Tag Archives: American rock band

*Review* Avenged Sevenfold & Disturbed – 3Arena, Dublin 07/01/17

On Saturday 7th January American heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold returned to Dublin for the first time in just over three years to kick off their ‘The Stage World Tour’, the tour is in support of their seventh album ‘The Stage’ which was released out of the blue back in October. Support on the night came from American heavy metal titans Disturbed.

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Before Disturbed had even taken to the stage the standing area was packed fans who had made sure to turn up early for them, showing that while Disturbed may have been supporting Avenged Sevenfold that night they are still a band with a very large Irish fanbase of their own. They kicked off their set with the title track of their most recent album 2015’s ‘Immortalized’ before going back 15 years and playing ‘The Game’ off their debut album ‘The Sickness’. The first half of their set was mainly material off their first two albums, however, these songs sounded far from perfect live, it was as if the band was warming up while playing them, most notably, the vocals during ‘Stupify’ sounded a lot weaker than you’d expect from a heavier song. Despite how weak the first half appeared to me, the crowd did exactly as vocalist David Draiman told them to, including screaming the ‘fuck’ parts during ‘Stupify’. The first standout performance of the set, their cover of Simon & Garfunkel ‘s ‘The Sound of Silence’, which has been nominated for a Grammy, signalled the turning point in the set. The lighter stripped back performance of such a timeless classic, with acoustic guitars, bongos and keys with the crowd singing along to almost every word with lighters and phones raised high into the sky, was simply breathtaking. It was followed by a strong performance of ‘Inside the Fire’ off 2008’s ‘Indestructible’, complete with pyro, with pyro sticks burning throughout the set and pyro blasts every time Draiman said the ‘fire’. Another standout was ‘The Light’ during which Draiman requested a moment of audience participation, asking them to raise their phones and lighters every time he uttered ‘the light’, which resulted in the 3Arena being lit up beautifully throughout the song.

They finished their set off with increasingly stronger performances of hit after hit; ‘Stricken’, with a perfect vocal performance from Draiman, ‘Indestructible’, with its headbang inducing pace, and ‘Ten Thousand Fists’, with the crowd raising their fists in time to it. The final song of their set was the expected performance of ‘Down with the Sickness’ with a big pyro blast ending, which was followed by the crowd chanting ‘Disturbed’. The band asked for a quick picture, took it, and then Draiman said ‘I hope to see you again soon’ as the band left the stage. Despite being the support act on the night Disturbed played a full headlining set, their stage production included more pyro than I have ever seen a band use live and it did nothing but add to the show. However, they seemed to spend the first half of their set warming up, but the second half of it more than made up for this with hit after hit and plenty of standout moments: 8.5/10.

Prior to Avenged Sevenfold taking to the stage both Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ and David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ played out through the venue’s speakers, the start of a theme that the band’s setlist would expand upon. As this was ‘The Stage World Tour’ there was a lot of buzz prior to the show in regards to what the stage setup would be like for them. The central piece of this stage set up was a giant floating cube with screens on the two sides of it that were facing the crowd. There was also three more large rectangle screens on either side of the cube making their way from the back of the stage towards the front of it. The stage itself was a pretty big rectangle with a walkway leading out into the crowd and two holes in it where members of the crowd who had paid for VIP were standing, making them a part of ‘the stage’ and show itself. While the set up was impressive, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit disappointed by it, due to all the recent interviews with the band that I had read prior to the show, I expected there to be more to it.

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The screens flashed white and the band’s deathbat logo appeared on the cube just before the 5 piece made their way to the stage. They kicked off their set with the title track off their latest album, from which the tour takes its name, ‘The Stage’, with vocalist, M. Shadows calling out to the crowd; ‘let me hear you Dublin,’ and hear them he did, as the crowd sang-a-long, showing their dedication to the band, by already knowing all the words to the ambitious 8 and a half minute monster of a track. They followed it up with an early stand-out of the set, ‘Afterlife’ off the band’s self-titled fourth album, with the crowds singing overpowering M. Shadows voice during the chorus, they finished the song to major applause from the crowd. ‘Dublin, how are you doing this evening?’ M. Shadows asked before making a joke about how the band might get given out to if they drink Guinness out of a can. Black and white footage began playing on the screens and the crowd started chanting, as the band started playing the title track off their sixth album ‘Hail to the King’, which was well received by the crowd despite how much the album split fans opinions upon its release back in 2013.  It was followed by the first live performance of ‘Paradigm’ off ‘To The Stage’ with M. Shadows telling the crowd ‘I wanna see a circle pit on this one’. Before playing ‘To End The Rapture’ off the band’s debut album, 2001’s, ‘Sounding the Seventh Trumpet’, M. Shadows said ‘I like this little arena. We are gonna play shit from all the records’. The short song was quickly followed by the heavy sound of ‘Chapter Four’ off their 2nd album ‘Waking The Fallen’.

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A strong performance of ‘Buried Alive’ off 2010’s ‘Nightmare’ was another stand-out of the set with its multiple guitar solos and its powerful outro section. Before ‘Angels’, another debut live performance, the cube started moving towards the crowd while rotating, then began flashing an image of a planet. During the song, which is one of the bands more ‘chilled’ songs, a mosh pit got going in the crowd with M. Shadows saying ‘only in Dublin’. After the song, the cube moved back to the back of the stage. As ‘Nightmare’ kicked off the crowd exploded to life singing the loudest they had so far that night and multiple mosh pits started throughout the crowd, the crowd sang multiple parts of the song on their own with no need for any help from M. Shadows. M. Shadows continued to speak to the crowd saying ‘it is always a pleasure to get over here to Ireland. This will hopefully give promoters more confidence in us so we can do more shows in Ireland. Alright, best show of the tour.’ Before ‘Almost Easy’ he gave a shoutout to Disturbed telling the crowd that ‘they are a big band and that they don’t need to be here with us’.

During the section of ‘Sunny Disposition’ that featured the sound of a siren, M. Shadows used a megaphone instead of his microphone, which was pretty punk and complimented the big, heavy, weird, and long, song perfectly. The band made an interesting choice to play ‘Warmness on the Soul’ as an instrumental. A giant inflatable spaceman, with a skull face and a light up head, exploded out of the back of the stage, as the band started playing ‘Planets’ off before the band finished their main set off with ‘Acid Rain’, both songs being off of ‘Hail to the King’ made them weird choices to finish out the set with. M. Shadows shouted ‘Dublin, Ireland thank you so much for tonight and we’ll see you next time,’ as he left the stage.

Once again the deathbat appeared on all of the screens as the band made their way back onto the stage for the encore. ‘Bat Country’, oddly the only song in the set off ‘City of Evil’, kicked off the encore with the crowd shouting ‘he who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man’ before exploding, the song resulted in the biggest mosh pits of the night and one of the loudest sing-a-longs. M. Shadows gave the band’s former drummer, The Rev, who died in 2009, a shoutout, dedicating the next song to him, before mentioning that his own Dad was at the show, and stating that there was Irish in his family before asking why he can’t grow a better beard. The epic, 8 minutes long, ‘A Little Piece of Heaven’ was the clear standout performance of the night, with The Rev’s haunting vocals playing out through the venue’s speakers seven years after his death, and the clear loudest sing-a-long of the night, with the crowd shouting, singing, and screaming back every single word of the song. The final song of the night was the expected performance of, the heavy, ‘Unholy Confessions’ off ‘Waking the Fallen’, allowing members of the crowd to get one last good mosh in.

While the main set could have been finished off with a stronger song, like the somehow missing performance of ‘Beast and the Harlot’ off ‘City of Evil’, I have to give it to Avenged Sevenfold for putting together a very ambitious stage setup, coupled with a set that covered the band’s entire career, and for easily the best crowd interaction from a band I have ever seen take place in an arena: 9.5/10.

 

 

*Interview* Tony Palermo (Papa Roach) 17/12/14

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Just before Christmas(17/12/14) I got a phone call from Tony Palermo, the drummer of American rock band Papa Roach (https://www.facebook.com/paparoach), to have a chat ahead of their upcoming Irish shows in The Academy, Dublin on Friday March 20th and The Limelight, Belfast on Saturday March 21st! Support on the night from UK band The One Hundred (https://www.facebook.com/theonehundredband)!
My interview with Tony can be read below after the video!

Christopher; Are you looking forward to being back in Europe and Ireland?
Tony; Definitely, we get back to Ireland but not everytime we come to Europe, so its a treat when we get back there because I know the fans really love it, and we like going there as well, so we’re all excited. We had conversations with our agent saying ”you have to throw Ireland on the tour somewhere”, so we want to give you guys some love, we’re coming back!.

C; What did you think of playing Ireland and The Academy last year? It has been roughly a year since then!
T; It was awesome man, the show was great, the crowd was great and then I got off stage and there was a nice big tray of Guinness waiting for us and that was amazing. That’s all I can remember, no I’m kidding. It just tastes better there, it doesn’t have to travel all the way around the world to get to us and lose some of its flavour.
C; That’s what everybody says, especially Americans, I was talking to other Americans on the weekend and they were saying it ‘it tastes so much better you don’t even know’, because we’d be used to the taste so we don’t know the difference.
T; Its weird man, I don’t even know, the way it’s probably served and the way its stored, its creamier and it just tastes like ten times better. Its crazy.

C; What can fans expect to see on the upcoming tour?
T; They can expect us to see us play some new songs. We’ve started playing our first single ‘Face Everything And Rise’ when we were out with In Flames a couple months ago and that went over really well, so it just gets us more excited to play new stuff. You know because its always good when you get to throw in new songs because you’re playing the same songs for a while, a few years at a time, us as band members and artists we love throwing new stuff in because it just injects new life into the set. It’s always exciting, it’s basically a test, you’ve never played the songs infront of people before, you hope that they go over well, you definitely kind of learn which songs work live and which song don’t work live, its kind of a process, we’ve it pretty narrowd down when we pick songs to play live, its all about the wibe and if its the right song to try to play live, it gets us all excited.

C; The Irish shows are a month before the 15th anniversary of ‘Infest’, and while we know it’s the ‘Face Everything And Rise Tour’ so the new tracks take priority, can we expect a lot off ‘Infest’ too like you have been playing lately?
T; I believe so, we’ve been playing some more songs off ‘Infest’ this year and when were playing infront of our own crowd it seems to matter more and its fun for us too, were just looking for ways to always build the set up and make it more exciting and different because I know in the last few years we’ve been out a lot, people have seen of us play a lot of the same songs and we have to keep it fresh for ourselves too, so going back and playing some of those tracks its really cool for everybody involved. I’ve had a good time too cause I wasn’t around for the ‘Infest’ stuff, so I get to relive it with the band, it’s exciting and fun to play ‘new’ old stuff.
C; Is ‘Tightrope’ going over particularly well?
T; It is actually, I always sit back and wonder like wow its so crazy because we can play a song like ‘Where Did The Angels Go’ you know its a heavy, double kick, riffy kind of song and then go all the way over to like ‘Tightrope’ and you know it has more of a reggae feel playing a full on reggae beat. As soon as we start that song live people they ignite, it’s crazy, I don’t know what is is man, it’s a good feeling knowing that we can play songs so diverse that its accepted, where as some bands if they try to do a raggae tune it wouldn’t work for them, it’s awesome that it works for us.

C; Do you have a favorite song to play live?
T; The last song of the set. Well I mean lately its been ‘Face Everything And Rise’ just becuse its new and its fresh, it’s all about the new stuff. ‘Last Resort’ is always cool, that’s just kind of a no brainer song, its like everybodys knows that song, when we play it at festivals, even if some of those people weren’t there to see us, the crowd always ignites during that song, that’s a very meaningful song for the band, going back to the inception of the band and when they hit it, it has so much meaning, so ‘Last Resort’ is one of them. ‘Where Did the Angels Go’ that’s a challenging song for me, just with the double kick stuff, I love the heaviness of it, I like different songs for different reasons.

C; Any idea who is supporting you on the tour yet or any hints?(@gonzalezpablo10 on twitter)
T; I think everything is being finalized I don’t really want to say yet, but I know we have a couple bands but I think it is all coming down to availability and how can commit to the tour you know but I’m pretty sure it is going to be a three band bill, three or four.
(Support was later confirmed as The One Hundred from the UK, check out their Music Video for ‘Downfall’ below!)

C; Favorite band to tour with?
T; I would have to say up at the top is Avenged Sevenfold, those guys are really good friends of ours, we were fortunate enough I think it was back in 2009 to tour with those guys, and it was fun, we had a good time onstage as well as offstage with them, we still see those guys occasionally and talk to them, their a fun band to tour with.
We like playing with our dudes in P.O.D., Shinedown, the guys are great. Eric from Shinedown, the bass player, we Golf together, so we tour together were like Golfing all the time, so that’s fun, it kind of breaks up the monotomy of touring, when your able to get out and get away from the whole circus for a day.
There’s a lot of cool bands out there, we get along with pretty much every band, we don’t really have a beef with anybody, you get along with certain people better than others and avoid the ones you don’t. We kind of just flow with that you know.
C; I think you’re the second or third band member I’ve asked that question to who said Avenged Sevenfold straight away!
T; They’re just some funs guys, we had some great times and some memorable times on that run. When you look up at bands like that, personally the guys too, it makes it that much easier to tour, its less uncomfortable, its not uncomfortable at all. Some bands you tour with, not very many, but there has been a couple, you see everybody everyday but you kind of don’t talk to them. Which is really weird because we are pretty sociable guys, we always have our doors open backstage and we’re playing music, we’re never really shut off to bands, we kind of open ourselves up, if we’re on the road together it’s a thing, it’s a scene and we are trying to make the best of it you know.

C; You guys went into the studio to record ‘F.E.A.R.’ with pretty much nothing written or composed in advance, what was the writing process like due to this?
T; Yeah well I mean it was pretty sketchy at first cause everybody had mixed emotions about it. We’re a band that likes to stay on top of being prepared and at least have some ideas and a kind of direction. When we met with Kevin Churko, the producer, him and his son Kane, we kind of felt that they were the right team to hire, so we know we didn’t have to worry about the production side of things, we just had to come in and write the best songs we could write in a very timely manner. Because the last record we did ‘The Connection’ we took probably six to eight months because we had our studio going in Sacramento and we weren’t really paying normally studio time or rates, so it just seemed to be a lot less time orientated, we just sort of like said we’re going into this we’re going to take our time.
This time it was a little more frantic, once we started flowing I think the first track we wrote was ‘Broken As Me’, which was just kind of released a couple of days ago, once we wrote that everybody was kind of like ‘if that’s the first song we’re going to be alright’ just making sure everything flows right.
One thing with Jacoby he doesn’t really write anything before he hears music so it’s kind of a race after we write music to get him the songs so he can feel them out, get a vibe, what the song is musically is saying to him and what he can inject into that vocally and lyrically and hopefully match the mood of the song with the right lyric and the right melody and that’s always the challenge.
I would say it was a little bit more frantic, yeah in the sense that like you said there was nothing written, so we kind of had to do everything right then, I think we wrote for like a month or something.
Basically the whole process was kind of turned around too, I recorded the drums last, everybody wrote the songs and put the guitars, bass and vocals down, as they were being written, to programmed drums, so then I took all those, basically recordings, and I got to kind of live with them for a while which was awesome. So when it came time for me to lay some tracks down, I had already rehearsed stuff and kind of knew for the most part what I was doing. So it really helped out do things last which is very different, ask any drummer, we always go first, we never really know what the vocals are doing, its kind of hard to be creative that way, because you never know, vocals and lyrics have a lot to do with what we should we be doing, but we never really get a chance to hear that stuff before, so this was great for me you know.

C; The increasing use of electronics in the band is very interesting, can you talk about that a bit?
T; Its always been there I think in the music, even going back to ‘Getting Away With Murder’, so it shouldn’t be like a shocker to people, but I think it has been getting a little stronger influenced in the last few records, we don’t want it to over take the band. I mean we’re still a rock band and when you strip that all that stuff away its still bass, drums, vocals and we would never rely on that to carry a song, we just look at it, depending on the song, maybe it’s just another bit of music going on, you know samples and loops, but its nothing to where its taking over the songs, some bands if they were playing live and all of that stuff went down for them, if they had an error or something, I’ve seen it to where they can’t play their sets, we’re not about that, we’re first and foremost a rock band, we just happen to like electronic stuff and I think its creative and helps tie all of the music together.

C; Are you looking forward to the response on January 26th when people can finally hear the whole finished album?
T; Absolutely man. With every record you always finish months before and its like why does it take so long to come out? A part from playing live and seeing peoples face in front of you that’s another big pay off for us, you put your heart out, your emotions, when you do a new record and you just always hope it just connects and resonates with people and that’s the big payout, another one.
It seems from ‘Face Everything And Rise’ there was a track I think just in the UK ‘Warriors’ kind of came out first, which we didn’t really plan on doing cause our first single was ‘Face Everything And Rise’ so we didn’t really plan on doing that but yeah whatever that happened, we went through that thing and now its ‘Broken As Me’ if you pre-order the CD you’ll get a free download of that. And the response has been pretty awesome man, people are excited to hear new music from us and the stuff they are hearing they’re pretty much like ‘okay this is right on from where they should be’ cause a lot of people always think they know what is best for us but no it’s been a great response so far so I’m excited for people to sit down and listen to the whole thing from track one to the end, and that’s a big thing for us when we put a record together, it’s like sequencing that’s important to us, we don’t just throw a bunch of songs on a record, we know the way that the scene is now everybody is just getting single downloads here and there, we still take into consideration the whole record as a piece of music. Yeah we’re excited, I can’t wait.

C; Do you have a favorite song on the new album?
T; Well ‘Face Everything And Rise’ is definitely up there, we did a song, the second track on the record, it’s called ‘Skeletons’ and that’s definitely one of my favorites, for us, Jacoby especially, he writes a lot of lyrics in a verse, he just crams a lot in there, so when he gets to the chorus he gots to take a huge breath to sing, I think on Skeletons he kind of pulled back and sings more eloganted wording, I think the fans will dig that one, and just the production overall on the record its so sick and in your face, but its not too much, its right where it needs to be, what I get from it is hopefully what people get when people see us live, that in your face vibe, like were pretty energetic on stage and I think that the record production quality comes off like that.
C; Well you can definitely hear the in your faceness on ‘Broken As Me’ so you already have that out there.
T; They just did such a great job on the guitars, I’m really stoked about that, that was one of the reasons we went with the Churko’s because of their production qualities when they did some of those In This Moment records, we just thought man our songs with that production will fricking soar. We’re stoked.

C; What was probably the most difficult song to write on the album?(@shelleylinz on twitter)
T; Most difficult song to perform and record for me was ‘Falling Apart’, it’s very progressive for us, and I say that just because of the guitar riff just cycles around and the drums are kind of plain, it’s just a tricky beat, it took me a while to get that one, I’d kind of say that for writing aswell, that’d be the hardest one to write. But then ‘Gravity’ kind came out of just an electronic drum part thing, and that grew into something that we were kind of trying to get to where it got, it took a bit, that was another tough one.