage with an oversized banner that had a singular pixelated 8 that pulsated to the sounds of an electrocardiogram moments before the commencement of their new single “Rammvier (A.K.A. Ramm4).” “Rammvier” began as the banner dropped and to the beats of drummer Christoph “Doom” Schneider which would then have strobe lights and immediately reveal keyboardist/synthesizer/indestructible master of the treadmill Christian “Flake” Lorenz wearing a jumpsuit.

Soon after, guitarists Richard Zven Kruspe and Paul Landers would descend from above, take front-and-center, split and take each corner of the stage. After some pyrotechnics,  bassist Oliver “Ollie” Reidel was revealed and the band’s physical introduction would conclude with the prolific frontman Till Lindemann tap dancing his way to the center stage while dressed in a white leather trench coat and top hat.

Till Lindemann dresses sharp for Rammstein’s only West Coast show.
(Photo courtesy of Al Powers for T-Mobile Arena)

As Lindemann centered himself, he took off his hat and flung it for the pyro to set off and began singing his legendary deep vocals. Lindemann then rebranded himself visually by donning an impermeable for Rosenrot’s “Zerstören” after “Reise, Reise” and “Hallelujah.” Although, whether it was intentional or not, Lindemann briefly waddled on stage for the performance of  “Zerstören” which had a jazz intermittence during the end before Lindemann took off his costume to reveal a vest that shot pyrotechnics.

“Feuer Frei” filled the T-Mobile Arena with a huge roar and a pit, and was just like the first time American Rammstein fans felt when it was introduced through the Vin Diesel movie xXx. Rammstein wore their infamous dragon masks while fire shot out from the scaffolds, and had fire cannons on both sides of the stage. The twist with this hit was that, briefly, the song became the Junkie XL remix from their Made in Germany 1995-2011 compilation album.

Richard Kruspe of Rammstein mesmerizes us with his sick ass riffs!
(Photo courtesy of Al Powers for T-Mobile Arena)

Rammstein also busted out an old favorite and a classic cover from the legendary punk mistress Nina Hagen “Seeman” which featured Ollie sitting atop of a seated platform strumming an acoustic guitar for the opening sequence. Of course, “Ich Tu Dir Weh” would feel rather incomplete without Lindemann abusing Flake… tongue-in-cheek implied.

The moment was rather comedic as Lindemann would “beat” Flake on all fours and toss him in a bathtub in which Lindemann would be elevated by a platform to pour a bucket full of sparks into the tub which would then be engulfed in pyrotechnics. The latter produced Flake climbing out of the tub and donning a sparkling, sequin suit and dusting himself off before dancing his way back to his keyboard and treadmill.

Christian “Flake” Lorenz of Rammstein is der meister of treadmills and keyboards.
(Photo courtesy of Al Powers for T-Mobile Arena)

For “Du Richt So Gut,” Kruspe and Landers both donned flare-like pyrotechnics for their guitars and lit up the stage and Kruspe’s solo, literally. The real treat came after when Rammstein performed their rendition of Depeche Mode’s “Stripped,” which the Klown enjoys and feels that it’s an underrated cover song. Even though the norm for most bands is to have an encore, the presence and impact that these German gents leave are limitless. The crowd was clamoring for more and Rammstein’s encore seemed rather surreal and made one feel as if they were seeing them for the first time again.

The encore portion began with Mutter’s “Sonne.” In honor of America’s birthday, because when in Rome, “Amerika” was performed which would shower the pit with red, white and blue confetti with a confetti cannon. The night, woefully, concluded with Lindemann donning the famous steel wings and being suspended thereafter for the performance of “Engel.” The wings would shoot flames from the tips which in the eyes of an American Rammstein fan, the sight of Rammstein playing on American soil is like the equivalent to that of a Bigfoot sighting.

Rammstein forfeit their hide and seek championship in the USA…Bigfoot is STILL in the lead.
(Photo courtesy of Al Powers for T-Mobile Arena)

Although many photographic and video evidence and third person accounts are there, you’ll want to see it to believe it. The Klown would like to say that even though it was one of the greatest shows he’s seen, he still feels taken aback by it and still feels like he’s on cloud nine. If these five superstars ever return back to American soil and you are a big fan, the Klown recommends it. You will not be disappointed and, guaranteed, it will be the first that you’ll never forget.

Auf Weidersehn Rammstein!
(Photo courtesy of Al Powers for T-Mobile Arena)

Tengger Cavalry Is Khan Once Again

Tengger Cavalry return to our beaches as a signed band.
(L to R: Tovshuur player/jaw harpist/back up vocalist Chineeleg Borjigin, bassist Alex Abayev, guitarist/vocalist Nature Ganganbaigal, drummer Josh Schifris and tovshuur player Chad Carney.)

There was a celebration of epic proportions at the local tavern Soda Bar on June 25! What? You missed out!? Luckily for you, we were not too intoxicated to remember that fun and folktastic festivity (try saying that 3 times..). Mongolian folk metallers Tengger Cavalry returned to our beaches on their first round as a signed band, having joined the growing M-Theory Audio Records family a few months before. Speaking of the M-Theory Audio clan, it wouldn’t be a small family affair without Helsott!

Fresh off their first European tour, Helsott took over the small stage and amplified it with their exciting energy. The pagan metallers performed with a type of vitality and passion a band would play after they’ve returned home after a long journey. Helsott performed songs from their April EP The Healer such as the titular track and “Astrolive” and classics like “Agamemnon.”

Vocalist Eric Dow and the rest of his band mates never failed to deliver and they harvested the joy fans threw at them in their triumphant homecoming. It was nice to see guitarist David Walston have a little shred war with bassist Mikey Muller and guitarist Michael James while Dow channeled his Viking with his stern glance, eye patch and all!

Straight outta their 1st European tour, is Helsott!
(L to R: Guitarist Michael James, vocalist Eric Dow and guitarist David Walston)

The choppy tides Helsott stirred settled with the groovy Venezuelan called Felix Martin and his catchy Proggy tunes. Felix Martin stunned with his self designed 14 and 16 string guitar which is a wonder in and of itself but once you see Martin pluck this baby, man…The virtuoso and his band mates, fellow string master Scott Fernandez and drummer Brandon Zachey (drummer of Sicarius), worked up the crowd with their suave grooves.

Though Martin didn’t speak, he warmly smiled at the crowd while Fernandez was charming onlookers with his humor and creating a fun vibe. He’s a lot funnier and way more charming than you, Seinfeld! Oh that’s right I went there. Preferences aside the Felix Martin band is a diamond in the rough and though it’s not “metal,” his unique and feel good blend of prog is something far more rare than any gem.

Felix Martin gave us a jam session out of this world…WE ARE ALL FELIX MARTIN…because bassist Scott Fernandez said so.
(L to R: String master/founder Felix Martin, drummer Brandon Zackey and bassist Scott “funnier than Seinfeld” Fernandez)

Tengger Cavalry invaded the Soda Bar stage for the first time as a signed band and we all swam to the stage like the eager overgrown and beer soaked children that we are to hear their tales of war, and metal and GAHH!!! *puts on armor* The cavalry didn’t dilly dally and charged right in, pillaging the venue with their presence and unique brand of folk metal.

We felt the brutality of “Cursed” especially with Nature Ganganbaigal’s signature throat singing, the aggressive strumming from bassist Alex Abayev, the fast paced tempo from drummer Josh Schifris and Chad Carney (bassist of … Sicarius?! Whoa these boys are busy!) plucking away at the tovshuur. Though Uljmuren De and his Morin Khurr (horsehead fiddle) were missing that night, Chineeleg Borjigin played the tovshuur (two-stringed lute) and occasionally the jaw harp like a pro, filling in the void and then some!

How Khaans jam!

This fun raid isn’t complete without the fierce “War Horse” which scoped out its surrounding before charging everyone… NO EDD IT’S MY HORSE…playing the drums?! Oh no its was just Schifris jamming with a horse head. Because Tengger Cavalry couldn’t say no to our adorable glazed eyes, they gave in to the chants and gave us one more song! The Cavalry completed another successful raid in our city and doused us with their fervor. Till the next raid, my friends!

THAT’S MY HORSE EDD BOY! *Takes pic*

Morbid Angel Delivers The Grand Daddy of Bashes

Morbid Angel, one of the grand daddies of death metal!
(L to R”: Guitarist Dan Vadim Von, drummer Scott Fuller, vocalist/bassist Steve Tucker and guitarist Trey Azagthoth)

June 18, two things happened on that day. One, Fathers’ day happened to land on that date, so happy belated Fathers’ day to all the metal dads checking out this article. Two, two of the daddies of death metal came to the House of Blues in our humble abode. The night featured the mighty Morbid Angel and Suffocation. They also brought help in the form of Revocation and Withered.

Chuggo: The Klown is not a big fan of Downtown but he sure loves the House of Blues. It is also worth noting that that night was the first time the Klown indulged on ATL’s own Withered.

Jenny Oh: Withered perked up the crowd with a short but strong setlist. They added a touch of doom in to this death metal ensemble. It was a nice curve ball… a doomy one *laughs evilly*

C:  Right…? They kicked the performance off right away and without a second to spare. The group opened with “Leathery Rind” which also happens to be the Klown’s snack of choice.

J: Tis the flavor of my enemies! Withered switched gears and became less doomy and more aggressive with “Distort, Engulf.” You better believe I will be playing this song next time I have my next serving of… *dramatic pause* Enemies! *evil laugh, thunder cracking*

Withered sure knew how to perk up the crowd \m/

C: If you had that much enthusiasm as you do now, we could have finished this article sooner.

J:  I can say the same about you but only if you were more sober and cooperative. Stop daydreaming about your days in Railing Bros.

C: At least I had a career that paid. Not like your press “career” that was revoked at UPN. Wait…. What was the name of the band that followed?

J: REVOCATION! And enough about our dirty laundry in this article and more on the Bostonians from Revocation. Their “Communion” was the only communion our family should have shoved us into.

C: Agreed. It was also short but great. This band gave us a taste of their “Madness Opus” and gave us a dose of their brand of technical death metal.

J: And technically held a political conference with “Scorched Earth Policy.” If there were more conferences like this, I think politicians would actually listen and maybe finally loosen up a little. Oh… wait a minute, I don’t think they need any more help in the loose department. 😉

Revocation gets technical and brooding.

C:  Ay Oh! Whatever the issue, these guys have my vote for the upcoming elections! Even if their policies leads us to a “Crumbling Imperium.”

J: Plenty of Suffocation will be needed in that crumbling imperium we asked for. *plays “Your Last Breaths” in the background*

C: Yes, they played that current single from their latest album …Of the Dark Light, an album which yours truly rated. Self promotion aside, these gents kicked off their set by kicking it old school like the dads present at the show with “Throne of Blood” from their 1995 album Pierced from Within.

J: They took us deeper down memory lane by really going back with “Liege of Inveracity!”

C: The very brief times the group took a break, current touring vocalist, Kevin Muller did a great job filling in for Frank Mullen and showed off his showmanship. The Klown still remembers when Muller succeeded in getting bassist Derek Boyer a hometown ovation by letting everyone know that he was a local! It’s truly a small world, after all.

Hometown hero/bassist Derek Boyer and Kevin Muller or Suffocation werk it!

J: Like if we needed any more cool points! Nearly 30 years later and these guys are still on top of their game. They refueled the hype we all felt when they first announced the production …Of the Dark Light. For those that missed out on that set… man, happy father’s day to us.

C: Major props to lead guitarist Terrance Hobbs on everything from being really cool to the fans prior to the show to sweet and killer riffs. The Klown hopes to see Mr. Hobbs and the rest of Suffocation again in the future.

J: After succumbing to Suffocation, the Morbid Angel descended upon us and began their sermon by “Summoning Redemption.”

C: No hope for us, dummy. Well… except for “I” there still hope for the Klown.

J: Because it was a special day Morbid Angel surprised us with a new song called “Warped.” This slow building song is tactful and will sneak its way to your brain and you will be headbanging in no time. We can’t wait to see what new stuff they’ll put out.

C: Right you are, broke ass. In the meantime, the quartet stuck mostly to the 2000 classic Gateways to Annihilation as well as their 1998 masterpiece Formulas Fatal to the Flesh with “Bil Ur-Sag” and “Covenant of Death.”

J: Frontman/ bassist Steve Tucker was a man of few words but his performance and his appearance resonated throughout the show. Morbid Angel chose wisely when they reached out to Tucker again to take the reins full time.

Steve Tucker of Morbid Angel giving us our sermon.

C: The Klown would have wanted to see David Vincent and Pete Sandoval but alas this was just as great. It really felt like the Klown was young and getting exposed to Morbid Angel for the first time as a child.

J: Yeah it was so cool seeing all the OG metal dads bring their offspring to the show and bonding through some headbanging and moshing to some good ol’ fashioned death metal. Parenting done right!

C: *muttering* Wish our dad was metal…

J: Well Chuggo we can’t have everything in life but at least in that night we got to see Morbid Angel and the rest of that awesome lineup!