Thursday, May 30, 2013

Movie Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

Finally. Star Trek Into Darkness has arrived. I've been waiting four years for this film and I'm glad to say that director J.J. Abrams did not disappoint. Everything I loved about 2009's Star Trek is back, the cast, the epic special effects, and yes even the lens flares.

Star Trek Into Darkness is a fast paced thrill ride of a film that might even exhaust the average movie goer. I watch and analyze a lot of movies in my free time, as well as listen to some pretty "challenging" music and even I felt drained by the time this film ended. Abram's latest Star Trek adventure is a nonstop barrage on the senses. There are chases, explosions, fight scenes, arguments and psychological mind-fuckery occurring in just about every scene. Not to mention the vibrant colors and good old fashioned lens flares that adorn the screen almost every second.

The film finds the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise still up to their usual shenanigans until an attack on Star Fleet causes them to jet off into a dangerous covert retaliation mission. Kirk is still a wild hot head straight out of Shane Black's Lethal Weapon series, Spock is still the uptight boy scout who explodes with rage when needed, the villain (well, one of the villains at least) is still some time displaced lunatic who's angry about the loss of his family/friends. I guess in some ways, Into Darkness could be considered a rehash of the original, but everything in this film is set on a bigger scale and the overall tone of the movie is noticeably darker. That being said, there are still plenty of funny moments as well as a few heart wrenching scenes to break the routine of nonstop action overload.

The absolute highlight of the film is watching Benedict Cumberbatch smoke everyone else he's onscreen with. Cumberbatch plays one of the film's main villains and is just awesome. His character is, well I don't want to reveal too much because that would lead to spoiler land, I'll just say he's a badass evil genius who is totally ruthless and totally awesome. The way he delivers some of his lines was actually sort of frightening. I'm kind of over the whole "villain gets caught on purpose" thing that we've already seen before in The Dark Knight, The Avengers, Skyfall and is used again here...but Cumberbatch's performance was still amazing and easily the best thing about Into Darkness as a whole.

Loki's homie
An exciting summer blockbuster that doesn't blatantly insult your intelligence, Star Trek Into Darkness is a fun and entertaining film for everyone. I kind of wish they would adhere to some of the geeky philosophical elements of traditional Star Trek lore, but these new reboot films are so damn exciting, this is one of the rare cases where I don't mind the popcorn blockbuster approach one bit.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Movie Review: Mud

2013 is shaping up to be something special. So many good films have been released during this earlier half of the year, which is usually the doldrums of the cinema world, it's sort of amazing. Mud is the latest entry in the surprisingly awesome 2013 films list.

I shouldn't say I was totally surprised. The film's trailer was good left me pretty confident that I wouldn't hate the film...but I really didn't expect to be blown away like I was either. Matthew McConaughey plays the title character, an enigmatic drifter known only as Mud, but the film's true star is young Tye Sheridan. Sheridan made his acting debut in 2011's The Tree of Life. Some of you might remember how impressed I was with the cast of child actors in that film. Well, Sheridan continues his streak of awesomeness here in Mud. He and his co conspirator in the film, Jacob Lofland as his roughneck schoolmate "Neckbone," carry most of the movie's heavy lifting on their teenage shoulders and do a remarkable job.

Although marketed as a mystery/thriller, Mud is actually a coming of age film. Both Sheridan and McConaughey's character's are plagued with different iterations of the same problem. Sheridan is a naive young boy who must come to terms with the cruel realities of adult life, while Mud is a mentally stunted man child who's lifetime of reckless behavior is coming back to haunt him. The two have to grow up, and fast, in order to escape the very dangerous and heart breaking situation they find themselves in.

I can't go into much about Mud without slipping into spoiler territory but I will say this: it's a compelling film on almost every level. The entire cast is great, the musical score and cinematography are beautiful, and the story itself is enthralling. This isn't the most dazzling film in the world, but it's a fine example of good old fashioned story telling. Hats off to Mud's director Jeff Nichols, between this and his 2011 film Take Shelter, the dude is on fire.

Neckbone wears a bootleg Fugazi shirt throughout Mud, and the kid from The Place Beyond The Pines has a Misfits patch on his backpack toward the end of that film. Both these movies rule. Coincidence? I think not...

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Dillinger Escape Plan @ Chain Reaction, Anaheim. 5-20-13.

The Dillinger Escape Plan is pretty much my favorite band. Period. They're regarded as one of the best live bands on the planet, and craft some of the most challenging, but rewarding music around. If regular metal bands are akin to terminators, then Dillinger's music is Skynet. No, forget that, they're The Matrix. More technical and often times,  straight up mind bending, than should be humanly possible. The only thing more exciting than listening to new a Dillinger Escape Plan album, is seeing them perform live.

This was my 12th Dillinger show since 2004 and my fourth time seeing them at Chain Reaction. There's something about this venue that enhances the band's performance here. I've seen them play in larger clubs and theaters, in outdoor festivals and even a community recreation center, but Chain Reaction shows are always something special. The venue is a small all ages club, meaning all the crazy energetic youngsters who might not make into 18 & 21+ concerts can come inside and go wild. Also, it's a tiny place with no air conditioning, sold out shows like this one turn into giant sauna's. You hear people talk about artist's playing "intimate shows" and stuff like that, but you really have no idea what intimate is until you've got the band's blood and sweat on you like here at Chain Reaction.

I missed the first opening band Royal Thunder and saw most of The Faceless' set but don't really feel the need to report on it (the highlight of their performance was their super charged new drummer...wearing a Dillinger Escape Plan shirt). 

Dillinger came on at 9:30pm sharp. The sold out crowd was enthusiastic to say the least. I learned my lesson after damn near spraining my wrist at my last Dillinger show, as much as I would have loved to have sweated it out down in the front, old fellas like myself belong on the sidelines. The band opened with "Prancer," the first track off their new record, One of Us Is The Killer. I was pleasantly surprised that the band played such a "greatest hits" stacked setlist. I mean, they have a new album that just came out and they only played two new songs. Don't get me wrong though, I was stoked, STOKED they played old/rare jams like "The Mullet Burden" "Dead As History" and my favorite instrumental, "Calculating Infinity." I guess they'll play all their new material when they headline this year's Summer Slaughter summer.

So the band was on fire. Literally. The temperature was scorching inside Chain Reaction and by the end of the night pretty much everyone onstage (and lots of people in the crowd) were shirtless, it felt like I was watching The T-shirt Escape Plan. This was my first time seeing James Love perform with the band in almost seven years. James first toured with Dillinger when health problems forced guitarist Brian Benoit to leave the band in late 2004. James played with Dillinger until Jeff Tuttle officially joined the band in 2007. In 2012, after five years of service, Tuttle left the band to study film which has brought James Love back into the fold, circle of life complete.

credit to:
 I can't really get into specifics but the show was awesome. All of it. Dillinger shows are a participatory event. The crowd is almost just as important as the band in some respects. There was stage diving and crowd surfing galore. Everyone in the band (save for Billy holding it down on drums) spent some time jumping into the audience. An epic stage rush/Royal Rumble free for all ensued during the band's grand finale, "Sunshine The Werewolf" and "43%burnt" played back to back. It was sheer insanity and I loved every second of it. I can't wait to see Dillinger again this summer. I seriously think they might just destroy The House of Blues. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Decibel Magazine Tour w/ Cannibal Corpse /Napalm Death/ Immolation @ The Observatory, Santa Ana. 5-16-13.

This was it. The most unfuckiwthable lineup of the year. Cannibal Corpse, the biggest selling death metal band of all time, Napalm Death, legendary grindcore pioneers, and Immolation, stalwart NYC metal veterans who release mind bending-ly awesome albums like clockwork, all touring together thanks to Decibel Magazine. The good folks at Decibel cover the "extremely extreme" side of underground metal. I've been enjoying the magazine since issue #1 but I've got to say, they really outdid themselves with this tour.

So the show was sold out. Of course it would, I mean c'mon look at that lineup! The Observatory is kind of a drive from the usual SoCal metal haunts but proved to be an excellent choice for this show. Did we all really need to get packed into The House Blues like sardines again? I think not. This venue offered excellent sight lines, clear sound that wasn't deafening, but most important of all, breathing room. Hundreds upon hundreds of mild (and not so mild) metal heads converged inside The Observatory to catch this near historic show and for once, it didn't smell like a dank locker room inside.

NorCal grinder's Cretin opened the show which was sort of surprising. I was under the impression that they were the main support band for the western region of the tour and would play after whatever local band was added to the bill. But no, they went on first to a less than packed house but they still brought the grind like champs. By the time they completed their set a sizable crowd had gathered inside and was rocking out to their energetic brand of thrashy grindcore.

Unfortunately, Los Angeles natives Abysmal Dawn were up  next and basically put me to sleep. I try not to hate on these guys, they're a fairly competent death metal act (except their sloppy slop drummer), but they're just oh so generic. They're like the Diet Coke version of Behemoth and really don't do anything for me.

Immolation on the otherhand, continue being awesome at just about everything. They've churned out nothing but winners since their 1991 debut album, Dawn of Possession, and are one of the most crushing live acts I've ever seen. I don't even see them as musicians at this point. These dudes are more akin to snake charmers, casting hypnotic spells that sway and and manipulate (i.e., mosh) the masses. Seriously, their music sounds like it was crafted by Satanic magicians. Uber heavy riffs, oddball time changes, thrash breaks, and just about the most menacing vibe you could conjure without a legitimate antichrist popping up. Immolation was on fire this night (get it? I...nvm).

Napalm Death were next. What else can I say. These British fellows are professional thunder stealers. They make every tour/concert they're apart of instantly better just by showing up. Sometimes their performances can be a bit shaky at first, maybe it's muffled sound or the band takes a while to lock in together, but their energy is always off the charts. Besides, the whole "derailed train" motif is totally punk and fits them well. Tonight the band was firing on all cylinders. Being sandwiched between two veteran death metal acts might prove too daunting a task for lesser bands, but this is Napalm Death. If the influx of mohawks and dudes spraying Pabst Blue Ribbon on themselves in the pit was any indicator, one might have thought this was a Napalm headlining gig. I managed to find an excellent viewing spot by the side of the stage during their set, just in time for them to play "Next On The List" from Enemies of the Music Business. Did I mention how awesome this night was?

And then...there was Cannibal Corpse. If anyone could headline a mammoth gig such as this, it's Cannibal. The undisputed heavyweights of the extreme metal world wasted no time once they took the stage, opening with "A Skull Full of Maggots," can causing pandemonium in the process. I don't know why this is but, Cannibal Corpse is the only band I've ever seen in concert where the floor section of the venue gets so jam packed, that the "pit" ends up overflowing and eventually spills into the regular general admission/standing areas. In other words, the nice little perch I had on the side of the stage quickly turned into the mosh pit recovery zone.

The band played a marathon set, mixing old and new jams together with great fanfare. Just like Immolation and Napalm Death from earlier, Cannibal Corpse are one of those workhorse bands that continue making excellent new albums as their career's progress and don't solely rely on their oldschool "golden years" material. Newer songs from the band's last three albums like "Demented Aggression," "Make Them Suffer" and the heavy as fuck "Evisceration Plague," caused just as much excitement as their Barnes era classics...except for the always lethal "Hammer Smashed Face/Stripped Raped and Strangled" combo, that always starts WWIII.

They ended the night by dedicating their set to the late Jeff Hanneman of Slayer, as guitarist Rob Barret played the notes of "South of Heaven," while wearing a Slayer shirt onstage. I have to say, I stood right next to guitarist Pat O' Brien during Cannibal's entire set and, although NO ONE can replace Jeff Hanneman, Pat, who has previously toured with Slayer in the past, seems like a much better choice over Gary Holt from Exodus. It was kind of scary actually how Slayer-esque some of Pat's solos sounded throughout the night. The dude is an amazing guitar player.

Decibel Magazine
, kudos for making this tour a reality. It ruled. Hard.

Monday, May 20, 2013

College Humor: Justin Timberlake Parody

I'm not the biggest Justin Timberlake fan in the world. I do however, enjoy good cover/parody songs and this College Humor send up of single "Suit & Tie" is pretty awesome if I say so myself. Enjoy:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Rotten Sound/ Early Graves/ D.I.S. @ The Joint, Los Angeles. 5/13/13.

It had been years since I last saw my favorite Finnish grinders in concert. 2008 to be exact. When Rotten Sound opened the Carcass reunion tour. Now they were headlining their own North American tour and sporting some killer opening acts as well.

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Nothing like walking into a show and being greeted with some kick ass tunes (after scoring an amazing parking spot to boot). This is exactly what happened as we stepped foot inside The Joint. Semi local opening band P.O.O.R., aka Point of Our Resistance, were thoroughly grinding the stage to pieces by the time we arrived. This four piece from Ventura had their shit together. If they drove down hoping to win a bunch of jaded LA metal heads over, on a Monday night no less, well mission accomplished fellas. Their songs had everything I enjoy about this crazy type of noise I call music: urgency, conviction, and power. Speaking of power, their drummer was not fucking around. Dude was hitting hard and basically pummeled his kit all night. Props to P.O.O.R. for being the pleasant surprise of the evening.

Semtex Vest was next. These LA natives played a competent brand of death grind but just couldn't match P.O.O.R., or any of the other band's, intensity. They had some amusing stage banter though. Destroyed In Seconds (D.I.S.) followed immediately after and brought a spike in the room's energy levels with them.
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Their blend of galloping d-beat punk + metal = good times. As much as I love this "crazy type of noise I call music," it's really easy to get burnt out on blast beats and 1000 bpm songs all night (old and jaded, remember?) so D.I.S.'s set was literally a breath of fresh air this evening. Heads were banging in the crowd and bartenders feared for their lives when D.I.S. frontman Jon escaped the confines of The Joint's less than spacious stage and jumped into the crowd and the accompanying bar table. Lot's of energy and lot's of riffs. D.I.S. did not disappoint.

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After years of failed attempts, I was finally going to see Early Graves. I've been a fan of their records since We The Guillotine, but have somehow never managed to see them perform live. I was super bummed when their original vocalist Makh Daniels died in van accident while touring in 2010. I'll never know what that incarnation of the band was like, but Early Graves 2.0 put on a hell of a show this night that's for sure. Their new frontman is the dude from The Funeral Pyre, who is a certified screamer if there ever was one. His vocals are of the tortured black metal variety, but still meshed well with the band's hardcore/grind sound. I wasn't too keen on the production of their last album Red Horse, but am glad the songs ruled live. Again, Early Graves brought a nice chunk of variety to this show. Foot stomping grooves, thrash breaks, lumbering riffs, and their final song of the night "Quietus" was hands down the musical highlight of the evening. Early Graves rocked.

And then...there was Rotten Sound. This band has spent the past decade cranking out consistently awesome grindcore albums and for that, I am eternally grateful. They could have rolled into tonight's gig and played nothing but AC/DC covers (acoustically) and I'd still have bought my ticket out of respect/appreciation. The AC/DC reference holds some meaning for Rotten Sound, namely cause all their songs sound the same...but that's the best part! Blistering fast grind songs churned out one after another. The band does have a few other tricks up their sleeve though, they've incorporated a healthy amount of d-beats and sludge like grooves/breakdowns into their style over the years. It's a wonderful blend of the filthier elements of extreme metal I like to call Rotten Sound soup. It's damn nourishing if I say so myself.
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They took the stage and the wall of sound commenced. Shit was loud even with my ear plugs. It's amazing that a band with only one guitarist could still churn out such mighty racket. Rotten Sound frontman Keijo was a polite and gracious host. I could understand his stage banter a bit better than when he toured The States with Nasum last year, but just barely. He thanked us for coming out on a weeknight and acknowledged the apparent "no mosh pit Monday" rule of thumb that was in full force this evening. When a hyped up fan made a few ill fated attempts at starting a pit during one of the songs, Keijo was kind enough to reward the dude with a free shirt for his troubles. Like I said before, a kind and gracious host. He mentioned that their visas won't expire until next year and suggested that Rotten Sound might return to the USA sometime again soon. One can only hope. That next free shirt, will be mine.

video lifted from: this dude.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Movie Review: The Great Gatsby

I tried to have an open mind, I really did. Alas, The Great Gatsby failed to win me over. It wasn't as horrible as I assumed it would be, but was still pretty awful.

Where to start? Well, first I'll just come out and say it. I didn't read the book in school *ducks* and have zero emotional/nostalgia points to draw from. I was somewhat familiar with the plot and central themes of the book because, it's such a icon of American literature I couldn't help but absorb them through osmosis over the years. In other words, I went into The Great Gatsby as neutral party. Well, not entirely neutral. I mean, I have eyes. I saw the trailer, I read the news about the Jay-Z soundtrack. I hoped for the best but expected the worst.

The film is a long and jumbled mess. It's literally all over the place. I described Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers as "...a declaration of war on the senses." Well, with The Great Gatsby, director Baz Luhrmann says fuck the war and drops an atom bomb of CGI/glitter/vibrant colors and brash music on screen. I really don't even know where to begin. Gatsby's character is a mysterious playboy who throws lavish parties so I kind of understand the whole "Baz is just keeping it real and making his movie incredibly over the top" argument. But no. God no. He didn't have to go full on jazz hands either.

"Did you read the book? Where we supposed to read the book?"
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Gatsby, a wealthy dude who throws the wildest parties imaginable during the Roaring Twenties. He hangs out with a dorky sidekick (Tobey imitating life Leo?) and tries to woo a lost love back into his life through a series of sneaky/romantic maneuvers. That's about it. There are hints of greater themes buried somewhere in this film, but good luck getting past the layers of cinematic diabetes Luhrman has piled onscreen to enjoy them.

Lurhman pulls a Tarantino/Wes Anderson move and is so in love with his "unique" directing style, the overall substance of the The Great Gatsby is lost in the process. Romantic scenes result in lifeless posturing because the actors are hamming it up. Just about every character in the film is either unlikeable or worse, uninteresting. The music, holy shit the music. I like Jay-Z, he's a cool guy. His soundtrack however, yanked me out of the film more times than Toby Maguire's Spider-Man-esqe narration. So modern audiences are too stupid to appreciate music from the Jazz Age and it's cultural significance and it's very real relevance to The Great Gatsby's story...but they aren't too stupid to throw tomatoes at the screen for the cringe worthy amounts crappy CGI and "3D" shots in the film? This is why I'm a misanthrope who hates my generation and weeps for the future of humanity.

As much as I enjoyed staring at Carey Mulligan's gorgeous face on the big screen, and Joel Edgerton's standout performance as her douchebag husband, I really cannot recommend this movie to anyone. It wasn't horrible but it was frustrating that such a great story (or so I'm told) was damn near ruined like this. Such grand themes about love and loss, obsession and regrets, social mobility and injustice should have been the highlights of this film but instead we get tacky light saber overload...that's what pisses me off so much.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Movie Review: Iron Man 3

The original Iron Man was Marvel's first stab at franchise launching and they kept things nice and grounded. Well, as grounded as a film about a dude in a mechanical suit who shoots jets out of the sky could be. There was some smidgen of "realism" to that flick. Iron Man 2 was a cringe worthy two hour infomercial for The Avengers.  Now we have Iron Man 3, a totally different beast than any of the previous films in this series. It's fun. These comic book movies, they're meant to be fun remember? Keep that in mind.

So, Iron Man 3. Written and directed by 80's action icon Shane Black. This film stresses the MAN in Iron Man. Following the shenanigans that took place in The Avengers film (Norse gods, a gnarly green rage monster, clandestine government agencies running wild, alien invasions and intergalactic worm holes, you know...) this film had no choice but to scale things down a notch. Just like in the comics world, not every Marvel film can be OMG end of the world important. Iron Man has to deal with Iron Man problems. Now that the cosmic cat is out of the bag in the Marvel cinematic universe, any hopes of instilling that grounded sense of realism from the original into Iron Man 3 is gone. So what did Shane Black do? He made an 80's action style buddy cop picture.

This film is a total tongue and cheek homage to the action flicks of yore. We find Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr., duh) suffering from debilitating panic/anxiety attacks after all the crazy shit he endured in The Avengers. So he's a mess, his personal relationships are going down the toilet and he's slowly but surely losing his mind. He also incurs the wrath of an international terrorist call The Mandarin who royally fucks his shit up, ie, destroys his home and most of his Iron Man gear. Most of the movie is Tony Stark, the man, interacting with other humans, using his whits and bare hands to survive. This might be frustrating for people who expect lots of Iron Man action, but have patience, Black rewards the geek faithful with a full blown Iron Man bonanza at the end.

So here's a full count of all the 80's action motifs I loved in Iron Man 3:

Old school violence:
-Tony's house and Iron Man tech get demolished by helicopter gun ships firing a shit ton of ordinance.
-Lot's of random people die. Some are innocent civilians but most are faceless enemy goons/drones.
-Tony and Rhodes sneak into the enemy hideout (by the docks, naturally) armed with handguns. Lethal Weapon anyone?

Buddy Cop:
- Like I said before, Tony and Rhodes are the Riggs and Murtaugh of the Marvel Universe.
- Tony and some smart ass little kid have a cool love/hate/mostly love comedic relationship.

Sexy Ladies & Femme Fatales:
-Every cute woman Tony locks eyes with wants him dead.
- The Mandarin and his cadre of strippers.
- Even Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is in her sports bra and dripping sweat/sexiness by film's end.

Half baked political jargon:(80's action films were infamous for their Reagan-era pro American themes)
- Gotta save the President.
- The war of terror.
- Shady business men and politicians are a match made in heaven.

Hell, Shane Black even cast William Sadler (Die Hard 2)and Miguel Ferrer (RoboCop) in the film!

Iron Man 4: Lethal Weapons

So there it is. The film takes a while to find it's legs, I'd go as far as saying the first 1/3 flat out drags. But once it gets going, it's an old school thrill ride. Lots of laughs, lots of action and really fine performances from the entire cast. Don Cheadle actually does things of value in this one, and Guy Pierce is just awesome in everything.  Since Avengers 2 and the upcoming Thor sequel will undoubtedly have CGI effects up the ass, I'm glad Shane Black decided to take a low key approach to this, probably the final Iron Man film. Low key, until the epic Iron Man Royal Rumble sequence at the end. That was just crazy.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Paramore @ The Wiltern, Los Angeles. 5-1-13.

 I was on the fence about this show for sometime. The last time I saw Paramore in concert they were wrapping up dates on the tour cycle for their awesome Brand New Eyes album. That was back in 2010 (as I was first starting this here blog) and the band has undergone some massive changes since then.

Josh (guitar) and Zac Farro (drums) quit Paramore in late 2010. The split was pretty nasty. Since the band's inception, Josh and front woman Hayley Williams served as the groups main song writers. With the Farro's abrupt departure, the band not only lost one of it's main songwriters, but lost it's musical core as well. Like Pantera without the Abbotts, Vinnie and Dime, or Van Halen without...the Van Halens. How on Earth would Paramore sound without the Farros?

Well, their new self titled album finally dropped earlier this year...and it was kind of a mess. Long rant short: I didn't hate it with a passion, but really, really miss the Farro brothers.

lifted from Rolling Stone...because Blogger is acting crazy and won't let me upload ANYTHING
 Well, the night was upon us. Showtime. A sold out show in fact. Lucky for me I had a inside connection that came through and got us great seats for cheap (Craigslist, wat up?!?). The opening band Kitten was, well they were horrible. I don't want to bash them too much because I just read that the main girl in the band is like only seventeen years old, but man they've got some work to do.

So Paramore came out and the rabid sold out crowd went nuts. Several thousand females shrieking their brains out, it's almost deafening. So here's the good:
  • The new songs sound much better live than on the overtly polished new album.
  • Hayley Williams is still an amazing front woman/singer (she was recovering from throat problems but still danced/sang her heart out).
  • The back up musicians they tour with are all top notch hired guns and really nailed the songs (this was the heaviest the band has ever sounded).
 Ad's the bad:
  • The band currently exists as a trio, without a permanent 2nd guitarist or drummer which is...insane.
  • The hired guns do all the heavy lifting (lead guitar and drums, hello) but stand in the shadows all night.
  • Taylor York, the only official guitar player in the band and Hayley defacto song writing partner is still playing rhythm and lets the hired gun behind him play all of Josh's lead. Step it up dude.
  • The stage show/production is kind of annoying.
With the brothers gone, it seems Hayley Williams is free to do what she pleases with the band. Her version of Paramore 2.0 still put on a good show, but I couldn't help but notice what was missing. Back in 2010, Paramore was a hungry young rock band who came to do just that, fucking rock. Now, they've gone all jazz hands on us. They've got a fancy, glittery stage production with lots of bells and whistles, and three hired guns lurking in the shadows adding more guitar than ever to overcompensate for the missing piece of the Paramore puzzle, the Farro bros. musical core that, along with Hayley's voice, all but define the band. Hopefully they'll all make amends one day. The world will be a better place for it. If least put the house lights the backing musicians who are doing all the damn work.

Friday, May 3, 2013

R.I.P. Jeff Hanneman & SLAYER

R.I.P. 1964-2013
Jeff Hanneman, the pioneering guitarist of metal icons Slayer, died of liver failure yesterday in Southern California. He was 49 years old. Jeff had been sidelined from active duty in Slayer since 2011, after he contracted necrotizing fasciitis, a gruesome flesh eating disease, from an apparent spider bite. Jeff had been recovering at home while Slayer continued touring with a replacement guitarist (Jeff's friend Gary Holt of Exodus) until he could rejoin the band. Now that is an impossibility. You might recall how upset I was when Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo had been ousted from the band in February. This is something else entirely.

Jeff Hanneman was more than just a guitar player. By all accounts, Jeff was Slayer. Jeff and Kerry King are championed as twin guitar heroes and rightfully so. Their discordant dueling guitar solos are a trademark of Slayer's sound. However, the Hanneman/King duo whose collaborations fill the liner notes of Slayer's catalog can't hold a candle to the songs Hanneman wrote on his own. Yes, Jeff Hanneman wrote the bulk of Slayer's greatest songs alone. "Angel of Death," "South of Heaven" "War Ensemble" "Dead Skin Mask" and the band's magnum opus, "Raining Blood." There simply is no Slayer without Jeff Hanneman.

I was crushed by the news of Jeff's passing yesterday. Slayer was hands down, one of the most important bands/influences of my life. I'll share my Slayer story another time. This is for Jeff. May he reign in blood, somewhere south of heaven. You are missed sir.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Awesome Photo (14)

The Presidents of The United States of America. Not the band..the living Presidents (aka: Super Friends) all met up last week at the opening of G.W. Bush's new recycling center in, wait, Bush II has a library? Oh the hell with this.

Johnson, Nixon and Reagan all participated via satellite: from hell. Ford was cool doe, he liked nachos.