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 (www.orionmusicandmore.com).

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

Encore:

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

 

The Big 4- A Metalhead’s Dream October 6, 2011

Sept. 14, 2011 Yankee Stadium

Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica…the Big 4 and a metal head’s dream come true, especially for this metal head that had never gotten to see Slayer live before this show.

Anthrax started the show at 4pm and September 14th was even named “Anthrax” day in the Bronx, NY.  Their energetic set started with “Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t,” a song from their new album Worship Music, which was really good (I had heard it played recently on WSOU, Seton Hall’s Pirate Radio, NJ), then the classics “Got the Time,” “Madhouse,” “Caught in a Mosh” and some crowd moshing began, even though the sun hadn’t set and it was very warm and humid.  You’ve just got to love the way Scott Ian stomps his trademark stomp; he seemed truly happy to be playing at Yankee stadium and even wore a Yankee jersey later in the set.  “Anti-Social” was another crowd favorite with everyone chanting along.  Joey Belladonna’s voice sounded good and it was great seeing him back in action wearing the huge feather chief head-dress for “Indians” running back and forth across the huge stage.  They played a great set, about 40 minutes, and then the stage was set for Megadeth.

Megadeth opened with “Trust,” then played “Hanger 18.”  They didn’t seem to have as much energy as Anthrax, but still sounded incredible.  Dave Mustaine announced that he was having some major back surgery right after the show and had to be careful how he moved, or he could end up paralyzed, which was why he wasn’t running around and probably shouldn’t have been there at all, but this is metal.  He just couldn’t miss this historical event.  His playing was great, going back and forth on guitar with Chris Broderick.  They really got everyone going with “Sweating Bullets,” the crowd singing right along with them.  “Peace Sells” was always one of my favorites and hearing it live, I remembered why I liked Megadeth so much.  It seemed like they finished their set so quickly, I would’ve loved to hear more.

Ah, but then they started setting up for Slayer.  SLAYER!!!

It was still light out when Slayer took the stage, but got dark quickly (pun intended) and the full moon rose over the stage.  They started with “Disciple” and I was crazy excited just as everyone at Yankee Stadium was this magical night.  I don’t remember ever being so happy to be at a concert.  Tom Araya’s lightning fast vocals were perfect, although their sound system sounded much fuzzier than Megadeth’s.  Maybe because it was louder?  I was happy to hear “War Ensemble” and “Dead Skin Mask,” but wish they played “Seasons in the Abyss” also.  The stadium rumbled with “Hate Worldwide” and “Mandatory Suicide.”  I loved the hypnotizing riffs of “South of Heaven” and Kerry King killed on “Angel of Death” and “Raining Blood.”  He plays with such skill and speed that I couldn’t get one good picture of him.  It seemed so surreal finally getting to see Slayer play live.  They definitely lived up to all my expectations and I was as happy as any metal head could be.

Shortly after 9pm, it was Metallica time!  They opened with one of my all-time favorite Metallica songs, “Creeping Death” and their sound system was LOUD and crystal clear.  Next was “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and the stadium was rocking!  Their pyrotechnics were crazy as the flames flew high into the night for “Fuel” and booming fireworks started during “One.”  And they had an amazing smoke and laser light show for “Blackened” that I’ll always remember.  They rocked their classics: “Ride the Lightning,” “Fade to Black,” “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” and “Master of ‘Puppets.”  No one was seated and you could just feel the energy of the night.  Hearing “Enter Sandman” played live at Yankee Stadium is something I’ll never forget, especially since Mariano Rivera had just tied the all-time save record and always comes out to the mound to “Enter Sandman.”  Baseball & metal, who would’ve thought of that combo?  Metallica, that’s who!

James Hetfield’s deep growling voice sounded great throughout the night as did Lars Ulrich on drums, but the many solos by Kirk Hammett were impressive and they surprised the crowd by playing the instrumental “Orion,” which for as many times as I’ve seen Metallica, have never heard played live before tonight.  They played only a few from Death Magnetic but those sounded wonderful.  After the Big 4 bands all got together to play, and finished, Metallica came back to do “Battery” which blew everyone away (although I was secretly hoping to hear “Damage Inc.”) and closed with a favorite “Seek & Destroy.”  No one wanted to leave this historical metal show.  I know I was awestruck!

Before Metallica had finished their set, they called up the members of all Big 4 bands to come out and play a song together (Dave Mustaine and a few others were notably absent).  James announced that they would honor Lemmy, the godfather of metal, by playing “Overkill” by Motörhead.  All 4 drummers took turns playing and it was an absolutely amazing collaboration!  Everyone on stage seemed genuinely happy to be playing together, like good friends reuniting just for fun, hugging each other, laughing.  I was truly happy to the core to have been a part of this amazing evening.  Nothing will ever compare to or come close to this show’s magnitude of talent.  I will remember this evening and concert as long as I live.
Metallica.com posted a tour video with live footage of “Blackened” and “Overkill.”  Check it out below.

Review by Marianne Teresi

 

Klone Reviews New Sevendust – Cold Day Memory April 14, 2010

SevendustCold Day Memory


Review by: Klone

With the opening track “Splinter” starting off like a runaway freight train, my initial thought is “What train is this, and who’s driving?”  For a few seconds I thought it was Avenged Sevenfold. (Isn’t it ironic that both band names include the word “seven”?  Don’t you think?)  You know the old-school Sevendust fan in me wanted so badly to be falling all over myself and gushing pure rock enjoyment…but alas, I did not.  That’s not to say that the disc doesn’t begin with a valiant effort, but for my money, the disc begins like so many others; others that showed promise but failed to deliver.  You all know what I mean, right?  I’m sure there’s a band out there that you took a chance on, maybe some “new” band that had a sick hit on the radio or caught your attention on a movie soundtrack, only to find that they’re nothing special.  Now imagine that feeling when you’ve picked up the latest release by a band you actually remember being awesome.  Yup…it sucks.  Now, before I get too far, let me say that all hope is not lost before it’s even gained.  Any Sevendust fan knows that you can’t judge the buffet before it’s served.  A new Sevendust CD is like an un-tapped mine…it’s all about finding the hidden gems among the rough patches.

Sevendust albums have always seemed to me like a collection of song ideas that need a lot of work, with a handful of finished, truly kick-ass songs interspersed.  Cold Day Memory, the group’s eighth studio album, starts off as no exception to this trend, but quickly picks-up.  Once you get through the first two tracks in the line-up, something changes.  The sound becomes more developed, the songs become more engaging, and suddenly you feel like you’re listening to a different CD than you were when you first popped it into your player.  Could this disc mark one of those maturing moments in the band’s continuing evolution?  Have song structure and melody made their way into the permanent Sevendust mix?  Certainly the disc is more pleasantly surprising the deeper in you get, which in itself is one of the biggest improvements over their earlier offerings. (more…)