Alter Bridge / Nonpoint – The Fillmore Silver Spring

You know those moments when you realize you underestimated the situation?  Those times when it clicks a little too late that you may not have taken all the factors into account.  Recently, I had the pleasure of a moment just like that – arriving to see Alter Bridge on “The Last Hero Tour,” supported by Nonpoint, at The Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD on February 10, 2017.  As I exited the parking garage, with the venue just a block away, my eyes fell upon a line which stretched all the way down and around the corner…5 minutes after the venue doors had been scheduled to open.  Taking my place at the rear of the crowd, myself and others joked that we wouldn’t all be able to get in and would be turned away when we finally arrived to the door.  We inched forward in spurts, others still filing into line behind us, keeping the queue wrapped well to the opposite side of the block from the venue entrance.  I found out then that there was a band, Weapons Of Anew, scheduled to start playing at 7:20.  Halfway around the block and it was already 7:25.  By the time I made my way inside the concert hall it was about 7:50, with the first band finishing up their set and packing their equipment.  I’m not sure any photographer arrived in time to shoot that first set.  Needless to say, if the show wasn’t sold out it certainly felt like it!


Nonpoint:
Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

I’m a pretty recent Nonpoint listener.  I had heard of them for several years, but never gave them a listen until guitarist B.C. Kochmit joined the fold.  I followed his work with another fine band, Eye Empire, and knew his addition to this act would be something to witness.  If you’ve heard their latest album, The Poison Red, you know I’m not mistaken.  He brings talent to an already bustling band, infusing his sense of groove with their own.  The result is amazing!  While I wasn’t familiar with all the songs performed that evening, a few caught my ear.  Perhaps what astounded the audience most, outside of the band’s extremely energetic stage presence, was their rendition of Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight.”  Unexpected, to say the least.  The other thing that caught my attention was the consideration each of the members gave to their fans.  Towards the very beginning of their set, bassist Adam Woloszyn noticed two small children in the front row (right behind where I had planted myself to begin photographing) and handed them both a guitar pick, followed in turn by Kochmit, and a drumstick apiece from Robb Rivera.  The look of enthusiasm in those children’s eyes and the pleasure it brought to the band set the stage for the rest of their awesome set.


Alter Bridge:
 Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

I used to get made fun of by my friends because, while I didn’t find the entire catalog to be of interest, Creed had certain songs that really hit me.  I found that it was more the rhythm section that captured my interest than anything else.  So years ago, when I discovered that same rhythm section had gone on to form Alter Bridge, I was ecstatic to check them out.  Five albums later, I’d certainly glad I did.  This was my first time seeing the ensemble in concert, but boy, did they deliver!

Drawing on from the full power of their catalog, they reached all the way back to One Day Remains; then spent a good bit of time on Blackbird, including the lengthy title track; hit my favorite from AB III, “Ghost Of Days Gone By”; and made deserved stops on Fortress, answering the written request to play “Cry Of Achilles.”  Of course, given the nature of the tour, they wowed us with tracks from The Last Hero, opening their set with “The Writing Is On The Wall” and making room for “Show Me A Leader” during the encore.  What astounded me most though, was the guitar duel between Myles Kennedy and Mark Tremonti, as I hadn’t witnessed a full-on solo battle live for years.  I know I wasn’t the only one stunned by the ferocity of the playing, and everyone left that night feeling quite sated.

Don’t miss your opportunity to see either of these fine groups tear up a stage near you.

Concert Review: A Sound Of Thunder & MindMaze


 

Last Thursday night was quite an evening!  Udo Dirkschneider, former lead singer for metal band, Accept, made a stop at the Baltimore Soundstage with his solo band for a lengthy set featuring old Accept tunes and a good time.  I had my own reasons for going to the show, however, which revolved around seeing one of my favorite bands, A Sound Of Thunder, open up for Udo.  They did me a true kindness by obtaining a photo pass for me, which allowed me the pleasure of getting up-close and personal during their first three songs.  While this photo pass allowed me to capture some shots of their set, as well as fellow opener, MindMaze, my clearance didn’t extend to Dirkschneider’s set.  Unfortunate, but better than if I hadn’t been able to snap shots at all!  Plus, I had the added enjoyment of discussing classic metal with a fellow enthusiast, ranging from Iron Maiden to Death.  Discussing the finer points of Metallica’s back catalog was a rare treat.

Now, onto the photos!
 
MindMaze: Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Bandcamp

It’s difficult for me to say exactly how awesome MindMaze’s set was.  Based on what their vocalist, Sarah Teets, recently said on her Facebook page, this may have been their best set yet.  However, as someone who has never listened to MindMaze prior to that night, I can only say this: the combination of searing vocals, pounding drums, and rapid fire riffs made their set a joy to behold.  The abundant audience that filled Soundstage might have seemed a bit stiff at the beginning, but quickly erupted in applause at the end of their opening song.  Even the debut of two new songs came across to resounding cheers.  I, for one, have already gone to check out more of their music.  In short: it’s worthy of your time.

 

A Sound Of Thunder: Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Google+Band Store

A Sound Of Thunder has been a personal favorite of mind since I first encountered them opening for Fozzy at the Jaxx Club in Springfield, VA.  At that point, they gave off an air of Black Sabbath mixed with Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.  However, over the years they’ve developed their sound and melded all their influences into a seamless exhibition of heavy metal.  Though they didn’t have much more than half an hour, they still managed to wreak havoc upon Thursday’s crowd.  I would be surprised if there were any in attendance who were not newly converted fans after their first track, “Queen Of Hell,” rang in their ears.  Certainly, by the time they reached their cover of Manowar’s “Pleasure Slave,” a slew of onlookers were inducted into the Legion Of Thunder, submitting to the will of front-woman, Nina Osegueda.  For those who are looking for some of their influences, I’d highly recommend their newest release, “Who Do You Think We Are?”, a collection of cover songs.  If you’d like to check out their newest original work, however, look towards their album, “Tales From The Deadside,” which pairs nicely with the Valiant Darkman comics.

Here are some photos from Thursday, or check out the interview I did with Nina and Josh about “Tales From The Deadside.”

Jenn Grinels at Deer Creek House Concerts in Baltimore

Better B# - TAM Logo 2

My wife and I had the honor recently of attending a private performance by national touring artist, Jenn Grinels, put on in the Baltimore area by Deer Creek House Concerts.  We’ve both been fans of Jenn for a number of years, ever since we first happened upon a set she played at Rams Head Live in 2012.  Known for her upbeat attitude, between song banter, and the ever-popular audience participation segments, she continues to sell out venues and astound crowds wherever she tours.  While she was plagued that night by being “more sick than [she’s] ever been in [her] life,” a strong cup of tea and sheer perseverance on her part resulted in a phenomenal and humorous show that won over the hearts of all those who had not been familiar with her prior to this intimate affair.

Here are a few shots I snapped throughout the night.  I’d highly recommend seeing her as she continues touring across the West Coast.  Find a date near you right here.

For those interested in learning more about private shows by Deer Creek House Concerts, look here.  They do a wonderful job that blends intimacy with professionalism.


For more on Jenn Grinels, visit:

Official Website
Patreon
Facebook
Twitter
Youtube

The Temperance Movement rocks Baltimore Soundstage

Better B# - TAM Logo 2


Last Sunday evening, Scottish rockers The Temperance Movement, brought a wave of good feelings to the U.S.’s East Coast when they played the Baltimore Soundstage.  Supported by The Sheepdogs, and local act, The Milestones, the three bands poured their souls on the stage for their audience.

The Milestones, though performing a short opening set, laid out a few surprises for those in attendance.  The most notable of these was the final song, which featured a closing drum solo by the extremely energetic John Love.  While drum solos in general are usually regarded as poor judgment, I thought this one was particularly well done – serving nicely to wrap up their set.

Next up was the Saskatchewan-natives, The Sheepdogs, currently touring alongside The Temperance Movement.  This group blew me away with their classic rock sound – reminding me of Boston with their vocal harmonies and dual guitar melodies.

The Temperance Movement closed out the night, full of energy and gratefulness for those who had come to see them on a Sunday night.  As they played, frontman Phil Campbell moved around as if he was in a trance, spurring a number of audience members to join him with a variety of their own dance steps in front of the stage.  It was clear that this band evokes a strong connection with their listeners, and the group extended a whole-hearted thanks to all those in attendance while blasting out one hit after the next.

The Milestones: Website | Facebook

 

The Sheepdogs: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

 

The Temperance Movement:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Youtube

 

311’s two night SOLD OUT residency in Atlanta’s Tabernacle

311

311

 

The first of a two night sold out residency that 311 took up at Tabernacle started on Thursday, July 24, 2014,  in the heart of downtown Atlanta. I can honestly say there is nothing like a 311 show, especially at the Tabernacle, where the environment is a little more intimate than say at the other amphitheaters in the Atlanta area. This allowed for a true immersion of optical delights of the lightshow, meshing together with the funky, reggae-infused rock and love that is all 311.

311 is currently out on tour in support of the band’s eleventh studio album, Stereolithic, which was released on March 11, 2014, on the unofficial “311” day. In true form, 311 did not deviate from providing an entertaining, enjoyable time for its fans. It’s as if one big family comes to celebrate all night long, with enthusiasts lining up as early as 3 p.m. the night of the show to get as close to the stage as possible.

 

311

311

 

311 highlighted not only its signature style and sound with fan favorite songs, but also performed songs off Stereolithic. 311 started the night off with “Beautiful Disaster,” followed by “Do You Right,” “Showdown,” “Freeze Time,” “Livin’ & Rockin’,” “My Stoney Baby”, “Great Divide,” “Amber,” “Boom Shanka,” “Applied Science,” “All Mixed Up,” “Existential Hero,” “Love Song,” “T & P Combo,” “Friday Afternoon,” BASS SOLO, “Made In The Shade,” “Flowing,” “Random,” “Come Original” and ended the regular set with “Feels So Good.” For the encore 311 played a new song of Stereolithic, “Tranquility” and ended the night with “Down.”

311 are out on tour through the end of August, so do not pass up a chance to see the band live. This is a band that you will want to definitely put on your musical bucket list to see live. 311 is full of energy, great songs and above all it’s about having a good time.

311

311

 

Full Photo Gallery of 311