Category Archives: Live Music

Live Music

LIVE REVIEW: Cavalera Conspiracy Morbid Devastation Tour 2023

At Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ on September 26th, 2023

Return where you started. All of us at least once in life go through that or anything resembling this thought. It is no different for musicians who like to revisit the good old days that started it all for them. Original founding members of Sepultura Max and Igorr Cavalera are in the midst of North American tour billed Morbid Devastation. It is a mix up from two debut releases Morbid Visions and Bestial Devastation. Both were re-recorded by Max and Igorr and have been released July 14th this year. On the tour celebrating their recordings together with Cavalera Conspiracy are Exhumed and Incite.

Written by Andris Jansons

Tour started almost a month ago and yesterday came to New Jersey. While the locals have been enduring the rain for the last six or seven days, that did not dampen their enthusiasm for the show. Metal fans flocked to the Sayreville to hear the best and heaviest in a genre.

While is missed Incite (fronted by Max Cavalera son Richie) performance and just saw half of Exhumed, I can attest that everyone that the fan mood was ecstatic about both performances.

After some ten minutes of some cryptic background music, the stage that was set up with some afterworldy notes (looked hellishly good) the Cavalera brothers came on stage. They were joined by Max’s son Igor Amadeus Cavalera and Travis Stone.

In almost chronological way, or maybe in exactly the chronological way the band started off with the songs from 1985 EP Bestial Devastation – title song, Antichrist, Necromancer and Warriors Of Death. Songs from 1986 album Morbid Visions followed – title song, Mayhem, War, Crucifixion, Show Me Wrath, Funeral Rites and Empire Of The Damned, whilst last remaining song Troops Of Doom was left for a encore to close out the show.

See full gallery of Cavalera performance below.

Performance was an exquisite sample of death / heavy metal. Talent on the band goes beyond the Max and Igorr and the quality of the music and performance was irrefutable. This show would be recommended for anyone with the taste for heavier music, as myself who is more leaning towards hard rock and “stadium” heavy metal, I can say that these performances are worth every minute of your time.

Cavalera Conspiracy social links:

The Morbid Devastation continues to tear through North America with the show in NYC tonight and goes on with the steady march back to the west coast. Find you tickets here: Cavalera Conspiracy | The Official Cavalera Conspiracy Website

9/27 New York, NY @ Irving Plaza

9/28 Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club

9/29 Reading, PA @ Reverb

9/30 Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theatre

10/1 Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall Ballroom

10/2 Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line

10/5 Des Moines, IA @ Wooly’s

10/6 Omaha, NE @ Waiting Room

10/7 Denver, CO @ Oriental Theater

10/8 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex

10/10 Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile

10/11 Boise, ID @ Treefort Music Hall

10/12 Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom

10/14 Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades

10/15 San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall

10/17 Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues

10/18 Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern


Cold September rain did not deter 2000 people from meeting up in the woods in the small town of Ninilchik on the Kenai Peninsula in southern Alaska. Amid the rainy season in Alaska, people showed up ready to have a great time the weekend after Labor Day for the second-ever Sacred Acre Festival. While the festival is “Alaska’s best kept secret” (an attendee named Larry), the goal is to make the festival and its mission widely known.

Written by and Photography All Rights Reserved by Jessica Trail / JETRAIL Photography, LLC

The mission of Sacred Acre is to bring awareness to and, in time, ban trawling. You may ask, what is trawling? Those in coastal areas are more familiar with this practice, which creates an ecological problem. For those of us without oceanic coasts, trawling is a controversial method of fishing where a net is attached to a boat. For one type of trawling, known as bottom trawling, the net scrubs the seafloor and impacts homeostasis by stirring up the seafloor, catching much more than just the intended species. The festival calls this type the “most egregious and destructive component of the industry”. This practice impacts the roots of ocean plant life and other aquatic creatures. Being in such close proximity to a coastal fishing community, the festival’s organizers have strong opinions on this practice.

The festival is held at the same fairgrounds as Salmonfest, another festival intended to bring environmental awareness to the community. Salmonfest specifically “supports all salmon-related causes and then some,” according to their website. With Sacred Acre being held just 5 weeks after Salmonfest, some remnants remained, and they were able to sustainably hold the festival with a similar setup with environmental impacts in mind, such as biodegradable plates, cutlery, and even face paint with 90-day breakdown glitter available. There was also a booth for the Alaska Ecological Awareness Council.

But you came here for a festival review and found yourself amidst a scientific lesson; now onto the fun part of the weekend, the music and festivities.

Day 1 started strong, with an influx of people arriving in the afternoon of the festival. When people first walked in, there was a convenient map of the fairgrounds, with stations set up all around. The first building they came to was the area for Stillwater. This was set up as a blissful and peaceful getaway from the rest of the festival, with meditation and other relaxing activities on the schedule.

They also walked by the area that would turn into after-hours later that night, starting at midnight and going until 5:00 AM and the Abyss stage, an additional spot for relaxation during the day turned into an after-hours running from 12:30 AM until 5:30 AM. More about those later!

For the first set of the festival, people were greeted by Rachel Monae, which overall was a very smooth and fun way to start things off. Up next was MZG, twins from Florida came to crank the party up with their very fun vibe. The third act of the day was Josh Teed, another Floridian, who mixed in non-traditional violin playing into his set to make for a unique performance that was worth standing in the misty rain for.

The next act was Jason Leech, who we saw in a few ways throughout the festival. The Kentucky artist brought a standup keyboard and used it well throughout the set. Then Artifakts was up next. The Wisconsinite was the first artist at the festival to incorporate a beautiful light show into their set since it started getting dark during the set. As darkness started setting in so did some heavier rain, but that did not stop the crowd from thoroughly enjoying the set from the Colorado-based DJ Maddy O’Neal.

Nearing the end of the night, we got the first set of the festival from Minnesota DJ Manic Focus. For this set, he was solo, but on a different day, he was joined by others. For the last set of the mainstage for the night, we got the Day 1 headliner, Of The Trees. The now Colorado-based DJ came out and ended the night strong. As the skies cleared, the stage lights shone brightly and left the crowd with a great ending, if they wanted. Some went to bed while others went to check out the two after-hours spots.

The after-hours and Abyss stages started at 12:00 AM and 12:30 respectively. It was a nice offset to allow people to check out as many of the artists as they wanted or just stay for a whole set for a favorite. The after-hours stage was kicked off by ScottyBNaughty, followed by Bodelia James, Dig Sista, Quinoa, and closed out by Ceviche. The Abyss tent was kicked off by Maddy O’Neal’s alias Madhaus, followed by another performance from Josh Teed, then Haunted Surfer, Tally G, and closed out by Clint Samples.

See full gallery of Day 1 Photos here

Day 2 was a slower start for those out until 5:30, but it started with Daily Bread’s alias Cloud Conductor starting things off at noon. Even for those too tired to head over to the stage, the sound carried throughout the fairgrounds enough to start feeling the vibe of the day. Current Anchorage, Alaska, resident Clint Samples got the evening music flowing next. Another Colorado-based DJ, Phyphr, was next up, and the day was really starting to pick up. Up next was Slynk, an Australian-born DJ who came out to show us his smooth mixes of fun and upbeat house tracks.

The next act was a trio consisting of Jason Leech on keyboards, Marvel Years on DJ and guitar, and Colby Buckler on drums. After that was another Colorado-based DJ, NotLö, who came out to set up to perform her entertaining set in some darkness with beautiful red lights. We then got to listen to the amazing sounds and watch the spectacular laser and light show from Koan Sound.

For the evening main stage winddown, we got The Widdler, though there were no signs of anything winding down during the set. The Texan native brought the heavy bass with the dubstep-style set. Louisiana native Boogie T came out to wrap up the main stage as the headliner for night 2. The multi-genre DJ left the crowd amped up, making it easy to enjoy another long night of after-hours.

For the second and final night of after-hours events, things started with a 4-piece band, Ayla Ray, on one stage and Posterchild on the other. That night also included sets from DJ Movement, Motifv presents Pathways, DJ Fractal Theory, Late Night Radio, Black Smoke, DJ Grim, Dystraction, and another set from Rachael Monae to close out the late night.

See full gallery of Day 2 Photos here

Day 3 was definitely a slower-moving day for almost everyone to start. That sluggishness quickly wore off when Apothecary came out to start the evening. After the set the Fairbanks, Alaska, DJ was pleased with the enthusiasm for his first-ever large-stage performance. Up next was another Colorado-based artist, Motifv.

For the third set of the day, we got a duet and the reappearance of both Jason Leech and Phyphr. They provided the crowd with some different sounds than we had heard from any of the prior sets from either of them. Then we got a solo performance from Marvel Years. He was still able to incorporate his guitar into his solo set. This fascinating mix of guitar and electronic music is something that is gaining traction in the genre, and it really works well!

Up next was Manic Focus, joined by Marvel Years and Colby Buckler on drums. Seeing a lot of the artists do so many collaboration projects all on the same stage as other projects was a true delight. Each definitely fit the electronic music genre, but each very much had their own sounds. To close out the last set of the festival, there was another performance from Georgia native Daily Bread. The set did not hold back on the lights and beats. The mixes of percussion and hip-hop were a satisfying way to end the festival.

See full gallery of Day 3 Photos here

To wrap up the festival overall, this one was well organized, well planned, and executed perfectly. It was not even close to apparent that this was only the festival’s second year. It went off amazing, and every single person left happy and fulfilled after an amazing weekend. An immense number of smiles, laughs, and friends were made at this festival. I highly recommend that any fan of electronic music go and experience the wonderful and peaceful setting that is Sacred Acre.

While the northern lights did not make an appearance for 2023, it is the correct time of year to start getting to see them, so there is always next year. This festival will only continue to grow and get bigger as they keep it running. Apothecary summarized the festival well when he said that this festival brought “substance to the celebration” about the nature and motivation for the festival. He also said he hopes the festival can “expand and grow and rise collectively,” and that is absolutely the sentiment of the people who attended. It was a truly unforgettable experience that included a remarkable drive from Anchorage to Ninilchik.

LIVE REVIEW AND PHOTO GALLERY: Psycho Thunder North America 2023 tour

At Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ on September 17, 2023

Psycho Thunder tour is tearing and rumbling through North American cities as we speak, wreaking havoc in every city as they go. Or we can say that British rock luminaries Asking Alexandria and Mongolian rock sensation THE HU joined forces on a run across the U.S. The co-headlining jaunt — billed as the “Psycho Thunder” tour with special guests ZERO 9:36. Whatever way you are comfortable to put it. This last Sunday Psycho Thunder rolled into New Jersey.

Written by Andris Jansons

American heavy metal band Bad Wolves were also previously scheduled to join the tour, but the band withdrew because of circumstances beyond their control. Zero 9:36 stayed as the lone support for both heavyweights.

The Mongolian band The Hu came roaring into the metal scene a few years ago. Bands folk metal style incorporating Mongolian traditional instruments along with singing their songs in their native language gained attention to many music lovers as a breath of the fresh air. Their megahit Wolf Totem back in 2018 has gathered above 90 million views on YouTube in its original version and another 38 million views with their collaboration with Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix.

Personally, I admire all folk metal, let it be Mongolian, Indian, Nordic, Oceania or Asia. Incorporation of traditional music and native instruments is what makes metal music rich not only in tradition but also invention and truly international.

The band calls their style of music “hunnu rock”. The Hu consists of Galbadrakh “Gala” Tsendbaatar, Nyamjantsan “Jaya” Galsanjamts, Enkhsaikhan “Enkush” Batjargal, and Temuulen “Temka” Naranbaatar. To date The Hu have released the studio albums The Gereg and Rumble of Thunder. There are at least three to four traditional instruments band consistently uses – including the morin khuur, the tovshuur, tumur hhuur and tsuur.

Setlist included all the bands singles known to most fans “Wolf Totem”, “This Is Mongol”, Yuve Yuve”, “Black Thunder” and more. Band also performed cover of Metallica’s “Through The Never”.

Throughout the band’s set fans joined together for the “Hu, hu, hu, hu …” chant.

See The HU performance photo gallery below.

Asking Alexandria is on tour without their founder and lead guitarist Ben Bruce, for the reasons he previously communicated to the fans. While his charisma is sorely missed, Paul Bartolome nicely fills in his spot.

While the band is on the heels of their new album “Where Do We Go From Here?” which was released on August 25th, this tours set list is not heavily tilting towards it. There are only three songs “Dark Void”, “Bad Blood” and “Let Go” form their latest release. Rest of the set is pretty much evenly spread out throughout the bands discography. As Danny Worsnop said addressing the crowd that we are here celebrating their new and old music.

Some of the biggest hits performed were “Into The Fire”, “Alone In A Room”, “The Final Episode”, “Moving On” and “A Prophecy”. All together this set had bit heavier feel then other recent ones I attended, and was a bit more closer to the roots of the band, which for me personally was a welcome development.

To summarize everything that was heard and witnessed this night, I can give this experience a solid 10/10. Some inspirational folk metal coupled with modern rock and metalcore was an amazing experience. Psycho Thunder is a perfect way to summarize.

See Asking Alexandria performance photo gallery below.

See below list for future dates and get your tickets here:

Sep. 20 – Detroit, MI – The Fillmore Detroit

Sep. 22 – Ft Wayne, IN – Piere’s Entertainment Center

Sep. 23 – Louisville, KY – Louder Than Life ^

Sep. 25 – Chesterfield, MO – The Factory

Sep. 26 – Chicago, IL – Riviera Theatre

Sep. 27 – Green Bay, WI – EPIC Event Center

Sep. 29 – Milwaukee, WI – The Rave/ Eagles Club

Oct. 1 – Council Bluffs, IA – Harrah’s Stir Cove

Oct. 3 – Denver, CO – Fillmore Auditorium

Oct. 4 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Union

Oct. 6 – Sacramento, CA – Aftershock &

Oct. 7 – Las Vegas, NV – The Industrial Sound

Oct. 8 – Los Angeles, CA – The Wiltern

LIVE REVIEW: BABYKLOK North America Tour 2023

At Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on September 15, 2023

The world is far from black or white, evil or benign. It is all mixed up.  And then you get things that are mashup by design getting mixed up too, and you get BABYKLOK. What is it? It is the heavy metal music tour where animated metal band Dethklok performs with actual band that is behind their animated characters and then you add Japanese band Babymetal who pioneered J-pop and heavy metal mashup known as Kawaii metal. And combining these two you get BABYKLOK 2023. They slay their way through North America on their twenty-nine date national tour that began August 30 with support of virtuoso guitarist Jason Richardson.

Written by Andris Jansons

While New York City traffic erased my chance to see and hear Jason Richardson. I had a chance to witness a special performance by a very special band – Dethklok. Dethklok is a fictional melodic death metal band featured in the Adult Swim animated television series “Metalocalypse”, known for its satirical or parodic lyrical themes. The first official Dethklok album was released on September 25, 2007, entitled “The Dethalbum”. After some time off, the band released a new album this year called: “Dethalbum IV” and released a full-length original film, written and directed by Brendon Small, “Metalocalypse: Army of the Doomstar,” with a companion soundtrack.

Dethklok social links:

The note: Live band looks a bit different than animated version 🙂 Brendon Small and Tommy Blacha, the creators of animated band are also the members of a live band with Brendon on guitar and vocals. I could probably think of many bands Dethklok could go on tour, and kawaii metal legends Babymetal  probably would not have been on my list, but, oh boy, this was the match made in deepest corner of metal hell. Dethklok played their set by letting their animated version take over the visuals, as band had no spotlight on them and big screen on the stage showed animation. Yet, the connection between musician and crowd still persisted and the performance was received very well. Most songs on the setlist represented the original “Deathalbum” with my personal favorite “Murmaider”.

BABYKLOK tour show was about to enter a whole new level of excitement. Sold out venue grew in anticipation of the night’s headliner, kawaii metal pioneers and legends Babymetal. Band consisting of Suzuka Nakamoto as “Su-metal”, Moa Kikuchi as “Moametal” and Momoko Okazaki as “Momometal”, with Suzuka and Moa being original members and Momoko joining the band just recently. Bands style has received mixed opinions from the fans of the metal world, but the outpouring of support has been overwhelming as more and more people embrace their style. Kawaii metal has spread though Japan as more bands have adopted it and is starting to spread outside Japan to places like South Korea.

Whilst the bands setlist consisted of 11 songs, it was energy packed. As the band doesn’t tour stateside that very often as we would like to, the capacity crowd roared in appreciation between every song and fans ,girls and boys alike, screamed from top of their lungs. Opening song “Babymetal Death” was preceded by short video intro to help immerse in a Babymetal metalverse. It was followed by same high energy “Gimme Chocolate!” and “PA PA YA!!”.

Babymetal social links:

There were two songs from the last (fourth) studio album “The Other One” which was released back in March – “Believing” and “Monochrome”, while songs “Headbangeeeeerrrrr!!!!!”and “Road To Resistance” wrapped up the performance.

BABYKLOK tour is scheduled to bring the metal mayhem to the city next to you until mid-October. Get your tickets here.

Photo gallery of Babymetal performance below:

Photography by Andris Jansons

Mon-Sep-18-23 – Toronto, ONT – RBC Echo Beach

Wed-Sep-20-23 – Grand Rapids, MI – GLC Live at 20 Monroe

Thu-Sep-21-23 – Chicago, IL – Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom

Sat-Sep-23-23 – Louisville, KY – Louder Than Life Festival

Sun-Sep-24-23 – Milwaukee, MN – The Rave/Eagles Club

Mon-Sep-25-23 – Minneapolis, MN – The Fillmore

Wed-Sep-27-23 – St. Louis, MO – Saint Louis Music Park     

Thu-Sep-28-23 – Omaha, NE – Steelhouse Omaha

Sat-Sep-30-23 – Denver, CO – Fillmore Auditorium

Sun-Oct-01-23 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex

Tue-Oct-03-23 – Vancouver, BC – PNE Forum

Wed-Oct-04-23 – Seattle, WA – WaMu Theater

Sat-Oct-07-23 – Sacramento, CA – Aftershock Festival

Sun-Oct-08-23 – Las Vegas, NV – Pearl Theater at Palms Casino Resort

Tue-Oct-10-23 – Phoenix, AZ – Arizona Financial Theater

Wed-Oct-11-23 – Los Angeles, CA – YouTube Theater

Thu-Oct-12-23 – Los Angeles, CA – YouTube Theater

LIVE REVIEW AND PHOTO GALLERY: PASSCODE at The Echo in Los Angeles, CA on September 7, 2023

Introducing, PASSCODE, a 4 piece Female Fronted Japanese music group with a band behind them. They came to America for their first U.S. Tour stopping in 3 different cities: New York, Dallas, and Los Angeles. I had the greatest opportunity to have covered, photographed, and captured some great moments of their first Live Performance in Los Angeles thanks to the wonderful staff of The Echo and Echoplex.

Written by Don Marcelo

Passcode’s music and style comes to us with a blend of heavy metal/hard-rock (Kawaii metal) and electronic-pop-EDM sounds all meshed as one, incorporating those sounds with choreographed dance moves as one would often see on KPOP and JPOP groups.

The show was non-stop action full of intensifying energy and emotions from the group and from the fans. There was even a small mosh pit inside this 400 plus capacity venue.

PASSCODE won many hearts of Americans (including me) with their unique style of music. One word to describe their style of music and stage presence: AWESOME!

Thank you (arigato gozaimasu) PASSCODE. Honored and grateful to have captured some amazing moments of your first performance in Los Angeles. We will see you back again in the U.S.

Follow and support PASSCODE and each member for more great music and content.

ON INSTAGRAM: Follow Passcode as follows:
PASSCODE band page @passcodeo

Kaede Takashima @kpy_passcode

Nao Minami @passcode_nao

Hinako Ōgami @passcode_hina

Emily Arima @passcode_emily

The band behind the group:

Photography by Don Marcelo Photography

LIVE REVIEW: Blondshell My Home Is Your Playground Summer Tour 2023 at PhilaMOCA

Late last month indie rocker Blondshell (Sabrina Teitelbaum) packed Philadelphia’s PhilaMOCA performing arts venue with adoring fans.

Written by Jonathan Lane

Together with solid backup by her bandmates, Sabrina delivered a very satisfying 14-song set comprising tracks from her 2023 self-titled debut album and others, Rounding out the set were covers of a Sarnia and Le Tigre numbers:

Onstage the unassuming Blondshell commands your attention while her disarming presence removes any invisible barrier between herself and the crowd.  Fans are fully tuned in as she opens up and invites us to share the high highs and low lows drawn from her experiences.

Blondshell kicked off the set with “Veronica Mars”, a soft tune that steadily builds to a delicious, grungy sonic stew. The set provided a good cross-section of where Blondshell is musically up to now: at times cheerful and upbeat, angry, or hopeful. Extremes on the romantic front were represented by fun indy tune “Cartoon Earthquake” about a promising romance:

If a rock hit the ground

And split like a hairline fracture

A cartoon earthquake now It’s me that you’d run after

And jump the gap

To get to my half I wanna trust that

…the singer-songwriter-styled “It Wasn’t Love” about heartbreak, which features a crowd-thrilling vocal crescendo in the few seconds:

She told her mom I was her friend, I was a friend
It hurt the most when I was always at her bed
But it wasn’t love, it wasn’t love, it wasn’t love
It wasn’t love if you have to ask if you’re making it up

…and “Salad” – harder indy rock tune, where the band’s playing reflects the barely suppressed impulses to murder a seemingly deserving former beau:

I’m so scary

I can’t stop having visions of following him

Gonna make it hurt

Gonna make it hurt

This early-career show promises great things for Blondshell – and we’ll look forward to seeing and hearing the next chapter.

Read more about Blondshell and follow on social platforms.

Photo gallery of Blondshell performance below.

Photography by Jonathan Lane

Blondshell – PhilaMOCA – Philadelphia, PA 7/21/23

Set List

1.       Veronica

2.       Cartoon

3.       Sepsis

4.       Charm You (Samia cover)

5.       Sober

6.       Joiner

7.       Deceptacon (Le Tigre cover)

8.       Street Rat

9.       Olympus

10.   Dangerous

11.   Kiss City

12.   Tarmac

13.   It Wasn’t Love

14.   Salad

Hello Mary opened for Blondshell with a very original and of progressively rock-ier set of songs – as their understanded performance proceeded, Hello Mary infused borderline psychedelic sounds and riffs, allowing the talented trio to demonstrate their chops on guitar, bass, drums and vocals.

Follow the band on social platforms

Photo gallery of Hello Mary performance below.

Photography by Jonathan Lane

LIVE REVIEW: Steve Vai Inviolate Tour North America 2023

The final concert of the Canadian leg of Inviolate Tour North America 2023 took place on August 15th in Vancouver BC.

Written by Arturs Feists

The large line that wound down the street for the length of the block indicated that this evening was going to be hot, literally and figuratively. Heated by the hot sun, the audience with ovations – without a warm-up band, welcomed Steve Vai and his bandmates – Dave Weiner (guitar/keys), Philip Bynoe (bass), and Jeremy Colson (drums).

During the first three compositions – Avalanche, Giant Balls of Gold and Little Pretty, people confirmed with continuous exclamations, applause and cheers – the audience is listening, and they are listening very well! The concert-goers were heated to the maximum – the heat of the sun, the sound of guitars and drums did their job. It seems that Steve Vai’s guitar would have nowhere to fall if he threw it into the audience – so many people had gathered to see the Canadian leg’s last concert. The songs changed one after another, as did Steve Vai’s guitars, but the audience’s attitude, response and appreciation remained constant throughout the concert. As Steve Vai himself said from the stage – let’s forget politics and celebrate great music together!

A total of 20 songs were played – songs from the last album Inviolate alternating with compositions from previous records. Classic hits from Passion and Warfare – Liberty and For the Love of God were also played at the end of the concert.

Photography all rights reserved by Arturs Feists /

LIVE REVIEW: Godsmack and Staind Co-headline Summer Tour 2023

PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ on July 29th

As the summer heats up here in New Jersey the summer concert season does too. On the heels of New Jerseys’ first real summer’s heat wave, rock fans from all over the state flocked to the PNC Bank Arts Center to see the hard rock music greats – Godsmack and Staind.

Written by Andris Jansons

First one came Mix Master Mike. DJ that has worked with many great artists and is mostly known for his work with Beastie Boys. While it might be a surprising choice for a DJ to open a rock show, it was perfect. Besides all the Beastie Boys hits, Mike played many rock and metal big hits to get the crowd going. He is also very familiar to the Godsmack fans as at least for the last two or so years he is the face of the intro that is played before Godsmack takes the stage.

And if there was anyone left in the crowd that needed an energy jolt, mother nature certainly stepped in to help with some thunderstorms rolling into the area. Just before Staind was supposed to take the stage one large storm finally reached the theater. One strong lighting strike shook the air and a downpour with gusty winds followed. Fans looked for shelter. However, there were quite a few that took it as a challenge or some extra experience and stayed out in the open celebrating each wind gust. Thankfully it was over fast enough, and it delayed the show only for about 20 minutes.

Staind is a well-seasoned rock band from Massachusetts, that has been around since 1995, with two stints in hiatus from the public eye. The band’s vocalist Aaron Lewis has released an extensive solo music collection and made some headlines for political opinion reasons.

The band opened with a brand-new song “Lowest In Me” from the upcoming album “Confessions Of The Fallen”. They followed with a few more up-tempo hits like Not Again and Just Go. I will certainly not draw favorites here, but for many Staind is bellowed because pf their ballads, and just by the middle of the set and Aaron’s solo of Epiphany, one of the biggest ones followed – Right Here. It wasn’t a long wait for all to indulge in dancing and singing to the other two – So Far Away and It’s Been Awhile. The set was properly wrapped up with thunderous Mudshovel.

See full photo gallery of Staind performance here.

Fellow Massachusetts rockers Godsmack’s set was also delayed because of an earlier thunderstorm. Day earlier in the Camden, NJ the band had to cancel their set due to the stormy weather. A white curtain covered the stage, and as mentioned earlier it was used as a screen to display Mix Master Mike’s intro of the Godsmack.

After proper Godsmack went straight to business with When Legends Rise and Cryin’ Like A Bitch. The third song 1000hp came with a proper stage flame thrower display.

Earlier in February of this year, the band released their eight-studio album called “Lighting Up The Sky”. Band performed three songs from latest release – You And I, What About Me and Surrender. Rest of the setlist stretched through the whole discography.

Of course, we had THE BATALLA DE LOS TAMBORES. A drum battle between bands vocalist Sully Erna (who is former drummer himself) and drummer Shannon Larkin. The biggest winners here of course were fans. Some snippets from rock and metal biggest hits played during the battle included Walk This Way, Back In Black, Enter Sandman and more.

For the encore the band played Under Your Scars, the song that addresses mental health issues. with Sully on the piano that had a link to the , a charity organization started by Sully Erna. Such emotionally powerful moment was transformed into powerfully aggressive ending with bands mega hit I Stand Alone that was accompanied with a lot of flames.

See full photo gallery of Godsmack performance here.

The tour will continue for the rest of August. Get your tickets here :

 Wed Aug 02 – Scranton, PA – The Pavilion at Montage Mountain

Thu Aug 03 – Syracuse, NY – St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview

Sat Aug 05 – Pittsburgh, PA – The Pavilion at Star Lake

Sun Aug 06 – Buffalo, NY – Darien Lake Amphitheater

Tue Aug 08 – Toronto, ON – Budweiser Stage

Wed Aug 09 – Detroit, MI – Pine Knob Music Theatre

Thu Aug 10 – Chicago, IL – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

Sat Aug 12 – Indianapolis, IN – Ruoff Music Center

Sun Aug 13 – Milwaukee, WI – American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Wed Aug 16 – Salt Lake City, UT – USANA Amphitheatre

Fri Aug 18 – Nampa, ID – Ford Idaho Center Amphitheater

Sun Aug 20 – Ridgefield, WA – RV Inn Style Resorts Amphitheater

Thu Aug 24 – Irvine, CA – FivePoint Amphitheatre

Sat Aug 26 – Las Vegas, NV – Bakkt Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino

Sun Aug 27 – San Diego, CA – North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre

Thu Aug 31 – Austin, TX – Germania Insurance Amphitheater

Live Review: Liliac Madness 2023 Tour at Landis Theater in Vineland, NJ on July 9th

The Family that rocks together …. ROCKS!

There was a raging storm in Vineland, NJ on July 9. Yes, torrential showers rolled across the flats of South Jersey that evening, but the real thunder was on the stage of Vineland’s historic Landis Theatre. This thunder’s name is Liliac.

Written by Jonathan Lane

Liliac is a hard-rock band with origins in Los Angeles, comprising five siblings: Front woman Melody, Abigail on drums, Samuel on lead guitar, Ethan on bass and Justin on keys. For this show, Alexa Rae, known for her drum work with Pinktastic Plastixx, subbed for Abigail and did her proud. Rounding out the badass wall of sound was Blake on electric cello.

The band wastes no time getting the crowd to their feet in the plush, spacious Landis with Rise Up from the 2023 Madness album. Rise up assaults with a dark, metal vibe, led by Melody’s raspy, cutting vocals and nice chorus work by the rest of the band. Liliac picks up the pace with straight-up, danceable rocker, Not Afraid – a song you could imagine Joan Jett would (should!) cover.

Photography by Jonathan Lane

See full photo gallery of Liliac performance here.

Liliac sizzles throughout the balance of this very satisfying set with a mix of original songs and creative covers from their four-year discography. Covers of rock standards include:

  • Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train – true to the original with some sweet guitar flourishes and sold performances by the whole band.
  • Metallica’s Enter Sandman – Every bit as metal as the original with this very worthy tribute.
  • The band makes The White Stripes’ 7 Nation Army their own while respecting the great melody of the original and serves up a fun cover of DIO’s Holy Diver.

Liliac brings the mood up, down, and around with self-penned tunes – Melody leads the charge whatever the flavor of each of these tracks with her fierce, made-for-rock voice…and she thrills further with death-defying, world-class mic stand twirling throughout. Highlights include: The raw, fast-paced We Fight We Fall; Mars – a big song made for big arenas; Chain of Thorns – which starts out bouncy and evolves into an unadulterated rock anthem; Madness (from 2023 album by the same name), haunts with its heavy beats and riffs, delivering on the promise of its title.

Don’t wait to check out Liliac – sample their impressive output on their YouTube channel and other popular outlets – but better yet – check out these rising rock stars live this year – tour link below.

2023 Album “Madness”

2020 Album “Queen of Hearts”

2023 Tour dates

Liliac – Live at The Landis Theatre – July 9, 2023

  1. Rise Up
  2. Not Afraid
  3. Buried Alive-
  4. Crazy Train
  5. We Fight We Fall
  6. Enter Sandman
  7. Sail Away
  8. 7 Nation Army
  9. Guitar solo by Samuel
  10.  Mars
  11. Chain of Thorns
  12. Holy Diver
  13. Madness
  14. Dear Father

Liliac social links

Photography by Jonathan Lane

LIVE REVIEW: Destroy Boys Destroy Fest 2023 at The Irving Plaza, NYC on July 14th

Sacramento, California punk rock band Destroy Boys took their show to New York City’s Irving Plaza on July 14 where they headlined their own mini festival, DestroyFest, a new traveling festival with some of their favorite bands. Band performed together with Gully Boys & Jigsaw Youth.

Written by Andris Jansons

The punk rock band started in 2015 by Sacramento teens Alexia Roditis and Violet Mayugba while they were still in high school. After some lineup changes, they are now joined by drummer Narsai Malik ( since 2018) and David Orozco ( since 2021) on bass. To date band has released three studio albums – Sorry, Mom in 2016, Make Room in 2018 and lastly Open Heart, Open Mouth in 2021. This year band has released two singles “Beg For The Torture” and “Shadow (I’m Breaking Down)”.

Destroy Boys kicked off their 2023 touring schedule with a slot at Coachella in April and supporting Blink 182 and Turnstile for a 2-week run. After finishing up their current North American run in Chicago on July 22nd, Destroy Boys will head to the Europe. See the dates below.

Irving Plaza was pretty much Sold Out, not sure on official status but there was barely any room to walk around, and the band had to make a public plea for the crowd not to push forward in order to give those in the front row more breathing room.

Their music was a new discovery for me personally. While listening to their songs on my music service I had mixed feelings, but their live performance did seal the deal. Their energy was great. Set opened with Drink and American River and followed by Vixen and Cherry Garcia. Band also played both of their new singles. Other notable songs were Crybaby, Locker Room Bully and Duck Eat Duck World. For encore they played Piedmont and their classic hit “I Threw Glass At My Friend’s Eyes and Now I’m On Probation.”

Photo by Andris Jansons

See the full gallery of Destroy Boys performance here.

Destroy Boys tour dates

7/19  – Beachland Ballroom – Cleveland, OH #

7/21 – El Club –  Detroit, MI #

7/22  – Metro – Chicago, IL +

8/8 – Proxima – Warsaw, Poland 

8/10 – Sziget Festival – Budapest, Hungary 

8/12 – Open Flair Festival – Eschwege, Germany 

8/13 – Taubertal Festival – Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber, Germany 

8/14 – Fluc – Vienna, Austria 

8/16 – Junkyard – Dortmund, Germany 

8/17 – Lux Club – Hannover, Germany 

8/18 – Paradiso – Amsterdam, Netherlands 

8/20 – Pukkelpop Festival – Hasselt, Belgium 

8/21 – Rescue Rooms – Nottingham, UK 

8/22 – The Fleece – Bristol, UK 

8/23 – CHALK – Brighton, UK 

8/26 – Mind The Gap Festival – Salt Lake City, UT 

9/2 – Bumbershoot – Seattle, WA 

9/24 – House of Blues – Anaheim, CA (Frank Turner’s Lost Evenings) 

10/15 – Lunario Del Auditorio Nacional – Mexico City, Mexico

+ destroyfest

#with gully boys & jigsaw youth 

^ with die spitz