Saturday, May 26, 2012

CONCERT REVIEW FLASHBACK: Fuel (5.4.10)

CONCERT REVIEW FLASHBACK
Fuel
Captain Hiram’s / Sebastian, FL
May 4, 2010
____________

In the grand rock tradition of
John Kay and Steppenwolf,
Michael Clarke and The Byrds
and Mickey Thomas’ Starship,
comes the latest revival misleader.
FUEL: Featuring Brett Scallions.
_____________

I first became suspicious when I noticed that my ticket read, “FUEL: Featuring Brett Scallions.” This is an old school tactic in which (typically) club owners, small-time promoters and or former rock contenders attempt to convince fans that a platinum-selling arena act will actually be appearing at their local “Brew & Cue” — when in reality, only one original member (or less) will be gracing the stage. The Guess Who have been milking this angle for years; promoting themselves as the “real deal” long after the departure of Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman.


I was of course familiar with Fuel's signature hits from ten years ago such as “Shimmer” and “Hemorrhage” but I lacked the connection necessary to recognize or even care who was on the stage — a girl who I have a thing for had two tickets for tonight's show and she asked me to join her. I offered zero resistance.


The initial crowd reaction was enthusiastic. The 500+ fans cheered as the band tore through such favorites as “Bad Day,” “Jesus or a Gun” and “Bitter Sweet.” Then, I began paying attention to comments being made by people around me. “This doesn’t really sound like them,” I heard one guy say. Another added, “they don't have the same energy anymore.” Then a disgruntled buddy of mine approached me and confirmed my original suspicion. “That ain’t Fuel,” he announced with a scowl.


My buddy was absolutely right (sorta). Upon a cracker jack investigation (Wikipedia to the rescue!), I discovered that after several years of intra-band discord, what I had actually seen tonight was something referred to online as the new “Re-Fueled” line-up — a hybrid version of Fuel, featuring Scallions and former members of other such top-name acts as Buckcherry and Shinedown.


I certainly don’t begrudge anybody, especially hard working, talented musicians for making a living. And I’m not implying that this billing was dishonest; just perhaps a bit misleading. In fact, the band was quite good and gave one heck of a performance. But it seems to me that this “Re-Fueled” project would perhaps be better served and received if it was presented as the all-star, '90s super group that it really is. Heck, had I known that Yogi from Buckcherry was gonna be playing, I’d have paid for a ticket!


-Christopher Long
(May 2010)
_______________ 

Additional
Concert Review Flashback
installments:
_______________




SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
(2012)

Friday, May 25, 2012

CONCERT REVIEW FLASHBACK: Joe Perry (12.02.09)

CONCERT REVIEW FLASHBACK
Joe Perry
House of Blues / Orlando, FL
December 12, 2009
__________

The dreary, rainy weather was a
likely factor in the minimal turnout.
But it couldn’t dampen the mood
of the 300+ who chose to brave the
storm. Nor did it extinguish the on-
stage, fire created by Joe Perry and
amazing opening act, Megaphone.
__________

Orlando’s Megaphone hit the stage promptly at 8PM. My experiences reviewing Central Florida concerts often involve sitting through countless mind-numbing local, regional, and national bottom-feeding warm-up acts with little to offer. However, Megaphone, truly delivered the goods. Bursting with charisma and energy, the band looked great, sounded great, and also offered what most up-and-coming openers lack — great songs. Despite the longtime, hometown buzz surrounding the band, regrettably I’d never seen Megaphone live. Yet I was quickly hooked by such catchy, guitar-driven, power-pop ditties as “My Favorite New Disaster” and “Bad to Good.” I also found myself being physically drawn closer and closer to the stage with every song by the sonic magnetism. And I wasn’t the only one, as Megaphone received a mighty response from the crowd throughout the band's 25 minute set.

The house lights once again dropped at 9:10 as members of The Joe Perry Project took the stage. Dressed in a fitted, floor-length black coat, black boots, black pants, black shirt, black vest, and a white scarf draped tightly around his neck, the legendary Aerosmith co-founder made his grand entrance onstage with his typical ultra-cool swagger. And with his trademark snow white streak running through the front of his fabulous, jet black, layered coif, he resembled a modern day rock and roll vampire.

The band kicked off the gutsy, hard-driving set with the title track from Perry’s 1980 debut record, Let the Music Do the Talking. Selections from his current solo record Have Guitar, Will Travel soon followed, including “We’ve Got a Long Way to Go,” “Do You Wonder,” “Freedom” and a re-make of Fleetwood Mac's, “Somebody’s Gonna Get (Their Head Kicked in Tonight).” But of course Perry is primarily known to his faithful flock for his 35+ year tenure with Aerosmith and his set was packed with such gritty Aerosmith deep cuts as “Get the Lead Out,” “Bright Light Fright,” “Sight for Sore Eyes” and a quirky, reggae version of the classic “Dream On.”

Along with German newcomer Hagen handling most of the lead vocal duties, “The Project” also featured Perry’s longtime cohorts, bassist David Hull and Paul Santo on guitar and organ. Perry’s classic coolness pinned against the combination of Hagen’s youthful vitality and Hull and Santo’s old school vibe made for a band that was both fresh and experienced.

In short, Perry was amazing, the band was spot-on and they kicked ya where it counts!

-Christopher Long
(December 2009)
______________

Additional
Concert Review Flashback
installments:
________________




SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
(2012)


Thursday, May 24, 2012

CONCERT REVIEW FLASHBACK: Queensrÿche (5.20.09)

CONCERT REVIEW FLASHBACK
Queensrÿche
House of Blues / Orlando, FL 
May 20, 2009
_____________

They’ve sold millions, racked up
numerous mega hits, and have
earned legions of fans. Their
records are rock epics  their
musicianship is unparalleled.
However, seeing Queensrÿche
live is as compelling as watching
a basket weaving documentary.
_____________

I realize that I lack the social and artistic sophistication necessary to grasp Queensrÿche's brilliance. However, the sign posted at the Will Call window tonight announced that the group would be performing “Suites” from the albums, Rage for Order, Empire and American Soldier. “Suites?” Huh?

Suite [sweet]
plural - suites  /  n
A set of instrumental works performed together.

Oh, I see. Well, why the heck couldn’t they just have said that in the first place? FYI, Motörhead DOESN'T perform “Suites!”

Two Questions:
#1 - Shouldn’t a live rock band at least look like they’re having fun?
(Queensryche didn’t.)

#2 - If the vibe onstage ain’t even moving the band, what kind
of party is the audience having?

I heard an old hippie guy next to me actually yell out, “rock and roll!” as the band came onstage. I hope he wasn’t terribly disappointed to learn that there would be relatively little “rocking,” “rolling” or fun allowed tonight.

Not even a cast of onstage extras and Pink Floyd-type pre-recorded sound effects could bring this show to life. In fact, those “whistles and bells” were actually more of a distraction.

When I go to church, I expect to be surrounded by kindhearted, loving Christians. When I DJ in a club, I expect to deal with obnoxious drunkenness. However, when I go to a rock show, I DON'T expect (or desire) to be lectured — about anything — by anybody — not even the legendary Geof Tate. And despite the tie-ins with the group‘s new record, American Soldier, Tate’s long-winded dissertations became mind-numbing and, at times, nearly inaudible.

However, Queensryche did “rock” a bit towards the end of the show when they unleashed such early ‘90s favorites as “Another Rainy Night,” “Jet City Woman” and “The Best I Can.” Now, that was a sweet “Suite."

But the good times were short-lived as fans attending Quuensyche's after-show meet-and-greet were instructed by beefy security guys to NOT shake hands with ANY band members — fist bumps ONLY — as they feared contracting Swine Flu.

In short, a delightful evening was enjoyed by all!

-Christopher Long
(June 2009)
____________

Additional
Concert Review Flashback
installments:
__________




SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
(2012)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

CONCERT REVIEW FLASHBACK: PAPA ROACH (5.12.09)

CONCERT REVIEW FLASHBACK
Papa Roach 
w/ Red
House of Blues / Orlando, FL
May 12, 2009

Nü-metal kingpins RED took the stage at 8:45 and old school, big rock hijinx immediately ensued. Obviously influenced by the arena rock era, Nashville’s hairless hair band delivered a high energy set so full of swagger and Judas Priest-style, cock-rock posturing that even Paul Stanley could have taken a few notes.

Although they were the support act, you wouldn’t have known it by the overwhelming response from their adoring fans. And despite a few front-of-house sound glitches, the crowd remained undeterred, offering non-stop sing-a-longs as the band burst into such signature radio hits as “Breath Into Me” and their latest offering “Death of Me.”

Frontman Michael Barnes boldly led his gang through the 30-minute onslaught as guitarist Jasen Rauch and bassist Randy Armstrong worked the stage, leaping from the drum riser and spinning their guitars as if they were auditioning for a gig in Whitesnake. With hair flying (he’s only member with any) and sticks twirling, drummer Joe Rickard is a non-stop rock and roll showman and could easily be Tommy Lee’s understudy. At the show’s conclusion and with his bandmates crashing and slashing out the big finale, guitarist Anthony Armstrong delivered his last notes “playing” his effects foot-pedal.

My only question this night was, “When did Papa Roach become so cool?”

I remember them first coming on the scene in the early 2000s mimicking the ridiculous late 1990s rap / metal thing and looking more like Limp Bizkit’s road crew and less like a world-class rock act. However, with the release of their latest record, Metamorphosis, the Southern California combo is now a lot more “Dr. Feelgood” and a lot less “Bulls on Parade.” In fact their current chart-buster, “Lifeline” is one of the catchiest ditties to come along in ages.

With Marshall amps stacked to the sky and donned in skinny jeans with trendy comb-overs and shiny “rocker” regalia, Papa Roach took the stage like bona fide, big time rock stars — yes, that’s a good thing.

Although frontman Jacoby Shaddix was quick to apologize to the near-sellout crowd for being sick, he certainly didn’t allow his illness to keep him from delivering an amazing performance.

The 60-plus minute set featured such PR standards as “Scars,” “Getting Away with Murder” and “Last Resort.” It also included such newer earworms as “Lifeline” and “Hollywood Whore,” which Shaddix dedicated to Paris Hilton and “Shitney” Spears.

In short, it was a rock show Nikki Sixx would have been proud of.

-Christopher Long
(May 2009)
 ______________

Additional
Concert Review Flashback
Installments:
______________




SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
(2012)

Friday, May 18, 2012

THE CLASS OF 2012: A Matter of Time

(Photo: Michelle Wilson)
THE CLASS OF 2012:
A Matter of Time
_____________

In 1981, I barely made it out of
high school with an honorary
diploma. Tonight, my son will
graduate  with honors.
_______________

August 1999  — it literally seems like yesterday. I took my five-year-old son, Jesse, by the hand and walked him to his classroom. It was his first day of kindergarten.

Before long, I began receiving  (almost) daily  phone calls from Jesse's teacher at Christa McAuliffe Elementary in Palm Bay, Florida. She quickly was reaching her wit's end. "Oh Mr. Long," she'd frantically cry, "I just don't know how to deal with your son — he's out of control!" But Jesse soon settled down, settled in, and it was pretty much smooth sailing from there. 

Me and Jesse in 1999.
I remember loading my entire DJ rig into Jesse's classroom on "Career Day" and showing his classmates how to "rock the club." I even let them take turns giving "shout outs" on the mic. I enjoyed participating in Jesse's school-rated activities. But, I will admit that there were a few times when I fabricated a "family emergency" in order to bust him out of class early so that we could go to the movies or whatever. Those were great times. I remember thinking how those days would last forever. Yet in a flash, they were over.

Before I knew it, Jesse was entering junior high. Given his increasingly impressive grades, he was chosen to attend West Shore Junior/Senior High in Melbourne, Florida. With a focus on academic excellence, West Shore offers an ideal environment for young brainiacs. And with a zero tolerance for foolishness, it is the school of choice for parents who, like me, were horrified by the notion of our kids attending Jr. / Sr. High in a "zoo."

Jesse in 2006  before he
became too cool to smile!
(Photo: Kevin Roberts)
At first, Jesse was overwhelmed by the high standards set at West Shore. I remember his first day of seventh grade in 2006. I was in Pittsburgh, on tour, working for a well-known rock band. I became especially  heartbroken over not being in town for him when he called me that night, clearly freaking out. I told Jesse that he was the smartest kid at the school. I further encouraged him to take a deep breath and just relax. "It's okay," I reassured him. "You're going to grow up and rule the world."

As with his elementary school experience, after a bit of a bumpy start, Jesse settled into West Shore and quickly began to excel. I drove him to school and picked him up several days a week, navigating through the daily gridlock traffic in the school's car loop as well as experiencing a few run-ins with crossing guards and on-campus policemen. But those days were also wonderful and I knew that somehow, life would remain forever at a standstill. But that simply was not to be. In the blink of an eye, my son was driving, dating, and playing drums in his own band. And it was becoming abundantly clear that he no longer needed his daddy to walk him to class — those days were gone — forever.

Jesse's first gig was at a
West Shore talent show in 2009.
While remaining diligent in maintaining a near-perfect GPA, Jesse quickly became all too familiar with the pitfalls of being in a band. He soon began focusing on songwriting and recording. And as part of his Senior project, he wrote and recorded the aptly titled,  "A Matter of Time." It was selected as the official 2012 West Shore class song.

Another impressive stat  is, as an overachiever, Jesse enrolled in an early admittance program. In short, he's been doing high school and college simultaneously for the last two school years. He's currently (already) just a few credits shy of earning his AA degree from Brevard Community College. And by the end of next semester, he will likely transfer to the University of Central Florida in Orlando — majoring in Psychology.

From the 2012 West Shore yearbook.
In a recent Facebook post, Jesse commented that tonight would be "the saddest night" of his life, as he and his close circle of high school friends will all be moving on — tackling the challenges and enjoying the rewards of adult life.

I thought this day would never come. I thought that somehow, Jesse would remain my "little guy" forever. I wouldn't suggest to Jesse that this is a "sad" day, however, I will admit that it certainly is bittersweet. But that's how life works — we're continually moving forward. As a brilliant songwriter so eloquently put it, "It's a matter of time."

Jesse Long: Class of 2012!
In my life, I've been somewhat of a "dish rag." I've made missteps, too numerous (and stupid) to count. In fact, as I've pointed out, 30+ years ago, I barely made it out of high school with an honorary diploma. My son, however — well that's an entirely different story. Jesse excels at everything. He gets it  ALL right. Despite my gushing here, I have difficulty articulating precisely just how proud I am of him and what a blessing, honor and privilege it's been to be his dad. He's been my best pal. And as I told him after his traumatic first day at West Shore back in 2006, I still expect him someday to rule the world.

So, to Jesse Long and the entire West Shore Class of 2012 (Logan Moletteire included) — this is YOUR night to celebrate — you've earned it. Now go out and have fun, be bold, and as always, make smart choices!

-Christopher Long
(May 2012)



SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
(2012)