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  • Hey, I Didn't Get Mugged!

    Fev 10 2013, 23h22

    Fri 8 Feb – Coheed and Cambria, Between the Buried and Me, Russian Circles

    Overall, a very, very good show. As a VIP, we were let in early to hear a song played "just for us." The security threatened us to no end NOT to take pictures, etc. which of course a few people promptly ignored. We were treated to a solo performance from Travis with acoustic guitar in tow. He played a song from his side project Davenport Cabinet (I believe).

    This was my first time seeing Russian Circles, and although I'm not into instrumental bands, they played a decent set. The crowd was polite albeit a bit reserved. It was obvious they were there to see someone else.

    Between the Buried and Me took the stage and put in an intense show for almost an hour. Of course everyone went nuts when Coheed and Cambria took the stage. They played for almost two hours, covering most of the songs on their new albums, but still played the fan faves as well.

    I'm glad I saw Coheed and Cambria on the first leg of their tour. They had a lot of energy and engaged the audience. They seem like nice guys, and appeared to genuinely appreciate their fans that came out on a cold February evening.

    One note on the venue, I was really impressed with the Fillmore. It was my first time there and I'm not usually too hot about driving to Detroit for...well, just about anything (I live in West MI), but even though it wasn't in the best of neighborhoods there were no problems. The old theater really is conducive to concerts, and all three bands really sounded good.

    There was only one thing with which I was disappointed at the show. For my birthday my wife sprung for mezzanine tickets, and the seats were great. Unfortunately the people in my section did not stand the entire time! I really wanted to stand and go nuts, but I didn't want to be "that guy" standing in front of the fourteen year-old girls behind me. Bummer.

    One among the fence!
  • Can I Tell You Something?

    Ago 3 2012, 19h32

    Thu 2 Aug – Kansas at the Picnic Pops

    Kansas performed with the Grand Rapids Symphony to end the Picnic Pops season, and what an ending! There was a local warmup band singing classic rock favorites, and about twenty minutes of the Grand Rapids Symphony playing, er "pops."

    Kansas took the stage with the backing of the symphony and played an eighty minute, all hits set. I've seen Kansas twice previously, and sadly Steve Walsh's pipes are getting a bit rusty, but as the evening progressed he sounded better. The rest of the band sounded great. Much of their music certainly lends itself to the symphonic treatment, and although they certainly didn't chart any new territory it was a lot of fun nonetheless. The only real clunker of the night was Fight Fire With Fire, which just didn't work with the symphony due to its harder rock beat.

    The venue was an open air, lawn seating affair. There's nothing like listening to classic prog rock, eating cold fried chicken and drinking wine. I should have minded the last part a bit better; because it was very hot and sticky I ended up drinking a bottle by myself and am paying for it today!
  • Skindred Rocked The Machine Shop

    Mar 2 2009, 16h41

    Thu 26 Feb – Skindred
    I was a bit concerned about this show. I've seen other bands that were on a major tour that did one-off concerts not on their schedule that stunk because they seemed beat. Skindred is currently on tour with Disturbed and Sevendust, and took a break from that tour to play this show at the Machine Shop. Thankfully, they did not disappoint.

    Although doors opened before 7:00PM, the first opening act didn't get started until well after 8:00PM. First up was local band Last Encore. OK, I'll start my rant right here--why do we need so many screamo bands? I'm tired of seeing bands with "good cop/bad cop"-style vocalists (i.e., one singing/grunting, one screaming). Yes, Last Encore was this type of band. They were okay, but I've heard it all before.

    Up next were a band from Lansing MI named Know Lyfe. These guys were decent (although they still had dueling vocalists). They put on a decent, high energy show. They were the only opening act from which I was even tempted to purchase merchandise.

    ...and now on to XXX Car Ride, or as pizzarox (who attended with me) called them, "XXX Car Crash." I did not enjoy them in the least. The "good cop" vocalist (notice the trend?) was, to be blunt, awful and I think he knew it. He had a look on his face the whole time that seemed to say, "I don't know how to sing; Do you guys notice?" Yes, yes we did notice. Strangely though, I listened to some of the songs on their Myspace page, and he wasn't too bad. I guess studio-only bands don't make much money though, so these guys could be in a world of hurt if they don't dump him.

    Now on to Skindred. What can I say, they were awesome! Benji's chops were in great shape, and the rest band were tight and energetic. Between songs several times Benji urged the audience to keep supporting live music, stating it was one thing that could "never be downloaded" (he was referring to the experience itself, not the music). He is right, of course. It was the best time I've had at a show in a long while (actually, ever since I saw Fishbone at the Machine Shop several years ago).

    Unfortunately, I paid for the experience at the expense of my body. With all the jumping and dancing around (I even got caught in the mosh pit during one song), my 40-year-old knees were really groaning the next day. What was I supposed to do? If someone from the stage says "Jump the f**k up!!" well, you HAVE to comply!

    Don't miss your chance to see this band live, they put on a great show. I am bummed that I have not seen them sooner.
  • Alanis Needed Some Sleep

    Out 10 2008, 14h09

    Yup, I took my wife to Tue 7 Oct – Alanis Morissette for our anniversary. Michigan Theater is a great, smaller venue. It is one of those older movie house style theaters with ornate walls and cool, old-timey lighting. It was a bit strange, however, to see people coming into the auditorium with buckets of popcorn clutched in their hands. I guess I don't go to shows like this too often; bringing in popcorn to the shows I typically frequent will earn you a sound thrashing.

    The standout of the show (unfortunately for Alanis) was the opening act Alexi Murdoch. He came on stage with so little aplomb I thought he was a roadie doing a sound check. His humility was really refreshing, thanking the crowd over and over just for listening. Apparently he plays to jerks in the rest of the world, but us Michiganders are nicer folk. He really sounded good live. I was blown away by how much he sounds like Damien Jurado .

    Alanis took the stage among piercing screams from the hundreds of female fans. I had my arm firmly around my wife the entire time to broadcast to everyone that "I'm with her," but I didn't really need to do so, because the male gender was adequately represented at the show.

    She performed a decent set, including two encores as well as a mini acoustic jam. She seemed, however, low energy and picked most of her safer songs. You know, those songs that are a bit monotone and more groove oriented than rocking. She sounded great on the songs she picked though; it is clear the girl can sing.

    All in all, a good show, but hopefully she gets some rest before her next stop.

    At least it scored some "good husband" points for me!
  • Coheed and Cambria Sent Grand Rapids Into Orbit

    Mai 30 2008, 13h29

    Thu 29 May – Coheed and Cambria, Baroness

    Ok, that is probably the cheesiest title ever created, sorry for that.

    I had a great time at this show. There was a good mix of people attending (myself tending to be on the decidedly "older" side of the age spectrum), and I was blown away by how incident-free the night was. I would be surprised if the show wasn't sold out, because its been a long time since I've seen the Orbit Room that packed.

    Baroness opened promptly at 8:00 PM and were much better than the crowd's reaction to them. Sure, the vocals weren't mixed very well, and although his singing in general can be a bit monotonous, they threw up this huge wall of sound that was incredibly intense. They can definitely hold their own against other prog/sludge artists out there. Fans of Mastodon are sure to get into these guys. They played for about 45 minutes, showcasing many of the songs on the Red Album. I just think most of the crowd was lost by the vocals and extended technical instrumental jamming sections.

    Coheed and Cambria were amazing! This is my first time seeing them. I kicked around not going to the show, and I am glad I decided to go. As soon as they walked on stage, everyone went nuts, and the energy level continued throughout the show. The whole set was very tight, and they played songs from all their albums. I think what impressed me the most about these guys was their professionalism and humility. Instead of the typical "F**k yeah, we're awesome!" crap that many bands constantly drone out, these guys sincerely thanked the audience for coming and seemed genuinely appreciative of those attending.

    Their set lasted almost two hours, including one encore (an incredibly-extended version of "Welcome Home," including a 15 minute drum solo). Hey, what can I say, any band that plays a Theremin is okay in my book.

    I've seen hundreds of bands, and I would rank this show in my top 5 favorites (sorry C&C, Fishbone still has you beat). I'd definitely seem them again.
  • A Decent Show

    Abr 15 2008, 15h43

    Mon 14 Apr – Alesana

    Overall a decent show. It was my first show at Skelletones. What a great venue!

    The first band up was Our Last Night (I assume--they introduced themselves, but I think the singer had a mouth full of marbles. Note to new bands: make sure the audience knows who you are). The young lads had good energy, but need to expand beyond the three chords they know.

    Sky Eats Airplane played next. They were better than Our Last Night, but not by much. Although the samples were a nice touch, they relied on them too much to pad out their sound.

    The band I went to see, The Chariot, played a great set, but were plagued by technical problems. Most disappointing was they only played for 20 minutes! I really appreciated their humility and ability to make the best of a bad situation.

    Alesana was great. I haven't seen a band with that much energy in a long time. They mixed their set up with both songs from their first album as well as their new (forthcoming) album. The only criticism I have is the size of their band. Unless you are Electric Light Orchestra, do you really need six members? Skelletones is a smaller venue, so all six of them seems just crammed on the stage.

    I enjoyed the show and look forward to great things from all of the bands!
  • A Big Shock

    Nov 27 2007, 15h48

    I have been a longtime fan of the movie Jesus Christ Superstar, especially because of Carl Anderson's amazing vocals. While visiting my in-laws in Ohio over the weekend, my Father-in-law and I hit several used CD stores in Cleveland. I saw a solo album by Carl Anderson and immediately snapped it up.

    All I can say is wow. I wasn't prepared for the assault on my ears. It is utter rubbish; schmoozy, 80s style pop/jazz. OK, so the album was from 1994, but I expected it to be much better than it was.

    I guess some memories should be left as such.
  • Alas Poor Orange9MM

    Ago 18 2006, 15h23

    Boy, I wonder what happened to Orange 9mm. They put out four incredible albums and then disappeared.