Monday, August 25, 2008

08/15/08 RIP Nicky Martin - Guitarist, Street Punk

Early 70's New York City Rockers - STREET PUNK

Saw today over at Magic this sad news of the passing of another member of the 1970's NYC rock scene:

Guitarist Nicky Martin of the underground 70's rock group Street Punk has passed away on August 15th after a long illness. No further details are available at this time.
Nicky Martin (Guitarist - Street Punk)
Excerpt from:
"High On Rebellion - Inside The Underground at Max's Kansas City"
by Yvonne Sewall-Ruskin
(1998)[p. 232]
Street Punk was a band for the early seventies. Back then it was all this glitter stuff, this androgynous stuff going on. When the Dolls were dressing in drag on stage, I went on stage in blue jeans and whatever leather jacket I could borrow from one of my friends. And just a few short years after that, that was the Ramones' uniform. Nobody back then was dressing that way. And Street Punk, although not a punk band per se certainly had the attitude of a punk band. They came out later when they really didn't much of a shit about what anybody thought. We were a reckless lot. Just the name Street Punk brought the word punk into the public consciousness. It had never really been used from a musical point of view before that.
I was addicted to heroin at the time. We had very little direction. After Kiss was signed to Bill Aucoin Management, Gene Simmons made an appointment for Street Punk, because he thought we were great. We had talent. We went into Bill Aucoin's office and we were offered more money as a salary than Kiss but there was already dissention in the band and it just fell apart.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

08/08/08 Scorpions/ L.A. Guns @ Myth, Maplewood, MN (Updated!)

(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)

'Sattelites transmit the latest thrill...we can't escape the media overkill.'
(Scorpions - 1988)
Scorpions/L.A. Guns
@ Myth, Maplewood, MN

Just a week previous to the Scorpions show, people attending the 08/02/08 Judas Priest concert were offered a 'Buy-One-Get-One-Free' deal on Scorpions tickets at the Myth box office. '337' and I had already purchased our Scorpions tix the day they went on sale, so we were feeling rather ripped off when we found out about this. All through the rest of the week the local classic rocker KQRS-FM was giving away pairs of tickets and kept announcing that 'there were still a few tickets available.' Due to these indicators, I was worried that not too many people would show up for the show on 08/08/08, but I need not have worried.

When we arrived the line of rockers outside the door was already forming and filling in fast, soon reaching around the building and through the parking lot. It looked as though the tickets had sold well after all. Lots of the people on line were discussing the Priest show from the previous weekend, and, as seen at the Priest show, a TON of Iron Maiden t-shirts were again on display. Are they selling Iron Maiden t-shirts at the malls these days? Where are they all coming from?? On the subject of t-shirts, we went directly to the merchandise booths upon entering the club and found the Scorpions to be selling their t-shirts for $35.00. Their hoodie was even kept at $35.00, the best t-shirt deal I'd seen all summer. I still passed though...

I checked out the L.A. Guns situation early on the day of the show, hoping it was not the same horrible excuse of a band (Tracii Gun's 'L.A. Guns') I saw open for Faster Pussycat two weeks ago. I went to the Myth website and it gave a link for L.A. Guns at went there and...YES!! The evenings opener was the OTHER L.A. Guns, the one featuring original members vocalist Phil Lewis and drummer Steven Riley. I figured they HAD to be better than Tracii's current disaster, and seconds after they took the stage they proved my theory correct. These guys are the real, only L.A. Guns and they put the other band of the same name to shame. This version rocks hard, they sound good, and all the members are talented and seem to still have that hunger to impress, whereas the other version of the group seems to be on tour just to try to make some money off the L.A. Guns name. The Lewis/Riley/Griffin/Blades band plays bluesy-ass kicking versions of all the old classics and throws in a few newer tracks that are great as well. And Phil Lewis is a true professional performer, not like the clown who currently sings for Tracii's band. The audience was with them from the first notes to the last, singing along with the songs like they were the headliners instead of the openers. And this band could headline shows of thier own...they are that good. If you've seen Tracii's band, don't let it keep you from seeing this other, much better version of L.A. Guns.

L.A. Guns SETLIST: (In Order)
*N/A/Sex Action/It's Never Enough/Over The Edge/I Can't Control My Gypsy Soul/Kiss My Love Goodbye/Sleazy Come, Easy Go/Hell Raiser's ball/One More Reason To Die/Electric Gypsy/What Happened To Jane/Midnight Train

I also noticed that during their set, the side-video screens that all the kids had been text-messaging (mostly hilarious and derogatory messages) to the previous week were not set up for this feature for this show. I'm gusseing the comments posted during Priest's opening act DownTread had something to do with this decision. I can't imagine anyone would have had a bad word to say about L.A. Guns though...

After a set change that seemed to last too long (don't they all?!?) the lights went down and the Scorpions walked out on stage to cheers and whistles from the crowd, took their places in front of their cool giant L.E.D. video-monitor backdrop and launched into the opening number 'Hour 1' . I think the sound guys were working overtime to get things sounding correctly, as the first few songs suffered from a muddy-sounding mix. Things sounded better after a song or two and the band proceeded to tear through a set of old classics (some great surprises like 'Make It Real Or Fantasy' and 'Loving You Sunday Morning') and a few newer songs as well. One observation I have to make is that Klaus Meine's vocals, while still pretty good, are not what they were twenty years ago. He just can't seem to scream quite the way he used to. And I think he's finally speaking English now, I was able to understand all his onstage-between-songs banter without an interpreter.

Scorpions play a little more slowly and deliberately than they used to. This was particularly noticed during 'Blackout', which was played slower even than the original studio version. 'Big City Nights' seemed a little slow-paced as well. I was a little surprised to see the drummer (James Kottack) do a solo (Something that has been absent from most of the shows I've attended this summer) and then the rest of the band joined him on stage for a five-man-drum-jam. They're no Sepultura, but it was very spirited and pretty cool actually. Of course the night ended with everyone in the nearly sold-out club screaming along at the top of their lungs to 'Rock You Like A Hurricane'.

Scorpions SETLIST: (In Order)
Hour 1/Coming Home/The Zoo/No Pain, No Gain/Make It Real Or Fantasy/Coast To Coast/Send Me An Angel/Loving You Sunday Morning/I'm Leaving You/Humanity/321/Dynamite/Kottak Attack (Drum Solo)-5 Man Drum Jam/Blackout/Big City Nights/No One Like You/Still Loving You/Rock You Like A Hurricane (Click to see video!)

The Scorps may be closing in on the end of an amazing career, they may be playing smaller U.S. halls like Myth, but thankfully they can still deliver a top-notch show, something that has placed them among the rock elite for the past 30 years. They continue to be among the best live hard-rock bands on the planet.


*Read another review from MonkeyRiverTown.Com HERE.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

08/07/74 - Philippe Petit Stuns NYC & The World

Philippe Petit stages his 'Coup' high atop New York City on 08/07/74
(Photo: Jean-Lois Blondeau/GAMMA)

'Don't stop at the top - touch the sky before you drop...'
(Scorpions - 1988)

'I've got big balls, yes I've got big Balls...'
(AC/DC - 1976)

Something amazing beyond words happened this day in 1974. A 24 year old man from France named Philippe Petit stunned the world when he, with help from a few co-conspirators, stepped out on a wire they had rigged in the early morning hours, and walked across the gap between the buildings of the then still new World Trade Center in New York City. He crossed a total of 4 times, wowing those who gathered on the street 110 stories beneath him and watched as this man above them entered the history books.
The world will never see anything like this event again...

News Report - 08/08/74
New York, New York (AP)
"I was not scared...I was dying of happiness." Philippe Petit, a 24-year old French aerialist was telling how it felt to walk a cable tightrope slung across the 140-foot gap between the rooftops of the World Trade Center's 110-story twin towers.

Today, Petit can be even happier. Authorities have agreed to drop charges of criminal trespass and disorderly conduct if he repeats his tightrope act on a lower wire in Central Park, for the benefit of local children.

Yesterday morning, Petit startled work-bound New Yorkers with his daredevil feat on the seven-eighths-inch-wide metal cable 1,350 feet above the pavement. With a balancing bar but no net, Petit walked four times across the gap, at times sitting or lying down on the wire. Awestruck spectators applauded from below. Police rushed to the rooftops. Traffic stopped.

Petit and a half-dozen French and U.S. friends had cased the center by playing roles as reporters, deliverymen and construction workers. They had taken about 500 pounds of cable and other equipment to the rooftops of the towers in lower Manhattan, where four of them hid out Tuesday night. At dawn, they used a long bow to fire fishing line attached to the cable across the gap. Shortly after 7:00am, Petit walked the wire.

Why did he do it? "If I see three oranges, I have to juggle. If I see two towers, I have to walk." -End

"There is no why." - Philippe Petit

For more photos click HERE.

Watch the trailer for the movie 'Man On Wire' HERE.
*Now showing in select theatres.

Order the book 'To Reach The Clouds' by Philippe Petit HERE.

Ross the Boss CD Release Party 08/15/08 - NYC

Dictators/Manowar guitarist Ross the Boss celebrates the August 22 release of his new CD "New Metal Leader" with a listening party in New York City. With live music by Magus Beast, Angry Hour, Devil's Island, Regalia and Open Denial.

08/15/08 - 21+ Show - $10.00 at the door
@ The Ace of Clubs (9 Great Jones Street), NYC, NY

Monday, August 4, 2008

Near Sell Out Greets Priest In Maplewood: 08/02/08 Judas Priest/ Downtread @ Myth, Maplewood, MN (Updated!)

(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)

'Thousands of cars and a million guitars screaming with power in the air
We've found the place where the decibels race - This army of rock will be there
To ram it down, ram it down, straight through the heart of this town.'
(Judas Priest - 1988)

Judas Priest/Metal Church (Cancelled)/Downtread
@ Myth, Maplewood, MN

By the time we arrived (without our buddy 'PriestFreak#1' who could not make the show!!), the line of people waiting to get in to the Myth on Saturday night went around the building and through the parking lot, so we got on line and waited with the ravenous metal hordes to get in.

The line actually moved pretty quickly and soon '337' and I walked in and went directly to the merchandise booth where we were greeted with $40.00 t-shirts...what a DRAG! Nice t-shirts and all, but come on...(A few days earlier Testament was selling theirs for only $25.00 and $50.00 for a zip-up hoodie. Same high quality and everything.) $40.00 is just a bit exhorbinant, at least in this market. I heard a few others voicing this opinion as well ('337' among them, even though he DID buy one!) and I didn't see too many people walking around with the new shirts on through the show. Alot of Iron Maiden t-shirts though...

In a disappointing development, scheduled opener Metal Church cancelled their appearance. Rumors spread through the club that the band had broken up on the road. You can read the real reason for their no-show Here. The band that replaced them, Downtread, were met with nearly universal indifference and chants of 'Priest! Priest! Priest!' after each of their songs. The rumor mill again went into effect and I was told that one of the members of the band has a relative (Father?) who was the promoter of the show and thats how they scored such a sweet last-minute gig. The comments that were being text-messaged to the video screens seemed to be less than enthsiastic as well. Those crazy kids and their cell-phones...

After quite some time taken for a set change, the lights went out and a roar went up from the crowd as the 'Priest! Priest!' chant continued. Scott, Glen, Ian and K.K. took their positions and started things off with the title track from the new CD 'Nostrodamus'. Rob Halford appeared a few seconds into the song, standing atop one of the elevated platforms near the rear of the stage. The stage-setup was quite stripped-down in comparison to previous Priest outings. The days of the 'Metallion' are, sadly, long gone.

The band was tight, as always. The sound was clean, but I thought they could have turned up just a little (or am I still deaf from the Testament show?). I thought it was a bit weird seeing Rob all bent over during 'Painkiller', obviously reading lyrics from a teleprompter, but he commands his voice well and can still scream with the best of them. A StarTribune.Com review of the show put the attendance at 4,000+, (which is incorrect! I placed a call to the Myth a few days after this show. Capacity is 3,500 - attendance at Judas Priest was 2,600.) I saw Tesla (claimed to be sold out) at Myth in February (the night they shot the new DVD - in stores now!) and there did not seem to be as many people there then as there were at this Priest show. It was absolutely jammed full of headbangers of all ages and backgrounds, come to witness the Metal Gods in all their might, although the size of the club made them seem just a bit less mighty. That as well as the fact that they are not playing as fast or heavy as they were a few years ago on the 'Angel Of Retribution' tour. Don't get me wrong...they're not mellowing or anything, but they don't seem like they need to pulverize you into submission as they did on the last tour. But make no mistake, Judas Priest still 'Delivers The Goods'.

Of course no Priest show would be complete without Rob's famous Harley...ridden about 5-10 feet out to the front of the stage near the end of the show for 'Hell Bent For Leather'. Maybe that's why the t-shirts were so expensive...they need to keep up with those rising gas prices to keep gas in the old hog. There has to be at leat 23 miles on that bike by now...

Setlist: (In Order!) (Click links to view YouTube video from the show!)
Dawn Of Creation (Intro)/The Prophecy/Metal Gods/Eat Me Alive/Between The Hammer & The Anvil/Devil's Child/Breaking The Law/Hell Patrol/Messenger Of Death/Dissident Agressor/(*Title N/A)/The Hellion-Electric Eye/Rock Hard, Ride Free/Sinner/Painkiller/Hell Bent For Leather/Green Manalishi (With Two Pronged Crown)/You've Got Another Thing Comin'

From here the band heads east to NYC to play an 08/04/08 show celebrating Eddie Trunk's 25th anniversary as a radio broadcaster at Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square. (Details/Photos can be found HERE.)

A few days later they will hook up with Heaven & Hell, Motorhead and Testament for THE metal tour of the summer which begins 08/06/08 in Camden, NJ and runs through 08/31/08 with the final stop in Mountain View, CA. Priest will then tour on, ramming it down in Australia, Korea, Japan, Mexico, Chile and Argentina to round out the rest of the year.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Hey! My ears aren't bleeding yet...TURN IT UP! 07/31/08 Testament/ Buried By Hope/ Dying Euphoria/ For Blood/ Wrecking Day @ Epic, Minneapolis, MN

07/31/08 Testament @ Epic, Minneapolis, MN

"Arms of darkness embrace me in madness... my life it's mandatory." (Testament - 1994)

Testament/Buried By Hope/Dying Euforia/
For Blood/Wrecking Day
@ Epic (Formerly The Quest), Minneapolis, MN

On a night off from a recent string of dates opening for Judas Priest, Testament was booked as a headliner in Minneapolis. The band is on their way to NY to hook back up with Priest (who play their own Minneapolis/St. Paul area show on 08/02 with opener Metal Church), Heaven and Hell and Motorhead for what promises to be THE metal tour of the summer. But that tour is not coming here. So I was glad to see that Testament would still grace us with a show when it was announced a few months ago.

I arrived at the newly opened "Epic" club (formerly 'The Quest' and before that it was Prince's 'Glam Slam' club) in Minneapolis and as I walked up to the entrance, I could hear the first band was already on, I paid the admission ($25.00) and went inside. The opening band, Wrecking Day, was just about finished, I only caught the last two songs but they sounded pretty good from what I heard.

After a brief set change over, the second band of the evening, For Blood, took the stage. These guys are totally kick-ass straight up classic hardcore. They announced a few songs into their set they had Free CD's at the merchandise booth, and I joined the group of people who ran over to grab one. It's only a two track sampler, but it's brutal. I don't know much about the band, but I'm sure I'll be seeing them again. They will have a spot on Myspace.Com soon. Look for that, hopefully they will include a few tunes there.

I have to be honest, I was a little distracted from the next two bands (Dying Euforia and Buried by Hope) and as such can offer little insight. I was anxious for Testament, was already thinking about getting up early for work the next morning, and as such was kind of running out of patience for/interest in - opening bands. The vocalist for Buried by Hope is pretty talented, not just another death-screamer, he can actually sing. And I was surprised to see a guy I'd seen earlier (at Pizza Luce, before the show) up on stage playing guitar for the band. Both groups were heavy, loud, and they didn't suck, that's about all I can offer.

Finally, after a trip outside for a smoke, it was finally time. I was so excited, Testament has not played Minneapolis since March 2004 when they played the Minneapolis Metal-Fest. The intro tape was cued up and I waited patiently as Thin Lizzy's 'Boy's Are Back In Town' played through. As the song was wrapping up, the band could be seen coming on to the stage from the rear and a cheer went up from the crowd. I could see vocalist Chuck Billy as he grabbed his microphone and roared out "Minneapolis! WHHaaat the FUCK'S GOING ON?????" Oh, was so loud. I stand by my assessment that Testament is one of THE loudest bands ever. Every single time I've seen them it's been almost painfully loud and this show proved to be no exception.

The band was noodling around on "Erie Inhabitants" as they took their places and then launched into all all-out sensory assault that lasted for approximately the next 75 minutes or so. If you've ever seen Testament, you know what I was witnessing. Power. Total fucking power. This is not music for the meek.

Setlist included (not in order!): (Click highlighted titles for video!)
Erie Inhabitants Intro/Over The Wall/Apocalyptic City/Into The Pit/The Preacher/Desciples Of The Watch/Practice What You Preach/Agony/Dog Faced Gods/D.N.R. (Do Not Resisutate)/More Than Meets the Eye and 1 other song from the new CD "The Formation of Damnation")/A few more I've forgotten. (Sorry, it's hard to remember complete set lists!!)

The band seemed to really be enjoying playing with Alex Skolnick again after so long, and he seemed to be enjoying himself as well. I was worried they would only play Skolnick-era material and was relieved when they played a few songs that were recorded while he was out of the band. They pretty much stuck to earlier material, playing only two songs from the new CD. A mosh-pit was in full effect all through their set, and a few people even managed to crowd surf a bit before being pulled down by security. There were a few security guys on the floor, but they didn't interfere, they were just there in case things got too rough, which they never really seemed to do. Everyone seemed to be playing nice.

It was over all too soon. I wish they could have played a bit longer. I THINK my ears could have handled one or two more songs, but maybe not. Not too many bands fall under the category of "Too Loud", but when you leave a Testament show, you KNOW you've seen one of them. And your ears will remind you of this fact with a dull ring for a few days afterwards...and you won't mind a bit.