Friday, February 21, 2014

1st rehearsal and Tele took a dump. Time for it to go under the knife.

First rehearsal with the new band went well right up to the point where my guitar crapped out. All of sudden my bridge pickup volume pot started getting scratchy, and I loss a lot of volume. I was so disappointed. I've had the Tele a  couple of years now, and never had any problems, but I guess a rehearsal is better than a gig to have it break down.

 I'm guessing I need to change the vol pot, but reading sites like this one makes me want to go mod crazy on it. 

I could easily spend $250 on the mods, which is what I paid for the whole guitar. I've been looking at upgrading the tuners, so that upgrade might have to wait till I get the electronics back in working order.

The good thing is that a volume pot is cheap to replace, so I should be back in action soon. 

As far as rehearsal went, luckily, Neil had a cool old Ibanez Roadstar that he loaned me and the rehearsal went on. We jammed on a couple of my songs and a couple of originals, and we even jammed a little on a brand new tune that I'm excited about. Very good times, and good things to come.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Manowar concert review :: House of Blues, Dallas, TX Feb 16, 2014

Manowar concert review

House of Blues, Dallas, TX Feb 16, 2014

I have been a Manowar fan for almost 30 years. I heard them back in day when Metal was exploding around the world. Thrash, Doom, Death, etc. Metal sub-genres were all taking shape. I was a great time. I was locked in to Priest, Maiden, etc. but Metallica, Raven, Anthrax, etc. were blowing up in the Metal underground. Little did I know that some of those bands were about to go big time.

Manowar had their niche. They kind of have their own thing going. They sing about war, death, etc., but they are certainly not Death Metal. They have a lot of slower plodding songs, but I wouldn't call them Doom (if that is even a term anymore). They are epic, majestic, and grandiose, and after they found this niche, they stuck with it. From their first album in 1981 to present day, they have not veered off course one bit. I guess you could knock them for that, but I guess their purpose it to fill and play that role. That’s what they do.

I love them for what they are. What they are not does not effect my opinion of them, as there are plenty other bands to meet my need for prog, death, thrash, etc.

I have lived in Dallas for 20+ years and I am not aware of Manowar playing a show in Dallas during that time. I briefly moved away from Dallas in 1989, and sure enough, that’s when Manowar played in Dallas.

Now, 25 years later, they finally came back to Dallas. I was stoked. The ticket was $87. This seemed ridiculous to me. I paid it, but damn, that’s a lot of money for a show for a still pretty much an underground Metal band.

To prove that they are a niche band (meaning, they have a small (albeit loyal) fan base), My friend, who is also a fan and bought a ticket, came down with pneumonia and could not go to the show. I called 6 other friends, who are into Metal, and not one wanted to go. That kind of makes me like Manwar even more.

I headed downtown by myself and was able to park right across the street from House of Blues. This was nice, and parking was only a few bucks.

At the door they had metal detectors and I gave up my cheap Bass Pro pocket knife. I saw this coming, so I took a cheap knife. I was able to take my camera, but security inside said you could not take pictures during the show. This was a quite a blow for me.

On my way in I bought a t-shirt. They were expectedly very expensive. I picked out a cool “Sign of the Hammer” shirt for $35. The print on all the shirts were way too big for my tastes, but I could not not get a shirt. They did throw in a free “Gods of War” CD. I had this album already, but it’s always cool to get some Lagniappe.

The club was not very full yet. They had the balcony closed, so it was not a huge crowd, but later on it was be pretty damn full. I moseyed to the bar and bought a crappy $7 Sam Adams. I usually like Sam, but it was in a can, and had no flavor. It was like they put Miller in a Sam Adams can. It did quench my thirst though.

I walked towards the stage and settled in about the 4th row. It was general admission and standing room only, so it was every man for himself, which as an old-fart I hate now. That being said, I had toughed it out up front and was very glad I did.

I briefly talked with a woman I knew from back in my Metal band days, Linda Hollar, who was a promoter and had a local Metal magazine called Harder Beat. We were never good friends are anything, but it was nice to chat with her.

The crow looked to be mostly people my age, some older, some younger, but lots in my demo. I heard lots of accents besides just Spanish. I overheard a guy from Canada, a girl from Germany, etc.. I am not saying they came to Dallas just for this show, maybe they did, but Manowar has a very international appeal.

The Show
After a few rounds of the crowd chanting “Man o war” and “Hail, Hail, Hail and Kill” the show finally started (30 min late).

The tour was the 25 anniversary of their “Kings of Metal” album, so they played pretty much they whole KOM album, but mixed in many other tracks from their career.

They opened with a few older tunes like Manowar (title track), Blood of My Enemies (Hail to England), Sign of the Hammer (title track), etc. It was awesome.

They had a video screen behind the band that served to accent the songs with lots of warrior battle scenes, crowds, etc. and intro to songs. It was cool. But they also played lots of documentary footage, which was really cool. They had brief interviews with the band, managers, engineers, etc. They had footage of Ken Kelly, the artist who did most of their album covers. Ken Kelly is the nephew of Frank Frazetta. Makes sense, but who knew?

I have to say, the sound quality was terrible. Oh, it was loud. I could pretty much hear everything, but there was this low rumble that just rattled my head. I know, that’s part of their bit. They are the loudest in the world, but I would choose a lower volume with a more quality sound. The problem was Joey DeMaio’s bass. It had this ridiculous low end that made my hair shake, and not in a good way. But with wads of napkin stuff in my ears it was bearable.

After about a dozen songs they said “goodnight” and left the stage. A minute or so later, Joey comes out with a beer in one hand and a microphone in the other. He proceeded to go on the most ridiculous rant about how Manowar is the best, the greatest, blah, blah. How he is a baddass, and they are so persecuted for their true Metal beliefs, etc. He even had a speech in Spanish, which clearly was just to show off, because the whole crowd cheered on his early part of the speech that was in English, so everyone there spoke English. The Spanish bit served no purpose besides his ego.

But the ego is part of the bit. They (Joey in particular) have kept to the game plan for their whole career. It was pretty funny and maybe sad if I thought he really believed all the crap. Look, the dude is almost 60, and his fan base is a bunch of old Metal heads like I am, so we’re not buying all that, but it’s like Wrestle Mania I guess. It’s part of the show.

They came back on and played a few more songs. They walked off with “The Crown and the Ring” playing through the speakers.

My favorite part of the band is Eric Adams and he sounded great. The guy is 60 years old and he might be a little pudgy around the middle, but he belted it out and did not skip any high notes, screams, etc. He might be a little thicker, but he looked and sounded great.

Karl Logan played great, but he has zero stage presents. I couldn't tell if he was bored, tired, or just plays the role of the zombie guitar player.

Overall it was a great show, and I’m so glad it finally happened. Yes, they are a bit band, and it’s a very old bit at that, but I still love the music.