Category Archives: Live Reviews

Reviews from the live performances.

LIVE REVIEW: LAMB OF GOD THE OMENS TOUR 2022

When Lamb of God decided to hit the road for the 2022 summer “The Omens Tour” they brought some strong supporting acts along with them. They received direct support from Killswitch Engage and for the Sterling Heights date they brought along Baroness and Suicide Silence as well. While Lamb of God and Killswitch Engage will be on the road together for 6 weeks, the supporting acts are changing periodically throughout that time. Future legs of the tour will also include various combinations with Motionless in White, Spiritbox, Animals as Leaders, and Fit for an Autopsy.

Written by Jessica Trail

Founded in 2002 Suicide Silence looked like a very different than the version we know today. Today the only remaining founding member is Chris Garza, on rhythm guitar. The band has a dark past. Having lost their founding vocalist, Mitch Lucker, in late 2012 to a motorcycle accident, they took a break until late 2013 when they announced Eddie Hermida would step up as lead vocals. They have always had a fast-paced deathcore sound that has remained over the years. The set they played at the Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill was no debarment from the sound and stage presence expected at a deathcore show. They started the night with the 2007 song “Unanswered.” This opening song set the tone for the whole night. To say it started off right was an understatement.  

Photo by Jessica Trail

See full Suicide Silence photo gallery here.

Up next was the Savannah Georgia powerhouse heavy metal band known as Baroness. They took the stage by going right into “The Sweetest Curse.” The quartet moved just as harmoniously as the songs they played. Their stage presence during the whole performance included lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist John Baizley taking turns playing facing lead guitarists Gina Gleason and again with bassist Nick Jost. John, Gina, and Nick all played their instruments and contributed to vocals throughout the set. They were also joined on stage by drummer Sebastian Thomson. Their stage energy was infectious to everyone at the amphitheater. As expected, this intoxicating energy continued as they played their entire set.

Photo by Jessica Trail

See full Baroness photo gallery here.

When someone hears a Killswitch Engage song now it is hard to not know it is distinctly theirs. In the beginning their sound was distinctly different when the band formed lead guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz’s distinctive sounds were not part of the mix just yet; Adam started on Drums when the band first formed. In the twenty-three years that they have been playing music together Adam along with Jesse Leach, Joel Stroetzel, and Mike D’Antonio were all founding members, sometimes switching up what and how they play as a band. In 2002 Justin Foley joined the band and took over drums from Adam. For ten years of the band’s history from 2002 until 2012 Howard Jones was on Lead vocals, however he had to step away for medical reasons. This departure brought the band back to virtually the same lineup that had been together since 1999. Bands who have passed the twenty-year mark together have a certain seamless continuity on stage. Killswitch Engage is by far no exception. They moved and played with such grace it felt like the audience was watching a group of friends have a jam session in their friend’s basement. Starting off the night with “Strength of Mind” and flowing right into one of their top songs, “This is Absolution.” This raised the energy level of the whole crowd. This energy did not falter throughout the rest of the set. They closed out the Dio cover of “Holy Diver” and “The Signal Fire.” These two songs brought the vitality needed to prepare the crowd for the headliners, Lamb of God.

Photo by Jessica Trail

See full Killswitch Engage photo gallery here.

The band now and mostly commonly known as Lamb of God is a band that is adored my many. No matter if you have known the band since before they had a singer in the mid-ninety’s or if you just found them today, it is easy to see how so many fans they have worldwide. Singer Randy Blythe has had twenty-seven years to perfect his stage presence fronting Lamb of God and it shows every time he takes the stage. Randy was joined on stage by founding members, Mark Morton on guitar and John Campbell on bass, long time member Willie Adler on guitar, and newer additional Art Cruz on drums. This lineup is strong and always delivers a strong, fiery performance. The pyrotechnics at Lamb of God shows are always something welcomed. They opened the set with “Memento Mori”, took a small pause and brought the heat with “Walk with Me in Hell.” The set had a balanced mix of songs from their albums starting with the 2003 album As the Palaces Burn as well as songs from the newest 2022 album The Omens and ended the set with one of their top favorites, “Redneck.” As always, the heavy metal heroes known as Lamb of God brought the excitement needed to energize an entire amphitheater on a rainy Sunday night in Metro Detroit.

Photo by Jessica Trail

See full Lamb Of God photo gallery here.

Today marks the moment when Lamb Of God and Killswitch Engage will be joined by Motionless In White and Fit For An Autopsy. See full list of upcoming dates for #theomenstour below.

Lamb of God w/ Killswitch Engage, Motionless In White, Fit For An Autopsy:
Oct 01 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Great SaltAir
Oct 02 – Grand Junction, CO – Amphitheater at Las Colonias Park
Oct 04 – Fresno, CA – Exhibit Hall at Selland Arena
Oct 07 – Sacramento, CA – Aftershock Festival *No Fit For An Autopsy

Lamb of God w/ Killswitch Engage, Spiritbox, Fit For An Autopsy:
Oct 09 – Vancouver, BC – Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre
Oct 10 – Kent (Seattle), WA – Accesso ShoWare Center
Oct 11 – Portland, OR – Theater of the Clouds

Lamb of God w/ Killswitch Engage, Animals As Leaders, Fit For An Autopsy:
Oct 13 – Inglewood, CA – YouTube Theater
Oct 14 – Phoenix, AZ – Arizona Federal Theater
Oct 15 – Albuquerque, NM – Isleta Amphitheater
Oct 16 – El Paso, TX – UTEP Don Haskins Center
Oct 18 – San Antonio, TX – Freeman Coliseum
Oct 19 – Houston, TX – 713 Music Hall
Oct 20 – Irving, TX – The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory

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

LIVE REVIEW: LACUNA COIL FALL USA TOUR 2022

Italian gothic metal giants Lacuna Coil went on quick September North American tour to commemorate anticipated October 14th re-release of their breakthrough third studio album Comalies and will be called Comalies XX. Release will be with reimagined material, from which many songs are already being played at this tour. Band is joined on this tour by Butcher Babies, Uncured and Lions At The Gate. Thirteen date tour stopped for two nights in New York City’s The Gramercy Theatre on September 17th and 18th.

Written by Andris Jansons

Just before Lacuna Coil took the stage, it was Butcher Babies turn to dazzle the crowd. To put their performance in short description it was a real Rock’n’Roll party! Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey got the crowd going wild. They know how to put up the show. Their on-stage chemistry is impeccable as both frontwomen are founders of the band. As a sort of to emphasize this they performed the song Best Friend (originally written and performed by Saweetie) while on stage acknowledging their friendship bond. While the band have released to date three studio albums, they are working on a new material, and during the show people were invited for the new music video shoot the next day in New Jersey.

Photo by Andris Jansons

See full Butcher Babies photo gallery here.

For me Lacuna Coil set was somewhat a trip back in time as band had set the stage in their traditional dark red background and wore their black “uniforms”, just as they did when I saw them the last time three years ago. Another unsurprising matter was the usual harmony between Cristina Scabbia melodic singing and Andrea Ferro aggressiveness to complete that signature Lacuna Coil feel. Marco, Diego and Richard had their signature face paint. One of my favorite moments was when Richard came on stage and stared right into my camera lens allowing to capture that up and close image you see in the accompanying photo gallery.

Photo by Andris Jansons

See full Lacuna Coil photo gallery here.

 Band started set with five fan faves before giving a glimpse into the reworked material. Apcalypse, Layers Of Time and Reckless represented their last studio album Black Anima, which was also most played during this set with addition of Now or Never, Sword Of Anger and Veneficium. The Comalies XX introduction started with Tight Rope XX and Heaven’s A Lie XX. Tigh Rope XX is already released as a single. Both songs felt both ways, as something old you liked and as something new. Well, I guess that is the definition of a rewritten song, though what I mean is that It did not struck as let’s say covers of different bands. Heaven’s a Lie was more darker with more aggressive Andrea vocals. While I love the original, I was completely ok with remake. Soon enough you will be able to make your own judgement, as October 14th nears or you can still catch band on tour to hear these songs. Other two from Comalies XX on this set were Daylight Dancer XX and Swamped XX.

Remaining dates:

Sep. 21 – King Of Clubs – Columbus, OH
Sep. 22 – Crofoor Ballroom – Pontiac, MI
Sep. 23 – The Forge – Joliet, IL

Comalies XXwill be performed live in its entirety on October 15th at Milano’s Fabrique Club for a special event to mark the release of the album and the 20th anniversary of the original version. Tickets are available, HERE.

Australia:

Dec. 2 – Good Things Festival – Melbourne (AUS)

Dec. 3 – Good Things Festival – Sydney (AUS)

Dec. 4 – Good Things Festival – Brisbane (AUS)

LIVE REVIEW: SEVENDUST ANIMOSITY FALL US TOUR 2022

Back in 2001 Sevendust released their third studio album called Animosity, and it proved to be a great success. Now in the year 2022 band is touring to commemorate that release which catapulted them to the worldwide prominence. Right now, Sevendust are in the midst of their third leg of this tour and are supported by Nonpoint, Bastardane and Burden Of The Sky. Getting close to the midpoint of this tour they came to Sayreville, New Jersey.

Written by Andris Jansons

The first band that we witnessed was Bastardane. I did not hear this band before. If you go by looks, I thought I’m about to witness some punk rock, but as music started an immediate resemblance of The Melvins sound struck me fast. Bands vocalist and bassist Jake Dallas stage persona looked perfectly fit for a band’s sludge sound. Bands drummer (more about him little later) played brilliantly, interacted a lot with crowd and provided backing vocals. Ethan Sirotzki on guitar was excellent too. Bands setlist contained only five songs, but they were fairly long – Gaslight, Chum, Praise No Bliss and Above All. For one more song I missed its name. While at first for me this band did not say much, I later found out that the drummer of this band is Castor Hetfield, son of James Hetfield from Metallica. While this fact by no means makes me look at them in more favorable way, I must admit that this band is very exciting, and I can’t wait to see how far they will go.

Photo by Andris Jansons

See full Bastardane photo gallery Here.

Nonpoint… well is Nonpoint. This was my third or fourth time seeing them live, and just like fine wine they are getting better and better, and constantly bring the enormous energy to the venue. Same goes for the bands sound. While some may argue that nu metal sound has aged, I will disagree, it feels as fresh and relevant as anything released these days. Their latest album X was released back in 2018, and we are waiting for more. For now, we have to enjoy basically a hitparade. All the big bangers were on tonight. Place went absolutely crazy during What A Day which was the third song on their list and absolutely bonkers to the traditionally last song of the set Bullet With A Name.

Photo by Andris Jansons

Se full Nonpoint photo gallery Here.

Sevendust picked up right were Nonpoint left. From the get-go crowd surfers went wave after wave (there was this one specific dude in Canadas Wayne Gretzky shirt who just kept on coming). Bands vocalist Lajon Witherspoon took a moment to acknowledge them giving high five to few lucky ones and coming closer to the front row giving the crowd thumbs up and appreciation for being her with them. While I’m not sure on official announcement but to me seemed like a sold-out show as there was no space left to walk around.

Animosity album was played in its entirety as all of the first thirteen songs came from this album, only for an encore band played two songs from other releases – Pieces from Next and Face To Face from Seasons. For the Angels Son band invited to the stage Manny Cabo who is from New Jersey and former The Voice contestant, and now singer himself, who sang verses in Spanish.

Photo by Andris Jansons

See full Sevendust photo gallery Here.

All together atmosphere was amazing, and fans got everything they wished for. Tonight, tour stops in New Hampshire and for further dates look below.

09/17 – Hampton Beach Casino – Hampton Beach, NH
09/18 – Reverb – Reading, PA
09/20 – Val Air Ballroom – Des Moines, IA
09/22 – The Vixen – McHenry, IL
09/23 – The Castle Theater – Bloomington, IL
09/24 – Louder Than Life – Louisville, KY
09/26 – The Music Farm – Charleston, SC
09/28 – The Culture Room – Ft. Lauderdale, FL
09/29 – Janus Landing – Tampa, FL
09/30 – Club LA – Destin, FL
10/01 – The Fillmore – New Orleans, LA

LIVE REVIEW: MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE REUNION TOUR 2022 AT LITTLE CAESAR’S ARENA IN DETROIT

My Chemical Romance, are they emo, pop-punk, alternative rock, gothic rock, post-hardcore? No one really knows and everyone has their own opinion. Regardless of what genre bucket anyone thinks My Chemical Romance falls into the thirty-three-date arena shows prove that they are adored by the masses.

Written by Jessica Trail

It had been eleven long, painful years since the last My Chemical Romance show in Detroit. The audience at the sold-out show at Little Caesar’s Arena got the show everyone hoped it would be. The lights dimmed and out walked nurse Gerard Way along with bandmates Frank Iero, Ray Toro, Mikey Way, Jarrod Alexander, and Jamie Muhoberac.

Racing hearts, happy tears, goosebumps, and butterflies were just a few of the emotional reactions the audience experienced that night. They started the set off with the newest single, and Mikey Way’s favorite song, “Fountains of Decay.” The rise of readily available setlists has changed the way people experience shows and a nightly change-up to the setlist gave fans an extra sense of nostalgia since it was a surprise each night. Without knowing which songs were next the crowd stayed just as enthusiastic for the start of the first song as they were for the start of the nineteenth song.

When they announced the band was breaking up in 2013 no one thought they would ever get to see “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” live again, but that changed for Detroiters with set’s second song of the night. The 2004 song, was popular enough to be featured on the soundtrack for the video game “Burnout 3: Takedown.” With over 312 million plays on Spotify, it is easily a staple in their catalog. They continued by playing another song from Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, “Give ‘Em Hell Kid.”

The next songs included “Bury Me in Black,” “Summertime,” “Our Lady of Sorrows,” followed by the much anticipated first song of the evening from The Black Parade, “House of Wolves.” No matter when fans of My Chemical Romance found them and fell in love The Black Parade holds a special place in the hearts of many of the fans. It is their most popular album, with over 4.5 million copies sold. Up next was “Boy Division,” “DESTROYA,” then the song that makes the heart flutter with a single piano note, “Welcome to the Black Parade.” This song is one of Ray Toro’s two favorite songs and is likely to give the fans chills the next time they hear it on their stereo or in the car. It was a moving song that brought the show and audience to a new high of the night. Just as the crowd stopped dancing from the immensely emotional rush of the previous song the band turned the energy level right back up to ‘to eleven’ with another quintessential song, “Teenagers.” Everybody in the building was dancing and waving their arms in the air. Another fan favorite came up next, “Mama.” However rather than dance their hearts out nearly everyone in the arena turned on their phone’s camera light. The thousands of phone lights turned on lit up the arena as though the overhead lights had been turned on as people sang loud and moved around to the pace of the song; this was truly a marvelous moment to experience.

Photo by Jessica Trail

See full Photo Gallery for My Chemical Romance HERE

After playing twelve songs with minimal breaks Gerard took a moment to check on the audience and asked security to hand out water. He reminisced about their first show in Detroit at the Shelter in 2003 This pause gave both the band and audience a needed and well-earned break. When the show resumed, they played “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)”, “S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W”, “The World is Ugly”, and “Famous Last Words.”

In an interview from 2021 with Travis Mills for a podcast on Apple Music 1, Gerard discussed The Black Parade for the fifteenth-year anniversary. In the interview he was asked which song is his favorite. He listed a few before landing on “Sleep” being his favorite. So, it was appropriate to close out the set with Gerard’s favorite song. In proper arena tour fashion, the band took a breather but then returned for a two-song encore. Up first was “Vampires Will Never Hurt You.” While the crowd would have let them play all night, however the set had to eventually come to an end. To finish off the night they chose “Helena” for Detroit. It is the fundamental song that led to the band’s rise before The Black Parade era. This song felt like the perfect ending to a delightful night that kept the adrenaline pumping long after the show was over.

Photo by Jessica Trail

With the Detroit show being the half-way point of the arena portion of the tour there are still many dates left, though tickets are not always easy to obtain. If you are one of the lucky ones who will see them know it will vary each night with different outfits and different set lists. This only enhances the pleasure of reminiscing in the element of surprise.

After the arena dates are completed, they are wrapping up the United States portion of the tour with 3 dates for When We Were Young festival. In this historic lineup My Chemical Romance will be playing alongside many, many others, including Paramore, Bring Me the Horizon, A Day to Remember, Avril Lavigne, Bright Eyes, Jimmy Eat World, and The Used just to name a few. The first date will be October 22nd in Las Vegas, Nevada followed by October 23rd and October 29th. – If you’re attending send me a message or come find me to say “Hello!” I’ll be there for Day 1!!

Remaining Tour Dates:

16 – September – Riot Fest 2022 – Douglas Park Cultural & Community Center – Chicago, IL, US*

18 – September – Ameris Bank Amphitheater – Alpharetta, GA, US

20 – September – Prudential Center – Newark, NJ, US

21 – September – Prudential Center – Newark, NJ, US

23 – September – Firefly Music Festival – The Woodlands, Dover International Speedway – Dover, DE, US*

24 – September – FLA Live Arena – Sunrise, FL, US

27 – September – Toyota Center – Houston, TX, US

28 – September – American Airlines Center – Dallas, TX, US

30 – September – Ball Arena – Denver, CO, US

02 – October – Moda Center – Portland, OR, US

03 – October – Tacoma Dome – Tacoma, WA, US

05 – October – Oakland Arena – Oakland, CA, US

06-09 – October – Monster Energy Aftershock – Discovery Park – Sacramento, CA, US*

07 – October – T-Mobile Arena – Las Vegas, NV, US

11 – October – Kia Forum – Inglewood, CA, US

12 – October – Kia Forum – Inglewood, CA, US

14 – October – Kia Forum – Inglewood, CA, US

15 – October – Kia Forum – Inglewood, CA, US

17 – October – Kia Forum – Inglewood, CA, US

22-23 – October / 29 – When We Were Young – Las Vegas Festival Grounds – Las Vegas, NV, US*

18-20 – November – Festival Corona Capital – Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez – Mexico City, Mexico*

*Festival Dates

All Rights Reserved by Jessica Trail / JETRAIL Photography, LLC

LIVE REVIEW: IN FLAMES US FALL TOUR 2022

Gothenburg, Sweden has given us many metal bands and is considered one of the worlds hotbeds for melodic death metal genre. In Flames is very important piece of Gothenburg metal scene as they pioneered this distinct genre along with likes of At The Gates and Dark Tranquility. This fall the band has crossed the ocean and are in the midst of North American Tour along side Fit For An Autopsy, Orbit Culture and Vended.

Written by Andris Jansons

The first band I witnessed that night was New Jersey’s own Fit For An Autopsy. Deathcore practitioners from Jersey City formed back in 2008 and have been staple of deathcore scene since. Last Thursday’s show was their homecoming of sort as Jersey City is just about forty minute drive from Sayreville, NJ. Their set was full of energy and loud. Well, I must say a little too loud. My personal take is that sound engineers could have dialed down one notch, as it was pretty painful for the ears in the pit and front rows. That later was rectified for In Flames set. Nonetheless band was great, as their setlist emphasized on their latest release Oh What the Future Holds. Band is scheduled later in October to take part in Lamb Of God tour.

Photo by Andris Jansons

Full photo gallery for Fit For An Autopsy here.

I think that is safe to say that thirteen studio albums later In Flames are considered in the heavyweight class. Grammis awards winning band (not to be confused with Grammy Awards) has not released album since 2019 however is working on new material and are poised to release one soon, as two new songs already has been introduced to the fans. Latest one of them The Great Deceiver was the bands choice for an opening song. Their set was fairly large and consisted of 17 songs spanning and represented almost every single of their albums released (except Siren Charms) and not yet released. The Great Deceiver was followed by Fear Is The Weakness before taking the trip down a memory lane to early beginnings with Cloud Connected and Stand Ablaze.

This tour features ex-Megadeth Chris Broderick filling in for Niclas Engelin, for like three years straight now. While seems like there is still no clear resolution with Niclas being with the band, Chris is really fitting well and seems to be in the right place.

Photo by Andris Jansons

Full photo gallery for In Flames here.

From notable songs bands setlist consisted of ones like I Am Above, Episode 666 and Take This Life. For the closing song bands choice went to My Sweet Shadow.

In Flames will continue to tour till the end of September with a quick stop at Louder Than Life Festival and then continue in October with Meshuggah and later with Born Of Osiris before returning to Europe. List of dates available below.

w/ Fit For An Autopsy, Orbit Culture and Vended:

09/12 Quebec, QC – Theatre Capitole
09/13 Montreal, QC – Corona Theatre
09/14 Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall
09/15 Ft. Wayne, IN – Piere’s Entertainment Center
09/16 Milwaukee, WI – The Rave
09/17 Minneapolis, MN – Skyway Theatre
09/19 Pontiac, MI – Crofoot Ballroom
09/20 Green Bay, WI – Epic Event Center
09/22 Chicago, IL – House of Blues
09/23 Louisville, KY – Louder Than Life
09/25 Birmingham, AL – Furnace Fest
09/27 Sauget, IL – Pop’s
09/28 Lawrence, KS – Granada Theater
09/29 Wichita, KS – The Cotillion
09/30 Lincoln, NE – Bourbon Theatre

w/ Meshuggah & Torche:

10/02 Denver, CO – Fillmore Auditorium
10/04 San Francisco, CA – Warfield Theatre
10/08 Riverside, CA – Riverside Municipal Auditorium
10/09 Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Palladium
10/10 Tempe, AZ – The Marquee
10/12 Dallas, TX – The Factory Deep Ellum
10/13 Houston, TX – Warehouse Live
10/15 Orlando, FL – Hard Rock Live
10/16 Atlanta, GA – The Tabernacle

w/ Born Of Osiris, Darkest Hour and Hammerhedd

10/17 Tampa, FL – Jannus Live
10/18 Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Culture Room
10/20 Richmond, VA – The National
10/21 Warrendale, PA – Jergels
10/22 Cleveland, OH – TempleLive at Cleveland Masonic
10/23 London, ON – London Music Hall (no Hammerhedd)
10/24 Niagara Falls, NY – The Rapids Theatre
10/26 Hampton Beach, NH – Wally’s
10/27 Poughkeepsie, NY – The Chance Theatre (no Darkest Hour)
10/28 Reading, PA – Reverb (no Darkest Hour)

LIVE REVIEW: SUM41 AND SIMPLE PLAN THE BLAME CANADA TOUR 2022

Canadians know how to rock – period! Sure, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby and all other Canadian hockey stars can “rock” the ice rink, but, damn, Canadian rockers can take down the house too. Sold out summer stage The Stone Pony at Asbury Park, NJ just barely survived full onslaught of variety of punk rock. And if anything, we Blame Canada. Canadian rockers SUM 41 and Simple Plan just wrapped up their co-headlined North American The Blame Canada Tour 2022. So we caught up with them on hot, steamy night by the famous Jersey shore in the famous Jersey rock venue to witness one of the last shows in the tour.

Written by Andris Jansons

Night started off with very colorful performance of American band Set It Off. I was able to witness the band wrapping up their set. Some very joyous music, as colorful as the bands members themselves, and setting off many positive vibes.

Simple Plan came on stage as sun started slowly setting. With no backdrop banners, some contrasting clouds and blue sky set the beautiful natural backdrop. For a Simple Plan this tour served as a way to commemorate 20th Anniversary of their debut album No Pads, No Helmets …. Just Balls, and the band opened their set with the song taken from that album called I’d Do Anything. Other songs from album that were played were Addicted, I’m Just A Kid, The Worst Day Ever and Perfect which served as a conclusion for their set.

Photo by Andris Jansons

Se full photo gallery for Simple Plan here.

Bands vocalist Pierre Bouvier kept constant contact with the crowd and made quite a few references of the previous times band played in New Jersey. He even let the fans play with his balls …. Ughh, the inflated beach balls that is. Why, what did you thought? One lucky fan even received signed by Pierre beach ball. Later during I’m Just A Kid song the bands drummer Chuck Comeau addressed the crowd about pandemic and tour postponements and decided to crowd surf, but not before putting on a yellow hazmat suit with hazmat facemask, and when fans “returned” him to the stage he got disinfected with some smoke guns. A little lighthearted step back from all the stress we suffered in the last two years.

SUM 41 barged on to the stage like a Nor easter winds from the Canada in the middle of January. We, Jersey people know that all too well. Fittingly, just before the band came on the AC/DC’s TNT blasted from the speakers, just to give way for SUM 41 to blast first three songs – Motivation, The Hell Song and Over My Head (Better Off Dead). All three songs felt like one, relentless onslaught of hard-hitting punk rock with Dave Baksh shredding like a true metaller and vocalist Deryck Whibley delivering aggressive vocals. Same goes for everyone else on the band. Everyone was fully immersed in the moment and performance.

Photo by Andris Jansons

See full photo gallery for SUM 41 here.

SUM 41 dedicated this tour to their 21st Anniversary of their debut album All Killer No Filler. And while they played four songs from that album, rest of the set was nicely filled with the material from most of their discography.

Band delivered a hard-hitting punch for the night as crowd was going off in the pit and crowd surfers came forward like ocean waves crashing the Jersey beach.

Both Canadian bands are now scheduled to travel to Europe for better part of September and October, and later SUM 41 will join Offspring for their Australian Tour.

LIVE REVIEW: ALICE IN CHAINS AMERICAN TOUR 2022

Iconic American rock bands Alice In Chains and Breaking Benjamin came together for the first time for a co-headlining tour with special guests Bush, and on beautiful Sunday night tour came to in Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, NY. That was the fourth show in a massive 30-city trek around the country. This show was simply perfect. Weather was sunny and warm, venue is one of the most amazing as it is located right on the water, performances were out of this world and fans enjoyed every single second of greatest rock music, cold beer, and electrifying atmosphere.

Written by Andris Jansons

The evening started with great performance from The L.I.F.E. Project. The new band organized by Stone Sour guitarist Josh Rand and Paralandra vocalist Casandra Carson. They played wonderful set and we need to keep an eye on this band as it could be destined for a big things. The band will open up the shows on select dates through the month of August.

Bush was next. Whenever Bush plays as special guests, it never feels like it. Their set always feels like rightful headliners set. Band played 10 songs, and with one exception being More Than Machines taken from their upcoming release The Art Of Survival, all others were either from their debut album Sixteen Stone or last one The Kingdom. Gavin Rossdale never changes and his unique performance style with unparalleled energy draws the crowd in to the band’s music. During Flowers on a Grave, Gavin went on his signature venture to roam the crowd while singing the song. He made it all the way to the top and even hoped between private boxes (risky move I would say, as he had to climb several dividers, but all is well that ends well). Every time he does that, he just really brings that connection with the fans to a whole new level. The songs played included such hits as Machinehead, Quicksand, Bullet Holes, Glycerine and Comedown. Glycerine was performed as Gavin’s solo.

Photo by Andris Jansons

See full Bush photo gallery here.

Breaking Benjamin came on around the sunset. That added even more eye-catching scenery especially for those fans in higher seats of amphitheater. In addition, the band quite often used flame throwers and pyro making their performance a true eye candy. Breaking Benjamins set covered their whole discography, representing music from all of their six studio albums.  During the set Ben Burnley went on to tell the crowd how both co-tour bands Bush and Alice In Chains influenced his music and his life, emphasizing that his teenage self would have never believed if anyone would tell him that one day he will share the stage with these two bands. And I believe him, he did look excited. To mention just few of the songs played during the set I would go with So Cold, Breath, Red Cold River and Tourniquet. Special mention must go to bands cover of Queens Who Wants To Live Forever. It was beautifully done acoustic version, with Ben providing contrasting take on vocals, not trying to mimic Feddy Mercury (which is almost impossible for anyone anyways) but delivering the song with his own powerful vocals. Breaking Benjamin finished their set with a real bang, playing I will Not Bow and The Diary of Jane to wrap up the night.

Photo by Andris Jansons

See full Breaking Benjamin photo gallery here.

For me it would become the first-time seeing Alice In Chains live. As the stage crew came to prepare the stage for Alice In Chains, something interesting started to appear – chains. Three massive walls of chains were lifted from the ground up. With lights illuminating them from the front and back it gave the stage mesmerizing look.

While Alice In Chains were formed way back in 1987 by Jerry Cantrell and Sean Kinney and this year marks 35 year anniversary since then. The band have released six studio albums to date. Yes, they were in short hiatus, and with the future uncertain especially with vocalists Layne Staley’s death. But the band regrouped back in 2006 and added William DuVall as vocalist and on rhythm guitar and have stayed together since.

Photo by Andris Jansons

See full Alice In Chains photo gallery here.

Alice In Chains came on the stage playing their hit song Again from their self-titled album and the last one recorded with Staley. While DuVall have never tried to emulate Staley’s singing style, it did felt as original, and with my eyes closed it would not be able to tell the difference, and I mean that in very respectful and positive way. It did seem like William had some trouble with unzipping his leather jacket during the song, and after it ended he headed to the side of the stage where crew member was waiting for him with guitar for the next song Check My Brain. After some short commotion Willliam came over to sing just to have his shirt ripped. Hey, even if that was an accident it made for some fashionable rock’n’roll style.  

While Alice In Chains put heavy emphasis on their most successful album Dirt (sophomore album released in 1992) by playing five songs from it – Angry Chair, Dam That River, Rooster, Them Bones and Would?, the set represented all of the bands albums. It is hard for me to put emphasis on any specific moment in the show as it was amazing experience all together. The songs flowed from the stage flawlessly delivering the fans the best rock experience imaginable.

The tour will continue all the way into the October. Check the list below to see the nearest city to you.  

Wed Aug 17 – Noblesville, IN – Ruoff Music Center

Sat Aug 20 – Council Bluffs, IA – Westfair Amphitheater^^

Mon Aug 22 – Milwaukee, WI – American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Wed Aug 24 – Tinley Park, IL – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre – Chicago, IL

Sat Aug 27 – Englewood, CO – Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre^^

Mon Aug 29 – Salt Lake City, UT – USANA Amphitheatre

Wed Aug 31 – Bend, OR – Hayden Homes Amphitheater

Fri Sep 2 – Ridgefield, WA – RV Inn Style Resorts Amphitheater

Mon Sep 5 – Mountain View, CA – Shoreline Amphitheatre

Wed Sep 7 – Wheatland, CA – Toyota Amphitheatre

Thu Sep 8 – Irvine, CA – FivePoint Amphitheatre

Sat Sep 10 – Phoenix, AZ – Ak-Chin Pavilion

Sun Sep 11 – Albuquerque, NM – Isleta Amphitheater

Wed Sep 14 – Del Valle, TX – Germania Insurance Amphitheater

Fri Sep 16 – Dallas, TX – Dos Equis Pavilion**

Sat Sep 17 – Houston, TX – The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion presented by Huntsman**

Tue Sep 20 – Rogers, AR – Walmart AMP

Wed Sep 21 – Maryland Heights, MO – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre – St. Louis, MO

Tue Sep 27 – Raleigh, NC – Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek

Wed Sep 28 – Alpharetta, GA – Ameris Bank Amphitheatre

Fri Sep 30 – Tampa, FL – MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre at the FL State Fairgrounds

Sat Oct 1 – West Palm Beach, FL – iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre

Tue Oct 4 – Charlotte, NC – PNC Music Pavilion

Wed Oct 5 – Bristow, VA – Jiffy Lube Live

Sat Oct 8 – Mansfield, MA – Xfinity Center

**Bush not appearing

LIVE REVIEW: THIRD EYE BLIND AND TAKING BACK SUNDAY

As Third Eye Blind vocalist Stephan Jenkins said that Summer Gods tour means to be outdoors, warm nights, music, and collective joy. Last night in New Jersey we had it all twofold and then some more. Temperatures reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit, beer was cold, venue packed and music splendid. Third Eye Blind has embarked on summer tour together with Taking Back Sunday and Hockey Dad and called it “Summer Gods: 25 Years in the Blind” to commemorate their self-titled first album released back in 1997. This tour also supports the restoration of a portion of the Palos Verdes Kelp Forest. Proceeds of each will help people at surf community at SeaTrees to restore the kelp ecosystem that sequesters carbon off the California coast.

Written by Andris Jansons

Hockey Dad, from New South Wales, Australia, offered some feel-good alternative rock, perfectly made to enjoy in the summertime.

American rock band from Long Island, New York – Taking Back Sunday came next. As bands guitarist and co-vocalist John Nolan stated that they have been fans of Third Eye Blind and they would never have imagined having a chance to tour together. And here they are …  Band opened set with the song Tidal Wave from their eponymous album released in 2016, which to date is their latest album. They followed with Set Phasers To Stun and Liar (It Takes One to Know One).  Of course, fans in every state like when a band pays tribute to their state, for New Jersey fans Taking Back Sunday has a special song called Timberwolves at New Jersey from their debut album Tell All Your Friends. Fans sang along and danced, and not only to this song but pretty much all of them as bands setlist was basically their greatest hits collection. Of course, band left best for last and closed out with Cute Without the “E” (Cut From The Team) and MakeDamnSure.

Photo by Andris Jansons

See full Taking Back Sunday photo gallery here.

Third Eye Blind stage was set in darker mono tones with tree branch like decorations. Band came on with partially lit stage on interestingly created platform and kept playing from it for the first two songs, before starting to come down to the main stage closer to fans one by one. As the tours theme would have suggested that the main emphasis in bands setlist was on their debut self-titled album as nine songs from it where played. Rest of the setlist was assembled with their hit singles and other fan favorites. Bands latest release Our Bande Apart from the last year, was represented with three songs – Box Of Bones, Box Storm and The Dying Blood. Encore as always contained the desert with Semi-Charmed Life and How’s It Going to Be.

Photo by Andris Jansons

See full Third Eye Blind photo gallery here.

Altogether band played excellent show delivering on their promise of warm summer nights and collective joy. Stephan Jenkins fashion choice must be mentioned. Maybe I’m completely out of touch with modern fashion, actually, yes I am, but his outfit was something out of early 2000’s with wide pants and bulky shoes. And for that Mr. Jenkins we salute you!

Tour has past it’s summit and is nearing the end as a dozen shows are left. So get your tickets and enjoy while you can. Tickets here.

Also, please, check SeeTrees website here.

Third Eye Blind Summer Gods: 25 Years in the Blind with Taking Back Sunday & Hockey Dad

July 23 Columbia, MD Merriweather Post Pavilion

July 26 Atlanta, GA Cadence Bank Amphitheatre

July 27 Franklin, TN FirstBank Amphitheater

July 29 Houston, TX White Oak Music Hall

July 30 Del Valle, TX Germania Insurance Amphitheater

July 31 Irving, TX The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory

Aug 1 Oklahoma City, OK The Zoo Amphitheatre

Aug 4 Phoenix, AZ Arizona Federal Theatre

Aug 5 Inglewood, CA YouTube Theater

Aug 11 San Diego, CA Cal Coast Credit Union Amphitheater

Aug 12 Las Vegas, NV Virgin Hotels Las Vegas

Aug 13 Irvine, CA FivePoint Amphitheatre

LIVE REVIEW: WE CAME AS ROMANS AT STARLAND BALLROOM

We Came as Romans, one of the metalcore / post-hardcore staples, are poise to release their sixth studio album called Darkbloom on October 14th. This will be the bands first one after the untimely passing of bands member Kyle Pavone in 2018.  Currently band started tour with August Burns Red and Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey was their second stop.

Written by Andris Jansons

We Came As Romans (abbreviated as WCAR) are known for their aggressive music with melodic passages, and they know how to bring on the heat at live show. Band did not waste their time with their set and opened with their eponymous single from their upcoming album Darkbloom. The album is full of emotions that band was undergoing after Kyle’s passing, and song contains all spectrum of those emotions, it was a perfect way for them to start of the night. They followed with Wasted Age from previous record Cold Like War, and then turned back to the new material with Daggers. Both new songs Darkbloom and Daggers are released as singles. While reached exclamation point on Daggers performance bands vocalist Dave Stephens jumped onto the barricade and with some help of the fans he stood up and finished singing together with crowd. It was unbelievable experience for many front row people.

Their set contained two more songs from upcoming album – Plagued and Black Hole. These two also are released as singles and fans already had a plenty of familiarity with them to sing along. Cold Like War was also widely represented this night as three more songs were played from it – Learning To Survive, Lost In The Moment and Cold Like War.

Photo by Andris Jansons

See full gallery of We Came As Romans performance by following this link.

Whole set was full of energy and excitement as fans start to truly appreciate the new music from the band. From the people that really stood out I must note bass player Andy Glass, his energy was unrivaled during this performance. He managed to do most amazing acrobatics and did not miss a single beat in the process!!!

WCAR still has more than thirty dates coming up on this tour through United States before they will join forces with Architects later in the Fall. Check their schedule for a city near you and don’t miss their incredible performance. Check the dates below. Info and tickets can be found at iamdarkbloom.com/pages/tour.

July 19 – Rochester, N.Y. @ Anthology

July 20 – Hartford, Ct. @ The Webster

July 22 – Baltimore, Md. @ Ram’s Head Live

July 23 – Norfolk, Va. @ Norva

July 24 – Asheville, N.c. @ Orange Peel

July 25 – Knoxville, Tenn. @ The Mill & Mine

July 26 – Columbia, S.C. @ The Senate

July 28 – Birmingham, Ala. @ Iron City

July 29 – New Orleans, La. @ Republic

July 30 – Austin, Texas @ Emos

July 31 – Corpus Christi, Texas @ Brewster Street Icehouse

Aug. 2 – Tucson, Ariz. @ Encore

Aug. 3 – San Diego, Calif. @ Soma

Aug. 4 – Santa Cruz, Calif. @ Catalyst

Aug. 5 – Sacramento, Calif. @ Ace of Spades

Aug. 6 – Portland, Ore. @ Roseland

Aug. 8 – Seattle, Wash. @ Showbox Market

Aug. 9 – Spokane, Wash. @ Knitting Factory

Aug. 10 – Boise, Idaho @ Knitting Factory

Aug. 12 – Great Falls, Mont. @ The Newberry

Aug. 13 – Billings, Mont. @ Zoo Montana

Aug. 14 – Fargo, N.D. @ Fargo Brewing Outdoors

Aug. 16 – Minneapolis, Minn. @ Fillmore

Aug. 18 – Lincoln, Neb. @ Bourbon St

Aug. 19 – Des Moines, Iowa @ Val Air

Aug. 20 – Milwaukee, Wis. @ The Rave

Aug. 21 – Bloomington, Ill. @ Castle Theater

Aug. 23 – Ft. Wayne, Ind. @ Piere’s

Aug. 24 – Cincinnati, Ohio @ Bogarts

Aug. 25 – Louisville, Ky. @ Mercury Ballroom

Aug. 27 – Long Island, N.Y. @ Paramount

LIVE REVIEW: Sammy Hagar & The Circle Crazy Times Tour 2022

Crazy Times and Rock’n’roll are basically synonyms. Then you add Sammy Hagar and George Thorogood and it gets really crazy. Both legends joined together to go on Crazy Times tour, and fans are in for a treat of best rock music of all times.

Written by Andris Jansons

American rock music legend George Thorogood & The Destroyers hit the stage first, and their first song of the night was …. wait for it ….. it was Rock Party. That is exactly right, Rock Party and Crazy Times is what we had this night. This song brought positive vibes and rock’n’roll spirit into the amphitheater that lasted till the end.

Who Do You Love?, I Drink Alone and House Rent Blues/ One Bourbon One Scotch One Beer were just a few notable hit songs. For a desert he played Move It On Over and the song that every single person on this planet knows and likes – Bad to the Bone.

George Thorogood & The Destroyers. Photo by Andris Jansons

Gallery for George Thorogood & The Destroyers here.

For me, personally, this was the first time seeing George Thorogood & The Destroyers live, and after some thirty years of my life listening to these songs on the radio, this felt as fresh and as exciting as the moment when I first jammed to his songs.

While George has been with his music project since the beginning, Sammy has been all over the place. And one of them is none other then mighty Van Halen. His name alone carries the weight of excellency and greatness, but for many his time in Van Halen is the defining moment.

Sammy’s latest project The Circle includes his longtime friend from Van Halen times – bassist Michael Anthony. Michael was also involved in Sammy’s other supergroup project called Chickenfoot. On the drums The Circle have legendary Led Zeppelin drummers John Bonham son Jason. On guitar Vic Johnson provides his guitar virtuoso skills. Sammy and Michael are inducted in Rock’n’roll Hall of Fame as members of Van Halen. So, yes, this is another Sammy Hagar’s supergroup.

Just as George Sammy started his set with a rock’n’roll anthem There’s Only One Way To Rock, and followed with his Van Halen classic Poundcake. During the song Sammy received a proper New Jersey welcome gift – a NJ auto license plate with “PNDCAKE” on it. After proudly rockin it on the stage during the song, he signed it and tried to return to the fan, but it appears it was a fans gift to Sammy, which he was grateful for.

Sammy Hagar & The Circle. Photo by Andris Jansons

Gallery for Sammy Hagar & The Circle here.

During the next song Sammy busted open (literally) a beer can and after drinking whatever was left passed it on to a fan for a nice souvenir. All night long Sammys interaction with fans was very constant and party like.

Crazy times continued with many notable songs – Why Can’t This Be Love, I Can’t Drive 55, When It’s Love, Rock and Roll, Ain’t Talkin’ ‘bout Love and many more.

This show really feels like something out of this world and truly epic. Show will continue tonight in Massachusetts before departing to Indiana and Ohio. Then after a little July break it will go on in August until September. DO NOT MISS THIS ! Dates and info here.