Showing posts with label Bad Religion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bad Religion. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Bad Religion at the House of Blues Anaheim


Bad Religion continue to slay on a nightly basis at various House of Blues locations during their informal residency spanning the months of March and April. Bad Religion is celebrating their thirty year anniversary in which I caught their first show at the House of Blues Anaheim for OC Weekly. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to check in with them one more time.

The Darlings

The Darlings by the way of Redondo Beach dispatched their brand of back alley knife fight punk to warm up the crowd. Buddy Harris (Vocals,Guitars) looked eerily like a young Mike Ness with his suspenders and slicked back hair while rocking out on his Gibson Les Paul.

Running through an assortment of songs from their self-titled debut EP, The Darlings really stirred up the crowd with their Operation Ivy cover "The Crowd". One of their tracks "What Lies Below" has been featured on the Anaheim Ducks telecast which has to be some good exposure for the band.

Jughead's Revenge

Since it was April Fool's, I thought the billing of Jughead's Revenge was a joke. I remember seeing them in a legion hall in Northern California opening up for Face to Face almost ten years ago. While I thought they broke up, it turns out they have reunited to play occasional shows.

They knew the audience wasn't too familiar with their work but were very grateful to thank Bad Religion for giving them one of their first gigs nearly ten years ago. The only song I vaguely recognized was "Domino" from their Just Joined album. It get crazier in that you can download for free their whole catalog off their website. You can't beat free these days.

Bad Religion

It is difficult not to get excited when you see full three pages of setlist being taped to the ground by a Bad Religion roadie. One thing I did immediately notice was that a microphone stand and Brett Gurewitz's Diezel amplifier setup were both missing. Apparently, Brett is sitting out some of the shows to helm the mastering of the live recordings of the earlier shows.

The extra stage space seemed to expand the range of Greg Graffin's feverish pacing and clear the runway for Greg Hetson's multiple guitar jumps. The setlist started identical with the triple pronged attack of "Do What You Want", "Sinister Rouge" and "American Jesus" but quickly deviated when they dialed back the clock for "Atomic Garden" which immediately vindicated my reasons for attending more than one show.

Bad Religion did revisit the same trio of "Leave Mine To Me", "Germs of Perfection" and "Them & Us" but then went off the chart for a collage of different songs. Since I interviewed Brian Baker for my collage radio station during the The Grey Race tour, I have a soft spot for the album and was excited to hear "Come Join Us".

"Suffer","Recipe For Hate" and "No Control" were phenomenal and while I missed the extra guitars of Gurewitz, it seemed that Hetson and Baker stepped up their game and volume. Graffin hilariously went into one of his diatribes about how the old days weren't really that good which had Jay Bentley cracking up. It was clear Bad Religion still are having fun on stage and the multiple sold out nights confirm the fans are having fun as well.

"Dearly Beloved", "Atheist Peace", "Only Gonna Die" kept the fans swirling in the pit and coming over the front rail. The new song they debuted at the other show "Resist-Stance" rocked as hard as I remembered and will likely be in heavy rotation on KROQ when it is officially released. KROQ staples "Infected", "Sorrow" and "Los Angeles Is Burning" capped their thirty song set which magically coincides with their thirty years of existence. You have one more chance to catch them with The Vandals at the House of Blues Anaheim on 4/15.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Bad Religion at the House of Blues Anaheim

Bad Religion are the Rolling Stones of punk rock in that they are truly an institution. The major difference is that Bad Religion still puts out good new albums and they don’t rip off their fans on ticket prices. Their latest release New Maps of Hell on Epitaph records is a perfect example that Bad Religion has a lot left in their gas tank with blistering cuts like “New Dark Ages” and "Murder".

Del Toro

Del Toro started the show with their unabashed take on garage rock with a twist of classic rock. It really wasn't what the audience was expecting but it was loud enough that some of the audience appreciated it.

Miss Derringer

Miss Derringer had to work hard to fight the boos from the angst filled Bad Religion audience. I am used to seeing some diverse opening bands in my concert going history so I would like to think of myself as being a little bit more open minded. Miss Derringer mixes the elements of cabaret, show tunes, goth, country and '60s girl groups for a bizarre musical collage. Song titles such as “Suicide Song" and ”Bulletproof Heart" speak for themselves in terms of subject matter covered by Miss Derringer. Lightnin' Bill Woodcock (Guitars) had the musical chops to match his mutton chops as he howled on his Gretsch Guitar. They will be opening a few more dates for Bad Religion so I hope the Bad Religion faithful are ready.

Bad Religion

Bad Religion is currently challenging Social Distortion for the number of sold out House of Blues shows while promoting their new album “New Maps of Hell”. Instead of playing the same set every night though, Bad Religion is focusing on different eras during their storied career. Since I attended the first night of the series, it happened to be the 80-85 era that Bad Religion was focusing on.

“New Dark Ages” was the second song to lead the charge as Greg Hetson (Guitars) was furiously bouncing up and down like he was on a pogo stick as he rattled off power chords on his Gibson SG. Brett Gurewitz (Guitars) was switching between a Gibson Les Paul and a modified Fender Stratocaster. I was impressed that Brett had a Diesel VH4 head in his backline as his tone was cutting nicely through the mix. Brian Baker (Guitars) had his Gibson Les Paul rocking the whole night combining for a triple guitar attack that simply devastates. Greg Graffin (Vocals) is one of the most entertaining front men in punk rock with his multitude of expressions and gestures that fit the context of whatever song they play.

“We’re Only Gonna Die” sounded classic as the crowd swirled in the pit on the floor. “Slaves” was a rapid fire blast of guitar strumming from Greg Hetson and went by in barely over a minute. “Do What You Want” was another old school gem as I was singing along with the chorus. Bad Religion still managed to throw some more recent gems into the mix as they deftly played “Stranger Than Fiction”. “Generator” is the signal for any fans weak at heart to get off the floor because the pit went absolutely nuts as shoes started to fly. Brian tore into a mini wah solo during the song as Jay would scrape his bass on the microphone stand for a chaotic ending. Greg Graffin would make an impromptu set change as he opted for “Punk Rock Song” from the Grey Race album and would put his arm around Brett as they sung during the chanting chorus. It was easy to see that they were still having a good time up on stage.

“Let Them Eat War” is one of the top songs from The Empire Strikes First and seemed like a very timely statement. “American Jesus” is another Bad Religion gem that also had me singing along word for word. It is a shame that KROQ only plays “Infected” all the time as Bad Religion has so many classic songs. Bad Religion did tone it down for a few songs as they did a short two song acoustic set. They came back for a second encore of “Along The Way”, “21st Century Digital Boy” and a huge crowd sing along of “Sorrow”. It is impossible to hear every favorite Bad Religion song at a show, but I am thinking of catching a few more to try and make it happen.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas Night 1

I think I have missed two Acoustic Christmas shows since 2000. It was a good line up in 2000 with some band called Coldplay making their U.S. debut and an upcoming band called At The Drive-In. The second night had another upcoming band called Linkin Park. Seven years later, Linkin Park is the headliner and always answers the call from KROQ. The line up this year wasn't spectacular compared to 2005 but I really wanted to see Bad Religion and Rise Against.


I missed all of Paramore when they opened the KROQ L.A. Invasion. I missed 85% of their set at Acoustic Christmas due to parking and traffic. I managed to catch "Misery Business" which had all the teenage girls in the audience screaming along. I found out some interesting facts at their website. I was astounded to see that lead singer Hayley Williams lists Failure as an influence. Will they move on to space emo punk?

Angels & Airwaves

Angels and Airwaves were next. Tom Delonge (Guitars/Vocals) didn't mince his words at last year's show. Tom was still just as chatty this year at the expense of at least a song or two. Tom was still using his custom Gibson Hollowbody signature model and even using a capo for a few songs. Since Tom has a bigger message these days, his sound is bigger with added keyboards and backing tracks. I do enjoy the keyboards in their songs and wasn't surprised to find out Roger Manning Jr. from Jellyfish did the keyboards on their new album. Adam Willard (Drums) was killing it on drums and used to drum in the underrated Rocket From The Crypt. Angels and Airwaves played "The Adventure", "Everything's Magic", "Secret Crowds" and "Valkerie Missile".

Serj Tankian

Serj Tankian looked revitalized when he appeared onstage. I remember my brother calling me when I was in college saying how he saw some amazing metal band called System of A Down open for Machinehead at the Showcase theatre in Corona. I would later see System of A Down numerous times at the Whisky, Roxy, and Troubadour before they became super huge. I became disinterested with each successive album and it seemed like the band members felt the same way. Serj was wearing a white top hat and looked excited to be onstage performing his some material of his new album "Elect The Dead". I was even more surprised to see Larry Lalonde (Guitars) who used to play in Possessed and Primus. A lot of instrumentation was utilized in Serj's performance with notable instruments being a Korg Kaoss pad and a Moog Little Phatty keyboard. I really don't know what to make of the performance. The crowd seemed to enjoy it but I still listen to "War?" and think what if System had continued with that type of energy. The performance had elements of the theatrical, part showtime and Gogol Bordello sprinkled with a dash of metal. Some of the songs Serj played were "Empty Walls", "Elect The Dead", "Praise The Lord and Pass The Ammunition" and "The Unthinking Majority".

Rise Against

I am still kicking myself for missing the Rise Against show at the Long Beach Arena with Lagwagon and Strung Out. Rise Against really impressed me with their set at the Weenie Roast. I was not let down as Rise Against brought their "A" game to the masses. Tim Mcllrath (Vocals/Guitars) has a great voice for punk and really belts out the songs. Zach Blair (Guitars) had a slick Gibson Les Paul Goldtop to accompany his Gallows t-shirt. On a side note, the Gallows cd is one of the more refreshing punk albums I have heard in a long time echoing the anger of the first Minor Threat release. The pit was actually moving for Rise Against which provoked Tim to say that it was similar to the Chain Reaction in Anaheim. Rise Against played a very well received set with the standout songs being "State Of The Union", "Give It All" and "Ready To Fall".

Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold stormed the stage with their brand of metal core. I know very few things about Avenged Sevenfold. I know they are from Huntington Beach as I have seen them in town from time to time. Zachy Vengeance(Guitars) and Synyster Gates (Guitars) have custom Schecter guitars as I see their ads in Guitar World and saw them here at NAMM. I saw that one of them was using a Bogner amp head. In terms of guitar playing, both Zachy and Synyster were very proficient and did some cool unison solos that would make Iron Maiden proud.

Bad Religion

Bad Religion has been one of the most consistent punk bands for decades and are true living legends. My first interview in the college days was with Brian Baker(Guitars) during the Grey Race Tour. Did you know that Brian was going to join R.E.M. as a touring guitarist just before Bad Religion called? Greg Graffin (Vocals) was his usual gesticulating self as they burst into "American Jesus". Jay Bentley (Bass) got into the Christmas spirit with a Santa cap and beard. They went back to the old school with a blazing rendition of "We're Only Gonna Die" from their first release. Bad Religion played so fast that they went through their setlist too quick and had to pick some more songs on the fly. Jay changed the lyrics of "21st Century Digital Boy" from "No No No" to "Ho Ho Ho". Greg Hetson (Guitars) was doing the pogo on his side of the stage and had more energy then most of the earlier performers who are half his age. I am looking forward to their two shows at the House of Blues Anaheim in 2008. Some of the stand out songs from their set included "Let Them Eat War" with Tim from Rise Against, "Stranger Than Fiction", "The New Dark Ages" and the perpetual KROQ single "Infected".

Linkin Park

Linkin Park may not be your cup of tea but they sure put on a entertaining live show. I did like their first two albums but have yet to fully get into their latest offering "Minutes To Midnight". Joseph Hahn (DJ) had a ridiculous 8 M-Audio Trigger Fingers off to his side. I think he used them once or twice for the whole show. Linkin Park did a good job entertaining the crowd and would mix old songs with new ones to maintain a high energy level throughout the night. The highlight of their set was when Mike Shinoda (Vocals/Keyboards/Guitars) and Chester Bennington (Vocals) did a piano version of "My December" which prompted the audience to pull out their lighters and cell phones. Some of the songs they played included "Numb", "One Step Closer", "Crawling" and "Papercut".

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

KROQ Weenie Roast at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre

If it wasn't for Kevin & Bean, I probably would never listen to KROQ. I would rather listen to my ipod or KROQ still has enough pull to amass a strong lineup for their annual Weenie Roast summer show.

I was lucky enough to secure a seat for the show and decided not to push my luck in sneaking a camera into the venue. My seat was far enough that I couldn't get good pictures anyways.

Plain White T's opened the sidestage festivities. The kids seem to have liked them. I wasn't that impressed.

I was honestly surprised Peter, Bjorn & John even made it on this bill. I can't tell you if KROQ even plays them but I was excited that they were there. I was also the only person singing along to all the songs. I wasn't surprised when I started to hear people yelling, "Play the whistle song!". Peter was dancing around the stage and giving it his all to win over the crowd. Peter had a capo on the 2nd fret as he rocked the harmonica during "Paris 2004". I was surprised again when Victoria Bergsman came out to sing "Young Folks". They played over their 30 minute allotted set time by about 10 minutes to my delight.

Peter, Bjorn & John setlist
"Let's Call It Off"
"The Chills"
"Start To Melt"
"Paris 2004"
"Young Folks" with Victoria Bergsman from the Concretes
"Objects of My Affection"
"Up Against The Wall"

Silversun Pickups were next and even fuzz maestro Brian Aubert(Guitars/Vocals) commented about how good the Peter, Bjorn & John set was. The sound was muddy for the beginning of the Silversun Pickups set but cleared up after a few songs. They played selections from "Carnavas" which included two of my favorite songs "Dream at Tempo 119" and "Common Reactor". They have been touring behind "Carnavas" for quite some time and I will be anxiously awaiting their next release.

Tim Armstrong and 20 people closed up the side stage. I liked Rancid back in the day. "And Out Come of The Wolves" was a really good album. It was not much of a solo show as he brought out Rancid guitarist Lars Fredericksen for "Ruby Soho" and "Time Bomb". I did pick up his solo album but still haven't had enough time to give a proper spin.

Tiger Army opened the main stage with their rockabily punk. I know they opened up a ton of shows for Morrissey a few years ago. I have to give credit to Jeff Roffredo for his excellent stand-Up bass skills. Their new album "Music From Regions Beyond" comes out June 5th.

Rise Against came out with their fiery political punk rock. They were on Fat Wreck Chords back in the day which boosts their stock in my book. I was impressed with Tim McIlrath's vocals. He really did a great job belting out the lyrics as well playing his white Gibson Les Paul. I haven't listened to much punk lately but I got a renewed enthusiasm after seeing them play. I will see them again when they play with Lagwagon and Strung Out at the Long Beach Arena. Both Lagwagon and Strung Out were two of my favorite punk bands back in the day.

The opening synth line of "Swollen Summer" cranked out and the Bravery got the crowd rocking. They did a great job of alternating new songs and old songs. Their new album "The Sun and The Moon" just came out and sounds excellent. Even though the new album doesn't feature as many synth lines as the first, I think they will do well with this album. John Conway still had his Virus synth and a Rhodes electric piano on stage.

Bravery setlist
"Swollen Summer"
"Time Won't Let Me Go"
"An Honest Mistake"
"Every Word From Your Mouth Is A Knife In My Ear"
"Bad Sun"

Besides "Infected", I don't think I have heard a Bad Religion song on KROQ in years. Bad Religion are one of my favorite punk bands. Their hyper literate brand of thinking man punk rock is extremely catchy. I was fortunate enough to interview Brian Baker(Minor Threat,Dag Nasty,Junkyard) back in the day during the "Grey Race" tour. Did you know Brian Baker was going to be the touring guitarist for REM before he got the offer for Bad Religion? I may have to republish that interview when I get a chance. Some songs they played were "American Jesus", "21st Century Digital Boy", "Infected" and "Struck A Nerve". I was not to familar with the new songs but I will check out their new album when it comes out.

Queens of the Stone Age stole the show in my opinion. I always appreciated the heavy riffs of Kyuss and automatically liked Queens of the Stone Age when they came out. I used to see them all the time at the Troubadour. Josh Homme(Guitars/Vocals) has worked on his singing and has improved with each album. Their new song "Sick, Sick, Sick" is stunning with an impressive breakdown riff. In a few degrees of separation, Troy Van Leeuwen used to be the touring guitarist of Failure. I gave Josh huge points for incorporating song lyrics of "I Want A New Drug" by Huey Lewis & The News into "Feel Good Hit of the Summer". Their new album Era Vulgaris should be out soon. They will be at the Orange County Fair bringing the rock to the O.C.

Queens of the Stone Age Setlist
"Feel Good Hit Of The Summer"
"No One Knows"
"3's & 7's"
"In My Head"
"Little Sister"
"The Lost Art of Keeping Secret"
"Sick, Sick, Sick"
"Go With The Flow"
"Song For The Dead"

The sun had not fully set for Interpol. It is difficult to enjoy Interpol's moody atmospheric music in the mid evening. They still managed to pull off a good set that unfortunately ended with a blown guitar amp during the apex of "PDA". I still am very impressed with "The Heinrich Maneuver" and its angular guitar lines. When You see Interpol live, one can detect a greater sense of urgency and desperation in the performance of their songs. I am really looking forward to the new album.

Interpol Setlist
"Obstacle 1"
"Slow Hands"
"The Heinrich Maneuver"

Social Distortion provided another cornerstone in the history of punk rock as Mike Ness(Guitars/Vocals) and the boys cranked out some classic tunes. Mike Ness was center stage with his Gibson Les Paul Gold top singing in top form with his trademark graveley voice. Social Distortion is coming out with a greatest hits album soon which I highly recommend if you are unfamiliar with their work. If you want to be super cool, watch the documentary "Another State of Mind" which features the early years of Social Distortion, Youth Brigade, and Minor Threat.

Social Distortion Setlist
"Reach For The Sky"
"Prison Bound"
"Under My Thumb"
"Bad Luck"
"Mommy's Little Monster"
"Ball and Chain"
"Far Behind"
"Story of My Life"
"Ring of Fire"

The Killers were a no show due to Brandon Flower's bronchitis. I recommend a course of Levaquin 500mg once a day for 10 days.

I am a fan of the first two Korn albums but feel that some of their later work has not been up to par. They are pioneers of the seven string guitar and charted some new territory when they came out. I thought they were copying Slipknot when I saw two extra percussionists on stage but then realized the joke was on me when I spotted Joey Jordinson of Slipknot filling in for David Silveria on drums. I was pleasantly surprised how tight their performance was. They also had Clint Lowery(ex-Sevendust) on back up guitar. They played all of their heavy and fast songs which made time go by really quick. Some highlights from their set included "Good God", "Blind" and "Coming Undone".

Linkin Park closed out the night with selections from Meteora and Hybrid Theory. Joseph Hahn (DJ/Turntables) had about 10 M-Audio Trigger fingers mounted on a stand that he used maybe once. Mike Shinoda(Guitars/Vocals) showed off his toughness when he played a Pink Hello Kitty Fender Squier Stratocaster on stage. I still haven't listened to much of their new album "Minutes to Midnight" but I will check it out later. The old hits sounded good such as "Breaking The Habit", "Crawling", "One Step Closer", and "Numb". They shamelessly plugged their Project Revolution Tour that doesn't sound too interesting except they managed to get Placebo on the bill.

Overall, It is tough to beat 12 hours of music but I don't know how my friend ended up going to the 91x Fest the next day because I was exhausted.