Van Halen - Auburn, WA @ The Whiteriver Amphitheater

Sunday July 5th, 2015 in Auburn, WA Van Halen took the stage on the first run of their tour and wasted no time in getting the crowd on their feet, as they pumped out an ultimate classic “Light Up The Sky” from their 1978 hard rocking album Van Halen II, which was last performed in 1980.  What followed were 24 more songs with vocalist Diamond David Lee Roth, Wolfgang Van Halen on Bass, a drum solo from Alex Van Halen, and an astounding solo guitar performance from the legend himself, Eddie Van Halen.

I suppose the elephant in the room is the absence of original bass player Michael Anthony, who has been replaced by Eddie Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang.  Eddie and Wolf did a great job with the backing vocals, yet true Van Halen hardcore fans missed Anthony’s sweet spot high harmonies in places.  At the end of the day, we must admit that Wolfgang Van Halen is the real deal.  Some complain that nepotism may have got him the gig, but the young man’s god given talent, poise and workman like attitude have allowed him to keep his position on stage.  This kid can play, as he proved when standing alongside his father and matching the elder Van Halen’s guitar riff to “China Town” on his bass. The bottom line here is that you can’t blame the kid for being in the band and, in fact, one must give him respect as he performed well and, along with Eddie, did a great job, vocally.

No true Van Halen concert is complete without a little showboating by Diamond Dave, and Sunday night was no exception.  Dave’s rock star attitude was filled to the brim strutting all over the stage in Roth fashion and vocally getting in his high pitched squeals and screams with “Panama,” “Everybody Wants Some,” “Aint Talkin Bout Love,” and “Hot For Teacher.”

Surprise set inclusions for this night included “Feel Your Love Tonight” from 1978’s “Van Halen” album, the tap harmonic intro played flawlessly by the virtuoso guitarist, and their first ever live performance of “Drop Dead Legs” from “1984” and hearing “Ice Cream Man” with Roth starting out with a small acoustic guitar while playing the harmonica was a great thrill as well.

It must be said that while Van Halen may be able to change bass players, and even a lead singer, and get away with it, the two bookends that MUST be there are brother’s Eddie and Alex.  Alex has aged, but with years has come a perfection of his craft.  All night long, the elder Van Halen pounded the skins, keeping perfect timing, adding creative flourishes and delivering a unique drum solo.  While he didn’t set his drums on fire, he still played at the top of his game.

Thirty years ago, Eddie was playing his Frankenstein striped guitar, running and sliding across the stage and doing that cool ass double leg kick all night long.  He had flowing long hair down to the middle of his back and a wide toothed grin on his face.  In 2015, his hair is short, he no longer runs and kicks, but his playing is spot on perfect and his boyish smile is still there.  Perhaps it is a sign that hell hath froze over, as he even appeared to enjoy sharing the stage with David Lee Roth, a man he once said he was going to, “kick in the balls” the next time he saw him and the man who inspired the term “Lead Singer’s Disease.”

With the 20,000 that were in attendance noticeably loved hearing hits such as “Beautiful Girls”, “Somebody Get Me A Doctor”, “Romeo Delight”, “Eruption” followed by “You Really Got Me” and ending the evening with a crowd roaring encore of “1984’s”  “Jump.”  As a witness to Van Halen in 2015, I am uniquely able to answer the burning questions that fans want to know.  Was Michael Anthony missed?  Yes, but more out of nostalgia than out of functionality.  Was the band less energetic on stage? Of course they were, but Roth still managed the splits, an over the head kick and enough dancing to burn off a week’s worth of calories.  Did he deliver vocally? Most certainly, although there were a few rough moments but didn’t tarnish the show.

The bottom line is that the mighty Van Halen is back.  The band delivered with an amazing set list and an eye-popping stage show that featured one of rock’s best front men and one of the most influential guitar players of all time.  If Van Halen comes anywhere near your town, then the only reason for not seeing them live is if the show is already sold out. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait years and years to see Dave and Eddie share the stage again.

December In Red - Seattle, WA @ Studio Seven 06/10/15

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015, at the Seattle Club known as Studio Seven, a  great hard rock/metal band known as “December In Red” that formed in 2009 came home to their native Seattle, WA for a homecoming show resulting in a phenomenal night with entertainment provided by something of a “Metal Quartet.”  They were the first act of the evening opening up for “Scare Don’t Fear,” “The Family Ruin” and tour headliner’s,  “HED P.E.”  Needless to say, December In Red, being the tour’s opening act brought the house down on their final stop of their “The Way Out Tour” to kick off the evening.

The hard hitting Rock/Metal act opened the night with their first song “Hooks and Splatter’s” using heavy bass and drum tones with crushing guitar sounds and hard hitting instrumentation to go along with singer Del McGeachy’s powerful voice.  The band has become more and more well-known for it’s own unique signature sound while comparing to the like’s of band’s such as Chevelle, Deftones, and Incubus.  This sound has given December In Red’s fan’s locally and across the country what they have been waiting for in this genre of rock/metal music.  They have even sealed a guaranteed record deal with CaviGold Records LLC, a Seattle/Los Angeles rock and metal music label that started in 2012, which is home to bands like “The Fail Safe Project,” “Lotus Crush,” “Under Sin,” “Devil’s Hunt Me Down,” and many more .  In addition to playing their second hit single song, the ever-so-powerful “Send Me A Postcard,” which is a song that is very well known and loved by many of their follower’s, the Seattle native’s played quite a few other songs from their self-titled album.  Some of the other’s included “Arrested On Sight,” “Pelican,” “De D’Aur” and their hardcore hitting single featuring the lead singer of HED P.E.’s  Jared “Jarhed” Gomes, performing “Hadouken,” which had an extremely pummeling sound that could crush concrete to dust in a matter of seconds.

December In Red’s raw energy throughout their entire set is one of the things that really caught everyone in Studio Seven’s attention watching them perform.  With Dan Gardner on his seven-string guitars, Colbey Schnelle on his four-string bass, and Marc Mercier on drums, they put on a final tour show that local fans alike wouldn’t forget.  The Seattle hard metal rockers closed out their seven song set on a high note with their song “Chameleon.”  With honesty and absolute truth, people in the venue of Studio Seven could have asked for much more in one set especially from a supporting act that can without a doubt, annihilate any advisary that comes in their midst. First handedly seeing how their fans react to their presence performing on stage and myself alike, have an immense and strong feeling that the rest of this year and year’s to come is going to be huge for December In Red . If you haven’t heard of or listened to this band, you are for surely missing out on something musically amazing! Please go check out their album “The Way Out” released from CaviGold Records which is available for Pre-Order at . <> < > <>  <>  <>  <>

Stone Temple Pilots Live - Seattle, WA @ The Paramount Theater 04/08/15

Stone Temple Pilots kicked off the first run of their spring tour dates starting in Seattle, WA on April 8th, 2015 taking the crowd by storm on stage at the venue known as The Paramount Theater.

They came out one by one, each grabbing their instruments with humbleness and pride walking onto the stage while the crowd cheered and clapped with utter excitement. It was going to be a night that Seattle and STP fans would relish in and remember for a long time. With Chester Bennington on the microphone, Robert Deleo on bass, Robert’s brother Dean Deleo on guitar, and Eric Kretz on drums with their first song of the night performing Lounge Fly, everyone sang along in unison. Nearly 3000 screaming fans in the theater hearing Chester’s voice sing with STP, knew that they were in for a treat for the remainder of the evening.

After performing Lounge Fly, Chester bowed to the crowd thanking them as if as being accepted in a way that he never had before. The next song up on the list was Vasoline from the band’s first album titled “Core” which was recorded in 1992 and went to number 3 on the billboard charts during that time. Following their third song on stage from the “Core” album was Wicked Garden. That song just added more fuel to the fire that inevitably brought down the house that night. The crowd going absolutely insane jamming and banging their heads to a song they all knew so well. With Robert on bass, you could surely tell that he was having a great first show of the tour getting into the grooves and sounds, swaying his body back and forth, getting as close to the fans as possible, tapping his heart letting them know that he was grateful for being there on stage sharing those moments with his band mates. Robert’s brother, Dean Deleo ripped the six string all night long, jumping continuously and franticly while smiling the whole while on stage sharing close moments with Chester back to back. Eric Kretz seemed to be having an amazing time as well not missing a single beat on his drum set with all smiles.

At about 15 hit songs in, Chester saw a couple of kids in the front row waving a sign saying that they wanted a pair of Eric’s drum sticks. After Chester had read the sign, he had asked that both the young boys to come up on the stage, surprising them with excitement, they did follow suit each receiving a pair of drum sticks, some guitar picks, and a photo with the band facing the crowd. It definitely made the band’s and the young boy’s night without fail. Stone Temple pilots ended up playing 20 hit songs such as Sex Type Thing, Creep, Big Empty, Plush, Interstate Love Song and many more following up with a roaring encore featuring Piece of Pie, and the final song of the night, Dead and Bloated which ended with a bang. The band then grouped together and took one last bow before exiting the venue with a palpable roar.