Nevermind The Posers

See ya in the pit.

Orion Music & More Festival + 2 Weeks…but the Memory Remains! July 4, 2012

By: Dave “The Klone” Maresca

Where once man looked to the sky and ascribed names to the constellations, one name in particular holds more meaning than could be imagined for Metallica fans.  “Orion,” the 8 minute, 27 second instrumental on arguably Metallica’s masterpiece album Master of Puppets, now lends its namesake to the band’s foray into the music festival world.  On June 23rd, 2012 Bader Field in Atlantic City, New Jersey became a historical landmark for fans of the heavy metal Gods, as it hosted the first annual Orion Music & More Festival (

Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t get my disclaimer out of the way.  Over the years, I’ve lost some love for the music festival as an event, or venue to catch one of my favorite bands.  Often the size and scope are so mind-numbingly overwhelming that just figuring out where and when the band you want to see is playing is a challenge.  Once you get a handle on the schedule and layout of the event, learning all the routes to the elusive 2nd, 3rd and sometimes 4th  and even 5th stages, should you be looking to catch more than one particular band often you’ll find you must make a few Sophie’s choices through the day, as without fail two of your favorites will be playing at overlapping time-slots.  Once you throw additional acts into the mix (like skateboarding ramps, art show exhibits, etc.), it officially hits capacity.  Get your gear, strap in, and start beating feet.  Stay hydrated and keep moving.

For the die-hard music fan and the loyal followers of rock icons, the music festival is a coveted experience, a day on the battlefield, followed by a night that will change you forever.  When attending the Orion Music & More Festival, this is the grandest of understatements.  Metallica, true to form, has redefined the music festival experience and for this former lover of the music festival, it was a welcome surprise; it may have rekindled a dying flame for festivals in general for me.  Why I expected any less from Metallica is beyond me, and I gladly take this opportunity to apologize…by gushing over how sick this event actually was.

Seemingly through simple things like logic (having the time-slots for the acts across four stages work with each other, and not against each other), clear communications from the event organizers (giant screens that constantly rotated between the event schedule, stage line-ups, and event information), or the layout of the event itself (from the center of the field, you could hear/see all 4 stages), this was a festival to make all other festivals bow down.  In addition to enjoying the wide variety of offerings from the concession stands, that included vegan and Asian food, as well as the “& More” acts that comprised the festival, I was able to catch Cage The Elephant play their set on the Fuel Stage, and then have time to get an awesome spot to catch a legendary set by Suicidal Tendencies on the Damage Inc. stage.  Each act on the four stages got introduced to the rabid fans by one of the four horsemen themselves, and Rob Trujillo stuck around to rock-out on four songs with his old “Institutionalized” friends.  It was amazing.

As impressive and extensive as the line-up of bands for this festival is, ultimately this entire event is about one band…METALLICA.  I attended the first day of this two-day extravaganza, which promised that the living legends would be playing the Ride The Lightning album in its entirety, the following night would feature them playing The Black Album in its entirety.  (How you call a festival “Orion” and NOT play Master of Puppets is really surprising, but let’s hope that’s in store for us at the second annual Orion Festival.)  The big question on everyone’s mind as they pushed forward, fighting for purchase on the precious real-estate in front of the stage, “are they really going to play the entire line-up of their epic sophomore album?  Including ‘Escape’?”  They did.  History was witnessed.

Hands down, Metallica is the best live show ever!  Not only are they true professionals, and sound even better live than they do on their studio albums, but their presence and passion are even larger than life than the massive screens that make the stage a constantly erupting volcano, light and sound that rattles the ground down to the mantle of the Earth.  The sense of awe inspired was palpable in the air hovering above the crowd, and audible in the cacophony of voices that echo every lyric that escaped James Hetfield’s lips.  This night was more than just a Metallica performance.  This was something different, something special.

This wasn’t my first rodeo by any means, but it was the first time I felt completely encompassed by the moment of being there and hearing the music I’ve grown up with and been living with as part of the soundtrack of my life being performed live, and performed perfectly.  The entire night I kept thinking, “I feel like I’m in the audience of the ‘Live Sh!t: Binge & Purge’ taping,” that’s how crisp and classic the ‘tallica boys were sounding as they rocked New Jersey.  With every chord that followed their opening salvo of “Hit The Lights,” “Master of Puppets” and “The Four Horsemen,” the anticipation for how they would begin to fulfill their promise of Ride The Lightning grew.  After another two songs, “Sad But True” and “Hell and Back” (a head scratcher for most in the audience, but bad ass nonetheless), we got our answer.

Following an introductory video featuring interview footage of all of the original line-up of the band, including the late Cliff Burton, the first tones of “Call of Ktulu” began as blue lightning illuminated photos of the group floating in a void of bluish clouds on the giant stage screens.  A moment and flash of stage lights later, the live band was continuing the epic instrumental that closes the classic album, without missing a beat.  From that point on, it was a surreal night that felt like a walk through a lucid dream.  There were instant bonds with those directly around us as we chanted song after song, and all screamed in childish giddiness as we witnessed “Escape” live for the first time ever.  It was a night with that sort of kismet feeling, like years of fandom has led to this night, and that’s exactly as it should be.

The first-nighters were treated to some songs off of The Black Album as well, which only added a more complete feeling to a night already epic in proportion.  If there’s ever been a group to make being larger than life so effortless and make us all feel special for being there with them for the magic, it’s Metallica.  Any who would dare to want to inherit that mantle, the road is far and wide to follow in the footsteps of these Leper Messiahs.

I could complain about the ticket prices these days, and how on the heels of The Big 4our tour, this seems a bit money-grabbish, but these are tough economic times, and it’s easy to let that affect how we see things that we grew up loving more than a casual fan would as luxuries.  Metallica and their world have been a part of my life and my world for over two decades, so hell yeah am I buying the Blu-Ray of this show, and hell yeah am I going to be at Orion Festival ’13 (whether my girlfriend wins the tickets on the radio for us, or not).

P.S.  If I could take this opportunity to beg for next year’s album choices, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do Master of Puppets and …And Justice For All.

Metallica Set list:
Orion Festival – June 23, 2012 (Ride The Lightning)

The Ecstasy of The Gold (Ennio Morricone)

1.   Hit The Lights

2.   Master of Puppets

3.   The Four Horsemen

4.   Sad But True

(Bass Solo)

5.   Hell and Back

      Ride The Lightning (Video)

6.   Call of Ktulu

7.   Creeping Death

(Frayed Edges of Sanity Jam)

8.   Escape (WORLD PREMIERE)

9.   Trapped Under Ice

10. Fade To Black

11. For Whom The Bell Tolls

12. Ride The Lightning

13. Fight Fire With Fire

14. Nothing Else Matters

15. Enter Sandman


16. Battery

17. One

18. Seek & Destroy

Suicidal Tendencies Set list:
Orion Festival – June 23, 2012

1.    You Can’t Bring Me Down

2.    Institutionalized

3.    Freedumb

4.    War Inside My Head

5.    Subliminal

6.    Possessed To Skate

7.    Cyco Vision

8.    These Freaks Are Here To Party (Infectious Grooves Cover)

(w/ Robert Trujillo)

9.    Turtle Wax (Infectious Grooves Cover)

(w/ Robert Trujillo)

10.  Punk It Up (Infectious Grooves Cover)

(w/ Robert Trujillo)

11.  Violent & Funky (Infectious Grooves Cover)

(w/ Robert Trujillo)

12.  Therapy (Infectious Grooves Cover)

(w/ Robert Trujillo)

13.  Pledge Your Allegiance


Shovelware, A Rant January 22, 2010

by Daniel Petrino

In the PC/Gaming world, there’s a phrase applied to software that is more prolific in its quantity rather than quality: shovelware. From Wikipedia:

Shovelware is a derogatory computer jargon term that refers to software noted more for the quantity of what is included than for the quality or usefulness. The term is also used to refer to software that is ported from one computer platform or storage medium to another with little thought given to adapting it for use on the destination platform or medium, resulting in poor quality.

“The metaphor implies that the creators showed little care for the original software, as if the new compilation or version had been indiscriminately created/ported with a shovel, without any care shown for the condition of the software on the newly created product.”

As the musical landscape transforms and evolves into a medium where genres are bent, crossed and synthesized into something completely new, I find more and more of what I’ve come to call Shovelpop. Don’t think I’m about to go on a rant about pop music; I like pop music – GOOD pop music. Nearly every artist on today’s Top 40 has some pop element to their music if they’re not straight up pop. There’s a large swathe of pop music that I consider “good,” but there’s more and more Shovelpop being pushed onto the radio than I can take. Let me start with some of my favorite pop music:

The Cardigans – EVERYONE knows them for their pop monster “Lovefool,” aided in no small part by its inclusion in 1996 soundtrack from Baz Luhrmann’s interpretation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The first thing I think of whenever I hear “Lovefool” is Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in their iconic roles.
But can anyone else name any other song The Cardigans released? Does “My Favourite Game” ring a bell? Did you know they did an absolutely heavenly cover of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man?” Did you know they’ve put out six studio albums? SIX! The Cardigans are one of my favorite examples of good pop music. Each one of their albums has a totally different feel to it while retaining the soft pop sound that makes them unique and an absolute pleasure to listen to. Their last album, Super Extra Gravity, has some fantastic photographs within its CD booklet pages, not to mention great songs like “I Need Some Fine Wine And You, You Need To Be Nicer” and “Don’t Blame Your Daughter (Diamonds),” the latter having one of the oddest and macabre music videos I’ve seen in quite some time.

Robyn – Tina and I did a Music Swap of Robyn’s latest pop offering, and while she wasn’t overly impressed, I’ve loved Robyn’s self-titled return to the music world since I heard the first single, “Konichiwa Bitches.”
Robyn’s new sound is somewhere between electro-pop and rap, between aggressive female re-establishing herself as an artist and fragile, sensitive woman. You’ll never hear the playful, piano-banging “Jack You Off” or vulnerable “With Every Heartbeat” on the radio, but it’s better than half the pollution that clogs the airwaves. Her music videos are a must-see! Oh, and be sure to listen to her sing on Royksopp’s track “The Girl and the Robot!”

Katy Perry – So “I Kissed A Girl” may seem a little gimmicky, but damn if it didn’t establish her as an artist to watch out for, and she delivered. Her music is infectious, aggressive and great to dance to. She’s almost the new, pop version of Alanis.Le

Lenka – Lenka’s self-titled debut is sweet without being saccharine. Her music is light pop fare, but her voice is delicious, especially when juxtaposed with some of her darker songs. “Trouble Is a Friend” is absolutely haunting; “The Show” is positively sparkling.

The Pipettes – A female pop import from the UK, The Pipettes are reminiscent of female pop trios of days gone by. Catchy, upbeat pop beats coupled with a harmonizing trio of ladies provide such pop gems as “Pull Shapes” and “Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me.”

Kylie Minogue – She’s the fucking queen of pop overseas. “In My Arms” and “Love At First Sight” are my favorite Kylie songs.

La Roux – She falls in a similar vein as Robyn, but her music is a little more 8-bit electro-pop. “Bulletproof” and “Quicksand” are definitely standout tracks.

Lady GaGa – What can I say about her? She’s the Princess of Pop to Madonna’s Queen. Not an overly huge fan of some songs on Fame Monster, but I enjoyed most of The Fame.

Pink – For an artist who consistently releases popular singles, I feel like she doesn’t get the credit she deserdigansves. “Humble Neighborhoods” is an amazing song.

September – She had a minor hit a couple summers ago with “Cry For You,” and although she never quite took off in the US, she’s a monster in Europe with a handful of albums. And if you question her voice, look for the acoustic version of “Cry For You” on YouTube. It will break your heart.

Okay, so what about Shovelpop? What music did I endure to set off this rant. Jessie James and Kristinia DeBarge happened. If you’ve never heard of either of these ladies, count yourself among the lucky.

Jessie James takes her musical cues from such ladies as Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill and Miley Cyrus, except she’s less talented and more of a whore. She’s toured with the Jonas Brothers and Kid Rock. She’s worked with some pretty big producers of both pop and country music. Unfortunately her voice is better suited to a karaoke bar somewhere south of Nashville. My left toenail is more exciting than listening to her music, and her music videos are essentially softcore porn set to her own Shovelpop. She should be a stripper.

Kristinia DeBarge is WORSE than Jessie James. At least James has a country feel to her music, whereas DeBarge’s music is just a fucking mess. Screws and washers in a glass jar would create better music than the repugnant shit DeBarge “sings” over. And her “dancing” bears closer resemblance to a striptease than any “dance” I’ve ever seen. It looks like she developed early and discovered the way to get what you want is shake your rack in the faces of everyone…which is probably how she got a music deal. She comes from a musical family – her father, James DeBarge, was the youngest member of the group DeBarge – so that explains how she got a music deal.

Listening to these two “artists” is like nails on a chalkboard, and it’s clear that their music was shoveled down to whoever put it on the radio. Even Britney’s “3” is a fucking mess. It sounds like a mesh of everything else she’s ever done, so either her producers are getting lazy or they’re running out of Frappucinnos to lure her into the studio.

Even though I like Ke$ha’s “TiK ToK,” it’s an atrocious song. Is it dancey? Yes. Is it catchy? Absolutely. Does it sound like one of the drunk bitches from Jersey Shore did the vocals for it? Totally. She’s like the inebriated, trashy version of Lady GaGa, Amanda Lepore and September; she sounds like she’s singing with either bubble gum or a dick in her mouth! I don’t know why I act like I’m surprised by what I just typed. Take a look at the track names on her album and you’ll know what you’re in for. I swear she ripped some of this stuff from The Donnas, whom I LOVE. Remember Flo-Rida’s monster hit “Right Round?” Ke$ha did the female vocal. I’m sure she’s no stranger to poles, both metallic and phallic iterations. Oh, and when I refer to Ke$ha “singing,” I mean slurring, because she’s clearly wasted on every track.

Has everyone heard the Taylor Swift wannabe Orianthi? Ugh. It feels like anyone who kind of vaguely sounds like another popular artist gets a record deal, puts out some crappy single and BAM, more Shovelpop fodder for the masses.

And what the hell does Justin Bieber have to sing about? Growing hair under his armpits and using deodorant?! He doesn’t know what love is! Does he know what a vagina is? Does he even know where babies come from?

You might notice an absence of Miley, The Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, etc… They are part of the Disney Corporation. They have teams of marketing and PR people ready at the drop of a hat. They’re produced, packaged and sold…they’re kind of like the music version of High Fructose Corn Syrup…they may seem innocuous, but little does anyone realize they’re slowly eroding the standards of good music…like how HFCS erodes nutritional value, and that shit is in EVERYTHING. High Fructose Pop Music…I’ll save it for another rant.

It’s just upsetting when you see bands who are insanely talented, but don’t have record deals because record companies are more concerned with making a quick dollar off some carbon-copy prostit-tot than actually getting good music on the radio. At least commercials have slowly been bucking the trend, featuring good artists like Ida Maria, Cage the Elephant, Passion Pit, Kenna and Phoenix to sell their products.

I can only pray the new year brings some new music over the radio waves, or I’ll listen to less radio in 2010 than I did in 2009.