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Welshly Arms rock Vinyl Jan 19

Vinyl was the host on a chilly night in Atlanta for the return of Welshly Arms, with support from SCR and The Unlikely Candidates.

Fans who arrived early were treated to a highly energetic and fun set from SCR (Sir Cadian Rhythm), a five piece band out of New York. With a pop-rock sound reminiscent of early Fall Out Boy, and just a hint of ska/funk to make it stand out from the crowd, SCR held the crowd’s attention throughout the set, which began around 7pm—not an easy feat in the age of cell phones. The band was having the time of their lives, with each other and with the crowd, and the set, including the popular “Not Quite Done Yet,” was over much too soon. The song recently surpassed one million streams on Spotify, which keyboardist/trombonist Matt Carlin acknowledged with a huge smile.

Another band that is steadily on the rise, The Unlikely Candidates, took the stage next, with frontman Kyle Morris commanding the stage and giving his all to the music. The band, out of Fort Worth, Texas, has had recent radio success with the 2019 single “Novocaine,” which is a great song, but the performance of “Violence,” from 2017’s EP Danger To Myself, stole the show with it’s distorted vocals and sing-along chorus. “Celebrate,” on which the band collaborated with Dirty Heads in 2017, was another crowd favorite.

Then it was onto the band everyone was waiting for, Welshly Arms. A bit hard to say (it comes from a Saturday Night Live sketch), but a name you should definitely know. There really aren’t enough bands out there who still play the blues, and fewer who do it with a power-punch of soul and rock-n-roll, as this band does so well. From the gritty vocals of frontman Sam Getz, to the enormously fun to watch singing, dancing back-up duo of Bri and Jon Bryant, Welshly Arms is a band that commands attention, and gives so much back to the audience while performing. The set included songs from the 2018 album No Place Is Home, such as “Sanctuary,” an ode to leaning on each other to get through life, “Down to the River,” and the fun, dance-able track “Indestructible.” A beautiful cover of The Beatles “Something in the Way” was the highlight of the set, giving each vocalist a chance to sing a verse, while the crowd sang every word back. Other highlights were “Hoochie Coo,” “Love of the Game,” and of course, “Legendary,” the song that propelled Welshly Arms up the charts after being featured in numerous advertising campaigns.

If you know this song, please sing along,” Getz said beforehand. The crowd obliged, singing back the words that are beginning to come true for this talented band: “We’re gonna be legends!”

SCR Gallery
The Unlikely Candidates Gallery
Welshly Arms Gallery

Interview: Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal (3 Jan 2020)

Earlier this month, I had the great honor of sitting down with Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal (Sons Of Apollo, Asia) prior to his 3 January 2020 Storyteller show at the Milkboy in Philadelphia. He told us about the beginnings of Sons Of Apollo, as well as their upcoming album, MMXX (due out 17 January); about being in the band Asia as part of the Royal Affair tour; his upcoming solo work; and his signature line of hot sauces. Additionally, you’ll get to hear about some great deviled eggs!

Join us for the next half hour as we talk through this and more. And, if you’re interested, you can check out the photos from the Milkboy show.


 

You can pre-order Sons Of Apollo’s new album, MMXX, by clicking here.

For more on Bumblefoot, visit:
Official Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
YouTube
Hot Sauces
Sons Of Apollo
Asia

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Bumblefoot’s Storyteller Concert Series – Milkboy Philly

Just three days into 2020, I had the pleasure to attend my first ever Bumblefoot solo show. And this one truly was solo! Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal [Sons Of Apollo, Asia], guitarist and vocalist extraordinaire, has been doing storyteller-styled concerts; alone except for his guitar, microphone, and some backing tracks. Despite this minimalist setting, Thal has quite a large presence, and all I saw were happy faces in the house at Milkboy Philadelphia as he performed fretboard pyrotechnics on his double-necked Vigier guitar. Voices layered on top of one another from the audience during cover songs like “Somebody to Love” by Queen, just as Thal layered his own guitar parts for his singular arrangement of “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” by The Police. There was plenty of time for stories as well, and Ron regaled us with how he’d painted himself into a corner with complicated guitar parts for the new Sons Of Apollo album, MMXX (out January 17), giving a sneak peak of some over-the-top riffs, licks, and solos.

Joining Bumblefoot for the evening was the band Mach22, a very capable hard rock band with a great sense of groove. At the end of Thal’s set, he invited the band back onstage to have an impromptu jam on a number of classics, including “Whole Lotta Rosie” by AC/DC, “It’s So Easy” by Guns N’ Roses, and closing things out with a thrilling version of KISS’ “Detroit Rock City.”

While there’s no substitute for the real thing, I captured some stills here and there that I hope will tease your appetite. You might also be interested in checking out our interview with Bumblefoot, conducted just prior to this show!

‘MMXX’ by Sons Of Apollo

Welcome to a new decade!  A mere three years ago, Sons of Apollo, a super group composed of former members of Dream Theater, Guns N’ Roses, Mr. Big, and Journey, burst onto the scene with their debut album, Psychotic Symphony.  They quickly earned praise for that effort and toured the world over, even releasing a live album and concert video last year from their show with the Plovdiv Symphony in Bulgaria.  The onset of 2020 has brought Sons of Apollo’s new album, MMXX, aptly titled for the present day and, whenever you’re reading this, for your ears.

I’ll admit to being a bit apprehensive; would this be as good as the debut?  Could this be as good?  Psychotic Symphony remains one of my favorite albums of 2017, mixing grandiose instrumentation with deep-set earworms.  Well, after spending a good deal of December 2019 listening to MMXX, I can say that this is a worthy successor and sophomore release.  The earworms have all returned to bore new homes, and listeners need look no further than the first single and opening track “Goodbye Divinity,” where I’ve found the keyboard intro and chorus slipping into my otherwise regularly-schedule thoughts.  And, as it’s playing in my ears at the moment, I just cannot get enough of the ascending-descending scale runs that wallpaper the refrain from Resurrection Day.  Addictive, to say the least!

I can’t help but to gush a bit over King of Delusion, which currently stands as my favorite track on this record.  Arising seamlessly out of the death knell which finishes off Desolate July, Derek Sherinian paints a meandering path through his staggering keystrokes, welcoming murmured whispers before an onslaught of chugging guitars, bass, and drums barrel into us.  Soto’s paced verses remind me faintly of Ozzy Osbourne’s ”Perry Mason,” though I’m likely drawing erroneous connections.  Over the course of almost 9 minutes, we’re marched from mildly manic to run-for-the-door soundscapes; beautifully dynamic and diverse.

Returning to the previously mentioned grandiose instrumentation, Sons of Apollo have written their longest song to date with the closing track, New World Today, clocking in at nearly 16 minutes.  After a swelling guitar opening from Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal ushers in visions of an 80s movie sunrise (at least for me), vocalist Jeff Scott Soto regales us with societal commentary that asks us to question our role going into the future.  While the listener ponders that, the music twists from chugging hard rock to speed metal velocity before opening up into more spacious orchestration and allowing each instrument to take control for a time.  With three minutes to spare, it finally returns to the opening melody line, which I think may be one of the greatest points of composition on this album, and causes the record to end with an air of optimism.

MMXX has launched us into a new decade with a bang!  While not a huge departure in sound from the debut, it’s a great collection of songs that take us through a gamut of moods and musical flavors.  As should be expected from these five respected musicians, there’s no shortage of instrumental flair thrown in for good measure, and often I find myself marveling at the synchronicity of their combined efforts.  Needless to say, if you enjoyed the former album, you won’t be disappointed here.  And if you’ve never checked the band out before, there’s no time like the present!

 

You may also be interested in checking out our interview with Bumblefoot.

Pre-order the album, out January 17, right here.

For more on Sons Of Apollo, visit:
Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Align with Double Experience

Everyone could use a little experience, but double is even better! That’s what has drawn me time and time again to the Canadian duo who call themselves Double Experience, a band who embraces its nerdy side and has built a following with songs about games and pop culture. And now, after a string of stand-alone singles, they’re back for more with their first concept album, Alignments.

We are so proud to reveal our new album, “Alignments”. As our first concept album, we’ve arranged it into 3 separate parts (Neutral, Good, and Evil) to demonstrate its underlying story. The first EP is available to stream on Nov 15 and includes the debut single, “New Me”.

1. Perish Song
2. New Me
3. Something’s Got to Give
4. Ghost in the Machine
5. My List
6. Your Biggest Fan
7. Born For It
8. So Dumb
9. The Imp
10. Alignments

In the RPG that is your life, who holds the dice? When thoughts and prayers are as disposable as this week’s pop culture, where are the lines between reality and fiction drawn? Is this state of disarray all according to someone’s plan? We can assure you that the soundtrack to these end times is kick-ass, but we’re dying to know…

What’s. Your. Alignment?

Alignments consists of three EPs, released over time. You can start your adventure now by streaming Neutral, and pre-ordering a copy of Alignments right here!


 
For more on Double Experience, visit:
Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube | Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

A Sound of Thunder celebrates their 10th Anniversary with ‘Parallel Eternity’

2019 marks two important events for the Washington D.C. band, A Sound of Thunder: they celebrate their ten year anniversary as a band, and vocalist Nina Osegueda survived a near-death experience after being hit by a bus! We’re thankful that Nina is doing much better, so now we can celebrate the other, happier aspect this year has brought. In honor of their 10th anniversary, the band has decided to release a very special greatest hits double album, entitled Parallel Eternity, and currently has a Kickstarter to bring it to life.

Parallel Eternity is not your run of the mill greatest hits compilation. Sure, it will feature fan favorites such as “Queen of Hell,” “Udoroth,” and the Catalonia anthem “Els Segadors (The Reapers),” but the band has something unique in store for both the Legion of Thunder and new fans alike. Partnering with composer Brad Charles of Magic Giraffe Soundworks, the foursome will see some of their best known heavy metal works take on an orchestral twist, along with the release of two new songs. One of these two novel tunes is “Explorer,” a 15-minute epic originally conceived in 2008, but not tackled until now, which according to the band takes “you on a journey from desert to ocean, from destruction to creation, and from crushing defeat to total victory!”

Cover by long-time A Sound of Thunder artist, Dusan Markovic.

The other new song which will be included with this release is called “Break Free (Theme From Rai),” inspired by the Valiant Entertainment comic book character and series, Rai, the sword-wielding protector of New Japan from the year 4002 A.D. Joining A Sound of Thunder in this endeavor is Dan Abnett, the writer of Rai and many other comics and novels, who contributed lyrics to the band and Charles’ musical backdrop, helping to really get inside the character and creating something more than just a fan-made tribute. It doesn’t stop there, however, because Valiant and A Sound of Thunder are celebrating the release of the new Rai series with an exclusive Rai #1 Iron Maiden homage comic book, with beautiful cover artwork by Paul Pelletier (Batgirl, Guardians of the Galaxy, etc.)

So, if you love heavy metal, or if you love comic books, A Sound of Thunder’s “Parallel Eternity” is not something you want to miss. And you have an opportunity to ensure all of this hard work comes to fruition. By contributing to the Kickstarter, which is the only place you can get copies of two different versions of the Iron Maiden homage of Rai #1 (the variant and the virgin art) as well as a poster of Pelletier’s gorgeous cover artwork, you’re not only getting some great heavy metal, but you’re helping a group of fine musicians make a second decade of great music.

 
For more on A Sound of Thunder, visit:
Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Apple Music | Bandcamp | YouTube

Sirbaugh Acres VI: Time Machine

Last year was my first iteration of Sirbaugh Acres, which at that time was marking its fifth year running. It was a splendid affair, with five bands showcasing their musical prowess for a lawnful of onlookers. This year I returned for the sixth installment of the series, with some newcomers and returning musical champions. Unlike the previous outing, this one carried the theme of “Time Machine” and featured each band playing a tune from Ronnie James Dio’s storied career. But they weren’t limited to Dio, and explored a variety of other covers from bands like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Queensrÿche, and, of course, gave a healthy dose of their own material for the delighted listeners. The acts included Nero’s Fiddle, Elizabeth’s Furnace (formerly Meridian), Mindmaze, A Sound Of Thunder, and Bleeding Black, who performed their final show that night.

Normally when I do concert reviews, I have difficulty connecting one-on-one with some of my favorite bands. I’ve enjoyed the relaxed setting that Tim Sirbaugh, the namesake of Sirbaugh Acres, has provided, allowing me the opportunity to both immerse myself in great music, as well as get to have real conversations with the people behind it. This is like a vacation for me, so forgive me as I forego a band-by-band review and simply inundate you with photos I captured of each set. But suffice to say, each band put on a hell of a performance and, despite a brief rain shower that took us by surprise, the entire event was a wonderful auditory adventure.

While I don’t have the exact numbers, I feel the event has grown in size since I last attended, and I certainly noted more photographers and videographers this time around. If you’d like to check out some of the footage of the first three bands: Nero’s Fiddle, Elizabeth’s Furnace, and Mindmaze, you can find it here, courtesy of the Mad Shad Channel. You can find our photo gallery for all the bands below, along with links to explore their music further.

Nero’s Fiddle: Facebook


 

Elizabeth’s Furnace: Facebook


 

Mindmaze: Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Apple Music | BandsInTown


 

A Sound Of Thunder: Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Apple Music | Bandcamp | YouTube


 

Bleeding Black: Facebook | ReverbNation