Korn Decimate Anaheim

Photo: Steve RoseKorn wrapped up their second of a two night sold out run at the newly remodeled House of Blues. The venue, now located at the new Garden Walk in Anaheim, was a great site to host this iconic band. They played a great mixture of songs spanning their almost 25 year career. “Here to Stay,” “Shoots and Ladders,” “Blind,” and “Falling Away from Me.” were some highlights from the night. The crowd was as aggressive as the music that was coming from the stage and went to a new level of intensity when singer, Jonathan Davis, came out with his bag pipes during the opening of “Shoots and Ladders.” They kept the energy going into Ray Luzier’s drum solo before being joined by the rest of the band for “Blind.”

Photo: Steve RoseKorn put on a fantastic, high energy show. From the first note, to the last chord of the night, guitarists Munky and Head had their signature dreadlocks whipping around as they churned out memorable riff after riff on their detuned 7 string guitars. Bassist, Fieldy, was awesome as he rattled the venue with his thunderous slap bass style.

The band will head off to Europe before returning the states in late Spring for a tour that will take them into Summer. Don’t miss out on catching them when they are in your area.

Photos by Steve Rose

Korn @ House of Blues Anaheim

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Steve Vai was Scintillating in Riverside

Photo: Steve Rose

Photo: Steve Rose

The Fox Performing Arts Center was the first stop on Steve Vai’s 25th Anniversary Passion and Warfare Tour and those in attendance were treated to a masterful performance from the legendary guitarist. Fellow “brother in shred” and former bandmate, Tony MacAlpine, delivered a great and emotional performance to open the show. His set showcased his technical prowess and it was great to see him perform after missing some time while recovering from colon cancer.

The crowd got fired up when Steve Vai took the stage and opened with “Bad Horsie” on his mirrored Ibanez Jem with light up guitar inlays. Vai, ever the showman, was phenomenal all evening as he coaxed notes out of his guitar and wowed the crowd with his fireworks along the fretboard. As this was the celebration of the release of Passion and Warfare 25 years ago, Vai played the entire album for the first time — something he said he had wanted to do for a long time and just need the right band to pull it off. That band consists of long time members: Dave Weiner on guitar, Jeremy Colson on drums, and Philip Bynoe on bass, and were totally awesome as the helped pull of this classic material.

Photo: Steve Rose

Photo: Steve Rose

Throughout the night, Vai played a number of songs along with video accompaniment. Highlights included Vai playing “Liberty” along with a video of himself and Brian May playing the song from a 1991 performance in Spain, and Joe Satriani playing along and trading solos with Steve during “The Riddle.” It was special to see MacAlpine along with bass superstar, Billy Sheehan, join Vai for the encore.  The highlight of the evening was watching him play “For the Love of God.” That is such a powerful song and benchmark for all aspiring guitarists — I won’t be surprised if it’s the highlight of every show on this tour!

This tour runs through the middle of December and you won’t want to miss the opportunity to see these amazing musicians perform Passion and Warfare in its entirety.

Tony MacAlpine
Tony MacAlpine @ The Fox Performing Arts Center

Steve Vai
Steve Vai @ The Fox Performing Arts Center

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The Generation Axe Tour Wows at The Wiltern

 

Photo: Steve Rose

Photo: Steve Rose

The Generation Axe tour rolled into The Wiltern and was every bit as impressive as one would expect. Shortly after 8pm, these five wizards of the fretboard took the stage and opened with Boston’s “Foreplay.”  Each took turns putting their flair on this classic tune. The lineup for Generation Axe consists of: Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde, Nuno Bettencourt, and Tosin Abasi.

After the first song, Tosin Abasi kicked things off with his polyrhythmic stylings on guitar. He was playing a uniquely shaped Ibanez 8 string guitar, which will most likely become a new signature instrument and is a radical departure from his current RG shaped signature. During Tosin’s last song, he was joined on stage by Nuno Bettencourt. Nuno joked during his set that it was hard finding the 1 when it came to keeping time and playing with Tosin, who’s music is heavily based on off time or uncommon meter. Nuno played a few songs which included a medley of Extreme songs and an uptempo acoustic instrumental piece that was very interesting and a departure from the music that Nuno wrote with Extreme.  During Nuno’s final song, he brought out Zakk Wylde and they played “Sideways,” with each sharing vocal duties.

Zakk, with his new Wylde Audio guitar in hand, only played three songs, all covers, but was arguably one of the best sets of the night. He started things off with Black Sabbath’s “N.I.B” and then segued into Hendrix’s “Little Wing,” before capping it off with “Whipping Post” from the Allman Brothers. During his “Little Wing” performance, he made his way into the crowd during an extended solo and most fans took pictures, while some stood in awe of his performance.

After Zakk’s performance, it was time for Yngwie Malmsteen to dazzle an already frenzied crowd. He did not disappoint with his trademark Fender Strat, and dizzying array of arpeggios, it was clear that Yngwie Malmsteen was there to leave his mark on the night. Yngwie played an eight song set that featured “Far Beyond the Sun” and had Steve Vai join him as he closed with “Black Star.” Both of these legends were having a genuine good time as they fed off of each other and continued to drop the jaws of those in attendance.

Steve Vai’s set was a favorite of many and featured “Tender Surrender” and “Building the Church.” Steve’s main guitar for the night was Flo III, a white signature Ibanez Jem. He also played a custom painted Jem and another with blue LED fretmarkers. The band then all reconvened on stage and finished off the night with fantastic renditions of “Frankenstein” and “Highway Star” from the legendary and newly inducted members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Deep Purple.

This all star roster of guitarists should not be missed when this tour comes to your town. Check out the site for tour dates near you. These musicians go above and beyond expectations and your fingers will be sore from all of the air guitar that will be played throughout the night.

Generation Axe @ The Wiltern

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Daily Gear Obsession: NAMM Edition Part 1

I have begun to slowly digest all of the goodness that I saw this past weekend at NAMM. I saw some fantastic guitars, some that I will never be able to own, and some, like the Fender Steve Harris bass that I plan to pre-order this week.

Here is the list of everything that is on today’s Daily Gear Obsession:

Earthquaker Devices – Sea Machine V2. This is the ultimate chorus pedal! It allows the player to have complete control over depth, animation, and dimension. I didn’t even know that it was possible to control animation and dimension. This pedal is full of adjustable options and I would probably need to carve out a good part of my day to fiddle with it like I did with the Palisades.

Gretsch Brian Setzer Hot Rod – Gretsch has revamped this line of already great guitars to feature different color options like Green Sparkle and Harbor Blue. Gretsch makes some great guitars and it’s really nice to see so many great models laid out in a row. I used to own a 6120RHH and it was well built and played like a dream. I also love the Setzer Black Phoenix and Billy Duffy White Falcon.

Kramer Satchel Pacer – This is a fun looking guitar. It comes in either yellow or purple leopard print and I am leaning toward the purple. It comes with Seymour Duncan pickups and a Floyd Rose trem so you can bend that bar to your heart’s delight.

ESP Gary Holt signature – This is a thrash monster! The Liquid Metal Lava paint job looks awesome and almost like the guitar has swam through a sea of piranhas. The guitar comes with red EMG 81 and 89 pickups on both the ESP model and the higher end LTD model.

Dunlop Mini Cry Baby – Who doesn’t want a wah pedal that the size of an iPhone? This looked so cool and it will take up a lot less real estate on a pedal board. Given that Dunlop has scaled down the size of its larger pedals like the Fuzz Face, it makes sense that their wah was the next to get this treatment. If they ever do a mini Kirk Hammett wah I won’t be able to get my wallet out fast enough.

Ibanez Mini Tube Screamer – Ibanez has also miniaturized one of their iconic pedals and it looks more toy than pedal. I’m sure that it still retains all of its sonic tradition and I’d love to try it out.

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Day 1: The AfterNAMMth

Today was a busy and tiring day. I clearly did not do enough pre-NAMM training in preparation for what was ahead. I arrived at the Anaheim Convention Center shortly before 9 a.m. and waited somewhat patiently for the doors to open at 10. Once the doors opened, there was a mad dash of every other impatient person trying to find the first of their many booths of the day.

I checked out the Ibanez booth and saw the new Paul Stanley Iceman models they had on display. The cracked mirror one is so cool …and also so expensive. They also had three of the Joe Satriani Art Series models, which all looked very cool and very unique.

The people and products at Earthquaker Devices are really awesome. I had a chance to talk to a couple employees about their new pedals and am eager to try out a few. It’s a bonus when Andy Summers of The Police is checking out pedals right next to you.

I stopped by the Ernie Ball Music Man booth and was welcomed with a number of new colors for the John Petrucci Majesty Artisan Series. They also had a new JP15 model that features a sahara burst and a roasted neck. They were all very cool.

I went upstairs to check out the new Kramer Satchel signature Pacer guitar. This is a great looking guitar and has a very strong “hair metal” vibe.

The Fender booth was very crowded, but I was able to check out some of the offerings from the Fender Custom Shop. Wow, those master builders do not disappoint! I have included some images of their handy work and will post more when I get back tomorrow. I was also happy to see the updated Steve Harris Precision Bass. This new bass is white and features the graphic of his favorite team, West Ham United.

My next stop was the ESP booth which was filled with some crazy looking guitars. A few of the guitars I saw were more art piece than instrument and were priced out at $75,000! I was also impressed by the new Gary Holt signature series. Gary was previously with Schecter Guitars and this is his first signature line with ESP.

What’s better than a wall of Marshalls? Nothing. The Marshall display never disappoints. It’s a towering behemoth of sound and it looks so damn cool. In looking at my pictures from last year, I realized that I took the same shot this year, but from the other side.

A stack of Orange cabs was really sweet and I was impressed with the layout of their booth. They have a wide variety of products ranging from the aptly titled Rockerverb to the new Crush series of amps.

I also got to meet some fantastic musicians throughout the day. First was the great bass player, Marcus Miller, who was very gracious with his time and demoed a couple pedals at the Dunlop booth. Next was Devin Townsend, who is another nice guy that loves to talk gear. While waiting in line at the Music Man booth for John Petrucci, Uli Jon Roth walked by and I got a picture with him.

Warning: If you find yourself in Hall E of the Convention Center, do not walk to the end of the hall unless you’re a drummer or really love cymbals. The amount of noise and overall sonic chaos left me looking for the quickest way back up the escalator.

…also, if you’re ever walking next to Rickey Medlocke and Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynryd, make sure you don’t have a slice of Sbarro pizza, 2 breadsticks, and a Coke in your hand. It makes it really hard to approach them to say anything. I didn’t get a chance to meet them, but I did pay $10.25 for the above mentioned combo.

 

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A Magical Night with the Foo Fighters and Friends

Photo Credit: Paul A. Hebert

Photo Credit: Paul A. Hebert

When the Foo Fighters took the stage just after 8:30 on Saturday night, no one knew they were about to witness one of the greatest all-star performances ever. Earlier in the week, the Foo Fighters sent out a couple of teaser posts on social media about something going on for Saturday night, and even posted videos from bands like Kiss and Van Halen. When tickets went on sale a few days before this epic Saturday night performance, I could tell that those in attendance would be treated to something special and I knew I had to be there. The event, billed as ‘Dave’s Rock N’ Roll Club,’ was a celebration of Dave Grohl’s 46th birthday.

 

The band performed in the round with a long catwalk leading to one end of the arena. The stage rotated throughout the performances so that everyone got a chance to see the band play in front of them. When the Foos took the stage, Dave Grohl let the audience know that this wouldn’t be a normal Foo Fighters show because he had invited a number of friends to join him throughout the evening. He then called for Paul Stanley Continue reading

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