Your occasional source for heavy metal, progressive rock and hard rock coverage. Whenever I feel like it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Alice in Chains: The Triumphant Return

This may be a little behind schedule but here's the video for the first single from the newly resurrected Alice in Chains featuring lead singer William Duvall. It's completely awesome--and I had my doubts at first. Crank it!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dream Theater and Zappa Plays Zappa: Freakin' at the Beacon

On Sunday night, Dream Theater brought their 2009 edition of the Progressive Nation Tour to the Beacon Theater. The Beacon is a classic old vaudeville house on the Upper West Side, and where I saw DT play all of Metallica's Master of Puppets at a memorable show in 2002.

DT played a strong headlining set, opening with two large-scale songs from the new record and closing with 20-minute epic "The Count of Tuscany". In between were classic songs from various eras of the band, with an emphasis on cuts that have lyrics written by lead singer James LaBrie. Since the six-song Black Clouds and Silver Linings does not have a LaBrie lyric credit, one can only speculate that the set list may have bee designed to compensate.

Highlights included a sing-along on "Hollow Years" (which featured keyboard wizard Jordan Rudess playing a solo on his iPhone!) and a stellar "The Dance of Eternity." More "Metropolis" music dominated the encore, where that Images and Words track evolved into a three-way shredfest on the front of the stage, featuring the guest guitar of tour-mate Dweezil Zappa and

The biggest shock of Zappa Plays Zappa's set was not the appearance of Mike Portnoy on the drum kit, but the Dream Theater drummer's remarkable vocal performance on the legendary (and somewhat pornographic) "Bobby Brown Goes Down." This dominated a fine set that included "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" and a free-flowing jam on "Willie the Pimp." Dweezil is starting to look like his dad without the facial hair, and has that same loose-but-controlling style of leading his crack six-piece band.

BigElf brought their swirly keyboard-driven psychedleia to the stage, combining a sense of theater with riffs that owe a lot to Blue Cheer and Vanilla Fudge. Portnoy came out and sat in on drums on one song. The show started at 6pm with opening act Scale the Summit: four lads who can play very fast progressive noodle-metal, with good riffs. Give these boys a singer and a sense of self-editing and they might be the next...Symphony X.